Best Facts of the Month - Page 5

There’s a plant that can kill you if you touch it!

Dendrocnide moroides, also known as the stinging bush, gympie stinger, mulberry-leaved stinger, gympi gympi, stinger or moonlighter, is a large shrub native to rainforest areas in northeastern Australia, the Moluccas and Indonesia.

It is best known for stinging hairs which cover the whole plant and deliver a potent neurotoxin when touched. It is the most virulent of the Australian species of stinging trees.

The sting causes an extremely painful stinging sensation which can last for days or even months, and the injured area becomes covered with small, red spots joining together to form a red, swollen mass. The sting is known to be potent enough to kill humans, and it can also kill dogs and horses.


In the prehistoric times, there was a flightless bird that ate horses!

We may laugh at the flightlessness of birds like ostriches and penguins nowadays but you did not want to mess with their oldest ancestor, Phosurhacida. Aka: The Terror Bird. It was the largest species of predators in South America between 62 million to 2 million years ago.

They were roughly 3 to 10 feet tall and munched on small mammals. They used their massive beaks to either pick up prey and slam them into the ground or inflict precision strikes on critical body parts. Archeologists say that this species left the world at about the same time we got here.


Johnny Depp is descended from the first free African woman in the US!

It make sense that Johnny Depp's heritage would be as varied and quirky as he is. The actor is known for playing odd characters like Captain Jack Sparrow, Edward Scissorhands and Willy Wonka. He has children with a French actress and the family lived in France for a while.

Depp's family - all the way back to his great great grandparents - is from Kentucky though. He has stated that he is English, Irish and Cherokee. According to Depp, one of his great grandmothers was part Cherokee.

To add to his varied heritage, Depp is also 3/2048ths African. His great great great great great great great great grandmother was of African descent and lived in 1612. Her daughter, Elizabeth Key, was also Depp's ancestor. She was the first woman to take legal action to gain her freedom from slavery in 1656.


Some awesome lists!

Charles Dickens is the reason we celebrate Christmas as we do today!

Christmas used to be a very church-centered holiday. The observance of it was falling at the end fo the 18th century / beginning of the 19th century. 

However, Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" would change the way Christmas is celebrated up to this day. The main shift that occurred due to Dicken's work is from a church-centric celebration to a self-centered generosity festival.

The story of Scrooge changing his mind and helping out his workers moved people into celebrating Christmas as a time for being generous, being around loved ones and helping people out. This shift resulted in the more typical celebration of today, where families get together and celebrate by eating. 

He also helped propagate emerging traditions such as gift-giving and the display of Christmas trees, which had been introduced by Prince Albert but were not ingrained into the public consciousness until Dicken's work became popular.

As a last note, while some of these traditions had in some form existed before, they were dwindling and were repopularized by Dickens. There's a lot more on this subject to read, so check out the sources!

(Sources 1 and 2)

San Francisco is no longer the US's gayest city!

According to the US Census Bureau, the city of Seattle has overtaken San Francisco as the city with the highest concentration of gay couples.

2.6% of Seattle's households are gay couples (or 1 in 17), which barely edges out San Francisco at 2.5% in the study which considered the top 50 US cities by population.

The third is Minneapolis at 2.4%. According to the bureau, the reason Seattle beat out San Francisco is because there are many more lesbian couples in Seattle.

If you're curious, the bottom 3 are Colorado Springs (0.29%), Fort Worth (0.26%) and El Paso (0.25%)



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