Best Facts of the Week - Page 6

The original Ronald McDonald creator and personality was fired before his character got national recognition. Here's why


Oscar Goldstein, a former Washington, D.C. McDonald's franchise owner, was in some trouble when NBC cancelled his sponsored show Bozo's Circus in 1963. Bozo would regularly make appearance at his McDonald's, drawing in huge crowds. Since the show was now cancelled, Goldstein had to come up with a new mascot to entice his customers to return.

Goldstein met with the star of Bozo's Circus, Willard Scott, and hired him to recreate a new clown for the franchise. Willard Scott got a costume made by a marketing company, created the name Ronald McDonald, and began making appearances at Goldstein's restaurant in Washington D.C.

As McDonald's prepared for their national campaign to introduce Ronald McDonald to America, they fired Willard Scott, deeming his weight as the reason for termination. McDonald's felt that in order to sell hamburgers, shakes, and fries (generally, unhealthy food) to the American people, they needed a thinner mascot who appeared in shape. A thinner clown personality was hired, the campaign began, and business sky-rocketed. Scott moved on from the incident and continued to find success through books and television. He also later became the weatherman for NBC's Today Show.

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Astronauts leave little memorabilia of fallen comrades on the moon during their trips up there! This is touching


Talk about staking your territory. Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut in the mid 1900s, famous for being the first man to enter space and complete an orbit around the earth, left yet another legacy when a satchel of hismedals of and those fellow astronaut Vladimir Komarov's was left on the surface of the moon by the astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

Later, a small 8 and a half centimeter aluminum figure dubbed a "Fallen Astronaut" and a plaque were also left on the moon commemorating not only Gagarin, but also 14 others who had died in space.

While Gagarin did not suffer the fate of those who perished in the line of duty, he still passed away furthering the mission of space exploration during a training exercise in a Mig-5 practice jet, along with flight instructor Vladimir Seryogin. There were many theories and conspiracies as to the causes of Yuri Gagarin's death, but it is a general consensus that his crash was caused by a sudden and unrecoverable spin or dive brought on by either another airborne object or by the condition of the plain.

Despite the early end to his accomplished life, Gagarin lives on through the meaningful tributes left for him and other astronauts in the ultimate match of king of the hill on the moon.

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Our modern medical standards wouldn't be possible without the horseshoe crab. Find out why!


If you really want to strike it rich, don't worry about digging for gold or trying to strike oil. Head to the sea and find yourself some horseshoe crabs to drain and make a killing. It turns out their blood is key in the world's medical arsenal.

The horseshoe crab has a very simple immune system that was discovered in 1971. Its blood binds and clots when it comes in contact with fungi, viruses, and bacterial endotoxins. It contains a compound, Limulus Amebocyte Lysate, or LAL for short, that is an easy way for the Food and Drug Administration to test for any bad stuff in new drugs. Now, every drug and surgical implant certified by the FDA is tested using LAL.

On the world market, a single quart of the crab's blood runs around $15,000, making it an incredible business for those that live where they are abundant. According to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, approximately 250,000 horseshoe crabs are needed to fuel the medical testing each year.

There is good news: The blood can be extracted from the little crabby guy without killing them, and there have been no signs of any long-term injury. It's a win-win...sort of.

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Some awesome lists!

The inside of an igloo isn't cold—they can get up to 60 degrees! Find out how!


Usually when people picture an igloo, they imagine a dome with a little tunnel attached. This is surprisingly accurate! Igloos are surprisingly hospitable, and it all comes down to science.

Snow makes a surprisingly good insulator. When combined with ice to make the walls of the dome sturdy, it creates a cozy little environment. With the occupant’s body heat and perhaps the use of oil lamps or candles, the walls of the igloo melt a little, but then are soon frozen by the temperatures outside. Several days of this melting and refreezing process creates a nice insulation, sometimes of up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is incredibly welcome when the weather outside is -50 degrees Fahrenheit!

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The Basque language, local to parts of Spain and France, is unlike any other language. How is this possible?


Some twins are so close that they share their own private language. What if that was the case for an entire region of the world, and no neighboring country spoke anything remotely similar? This is not the stuff of science fiction; it’s real, and it’s geographically located in a region of northeastern Spain and southwestern France. Since the language of Basque bears no similarity to Indo-European Romance languages spoken in the surrounding regions, it’s considered an isolated language.

So how does an isolated language originate? It’s a bit of a puzzle to linguists. Many believe that this language pre-dates the European conquests which is why it bears no European influences. Some have noted that the words for "knife" (aizto), "axe" (aizkora) and "hoe" (aitzur) are all derived from the word for "stone" (haitz), and have therefore concluded that the language dates to the Stone Age, when those tools were made of stone. Basque-type skulls discovered in Neolithic archaeological sites support this theory.

Although rich in oral history, the Basque language was not written until the 16th century. Rural communities have kept it alive. In fact, there are some 520,000 Basque speaking people in Spain which is a quarter of their entire population.

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