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'&' and 'and' mean two different things in movie credits!

The ampersand is fun to draw. It saves space when you don't have much paper and saves time when you're furiously scribbling notes. Most people believe that it is equivalent to "and." And they would be correct because "&" is a logogram for the word "and."

The symbol can be traced back to the 1st century A.D. And old Roman cursive. The letters E and T were occasionally written together to form a ligature. This formed a symbol similar to the ampersand that we know today.

As far as it's meaning is concerned, the ampersand can mean something different than "and" in certain situations, such as movie credits. In this case, the ampersand means a closer relationship than "and." The Writer's Guild of America uses an ampersand when two writers have worked on a script together. They use "and" when two writers have both worked on a script but not necessarily at the same time.


When lightning strikes, it strikes a man 82% of the time!

We've all heard the expression "lightning never strikes the same place twice." And we're all aware of the belief that being struck by lightning is a very rare occurrence. However, it turns out that lightning is a bit sexist. It strikes men more often than women.

Between 1995 and 2008, lightning struck 648 people, and 82% of those people were men. Why is this? One reason is that men take more risks during bad weather. They are less likely to take safety precautions when lightning is around and will instead continue to partake in their outdoor activities, such as golfing and camping.

Sports related and recreational activities are responsible for about half of lightning-related deaths. It seems that, in this case, women are smarter than men when it comes to not taking unnecessary risks.


There have been no reported cases of piranhas eating a human!

Piranhas are known as vicious fish, fish that eat humans with their super sharp teeth. They've been featured in horror movies as villain's accomplices and human eating machines. However, they're not quite as horrible as we might think.

They're normally about 5.5 to 10.25 inches long and have a row of spiky triangular teeth on the top and bottom of their jaw. These are used to puncture and shear their prey. They do eat meat and are known for their big appetite, but some species also eat seeds. Other species scavenge in addition to hunting.

They can't be found just anywhere like in the movies. They exclusively inhabit South American fresh waters, especially the Amazon basin. There are no records of a piranha eating a human--this is a mythical concept. They are known for nipping off skin and scales of fish. Their prey can then survive, and this creates a renewable food source for the piranhas.


A Berkeley student solved unproved theorems that his professor wrote on the chalkboard because he thought they were homework!

His name is George Dantzig, and this story has become something of a legend. In 1939, while a graduate student at UC Berkeley, Dantzig entered his classroom and saw two famous unsolved statistics problems on the board. He arrived late, and little did he know that the professor had drawn them on there as examples before he had arrived.

He wrote them down, believing them to be homework and arrived in class with answers to both of them a few days later! He said that they seemed a little bit harder than normal, but other than that believed it to be routine.

His professor approached his several weeks later wishing to publish his solutions and even told him to forget about writing a thesis and instead just wrap his answers up in a binder. The story became world famous was actually the inspiration for the opening scene of the famous movie Good Will Hunting!


This September, a comet will be passing by Earth. It's so bright, you might be able to see it in daylight!

Most comets that pass by Earth’s vicinity can only be glimpsed through intricate and expensive telescopes, so it is a rare treat to be able to see one with the naked eye. Comets that can be seen with amateur telescopes and binoculars are considered rare, but this comet, named C/2012 S1, will be visible even during the daytime with the naked eye!

It was first discovered in 2012, far too dim to be glimpsed with any routine technology. However, as it comes closer, it will gradually be able to be seen with amateur telescopes around September of 2013, and by November it will be visible during the day to almost anyone who wishes to look into the sky! The reason it fluctuates in visibility is because of how near it is to our Sun and closer stars. As it's arc nears the Sun, we are able to see it better, and when it moves farther from our solar system, it gradually decreases in visibility.



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