Interesting Facts About Manatees

Manatees resemble to walrus or small whales, but they are more closely related to elephants. Manatees are also known as sea cows. They are gray or gray-brown in color.

Manatees can hold its breath for up to 20 minutes.

Manatee reaches 12 feet in length and weighs more than 1000 pounds. Despite their gigantic size, they are very elegant and agile in the water.

Manatees eat more than a 10th of their weight in food every day.

Manatees evolved from land animals 60 million years ago. Finger nails on the paddle-like flippers are their evolutionary remnants.

Manatees usually mull around at about 5 miles an hour, but can motor up to 15 miles per hour in short bursts.

Flippers are used for swimming (they enable propulsion and steering), but also for feeding and holding the young manatees.

Manatees can’t turn their heads like we do.

All mammals have 7 vertebrae in the neck, while manatees have only 6. Because of that, they cannot rotate their head and if they want to look behind themselves - they need to turn their whole body.

Manatees are typically found in shallow coastal areas and rivers where they feed on sea grass, mangrove leaves, and algae.

Manatees spend their whole life in the water. Since they have lungs and breathe atmospheric air, they need to come to the surface every 3-4 minutes when they swim actively. Maximum time they can spend under the water without reaching the surface is 15 minutes, when they are resting.

Dugongs (Dugong dugon), in the same order (Sirenia) as manatees, spend all of their time in coastal ocean waters of the Indian Ocean and western Pacific and they don’t ever venture into freshwater.

Manatees are very sensitive to the changes in the water temperature. Temperature below 60 degrees of Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees of Celsius) can induce pneumonia and lead to death of the manatee.

Manatees, like their elephant relatives, continuously replace their teeth throughout their lives with the older teeth at the front falling out and new teeth growing in at the back of their mouth.

Unlike other marine mammals, manatees are strict herbivores. Due to low nutritional value of the vegetation, manatees need to eat 100 pounds of food each day.

Female manatees usually have one calf every two to five years and the calf then stays and nurses for two years.

Manatee gathers the food using the thick bristle lip. Their teeth, called marching molars, grow constantly throughout their whole life. This is specific type of adaptation to their eating habits.

Manatees lack outer ear, but they have large inner ear, which enables them to hear well. They have small eyes, but their eyesight is excellent.

Manatees communicate using wide range of vocalization sounds, such as chirps, squeaks and whistles. Most communication takes place between mother (cow) and the baby (calf).

Other types of communication between manatees include touching, smelling, tasting and visual signals, during the play time or in the mating season.

Manatees breed very slowly. Females reach sexual maturity between 6 and 7 years, and males around the age of 10. Females give birth every 4 to 5 years.

Pregnancy lasts 13 months and it ends with a single baby. Bond between mother and the calf is strong. Mother guides the newborn to the surface to breathe during the first hour of its life, until it learns to breathe independently. Young manatee stays with its mother two years.

The cow-like creatures are thought to have inspired mermaid legends.

Manatees live up to 60 years in the wild.

Facts About Cajon

The word 'cajon' means 'crate, box or drawer'.

The cajon is thought to have been created by African slaves working in the tea plantations of Peru, most probably in the 18th Century. The original instrument is thought to date back further to the box drums of Africa.

Early cajons were often made from shipping cartons brought over on Spanish ships in Spanish colonial America. Small dresser drawers were often converted to instruments as well whenever possible.

Traditional Peruvian cajons still have no snare wires inside so are much closer to the original African box drums, producing a much drier sound than cajons with snares.

The cajon is considered to be a percussion instrument. I is usually 18 inches in height and about 12 inches wide and deep.

In Cuba, the cajon served a much more conga-orientated role than that of a drum kit. Consequently, Cuban cajons vary in shape, some more resembling their conga counterparts. They are also held in a different way, the top surface being played, just like the top head of the conga would be hit.

Five sides of the cajon are usually made of a thicker wood than the front side where the musician slaps with his/her hand.

The cajón de tapeo, tapeador, cajón de tamboreo or Mexican cajon is a wooden box drum traditional to Southern Mexico.

The front side is thinner and is referred to as the head.

Most people use the cajon in place of a conventional drum kit but there are many other ways it can be used to fit in, either with or without a drum kit.

Modern cajons have feet often made of rubber, and screws in the top of the instrument that allow for adjustment of sound.

A bass drum sound is achieved by hitting the center of the front, or head, and a higher tone is achieved by striking the instrument closer to the top of the head's surface.

When the musician sits on the cajon they tilt it slightly while playing. Some musicians also slap other surfaces of the cajon as well, to make different sounds than those that occur from slapping the front, or head, of the instrument.

Cajons are popular instruments in Spain, the Philippines, and in the Americas.

The cajon is a popular instrument in several music styles including Cuban Rumba, Flamenco, Peruvian Waltz, Zamacueca, and Tondero.

In modern music the cajon is often used as an accompaniment to the acoustic guitar, and it is even used to replace full drum kits when space is limited.

The cajon is gaining popularity in other types of music including jazz, funk, rock, pop, and blues.

Irish folk music has adopted the use of the cajon in much of its music.

Hands are not the only striking tool for the cajon. Musicians also use metal brushes, plastic brushes, sticks, mallets, and some use the drum pedal usually used for a bass drum.

The cajon can also be played in an orchestra as part of classical music.

Some percussionists attach a bass drum pedal to the instrument, enabling them to play it with a single foot.

Famous cajon players include Ruben Dantas (70s Flamenco music), Mario Cortes (Flamenco), Mike Meadows (percussionist and drummer), Stephen Paass (percussionist), and Nina Rodriguez (nicknamed 'hands of lightning').

The Peruvian National Institute of Culture declared the cajon National Heritage in 2001.

Another way of playing the cajón is to use an ordinary bass drum pedal, thus turning the cajón into an indirect percussion instrument which can be played with the feet.

The Organization of American States declared that the cajon was an "Instrument of Peru for the Americas" in 2014.


Fun Facts About the Motorcycle

A motorcycle also known as bike, motorbike, or cycle is a two wheeled motor vehicle.

According to the Guinness World Book of Records, the earliest internal combustion-engine motorized bicycle was the Daimler Reitwagaen, and was invented in 1885 by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Germany. It was named ‘Einspur’, and was lost in a fire in 1903.

The history of the motorcycle begins in the second half of the 19th century.

The first-ever Harley-Davidson motorcycle only went 25 mph (40 kph). It also had a single-cylinder engine that initially used an empty tomato can for its carburetor.

First steam-powered motorcycle was made during 1867, in the factory of famous bicycle inventor Pierre Michaux.

Japan once built a motorcycle that was indirectly powered by human waste. Its name is the Toilet Bike Neo, and its creator is high-end toilet manufacturer Toto. The bike uses human waste that’s turned into biofuel. It’s then stored inside two compressed gas cylinders and are placed on the bike to allow it to run a distance of 300 km before refilling.

The Daimler Petroleum Reitwagen (“riding car”) or Einspur (“single track”) was a motor vehicle made by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in 1885. It is widely recognized as the first motorcycle. Daimler is often called “the father of the motorcycle” for this invention.

Vespa, the iconic Italian scooter manufactured by Piaggio, was what 51-year old, former CEO Andre Pininfarina (of the Italiancoachbuilder and car designer Pininfarina) was riding when he died after colliding with a Ford Focus that was driven by a 78-year old man.

In the decade from the late 1880s, dozens of designs and machines emerged, particularly in Germany and in England, and soon spread to the United States. During this early period of motorcycle history there were many manufacturers, since bicycle makers were adapting their designs for the new internal combustion engine.

The longest journey ever made with the use of a motorcycle comes from Emilio Scotto of Buenos Aires, Argentina. According to the Guinness World Book of Records, he covered over 735,000 km (457,000 miles) and 214 countries and territories, from 17 January 1985 to 2 April 1995.

In 1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first series production motorcycle, and the first to be called a “motorcycle”. It is estimated that somewhere in between 800 and 2,000 motorbikes were made – of which only a dozen survive worldwide.

The longest distance a man rode a motorcycle in 24 hours was 3,256.5 km (2023.5 miles). Earning a spot in the Guinness World Book of Records for this attempt was Matthew McKelvey aka Bushy (South Africa), who drove his bike at Phakisa Freeway in Welkom, South Africa, on 8 October 2014.

In 1898, Triumph Motorcycles in England began producing motorbikes, and by 1903 it was producing over 500 bikes.

Helmet use was actually mandated following Colonel T.E. Lawrence‘s (Lawrence of Arabia) death in a motorcycle accident. He was killed after he swerved to avoid two boys riding a bicycle.

Indian began production in 1901 and Harley-Davidson was established two years later. By the outbreak of the First World War, the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world was Indian, producing over 20,000 bikes per year.

Forbes magazine founder, Malcolm Forbes owned 50 Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

The oldest surviving Russian-manufactured motorcycle, the Rossiya, dates from 1902.

During the First World War, motorbike production was greatly ramped up for the war effort to supply effective communications with front line troops.

By 1920, Harley-Davidson was the largest manufacturer, with their motorcycles being sold by dealers in 67 countries.

In 1937, Joe Petrali set a new land speed record of 219.165 km/h (136.183 mph) on a modified Harley-Davidson 61 cubic inch (1,000 cc) overhead valve-driven motorcycle.

After the end of Second World War, American War veterans started gathering themselves into loosely organized motorcycle clubs. They become very famous after their portrayal in Marlon Brando’s 1954 film “The Wild One”.

Italian designer Piaggio introduced the Vespa in 1946, which experienced immediate and widespread popularity. Piaggio sold some 2,500 Vespas in 1947, over 10,000 in 1948, 20,000 in 1949, and over 60,000 in 1950. The biggest sales promo ever was Hollywood. In 1952, Audrey Hepburn side-saddled Gregory Peck’s Vespa in the feature film Roman Holiday for a ride through Rome, resulting in over 100,000 sales.

The first ever blind person to set the record in 2003 for riding a motorbike was Billy Baxter, who lost his eyesight when he was serving in Bosnia.

A chopper is a type of custom motorcycle which emerged in California in the late 1950s. The chopper is perhaps the most extreme of all custom styles, often using radically modified steering angles and lengthened forks for a stretched-out appearance. Perhaps the best known choppers are the two customized Harley-Davidsons, the “Captain America” and “Billy Bike”, seen in the 1969 film Easy Rider.

Suzuki, Kawasaki and the Yamaha each started producing motorcycles in the 1950s.

Today the Japanese manufacturers, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha dominate the large motorcycle industry, although Harley-Davidson still maintains a high degree of popularity, particularly in the United States.

The term “motorcycle” (or “motorrad” in German) was first used in 1894 by Hildebrand & Wolfmüller.

The hyper sports Kawasaki Ninja H2R is the fastest production superbike till date. It’s a track only motorcycle. Turkish rider Kenan Sofuoğlu nailed the stunning mark of 400 kilometers per hour (249 miles per hour) riding this bike in 2016.

Facts About Texas

Texas is the biggest state of the 48 bordering United States, with 268,820 square miles. It imparts the global outskirt to a few of Mexico's states. With over 26.4 million individuals living in this state, it is the second most crowded state after California. Preceding European settlement, there were three noteworthy indigenous societies living in Texas' region, including the Pueblo, the Mississippian, and Mesoamerica societies. Altogether there have been eight distinctive government changes since 1519, when it was under Spanish control, until 1865, when it turned into an individual from the United States. Texas is home to wide assortment of untamed life, various atmosphere zones, and geographic locales.

Texas has a phrase 'Six Flags over Texas', which refers to the fact that there have been six different countries that have ruled the area, beginning in 1519. These countries include Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, United States, and the Confederate States of America.

It is bordered by Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

From 1836 to 1845, Texas was an independent nation.

As of January 2019, the population of Texas was estimated to be about 28.3 million people. It is the 2nd most populous state in the United States.

Texas' capital is Austin, which is also considered to be the live music capital of the world.

It is also the 2nd largest state in the United States in terms of total area with 696,241 square kilometers (268,581 square miles).

The largest city in Texas is Houston and the largest metro is Arlington/Fort Worth/Dallas.

Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth largest in the US.

The deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history - the Galveston hurricane = took place in Texas in 1900. This hurricane resulted in approximately 8,000 deaths.

Guadalupe Peak, also known as Signal Peak, is the highest natural point in Texas, with an elevation of 2,667 meters (8,751 feet) above sea level. It is located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and is part of the Guadalupe Mountains range in southeastern New Mexico and West Texas.

The state of Texas produces the most greenhouse gases of any U.S. State - approximately 680 billion kg of carbon dioxide per year.

Although Texas is popularly associated with the U.S. southwestern deserts, less than 10% of Texas’s land area is desert.

If Texas were an independent country, it would rank 7th in the world for producers of greenhouse gas.

Texas has over 480 kilometers (300 miles) of coastline.

Texas' state mammal is the armadillo.

The state has 14 national parks and 51 state parks.

It is estimated that there are approximately 16 million cattle in Texas.

The Alamo is one of the most important historic sites in the United States. Part of a mission station established in 1718, it was built by Franciscans in 1744 and by 1836, had been converted into a fort. It became famous during the Texan War of Independence after a small force barricaded themselves in against an overwhelmingly superior Mexican army some 3,000 strong.

The world's largest rose garden is located in Texas. It is the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden and has 38,000 rose bushes.

The recorded history of Texas begins with the arrival of the first Spanish conquistadors in the region of North America now known as Texas in 1519, who found the region populated by numerous Native American tribes.

The very first rodeo in the world was held in 1883 in Pecos, Texas.

The Native Americans’ ancestors had been there for more than 10,000 years as evidenced by the discovery of the remains of prehistoric Leanderthal Lady.

Texas has the most tornadoes of any state each year. On average they experience 139 per year.

Texas comes from the Hasinai Indian word tejas meaning friends or allies.

The first governor and president of Texas was Sam Houston, who lived from 1793 to 1863.

The term “six flags over Texas” refers to several nations that have ruled over the territory.

The first word that was ever spoken on the moon was Houston, in 1969 during the moon landing.

Texas is popularly known as The Lone Star State.

The western hemisphere's largest Ferris wheel is located in Dallas State Fair Park. It is called the Texas Star.

Though 10% larger than France and almost twice as large as Germany or Japan, it ranks only 27th worldwide amongst country subdivisions by size.

Dr Pepper was invented in 1885 by a Waco pharmacist named Charles Alderton.

If it were an independent country, Texas would be the 40th largest behind Chile and Zambia.

Actors Chuck Norris and John Wayne are both honorary Texas Rangers, making them members of the oldest North American statewide law enforcement agency.

The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

Davy Crockett died at the Alamo.

Edwards Plateau in west central Texas is the top sheep growing area in the country.

The Alamo is a historical site in San Antonio Texas, where the Mexican General Santa Anna defeated the Texan defenders.

Approximately 50 billion is spent in Texas each year by tourists visiting historical sites, state parks and other points of interest.

More wool comes from the state of Texas than any other state in the United States.

Today it is still considered a hanging offence to steal cattle in Texas.

In Texas there is a city called Slaughter. No murder has ever been recorded in this city.

Texas is also known as the Lone Star State. This name represents Texas' struggle for independence.

Mushroom Facts

Mushrooms, otherwise called toadstools, have a place with the kingdom Fungi. There are 14.000 types of mushrooms, the majority of which can be found in deciduous and evergreen timberlands around the globe, while couple of species are adjusted for the life under the water. Shape, size and shade of the mushroom rely upon the species. Mushrooms speak to significant wellspring of nourishment and drug for people and they have wide application in biotechnology.

Typical mushroom has a stem and a cap with gills on the bottom side of it. Mushroom is not a plant or animal. Its DNA shares more similarities with DNA of humans than with DNA of plants.

A mushroom is neither a fruit nor a vegetable; technically mushrooms aren’t even plants.

Mushrooms recycle dead plants and return valuable nutrients into the ground. They are often used for degradation of dangerous substances such as oils, pesticides and industrial waste.

Mushrooms are a type of fungi; Fungi are living organisms that are distantly related to plants, and more closely related to animals, but rather different from either of those groups.

Many plants live in symbiosis (called mycorrhizal relationship) with mushrooms. Mycelium (thread-like mass of hyphae) of fungi nourishes the root of plant with nutrients, and in return it gets food that plant produces.

All mushrooms are fungi, but not all fungi are mushrooms.

To ensure successful growth and enough food for themselves, mushrooms produce antibiotics to eliminate competition. One of the best known antibiotics - penicillin, is obtained from the fungi called Penicillium.

Many mushroom species are important decomposers, metabolizing non living organic matter. This means they break down and “eat” dead plants. However, many species have a special, symbiotic, “mycorrhizal” relationship with particular species of plants. Often, neither the mushroom nor the plant will grow without a mycorrhizal partner.

Mushrooms are made of 90% of water. They are often described as "forest meat" due to high content of proteins (they contain more proteins than peanuts, corn and soybean). Some mushrooms, such as Laetiporus, even taste like chicken.

Roughly speaking, mushrooms are: 50% inedible but harmless, 25% edible, but not incredible, 20% will make you sick, 4% will be tasty to excellent, 1% can kill you.

Edible mushrooms are good source of vitamins of the B group and minerals such as copper and potassium (some species contain more potassium than banana).

Mushrooms grow throughout the year but are most plentiful in autumn. While cultivated mushrooms may be available anytime, most wild mushrooms only appear in autumn.

The most popular mushrooms used in human diet are white button mushrooms. China is the greatest producer of mushrooms in the world.

Edible mushroom species have been found in association with 13,000-year-old archaeological sites in Chile. Ötzi, the mummy of a man who lived between 3400 and 3100 BC in Europe, was found with two types of mushroom.

Collecting of wild mushrooms is also known as mushrooming or mushroom hunting.

Edible mushrooms are consumed for their nutritional value and they are occasionally consumed for their supposed medicinal value. Mushrooms consumed by those practicing folk medicine are known as medicinal mushrooms.

Due to large number of poisonous mushrooms in the wild that often resemble the edible varieties, collecting (and eating) of wild mushrooms is not recommended unless a person is an expert for this field.

In a 100 gram (3.5 ounce) amount, raw mushrooms provide 22 calories.

Around 70 species of mushrooms from Mycena family glow in the dark. They can be used as "torches" to light the way through the forest.

Mushrooms are the only vegetarian food that can make vitamin D. Actually, they contain a “pro-vitamin,” or precursor, called ergosterol that is converted into vitamin D when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation—similar to how your skin synthesizes the vitamin in response to sun exposure.

Mushrooms reproduce via spores produced in the gills. Spores are made of tough substance (chitin) and they can remain dormant for decades or even centuries.

Mushrooms are also great sources of protein, fiber, B vitamins (especially niacin), vitamin C, calcium, minerals, and selenium. They also contain antioxidants that are unique to mushrooms, such as ergothioneine, which according to studies is a highly powerful antioxidant.

Mushrooms were used as a source of pigment for dyeing of fabrics in the past.

The health benefits of mushrooms include relief from high cholesterol levels, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes. They also help in weight loss and increase the strength of your immune system.

Mushrooms are used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.

More than 75 species of bioluminescent mushrooms exist on Earth, and though some may be drab during the daytime, all are mesmerizing at night.

Modern studies showed that mushrooms have excellent anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. They can be used to reduce blood cholesterol level, to boost immune system and in treatment of different types of cancer.

The chicken of the woods is a very tasteful mushroom found all over the world. It’s called the “chicken of the woods” because of its remarkable resemblance to chicken meat when cooked properly.

The largest and the oldest mushroom in the world can be found in Blue Mountains of Oregon. It covers 2.200 acres of land and its age is estimated to 2.400 years.

Long before trees overtook the land, Earth was covered by giant mushrooms 7.3 meters (24 feet) tall and 0.9 meters (3 feet) wide, these giant spires dotted the ancient landscape.

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