Facts About Agama


Agama is a species of lizard. There are more than 60 species of agama that are native to Africa, Europe and Asia. Agamas is the dominant species of lizard in Africa. In the past, agamas lived in the forests of Africa. As the forests began to disappear, Agama managed to adapt to living in open spaces. Most types of agamas live in mountains, rocky steppes, and arid areas. Certain types of agama have adapted to life in both rural and urban areas. Some people keep agamas as pets because of their beautiful body color. Agamas are not listed as endangered animals.

While most agamas are green and brown, dominant males show off by rapidly turning their bodies blue and their heads bright red or yellow.

Agama can reach 15.7 inches in length.

Most agamas live in small groups with the dominant male ruling over several females and sub-males.

Head, neck and thighs of agamas are covered with scales.

While sunning themselves each morning, the dominant male will claim the most elevated spot, with subordinates in lower areas.

Agamas live in groups that are composed of one dominant male, couple subordinate males and large number of females.

Agamas hunt by vision and prefer to wait for an insect to come by.

Dominance in the group is accomplished through fights. Dominant male is called "cock". This male enjoys certain privileges: he mates with females and gets the best place for rest.

Agamas sticky tongues help them hold onto prey.

Color of the agama's body depends on its gender and its position within the group. All females are green or brown. Subordinate males have a body that is brown, gray, red, blue, or yellow in color. Dominant male is brightly colored. It has blue body with red (or yellow) head.

According to species, agamas live in forest, in bush, among rocks and on crags, but where their habitat has been cleared, or simply invaded by humans, some species also adapt to life in villages and compounds, for example inside the thatch of huts and other sheltering crevices.

Because of the impressive coloration of the body of the dominant male, these lizards are sometimes called "rainbow lizards".

Agamas are diurnal, active during the day.

Agama primarily feeds on insects. It lays motionless and waits for the insects to appear. It catches the insects by using its long and sticky tongue. Agama usually eats ants, crickets, caterpillars, worms and spiders.

They can tolerate higher temperatures than most reptiles, but when temperatures approach 38 °C (100 °F) they generally shelter in the shade.

People enjoy having agamas in their neighborhood because they eliminate all the pests from their houses and yards.

Males frequently threaten each other by nodding, weaving, and displaying their brightest colours to establish dominance.

Agama also eats seeds, berries, fruits and eggs of other lizards and birds.

Though not formally polygamous, dominant males commonly accommodate several females at a time in their territory.

Agama has well developed sense of vision, which is used both for hunting of the prey and for avoiding the predators.

Females occasionally initiate courtship by offering their hindquarters to the male and provoking him to catch her. 

Main predators of agamas are snakes.

Their jaws are very powerful, and older males commonly have damaged tails as souvenirs of past combat.

Mating season depends on the weather. It takes place after rainy season that will lead to increase in the insect population. Increased amount of available food is essential for females to become ready to lay eggs.

Agamas are mainly insectivorous, hunting prey by sight and snatching it opportunistically.

Female releases between 2 and 20 eggs from June to September. She digs 2-inches deep hole in the moist and sandy ground where eggs will be hidden until the time of hatching.

The female lays her eggs in a hole she digs with her snout and claws.

Depending on the species, eggs will hatch after incubation period that lasts between 1.5 and 4.5 months.

Females reach sexual maturity at age fourteen to eighteen months, males at two years.

Agama can survive for a long period of time in the wild. Average lifespan of agama is between 25 and 28 years.

Facts About William Golding


William Golding was a British writer best known for his Lord of the Flies and the Nobel Prize in Literature. William Gerald Golding was born on September 19, 1911 in Cornwall, England, to Alec Golding, a science teacher, and Mildred Golding, a female suffrage campaigner. William spent many vacations at his grandmother's house at 47 Mount Wise, where he was born. Her mother often told the children Cornish fairy tales that she told herself as a child.  He attended Brasenose College in Oxford in 1930 and received his BA in 1934.

Golding was born at his grandmother’s house in Newquay, Cornwall, England.

William Golding's first book of poems, titled Poems, was published in 1935 by Macmillan & Co, along with help from anthroposophist Adam Bittleston, an Oxford friend.

Golding’s father was a schoolmaster at the Marlborough Grammar School, while his mother was active in the Women's Suffrage Movement.

Between 1938 and 1940 William taught English and music at Maidstone Grammar School. He also taught philosophy in 1939.

He grew up with his elder brother Joseph in Wiltshire.

William taught English at Bishop Wordsworth's School between 1945 and 1961.

Golding and his brother studied at his father’s school.

In 1939 William married Ann Brookfield. She was an analytical chemist. They had a son and daughter together.

He went to Brasenose College, Oxford to study natural science to pursue his dream to become a scientist. However, after 2 years he migrated into English literature for his increasing interest in literature.

William Golding served during WWII in the Royal Navy. He participated in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day.

When Golding was 18 he tried to rape a 15-year-old Marlborough girl named Dora, who fought him off to save herself from his clutches. However, two years later the pair met again and had sex in a field. But eventually Golding broke up with her for two reasons: firstly he feared that she might get pregnant, secondly she was below his social status.

William published many famous novels including Lord of the Flies, The Spire, The Scorpion God, the trilogy To The Ends of the Earth, and The Double Tongue, which was published in 1995 after his death.

Golding was a heavy drinker and he often disgraced himself at social occasions.

William Golding also published non-fiction, drama and poetry.

Lord of the Flies faced rejection from at least 21 publishers before final acceptance by Faber & Faber.

William Golding was awarded many prizes including the Nobel Prize, the Booker Prize, and was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 1988.

Golding could not endure even the slightest criticism of his work, so most of the time he used to leave the country whenever a new book was about to publish.

The First International William Golding Conference was held in 1993, only months after his death.

Golding was a recluse and had always been apathetic to face the media or to publish his biography. After Golding’s demise John Carey came forward to publish his first biography entitled William Golding: The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies.

Facts About Zooplankton


Zooplankton is a type of plankton made up of small, free-floating animals found in the oceans, seas, rivers, and ponds. Hundreds of thousands of different animal species are part of the zooplankton and are usually found near the surface of the water. , or rarely at 1,300 feet. The greatest threats to future zooplankton survival are climatic changes and the increase in ultraviolet radiation (as a result of the thinning of the ozone layer).

Most zooplankton are filter feeders, using their appendages to strain bacteria and algae and other fine particles in the water. Others are predators, feeding on smaller zooplankton.

Most animals that belong to the group of zooplankton are microscopically small, 0.01 to 0.16 inches long.

Zooplankton can reproduce rapidly, and populations can increase by about 30 percent a day under favorable conditions.

Even though easily visible by naked eye, jelly fish is also classified as zooplankton because it cannot actively swim against the current.

Zooplankton reach maturity quickly and live short, but productive lives. For example, adult females of a zooplankter called Daphnia can produce their body mass in eggs every two to three days. Daphnia live an average of one month.

Most types of zooplankton have transparent body (which aids in camouflage). Species of zooplankton that live in fishless ponds have brightly-colored, usually orange or blue body.

At the Savannah River Site, zooplankton are found in freshwater reservoirs, ponds and streams. They are abundant in Carolina bays, wetlands that often dry in the summer and fill with water in the fall.

Most animals that belong to the group of zooplankton have long antennas on top of the head and elongated, cylindrical or torpedo-shaped body covered with protective shell. Some species are legless, while others have few pairs of leafy legs and flagella and cilia on the body.

The total weight of zooplankton produced annually in Rainbow Bay, a Carolina bay on the Savannah River Site, is about twice the weight of the thousands of salamanders found there.

Name "zooplankton" originates from two Greek words: "zoon" which means "animal", and "planktos" which means "drifter". Name refers to the inability of these tiny animals to swim on their own.

Although food, temperature and water chemistry all are important in determining what kinds of zooplankton can live in a particular lake or pond, the most important factor is predators, particularly fish.

Adaptations such as flattened body, spines on the shell, low-density materials stored in the body, as well as movement of flagella and cilia prevent sinking of zooplankton.

Fish prefer to eat the larger and more visible kinds of zooplankton.

Zooplankton is dynamic community. Number of species and size of the population depend on the season.

Zooplankton that coexist with fish are typically small (less than 1 to 1.5 millimeters) and transparent.

Zooplankton consists of temporary members such as larvae of fish and crabs which live as zooplankton only during the larval stage, and various species of protozoa, mollusks, echinoderm, arthropods...which spend their entire life as free-floating organisms.

Zooplankton that live in ponds without fish, such as temporary ponds, often are much larger (up to 3 to 4 millimeters).

Zooplankton is mostly restricted to the upper parts of the water. Some species of animals spend day in deep water and migrate toward the surface at night.

Some kinds of zooplankton in fishless ponds are quite colorful: a variety called copepods can be bright orange, blue or blue with red antennae. 

Diet of zooplankton is based on the algae and bacteria (phytoplankton) and tiny animals.

The very largest zooplankton, called fairy and clam shrimps, live only in fishless ponds.

Zooplankton is important source of food for fish, salamanders, aquatic insects and large marine animals such as whales.

On the Savannah River Site and throughout the Upper Coastal Plain, three varieties of freshwater zooplankton are most common. They are rotifers, cladocerans and copepods. Also, fairy and clam shrimps live in ponds that dry out seasonally.

Some species of zooplankton inhabit ponds that dry periodically. They spend dry periods of year in the mud, hidden inside protective cases.

Like phytoplankton, zooplankton are usually weak swimmers and usually just drift along with the currents. 

Zooplankton reproduces quickly and rapidly increases population size. Under favorable conditions, population size can increase for 30% in 24 hours.

Along with phytoplankton, zooplankton are key components of marine ecosystems forming the base of most marine food webs.

Without environmental factors which keep reproduction of some species of zooplankton (such as Filinia) under control, the entire world would be covered with 3-feet-thick layer of zooplankton in 130 days.

Zooplankton also include the nanoplanktonic flagellates that help keep bacteria populations under control. They are characterized by either a long tail used for swimming (flagellates) or by hair-like structures called cilia (ciliates).

Lifespan of zooplankton depends on the species. Daphnia, for example, can survive up to 30 days.

Another type of zooplankton include the larvae of benthic mollusks usually found in coastal waters, such as marine gastropods including heteropods or pteropods.

Facts About Scuba Diving


Scuba Diving is an underwater activity that involves wearing a breathing apparatus underwater to allow the diver to breathe. Scuba Divers carry a source of compressed air so that they can breathe while swimming freely. This is different from divers who use airline or hold their breath for an extended period. Scuba Diving is practiced as a recreational activity or for professional purposes, for example in the military, scientific, public safety and commercial sectors. A diver wears fins on their feet that allow them to swim and a diving mask that makes them easier to see. They generally wear protective wetsuits and equipment that helps them control their buoyancy.

Scuba stands for 'self-contained underwater breathing apparatus'. This term was originally used to describe the rebreathers used by U.S. combat frogmen. They were used in World War II for underwater warfare.

Once you get below 10 metres depth, you can’t see red or yellow! If you cut yourself your blood looks blue.

Open-circuit scuba involves directly venting exhaled breaths into the water.

Sound travels five times faster underwater than in air, which makes it almost imipossible to establish where sound is coming from, as we rely on the time difference between our ears to do so.

Closed-circuit scuba involves a system that removes the carbon dioxide from the exhaled breath, adds oxygen, and recirculates.

Oxygen becomes toxic when under pressure, so at depths greater than 42 metres, special gases with low oxygen are used.

Closed-circuit scuba was invented for rescue and escape. The military became fond of it because it produced few bubbles and allowed for less detection.

The first successful closed-circuit scuba was designed in 1878 by Henry Fleuss.

Nitrogen narcosis affects all divers – it’s the effect of Nitrogen beaing breathed at depths of more than 25 metres. It’s a little like being slightly drunk.

The first successful open-circuit scuba was designed in 1943 by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan.

Children can learn to dive as young as 8 – the limitng factor is that they must be able to manage the weight of the equipment.

Recreational scuba divers participate in exploring underwater caves, shipwrecks, and coral reefs. They also participate in ice diving and deep diving, which require technical skills.

The diving equivalent of the mile high club is called the 20 metre club.

Professional scuba divers work as diving instructors, divemasters, and diving guides.

Ahmed Gabr is in the Guinness book of world records for completing a dive down to 332.35m (1.095 ft) in the red sea off the coast of Egypt. 

There are diving specialists in the military who perform tasks such as placing underwater mines, manning torpedoes, disposing of bombs, sneaking behind enemy lines, and direct combat.

Another Egyptian Walaa Hafez set the new record of 51 Hours and 10 minutes in June 2015 again in the Red Sea off Hurghada, Egypt.

Other professional scuba divers use their skills to allow them to perform underwater photography, videography, scientific research, marine biology, oceanography, hydrology and even archaeology underwater.

The highest altitude scuba dive in the world has been made in on several occasions in a lagoon in the crater of Lincancabur, between the Chilean and Bolivian border at an altitude of 5,900 metres (19,357ft).

Most scuba diving for recreational purposes is kept to 100 feet or less.

The modern wetsuit was invented by the American physicist, Hugh Brandner, in 1952. One of the first (and very successful) wetsuit manufacturers was O’Neill.

Safety risks during scuba diving include decompression sickness. When decompression sickness occurs, as a result of a build-up of gases in the bloodstream and the pressure is reduced too quickly. Avoiding decompression sickness is achieved by ensuring the ascent is not done too quickly. If decompression sickness occurs and first aid is not successful, there is serious risk of death or permanent disability.

If you spit in your dive mask prior to the dive, as gross as it may be, it will actually prevent the mask from fogging. This is because the spit will coat the lens and the layer will be too smooth for the condensed vapor to hold on to. If you don’t want to spit, the soap or detergent will do the same trick.

Other possible safety issues associated with scuba diving includes nitrogen narcosis, oxygen toxicity, and diving equipment failure or malfunction.

Water absorbs light rapidly, that’s why scuba diving rookies might feel disappointed that the underwater world actually looks a little bit less colorful than in the TV documentaries. The color that is absorbed the quickest is red.  Hence the red filters for the underwater cameras like GoPro and others. The color red is followed by orange, yellow, green and blue.

Marine mammals that can pose a risk to scuba divers include stinging jellyfish, stingrays, sharks, crocodiles, venomous sea snakes, groupers, electric rays, and sea urchins, among many others.

While official statistics of scuba diving injuries would mention barotraumatic injuries as the number one injury related to scuba diving, in reality broken fingers or broken noses are the most common ones.

The main rules for scuba diving include getting sufficient training, never diving solo, being in good shape, ascending slowly and with control, not holding your breath, checking equipment, relaxing, and planning the dive and sticking to the plan.

Some of the most popular diving destinations include Australia, Micronesia, Egyptian Red Sea, Hawaii, Thailand, Belize, and Palau.

Facts About Garden Cress


Garden cress is an herbaceous plant that belongs to the mustard family, probably native to Egypt and the Middle East, but is now found all over the world. Garden cress grows along roads, in the bogs, mountain meadows and gardens. It is part of human nutrition since ancient times. Garden cress remains a popular and widespread leaf vegetable in Europe, especially in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, England and France.

Garden Cress is added to soups, sandwiches and salads for its tangy taste. 

Garden cress has erect, bluish-green, multi-branched stem that can reach 8 to 24 inches in height.

It is also eaten as sprouts, and the fresh or dried seed pods can be used as a peppery seasoning.

Basal leaves of garden cress are compound-lobed and equipped with long petioles. Leaves on the upper parts of the stem are usually pinnately lobed. Some varieties of garden cress have curly leaves.

In England, cut cress shoots are used in sandwiches with boiled eggs, mayonnaise and salt.

Garden cress produces white or light pink flowers arranged in multi-branched terminal clusters. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).

Apart from their distinctive peppery taste Garden Cress is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Garden cress blooms from June to August. Flowers attract insects which are responsible for the pollination of this plant.

Scientific research states that vitamin C help to keep cardiovascular system healthy, so adding garden cress in your diet may be a smart thing to do if you’re trying to improve your cardiovascular health.

Fruit of garden cress is small pod filled with 2 seed.

Garden cress is amplified with vitamin K, another important nutrient which is supposed to play a main role in maintaining cardiovascular health.

Garden cress propagates via seed that starts to germinate 2 to 4 days after sowing. Garden cress can thrive on the soil of poor quality, but it requires regular watering for the successful growth.

Frequent Consumption of garden cress helps to encourage the mammary glands to start producing milk in lactating mothers. 

Garden cress is fast-growing plant. Edible shoots can be harvested one or two weeks after planting.

Due to the high protein and iron contents of garden cress, it is ideally given post-partum to breastfeeding mothers.

Garden cress is rarely mixed with other types of plants because it emits strong odor that negatively affects growth of the nearby plants.

Garden Cress consists of considerable amount of Vitamin A that neutralizes free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage.

Garden cress can be cultivated in the pots filled with water and minerals (hydroponics), or using only moist cotton wool or paper towels (which hold the plant upright).

Manganese supplements present in Garden cress are linked to reduce osteoporosis as well as osteoarthritis syndrome because it is an essential mineral which is proven to add to bone density and overall mineral density. 

Garden cress is valuable source of vitamins K, C, A, B2 and B9 and minerals such as manganese, potassium, iron and magnesium.

Raw garden Cress consists of 0.276 mg of Manganese which is 12% of the daily recommended value.

Garden cress is mostly consumed as leafy vegetables. Stem and leaves has peppery, tangy flavor and they are often used for the preparation of salads, sandwiches and dishes made of cheese or eggs.

Vitamin B2 which is found sufficiently in Garden Cress can help in treating numerous nervous system problems like Alzheimer’s disease, numbness, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and anxiety, among others. 

Seeds of garden cress are also edible, but they need to be cooked or roasted before consumption. Seeds of garden cress are excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids.

Raw Garden cress consists of 40 µg of vitamin B9 which is about 10% of the daily recommended value.

Garden cress should be consumed in moderation because it prevents absorption of iodine by thyroid gland and can induce hypothyroidism. It should be also avoided during the pregnancy because it stimulates uterine contractions and can induce abortion.

Garden cress consists of vitamin B6 which is required to create hemoglobin in the blood, that is transported by red blood cells throughout the body to help bring oxygen to cells and to mobilize iron.

Garden cress can regulate menstrual cycle, increase production of milk in breastfeeding women and improve libido. Seeds are used to purify blood, stimulate appetite, boost immune system and memory and in treatment of dysentery, diarrhea, sore throat, asthma and cough.

Seeds can be roasted or cooked before eating.

Garden cress completes its life cycle in one (annual) or two (biennial) years.

Garden cress is also used to treat inflammation, skin infections and acne, and it acts as a blood purifier, diuretic and expectorant.

Facts About Wombats


Wombat is an animal that belongs to the group of marsupials. It can be found in the coastal regions of Southeast Australia and on the surrounding islands. Wombat prefers moist, forested areas on slopes, open grasslands and eucalyptus forests. All types of wombat are divided into two parts. Groups: bare nose and hair nose wombat. Wombats are considered a pest in certain parts of Australia as they damage crops and protective fences. Farmers don't hesitate to kill them to protect their land. Another threat to wombats survival is habitat loss. These factors brought the northern hair wombat to the brink of extinction.

Although they look pudgy and slow, wombats can run up to 25 miles per hour and maintain that speed for a minute and a half.

Wombats are second largest marsupials in Australia. They can reach up to 45 inches in length and up to 80 pounds in weight. Females are slightly bigger than males.

Their barrel-shaped bodies and wide, strong feet with long claws enable them to excavate extensive systems of tunnels and chambers.

Wombat's body is covered with fur that can be ochre, dark brown or black in color.

A wombat can move up to three feet of dirt in a single day.

Wombats look like small bears. They have round head, small ears, barrel-shaped body and flat claws.

Like other marsupials, wombats give birth to a tiny, underdeveloped baby that crawls into its mother's pouch to grow and develop further. 

Wombats dig underground burrows that can be 100 feet long. Number of burrows on their home range can be large, but wombats use only 3 or 4 as the main burrows.

It takes a wombat up to 14 days to digest a meal. 

Main burrows are intersected with other tunnels. They have couple of exits and sleeping chambers.

Wombat incisors, like those of rodents, are continuously growing. 

Wombats are territorial and solitary animals. They spray urine, rub their scent on the nearby trees and use droppings to mark their territory.

One of the wombat's primary defenses is its toughened backside, which is mostly made of cartilage. 

Burrows provide protection against the heat and predators. Wombats are rarely seen in the wild because they spend entire day in their burrows.

When threatened, a wombat dives headfirst into a tunnel, blocking the entrance with its rump.

Wombats are nocturnal animals (active during the night). When temperature drops down, wombats will leave their burrows to start a search for food.

Wombats defend home territories around their burrows and can become aggressive to intruders. 

Wombats are herbivores (plant-eating animals). Their diet consists mainly of grass, roots, shrubs, moss and bark.

There are reports of human injuries from wombat attacks, including puncture wounds from their claws, deep bites, and injuries from being bowled over by charging wombats.

Plant diet leads to wearing of the teeth. Because of that, their teeth grow constantly during their whole life.

Wombat poop is square.

Wombats are fast runners. They can run 40 miles per hour, but only for short distances.

Wombats mark their territories by defecating, and it's thought that the shape of their poop keeps it from rolling away.

Mating season depends on the altitude and latitude of the wombat's territory (which is directly associated with a climate). It normally occurs during winter period.

Special bones in their backsides allow them to squeeze and form their feces into cubes.

Pregnancy lasts 20 to 30 days. Poorly developed baby (called joey) crawls to the mother's pouch after birth, to continue its development. It attaches to the teat that provides milk required for further growth.

Patrick the wombat, who makes his home at Ballarat Wildlife Park in southeastern Australia, turned 29 last year, making him the oldest known wombat.

Baby spends first five months in the mother's pouch. After that time, baby will jump out of the pouch but remain close to the mother for additional nursing or protection against danger. At the age of seven months, young wombat is ready to begin a solitary life.

Average lifespan of wombats in the wild is five years, while they can survive up to 30 years in captivity.

Facts About St. Patrick's Day


St. Patrick's Day is popular today for drinking green beer and wearing green clothes. However, St. Patrick's Day, which is celebrated on March 17th each year, has both religious and cultural influences and is named after St. Patrick. the most famous patron Saint of Ireland who lived from 385-461 A.D.. St. Patrick's Day is a celebration that commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and St. Patrick himself; it also aims to celebrate Ireland's culture and heritage. St. Patrick was born in Roman Britain, abducted at the age of 16 and brought to Ireland to serve as a slave, escaped and returned home studying to be a priest. He returned to Ireland and began teaching Irish Christianity.

In the early 17th century, St. Patrick's Day became a Christian holiday and is recognized by the Anglican, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Lutheran churches.

It is also known as the Feast of Saint Patrick and the ‘Day of the Festival of Patrick' (Lá Fhéile Pádraig in Irish).

Saint Patrick used the shamrock, to teach the Irish Pagans about the Holy Trinity.

Saint Patrick's father was a Christian priest.

Saint Patrick taught Christianity for 30 years. He died on March 17th, 461 A.D.

The reason for choosing March 17th as St. Patrick's Day is because that is the day he died.

The color originally associated with St. Patrick's Day was blue. It eventually changed to green. In the 1600s people began to wear shamrocks and green ribbons on St. Patrick's Day.

In Irish legends, immortals and fairies were often dressed in green. People also wore it to encourage the growth of their crops.

In 1798, Irish soldiers wore green uniforms on March 17th to make a political statement.

St. Patrick's Day celebrations often include attending church, parades, festivals, and wearing shamrocks or green clothing.

St. Patrick's Day falls during Lent, but the restriction of drinking alcohol and eating are lifted for the day. This is believed to be the reason why drinking became such a strong St. Patrick's Day tradition.

One legend says that Saint Patrick drove snakes out of Ireland. It is actually symbolic of converting the Pagans to Christianity.

The first St. Patrick's Day parade was held in Boston in 1737, not in Ireland.

Rivers in Chicago have often been dyed green on St. Patrick's Day.

Catholics often attend church in the morning, and then watch a St. Patrick's Day parade.

Some people wear a shamrock on their lapel on St. Patrick's Day. In Ireland the children wear orange, green and white badges; some wear bunches of shamrocks on their jackets and the girls and women often wear green ribbons in their hair.

The Irish flag is orange, white and green.

Some people dye their hair green for St. Patrick's Day.

Wearing green on St. Patrick's Day is supposed to stop you from being pinched.

It's common for bars to serve green beer on St. Patrick's Day.

Approximately 34 million Americans have Irish ancestors. Ireland only has 4.1 million people.

Of those who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine had Irish origins.

19 of the Presidents of the U.S. had Irish heritage, including George Washington.

Facts About Ray Charles


Ray Charles was a blind American musician who pioneered the soul music genre in the 1950s and was born on September 23, 1930 in Albany, Georgia, to Aretha Williams and Bailey Robinson. His mother was a a sharecropper and his father was a labourer. Ray was interested in mechanics as a child, but his musical interest began when he was three years old and heard Wylie Pitman play boogie woogie on a piano. Pitman taught Ray to play, but by the age of 4 he was already losing his sight. Ray was blind from glaucoma when he was 7 years old. Ray attended the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, Florida from 1937 to 1945. There he continued his musical education and learned Braille music as After the death of his mother at the age of 15, he began to dedicate himself to making music professionally.

After moving to Orlando, Charles lived in utter poverty and went without food for days, since that was an extremely difficult time for musicians to find work.

Ray Charles' younger brother George drowned in the laundry tub when he was 4 years old.

Ray Charles Robinson dropped his last name to avoid confusion with the boxer, Sugar Ray Robinson.

While attending school in St. Augustine Florida, Ray learned to use Braille to read and write and compose music. He learned how to play the sax, trumpet, and clarinet while also furthering his talent on the piano and organ.

He was a favourite of former US President Richard Nixon.

Ray was talented at playing the blues, country, and gospel.

His compositions earned him the nicknames 'The Genius' and 'The High Priest of Soul'.

At the age of 15 Ray Charles toured in the South on the 'Chitlin Circuit'.

e was caught backstage with marijuana and drug paraphernalia and was arrested on charges of drug abuse in 1950.

At the age of 16 Ray Charles moved to Seattle where he met Quincy Jones, who became a lifelong friend and collaborator.

He was arrested again on a narcotics charge while he was waiting in his hotel room, just before a performance.

Ray's early major influences included Nat King Cole and Charles Brown.

Ray Charles spent a year in jail. After his release, he released 'Let's Go Get Stoned' to protest his conviction.

In 1949 Ray Charles released 'Confession Blues' which was his first single. It did well on the R&B charts and he followed with 'Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand' and 'Kissa Me Baby'.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 10 on their list of '100 Greatest Artists of All Time' and number two on the list of '100 Greatest Singers of All Time'.

Ray Charles signed a deal with Atlantic Records in 1953 and his first R&B hit with the label was 'Mess Around'.

'Georgia On My Mind', 'I Got A Woman', 'Unchain My Heart' and 'Hit the Road Jack' are some of the greatest hits of Ray Charles.

In 1954 Ray Charles' song "I Got a Woman' reached number 1 and his music style became known as soul.

Ray Charles soon earned the nickname 'The Genius' for his ability to blend multiple styles. He was also known as the 'Father of Soul'.

Ray Charles won a Grammy Award in 1960 for the song 'Georgia on My Mind'. He also won a Grammy for 'Hit the Road Jack'.

Throughout his career into the mid-1960s Ray Charles battled an addiction to heroin, but he managed to kick the habit at a clinic in L.A.

Ray's career continued but his successes were not as many in his later career, however he maintained a high level of respect throughout.

Ray Charles underwent hip replacement surgery in 2003 which was successful. He planned to tour again but began to experience other illnesses and had to cancel.

Ray Charles died on June 10th, 2004, at 73 years of age.

Ray's final album was released two months after he died, titled 'Genius Loves Company'.

Ray Charles had 12 children and was married twice.

Ray Charles was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2015.