Interesting Facts About Insulin

by Linda von Wartburg
The name insulin comes from the Latin insula, for islands. It refers to the pancreatic islets of Langerhans that contain the beta cells.

The Islets of Langerhans

The pancreas contains one to three million islets of Langerhans, but the islets account for only 2 percent of the total mass of the pancreas. The rest of the pancreas secretes a juice containing digestive enzymes that break down food. Within the islets of Langerhans, beta cells constitute 60 to 80 percent of all the cells.

A Once Elusive Hormone

Before Banting and Best, researchers couldn't find insulin because the digestive juices put out by the pancreas digested it all. Banting and Best's trick was to tie a string around the pancreatic duct of a live dog. When the dog was examined several weeks later, the pancreatic digestive cells had died and had been absorbed by the immune system, leaving the thousands of islets. They then isolated an extract from these islets, producing what they called isletin (insulin).

Detecting Insulin's Sequence

Insulin was the first protein ever to have its sequence determined. The exact sequence of amino acids comprising the insulin molecule was found by British molecular biologist Frederick Sanger, who was awarded the 1958 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 1969, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin determined the spatial conformation of insulin, or how it's twisted in space.

What md/dl Stands for

The abbreviation mg/dl stands for milligrams of glucose in 100 milliliters (one deciliter) of blood. A milligram equals .0000353 of an ounce, and 100 milliliters equals something less than half a cup. In a healthy adult male of 165 pounds with a blood volume of about five quarts, a blood glucose level of 100 mg/dl corresponds to about 1/5 ounce of glucose in the blood and approximately 11/2 ounces in the total body water. All the glucose in your blood amounts to about the contents of a restaurant sugar packet.

All Creatures, Great and Small, Need It

Insulin is required for all animal life, and it works just about the same in nematode worms, fish and mammals like us. The initial sources of insulin for clinical use in humans were cow, horse, pig or fish pancreases. They all work because they're nearly identical to human insulin. Cow insulin differs from human by only three amino acids, and pig insulin by only one. Before human recombinant analogues were available, Novo Nordisk was able to convert pig insulin into human insulin by removing the single different amino acid and chemically adding the correct one.

Hard to Swallow

Unlike many medicines, insulin cannot be taken orally. Like nearly all other proteins, it is digested into useless fragments in the gastrointestinal tract.

Where Old Insulin Goes

What happens to your old insulin? Once an insulin molecule has docked onto the receptor and done its work, it may be released back into the extracellular environment or it may be degraded, usually by liver cells.

Zinc's Important Role

Unmodified human insulin tends to join up with zinc in the blood, forming hexamers, which means six monomers; that is, six single molecules of insulin stuck together. Insulin in the form of a hexamer will not bind to its receptors, so the hexamer has to slowly turn back into single monomers before it can work. That's why zinc combinations of insulin are used to make slow release basal insulin. Ultralente insulin (no longer available) was a good example of this use of zinc.

Insulin Analogs

Lilly had the first insulin analog with "lispro," a rapid acting insulin analog with the trade name of Humalog®. It's called lispro because they reversed the positions of lysine and proline in the insulin. This modification did not alter receptor binding, but blocked the formation of insulin dimers (two joined insulin molecules) and hexamers. This allowed larger amounts of active monomeric insulin to be available in the body.

Novo Nordisk created "aspart" and marketed it as NovoLog, a rapid acting insulin analogue. It's called aspart because they switched the normal proline amino acid for an aspartic acid residue. This analogue also prevents the formation of hexamers, to create a faster acting insulin.

Aventis developed glargine (Lantus) as a longer lasting insulin analogue. It was created by adding two arginines and switching another molecule for glycine.

Interesting Butterfly Facts

  • The word butterfly came from the English word Buttorfleoge. Perhaps because, in mediaeval times, butterflies could be seen hovering around butterchurns or that their excrement is yellowish in colour.
  • There are 292 species of butterflies in Canada. Most of which are found in British Columbia (176) and the fewest on Prince Edward Island (42). In Ontario we have 142 species.
  • Some butterflies, such as the Northern Pearly Eye, will fly at night.
  • Butterflies are the second largest group of to bees.
  • Harvester larvae are carnivorous. They feed on aphids not plants.
  • Monarchs have been known to migrate over 3000km. In fact a Monarch tagged at Presqu'ile, here in southern Ontario, was recovered in Mexico and is on record as being the longest insect migration.
  • Butterflies don't have lungs.
  • The larvae of some of the some Blues, Coppers and Hairstreak butterflies produce a sugary excretion that is consumed by ants that in turn protect the larvae from predators.
  • Butterflies taste with their feet.
  • The Monarch's Mexican wintering site was only discovered in 1975.
  • The Mourning Cloak and Compton Tortoiseshell are Canada's longest lived butterfly. They can last up to 11 months.
  • In Canada we have two butterflies that use evergreens: the Pine Elfin and the Juniper Hairstreak.
  • Monarchs can fly a 1000km without stopping.
  • Butterflies make up 20 percent of the order lepidoptera.
  • Caterpillars shed their skin to accommodate growth.....just like snakes have to.
  • The Giant Swallowtail is the largest butterfly found in Canada. It's wingspan can reach up to 5".
  • It takes two years for the Macoun's Arctic to complete one life cycle.
  • The largest threat to butterflies is loss of habitat.
  • Since butterflies are cold blooded it is necessary for them to warm up their flight muscles. This is done by basking in the sun in order to absorb heat.
  • True butterfly antennae are filament like with a bulbous end.
  • Butterflies can attain a flight speed of up to 50 kph.
  • Even though Skippers are considered to be butterflies their appearance would suggest that their might be more closely related to moths than butterflies. Skippers have a thicker hairy body and hooked antennae....unlike true butterflies.
  • Monarchs can attain an altitude of a kilometer or more during migration.
  • The major cause of death to the Cabbage White larvae is rain, which knocks them off their plants where they drown or are severely injured.
  • Northern Pearly Eyes are very territorial. They will attack other male intruders.
  • Butterflies are really cool.
  • Eastern Tailed Blue, Marine Blue, Bog Elfin and the Small Checkered Skipper all share top honours for Canada's smallest butterflies at wing a span of 16mm. Worldwide the smallest are the Pygmy butterflies at 11mm.
  • The Mourning Cloak has been known to play dead in order to escape predators.
  • Mourning Cloaks and Compton Tortoiseshells frequently feed at Sapsucker drillings.
  • Butterflies smell with their antennae.
  • The Painted Lady is the most wide spread butterfly species in the world. Occurring on all continents accept South American and Antarctica.
  • When it rains butterflies find shelter in crevasses, in dense undergrowth and tree cavities.
  • Skipper antennae are filament like with a slight hook on the end.
  • If the scales are removed from a butterfly's wing what is left is a transparent membrane.
  • The Karner Blue butterfly became extirpated in Ontario around 1991.
  • The Spring Azure is one of the shortest lived butterflies lasting only a couple of days.
  • There are only six species of butterflies, in Canada, that are found above the 75th parallel on Ellesmere Island (that's up there); Polaris Fritillary, Dingy Fritillary, Arctic Blue, Hecla Sulphur, Labrador Sulphur, and the American Copper.
  • The male, of some species of butterflies, emits it's pheromones through special scales on their wings.
  • Overwintering species of larvae avoid freezing by producing glycerol.....a kind of antifreeze.
  • Some larvae communicate with ants by producing sounds.
  • Male Monarchs never make the return journey the following spring.
  • Some members of the Skipper family of butterflies can attain flight speeds in excess of 50 kph.
  • Milbert's Tortoiseshells lay eggs in clusters containing upwards of a thousand.
  • Butterflies breath through openings in their abdomen called "spiracles".
  • Butterflies are divided into two main groups called skippers (hesperioidea) and true butterflies (papilionoidea).
  • Chryxus Arctic displays territorial mating behaviour known as "leks". Although well documented among birds, it would appear to be a rare and unusual behaviour with butterflies.

Interesting Facts About Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and their babies.

Angelina gets quite a bit of attention, being in the spotlight is something she's had all of her life. In today's article we are going to explore some of the most interesting facts, and aspects of Angelina, that I could find.

The news today on Brangelina, or for better words, Angelina and Brad, have been buzzing about Angelina's pregnancy. She looked absolutely gorgeous at the Awards Ceremony, showing off her glamorous babybump.. and it got the gossip spreading about she and Brad, like wildfire in all the gossip columns, and net groups.

One report was on about Brad, and how he announced they were having twins, and they were both focused on having their babies on American soil, in Illinois or Los Angeles, as their last birth was in Namibia, and Angelina had a c-section under dangerous conditions.

Another source dispels that, saying Angelina is having another daughter. She is not having twins, and she and Brad bought a house in France. It also says that they have had the children studying French, to prepare them for the big move. Angelina wants her baby born on French soil, to honor her nearly departed mother who is of French-Canadian origin.

I did a little digging, and according do IMDB this is what I discovered.

Angelina Jolie's mother Marcheline Bertrand really is of French-Canadian origin, but she is also of Native American Haudenosaunee Iroquois descent on her mother's side. The Irquois reside in Quebec Canada, and are well known for introducing maple syrup to the Canadians. Angelina's mother was born in Chicago Illinois, USA. And her father Jon Voight, was of Czech and American descent was born in Los Angeles. And Angelina was born in Los Angeles as well.

Whether the rumours are true or not, about where Angelina and Brad are planning to have their baby, will naturally be determined after the baby is born. And the same goes for the twins, or sex of their new child. People are also saying that Angelina and Brad bought a house in Illinois, and have moved there from New York.

Firstly, I'd like to say, that Angelina's been my hero for many years. Her virtues, and ambitious nature certainly has earned her some stars throughout her career. And I'm not talking about the 22 times she's been on the honor role for being voted the Sexiest Woman Alive, or Smartest Woman Alive, or even The Hottest Hottie Alive. She ranked number 35 on this year, but they have all good things to say about her.

I'm talking about heart. Angelina, if I had to vote on Best Friend for a Life-time, she would be the one. From everything I have ever read on her, and all the interviews I have seen her in, she has that special quality of loyalty and she seems utterly devoted to those close to her, and she really cares about people.

Being a Good Will Ambassador with UNHCR, and being the first citizen to win that award, which is what first drew my attention to Angelina Jolie. For someone who can easily make 20 million for starring in a movie, she certainly doesn't hold herself up on a pedestal and blindly forget the less fortunate in the world. Her good deeds certainly don't go unnoticed, and her Big Heart, compels her to continue on in her charity works. She doesn't simply feel empathy for a few short moments and the moments pass, she is passionate about what she believes in, and goes out there and does something about it.

Recently she had put a plea for the refugee's in Iraq that need help. And she no doubt won't just make a plea, she'll do something about it.

Did you know that Angelina donates 1/3 of her earnings to Charity? That's the words right out of her own mouth. She saves 1/3, lives off 1/3, and donates 1/3 to charity.

She donated many items to Rocky Stone to be given to less fortunate kids as part of the Toy Mountain Campaign.

She and Brad Pitt welcomed daughter Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt on May 27, 2006 in Namibia, Africa. The government in Namibia is offering citizenship to her new daughter.

In August, 2005 was made an official citizen of Cambodia by the King for her ongoing efforts to help the environment there.

In role as goodwill ambassador, visited Tham Hin refugee camp in Thailand, May 2002, to check on conditions of 9,000 refugees from bordering Myanmar.

As everyone knows she's famous for adopting children. Angelina, and Brad Pitt are parents of four children, with Angie pregnant with possible twins.

Their kids names are, Zahara, Maddox, Pax, and Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, who is their first biological born.

In 2005 she adopted a Ethiopian girl named Zara, Zara was to be an orphan due to AIDS, but the child's mother couldn't afford to care for her and put her up for adoption. Angie named the girl Zahara Marley Jolie.

Angie and Billy Bob Thornton, adopted a refugee boy from Cambodian named Maddox Chivan Thornton Jolie, he was born on August 5th, 2001 in Cambodia. His original name was Rath Viboland since their split, Angelina took custody.

They say when Angelina was working on Lara Croft, and was filming in Cambodia was quite taken with the beauty of the country, and was setback by the shock of the poverty. It was what inspired her to adopt a child from Cambodia, and also what inspired her to donate 1/3 of her future earnings to charity.

Angie and Brad adopted a three-year-old Vietnamese boy named Pax Thien Jolie born November 29, 2003, who was initially named Pham Quang Sang. Because the Tam Binh orphanage does not allow unmarried couples to adopt, Jolie adopted Pax as a single parent, with Pitt later adopting his son domestically. Pax was abandoned outside a Ho Chi Minh City hospital shortly after his birth.

Angelina gave birth to Brad Pitt's daughter Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt on May 27, 2006 in Namibia, Africa, where she had complications, and an emergency c-section under dangerous conditions. They named their baby, Shiloh, and that name is copywritten so don't copy Angie's name, she won't be impressed. Now they are on their second biological child, or twins as rumor has it.

Brad adopted Angelina's children, and they all have the surname of Jolie-Pitt.

Cool Stuff About Angelina Jolie.

Number one: She has said time and time again, she and Brad were not a couple, or having an affair when they filmed the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 2004. The movie premiered in 2005. Brad was married to Jennifer Aniston at the time, and their divorce was finalized in 2005. Angelina has been quoted to say, that her mother had been hurt by adultery, Ange would never touch another woman's husband. Brad's break-up with Jennifer Aniston created quite a controversy, and both have moved on with their lives, and are both happy. And all three of them were scheduled to host together last month, and all went fine. It took people a long time to accept Brad and Angelina's union, but as their family grows, so does their bond, and the public rooting for and loving Brangelina.

Now with that unpleasantness out of the way, let's take a look at the wicked cool facts about Angelina.

She was born on June 04th, 1975 in Los Angeles.

She started modelling at age 14, and was a Model in London, New York, and LA.

Majored in film, at the New York University.

Actress Jacqueline Bisset and Maximilian Schell are her godparents.

She collects knives and has an interest in mortuary science.

Growing up she wanted to be a mortician, and has been quoted to say

‘If I think more about death than some other people, it is probably because I love life more than they do.'

She is a natural blond. Her blond grew in darker as she got older, and she had her hair-dyed brunette at a young age.

Jolie means pretty in French.

In the year 2000 Angelina married actor Billy Bob Thornton, reportedly they each wore a vial of the other's blood around their necks. Angie wore black leather pants, and a white t-shirt where she wrote his name on the back, with her own blood.

She was married to Billy Bob Thornton when she filmed Lara Croft, in the film Tomb Raider.

Angelina was one of the first actresses to win 3 consecutive Golden Globes in 3 different categories.

Best Supporting Actress in a Mini Series. George Wallace 1997 for TV.

Best Actress in a TV Movie or Mini Series of Gia in 1998 for TV,

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for ‘Girl', Interrupted in 1999. Coincidentally, all her roles were based on real people nomination, and she additionally earned a SAG Award.

Coolest Quotes.

2002. I'm drawn to kids that are already born. I think some people are meant to do certain things, and I believe I'm meant to find my children in the world somewhere and not necessarily have them genetically.

Love one person, take care of them until you die. You know, raise kids. Have a good life. Be a good friend. And try to be completely who you are. And figure out what you personally love. And like go after it with everything you've got no matter how much it takes.

Her tattoos are interesting don't you think? They all hold significance to her personally, and here's what I found out, that some of them mean.

She's had about 19 tattoos, some of which she has covered up.

1. H Tattoo
An H, tattooed on the inside of her left wrist, signifying the H, in her brother's last name. Actor James Haven, the two are very close.

2. Buddhist Sanskirt Symbol.
The Japanese sign for death, now covered up by a prayer symbol for her son which are Buddhist Sanskirt symbols.

3, & 4. American Indian Symbol.
Two pointy black, American Indian symbols on her lower back.

5. Dragon.
A dragon on her left hip, now covered up by a Latin Cross. She woke up after a hot night out in Amsterdam, and woke up with a funny looking dragon, which she later covered up.

6. Large Black Cross.
A large black cross on her lower stomach, and hip. (Cover-up cross)

7. Latin Phrase.
The Latin phrase "Quod me nutrit me destruit" ("What nourishes me also destroys me") tattooed across her stomach with the black cross.

8. Window.
She had a window on her lower back, which she covered up, as she said when she got it she felt like she was on the inside looking out, and now she lives on the outside.

9. Quote.
Has a tattoo of the Tennessee Williams quote, "A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages." on her left forearm. To cover up her tattoo she shared with her ex Johnny Lee Miller, which was the Japanese symbol for courage.

10-13. The Coordinates for her Chidren's Birth Places.
Has tattoos of the coordinates representing the locations where she adopted Maddox and Zahara, and where she gave birth to Shiloh on her left arm, which cover up the Billy Bob Thornton's name on June 2006. The Coordinates are:
Maddox: N11° 33' 00, E104° 51' 00
Zahara N09° 02' 00; E038° 45' 00
Pax N10° 46' 00 E106° 41' 40
Shilo S22° 40' 26 E014° 31' 40.

14. XIII the Roman Number 13 is on her left arm.
15. She has the Arabian symbol for ‘Strength of Courage' on her right forearm.
16. Know Your Rights. Beneath her neck, between her shoulders on her back.
17. A large Asian Tiger on her lower back.
18. A Dragon Under the Tiger
19. An M on the palm of her hand, symbolizing her deceased mother, Marcheline Bertrand.

That's all I could find out, she's probably had more since, and she's always changing them as her desires and hopes and her life changes and grows.

Angelina has been featured, Rated Number one as Sexiest Woman Alive, Hottest Hottie, Smartest Woman, or made the top ten list 20 times since the year 2002.

1) She ranked #2 in 2000 on Mr. Blackwell's Worst Dressed List.
2) Named the world's sexiest woman in Swedish magazine Cafe'.
3) Ranked #6 in Stuff magazine's "102 Sexiest Women in the World in 2002.
4) Voted the 3rd Sexiest Female Movie Star in the Australian Empire Magazine September 2002.
5) Was named "The sexiest woman alive" by the Swedish evening newspaper "Aftonbladet in 2003.
6) She was voted the ninth sexiest woman in FHM UK's top 100 sexiest in 2004.
7) Named Esquire Magazine's Sexiest Woman Alive in 2004.
8) Voted #1 star most men would like to kiss under the mistletoe in a poll for Sky Movies.
9) Voted Hollywood's Sexiest Single Mother, in a poll for website
10) She was voted #2 on VH1's "100 Hottest Hotties."
11) Named Most Beautiful Woman in People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People 2005 issue. More than 500,000 readers were polled.
12) Named #1 in FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2005" special supplement in 2005.
13) Ranked #1 in E! Television's 2006 101 Sexiest Celebrity Bodies
14) She is the woman most American males would like to date on New Year's Eve, according to a survey by movie rental chain Blockbuster Inc.
15) Was the cover girl for the much anticipated issue of Forbes Magazine, in which appeared the infamous Celebrity 100 list June 2006.
16) Named #4 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2006 list.
17) Voted #1 star most men would like to kiss under the mistletoe in a poll for Sky Movies.
18) 2007 - Ranked #33 on EW's The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood.
19) In 2007, Forbes Magazine estimated her earnings for the year at $20 million.
20) #34 2008 Sexiest Woman Alive.

Now that's only scratching the surface of the Internationally Recognized and loved Angelina Jolie. We didn't even cover her great movies, but then again, her movies are only a small piece of the greatness of Angelina Jolie, it's what she does besides acting that makes her so great.

Congrats on your babybump once again to Angelina and Brad. Hoping you are having twins, and a happy life.


Interesting Facts About Dogs - 2

1. It is a myth that dogs are color blind. They can actually see in color, just not as vividly as humans. It is akin to our vision at dusk.

2. Dogs DO have better low-light vision than humans because of a special light-reflecting layer behind their retinas.

3. A German Shepherd guide dog led her blind companion the entire 2100-mile Appalachian Trail.

4. If never spayed or neutered, a female dog, her mate, and their puppies could produce over 66,000 dogs in 6 years!

5. Dogs' only sweat glands are between their paw pads.

6. Like human babies, Chihuahuas are born with a soft spot in their skull, which closes with age.

7. The breed Lundehune has 6 toes and can close its ears.

8.Teddy Roosevelt's dog, Pete, ripped a French ambassador's pants off at the White House.

9. President Lyndon Johnson had two beagles named Him and Her.

10. Franklin Roosevelt spent $15,000 for a destroyer to pick up his Scottie in the Aleutian Islands.

11. In Roman times, Mastiffs donned light armor and were sent after mounted knights.

12. The Russians trained dogs during WWII to run suicide missions with mines strapped to their backs.

13. A dog's mouth exerts 150-200 pounds of pressure per square inch

with some dogs exerting up to 450 pounds per square inch.

14. A one-year-old dog is as mature, physically, as a 15-year-old human.

15. The U.S. has the highest dog population in the world.

16. France has the 2nd highest.

17. The average city dog lives 3 years longer than a country dog.

18. 87% of dog owners say their dog curls up beside them or at their feet while they watch T.V.

19. Dogs can be trained to detect epileptic seizures.

20. 15 people die in the U.S. every year from dog bites.

21.In 2002 alone, more people in the U.S. were killed by dogs than by sharks in the past 100 years.

22. Gidget is the name of the Taco Bell dog.

23. Newfoundlands are great swimmers because of their webbed feet.

24. Basset Hounds cannot swim.

25. Greyhounds are the fastest dogs on earth, with speeds of up to 45 miles per hour.

26. Bingo is the name of the dog on the side of the Cracker Jack box.

27. The bible mentions dogs 14 times.

28. Three dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic - a Newfoundland, a Pomeranian, and a Pekingese.

29. The Labrador Retriever is the #1 favorite breed in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

30. Obesity is the #1 health problem among dogs.

31. An estimated 1,000,000 dogs in the U.S. have been named as the primary beneficiaries in their owner's will.

32. An American Animal Hospital Assoc. poll found that 33% of dog owners admit to talking to their dogs on the phone and leaving answering machine messages for them while away.

33. Dog's nose prints are as unique as a human's fingerprints and can be used to accurately identify them.

34. At the end of the Beatles' song "A Day in the Life", a high-pitched dog whistle was recorded by Paul McCartney for his sheepdog.

35. 70% of people sign their pet's name on greeting and holiday cards.

36. 58% put pets in family and holiday portraits.

37. There are only 350 Cisky Terriers in the world - perhaps the rarest breed.

38. The phrase "raining cats and dogs" originated in 17th century England when it is believed that many cats and dogs drowned during heavy periods of rain.

39. Dogs have no sense of "time".

40. Humans have kept dogs as pets for over 12,000 years.

41. The largest breed of dog is the Irish Wolfhound.

42. The world's smallest dog breed is the Chihuahua.

43. The St. Bernard is the heaviest.

44. Only dogs and humans have prostates.

45. But dogs do not have an appendix.

46. Every dog on earth likely descended from a species knows as the Tomarctus - a creature that roamed the earth over 15 million years ago.

47. The oldest known breed is likely the Saluki - originally trained by Egyptians to help them track game.

48. In 1957, Laika became the first living being in space via an earth satellite, while JFK's terrier, Charlie, father 4 puppies with Laika's daughter.

50. An African wolf dog known as the basenji is the only dog in the world that cannot bark.

51. There are 703 breeds of purebred dogs.

52. Dachshunds were originally bred for fighting badgers.

53. The world's smartest dogs are thought to be (1) the border collie, (2) the poodle, and (3) the golden retriever, while the dumbest dog is believed to be the Afghan hound.

54. A dog's smell is more than 100,000 times stronger than that of a human's, which they need because their eyesight is not as keen as a human's.

55. Dogs judge objects first by their movement, then by their brightness, and lastly by their shape.

56. Chocolate contains a substance known as theobromine (similar to caffeine), which can kill dogs or at the very least make them violently ill.

57. George Washington had thirty-six dogs - all foxhounds - with one-named Sweet lips.

58. All dogs are identical in anatomy - 321 bones and 42 permanent teeth.

59. Smaller breeds mature faster than larger breeds.

60. Female dogs are only ready to mate - "in heat" - twice a year for a total of roughly 20 days.

61. Puppies sleep ninety percent of the day for their first few weeks.

62. Rin Tin Tin was the first Hollywood Dog Star and he really signed his movie contracts - all 22 of them - with a paw print.

63. The Wizard of Oz's Toto was played by a female Cairn Terrier named Terry.

64. Up until the late 1800's, Collies were known as Scottish Sheepdogs.

65. Dogs have two times as many muscles to move their ears as people.

66. The longer a dog's nose, the more effective it's internal cooling system.

67. An elderly woman was saved by her 12-pound Yorkshire Terrier who fought off an 80-pound Akita and survived with only 9 stitches.

68. U.S. Customs dogs "Rocky" and "Barco" were so good at patrolling the border that Mexican drug lords put a $300,000 bounty on their heads.

69. Dogs are all direct descendants of wolves.

70. Wolves and dogs can mate to produce fertal offspring.

71. Female wolves have been known to travel great distances to regurgitate full meals for their hungry pups.

72. Cerberus was the tri-headed dog that guarded the underworld in Greek mythology.

73. Female dogs bear their young for 60 days before they're born.

74. Dogs' sense of hearing is more than ten times more acute than a human's.

75. Humans can detect sounds at 20,000 times per second, while dogs can sense frequencies of 30,000 times per second.

76. The earliest dog-fossil dates back to nearly 10,000 B.C.

77. Bloodhounds are prized their ability to single out and identify a number of scents simultaneously.

78. Dalmatian puppies are born completely white.

79. The Ancient Chinese carried Pekingese puppies in the sleeves of their robes.

80. Boxers are so named because of their manner of playing with their front paws.

81. All breeds of dog have been found to attack livestock - from 3-month-old puppies, all the way up to thirteen-year-old poodles.

82. A dog's heart beats up to 120 times per minute, or 50% faster than the average human heartbeat of 80 times per minute.

83. The oldest dog on record - a Queensland "Heeler" named Bluey - was 29 years, 5 months old.

84. Davy Crockett had a dog named Sport.

85. Dogs were first domesticated by cavemen.

86. Dogs live 15 years on average.

87. Many foot disorders inn dogs are simply an issue of long toenails.

88. More than 5,000,000 puppies are born in the U.S. every year.

89. More than 1 in 3 American families own a dog.

90. Average body temperature for a dog is 101.2 degrees.

91. The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts both offer merit badges in dog care.

92. Dogs are natural pack animals.

93. They are naturally submissive to any creature with higher pack status - human or canine.

94. Dogs instinctively require the pack leader's approval.

95. Dogs with little human contact in the first three months typically don't make good pets.

96. The Chihuahua was named after the state in Mexico where they were discovered.

97. After birth, puppies' eyes do not fully open until they're about 12 days old.

98. Their vision is not fully developed until after the 1st month.

Michael Torchia Animal Health and Wellness Expert

Interesting Facts about California

Strange, Fun & Interesting Facts about California with photography through the eyes of Pashnit.

California Geography

  • California's Mount Whitney measures as the highest peak in the lower 48 states.
  • The highest and lowest points in the continental United States are within 100 miles (160 km) of one another. Mount Whitney measures 14,495 feet (4,418 m) and Bad Water in Death Valley is 282 feet (86 m) below sea level.
  • Alpine County, south of Lake Tahoe, is the eighth smallest of California's 58 counties. It has no high schools, ATMs, dentists, banks, or traffic lights. It is also the only county in the state that doesn't generate agricultural production.
  • Totaling nearly three million acres, San Bernardino County is the largest county in the entire United States.
  • San Francisco Bay is considered the world's largest landlocked harbor.
  • California is bigger than eighty-five of the smallest nations in the world.
  • California Caverns claims the distinction of being the most extensive system of caves and passageways in the California Foothills region of the state.
  • The area around Geyserville, just north of San Francisco, is the largest geothermal area in the world.
  • Mount Shasta, at 14,162 feet, (4248 m) is the tallest volcano in California and the second highest in America.
  • Portions of Mount Lassen in Northern California still resemble an active volcano with boiling mud pots, hot springs, and steam rising from the side of the mountain. Mount Lassen last erupted less than 100 years ago with a seven mile high plume of ash.

California Forests & Environment

  • California holds within it the most diverse environment on the planet.
  • In the midst of summer, Point Reyes is the coolest place in the Continental United States.
  • Death Valley is known as the hottest, driest place in the United States where temperatures consistently reach over 120 F (49 C) during summer months.
  • In 1925 a giant sequoia located in California's Kings Canyon National Park was named the nation's national Christmas tree. The tree is over 300 feet (91 m) in height.
  • Inyo National Forest is home to the bristle cone pine, the oldest living tree species. Some of the gnarled trees which only grow at very high elevations are thought to be over 4,600 years old.
  • “General Sherman,” in Sequoia National Park is a 3,500-year-old sequoia tree. Its trunk is 102 feet (32 m) in circumference.
  • The California redwood is a prehistoric tree. All trees are descended from the redwood. The coastal climate along the Pacific Ocean protected them from the great ice sheets that covered much of North America during previous ice ages.
  • The redwood is the official state tree of California. Many of the giant redwoods in Sequoia National Park are more than 2,000 years old.
  • The redwood is the world's tallest tree, growing up to 370 feet (113 m) tall.
  • Although the Redwoods can reach heights of nearly 40 stories tall, their root systems are only 10 feet deep. Instead of growing down, the shallow roots of the Redwood tree grow out, and spread sideways up to 250 feet (75 m) from the trunk.
  • Sixty percent of the world's tallest trees can be viewed along the 31 mile Avenue of the Giants.
  • The bark of the Redwood is deeply-furrowed, fibrous, up to about 1 foot (30.5 cm) thick and lacks resin.
  • Much of California's land has been cleared for housing and agriculture. But because of reforestation practices, California forests are nearly as large as 100 years ago.
  • California has nearly 37 million acres of forests in private and public ownerships, more than 1/3 of the state's entire land base.
  • California foresters plant an average of 7 new trees for every one harvested. For the last 25 years, tree growth has exceeded harvest in California forests.

California Agriculture

  • The Central Valley, a flat plain 75 miles (120 km) wide and 430 miles (688 km) long has become the richest farming region in the history of the world.
  • California is the number one dairy state having surpassed Wisconsin in 1993.
  • There are more than 300,000 tons of grapes grown in California annually which in turn produces 17 million gallons of wine each year.
  • The world's largest almond processing plant, doing twelve million pounds per day in high season, is the Blue Diamond in Sacramento.
  • In 1997 enough strawberries were grown in California to circle the earth 15 times.
  • California is the largest producer of goods of all the states and the largest agricultural state in America.
  • Cash receipts from the marketing of California beef reached nearly $1.3 billion in 2002. That made cattle and calves the state's No. 4 crop or commodity in terms of value, behind only milk, grapes and nursery products.
  • California 's 22,000 beef producers care for more than 5 million head of cattle and about 37 million acres of rangeland. Many California cattle ranches have been owned by the same family for four or five generations and most ranches are family-owned and operated.

California Animals

  • In Pacific Grove near Monterey, there is a law on the books establishing a $500 fine for molesting butterflies.
  • More turkeys are raised in California than in any other state in America.
  • The California Condor found in the Santa Lucia Mountains in Central Coastal California is North America's largest land bird with a wing span of 10 feet.
  • An animal called the riparian brush rabbit calls Caswell Memorial State Park (near Manteca ) its home. Endemic only to the state's park system, the critter lives in approximately 255 acres stretching along the area's once-vast hardwood forest.
  • Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge in Northern California contains the largest winter population of bald eagles in the continental United States.

California Cities

  • Pacific Park, on the Santa Monica Pier, re-creates the amusement parks once dotting the ocean areas along the Pacific Coast . Featured are 11 amusement rides including the 1910-vintage hand-carved merry-go-round appearing in the movie "The Sting."
  • In Sacramento , the California State Railroad Museum is the largest museum of its kind in North America .
  • The city of Los Angeles is ranked the fourth largest economy in the United States compared to other states.
  • Los Angeles lays claim to the world's largest outdoor amphitheater, the Hollywood Bowl.
  • Los Angeles has a Museum of Neon Art and a Sci-fi Monster Museum.
  • California holds two of the top ten most populous cities: Los Angeles and San Diego.
  • Bidwell Park in the small town of Chico is the largest municipal park, 3,600 acres,west of the Mississippi.
  • Fresno, in Central California, proclaims itself the Raisin Capital of the World.
  • Castroville is known as the Artichoke Capital of the World.
  • Fallbrook is known as the Avocado Capital of the World and hosts an annual Avocado Festival. More avocados are grown in the region than any other county in the nation.
  • Monterey is ranked the world's number one golf destination by Golf Digest.
  • The Coachella Valley is nicknamed The Date Capital of the World and The Playground of Presidents.
  • Berkeley was the first city in America to mail education pamphlets on AIDS to every household in the city.
  • Marin County, north of San Francisco, is said to have the world's highest concentration of hot tubs and BMW's.
  • More sourdough bread is produced in Oakland than any other city in the world.
  • Mavericks, an area of beach in San Mateo County , is considered one of the three best surfing locations in the world. Winter storms create swells and waves up to 30 feet.
  • San Francisco is home to the Pez Memorabilia Museum and the American Antique Slot Machine Museum.
  • Hollister was also the site of an invasion (1947) by hordes of motorcyclists, which in turn inspired the film The Wild One in (1953), featuring Marlon Brando.
  • In Atwater the Castle Air Museum has the largest display of military aircraft in the state.
  • Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City is California's oldest lighthouse dating to 1856 and is still in operation today.
  • The world's tallest flagpole is found in the small town of Dorris in Northern California.
  • The world's largest collection of Bigfoot artifacts is found in Willow Creek along Highway 299, also known as the Bigfoot Scenic Highway.
  • The entire town of Ferndale has been declared a State Historic Landmark for its original Victorian homes.
  • McKinleyville lays claim to the tallest totem pole in the United States at 160 feet.

California Events

  • The largest three-day rodeo in the United States is held on the Tehama County Fairgrounds in Red Bluff.
  • One out of every eight music festivals in the United States is held in California.
  • The Monterey Jazz Festival in September is the oldest of its kind in the world.

California by the Numbers

  • California is the first state to ever reach a trillion dollar economy in gross state product.
  • California has the largest economy in the United States.
  • If California 's economic size were measured by itself to other countries, it would rank the 7th largest economy in the world.
  • Oroville Dam on the Feather River is the highest landfill embankment in the world.
  • Shasta Lake in Northern California is called the "Houseboat Capital of the World" with more than 400 commercial vehicles for rent.
  • It is estimated there are approximately 500,000 detectable seismic tremors in California annually.
  • Aviation in California contributes nearly 9% of both the total state employment (1.7 million jobs) and total state output ($110.7 billion). California has 71,000 active pilots, and 42,360 airline mechanics. Over 87 million people board a plane in California every year.

California History

  • The Gold Rush sparked the biggest mass migration in the history of the world.
  • Between 1848 and 1852, four short years, California's population grew from 14,000 to 223,000.
  • The state motto is Eureka !, a Greek word translated "I have found it!" The motto was adopted in 1849 and originates from the discovery of gold in the Sierra Nevada .
  • The Iron Door Saloon in Groveland claims to be the oldest drinking establishment in the state. It was constructed in 1852.
  • The fastest Pony Express delivery on record, six days from Missouri to Sacramento, delivered the news of Abraham Lincoln's assassination.
  • Knights Ferry Covered Bridge is the longest covered bridge west of the MIssissippi and was built in 1863.
  • In the late 1850s, Kennedy Mine, located in Jackson , served as one of the richest gold mines in the world and the deepest mine in North America.
  • Empire Mine, near Grass Valley, is a gold mine operated for over 100 years and has over 367 miles of tunnels extending 2 miles (3.2 km) down. It is said to still contain millions in dollars of gold and is now a historical park.
  • Near Murphys, five million dollars in gold was removed from a four acre placer area during a single winter during the height of the Gold Rush.
  • In 1854 the largest gold nugget ever found was in California at Carson Hill above the Stanislaus River. It weighed 195 pounds (90 kg) and was valued at $43,534 in the currency of the day.
  • In 1973, a 25 pound gold nugget was found by an amateur gold seeker in the Yuba River near Downyville along Highway 49.
  • Two Billion Dollars in gold was removed from 12 counties in California between 1848-1965.
  • More than 80% of the gold in the Mother Lode is still yet to be found.
  • The longest single span covered bridge in America was built in 1862 near Bridgeport and is still there today.
  • During the 1930's newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst had an income of $50,000 per day.
  • Hearst Castle along the Pacific Coast has 165 rooms, 38 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 14 sitting rooms, a kitchen, a movie theater, 2 libraries, a billiard room, a dining hall, an assembly hall, 41 fireplaces, and 127 acres of gardens.
  • The 1,000,000 tiles that cover the pool room at Hearst Castle are all inlayed in real gold making it the most expensive pool room ever built.
  • The plans for the Golden Gate Bridge in the 1930's were modified to allow the bridge to be built right over the top of the Civil War era Fort Point.
  • Demonstrations on making toothpaste from orange by-products were popular attractions at the Los Angeles County fair in 1922. The fair is held in Pomona.

California People & Culture

  • California is known variously as The Land of Milk and Honey, The El Dorado State, The Golden State, and The Grape State.
  • Prior to the Gold Rush, California had more Native Americans than all the other states combined.
  • Author Jack London , who wrote The Call of the Wild, once ran for mayor of Oakland on the Socialist ticket.
  • The first motion picture theater in the United States opened in Los Angeles on April 2, 1902.
  • Scotsman David Jacks spent considerable time marketing a popular local cheese, which in turn became known as Monterey Jack Cheese.
  • In 1947 a young woman named Norma Jean was crowned Castroville's first Artichoke Queen. She went on to become actress Marilyn Monroe.
  • The first person to personally receive a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood was actress Joanne Woodward. She received it in 1960.
  • During his engagement at the Fillmore West in San Francisco , Otis Redding stayed on a houseboat in Sausalito. While there he wrote his last song and greatest hit: "The Dock of the Bay."
  • Simi Valley is the home of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.
  • California has the largest population of Native Americans, more than any other state.
  • California has one of the largest Chinese communities outside Asia in the entire world ( San Francisco ).
  • The Los Angeles area has more people of Mexican ancestry than any other urban area in the world, outside of Mexico.
  • California has the largest Armenian population outside Armenia ( Glendale ).

More odd facts about California

  • The Country Store in Baker, CA has sold more winning California State Lottery tickets than any outlet in the state.
  • Reputed to be the most corrupt politician in Fresno County history, Vice-leader Joseph Spinney was mayor for only ten minutes.
  • One out of every eight United States residents lives in California.
  • The largest oil can collection in the world, of 10,000 cans, is found in Santa Rosa, CA.
  • Seventeen-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach is the only private toll road west of the Mississippi River.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco has enough steel wires in its cables to circle the earth at the equator 3.5 times.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge is so big that workers paint the bridge year round. By the time they are finished with one end it is time to begin repainting the other end.
  • The birth of the Internet was sparked from the campus of UCLA in 1969 when professor Leonard Kleinrock needed a way to communicate between campuses.
  • Cool Californian inventions: Barbie Dolls, blue jeans, the boysenberry, the pill, white zinfandel wine, the square tomato, natural soda, the computer "mouse," the wetsuit, and theme parks.
  • The Petrified Forest near Calistoga has a 3000 year old Redwood tree, that was petrified 3.4 million years ago.


5 Things You Didn't Know: The Cold War

The term “cold war” goes back to a 14th-century medieval writer named Don Juan Manuel, who referred to the uneasy peace between Muslims and Christians in Spain. But it was George Orwell, in a piece titled “You and the Atomic Bomb,” who applied the term as we know it best to the protracted economic, geopolitical and ideological battle between the United States, the Soviet Union and their shifting allies.

The precise dates of the Cold War are the subject of debate, though most agree that it began at some point in the summer of 1945 and continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. Whatever the case, it dominated global politics and culture for the entire second half of the 20th century, and its effects are ongoing.

To bring you up to speed, we present five things you didn’t know about the only war that categorically could have ended all wars through total and complete annihilation -- the Cold War.

1- It cost the U.S. about $8 trillion
Eminent foreign relations historian Walter LaFeber has put the U.S. military expenditures bill for the Cold War at around $8 trillion. This is a reasonable figure when you take into consideration wars in Korea and Vietnam; intervention in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Chile, Grenada, and elsewhere; psychological warfare through covert CIA operations such as the Congress for Cultural Freedom and Radio Free Europe; and, of course, the research, development, testing, and construction of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons (at a high point in the late 1960s, both the U.S. and the USSR were each spending $50 million a day on those weapons).

By way of comparison, the U.S. is currently spending roughly $8 billion per month on the war in Iraq. Money spent on the Cold War could fund that operation for another 80 years.

2- It was predicted by Adolf Hitler
Historian John Lewis Gaddis’ We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History begins with Alexis de Tocqueville’s famous 1835 Cold War prediction, and follows it with German Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s lesser-known 1945 one, quoted from Francois Genoud’s 1961 work, The Testament of Adolf Hitler: The Hitler-Bormann Documents:

“… there will remain in the world only two Great Powers capable of confronting each other -- the United States and Soviet Russia. The laws of both history and geography will compel these two Powers to a trial of strength, either military or in the fields of economics and ideology. These same laws make it inevitable that both Powers should become enemies of Europe. And it is equally certain that both these Powers will sooner or later find it desirable to seek the support of the sole surviving great nation in Europe, the German people.”

With Hitler, it always comes back to Germany, but considering the intense Cold War battleground that Berlin became, he was more right than wrong on this one.

3- Its first casualty was a Christian missionary
In 1942, John Morrison Birch was working in occupied China as a Christian missionary when, by accident, he came to the rescue of Colonel Jimmy Doolittle and his Tokyo Raiders, who had to bail out during the Doolittle Raid, the first U.S. aerial raid on Japanese soil. The men had been hiding from Japanese troops and Birch led them to safety. Doolittle hooked Birch up with his CO, who noted that Birch’s experience and contacts in China, along with his command of Mandarin, would make him an outstanding intelligence resource. From then until the end of the war in the Pacific, Birch served with distinction in the U.S. 14th Air Force.

Just 10 days after Japan officially surrendered on August 15, 1945, Birch was sent by the OSS (forerunner to the CIA) on a mission within China. There, he and the men he led ran into a group of Chinese communists who took them prisoner and ultimately executed Birch. As a result, many regard him as the Cold War’s first causality.

4- It ended in part because of Apple
The hobbyist culture and the economic flexibility in the U.S., both largely absent in the Soviet Union and Soviet-bloc countries, encouraged guys like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to take on industry giants like IBM. As a result, the information age erupted, spreading information that wasn’t spun by news outlets or crafted by governments into propaganda, but expressed by everyday citizens.

The most remarkable testament to this comes from Professor Karen Dawisha, director of Miami University’s Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. Dawisha quotes a Czech microcomputer maker in the mid-1980s moaning about the impact of PCs: “With these computers comes not only technology, but also ideology… Children might soon begin to believe that Western technology represents the peak and our technology is obsolete and bad… [I]n 10 years’ time it will be too late to change our children. By then they will want to change us.”

5- At one point, the U.S. had more communists on its side than the USSR
In 1969, the CIA concluded that there was no possibility of an alliance with the People’s Republic of China. At the same time, Soviet troops were exchanging gunfire with Chinese troops along their shared border, leading China to wonder how far the Soviets would take the aggression, and further, what they could do to prevent it. The solution was to open discussions with their most imminent new enemy’s biggest enemy: the U.S.

Meanwhile, the U.S. wanted China in their corner regarding their increasing troop commitment in Vietnam. President Nixon’s 1972 trips to China proved a diplomatic coup for both countries, and following them both, Henry Kissinger penned a memo to Nixon calling China “a tacit ally,” swinging 870 million communists to the U.S. side. This shaky alliance is considered a pivotal moment in bringing the Cold War to an eventual end.

Why is it Searched?
Although the 2007 release of the Tom Hanks film Charlie Wilson’s War has spurred some renewed general interest in the Cold War, the topic itself is fascinating -- and terrifying. It is almost incomprehensible to imagine that world diplomacy and foreign affairs were directly guided by a concept as staggering as Mutually Assured Destruction.

Length on the public's interest?
In December 1989, George Bush Sr. and Mikhail Gorbachev declared an official end to the Cold War, but it’s hard to believe either man actually believed this. Fallout can still be seen on many fronts, thanks in part to more than a few examples of strange bedfellows, particularly in the case of the U.S.: the backing of future Chilean monster Augusto Pinochet; the CIA-backed coup that brought the Shah to power in Iran and led to 1979’s Islamic Revolution; and contributions from the U.S., Egypt, the UK, and Saudi Arabia in support of Mujahideen rebels during the Soviet war in Afghanistan which, when ended by the Geneva accords, left the country in ruins and paved the way for groups like the Taliban.

Finally, before a conflict as massive and globally important as the Cold War can be evaluated with any accurate historical perspective, a certain amount of time must pass, key people need to die or start talking, and a number of classified documents need to be declassified. This information, dispatched by books and movies, should sustain a moderate level of public interest for some time to come.


5 Things You Didn't Know: Wal-Mart

The first Wal-Mart opened in Arkansas in 1962, and the company flourished, thanks to the retail imagination and cutthroat practices of founder Sam Walton. Over four decades later, Wal-Mart is a global behemoth, regularly seeing annual sales in excess of $300 billion, and employing more people -- 1.9 million, according to business research company Hoover’s Inc. -- than any other private employer in the world. If Wal-Mart were its own country, its population would exceed 75 other countries as the 146th most populated nation on Earth. The company has not announced any plans to nationalize, but few concepts -- whether revolutionary or appalling -- seem beyond their consideration.

Wal-Mart exports its borderline free market practices to over a dozen countries led by the Rollback Man -- a mascot who “rolls back prices” and who, in every which way, demonstrates a spectacular lack of imagination. If you don’t know what he looks like, simply imagine a 1970s smiley face on the period at the end of this sentence, then remove any residual indication of personality. Leave it to Wal-Mart not only to employ this two-pencil-strokes-shy-of-a-speck mascot, but also to try to trademark it in 2006, claiming they had a lot invested in the smiley face.

Nonetheless, Forbes’ annual rundown of the world’s wealthiest people must feel like a Walton family reunion: The most recent list alone features five Waltons among the top 30 billionaires.

Despite all of its financial successes, the company can’t open a store without enduring -- and overcoming -- a flood of protest groups. These groups might defend the environment or local store owners, or they might defend the store’s future employees, since Wal-Mart’s reputation for unfair labor practices involves sexual discrimination, denying unionization and offering wages so terrible that some employees have to rely on social services to get by.

Love it or hate it, here are five things you didn’t know about Wal-Mart; your friendly neighborhood retail monstrosity.

1- Every week, over one-third of the U.S. population visits a Wal-Mart
In a country of over 300 million, that comes to an astonishing 100 million Wal-Mart customers per week (127 million if you believe the figure given on the corporate website). Of course, this does not mean 100 million unique customers; that number is unknown, and for this purpose, immaterial. Either way, that’s about as many Americans who voted in the tight U.S. Presidential elections of 2004 (122 million), and it’s substantially more than the number who could have voted but didn’t (78 million).

2- Hillary Clinton was a member of the Board of Directors for six years
In 1986, Wal-Mart welcomed Mrs. Clinton to their board, despite the absence of a vacant seat. At the time, her husband was the governor of Arkansas and she was the state’s First Lady.

Mrs. Clinton served on two other corporate boards during the late 1980s and early 1990s: Little Rock-based TCBY (The Country's Best Yogurt), and she briefly held a position on the board for Lafarge, a huge French industrial company (makers of cement and concrete). She quit all three in 1992, during her husband’s successful presidential run. Curiously, Wal-Mart did not fill her seat on their board when she left.

3- They pioneered a number of discount retail concepts
By “they,” I really mean Sam Walton, since his innovations go back to the early days. Walton improved customer service by extending store hours, staying open on Sundays or on holidays, and by making certain to keep his shelves well-stocked with a variety of cheap -- low-cost, I mean -- products. Wal-Mart has brought these concepts into the computer age. Today, when an item is scanned for purchase at a cash register, it informs an inventory control system, which works with the items manufacturer to keep the shelves stocked. Wal-Mart was among the first major retailers to install such a system.

Yet Walton’s most profound innovation was discount merchandising itself. Buying from the cheapest wholesale supplier allowed him to lower his prices and sell more; the higher sales volume gave him future negotiating power with the supplier, further lowering his prices.

Sam Walton’s early creativity as an entrepreneur has been eclipsed by an uninspired corporate bully with the muscle to do virtually whatever it wants, wherever it is. But don’t be fooled; it’s not as though Sam would be turning over in his grave at the news. Walton died in 1992, and is as much credited as he is criticized for making Wal-Mart what it is today.

4- Only one organization in the world employs more people than Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart’s 1.9 million employees amounts to the biggest private employer worldwide, but when it comes down to sheer employment -- public, private, governmental or otherwise -- Wal-Mart comes in at No. 2.

They have stiff competition for the number-two spot, as both Indian Railways (IR) and England’s National Health Services (NHS) are very close. However, they’ll need to go on a highly unlikely hiring spree in order to reach this list’s No. 1: the Chinese Army. No, this is not a joke. The number of active troops in the Chinese Army is around 2.25 million -- a mere 325,000 more than Wal-Mart.

5- They prefer part-time employees
About one-third of Wal-Mart’s employees work part-time or no more than 28 hours per week. As such, they will naturally have less invested in the company. For example, part-time employees would not see or experience the benefits of a union, favoring Wal-Mart’s well-earned reputation as a union ball-breaker. Their statement on unions is a classic syllogistic fallacy:

“At Wal-Mart, we respect the individual rights of our associates and encourage them to express their ideas, comments and concerns. Because we believe in maintaining an environment of open communications, we do not believe there is a need for third-party representation.”

In other words: Open communication is the function of a union; Wal-Mart’s ideology encourages open communication; therefore, Wal-Mart’s ideology already serves the function of a union.

Wal-Mart’s nebulous definition of unions is not only built on a false premise, but it is also at odds with the one offered by the AFL-CIO, in which unions “solve problems, build stronger workplaces… give workers a voice on the job about safety, security, pay, benefits [and] a voice in government.”

Furthermore, after one year, part-time workers become eligible for a health plan stacked with a massive deductible and whopping premiums, but in light of a 70% per annum turnover rate, most won’t be around that long anyway. That might be for the best since, in their own words, the Wal-Mart medical plan is “designed to protect associates from catastrophic loss and financial ruin.”

Those are big words for poor people; if you’re making so little money that you require social services to supplement your basic needs, how far away are you from financial ruin, anyway?

Why is it Searched?
For all the people searching for the lowest price on an electric toothbrush, there are plenty of others looking into the deluge of complaints and criticisms leveled at Wal-Mart, including the economic impact of store openings, the notoriously low wages, the enormous wealth of the Walton family, the questionable working conditions at overseas stores, the many ongoing lawsuits against them, and their heavy-handed opposition to labor unions.

Length on the public's interest?
The public’s interest is best measured by the length of its attention span. Wal-Mart sells merchandise as cheap or cheaper than their competition by using methods that look a lot like the methods of a monopoly, such as predatory pricing. They skirt violations of U.S. anti-trust laws while exploiting people through pathetic wages and flimsy benefits. It’s all terrible, just terrible.

But have you heard about how far back they just rolled the price on a tube of foot cream? Wow!