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+ Do you have any nugatory relatives? In-laws, perhaps? You may think so, but you might not want to mention your opinion to your spouse. “Nugatory” means “worthless.”

+ In any given 24-hour period, there are an average of 8.6 million flashes of lightning around the world.

+ In all likelihood, you use salt every day, but I bet you aren’t aware of the powers that have been ascribed to salt over the centuries. You might have tossed a pinch over your shoulder to prevent bad luck, but did you know that you’re not supposed to glance after it to see where it lands? The ancient Greeks gave a pinch of salt to guests (only in their right hands, though) as a symbol of welcome. Since returning borrowed salt is bad luck, you should never lend it, only give it away. When setting the table, always put the salt shakers on first, but never put two in front of a single place setting. If you’re at sea, you can use salt, but never say the word “salt.”

+ What do exploding bullets, furniture casters, soundproof windows, the modern milking machine, black box flight recorders used in airplanes and the periscope rifle have in common? They were all invented Down Under – in Australia.

+ Honey isn’t just sweet and tasty; it’s an antiseptic and disinfectant, too. In fact, people once used honey to dress wounds and burns.

+ For reasons unclear today, in the mid-1800s chickens were known to many people on the American frontier as “Dunghill fowl.”

+ Before he became Pope Innocent VII in 1404, Cosimo de’ Migliorati was a tax collector in England.

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Thought for the Day: “Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man doesn’t have to experience it.” – Max Frisch

(c) 2007 King Features Synd., Inc.

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