• It was Polish chess grandmaster Savielly Tartakower who made the following sage observation: “Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake.”
• In the late 19th century, a single female Bengal tiger, known as the Champawat Tiger, was solely responsible for an estimated 430 deaths in India and Nepal. After evading hunters and the Nepalese Army for years, she was finally killed in 1907 by a hunter named Jim Corbett.
• A leech can consume 10 times its weight in its victims’ blood.
• In 2011, during a tough financial time for the nation of Romania, the government instituted a 16 percent tax on the incomes of self-proclaimed witches, fortunetellers and astrologers. Those so employed were incensed and vowed retribution, some casting spells against the president and those members of the government who had supported the legislation. In an unrelated incident, the legislature also drafted a measure that would punish those who incorrectly predicted the future.
• Famed magician Harry Houdini was born with the less-than-inspiring name Erich Weiss.
• There is a planet named Gliese 436b orbiting a red dwarf star. It’s about the size of Neptune, and it’s very, very hot — roughly 820 degrees Fahrenheit. None of this is terribly unusual; what’s truly surprising is the fact that the planet’s surface is made up largely of ice (with an outer layer of hydrogen and helium) despite the heat. It seems that the gravity and atmospheric pressure are so great that water is forced into a solid form, creating so-called hot ice.
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Thought for the Day: “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” — Sir Winston Churchill
(c) 2014 King Features Synd.