• It was German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein who made the following sage observation: “The hardest thing to understand is why we can understand anything at all.”
• If you’re planning a trip to South Africa, you might want to keep in mind that there are 11 official languages there.
• It is customary in India for those who celebrate Christmas to decorate a banana or mango tree — evergreens being in rather short supply in most parts of south Asia.
• Those who study such things say that a normal cat has 230 bones in its body, but it doesn’t have a collarbone.
• You’ve almost certainly heard people refer to the school they attended as their alma mater, but do you know where the term comes from? In Latin, “alma mater” means “bounteous mother,” and it was in the early 1800s that people began using it to designate their beloved schools.
* Before horror author Stephen King became famous for novels such as “Carrie,” “The Stand” and “The Shining,” he wrote four novels and 60 short stories that failed to be accepted for publication.
* Most lizards are harmless reptiles, but there are some that are known to be venomous. Rather than avoiding these rare creatures, however, there are some who seek them out for the very venom that makes them dangerous. It seems that there’s a component to the venom that causes blood pressure to drop in humans, which could save thousands of lives.
• It would seem that even powerful dictators can succumb to the pull of Hollywood. Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, was an extra in the film “The Eternal City,” and Cuba’s longtime dictator, Fidel Castro, had a bit part in a movie called “Holiday in Mexico.”
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Thought for the Day: “If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.” — Voltaire (c) 2017 King Features