* It was industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who was born into a poor Scottish family and emigrated to the United States as a teen, who made the following sage observation: “There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”
• You might be surprised to learn that the United States Department of Commerce has designated approximately 30 houses across the country as authentic haunted houses.
• Despite the fact that 95 percent of the world uses the metric system of measurement, we in the United States still stubbornly cling to the archaic units of measurement derived from the old British Imperial system. This hodgepodge ranges from the mile (originally the distance a Roman soldier could march in 1,000 double steps) to the foot (originally the length of Emperor Charlemagne’s foot, later “standardized” to the length of 35 barleycorns laid end to end) to a yard (the distance between King Henry I’s nose to his extended fingertips) to an inch (the length from the tip to the first joint of a man’s thumb).
• You probably didn’t realize there’s a word for it, but a pregnant goldfish is called a twit.
• A man named Robert Boyd entered a lingerie shop and attempted to hold up the store using a Japanese sword. A fan of video games, Boyd claimed in his defense that at the time of the holdup, he believed he was an elf.
• In Switzerland, it is considered to be bad luck to tell anyone your baby’s name before it is born.