• It was award-winning author Robert A. Heinlein, widely known as one of the Grand Masters of science fiction, who made the following sage observation: “Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”
• Have you ever heard of a claque? Probably not, since their effectiveness depends largely upon others not knowing they exist. A claque is a group of people who have been hired to make a show seem more successful by applauding the performers.
• In ancient China it was believed that poison would cause anything made of silver to turn black — which explains why Chinese emperors used chopsticks made of the valuable metal.
• Widely reported in the media this year have been the 200th anniversary of the births of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, but there’s another birthday that’s gotten somewhat less press: This year Guinness turns 250. In was in 1759 that Arthur Guinness started brewing his celebrated beer — and got a remarkably good real-estate deal, too. He signed a 9,000- year lease on the now-famous St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, paying 45 British pounds per year for the privilege.
• As summer — and bathing-suit season — approaches, you might be interested to know that the most popular type of cosmetic surgery in the United States is liposuction.
• 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.
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Thought for the Day: “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” — Gladys Browyn Stern
(c) 2009 King Features Synd.