Fact Fragments – Sharks, Cards, Mountains and Spanish

Olympus Mons

Olympus Mons

The highest mountain we know of has yet to be visited, it’s on Mars. We call it Olympus Mons. At 27km from its base to its peak, over 3 times the height of Everest, it is the greatest mountain in the solar system.

More than just tall, it is 550km wide, and is bent around the curvature of Mars itself. So pronounced is the effect that were you to stand on the peak of Olympus Mons, you wouldn’t be able to see the bottom of the mountain, as it would be hidden beyond the horizon. This size is a grand thing indeed, the whole mountain is surrounded by a moat up to 3km deep in some places. Nothing dug it, the sheer weight of it is great enough to literally dent Mars.

Olympus Mons on Wikipedia. Thanks to Tom Williams for this fact.

 The phrase ‘bla bla bla’ isn’t English, it’s translated directly from Spanish as a shortened version of ‘habla habla habla’ meaning ‘speak speak speak.’

Fact provided by Nancy Dennis, thanks!

The four suits of cards have peculiar origins, they were initially designed to represent the four major feudal classes of the middle ages. Hearts represents the church, spades represents the military, clubs represents agriculture and diamonds represented the merchant class.

Wikipedia Article

Another quirk of playing cards is the very ornate ace of spades (or ‘spadille’). This comes from the 18th Century where cards would be hand stamped on the ace of spades to show that stamp duty had been paid. Later the ace of spades was stamped in different methods until 1862 when card-makers were free to do what they wanted with their cards due to stamp duty changes. They just left the ace of spades ornate, and so we reach playing cards today.

White Knuckle Cards Article

To finish, let’s talk about sharks. How do you attract a shark? The answer is sound. For a long time it has been known that sound can have a very powerful effect on sea creatures, with sonar from ships being the main cause of whales getting confused, lost and eventually beaching themselves. However new research has shown that some sounds truly entice.

After extensive trial and error it has been found that lower frequencies are much more appealing to great white sharks. Particularly effective is AC/DC, and the most stimulating track of all is the aptly named ‘If You Want Blood’. So, if you’re planning to serenade a great white shark, you know what to do.

Treehugger Article

If you have any facts which you think would make good articles then feel free to send them to me via the Contact page along with sources if you have them. Have a nice day.

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Deployed on by Alexandre Coates in Micro Oddities 15 Current Replies

15 Responses to Fact Fragments – Sharks, Cards, Mountains and Spanish

  1. Petar Subotic

    I wish they elaborated on the “extensive trial and error” process ( . . . ) i.e. should we avoid playing Toby Keith at all cost if we ere to avoid being eaten?

    • Alexandre Coates

      Alas, I suppose the only way to find out may be by trying it yourself. Please don’t try it at home though… there are no sharks there.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. Tom Williams

    Hey, thanks for using my idea, you write it better then ma, i guess its experience or something, and great idea with the “send in ideas”, its kind of like what i e-mailed you about.

    • Alexandre Coates

      It’s a pleasure Tom, thanks for the idea. Also yes, one does get a lot better at writing with regular practise, I’ve been writing regularly for about 2 years now and my writing has come a long way.

  3. jarrod

    “More than just tall, it is 10km wide” – its 550km or so wide. 10km is not going to wrap around the horizon.

    • Alexandre Coates

      Oops! Thanks for the comment Jarrod, I’ve fixed it now. I appreciate it.

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