STRANGE, BUT TRUE: Forget sharks, watch out for the bees

It was 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer who made the following sage observation: “If we were not all so interested in ourselves, life would be so uninteresting that none of us would be able to endure it.”

• Emmy-nominated actress Debbie Reynolds was fired by Warner Brothers after her first movie.

• Sharks inspire a great deal of fear in most people. However, the keepers of statistics claim that you are much more likely to be killed by a bee than you are to be killed by a shark – 50 times more likely, in fact.

• Growers of coffee beans say that the coffee blossom smells like jasmine.

• When a seal goes to sleep, whether in the sea or on land, it stops breathing. Every 15 minutes or so it will wake up to take a breath, then it will go back to sleep.

• When it comes to irrigated crops in the United States, you might be surprised to learn that the plant that covers the most acreage isn’t corn, wheat or soybeans; it’s grass. Think about that the next time you’re watering your lawn.

• There’s an interesting story behind the name of the Caribbean island of Curacao. It seems that explorer Amerigo Vespucci had several sailors on his ship who were very seriously ill with scurvy, so he dropped them off on the island, assuming they would die. However, the abandoned sailors feasted on fresh fruit, thereby ingesting the vitamin C that cured the disease and saved their lives. The word “curacao” means “cure” in Portuguese.

• Here’s a disturbing fact for all the arachnophobes reading this: There are more than 34,000 different species of spider.

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