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Did You Know – 08/12/2013

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1.  Samurai is a strictly masculine term, but the Japanese bushi class (the social class samurai came from) did feature women who received similar training in martial arts and strategy. These women were called “Onna-Bugeisha” and they were known to participate in combat along with their male counterparts. Their weapon of choice was usually the naginata, a spear with a curved, sword-like blade that was versatile, yet relatively light.

Since historical texts offer relatively few accounts of these female warriors (the traditional role of a Japanese noblewoman was more of a homemaker), we used to assume they were just a tiny minority. However, recent research indicates that Japanese women participated in battles quite a lot more often than history books admit. When remains from the site of the Battle of Senbon Matsubaru in 1580 were DNA-tested, 35 out of 105 bodies were female. Research on other sites has yielded similar results.

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2.  That it is a myth that brain cells can’t regenerate. It has been believed that if you kill a brain cell it is never replaced

The reason for this myth being so common is that it was believed and taught by the science community for a very long time. But in 1998, scientists at the Sweden and the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California discovered that brain cells in mature humans can regenerate. It had previously been long believed that complex brains would be severely disrupted by new cell growth, but the study found that the memory and learning center of the brain can create new cells – giving hope for an eventual cure for illnesses like Alzheimer’s.

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3. The worlds longest road is Pan-American Highway  in the world. It runs from Fairbanks, Alaska to Buenos Aires, Argentina, stretching 29,800 miles (47,958 km). it was never completed. A portion called the Darien Gap, mostly jungle about 100 miles (160 km) long located in Panama and Colombia, remains uncompleted. Cars and passengers are transported around the gap by ship. 

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4.  Of the more than $50 billion worth of diet products sold every year, almost $20 billion are spent on imitation fats and sugar substitutes.

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5.  There are more than 600 million telephone lines, yet almost half the world’s population has never made a phone call on a land line. However, many more have made a cell phone call; there are some 4 billion cell phones in use.
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6. 92% of Chinese belong to the Han nationality, which has been China’s largest nationality for centuries. The rest of the nation consists of about 55 minority groups.

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