Pulse Rate Feb 2012

The phrase “the honeymoon is over” has a basis in fact. Scientists have recently discovered that the “Nerve Growth Factor,” a protein responsible for maintaining sense-related neurons, is at high levels in the brain when first falling in love, but after a year, these levels return to pre-in-love levels.

Groundhogs have dark meat with a mild flavor and little fat, similar to rabbit, and can be used as a substitute in any rabbit recipe, although older groundhogs should be soaked or parboiled first. Be sure to remove the scent glands from the forelegs and small of the back before cooking.

Believe it or not, New York State joined the south (and most of the US, as much as we don’t like to admit it) in enacting blatantly racist “Jim Crow” laws. In order to vote, New York required African-Americans to own real property, but did not extend this requirement to other races.

The month of February is named after the ancient Roman purification festival of Februa, later called Lupercalia. Members of the priesthood would sacrifice two male goats and a dog, anoint themselves with the resulting blood, dress in the skins of the goats, then cut whips from the animal’s tissues and run along Rome’s city walls, whipping the gathered crowds.

Abraham Lincoln twofer: 1) In November, 1863, Lincoln saw a play at Ford’s Theatre entitled The Marble Heart. It’s star? John Wilkes Booth. 2) Lincoln’s last living relative, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died in 1985.

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, the 1929 execution-style murders of seven gang members who were rivals of Al Capone’s gang is considered the beginning of the end of Capone’s Prohibition-era machinations. There was much public outcry and soon after, he was finally collared for income tax evasion and sent to prison.

It was impossible for George Washington to have thrown a silver dollar across the Potomac River in his youth. First, the Potomac is a mile wide. Second, US silver dollars weren’t minted until 1794. A more likely scenario posited by historians is that he tossed a Spanish Dollar across the 250-foot-wide Rappahannock River in Virginia.

Events that always occur during leap years: UEFA European Football Championships, Summer Olympic Games and presidential elections for the US and the Republic of China.

Black History Month is not universally praised by all African-Americans. In a recent TV interview with Mike Wallace, prominent African-American actor Morgan Freeman said he finds it “ridiculous,” and asked, “Why would you relegate my history to a single month?”

George Washington has the record for shortest presidential inaugural address: 133 words delivered in 90 seconds. It is said that this brevity was due to painful dentures.

Since they are at 100% risk for developing liver cancer when infected with the Woodchuck Hepatitis B virus, groundhogs are common test subjects for human Hepatitis B and liver cancer therapies.

By using order of magnitude estimates pioneered by legendary scientist Enrico Fermi, it has been estimated that one septillion snowflakes (1 followed by 24 zeroes) fall worldwide every winter.