Pulse Rate March 2012

With the passing of the “Mint Act” of 1792, the US began producing its own coins and became the first government in history to apply the decimal system to its currency.

Alka-Seltzer stomach relief tablets are effective if you use just one. Taking two, first proposed by the catchy 1960s TV commercials, is not medical advice, just a savvy business decision. And it worked—sales nearly doubled.

The expression “hair of the dog that bit you,” now associated with having a drink to cure a hangover, goes back to at least the 16th century. It was commonly believed at the time that if a rabid dog bit someone, his or her chances for recovery would be greatly improved if they could acquire a hair from the offending animal and bind it to the wound.

Between 1793 and 1861, paper money did not exist as US currency. Instead, around 1,600 state banks were authorized under state charters to print and circulate paper money. This resulted in about 7,000 different bill designs.

The earliest ancestor of the current Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom were found in the Kent, England tomb of the “Mill Hill Warrior,” which dates to 200-150 BC. The regalia included a bronze crown, a sword, a scabbard, a brooch and a ceremonial shield.

Up until the 20th century, when safeguards were put in place, there was a real danger of falling to your death while attempting to kiss Ireland’s famous Blarney Stone. It is about 90 feet off the ground in Castle Blarney’s parapet and the traditional way to get close enough to kiss it was to be dangled over the wall by your ankles.

In the Cayman Islands, a driver is allowed to have a maximum blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .1 percent, the highest in the world. This BAC level (at which reflexes and reaction time are noticeably impaired) will very likely get you arrested in the US and most of the world.

Vastly overshadowed by St. Patrick’s Day is St. Joseph’s Day, occurring two days later. St. Joseph was the husband of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ.

The award for world’s largest banknote goes to a limited edition 1998 100,000-peso note from the Philippines, issued to commemorate 100 years of independence from Spain. The note is about the size of a sheet of legal paper (8 ½” x 11”) and cost collectors about $3,700.

The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes the late Sir Lionel Luckhoo of Georgetown, Guyana as the most successful lawyer in history. He garnered 245 consecutive acquittals for murder charges between 1940 and 1985.

A tsunami of over 150,500 gallons of beer might sound like a dream come true for some, but such a wave of brew can be deadly—as the London parish of St. Giles found out in October 1814. A brewery tank ruptured and enough suds to fill 1.6 million 12oz brewski cans inundated the town. Two houses were demolished and 9 people were killed.

Around the time St. Patrick’s Day became a holiday in the early 20th century, and again in the 1960s, all bars and pubs in Ireland were closed on that day. March 17th falls during Lent, a time of prayer and piousness, and the heavily Catholic nation didn’t want the citizenry swept up in wanton revelry.