Pulse Rate December 2012

The original fifth stanza in Twelve Days of Christmas was: Five ringed pheasants. Thus the true Christmas dinner fowl is a pheasant, not a far-rar-rar-ra-ra duck.

In the 1920s, Canada’s Director of Military Operations had a US invasion plan on file.

Norwegian scientists have diagnosed Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s red nasal issue: It’s a parasitic infection of his respiratory system.

Sounds like something out of South Park: A tradition in the Catalonia region of Spain, the Tió de Nadal (Christmas Log) aka Caga Tió (Shitting Log) is a hollow log with a happy face that, well, poops presents.

In December 1572, it was the Dutch vs. Spain, with Dutch ships trapped in a frozen waterway and the Spanish soldiers on the offensive. Utilizing ice skates as a tool of war for perhaps the first time, the Dutch drove back the Spanish and inflicted hundreds of casualties.

Of the many inspirations for Santa Claus was the chief Norse god Odin, who would ride around the world on an eight-legged horse in winter, giving gifts.But he would also mete out punishments when necessary.

Dwarf planet Pluto is so far from the sun (between 2.8 and 4.6 billion miles) that at its farthest distance the thin atmosphere freezes and falls to the ground.

Total duration of major battles in the English vs. French Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) was only 2 weeks. Sieges and small-scale hand-to-hand combat took up the rest of the time.

Calling leg apparel “pants” came from the 4th century Christian martyr Saint Pantaleon, who became a clown-like character with big pants in Italian folklore. The English translation of the man and the apparel was “Pantaloon,” which was shortened to “pants.”

Union Army records from the Civil War indicate that for every 1,000 rounds fired, only one Confederate soldier was hit. This led to the founding of the National Rifle Association in 1871, which was originally concerned solely with improving marksmanship—the politicking came later.

Voyager 1 is the most distant functioning space probe from Earth, currently a little more than 11 billion miles away. But depending on Earth’s position around the sun, a tiny amount of that distance is canceled, then added back, canceled, added back, and so on.