Pulse Rate February 2013

Old time prison slang: “Getting a Valentine” means a short prison term, no more than a year.

The US has three categories for classified documents: Confidential, secret and top secret. The majority of the billions of these documents are possessed by just three government agencies—the CIA (40%), the Defense Department (29%) and National Reconnaissance Office (27%).

The holidays may be over, but the additional five million tons of trash generated between late November and early January are still around.

In the official Barbie doll universe, Barbie broke up with Ken on Valentine’s Day 2004 and then got back together with him on the same day in 2011.

Basque, a language spoken on the Iberian Peninsula, is thought to be one of the oldest, actively-spoken tongues in the world, possibly reaching as far back as 30,000 years.

The BD-10 was the first supersonic kit aircraft ever created—and it was a complete failure. Only five were ever made in the early 90s and three crashed, killing the pilots. The remaining two are not airworthy.

A neatly manicured full mustache has been a source of pride and a measure of masculinity for Iraqi men since the Ottomans ruled the country in the 16th century. A common compliment in the country is “an eagle could land on his mustache.”

Interesting Russian idioms used when something goes wrong: bardák (brothel), meaning “it’s a mess.” Gemorróy (hemorrhoids), meaning “a huge problem.”

The magic of foley artists: The sound of the giant stone ball chasing Indiana Jones at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark was produced by a Honda Civic coasting on a gravel road.

Though tightly packed within a human cell, if fully extended a DNA molecule would be 5 feet, 5 inches long, but only 50 trillionths of an inch wide.

According to the terms of the embargo against Cuba, tourists aren’t banned from traveling to the country, just spending money there.

3,280 feet is the official limit for sunlight penetration in clear water. Beyond that is the pitch-black aphotic or “midnight” zone.