Pulse Rate May 2015

Most of the 5,500-mile border between the US and Canada may look straight, but, since it was marked out before the days of GPS, it is actually a series of zigzagging lines that vary by several hundred feet.

Fruit flies were the first living beings to reach space. They were launched to a height of 68 miles aboard a V-2 rocket in 1947.

It really was once dangerous to sit too close to a TV. Prior to the 1950s, televisions emitted levels of radiation that, with too much exposure, could damage eyes.

Alcohol does not kill brain cells, it merely inhibits the communication in the nerves connecting them. Once sober, they return to normalcy.

The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight, released in 1897, is the first known feature film and first documentary. It was a 90-minute prizefight filmed with three cameras. Sadly, only a quarter of the footage still survives.

Your stomach and intestines have a pulse in the same manner as the heart. Called Basic Electrical Rhythm, it occurs between 3 and 12 times a minute.

The difference between jelly and jam: Jellies are produced solely from the juice of the fruit while jams include crushed fruit.

#2 pencils are no longer necessary to fill out a Scantron. They became the standard because they made an easy-to-read, opaque mark, but modern grading systems are much more sensitive.

“Catgut,” a type of cord long used for string instruments and for surgery, was actually made from sheep or cattle intestine. The derivation of the term is obscure, but may be from the “kit,” a type of Arabic violin.

The spokes of spiderwebs are made from non-sticky silk, while the sticky silk forms the spirals of the web. Spiders tiptoe along the less sticky strands to avoid becoming stuck themselves.

michael isenbek

Michael Isenbek, Associate Editor, dabbles in both fiction and nonfiction writing, coordinates the Pulse event listings and writes the text for "Zoom," among other editorial tasks. He has a Master's Degree in Liberal Studies and a Bachelor's Degree in Cultural Studies with a concentration in Journalism from SUNY Empire State College.