The world today runs on standardized forms. There are order forms, application forms, tax return forms, etc. Standardized forms are such an ubiquitous part of every day life that it seems incredible that the whole concept is a relatively recent phenomenon. For centuries scribes have labored over ledger sheets, but all other business was conducted verbally or recorded in whatever manner seemed appropriate at the time.

The concept of the standardized form was developed by the railroads in the 1800's as a control mechanism in response to a series of disasters. The new forms worked so well at documenting and controlling train movements that they were implemented throughout all railroad business operations. Back then nearly every business dealt with the railroads in one way or another, and the concept of standardized forms spread from there to the point where they are today considered a necessary business practice for all manner of commerce.

Artichokes, which normally produce fruit in their second year, can be grown as far north as Maine by "fooling mother nature". Plant the artichokes indoors 6 weeks before they can be safely put outside in a cold frame. After 6 weeks in the warm indoors, plant the artichokes in the cold frame and keep the temperature just above freezing. After another 6 weeks in the cold frame, plant in the garden. The artichokes will "think" the warm indoors period was their first summer, and their time in the cold frame was their first winter. When they're finally planted in the garden, they will think they are now in their second summer and will bear fruit.

Since 1965 America has seen a $5.4 trillion transfer of wealth in an effort to wipe out poverty...the national debt is only $4.7 trillion We have paid more on welfare than the national debt and we haven't wiped it out

In 1965, 1.5% of gross domestic product went to welfare. In 1991, 5% of the gross domestic product was spent on welfare - while poverty rates increased.

The sun contains 99% of all the mass in our solar system.

95% of all species on earth did not become extinct at the end of the cretaceous period when the dinosaurs died out.

While dinosaurs may loom large in the imaginations of modern humans looking back in wonder at a time they can never truly know, dinosaurs were actually only a small minority of the species present at the end of the cretaceous period. Small wonder life on earth managed to continue on without them...

Atmospheric oxygen levels declined from 35% to 28% during the cretaceous period. Could this decline in the oxygen level have contributed to the decline of the dinosaurs?

Half the population of China is myopic (short sighted), and a further 30% require some sort of vision correction. The market potential for disposable contact lenses is staggering.

On their recent world tour the financially cagey Rolling Stones requested to be paid in yen. The steep drop in the value of the dollar against the yen added over $2 million to the tour income.

The daily commuter trains arriving or departing Bombay India every 2 minutes were designed to carry 1700 standing passengers, but are routinely packed with over 7000 passengers in what officials call dense, super dense, and hyper dense crush loads.

Which is the real party of the rich? Even though the Republicans are the majority, 8 out of the 12 wealthiest people in Congress are Democrats.

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