" A poet can survive everything but a misprint. "
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Joseph Kittinger Parachutes from a Balloon at 102,800 feet (31,300 m)

Kittinger is a former command pilot and career military officer in the US Air Force known for setting a number of records, including highest parachute jump and fastest speed reached by a human traveling through the atmosphere. As part of the Air Force's Project Excelsior, in 1960, he jumped from a balloon nearly 20 miles above the earth and fell for 4 minutes and 36 seconds before opening his parachute. He reached a speed of 614 mph (988 km/h) and came how close to breaking the sound barrier?

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Bowerbirds

Bowerbirds are several species of songbirds found in Australia and New Guinea. To attract female mates, males of the species build elaborate bowers on the ground, decorate them with bright, shiny objects, and then display and sing loudly above them. Females observe the courtship displays, inspect the quality of the bowers, and select a mate. After mating, the female builds a simple nest away from the bower in which to lay her eggs. What objects do bowerbirds often use to decorate their bowers?

Born on a day like today

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Christian Mortensen

When Mortensen died at the age of 115 years and 252 days, he was the oldest man who had ever lived whose age is undisputed. Mortensen was born in Denmark in 1882 and immigrated to the US in 1903. He worked in various trades until he retired in 1950. Twenty-eight years later, at the age of 96, he reportedly rode his bicycle to a retirement home in San Rafael, California, where he lived for the rest of his life. What advice for living a long life did Mortensen give on his 115th birthday?

Last updated on Tuesday, 16th August 2011

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