The Brix scale is used to measure sugar content in wine, fruit juice and fruits and vegetables. It's named for Adolf Brix, the 19th-century Austro-German mathematician who devised it, and it's expressed as "degrees Brix" or "degree-sign Bx." Ripe grapes usually measure 18 to 24 degrees Brix, pineapples around 14 degrees Brix, and garlic (believe it or not) typically measures more than 30 degrees Brix.

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Mr. Bigglesworth in the "Austin Powers" movies was played by a hairless Sphynx cat named Ted Nudegent. (Nude Gent, see?) He was named for the rocker who gave us "Cat Scratch Fever" way back when. Ted's understudy was another Sphynx named Mel Gibskin. His nephews, Hairless Potter and Skindiana Jones, also have appeared in films and on TV.

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Khmer, the official language of Cambodia, has the world's longest alphabet, with 69 letters currently in use and another five or so considered obsolete. The world's shortest alphabet is used in the Rotokas language spoken by an estimated 4,300 people in Papua New Guinea. It consists of 11 or 12 letters (depending on which source you consult).

Wallacea is a heart-shaped region of islands in the Pacific, including the nation of East Timor and several Indonesian islands. It's named for Alfred Russel Wallace, a 19th-century naturalist who documented the geographical transition zone that separates wildlife found in Australia from wildlife in Asia. Wallace conducted research into evolution in Indonesia while Charles Darwin did his thing in the Galapagos. Although they worked independently, they're listed as co-authors on the first scientific paper to explain natural selection, published in 1858.



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Opal, the iridescent multihued October birthstone, takes its name from the Sanskrit word "upala," meaning precious stone. Yet, somewhere between ancient times and the Middle Ages, commonly accepted "wisdom" decreed that the word "opal" was related to the ancient Greek word for eye, "ophthalmos." This led to the belief that opals helped protect a person's sight and, conversely, that wearing opals could render a person invisible.

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If you're a guy who looks good in pink, wear it proudly. The idea that pink is a color for girls and that blue is for boys came along relatively recently. Pink traditionally was a symbol of vigor and health, appropriate for robust boys who'd grow up to be manly men. Blue was considered serene and ethereal, perfect for dainty girls who'd become demure women. History, tradition and "expert advice" through the ages offer as many recommendations of pink for boys/blue for girls as the other way around.

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When Christopher Columbus was cruising around the West Indies in 1492, he took note of the hanging beds used by the local Taino people. It's possible that his diary entry for Oct. 17, 1492, was the first written mention of those woven cotton sling beds that kept sleeping people off the ground and away from critters and creepy-crawlies at night. The Taino called the beds "hamacas," which is where we get the word "hammock."

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The first athlete to host "Saturday Night Live" was NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton. He hosted on Jan. 29, 1977, a couple of weeks after his Minnesota Vikings lost to the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XI.

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Two common cross spiders (Araneus diadematus) named Anita and Arabella went into space with NASA astronauts on a Skylab mission in 1973. They were part of an experiment devised by high school student Judith Miles to test whether weightlessness would affect a spider's ability to spin a web. Both spiders spun webs in space once they'd acclimated to their extraterrestrial environment. After they died, their bodies were placed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian.

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The term "cliffhanger" originated in the 1930s to describe serialized radio shows and silent films that ended at a critical moment — sometimes literally with a character hanging from a cliff — to ensure audiences would tune in for the next episode. Its first known use was in a 1931 issue of "Variety," the film industry trade magazine known for popularizing the terms "biopic," "sitcom" and "striptease," among many others.

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When Lord Horatio Nelson was shot and killed at the Battle of Trafalgar on Oct. 21, 1805, the naval surgeon aboard Nelson's ship, HMS Victory, preserved the body by sealing it in a large cask of brandy. There it remained until it returned to England in December 1805. According to the surgeon's report, when the cask was opened, the "undecayed state (of Nelson's body) after a lapse of two months since death ... excited the surprise of all who beheld it."

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The first female police officer in the United States was Marie Owens, who joined the Chicago Police Department in the 1890s working primarily on abuses of child labor laws. She was, as the Chicago Tribune said, "the only woman detective sergeant in the world," but she was just the first. Lola Greene Baldwin became a police officer in Portland, Oregon, in 1908. In 1910, Alice Stebbins Wells joined the Los Angeles Police Department. She received a badge, a rulebook and a first aid manual, but she had to design and sew her own uniform.

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In 2016, Portugal won the Union of European Footbal Associations soccer championship; superstar player Cristiano Ronaldo topped the Forbes magazine list of the world's highest paid athletes; and the airport in his hometown of Funchal on the island of Madeira was renamed in his honor. With that, Ronaldo joined a short list of athletes with namesake airports. Among others: soccer star George Best in Belfast, Northern Ireland; ancient Olympic boxer Diagoras on the Greek island of Rhodes; and great American golfer Arnold Palmer in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is named for Albert Bond Lambert, an aviation pioneer with what other distinction?

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The tall, pointed headdress we associate with fairytale princesses is called a "hennin." They were all the rage in the mid-15th century, especially in France, where fashionable ladies wore hennins 3 feet tall with a veil attached to the tip. A woman could fold the veil under one arm or let it float behind her like angel wings when she walked. To accentuate the look, she'd tuck as much of her hair as she could inside the hennin and then shave off stray strands from her forehead and temples.

Previous answer: Albert Bond Lambert won a silver medal in golf at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis.

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Rabies, swine flu and avian flu are diseases transmitted from animals to humans, often with fatal consequences. But sometimes the transmission goes the other way. Animals in zoos — especially primates — have died from influenza and other viruses they picked up from humans. There's even some evidence that humans with H1N1 "swine flu" passed that virus back to healthy pig population and made them sick, too.

Previous answer: Cary Elwes, John Cleese, Sean Connery and Russell Crowe all have played Robin Hood on screen.

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Before he developed the telegraph and the code that bears his name, Samuel F.B. Morse (F.B. stands for Finley Breese) was an accomplished painter who trained at the Royal Academy of Art in London. His "Gallery of the Louvre" depicts all of that museum's great works — including the "Mona Lisa" — hung in a single room. His portrait of John Adams — for which he was paid $25 in 1816 — is in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum. His portrait of James Monroe hangs in the Blue Room of the White House.

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"Candy Land" was devised by Eleanor Abbott of San Diego in the 1940s, while she was recuperating from polio. Hard as it was for her to be confined to a hospital ward as an adult, she knew it was even harder for the children there with her. So she invented a board game that could be played to pass the time. The rules were simple enough for 3-year-olds — no reading required. Abbott pitched the game to Milton Bradley, which brought out its first edition of "Candy Land" in 1949.

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The first designated military camouflage unit in modern history was formed in the French army in 1915 under the direction of a painter named Lucien-Victor Guirand de Scevola. Its main objective was to disguise ground artillery so it wouldn't be spotted and destroyed by aerial bombers in World War I. By 1918, the French military camouflage section employed 3,000 officers and troops at the front, plus a few hundred German prisoners of war, and some 10,000 civilian women "camoufleurs" at a studio in Paris.

What was pictured on the uniform insignias of both the French and American camouflage units in World War I?

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If you're the sort of person who enjoys spotting goofs in major motion pictures, pay attention to the car license plates on screen. You'll never run out of goofs to spot, from plates with the wrong design for the movie's time period, to that pesky question of which states require front plates and which don't. One of the best-known license plate goofs comes from the 1978 horror movie "Halloween." It's set in Illinois, but the characters drive cars with California plates. Oops.

Previous answer: A chameleon was pictured on insignias of both the French and American camouflage units in World War I.

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In 1873, when architects Paul J. Pelz and John L. Smithmeyer won the commission to design the Library of Congress building in Washington, D.C., Pelz was the chief draftsman for the United States Lighthouse Board. He might have wished he'd kept that reliable day job. Congress took 13 years to approve the start of construction, and as late as 1900, the Library of Congress architects were still awaiting payment for their work.

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The first year the National Hurricane Center used women's names to designate hurricanes originating in the Atlantic Ocean was 1953. That list started with a storm called Alice, which passed through Florida in June, and ended with Irene, which hit the Lesser Antilles in December. The same list of names was reused in 1954, when Hurricane Carol caused so much destruction in New York and New England it became the first storm to have its name "retired." Since 1979, the list has alternated women's and men's names.

Previous answer: In 1815, Thomas Jefferson's personal library was acquired as the foundation for the Library of Congress.

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Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadiens was the first National Hockey League goalie to wear a face mask in league play. It was in November 1959 during a game between the Canadiens and the New York Rangers. Today, the NHL requires goalies to wear masks. Back then, even after Plante's move, some players still opted to face the consequences without protection. The last NHL goalie to play without a mask was Andy Brown, who ended his NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1974.

The NHL's annual award for the "goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position" is named for whom?

Previous answer: Ellen Burstyn won an Oscar for her role as Alice in "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore."

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"The Thousand and One Nights" is a collection of folktales from different sources in Asia and the Middle East, shared first by ancient storytellers and then written down in the 9th century. What unites them is the tale of Scheherazade, a clever woman married to a vengeful king. Knowing he plans to kill her, she tells him the stories of "Aladdin," "Sinbad the Sailor" and "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," among many others, which entertain the king and ultimately save her life.

Which Middle Eastern capital is nicknamed the City of Jasmine because of the flowers that grow there?

Previous answer: The NHL's annual award for the "goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position" is named for Georges Vezina.

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Vermont's Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park was the boyhood home of the 19th century environmentalist-writer George Perkins Marsh. The estate was later purchased by lawyer and conservation advocate Frederick Billings and, through his descendants, became the property of the Rockefeller family before it was deeded to the National Park Service. The park grounds include the oldest managed forest in the United States and, oddly, two nuclear fallout shelters — one under the main house and one under the bowling alley — that were added to the property in the 1960s.

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