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Q: What did London blacksmith Charles Moncke invent?
A: The monkey wrench, which was originally called Moncke's wrench.

Q: What was the first spacecraft to land on the moon?
A: Luna 2, launched by the USSR on September 12, 1959, crash-landed between the craters Archimedes and Autolycus in the Mare Imbrium on September 14. A successful landing was made by Luna 9 on February 3, 1966.

Q: When was the rocket first invented?
A: In the thirteenth century by the Chineese. Bamboo tubes stuffed with gunpower were used against the Mongols in 1232 at the battle of K'ai-fung-fu.

Q: What is the most widely cultivated plant?
A: Wheat, the food base of Western civilization, is by far the most widely grown plant. It has been cultivated for mroe than 7,000 years in every continent except Antarctica.

Q: Who was the first female general in the U.S. Armed Forces?
A: Elizabeth P. Hoisington, who was appointed to the post of director of the Women's Army Corps in June 1970.

Q: Where did the biggest fire of October 8, 1871, take place?
A: In Peshtigo, Wisconsin. On the same night as the Chicago fire, a forest fire burned through Peshtigo, a town of about 2,000 people, and the neighboring communities of Sugar Bush and Williamsville, taking 1,500 lives and over four hundred million acres of forest and prairie. It was a terrible holocaust, with heat so intense that people taking refuge in the shallow river in Peshtigo were cinderized when they came up for air.

Q: Who introduced automobile assembly-line production?
A: It was not Henry Ford. Ransom E. Olds, father of the Oldsmobile, introduced the automobile assembly-line technique to the U.S. in 1901. In doing so, he increased automobile production from 425 vehicles in 1901 to over 2,500 in 1902. Ford contributed modifications, including the conveyor belt system, which reduced the time it took to build a Model T from 1 1/2 days to 90 minutes. Sidenote: The assembly line concept itself was first used by Eli Whitney to manufacture guns during the US Civil War. (thanks James C. for the tip!)

Q: What country in the world has the greatest number of first languages?
A: Papua New Guinea. By the end of the 20th century, linguists identified 869 separate languages - not dialects - in that country.

Q: Why should you gargle with salt water when you have a sore throat?
A: Salt has a drying effect - it tends to dissolve in and absorb water. When you have a sore throat, many times it is because of bacteria which covers the walls of the throat. You gargle with salt water, and the salt comes into contact with the bacteria; it has a tendency to absorb the water contained inside the bacteria's cellular structure, which kills the bacteria and alleviates some of the pain.

Q: What were the 13 original American colonies?
A: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia.

Q: Who invented the original 1936 Volkswagen?
A: Ferdinand Porsche, who later went on to build sports cars bearing his name.

Q: Who was the last man on the moon?
A: Astronaut Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17 - in December 1972.

Q: How many different animal shapes are there in the 'Animal Crackers' cookie zoo?
A: 18 - two bears (one walking, one seated), a bison, camel, cougar, elephant, giraffe, gorilla, hippopotamus, hyena, kangaroo, lion, monkey, rhinoceros, seal, sheep, tiger, and zebra.

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Disclaimer: These items have come to me through various sources. I have included the author's name whenever possible. If you wrote any of these and would like credit, please write me with your name and the title of the article.
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