One of my blogline feeds is from an urban legends site which I find very entertaining. They covered two points that I found interesting.
1) The eagle's head on the US seal turns to the left in peacetime and the right in wartime.
Apparently this rumour really spread when Dan Brown wrote about it in Deception Point. According to snopes.com the eagle's head has changed direction in the past, from looking right (at the arrows it holds in its claw) to looking left (at the olive branch in its other claw). Or should that be talon? Anyway, the change everybody remembers was made by Truman after the Second World War. Documents predating that have the eagle staring right, but Truman decided that it fit the US post-war working for peace image to have it looking at the olive branch. The general populace (when they noticed) assumed it was a tradition, but it was a whim.
Speaking of US presidential whims, apparently the US missed the boat on going metric because Reagan couldn't understand how it worked...
2) There is a nine-letter English word that remains a word even as you remove succesive letters. Curious? It's startling. No, that's the word, startling.
Remove the l: starting
Remove the t: staring
Remove the a: string
Remove the r: sting
Remove the t: sing
Remove the g: sin
Remove the s: in
Remove the n: I
PATTOTE: Better living through mindless trivia