Fun Facts Found @ the Library Summer 2018


It’s not hard to find interesting or useful facts when you crack open a book in the library.

Let’s see what fun facts Eric found when he browsed through the reference related materials.


The confusion and inefficiency caused by the establishment of many separate fingerprint archives in the U.S. led the federal government to set up a central agency in 1924, the Identification Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In World War II most war plant workers and U.S. government employees were required to have their fingerprints filed with the FBI. Eventually, the FBI card files grew so large that a physical search for a fingerprint match could take weeks to complete.   In the late 1990s, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division inaugurated the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), a computer database comprising more than 40 million digitized fingerprint records. The IAFIS is capable of handling up to 50,000 fingerprint submissions per day and of responding to electronic submissions in criminal cases in less than two hours.   FROM: “Fingerprinting” (2017) Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia database

Some of the most dramatic out-of-body experiences (or OBEs) have been reported as part of the near-death experience, for example in those who are resuscitated from cardiac arrests or survive life-threatening accidents. However, similar experiences can occur under less traumatic conditions. Surveys in several countries show that about 15–20 percent of the population have had an OBE at some time during their life. Most of these people have only one, or a very few OBEs, although a few have many. Spontaneous OBEs most often occur during resting, just before sleep, or when meditating. However, they can occur at almost any time and occasionally the person carries on with what they were doing (such as walking, driving, or even speaking) apparently without interruption.   FROM: The Oxford Companion to the Mind (2006) Oxford Reference database

Whilst Caravaggio (1571 – 1610) was becoming the most famous painter in Rome on account of works such as the Crucifixion of St Peter, Conversion of St Paul, and the Death of the Virgin, he was also achieving notoriety for his violent and loutish way of life.  In the years 1600–5 he built up a lengthy criminal record for various cases of assault and insulting behavior, then in 1606 he killed a man in a fight over a wager on a tennis match. He fled Rome, fearing he would be executed for murder, and spent the remaining four years of his life as a fugitive from justice, his travels taking him to Naples (1606–7), Malta (1607–8), Sicily (1608–9), and back to Naples again (1609–10). Wherever he went he gained important commissions and had a major influence on local artists.   FROM: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (2016) Oxford Reference database

Cro-Magnon man, an early Homo sapiens that lived about 40,000 years ago was anatomically identical to  modern humans, but differed significantly from Neanderthals, who disappear in the fossil record about 10,000 years after the appearance of Aurignacian and other upper Paleolithic populations. The abrupt disappearance of Neanderthal populations, the sudden appearance of modern Homo sapiens (who had arisen earlier in Africa and migrated to Europe) and the associated upper Paleolithic technologies, and the absence of transitional anatomical or technological forms have led many researchers to conclude that Neanderthals were driven to extinction through competition with Cro-Magnon or related populations.   FROM: The Columbia Encyclopedia (2017) Credo Reference database

Trap-Door Spider” is the common name for any of the large, hairy, harmless tropical spiders of the families Ctenizidae, Cyrtaucheniidae, Idiopidae, and Nemesiidae that nest underground. They make long burrows, line them with silk, which they spin, and fashion at the entrance a bevel-edged, hinged, accurately fitting trapdoor often made of alternate layers of earth and silk. The upper surface of the door may be covered with earth or gravel, disguising the entrance. A species common     in the southwestern U.S.,  Bothriocyrtum californicum, digs holes about 2.5 cm (about 1 in) in diameter and up to 30 cm (12 in) in length. The nests of trap-door spiders are generally in groups. The young hatch in the burrows of their mothers and live there for a few weeks; they then leave the nest and begin small underground burrows of their own. Trap-door spiders subsist largely on ants and other insects.   FROM: “Trap-Door Spider” (2017) Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia database

Originally posted in the Freeman/Lozier Library’s quarterly newsletter, More Than BooksV. 21 No. 3, Summer 2018.

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