Bite Size

What is the world’s longest venomous snake?

Vatican City

Vatican City, also known as the Holy See, is the smallest country in Europe and the world. Currently (you never know, right?), the smallest countries in the world, measured in square kilometres are: Vatican City at 0.44, Monaco at 2, Nauru at 21, Tuvalu at 26, and San Marino at 61.

Famous Last Words

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826, and both were the only signers of the Declaration of Independence to become a President of the United States. On his deathbed, Jefferson’s last words were: “Is it the fourth?” and Adams’s last words were: “Thomas Jefferson survives.” But Adams was wrong. Thomas Jefferson had actually died a few hours before. One other U.S. President died on July 4th: President James Monroe who died on July 4, 1831. Only one U.S. President, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4th (1872).

It Really is “Prince”!

The real name of the artist known as Prince, then formerly known as Prince and then again known as Prince is Prince Rogers Nelson.

Nothing Can Really Be Something

Though people have always understood the concept of nothing or having nothing, the concept of zero is relatively new.  The use of zero started as as a placeholder, invented independently in civilizations around the world, and a symbol for zero appeared at least as far back as 300 B.C. when ancient Sumerians clearly used it as a placeholder (e.g., a way to signify there was no number in a particular place such as 1,205 where there are not ‘tens’).  Mayans used zero as a placeholder in their calendar systems at least since 350 A.D,  but never used zero in calculations.

Most scholars believe zero, as an operational integer, was developed in India around 458 A.D. by the Hindu astronomer and mathematician Brahmagupta.  No trivial accomplishment, the creation of zero as an operational number is considered one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of mathematics.  Spreading rapidly around the world, zero was fundamental to the development of calculus, which subsequently enabled the study of physics, engineering, computers, economic theory and much more.

Today, zero — as a symbol and mathematical concept — is perceived not only as a great breakthrough in mathematics, but possibly one of the greatest innovations in human history.