Thursday, September 27, 2012

Disaster Dozen: 12 Myths of Disaster Preparedness

Since I work for the State of Montana in the emergency preparedness section - I thought I would share the following with you.  This is great information - I hope you found it to be worth your time.  Rita

·         Disaster Dozen: 12 Myths of Disaster Preparedness
     Hurricane Katrina and other disasters have given us a series of emergency preparedness wake-up calls. Do we pay attention now or continue to hit the snooze button?
     Let’s look at the most important part of a comprehensive emergency readiness plan: the preparedness levels of individuals and families.
     The biggest obstacles to comprehensive family emergency readiness education are the misconceptions surrounding the true nature of preparedness. So to set the stage for better education, and ultimately better public safety, let’s take a look at some of these myths.
     1. If something happens all I have to do is call 911.
Help can only go so far or be there so quickly. Security, like charity, begins at home and the responsibility for your family’s safety rests on your shoulders. This isn’t to say that families shouldn’t call for help when it’s truly needed, it’s to remind them that they may be on their own for a while, especially if the situation is expansive or severe.
     2. All I need is a 72-hour kit with a flashlight, first aid kit, some food and water, and a radio.  We’re not sure where the 72-hour figure came from but it’s an extremely minimal amount of time and not very realistic. A more practical goal is to be self-sufficient for a minimum of two weeks (preferably four weeks). Why two weeks? As bad as Katrina was there are numerous disaster and terrorism scenarios that could yield substantially more damage and a disruption of local services for three weeks or more. Also many biological scenarios may cause a two-week quarantine. Avoid the one-size-fits-all simpleton lists and customize yours to your family’s unique threats, needs and assets.
     3. My insurance policy will take care of everything.  SWAT teams of insurance agents aren’t going to instantly rebuild your life like on TV. Insurance companies will be far more concerned about their own bottom line than yours. In fact, many insurance companies are rewriting policies to redefine some rather common terrorism or disaster-related incidents as being excluded and not coverable. Check your policies closely.
     4. Good preparedness is too expensive and complicated.  Nothing could be further from the truth. The problem is we haven’t made preparedness part of our overall education. We get more preparedness information on an airline flight than we get as citizens. Most citizens aren’t taught that there are literally thousands of subtle, simple and economical things we can do to drastically improve our emergency readiness. The notion that it might be expensive or complicated has come from companies that aggressively market high-priced unnecessary gear.
     5. We can only form a neighborhood group through FEMA, the Red Cross or local law enforcement.
Neighbor helping neighbor is one of our highest civic duties. No one regulates this, and you don’t have to get anyone’s permission to coordinate your safety with others. Working with these groups is rather advantageous but not required.
     6. In a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) terrorist attack, we’re all dead anyway.  WMDs might kill larger numbers of people, but that doesn’t mean widespread destruction is guaranteed. In fact, for widespread destruction a top-grade WMD must be expertly and precisely applied under ideal conditions. This does not mean that WMDs are to be ignored or that they’re nothing to fear, it’s just that mass destruction does not mean total destruction.
     7. Nothing like that could ever happen here.  Though some areas are more prone to certain types of disasters, say earthquakes in California or terror attacks in New York, no area is completely immune. Travelers might travel somewhere and wind up in a disaster they never thought about.
     8. All I have to worry about is my own family.  Technically yes but the more you’re able to care for your own family, the more you can and should help others.
     9. If preparedness were really important it would be taught in school.  Preparedness really is that important but schools only have so much time and budget to teach the topics they already do. This is one of the many things we’re trying to change.
     10. I can get free preparedness information on the Internet.  Many free sources contain really good information. However, many of them are nothing more than a rehash of 72-hour kit ideas and contain nothing new or comprehensive. Also it takes time and experience to filter the trash from the treasure. And some of these free sites have information that could actually cause more problems than they solve. Start with, but don’t stop there, continue your education as best you can.
     11. Full preparedness means I have to get a lot of guns and be a survivalist.  While personal security and family safety are valid concerns, the vast majority of people around you will not be a threat. In fact, though looters gained a lot of media attention after Hurricane Katrina, there were far more stories of heroism and of people making new friends through shared adversity. We suggest a balance between personal security needs with the desire to help others.
     12. If something really bad happens, no one will help.  There’s no such thing as “no one helping.” However, the best thing people can do to is to prepare their families so they need as little outside help as possible. There’s always someone needier than you and the more prepared you are, the more you free up assistance resources so they can help those less fortunate. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


A penny for your thoughts!  Ugh ... I know we're all sick of cliches.  What are some of your pet peeves?  
1. Avoid it like the plague
2. Dead as a doornail
3. Take the tiger by the tail
4. Low hanging fruit
5. If only walls could talk
6. The pot calling the kettle black
7. Think outside the box
8. Thick as thieves
9. But at the end of the day
10. Plenty of fish in the sea
11. Every dog has its day
12. Like a kid in a candy store
And those are just the tip of the iceberg (oh wait, there’s bonus cliche #13!).

Monday, September 24, 2012


I've often been asked the below information - so I thought I'd share it here.  When we think about how far and fast (with air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter) we travel across the land now days - it boggles the mind to think what it truly was like in the 1800s. 

A horse can walk about 4 miles per hour comfortably... so let's say not over an hour and a half for 5 miles

Now, if what you are REALLY asking is, how long did it take to travel 5 miles with an ox cart or a covered wagon, the wagon trains could make from 15 to 20 miles a day and, unlike what they show in the movies... the PEOPLE WALKED they DID NOT RIDE in the WAGONS... so if you were MOVING and you had a covered wagon full of your stuff, then that 5 miles would maybe take 2 hours.

An average wagon train could travel 20-40 miles a day depending on weight and how many in the party were walking or driving etc. My guess would be that on a horse you could go 5 miles in an hour or less easy, and with wagons five miles might take closer to two hours. I think wagons would travel at about 20 minutes per mile if there were no stops for broken wheels and other stuff.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Revenge by Rita Karnopp

One of my most bought books is Revenge.  I wrote this book because a friend of mine was having some problems with her marriage. Suddenly her husband of ten months said he need some space. Eight months pregnant, he put her in a hotel near the hospital.  I'm serious...he truly did this.

He said he would take her and the baby home from the hospital. But, once he realized the baby was a girl, he didn't take them home with him. My friend never returned home again. You see, he was a rancher and he already had a daughter with his first wife. He wanted a son.

I wrote this book to keep my friend's mind off her troubles.  We worked within a block of each other. Every night I would write as many pages as I could - I'd print them and meet her the next morning on the corner so she could read . . . this is the fastest book I ever wrote! 


Abi and her newborn daughter, Kelly, are in trouble. Someone has made repeated attempts on their lives, and her sister, Chyna, thinks she knows exactly who; Trevor Madden, Abi’s soon-to-be ex-husband. Trevor has turned violent and abusive. Who is he mixed up with and why does he want to get rid of his wife and baby daughter?

Abi takes Kelly and flees into the icy wilderness of Montana with handsome Detective Miles Sandler. It doesn’t take Abi long to realize her heart isn’t all that safe either. But, with Trevor hot on their trail and Chyna getting dangerously close to the truth, will any of them come out of this alive?

Click to order Revenge

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Atonement now available in print

I'm so excited to share with you that Atonement is now available in print.  If you look closely you'll see the image reflection of a man's face.  Books We Love had done it again - I love my cover!  :)  It touches my heart to have my sister's review for this book . . . she is now gone three years . . . it seems like yesterday and forever ago. I miss her every day.

Atonement   Click here to order your copy now.

Murder and revenge collide as a vicious serial killer stalks and escalates in the preparation of one sinner at a time for atonement. His routine takes an unexpected turn when he falls in love with the last woman on his list.

When a string of women turn up dead, all incriminating evidence points to Carter Thompson, a pathologist with a reputation for solving crimes, that is until his wife is brutally murdered. For years his life revolves around making sense of the serial killer’s deranged plan. Carter is determined to uncover who and why he has become linked to this killer’s gruesome handiwork. He teams up with the one woman he hurt and still loves. Through it all he manages to uncover a convoluted plot of jealousy and delusion.

Native American Studies Professor, Angelene Jensen's orderly life is shattered when her sister is brutally murdered. Determined to make the killer pay, she makes decisions that propel her closer to the man who left her standing at the altar, and a chilling killer. Are they the same person? Had her sister uncovered evidence revealing this killer? Did it get her killed?
"I love a jolting suspense and Atonement is a nail-biting, air-gasping page-turner. An avid reader of thrilling suspense, I found Rita Karnopp's ability to take me into the mind of the serial killer totally suspended my disbelief. I struggled to put the book down. She's turned it up a notch with this one and it's my favorite of her books – so far." ~ Diane Davis ~ Davis Creative Media

Friday, September 21, 2012


I have been following these ten commandments for years.  The list hangs on my bulletin board and I read them now and again to remind myself how I finished my books.  I believe the most powerful and helpful one is 'thou shalt turn off the TV.'  
     I actually tape the shows I like to watch, then I take the last hour before going to bed and unwind watching an hour of TV. I fast-forward past the advertisements. 
     Another time robber is emailing.  It's like TV, it's addicting.  I give myself a half-hour before writing to answer emails. I NEVER check emails while writing . . . it's a time robber.   

THOU SHALT FINISH YOUR MANUSCRIPT - By award-winning self-publishing author and BookSurge Publishing Consultant, Richard Ridley
As a writer, I find myself caught in the general minutia of life and not devoting as much time to writing as I should. And I love to write. Writing is a craft that you have to hone through repetition and diligence. I wish there was a magic formula or pill I could take to help me finish a manuscript, but there isn’t, and unless the pharmaceutical companies can project a profit in creating such a pill, one will never exist. That leaves nothing but you and your computer to finish that manuscript that you have been working on (or should have been working on) all those lonely nights and mornings.

Here are my ten commandments for finishing a manuscript. They don’t require special training or even “Hemingwayesque” talent. They just require commitment.
Thou shalt set a writing schedule. This is your “other job now.” Treat it like you’re getting paid.

Thou shalt turn off the TV. The TV will kill the desire to write. Turn it off and step away from the remote.

Thou shalt not reinvent the wheel. Chances are that you are a writer because you were influenced by other writers or you enjoy a particular genre. That means you have a blueprint on how you want to construct both story and layout. Use the blueprint. Study it.

Thou shalt set a word count. The best way to determine how to end a book is to know when to end a book. If you have a word count goal, you can better construct the flow and plot points of your book.
Thou shalt set a daily word count goal. Know when your writing day ends before you sit down at the computer. Giving yourself permission to stop writing at a certain point is almost as important as sitting down to write. Personally, I set a word count goal of 1,000 everyday. I’ve heard Stephen King does 1,500.

Thou shalt join a writer’s group. Joining a network of writers is a great resource for both information and inspiration. You probably can find a writer’s group locally. There are hundreds online.

Thou shalt tell family and friends you are working on a manuscript. This may be the hardest commandment to keep for some of you, but chances are it will be the most invaluable step you take. They probably will react with genuine interest and beg to read what you’ve written. Let them. Get their feedback. Encourage honest criticism. It will help you grow as a writer and write a better manuscript.

Thou shalt read what you’ve written out loud every day. There is nothing like hearing what you’ve written. You will discover both brilliant words and embarrassing mistakes when you hear the words you’ve written. It will more than likely spur you to make changes or advance the story in ways you never thought of. It’s a great visualization tool.

Thou shalt seek silence. Having time alone with no noise or interruptions is important. I find time to meditate every morning. I focus on what I’m writing and picture my characters and storylines. It will keep you calm and confident in your writing abilities.

Thou shalt read a book on writing. Learn from the masters. They’ve been there and they’ve perfected their craft. You might as well use them as a resource. 

There you have it. It’s not a magic pill, but it is a formula of sorts. I’m not going to guarantee that if you follow every step you’ll finish your manuscript, but I can guarantee if you do nothing, you will never finish your manuscript. Good luck and happy writing! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Top 10 Essentials to a Writer’s Life

I ran across the below article some time ago -and saved it.... and every time I read it ... I think, this is great.  I decided it's time to share it with you.  Hope you enjoy it.  Rita
Erik Larson (Photo by Benjamin Benschneider)
Top 10 Essentials to a Writer’s Life
     1. Good Coffee: Every writer has a ritual that begins the day. It’s like turning a key to start your car. For me, the key that starts the day is a good cup of coffee, preferably Peet’s Coffee.
     2. More Coffee: Alas, I drink as many as five cups a day. And then switch to tea. My teeth are the color of plum-tree leaves.
3. Oreo Cookies: I mean, look, if you have a cup of good coffee, you need an Oreo. Some mornings—the tough ones—I define as two-Oreo days. Double Stuf preferred.
4. A Sense of Pace: Many writers make the mistake of engaging in what I call “binge writing.” They write for 10 hours straight, riding the perfect wave of inspiration. The problem is, you still need to wake up the next day and do it again. Best is to pace yourself. Write for three hours straight, without interruption, then stop.
5. Knowing Where to Stop: My favorite “trick” is to stop writing at a point where I know that I can pick up easily the next day. I’ll stop in mid-paragraph, often in mid-sentence. It makes getting out of bed so much easier, because I know that all I’ll have to do to be productive is complete the sentence. And by then I’ll be seated at my desk, coffee and Oreo cookie at hand, the morning’s inertia overcome. There’s an added advantage: The human brain hates incomplete sentences. All night my mind will have secretly worked on the passage and likely mapped out the remainder of the page, even the chapter, while simultaneously sending me on a dinner date with Cate Blanchett.
6. Blocks of Undisturbed Time: I set aside a minimum of three hours every morning, seven days a week, during which no one is allowed to intrude except to report an approaching cruise missile.
7. Physical Diversion: When I stop writing, I need an escape—something that takes me out of the work and wholly into another realm. My main diversion is tennis, though I also find cooking to be very helpful. Something about chopping onions is very restorative. Dogs are helpful, too. They force you to go outside and confront the weather, although my dog did once eat a 19th-century edition of a British physicist’s autobiography.
8. A Good Library: For all writers, but especially those of us who write  nonfiction, a good library with open stacks is crucial.
9. A Trusted Reader: Every writer I know has at least one friend or partner who can be trusted to read early drafts of a book and provide an accurate, constructive critique. My secret weapon is my wife, who annotates the margins of my drafts with crying faces, smiles and long receding lines of zzzzzzzzzzzs.
10. A Fireplace: One of the most important things a writer must do is read, and there’s no greater pleasure than settling in front of a fire on a cold night with a good book (and maybe a glass of bourbon). Falling asleep in midpage is one of the delights of life.
Erik Larson is the author of The New York Times bestsellers In the Garden of Beasts, Thunderstruck, Isaac’s Storm and The Devil in the White City, which was a finalist for a National Book Award. He has written for The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New Yorker and other publications.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


  • Tomorrow, hubby and I leave for California to see our oldest son and his wife.  I haven't seen them since 2007, and that was briefly at a wedding we all attended.  I'm excited and scared at the same time.  As you probably know from previous posts, I haven't been feeling well and the doctor has switched medications, upped dosages and the side affects keep my groggy, tired, and unable to focus.  I'm not passing up the opportunity to see my first's been far too long.  Since I'm probably not going to have anything with me except my Iphone, I won't be blogging for the my scheduled days during that time.  I hope you miss me.  :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ginger's Sunday Sampler

The only problem with being an author and reader is finding a way to balance the time and still be productive.  My Kindle is bulging with books I'd love to read, some I've committed to read and review, and others I downloaded because they were free and sounded interesting.  At least, I'm able to kill two birds with one stone, proverbially of course, by being able to share samples of some of the books I think are marvelous. I'm in the midst of this one, preparing to share a review on Historical Novel Review's Blogsite, and I thought you might enjoy a little sample.

 Keowee Valley by Katherine Scott Crawford is a debut novel, which surprised the heck out of me, and although when I realized it was written in first person, I had a mind set I wasn't going to enjoy it....BOY, was I wrong.  It's a "can't put down" kind of story, and I'm very awed by the author's talent and style.  Enjoy what I've copied to tease you into wanting more:

I was cold all the time, and I dressed as a man would, abandoning hoop skirts and delicate linen for a pair of rough breeches I'd sewn from a wool blanket.  Whenever I rode Fire Eater, or worked in the barn, I wore them and an old greatcoat of my grandfather's--much to dismay of Hosa, who gave me a glinty-eyed look and shook his head in disgust whenever he saw me.

"You are mad," he said this morning as I stood with my backside high in the air, holding Fire Eater's bent foreleg in my arms and digging at a stone in his hoof.  "You'd be took to jail, we be in Charlestown."

"Well, it's a good thing we're not in Charlestown," I said, working the wooden pick.  Fire Eater swung his big head around, snorting.

"I know," I told the horse. "But it'll soon be over with."

"Dressed a man, talkin' to beasts,: Hosa grumbled, his lyrical voice lightning the complaint.   He broke the ice in the water trough with an ax.  "You too fine a lady for dis, now--you be temptin' de devil wid dat look."

The stone flew out and hit the stall door.  I straightened, looked down at myself and frowned  I did look a boy with the fitted gray breeches and black greatcoat of Grandfather's that hung past my knees, the hugely cuffed sleeves flapping with each move.  But in this frigid weather, I honestly didn't care.  There were no society ladies to frown at and gossip over my improper garb, no Grandfather to send me back to my dressing rooms, insisting I change. 

 "I'd rather be ugly as a toad than freeze to death," I said. "On a morning like this I'd be out the door two steps and have the hem of my skirts dripping--by noon they'd be frozen."

Hosa rolled his eyes and hung the ax on a nail.

"Besides, I grumbled, hanging the pick on the nail beside it and walking to take Fire Eater's lead, "hoop skirts are nonsensical on the frontier.  The air gets underneath, and it's literally freezing."

Hosa held both hands in the air and backed away, and I could swear I saw his dark cheeks turn a shade of deep berry.  "Dat's it," he said.  "I don' wan' be hearin' no more 'bout what's up no skirts."  He turned and headed to the other end of the barn, shaking his curly head.

"Madwoman," I heard him mutter as he left.

Just FYI, this is just one of many cute scenes in this historical set in the 1700s. It's filled with action, adventure, romance...everything that makes a book enjoyable, and I'm only half way through it.  I can't wait to see how it ends, but I dread having it end because it's kept me so entertained.  I'm sure you'll feel the same.  You can preorder a copy on Amazon.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Short Stories to Sample from Books We Love

Books We Love is the greatest 'by invite' publisher I've had the good fortune to luck into..  It's a close knit group of authors and administrators who relate well to each other, and our 'fearless leaders' who are also authors, have insight into what we all need to succeed.  Those of us signed there are fortunate to take advantage of their motivation, inspiration, and enjoy the success that has long been denied most of us.

The latest opportunity from Books We Love, besides another great contest, is offering current or prospective readers the opportunity to sample the work of a great many of their authors through short stories offered at no cost.  FREE....yep, you heard me. You can track what's new and exciting at:   In just one day, this is the accumulated line up and it will be changing frequently as new ones are added for your reading pleasure.  Who can turn down free?  It takes a few seconds to download a PDF file directly to your computer, and for those of you Kindle-spoiled folks...all you need to do is forward the PDF file to your Kindle email address with "convert" in the subject line, and you can continue your e-reading habit.  Gotta love Books We Love.

Killer Spade by Jude Pittman
Write Your Novel by Joan Hall Hovey
The Cat's Meow by Jude Pittman
Dark Reunion by Joan Hall Hovey
Recipes and Remedies by John Wisdomkeeper
Behind the Door by Kathy Fischer Brown
Nemethis by Lee Killough
Tooth Fairy Wisdom by Ginger Simpson
Popcorn Murders by Cheryl Wright
The Night The Moon Sang by Juliet Waldron
Nothing But Romance by Sydell Voeller

Most Popular Interesting Facts

I found the following facts very interesting and fun.  What is your favorite?  I think mine is between It's impossible to kill yourself by holding your breath. and It is impossible to hum if your nose is plugged. Hope you have fun reading these facts.  :)  A fun break for your mind.

Fact Comments
1. Cash machines are as dirty as public toilets.
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2. Daft Punk named their band after a negative reviewer called their act "a bunch of daft punk."
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3. A typical lead pencil can draw a line that is 35 miles long.
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4. If you had 10 billion $1 notes and spent one every second of every day, it would require 317 years for you to go broke.
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5. The hands of the clock on the back of the $100 bill are set at approximately 4:10.
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6. Coins usually survive in circulation for about 30 years.
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7. American car horns beep in the tone of F.
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8. No one knows Albert Eistein's last words. Just before he passed, he spoke several words in German, but his nurse only knew English.
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9. In Monopoly, the character locked behind the bars is called Jake the Jailbird. Officer Edgar Mallory sent him to jail.
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10. The longest Monopoly game in history lasted 70 straight days.
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11. Play-Doh was first manufactured as a wallpaper cleaner.
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12. Tae Kwon Do is only around 60 years old.
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13. The 409 escalators in the London subway cover a distance every week which is approximately equivalent to several trips around the globe!
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14. It is impossible to hum if your nose is plugged.
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15. One in five long-term love relationships began with one or both partners being involved with others.
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16. When someone looks at a new love, the neural circuits that are usually associated with social judgment are suppressed.
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17. Couples' personalities converge over time to make partners more and more similar.
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18. When withdrawing money from an ATM, the 'whirring' sound before your money pops out is actually a recording. The actual mechanism is so far back that you can't hear it.
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19. Most of the dust underneath your bed is actually your own dead skin.
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20. 'X' became symbolic for a kiss because in the middle ages when alot of people were illiterate and they used to sign documents with an X and then kiss it for sincerity.
21. When glass breaks, the cracks move at speeds of up to 3,000 miles per hour.
Fact Comments
22. The roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear.
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taking place all over the world.
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24. A new baby usually deprives each of its parents around 350-400 hours of sleep in the first year. That is one entire nights sleep per week, per parent.
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25. The Main Library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.
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26. If you mouth the word "colorful" to someone, it looks like you are saying "I love you".
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27. You can actually sharpen the blades on a pencil sharpener by wrapping your pencils in aluminum foil before inserting them.
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28. There was once an undersea post office in the Bahamas.
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29. If left alone, 70% of birthmarks gradually fade away.
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30. Blue light fends off drowsiness in the middle of the night, which could be useful to people who work at night.
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31. Caffeine boosts memory.
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32. If you get water flowing fast enough, it can cut metal.
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33. About two hundred babies are born worldwide every minute.
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34. You burn 26 calories in a one minute kiss.
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35. Bullet proof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers were all invented by women.
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36. Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.
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37. It's impossible to kill yourself by holding your breath.
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38. You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.
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39. One human hair can support 3 ounces.Fact Comments
·         40. On average people fear spiders more than they do death.
41. When you are looking at someone you love, your pupils dilate, they do the same when you are looking at someone you hate.
42. Bullet proof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers were all invented by women.
43. The most children born to one woman was 69, she was a peasant who lived a 40 year life, in which she had 16 twins, 7 triplets, and 4 quadruplets.
44. Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.
45. Your fingernails grow faster in winter.

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