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Mirabilia Report

(Excerpted from my book, PRONOIA Is the Antidote for Paranoia.)

Mirabilia: events that inspire wonder, marvelous phenomena, small miracles, beguiling ephemera, inexplicable joys, changes that inspire quiet awe, eccentric enchantments, unplanned jubilations, sudden deliverance from boring evils; from the Latin *mirabilia,* "marvels."

* The National Center for Atmospheric Research reports that the average cloud is the same weight as 100 elephants.

* The seeds of some trees are so tightly compacted within their protective covering that only the intense heat of a forest fire can free them, allowing them to sprout.

* Thirty-eight percent of North America is wilderness.

* Anthropologists say that in every culture in history, children have played the game hide and seek.

* With every dawn, when first light penetrates the sea, many seahorse colonies perform a dance to the sun.

* A seven-year-old Minnesota boy received patent number 6,368,227 for a new method of swinging on a swing.

* A chemist in Australia finally succeeded in mixing oil and water.

* Except among birds and land mammals, the females of most species are bigger than the males.

* The sky not only isn't falling -- it's rising. The top of the troposphere, the atmosphere's lowest layer, is slowly ascending.

* To make a pound of honey, bees have to gather nectar from about two million flowers. To produce a single pound of the spice saffron, humans have to handpick and process 80,000 flowers. In delivering the single survivor necessary to fertilize an ovum, a man releases 500 million sperm.

* Some Christians really do love their enemies, as Jesus recommended.

* Kind people are more likely than mean people to yawn when someone near them does.

* There are always so many fragments of spider legs floating in the air that you are constantly inhaling them wherever you go.

* "The average river requires a million years to move a grain of sand 100 miles," says science writer James Trefil.

* Because half of the world's vanilla crop is grown in Madagascar, the whole island smells like vanilla ice cream.

* In his book *The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead,* physicist Frank J. Tipler offers what he says is scientific proof that every human being who has ever lived will be resurrected from the dead at the end of time.

* Robust singing skill is correlated with a strong immune system in songbirds. Male birds with the most extensive repertoire of tunes also have the largest spleens, a key measure of immune system health.

* Bali has 80,000 temples.

* Romanian physicists created gaseous globes of plasma that grew, reproduced, and communicated with each other, thereby fulfilling the definition for life.

* In an apparent attempt to raise their volume above the prevailing human din, some nightingales in big cities have learned to unleash 95-decibel songs, matching the loudness of a chainsaw.

* There is a statistically significant probability of world-class athletes and military leaders being born when Mars is rising in the sky.

* Some piranhas are vegetarians.

* In the pueblos of New Mexico, bricks still measure 33 by 15 by 10 centimeters, proportions that almost exactly match those of the bricks used to build Egypt's Temple of Hatshepsut 3,500 years ago.

* Scientists believe they'll be able to figure out why cancer cells are virtually immortal, and then apply the secret to keeping normal cells alive much longer, thereby dramatically expanding the human life span.

* Clown fish can alter their gender as their social status rises.

* Gregorian chants can cure dyslexia.

* Bob Hope donated half a million jokes to the Library of Congress.

* Bees perform a valuable service for the flowers from which they steal.

* Revlon makes 177 different shades of lipstick.

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