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December 5, 2013

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• Each of the eight main Hawaiian Islands has a nickname. The largest, Hawaii, is of course, the Big Island. Next in size, Maui, is the Valley Isle, followed by Oahu, the Gathering Place. Fourth in size, Kauai is the Garden Isle, Molokai is the Friendly Isle, Lanai is nicknamed the Pineapple Isle, Niihau is the Forbidden Isle, and the smallest of the eight, Kaho’olawe is the Target Isle.

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Did you know that one in six people lives on an island? This week, Tidbits takes a little island getaway, bringing you facts about “any land mass completely surrounded by water.” • Not all islands are alike! Continental islands lie on the shelf of a continent, for example, Greenland, which lies on the shelf of North America, and Great Britain on that of Europe. Oceanic islands do not sit on a continental shelf. Most, such as the Hawaiian Islands, were formed by volcanic activity. The Hawaiian Islands, a 137-island chain, are the exposed peaks of a massive undersea mountain range. They were visited by British explorer Captain James Cook in 1778, and he dubbed them the Sandwich Islands after his friend, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu.

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ISLANDS (continued): • Although Australia is completely surrounded by water, geographically it is considered a continent rather than an island. It’s not only too big to be formally classified as an island, it also sits on its own tectonic plate. Because of this, the title of world’s largest island goes to Greenland, a continental island lying on North America’s continental shelf.

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Quiz Bits 1. 2. 3. 4.

5. In what year was Hawaii admitted to the Union? 6. Which state’s capital is Augusta? Name the largest island in the 7. What was L’il Abner’s last name Caribbean. in the comic strip? Which island in the Solomon ar8. Who was the first president for chipelago was the scene of a bitter whom women could cast a ballot? World War II battle? 9. What was inventor Thomas Who was the first European Edison’s middle name? 10. What female artist released “Don’t known to visit the Caribbean It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”? Islands? Greenland is officially part of TRIVIA what country?



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• Located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, Greenland has an area of 836,330 square miles (2,166,086 sq. km), with 81% of that area covered by an ice sheet. If that ice sheet were to melt away completely, the sea level of the world would rise by more than 23 feet (7 m). Most of the island’s 57,600 people live along the coasts, the only areas that are ice-free. It’s the most sparsely populated country in the world. Although Greenland’s main export is shrimp, the island is rich in natural resources, including zinc, lead, iron, gold, and platinum. Even diamonds are mined there. • Contrast Greenland’s population of 57,600 in 836,330 square miles with that of Sumatra. Sumatra’s area equals about 21% of Greenland’s, yet this island is home to 50 million people! Located in Indonesia, Sumatra is the world’s sixth largest island, but is the world’s largest volcanic island. • Just south of the Arctic Circle is the second largest volcanic island, Iceland, home to the world’s largest concentration of geysers. Over 14% of its surface is covered by lakes and glaciers, and there are 130 volcanic mountains on the island. Iceland has the second-highest quality of life in the world, as well as one of the world’s highest life expectancies.

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ISLANDS (continued): • Sitting in the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil is Maraj_, the world’s largest island that is completely surrounded by fresh water. It’s about one-third the size of New York state, and compares in size to Switzerland. About 250,000 live on Maraj_, which lies right on the equator.

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• The official name for a group, cluster, or collection of geographically-related islands is archipelago. Familiar archipelagos include the Canary Islands, the Bahamas, the Caymans, Indonesia, the British Isles, and the Philippines. The Philippines consist of more than 7,100 islands. Total land area is about the same as the state of Arizona, yet its population exceeds 97 million people. About 20 measurable earthquakes occur there daily. Over 170 individual languages are spoken in the Philippines. • The Guinness Book of Records lists Bishop Rock as the world’s smallest island with a building on it. It’s 151 feet (46 m) long by 52.5 feet (16 m) wide and is situated at the end of Britain’s Isles of Scilly, 30 miles from England. Bishop has nothing but an uninhabited 160-ft (49-m) tall lighthouse, completed in 1858. The Rock has been the cause of many shipwrecks over the decades, including one wreck resulting in 2,000 deaths. The lighthouse’s last keepers left in 1992, and it has operated automatically since then. • One of America’s newest national parks is located 60 miles (96 kg) off the coast of southern California. Channel Islands National Park was named such in 1980, and is home to the largest accumulation of blue whales in the world. The last permanent lighthouse in the country was built on the archipelago’s 699-acre Anacapa Island in 1932.


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ISLANDS (continued): • There are 6,852 islands in the nation of Japan. Its capital city Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world with a population of over 30 million people. There are 109 active volcanoes throughout the islands, more than any other country. Its location at the junction of four tectonic plates makes Japan vulnerable to powerful earthquakes and tsunamis. The March, 2011 earthquake, which registered 8.9 on the Richter scale, was the cause of nearly 16,000 deaths. Japan has a 100% literacy rate, one of the world’s highest life expectancies, and a remarkably low crime rate. • From the mid-1700s until the late 1830s, Massachusetts’ Nantucket Island was the whaling capital of the world. About 150 whaling ships made port there during that time. Today this 47.8-sq-mile (124 sq. km) island is most famous today as a tourist destination. During the summer months the population swells from 10,000 to 50,000. Its home values are listed as among the highest in the U.S. • Not every island is formed by natural forces. Japan’s Kansai International Airport is located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay, a project that began in 1987. Rock and 48,000 concrete blocks form a seawall around the island, for which three mountains were excavated for the layer of earth over the sea floor. The airport opened in 1994. Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is in the midst of creating the Palm Islands, a chain of artificial islands shaped like palm trees, constructed from sand dredged from the bottom of the Persian Gulf.

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• An island that has formed on the surface of a coral reef is called a cay, while one that forms by deposits of sediment in a river is called an eyot. A small rocky island, usually too small for habitation, is known as a skerry.

: i The word “suns” looks the same upside down and right side up. i Chili peppers grow hotter when there is less rain.

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NUGGET OF KNOWLEDGE Brooklyn’s famous Coney Island, the site of the amusement parks and a seaside resort, is actually a peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean. But at one time Coney was an outer barrier island, which became partially connected to the mainland by landfill before World War II.



The Good Earth won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1932 and continues as one of the most popular novels of all time. How much do you know about its author, Pearl S. Buck? Here are some details about this prolific writer. • Pearl Sydenstricker was born to Southern Presbyterian missionaries in 1892. Although they were stationed in China, Pearl was born during a U.S. furlough, but moved to China at three months of age. Her mother had established a dispensary in China, where she ministered to Chinese women, while Pearl’s father spent months in the Chinese country side seeking converts.

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• Pearl attended a women’s college in Lynchburg, Virginia, then returned to China shortly afterward to care for her ailing mother. After marrying an agricultural economist, the Bucks held teaching positions at China’s Nanking University. • The couple welcomed a daughter, Carol, in 1921, who was a victim of Phenylketonura, or PKU, a genetic disorder that left her profoundly mentally challenged. Carol’s specialized care required large amounts of money, and the Bucks’ financial situation became so perilous that Pearl, a born storyteller, began writing to earn extra income. In the 1920s, she published essays and stories in several magazines. • Times were tense in China in the 1920s, and in 1927, she and her husband narrowly escaped a violent battle known as the Nanking Incident. They were rescued by American gunboats, and spent a year in Japan before moving back to a turbulent China. 

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• Two books followed to make The Good Earth into a trilogy, Sons in 1932, and A House Divided in 1935.

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• On Dec. 13, 1642, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman becomes the first European explorer to sight the South Pacific island group now known as New Zealand. In his sole attempt to land, several of Tasman’s crew were killed by warriors from a South Island tribe, who interpreted the Europeans’ exchange of trumpet signals as a prelude to battle.

PEARL S. BUCK (continued): • Pearl’s first novel East Wind, West Wind, was published when she was 38 in 1930. The following year, The Good Earth, the novel that would bring her international fame, was published. Having lived in China for most of her life, Pearl had plenty of experience in writing the story of impoverished Chinese farmers struggling to survive. The novel was the bestselling book of both 1931 and 1932, and was translated into 30 languages, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. In 1937, the MGM film version, three years in the making, was released and was nominated for five Academy Awards. A 500-acre California farm was transformed into a replica of a Chinese farm for the movie. Years later, the book regained popularity when it was chosen by television host Oprah Winfrey for Oprah’s Book Club.

curvature of the earth would limit transmission to 200 miles or less. • On Dec. 14, 1946, American tennis champion Stan Smith is born in Pasadena, Calif. A three-time All-American at the University of Southern California, Smith captured the NCAA singles title in 1968 and the doubles title in 1967 and 1968.

• On Dec. 10, 1967, a plane carrying soul-music legend Otis Redding crashes into the frigid waters of a small Wisconsin lake 3 miles short of the runway, killing seven of the eight men aboard, including Redding. His classic song (“Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” would be released in its • On Dec. 11, 1872, already appear- “unfinished” form several weeks later. ing as a well-known figure of the Wild • On Dec. 15, 1988, legendary singer West in popular dime novels, Buffalo James Brown, also known as the Bill Cody makes his first stage ap- “Godfather of Soul” and the “Hardest pearance in a Chicago-based pro- Working Man in Show Business,” beduction of “The Scouts of the Prairie.” comes inmate number 155413 at the • On Dec. 12, 1901, Italian physi- State Park Correctional Institute in cist and radio pioneer Guglielmo South Carolina. Already no stranger Marconi succeeds in sending the to law enforcement, Brown’s reckfirst radio transmission across less spree on Sept. 24 had resulted in the Atlantic Ocean, disproving numerous criminal charges, including detractors who told him that the assault and battery with intent to kill. • On Dec. 9, 1775, the Virginia and North Carolina militias defeat 800 slaves and 200 redcoats serving John Murray, earl of Dunmore and governor of Virginia, at Great Bridge outside Norfolk, ending British royal control of Virginia.

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• Needing better care for her daughter, Pearl, single after 18 years, moved to the U.S. permanently in 1933. She returned to school and earned a second Master’s degree. All the while she continued to write and in 1938, she became the first American women to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Most of her writing featured China as the setting. • Pearl later married an editor from her publisher’s company, and the couple adopted six children during their 25 years together. Over the course of her life, she published over 70 books, story collections, an autobiography, poetry, children’s books, and a cookbook. When she passed away in 1973, her tombstone of her own design featured her name inscribed in Chinese characters.

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Although there are more than three dozen islands situated in the waters of New York City, Manhattan is the one we hear the most about. Here are some facts about the smallest of the city’s five boroughs.

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• About 1.6 million people live in Manhattan, about 70,500 people per square mile. • Manhattan was originally inhabited by the Lenape Indians. It’s believed that explorer Giovanni da Verrazano was the first European to visit the island. But the area was not mapped until after the exploration of Englishman Henry Hudson in 1609. or call Monique at (701) 787-7910 * APPLY NOW! * Limited Space Available

• A Dutch fur trading settlement on neighboring Governors Island was founded in 1624, and the following year, the Dutch began construction of a fort on Manhattan, an island they called New Amsterdam. This 1625 completion is recognized as the birthdate of New York City.

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• The 778-acre Central Park, nestled in the center of Manhattan opened in 1857. Today the park is 840 acres and receives about 35 million visitors every year. • The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge across the East River in 1883 and the launch of the New York subway system in 1904 revolutionized travel in and out of Manhattan. • In the midst of the Great Depression, New York City was building some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. The Empire State Building was completed in 1931, the Chrysler Building in 1930, and the G.E. Building in 1933.



© 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

• In 1626, the Dutch colonists purchased Manhattan from the Native Americans with trade goods valued at about $24. In modern currency, this would be about $1,000.


though, miss out on the attraction; in late 2010, vandals cut down the tree. But take heart, seekers of the unusual! Shoe trees can be found in 18 other states, ranging from California to New York. • During the entire presidency of Bill Clinton, he sent two emails. • The Bronx Zoo is a wellrespected institution these days, but some moments of its history show that it didn’t always deserve such respect. For instance, in 1906, a man named Oto Benga was placed as an exhibit in the monkey house. He was a pygmy from Congo. • It seems that the Germans have a word for everything. For instance, “waldeinsamkeit” describes the feeling of being alone in the woods. * * * Thought for the Day: “Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is.” -- Margaret Mitchell


• It was noted German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who made the following sage observation: “The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” • A scorpion can live for an entire year without eating. • If you lack a belief in ghosts, UFOs, telepathy or other paranormal phenomena, you are in rare company; only 7 percent of Americans share your lack of belief. • If you traveled along Highway 50 east of Reno, Nev., in recent decades, you may have had the opportunity to see -- and perhaps even contribute to -- the world’s largest shoe tree. It’s claimed that the cottonwood got its start as a landmark when a quarreling couple, on their wedding night, threw each other’s shoes into the branches. This shoe-tossing (for reasons unclear) became a tradition, and the tree gradually became laden with the odd offerings. Travelers these days,

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• From 1890 to 1973, Manhattan was home to DEERE. JOHN DEERE. (continued): the tallest building in the world, with nine • It was while living in Illinois that John nodifferent buildings owning the title, includticed the problems that farmers faced when ing the Singer Building, MetLife, the Woolattempting to till soil. Because the area had worth andbeen Chrysler buildings, thewas Empire formerly woodland, the soil rich State Building and the Twin Towers. The with hummus, which clumped and clungnew to World TradeofCenter, scheduled open next the blades the plows farmers to were accusyear willtostand (541 m) and willcirbe tomed using.1,776 Whilefeet repairing a broken the tallest in the upon U.S. an idea. He cular saw,skyscraper Deere stumbled

employed hisissmith fashion thestores, steel • Fifth Avenue linedskills withtoprestigious blade into the shape of a plow. He affixed such as Tiffany, Saks Fifth Avenue, Cartier, two wooden spokes, then hitched the device and Lord & Taylor, and is ranked as one of the to a horse. It plowed the heavy Illinois soil most expensive shopping streets in the world. like a charm. In fact, a farmer who happened Yet in the late 18th 19th centuries, to be observing the and test early run immediately put itinwas flanked by extravagant mansions an order for his own John Deere plow.of the rich and famous, including Andrew Carnegie, • In short order, Deere gave up his blacksmith William A. Clark, and Cornelius Vanderbilt. shop and focused on making plows. The Vanderbilt’s home on the corner of Fifth Avcompany grew steadily and added many emenue and West 57th1840s, was six stories tall the and ployees. In the late John relocated was andoperation remains to theMoline, largestIllinois. private Ashamed residence entire ever built in New York City. It was demolof his own lack of education, John sent his ished in 1927 is the current siteOne of the children to theand state’s finest schools. of Bergdorf Goodman department store. Wilhis proudest days occurred when son Charles liam A. the Clark’s 121-room milearned equivalent of anhome MBA cost from$7 Bell’s Commercial College Chicago. lion to build in 1907 in(about $162 million in money), and only stoodthe forcompany, 20 years. • today’s With his son Charles managing Only a very few mansions have survived, inJohn found time to pursue philanthropic including home, is now the terests. Carnegie’s He co-founded bothwhich the First NationCooper al BankHewitt and theMuseum. First Congregational Church.


He was elected mayorEve of Moline in 1873, • The annual NewtheYear’s ball drop took where one of his first actions – the replaceplace in Times Square for the first time in ment of the city’s open drains with a sewer 1907, and the celebration has been held evpipe system – saved countless lives by reducery year since. of The two largest gatherings in ing the spread disease. Times Square have been the August, 1945 • celebration The original John Deere logo, registered marking the end of World War in II, 1876, depicted a deer that was native to Afriand the millennial celebration on December ca. Thirty-six years later, in 1912, it was re31, 1999.with About million crowded downplaced the two image of a North American town Manhattan to welcome the newthat century. white-tailed deer. In the decades followed, the now-familiar “outline” logo took Thanks for Reading over as the symbol of the JohnTidbits! Deere brand.

Information in the Tidbits® Paper is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed.


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