First News
Volume:7, Number:26
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Fun Facts

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History of Rice

It used to be thought that rice farming arrived in India around 2000 BCE, an imported crop from China. Recent evidence is turning that on its head. From archaeological discoveries and deductions around what used to be the Indus River Civilization – in today’s Pakistan and northern India – scientists now think rice arrived about 430 years earlier. In fact, rice growing by the Indus Civilization may have developed in tandem with rice growing by ancient China. The Indus developed both wet and dry versions of Oryza sativa indica, while truly ‘wetland’ Chinese rice, Oryza sativa japonica, arrived around 2000 BCE.

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Too Fat To Rule

Sancho I, king of Leon in the north of Spain, was overthrown by rebel nobels in 958 CE. The nobles accused Sancho of being unable to rule because he was too fat. His grandmother, queen Toda Aznar of Navarra, sought help from the Muslim caliphate Cordoba in southern Spain. She asked for two things: military aid to regain the throne, and medicinal aid to “cure” her grandson’s morbid obesity. Jewish physician Hisdai ibn Shaprut put ex-king Sancho on a strict diet. Once he was slim enough to ride a horse properly, Sancho reclaimed his throne with Muslim troops’ aid.

First News

Preserver of Chickens

In 1626 Sir Francis Bacon, one of the most influential minds of his time, was watching a snowstorm. He was struck by the notion that maybe snow could be used to preserve meat. Determined to find out if snow could preserve meat, Bacon purchased a chicken from a nearby village. He killed it and then, standing outside in the snow, tried to freeze the chicken by stuffing it full of snow. The chicken never froze. But Bacon caught a cold that turned into pneumonia, and died shortly afterward.

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