Usafact: Did You Know?

The news today is full of concerning, but important information. Sometimes you just don’t want to think too hard for a minute. So sit back and read a few facts we’ve compiled that will make you say, “Huh!”

You never know, you might just be the ringer at your next “Zoom Trivia Night.”

Did You Know?

Daylight Savings Daylight Savings Time was first put in place in Germany in 1916. The rationale was that it would result in fuel savings during World War One. The U.S. and England soon followed suit for the same reason. Farmers have never liked it because they lose an hour of light in the morning when they are out working their fields. In fact, before the end of the war, Congress had repealed daylight savings time due to pressure from the farm lobby. Ultimately, the rationale that has kept the custom going is profit. In 1986 Congress extended Daylight Savings Time from six to seven hours. The result was an increase in sales of $200 million for the golf industry alone. Currently, there is a growing opinion against Daylight Savings Time claiming it disrupts sleep leading to more heart attacks, strokes, accidents on the job and a decline in productivity to name a few.

Coffee Break Consumption of coffee is over 500 billion cups per year worldwide, making it the second most sought after commodity in the world, behind crude oil. Originally coffee was found in Arabia and Ethiopia. According to legend, the bean was discovered by goatherds who noticed their goats cavorting in the fields after eating the beans they found on the ground. The actual brewing of coffee as we know it did not occur until the 13th century. The Arabs closely guarded their coffee trade by forbidding its export under penalty of death. However, some Dutch traders managed to smuggle some out around 1700 and brought it to Java whose name has become synonymous with coffee.

Bootlegging Do you know where the term “bootlegger” originated? Most of us associate the term with the Prohibition law which went into effect in 1920 and lasted until 1933. In fact, the term actually refers to a period in the “wild west” when many indigenous, Native American tribes were confined to reservations. At that time, resourceful peddlers would smuggle alcohol, for sale, onto reservations by concealing flasks in their boots, hence the term “bootleg”.

Log Cabins…Swedish born? We think of the log cabin and associate it with rural America and early pioneers. In fact, the log cabin is Swedish. It had been used for centuries in Sweden and brought here by early colonists of New Sweden which we now know as Delaware.

Fishing in the Sahara? When we think of the Sahara Desert, fishing it certainly not one of the possible activities that comes to mind. However, there are many underground streams flowing beneath all that sand. In fact, by digging through the sand at certain places, fishermen can avail themselves and family of freshwater fish.

Forever Stamps It may be called a “forever stamp”, but not when it comes to the price of one…in January 2014, the price of a forever stamp increased from $.47 to $.49. Then in April 2016, the Postal Regulatory Commission ordered the USPS to drop its prices for the first time in 97 years, back to $.47. Flash forward to July 2020, the cost has now increased to $.55. The good news is…once purchased, the forever stamp never expires.