SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

December 28, 2013

Shribman: Connecting with a world of information

This I learned from the Internet: The World Almanac first appeared in 1868, and the word “World” in its title refers not to its global scale or reach but to its origin as a publication of The New York World newspaper. It provided Calvin Coolidge’s father with the text of the presidential oath of office when, in 1923, he swore in his son, by the light of a kerosene lamp at 2:47 in the morning. The U.S. government asked that special print runs be commissioned because so many G.I.s read it during World War II.

Fred MacMurray talked about the Almanac in an exchange with Edward G. Robinson in “Double Indemnity.” (Note to younger readers: Fred MacMurray and Edward G. Robinson were actors, and “Double Indemnity” was a movie.) The Almanac makes an important cameo performance in “Miracle on 34th Street.” (This is also a movie; look it up on the Web if you didn’t see it on your laptop last week.)

This I learned from the latest edition of the 2014 World Almanac and Book of Facts, just now in stores and what you might think of the Internet before there was a Web: A small-craft advisory is prompted by a forecast of winds between 23 and 38 mph. The circumference of the Liberty Bell around its lip is 12 feet 1/2 inch. William Wirt ran for president in 1832 on the Anti-Masonic Party ticket. The Zip code of Crestwood, Ill., is 60445. Howie Morenz of the Montreal Canadiens won the Hart Memorial Trophy in 1928.

Some 5.6 percent of white high school girls were in a physical fight on school property in 2011. A prokaryote is a single-celled organism that doesn’t have a distinct nucleus. The first transcontinental television broadcast was on Sept. 4, 1951. The island of Navassa lies between Haiti and Jamaica. Montenegro has 155 miles of rail track.

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