The World's Oldest Organs

organ |ˈôrgən|

1. A part of an organism that is typically self-contained and has a specific vital function, such as the heart or liver in humans.

For some time, the Guinness Book people thought that all the world's oldest (biological) organs were contained within one person: a 122-year-old French woman named Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997. (There may have been older people in the world, but Calment had the papers to prove her age.) Recently, however, a comparatively sprightly 80-year-old fellow in Norway did her one better: it was discovered that Bernt Aune had a cornea transplant in 1958, an organ that had been harvested from the cadaver of an elderly man born in 1885 -- making Aune's cornea 123 years old (last year anyway) -- the oldest in the world. So how well does Aune see through his antique cornea? "My vision's not great," he says.

2. A large musical instrument having rows of tuned pipes sounded by compressed air, and played using one or more keyboards to produce a wide range of musical effects.

The world's oldest still-functional pipe organ was built around 1435, and is housed in the Basilica de Valère in Switzerland, which is about a century older than the organ. You can hear the organ played once a year, during the aptly named Festival of the Old Organ.

3. A medium of communication, esp. a newspaper or periodical that serves a particular organization, political party, etc. : the People's Daily, the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party.

The world's oldest still-operating newspaper is generally agreed to be Sweden's Post-och Inrikes Tidningar ("Post and Domestic Newspaper"), founded by Queen Christina in 1645 as the Ordinari Post Tijdender ("Regular Mail Tidings"). Its original editors were postmasters, who circulated about the country more than almost anyone else, and would compile any newsworthy tidings they came across and send them to the newspaper, which was then distributed and posted on public notice boards across the country. It was the largest and most important newspaper in Sweden for centuries, but in 1922 heavy competition forced it out of its traditional business model, and it began to publish only governmental, corporate and legal announcements. In 2007, the world's oldest newspaper went green, and is now published online only. If you can read Swedish, you can read it here. Compare that to the 1645 edition:

Quick True/False: World Capitals
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
10 Pats Born on St. Patrick's Day
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Need some St. Patrick's Day conversation fodder that doesn't involve leprechauns or four-leaf clovers? Ask your friends to name a "Pat" born on St. Patrick's Day. If they can't, they owe you a drink—then you can wow them with this list of 10.


Princess Patricia was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who gave up all of her royal titles when she married a commoner. She was born at Buckingham Palace on March 17, 1886.


The Dallas star was born on March 17, 1949. And here's a totally random fact about Duffy: His nephew is Barry Zito, former MLB pitcher for the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants.


Pattie Boyd
Larry Ellis, Express/Getty Images

Pattie Boyd is well-known to lovers of classic rock: She has been married three times, including once to George Harrison and once to Eric Clapton, who both wrote a couple of the most romantic songs in rock history in her honor (including The Beatles's "Something" and Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"). Boyd was a model when she met Harrison on the set of A Hard Day's Night in 1964; the pair were married two years later. They divorced in 1977 and she married Clapton, Harrison's close friend, in 1979. She also had an affair with Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones toward the end of her marriage to The Quiet Beatle.


Belfast-born Pat Rice is a former footballer and coach who spent the bulk of his career with Arsenal F.C. (that's "football club," a.k.a. soccer to us Americans). He joined the Gunners in 1964 as a mere apprentice, turning pro a couple of years later. He became captain in 1977 and left the club for a few years in the early 1980s to go to Watford, but returned after he retired from playing in 1984. In 2012, after nearly 30 years with the organization, he announced his retirement.


Patty Maloney is an actress with dwarfism who stands just three feet, 11 inches tall. She has appeared in many movies and T.V. shows over the years, including operating the Crypt Keeper puppet in Tales from the Crypt. She also played Chewbacca's son Lumpy in The Star Wars Holiday Special.


Michael C. Hall and Mathew St. Patrick in 'Six Feet Under'

Ok, so Mathew St. Patrick is the stage name of the actor, but he was born Patrick Matthews in Philadelphia on March 17, 1968. You probably know him best as David's boyfriend Keith on Six Feet Under.


He may not be a household name, but the recording artists Patrick Adams writes for and helps produce certainly are. Adams has been involved in the careers of Salt-N-Pepa, Sister Sledge, Gladys Knight, Rick James, and Coolio, among others.


It's possible you look at Patrick McDonnell's work every day, depending on which comics your newspaper carries. McDonnell draws a strip called Mutts featuring a dog and a cat named Earl and Mooch, respectively. Charles Schulz called it one of the best comic strips of all time.


 Singer/Guitarist Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins performs onstage during Live Earth New York at Giants Stadium on July 7, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Evan Agostini, Getty Images

Yes, you know him better as just plain old Billy Corgan: he's the face of the Smashing Pumpkins, engages in public feuds with Courtney Love, and maybe once dated Jessica Simpson. He made his debut on March 17, 1967.


Patricia Ford is a retired model probably best known for her Playboy photoshoots in the 1990s.


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