Category Archives: Fun Facts

Predicting the Future

I know how tough it is to predict the future; I’ve watched Disneyland go through multiple incarnations of Tomorrowland.  Yet we keep trying. Like in the AARP Bulletin of June 2018 with its cover article “What’s Next: How Your Life Will Get Better in the Coming Years.”  Five areas of our lives are examined, and

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Is There a Link Between Crying and Airplanes?

You learn something new every day — I’ve flown on a lot of airplanes, but except for screaming kids, I’ve never thought about crying.  And yet, I’ve just found an article entitled “This Is Why You’re More Likely to Cry on an Airplane, According to a Psychologist” by Mahita Gajanan (http://time.com/5274209/airplane-cry- emotion/?, the photo is

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Are Nightmares All Bad?

Dreams are flaky enough, and nightmares are worse.  But even if you have nightmares, are they bad for you? They could be.  In an article “Nightmares Are Scary. But Are They Bad For Your Health?” by Markham Heid (http://time.com/5287932/are-nightmares-bad-for-you/?),  Michael Nadorff, an assistant professor of psychology at Mississippi State University and director of the school’s

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Starlings and Science, or What is Murmuration?

If you are a bird lover, you may have marveled at how great flocks of starlings move in unison.  There are several excellent examples on YouTube, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eakKfY5aHmY .  So how do they do it? Science has been wondering the same thing.  It’s only been recently that we’ve had the tools to observe

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In Praise of … Spiders?

What if I told you that spiders, those universally reviled members of the bug world, are really valuable and should be protected? Matt Bertone, Extension Associate in Entomology at North Carolina University, makes that point in “A Case Against Killing Spiders” ( http://earthsky.org/earth/case-against-killing-spiders? ).  He says spiders are important to both indoor and outdoor ecosystems. What’s more,

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How Do Birds Synchronize Their Movements?

Something else you might have wondered about in your spare time — how do large flocks of birds seem to move in perfect synchronization? Are they following a leader?  No, the reaction time would simply be too short.  The best explanation is what scientists call a “maneuver wave.”  Wayne Potts, a zoologist who published in

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R.I.P. — Spider Number 16

Something I heard on the radio today — the world’s oldest spider’s death has been announced.  The exact date is unknown, but it was sometime in 2016.  Known to science as Number 16, this female trapdoor tarantula somehow lived an incredible 43 years.  Its home was in Western Australia’s Central Wheatbelt region and it should’ve

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The Secret History of Play-Doh

If you grew up with Play-Doh, you might be surprised to learn about its original purpose — it was invented as a wallpaper cleaner. In an earlier time, coal was the preferred home-heating method.  But burning coal produces soot, which sticks to wallpaper.  So Kroger was looking for a product that would clean wallpaper.   In

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Happy Birthday — Traffic Lights

Can you imagine a time when there were no traffic lights?  They really weren’t needed until the appearance of automobiles.  Roads were crammed with horse-drawn carriages, trolleys, bicycles, and pedestrians, and suddenly you had a vehicle that could go 40 miles an hour. According to an article in the May 2018 issue of Smithsonian magazine,

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