Category Archives: Fun Facts

Happy Birthday — Standardized Testing

According to The Writer’s Almanac of June 17, 2019, the first standardized tests were administered by the College Board on this day in 1901. As both a student and educator, I thought the background of this event was so interesting, I’m going to quote the Almanac’s account in its entirety — Before standardized tests, many universities had

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As If There Wasn’t Enough To Worry About

If you have a fear of the number 13, I have bad news — this year there are two Friday the 13ths! According to EarthSky News (https://earthsky.org/human-world/two-friday-the-13ths-in-2019, the photo came from that site) this is not unusual. Every year has at least one, and can have as many as three, Friday the 13ths. You probably

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Why We Walk On Two Legs

One characteristic that sets us apart from many other mammals is we walk on two legs. How that happened is probably not something you think about every day, but some scientists do. And recently those scientists have included astronomers. A paper published May 28, 2019, in the Journal of Geology advances the theory that we

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The Third Option

I recently saw this photo on Facebook. Cute! About two days later, I ran across a newspaper article: “Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Or compost.” Apparently there really is a third way, although the shredding part is a bit extreme. Legislation has been signed in Washington state to allow human remains to be turned

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The Day the World Almost Ended

Although there are still some dissenters, the scientific consensus is the dinosaurs died as the direct result of an asteroid hitting our planet. Exactly how would that event have unfolded? I’ve recently found an article on The New Yorker website that discusses the sequence of events in great detail. And according to the best scientific

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What’s the Dirtest Place in Your Bathroom?

I hate to start off the weekend with a downer, but being a less-than-fastidious housekeeper myself, I couldn’t help but notice the article “The Germiest Place in Your Bathroom Isn’t Your Toilet” by Julissa Treviño (http://time.com/5514669/bacteria-germs-bathroom/?). And like the title says, it’s not where you think. According to a 2011 study on household germs, conducted

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Happy May Day!

Yesterday you probably saw working-class people parading at various locations around the world for May Day, the first of May. In my lifetime, May Day has always belonged to the labor movement. But that’s only been true since the 19th Century. According to the EarthSky website, May Day is actually an astronomical holiday. I’m sure

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On Raising Successful Kids

This is a headline that’s difficult to ignore — “Want to raise successful kids? Harvard, MIT study says doing one thing at age 4 could make them happier and wealthier in life.”  If you are a parent, you’ve probably read all types of articles about how best to raise your children. But this one is

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The Latest in Designer Food

I was catching up on newspaper reading recently when a headline caught my eye — Behold the ‘Impossible Whopper’. It seems the fast-food chain Burger King has a beefless sandwich. Although limited in availability now, the goal is to offer it in all outlets if well received (https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/04/16/burger-king-adopts-fake-meat.aspx). This headline especially jumped out at me

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