Category Archives: Fun Facts

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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Our Surprising Solar System

What do you really know about our galactic neighborhood?  An article entitled “10 surprises about our solar system” by Larry Sessions on the EarthSky website lists some thing you probably haven’t realized.  For instance, The hottest planet isn’t the closest one to the sun.  Mercury is closest, of course.  But the hottest planet is actually

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How Much of You is Human?

This was a surprise to me — in an article entitled “More than half your body is not human,”  James Gallagher writes that there is a “hidden half” to all of us.  It’s our microbiome, and it makes up 57% of our total cell count.  In other words, only 43% of our body’s cells are

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Communicating From The Other Side

How would you like to wish your grandchild a happy 50th birthday?  Not in person, of course, but by email? There is a way.  Go to the website FutureMe: Write a Letter to the Future and start composing (https://www.futureme.org/).  You can send a letter to yourself, to be delivered in one, three, or five years,

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Celebrating Failure

“Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure.” — William Saroyan Nobody likes failure.  Yet we learn so much more from our failures than our successes.  Failure is what shows the path forward.  I remember a Japanese businessman saying a failed part is a wonderful opportunity to make a product better. I

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Why Rainbows Are Curved

Something you may not have thought about recently — why are rainbows curved?  I’ve never considered this until I saw an explanation on the EarthSky website (http://earthsky.org/earth/what-gives-rainbows-their-curved-shape?). This explanation does get a bit into physics.  First, some basics — recall you can see rainbows when the sun is behind you and rain falls in front

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The Best Fast Food

I generally try to ignore fast food (unless of course it’s given to me).  I do like a good burger, but I usually shy away from the genre because of its unhealthy reputation. But I couldn’t resist telling you about this.  Recently Money magazine published a rating of 25 fast-food restaurants.  Their methodology was simple

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Predicting the Future

What can we expect in 2018?  It’s tough predicting the future, especially regarding new technology, but some can’t resist trying.  The latest I’ve seen is a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Tech That Will Change Your Life in 2018” by Joanna Stern and Christopher Mims  (https://www.wsj.com/articles/tech-that-will-change-your-life-in-2018-1514394043? ). Some of what they’re predicting shouldn’t come as

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How The Turtle Got His Shell

No, this is not a children’s story (although it’s a tempting subject).  I ran across a post on the EarthSky website that discusses this.  Actually, it’s a link to a nine-minute YouTube video from PBS Digital Studios that explains turtle evolution in great detail.  It’s probably more than you ever wanted to know, but if

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Predicting the Future

Who can predict the future?  (Not theme parks, which is why Disneyland’s “Tomorrowland” always seems outdated.) But the Wall Street Journal is trying.  The website of this venerable publication has been posting a series of podcasts entitled “The Future of Everything.”  As of this date, 23 have been posted.  Most are a bit long, going

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