Category Archives: Fun Facts

What is a Superbloom?

Think Death Valley and you think desert, with an average rainfall less than two inches per year.   Yet the ecosystem is surprisingly diverse, even including wildflowers.  And in a year of above-average rainfall, the desert can spring to life with such a profusion of flowers it’s known as a superbloom. Seeds can lie dormant for long periods.

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Getting Enough to Eat

The world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.  That’s 2 billion more than we have today.  How will we feed them?  National Geographic magazine ran an eight-month series of articles on this subject beginning in May 2014.  With some people going hungry now, it’s going to take some creative thinking to accommodate

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Einstein Was Right Again

Scientists still talk about gravity as a theory because they can’t explain exactly how it works.  Albert Einstein hypothesized gravity waves, but there was no way to confirm they existed… until recently. Granted, the science is a bit hard to comprehend because all the numbers are extreme one way or another, but basically, over a billion years ago

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Happy Early Easter!

On March 20, I had written about our early spring.   Today I learned (from the same source, EarthSky News) that this is the earliest Easter until 2035.  This is their explanation — Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon in a Northern Hemisphere spring. By ecclesiastical rules, which fixes the

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The Carbon-Negative Country

I guess this falls under the category of Every Little Bit Helps. The odds are few people can find Bhutan on the map.  A small country between China and India astride the Himalaya Mountains, it’s strictly third world with an economy of only around $2 billion.  But thanks to some enlightened leadership, it’s taking a first-world

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Happy Early Spring!

Did you know this is the earliest spring since 1896? According to the EarthSky News, the March equinox, when the sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north, signals the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere  and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.  The March equinox can actually come on March 19, 20 or

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Are You Satisfied With Our Calendar?

This may come as a shock, but not everyone is satisfied with our current calendar. We presently use the Gregorian Calendar, which was first established in 1582.  But everyone is familiar with its quirks, like months with either 28, 30, or 31 days.  What if it there were no leap years, holidays fell on the day day

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When Clothing and Biology Meet

Would you wear a garment that was alive? You may get a chance.  According to the March 2016 issue of Smithsonian magazine (page 18), MIT Media Lab researchers have found a way to incorporate live bacteria into a synthetic fabric.  They’ve chosen a bacteria that quickly changes shape in response to moisture.  With such a

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The Correct Response to a Sneeze

What is your favorite response to a sneeze? Many reflexively say “Gesundheit” without even knowing what this word means.  According to An Uncommon History of Common Things (National Geographic, 2009, p 73), this is German for “healthiness” or “good health”.  (It can also be used as a drinking salute.)  Many other cultures have their own

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