Category Archives: Fun Facts

Who Needs a Sewer?

During my first trip to a third-world country (Egypt in 2002), I was fascinated to see how they were modernizing.  The best example was they were adopting cell phones, thus skipping land lines.  In effect, they were leaping over an entire iteration of technology. I thought of this while reading an article about how an

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Birds Who Start Fires

Smokey Bear would be appalled. Australian Aborigines have always used fire as a hunting aid and to keep ecosystems healthy.  They realized something long before we did — small fires burn away excess plant material and prevent catastrophes.  But according to Aboriginal lore, there was another native species who saw the value of fire —

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First Thought, Best Thought?

For the past twenty-plus years, I’ve met once a week with a group of friends to play “wargames.”  Not running through the woods (I’m too old for that), but board games that are historical simulations.  It can be tough to make a decision sometimes, especially if you know what really happened and you’re trying for

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Will a Marriage Last?

How do you know if a marriage will last?  This is definitely out of my area of expertise, but I’ve run across someone who has developed some signs to watch for. One neutral observer who spends a lot of time with the couple.  A wedding photographer. A group of professional wedding photographers have compiled a

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How To Save Water Part 2

My last post highlighted water shortages, using Cape Town, South Africa as an example, and one agricultural solution being tried in Oklahoma.  As a follow-up, the BBC has published a list of the eleven other cities most likely to run out of drinking water.  If you’re wondering if you live in a vulnerable area, the

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How To Save Water

Whenever I get a chance to teach social studies, I tell my students that sometime in their lifetimes there will be a war over water somewhere in the world.  You’ve probably seen the stories about Cape Town, South Africa, and how their current water supply is measured in months.  The latest projection is they will

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Why Is Our Life Expectancy Dropping?

I just ran across a disturbing article — Life expectancy in the U.S. has dropped for the second year in a row.  An editorial in the journal BMJ entitled “Failing Health of the U.S.” (http://www.bmj.com/content/360/bmj.k496 ) considers this “alarming because life expectancy has risen for much of the past century in developed countries, including the

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Someone to Admire — Rob Jones

Never underestimate the power of running. Rob Jones is a former Marine combat engineer who lost both legs to an explosion in Afghanistan.  But what others would think was a handicap, he saw as an opportunity.  First he and a partner won a bronze medal as rowers in the 2012 Paralympics, then went on to

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This is Your Brain on Fresh Air

If you thought it was good to go outside to get some fresh air, there may be more to it than that. A new study claims that going outdoors actually changes the way your brain works, and not necessarily in a good way.  According to Kyle Mathewson, an assistant professor of psychology at the University

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