Category Archives: Fun Facts

Science On A Budget

Like many college professors, my brother gets involved in scientific research.  When I’ve visited him and toured one of his university’s laboratories, I’m always confronted by delicate and expensive scientific equipment.  If such a lab is necessary for science, how does a third-world country keep current and compete? How about with “frugal science”?  Manu Prakash

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Can You Really Learn In Your Sleep?

Just like electricity, we humans always look to take the path of least resistance.  For example, there must be an easier way to learn besides studying.  Like listening to tapes while we sleep. There’s actually a term for it — hypnopedia, or sleep learning.  Unfortunately, the thought that we could learn something substantive while we

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Why Do We Lie?

You may remember the 2009 movie The Invention of Lying starring Ricky Gervais.   It was an ironic commentary on human behavior.  But it does beg the question of why people lie in the first place.  The June 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine addresses that subject in its cover story, “Why We Lie” by Yudhijit

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When The Press Hijacks Your Life

You may remember seeing the original headline  — “First Female Gondolier”.  After over 900 years, the canal-laced city of Venice, Italy could claim its first woman gondolier.  Or could it? “What happens when doing what you want to do means giving up who you really are? … On the winding canals in the hidden parts of

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What Causes Brain Freeze?

Life is full of everyday mysteries.  Like why do you get a headache when you quickly eat something cold? Popularly called “brain freeze”, this condition is found in the International Classifications of Headache Disorders as an official type of headache.  The key is introduction of any cold substance (think ice cream) behind the nose and

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What Are The Greatest Modern Innovations?

A quick way to start an argument is to ask what were the most important innovations in human history.  Lots of opinions have been published.  I recently found an interesting take on this in the June 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine.  In a short article entitled “Big Advances”, U.S. librarian of Congress Carla Hayden

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A Solution For Senior Housing?

As a senior citizen, I’m always concerned about my long-term future.  How much longer will I be able to live by myself in a large house?  (It had better be a very long time because you won’t believe the stuff I’ve accumulated over the years.)  This is why I was intrigued by a TV news

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Food You Can Wear

We’ve been hearing a lot about sustainability and recycling as a way to conserve resources.  How far could we take this if we put our minds to it? Pretty far.  One of the more novel ideas I’ve heard regarding recycling the byproducts of food production comes from designer Sacha Laurin.  Her career began as a

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The Dangers of the Albinism Trait

It’s hard to be an optimist when you keep uncovering horror stories about the human race.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by a species that once believed in witchcraft, but it still can be shocking. Recently while catching up on reading, I found an article entitled “The Perils of Pale” in the June 2017

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The Complicated Lives of Fireflies

I grew up on a farm in western Ohio, and every summer I can remember watching lightening bugs from my bedroom window.    But like everything else in this world, it’s complicated. First, most people call them fireflies.  According to an entry in the July 7, 2017 Smithsonian magazine’s VIP newsletter by Jason Bittel, they are

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