Category Archives: Fun Facts

On the Academy Awards

I’m not a big movie fan myself, but it’s almost impossible to tune out the Academy Awards this weekend.  One of the most informative sources I’ve run across is American Public Media’s “Marketplace” radio business program.  Last week they did a series of stories on the Oscars, focusing on the less glamourous aspects of movie-making,

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Scrubbing the Gene Pool

Have you ever heard of the Darwin Awards?  As the website www.darwinawards.com explains: “The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it… For example, one of the 2014 awards was a double for two men who tried to take a selfie with a wild elephant

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Zombies Around Us

Have you ever felt you were being controlled by someone else? Be glad you’re not a ladybug. These little aphid predators can fall victim themselves to a parasitic wasp in a particularly gruesome way.  These wasps sting ladybugs, leaving one egg inside. When the egg hatches, the larva eats its host from the inside out.

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Why is Tomato Ketchup Two Words?

I’ll admit I’d never thought of this before. but the “Verbal Energy” column in the Feb. 9, 2015 issue of the Christian Science Monitor takes this on. It seems the word “ketchup” comes from Chinese, or more specifically Hokkien, which is the language of southern Fujian and Taiwan.  Ke means “preserved fish” and tschup means

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Word of the Day: Oobleck

When I started teaching, I told the kids they had the hard part — I expected them to make me feel young(er).  I got a good example today which serving as an aide in 8th grade science class. Have you ever heard of an Oobleck?  It’s a non-Newtonian fluid that was the creation of Dr.

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How Good Is Your Memory?

When I worked at Tomart Publications as a book and magazine editor, one of our specialties was radio-premium collectibles — those prizes people sent in for during the Golden Age of radio.  For awhile, the Illustrated Radio Premium Catalog and Price Guide was one of our best-selling books.  Many collectors fondly remembered special treasurers they had as

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How Much Do You Know About Chemistry?

How good is your knowledge of chemistry? What if I were to tell you that there is a dangerous chemical throughout our environment? It is a major component of acid rain, contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape, accelerates corrosion of many metals, causes electrical failures, in its crystalline form has been implicated in

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Geography Quirks

One rule in life — things are not always what your common sense thinks they should be. That’s especially true in geography. For example, go due south from Detroit, Michigan — what is the first foreign country you come to?  It’s actually Canada. And did you know the Atlantic Ocean entrance to the Panama Canal

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What is a Buckeye?

A judge told this anecdote during a speech I heard a long time ago. He was about to sentence a young man, and asked him if he had anything to say. The young man replied, “Yes sir, are you a Buckeye?” No, the judge wasn’t, but the question was so unusual it piqued his curiosity.

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