Category Archives: Fun Facts

So You Want To Be A Scientist?

Studying wildlife can sound exciting, but the truth is there’s a large element of unpredictability. Like when a bird runs up your phone bill. Researchers from the R.R.R. Conservation Network have been tracking the migration routes of 13 endangered steppe eagles since 2015 in an effort to refine conservation efforts. They thought they had a

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Fertility and Our Future

All of my life, I’ve read about our growing population and how it was going to strain our resources. So I was surprised to read the BBC’s “Fertility rate: ‘Jaw-dropping’ global crash in children being born” by James Gallagher. Some of the points made in this article are —  — Twenty-three countries are expected to

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Driving On Sunshine?

In 2016, the French government announced it would build a 620-mile highway out of solar panels instead of asphalt. The claim was these panels would generate 790 kilowatts per day, enough to power five million homes.  It didn’t work, of course.  In the first year, the road only generated half the expected solar power, with

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Someone Could Be Listening

For anyone with privacy concerns, let me feed your paranoia, especially if you have a digital assistant. New research is showing that many everyday words and phrases in normal conversation can trigger your assistant, which means part of what you say can be sent to your device’s manufacturer. If you mention you’ve received “a letter,”

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Lies My Mother Told Me

I was always taught to be honest. I would never think of lying to my parents. But it wasn’t until much later, when I was well into adulthood, that I finally realized my mother had a subtle way of bending the truth to adjust my behavior. Like saying ” _________ is talking about you because

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The Rationale For Odd Sizes

Have you ever wondered why some items come in odd weights and sizes? In this photo from the Marketplace website, notice the Ziploc quart-size freezer bags are packaged 19 to a box. Why the odd number? I ran across this in an October 20, 2019 article entitled “The Marketing Tactics Behind Those Odd Weights and

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Language Creation in the 21st Century

We hear a lot about languages that are disappearing. For example, some Native American languages are down to a handful of speakers. So it may surprise you to learn that languages are still being created. Where? Australia. At one time, as many as 300 languages were spoken on the continent. Then Europeans arrived and the

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My Nominee for Mother of the Year

I know Mother’s Day is over for this year, but… I’ve been catching up on some favorite podcasts recently, and happened to hear about a tremendous feat of mothering. We all know that octopuses are remarkable animals. But in 2007, a robot submarine stumbled across an octopus settling in to brood her eggs at the

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How Lives Are Being Upended

Just before school ended, one of the permanent teachers asked if I’d ever seen anything like this pandemic before in my lifetime. At first I was a bit taken aback, but when I realized I was (by far) the oldest person in the room, I said no, I hadn’t. This crisis is going to upend

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