Category Archives: Fun Facts

You Won’t Believe Your Eyes

As if today’s world hasn’t messed with your mind enough already, in late December 2020,  the Neural Correlate Society announced the top designs in its annual Best Illusions contest. This year’s winner  is a 3-D interpretation of a classic optical illusion, the Shröder Staircase. In the original, two-dimensional illusion, a series of zig-zagging parallelograms span a

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Another Reason to Fear Spiders

If you are afraid of spiders (technically that’s arachnophobia), you may want to stop reading now. There’s a lot to be afraid of. As of July 2019, at least 48,200 spider species and 120 spider families have been recorded. They come in a large range of sizes, from a body length of less than 0.015 inches, to tarantulas with body lengths

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What We Can Learn From Animals

Searching for good news about 2020, I came across an interesting article, “Ten Scientific Discoveries From 2020 That May Lead To New Inventions” by  Rachael Lallensack in the Smithsonian Magazine. This piece features animals with newly discovered special abilities that may be useful to us. The lessons come from many different sources, including suckerfish, flying

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Goal-setting in a New Year

One of the rituals of a new year is to plan self improvement in the form of a resolution, then ultimately slip back into your former habits. There’s got to be a better way. Actually, there is. In an article entitled “How to Set Goals You’ll Actually Achieve,” Amanda Loudin lays out a plan to

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A Coat as a Shelter?

What is your trigger point, the moment when you see a wrong and feel you just have to do something about it? For Dutch clothing designer Bas Timmer, it was in 2014 when a friend’s father succumbed to hypothermia after being unable to find adequate shelter. Bas had started his own outdoor, cold weather clothing line,

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The Most Indestructible Animal On Earth

Mother Nature has this way of deflating our egos. Not only has a lowly virus been totally dominating our lives recently, but I’ve just read the most indestructible animal on Earth is an almost-as-lowly eight-legged segmented micro-animal named a tardigrade. Also more affectionately known as a water bear, tardigrades can survive for up to 30

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Weighing More Than Nature

The end of the year is always a good time for reflection, and it’s the perfect time to note milestones and measure progress. As such, I’ve found a very unusual milestone in the history of our planet. The year 2020 saw the total weight of man-made materials overtake the weight of biomass made by Mother

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Is Hypnosis Real?

I have never understood hypnosis. Its use in numerous TV shows and movies over the years hasn’t really explained to me what actually happens. So a recent article entitled “Is Hypnosis Real? Here’s What Science Says” by Markham Heid caught my eye (https://time.com/5380312/is-hypnosis-real-science/?). “There are many myths about hypnosis, mostly coming from media presentations,” says

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The Milky Way’s Family Tree

In this holiday season, our thoughts invariably turn to our families. But astronomers have a much broader definition of family. While the rest of us are researching ancestral histories back through terrestrial years, astronomers are building a family tree on a much broader scale: the origin of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. We are

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