Category Archives: Fun Facts

What is a Benefit Corporation?

Today I found a term I’d never seen before — benefit corporation.  There’s an interesting article about them in Briefing: Small Business  in Time magazine, March 21, 2015.  And it has to be important, because there’s also a Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benefit_corporation). Yes, a benefit corporation is out to make a profit, but is also trying

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Happy Pi Day!

March 14 is always a special day for math geeks. The numeric date — the third month, 14th day, matches pi to two decimal places: 3.14.  (The Greek letter pi being the symbol for the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle). This year’s pi day is very special. If you add

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Happy Friday the 13th

This is an unfortunate year for people who suffer from triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13).  We have two Friday the 13ths this year. Recently I found an interesting book, An Uncommon History of Common Things. It claims up to $900 million is lost every Friday the 13th because of people who refuse to fly

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For Crossword Puzzle Fans

I rarely do crossword puzzles myself, but I know they’re a very popular pastime.  They were even the storyline of an episode on The Simpsons. I mention this to share one of the most diabolical crossword-puzzle clues I’ve ever found.  I’m fond of using it in the classroom when I substitute teach and things get dull.

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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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