Dear 100 Hour Board,
What interesting facts or trivia have you learned recently?
I read Wiki articles when I get bored at work, which is a lot. So....
- People with type o blood are more susceptible to cholera.
- Freemasons were targeted during the Holocaust and a not insignificant number were killed.
- Utah's safe haven law has been used a total of 12 times since its passage.
- Mountain Dew in very large quantities can temporarily render a male infertile.
- For a brief time before the telegraph, there was the semaphore line.
- Speaking of cholera, the way people learned how cholera was transferred (via infected water) was by looking at demographic maps of London and finding where the highest incidents of cholera were. These population spikes coincided with specific water sources. Furthermore, the people who lived/worked around the breweries and were drinking more beer, were not getting cholera at as high a rate as other people.
- Staircases in castles often spiral upwards clockwise, so the right-handed defenders could hit downwards from above easily, and the right-handed attackers, who were climbing up, would have a hard time.
In addition to being the guitarist for Queen and one of the band's songwriters, Brian May also has a PhD in astrophysics, is an expert on interstellar dust, and apparently consulted with NASA on their recent mission to Pluto. That man has done more in two career fields than many people will ever do in one.
I actually ran a daily music facts blog on Tumblr for a while. Maybe if I get a few new followers from linking to it, I'll start updating it again.
Also, pirates didn't use eye patches because they were all missing eyes. They used eye patches to preserve night vision in one eye so they could still see in the dark when they went below deck. Ever since learning this, I've kept my left eye (the one with worse vision) closed whenever I get up at night to do something (like ask this question before I forget about it). It's been surprisingly useful.
The stereotype of American Southerners being lazy likely stems from a plague of blood-sucking parasites.
Einstein's brain was removed shortly after his death by the pathologist who autopsied him. He kept the brain for over 20 years, preserved in mason jars in his basement, before it was "rediscovered."
The Spanish word jefe is derived from the French word chef (and is therefore also a cognate with the English word chief).
Dear Wee Mad Arthur,
My husband researched cockroaches this morning and discovered that they die on their back because their leg muscles start to malfunction.
There is indeed a word that rhymes with orange. It is, wait for it, sporange. It is a botany term that means spore case. To be honest I don't think it counts as rhyme for the purposes of poetry, but there you have it.
Have fun storming the castle,
I knew that Orff's Carmina Burana were composed for selections from medieval poetry that had made an impression on him, but I did not know until I saw it performed a few weeks ago that the poems are in several languages—most notably Latin, Middle High German (German from the period between 1050 and 1350), and Old French. During one of the Latin sections, I also discovered while reading along that pulcher is a Latin word, and after the performance I looked up and ascertained that that is indeed the root of the word "pulchritudinous," which means beautiful or sightly (in spite of being a rather unsightly word). I looked it up because I couldn't think of any other English words with "pulch" or "pulchr" in it, and to date haven't found any other words that share that Latin root.
While making sure that I had my facts straight for this answer, I also discovered delineations in the history of the German language:
- Old High German (pre-1050, includes Old Saxon)
- Middle High German (1050 to 1350)
- Early New High German (1350 to 1600)
- New High German (1600 to 1800)
- Modern German (1800 to today)
Hopefully that comes up in trivia in the next few weeks.
Virtually all sugar beets are genetically modified, but sugar cane never is. Since it's becoming trendy for food brands to have "non-GMO" on their packaging, many cereal/candy/baked goods producers have been moving away from beet sugar and toward cane sugar. This really sucks for the sugar beet farmers, it turns out.
Recently, I learned that it possible for wisdom teeth to erupt (drop in) when you are in your 30s or 40s. For most people, the wisdom teeth erupt sometime between the ages of 17 and 21. I had three wisdom teeth removed when I was 18 and at the time my dentist told me that it was common for people to have less than the typical 4 wisdom teeth and that last tooth would probably never develop. Imagine my surprise when that last tooth came in a few months ago. Now I just need to figure out what the Tooth Fairy's going rate is nowadays.
I sure hope this helps. Please don't hate me.