Friday, February 18, 2011

Things I Learned: 2/18/11

-Oobleck is a non-newtonian fluid that acts like either a solid or a liquid depending on the force with which you hit it. (ie. You can run on top of it, but if you try to walk slowly you’ll fall in.) It’s made of two parts cornstarch and one part water.

-Research suggests that people with allergies are less likely to get glioma (the type of brain tumor Ted Kennedy had), colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer.

-Florida state law requires sea turtle rescuers to return sea turtles to the place they were found—even if that place is so disgustingly polluted that it was part of the reason they needed rescuing in the first place.

-The Incan king planted the first quinoa seed of the season with a golden spade.

-The whole idea that only children are odd comes from an 1896 “study” by Granville Stanley Hall who asked teachers around the country to submit examples of children who were different. Some of the kids the teachers described were real kids (who were exceptionally pretty, remarkably ugly, surprisingly strong or just plain picky eaters) and some were fictional characters from novels. Hall tallied the numbers and determined that the majority of these “peculiar and exceptional children” were only children or children of immigrants.

-The Aztec word for avocado is ahuacatl, meaning testicle.

-Moose eat pine needles (live ones).

-Bladderworts (carnivorous plants) trap their prey at an acceleration of 600G. That’s a lot faster than a venus fly trap does it.

-A street without left turns is called a “Michigan left” and it’s safer and more efficient (both in terms of time and fuel) than a regular ol’ street.

-Rothschild’s giraffes, which are endangered, have five horns. (Other giraffe subspecies have two horns.) 

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