Thursday, December 21, 2006

Well, What Do Ya Know...

I have one of those "answer" books you're likely to find at book fairs and such. It's one of those easy-to-edit, easy-to-sell texts that publishers like to put out for predictable sales. I got my book at one of those discount book sale outlets that you see inside shopping malls. Mine is about general science, and it's loaded with little factoids of knowledge about everything from the atmospheric makeup of the earth to who invented bifocal lenses (Benjamin Franklin, in 1784). Unfortunately, it's also about ten years old, so I could use an updated version. But for now, let's use it to take a little stroll down Trivial Knowledge Lane, shall we?

NOTE: I've also decided to sprinkle in a couple of my own little nuggets of wisdom. See if you can weed out my personal observations from those that science has to offer.

- What weighs more - a pound of gold or a pound of feathers?
Gold is measured in troy pounds, of which there are 12 ounces per pound. Standard pounds (avoirdupois pounds) have 16 ounces per pound. So the feathers would be heavier.

- Why do some folks get runny noses while eating?
This happens because eating can stimulate the release of acetylcholine, which causes an increase in production of nasal mucus (as well as saliva and stomach acid). And the spicier the food, the more one's nose tends to run.

- Why do some people talk so [damn] much?
Because they have nothing at all to think about: Empty head, loaded mouth. There is nothing on their minds to ponder or philosophize about. No questions swirling inside, no puzzles to solve or issues in life to deconstruct. To such people, a silent room is unacceptable. They need to fill it with speech. The result is a rather unfortunate (for their listeners) and unbelievably unending, uninterrupted monologue of ranting about anything from the day's latest news to the previous year's weather. The only way to prevent such an experience is to remove one's self from the environment entirely, and even then the offender may follow along - as it rarely occurs to him that you are attempting to flee.

- How much does human hair grow in one year?
Each hair can grow about nine inches per year.

- Who made the first golf shot on the moon?
That would be Alan Shepard, the commander of Apollo 14. And like a true hacker, he duffed his first attempt - missing the ball entirely.

- What was the first monkey in space?
A squirrel monkey named Old Reliable was sent up into space on December 12, 1958 (but not into orbit). Unfortunaly for O.R., his space vehicle was not-so reliable, and the little guy drowned during recovery in the ocean.

- Are some types of women more likely to be nags than others?
Contrary to what some people may assume, there is no evidence that points to any one type of woman becoming a nag. And although all women have within them the potential to be nags, the term is more commonly used by husbands in reference to their bothersome wives.

- Will birds reject their chicks if they have been touched by humans?
Generally speaking, it will not matter. The best action to take with a fallen newborn bird is to locate its nest and return it there as quickly as possible.

- What is a kissing bridge?
A bridge with a roof and wooden sides, so called because it allowed for couples to not be viewed from outside.

- How many gallons are in a barrel of crude oil?
42 U.S. gallons.

Feel smarter now?

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At 1:08 AM, Anonymous Mom said...

Yup, I am a whole lot smarter now. Don't know what I can use the info for, but hey... My brain has lots of storage soace. An d the comments made by Bill himself would be: Are sometypes of women likely to be nags than others. Also the one about, Who made the first golf shot on the moon.
I am not smart, but I have lots of space to learn! lol


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