Archive for ‘Trivial Trivia’

March 17, 2016

Erin go bragh

by Janie Jones

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Now, normally everyone would celebrate by embracing the color green, but, according to my March 2015 Better Homes & Gardens magazine (which I didn’t read until well past last year’s St. Patrick’s Day, and have been saving this tidbit ever since), prior to 1798 the original color of St. Patrick’s day was blue.

blue shamrocks-edit

Just doesn’t seem the same, does it?  However, there is apparently a type of shamrock that does have blue flowers:

 

Parochetus communis, aka africanus

Shamrock Pea, Blue Oxalis

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January 6, 2016

Do you ever wonder?

by Janie Jones

So I have a class this spring where I have to read some historical fiction novels about epidemics. To hopefully ease into the spring semester, I read one of the books already. It is “Nemesis” by Philip Roth.

As literature goes, it was okay. Not great, but okay. I liked the first half pretty well, but then the author does something with the main character I did not particularly like. Whatever. It was a short book and read quickly.

What did stand out though was that throughout the novel, which is set in during WWII, the characters refer to Frigidaires. Not refrigerators, but Frigidaires. Now, where I come from we pronounce Frigidaire as fridge-id-air. However, though I am familiar with the brand, I don’t recall ever actually seeing a Frigidaire brand refrigerator in anyone’s home before. Weird? Yeah, probably.

I have often wondered why where I grew up people called refrigerators “fridges” despite the fact that it’s not really short for refrigerator. For as long as I can remember I would try to phonetically spell refrigerator as refridgerator even though there’s no “d” in refrigerator. Although I know this now, I still sometimes try to spell it that way. But, since reading this book I wonder if the slang “fridge” didn’t come from a bastardization of Frigidaire instead of refrigerator.

So, are you all wondering why the H-E double hockey sticks I am babbling on about this?

Good question.

I have no good answer. I’ve just been thinking about it.

September 17, 2015

From the Desk of James Madison

by Janie Jones

So today is Constitution Day.

I didn’t know such a holiday existed.  But it does, and today Stickittoyou U was handing out free copies of the constitution.  Surprisingly, or not depending on your point of view, most of my colleagues I mentioned this to seemed not very interested.  I, on the other hand, was pretty excited to get a free copy of the constitution.

Also, as part of Constitution Day, the U provided a link to Constitution.com where you can read up on facts about the Constitution.  You can also take a quiz to find out what founding father you would be.

Apparently, I am James Madison.James Madison

Go to Consitution.com and take the quiz.  Let’s see how many founding fathers are reading my blog…

June 10, 2015

Here’s one for Sheri49: Beware! There’s Hydronium in your Starbucks

by Janie Jones

Next time you order your Starbucks, be sure to ask for your brew to be Hydronium free.  If your barista laughs, you know they have a grasp of chemistry.  If they look nervous and embarrassed, then you’ll know they have absolutely no clue.

H3O+ is the Hydronium ion.  Adding an acid to water, by the Bronsted-Lowry definition of acid, adds extra H+ ions and generates H3O+, or Hydronium ions.  But, water is a polar molecule and exists in a state of constant flux between what we know as H2O and it’s parts, H+ and OH-.  So water is always freely and instantaneously changing between states and sometimes you actually have H3O+ even when no extra acid is present.

And that’s your chemistry lesson for the day.

 

April 29, 2015

Wacky Wednesday Fun Facts

by Janie Jones

So last week I wrote about Earth Day and the Google quiz which identified you with an animal.  Well, I told the spud about it and she took the quiz too.  Apparently the spud is a mantis shrimp.  Not knowing any more about mantis shrimp than I did pangolins, I Googled it.  Turns out mantis shrimp can be pretty cool.  Thanks to Wikipedia and the info I lifted from there, you too can now see just how cool mantis shrimp are and do so from the comfort of my blog:

Wikipedia says they can range in size, from an average of about 12 inches all the way up to the largest mantis shrimp ever seen which was 18 inches!  There are more than 400 species of mantis shrimp and can range in color from shades of brown to to bright rainbow colors.

While they are apparently pretty common in tropical ocean waters they are not well known, as most species spend the majority of their life tucked away in burrows and holes.

Called “sea locusts” by ancient Assyrians, “prawn killers” in Australia and sometimes referred to as “thumb splitters” – because of the animal’s ability to inflict painful gashes if handled incautiously – mantis shrimps sport powerful claws that they use to attack and kill prey by spearing, stunning, or dismemberment.  Mantis shrimp can move super fast when they are hunting or defending themselves and strike with extreme force for such a small creature.  In captivity, some larger species are capable of breaking through aquarium glass with a single strike.

Wow!

Depending on the type of mantis shrimp they often eat other small crustaceans and molluscs such as crabs, snails, or  oysters or fish.

It seems they have very complex eyes too, with very sophisticated vision and the ability to see in ways most other animals don’t.  Their special visual abilities may help them communicate, avoid danger, find food, and judge mating seasons.  It has even been suggested that the mantis shrimp’s eyes can detect cancer and the activity of brain cells!

Holy moly!

Mantis shrimp are long-lived and some species use fluorescent patterns on their bodies for signaling with their own and maybe even other species.

They can learn and remember well, and are able to recognize individual neighbors with whom they frequently interact.

Depending on the species, they may lay eggs and keep them in a burrow, or they can be carried around under the female’s tail until they hatch. Also depending on the species, male and female may come together only to mate, or they may bond in monogamous long-term relationships remaining with the same partner for up to 20 years. They share the same burrow and both sexes often take care of the eggs.  Some female mantis shrimp will lay two clutches of eggs: one that the male tends and one that the female tends. In other species, the female will look after the eggs while the male hunts for both of them.

While most mantis shrimp “walk” or swim like we would expect, one species, Nannosquilla decemspinosa, has been observed wrapping itself into a circular shape and rolling like a wheel.

Find these facts fascinating?  Want to read more?  I recommend checking this link out.  It will give you a whole new respect for the mantis shrimp:

Click here to visit The Oatmeal mantis shrimp cartoon.

I sure had fun looking this stuff up.  I hope you have fun reading about it!

April 22, 2015

How’d I miss that? It’s perfect for Wacky Wednesday!

by Janie Jones

Apparently today was Earth Day.  Silly Janie, I thought I missed Earth Day back in March.

Well, Leif texted me earlier this morning to tell me to take the Google Earth Day quiz.  It just takes a couple minutes and it will tell you what kind of animal you would be if you weren’t a person.

It would seem we are both pangolins.

You're a pangolin

Happy Earth Day, indeed.

Now, if you are like me and have never really heard of a pangolin before, here’s the skinny:

According to Wikipedia, they are also known as scaly anteaters or trenggilings.

The pangolin is a mammal of the order Pholidota. The one extant family, Manidae, has one genus, Manis, which comprises eight species. These species range in size from 30 to 100 cm (12 to 39 in). A number of extinct Pangolin species are also known. The name Pangolin comes from the Malay word “pengguling”, meaning “something that rolls up.”  It is found naturally in tropical regions throughout Africa and Asia.

Pangolins have large, protective keratin scales covering their skin. The pangolin is the only known mammal with this adaptation. They live in hollow trees or burrows, depending on the species. Pangolins are nocturnal, and their diet consists of mainly ants and termites which they capture using their long, specially adapted tongues. They tend to be solitary animals, meeting only to mate and produce a litter of one to three offspring which are raised for about two years.

-Wikipedia

Other curious facts about pangolins, courtesy of Wikipedia:

  1. They are the most trafficked mammal in the world.
  2. The front claws are so long they are unsuited for walking, so the animal walks with its fore paws curled over to protect them.
  3. It can curl up into a ball when threatened, with its overlapping scales acting as armor and its face tucked under its tail. The scales are sharp, providing extra defense.
  4. Pangolins can also emit a noxious-smelling acid from glands near the anus, similar to the spray of a skunk.
  5. Pangolins lack teeth and, therefore, the ability to chew, however, they ingest small stones while foraging, which accumulate in the muscular stomach and help to grind up ants.
  6. The tongues of pangolins are extremely elongated, extending into the abdominal cavity and are longer than the pangolin’s entire body length.  Large pangolins can extend their tongues as much as 40 centimeters (16 in), and have a diameter of only 0.5 centimeters (0.20 in).

Want to see this bizarre critter in action?  Here’s a National Geographic Wild video on YouTube.

pangolin video

Well, now, that was fun, wasn’t it?  And I learned something new.  How about you?

March 25, 2015

My fortune says: Today you will hold the attention of your peers

by Janie Jones

I give my Lyme disease seminar in one hour.

I’m not so much nervous about giving the speech as I am about staying within the 30-35 minute time frame. I get docked points if I go over or under. So far practicing my speech at home I’m generally running right at 35-36 minutes.

Interesting side note:

My February issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine (yes, I’m a little behind) says that the Fortune cookie was invented by the Japanese, not the Chinese.

I wish my fortune said wealth and contentment will befall you soon.