Eggs that you buy from the store are probably unfertilized and had no chance of ever turning into a baby anything. Not all eggs are unfertilized, though. Decades ago, it was a fairly common occurrence to buy a fertilized egg. People used to hold them up to the light to check for veins. Now, though, the fertilized eggs you are more likely to come across aren’t chicken eggs, but goose eggs....
8/30/11 (Airplane Shadows)
Why don’t airplanes cast gigantic shadows? Aircraft that are flying relatively low do cast noticeable shadows but up at 35000 ft the shadow is barely noticeable. If the sun was a point source the shadow would be essentially the same size as the plane and equally visible at all altitudes. The sun’s angular diameter is about half a degree, so as the plane gets higher the penumbra...
Date of Origin 17th c. Willy-nilly originated in the expression will I, nill I, literally ‘whether I wish itor do not wish it’ (nill ‘be unwilling’, long defunct as an independent verb, was formed from will and the negative prefix ne-) - Source
Cheesecake is said to have been served to the athletes at the very first Olympic games in ancient Greece.
8/27/11 (Radioactive Armadillos)
In 2004, a lab at a university in Texas received a $6 million federal grant to breed radioactive armadillos for possible use in warfare.
8/26/11 (Finger Knitting)
How to knit without needles! Granted, you can pretty much only make a belt or scarf, but it’s still a fun and easy starting point.
The striped mittenfish, a deepwater species recently discovered in the Java Sea, can change its sex at will by turning its entire body inside out.
8/24/11 (Jerry Leiber)
Two days ago, Jerry Leiber of the songwriting duo Leiber and Stoller died at age 78. Leiber was primarily the lyricist half of the team that created hits like “Hound Dog,” “Poison Ivy,” “Yakety Yak,” “Stand By Me,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Young Blood,” “Love Potion Number Nine,” and “Spanish Harlem.” They...
8/23/11 (Mules and Hinnies)
A mule is the offspring of a male donkey (A Jack) and a female horse (A Mare). The offspring of a male horse (A Stallion) and female donkey (A Jenny) is known as a Hinny, and is much harder to obtain. Because horses and donkeys are different species with different numbers of chromosomes, all male mules and most female mules are infertile. Male mules are called, among other things, a John or John...
Polari (In many different spellings), comes from the Italian world parlare, meaning “to talk.” It is a form of slang in Britain that was used among actors, prostitutes, fairgrounds, and the gay subculture. It has debatable origins at least back to the 19th century and possibly to the 16th century, but was popularized in the 1960’s by its use by the characters Julian and Sandy in...
8/21/11 (Dirty Chai)
Chai means “tea” (despite the fact that many places serve “Chai Tea”), but usually refers to Masala Chai (or a flavor syrup meant to imitate Masala Chai). It can be ordered in most coffee houses, including Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. It is often referred to as a “Chai Latte”, which I thought meant was a café latte with chai flavoring. This is not true. A...
8/20/11 (Burns and Icy Hot)
Biofreeze Gel, also known as Icy Hot is not only good for muscle tension. It’s also an effective treatment for mild burns, even if the sensation is a bit odd.
8/19/11 (Tree Branches)
When a tree branch grows an off-shoot, it grows towards the sun as well, meaning that the angle will be forty-five degrees from the current branch or less.
8/18/11 (Imitation Wax Seals)
Remember the lesson on weighting papers? Well, if it’s a letter, you may decide you want a wax seal on it that won’t be destroyed every time the letter is opened on stage. Wax seals are, in fact, quite fragile, and often break in half when the letter is opened. The solution? Hot glue. First, you’ll need to find some small cast resin piece or other small plastic object that will...
8/17/11 (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, best known as the author of The Little Prince, was actually an aviator. For those who have read The Little Prince, you may recall that while the protagonist of the fable is the titular prince wishing to save the only other inhabitant of his planet (a rose), the narrator is a pilot who has crash landed in the midst of a desert. The little prince tells the stranded pilot of...
8/16/11 (Night Owls)
An article from Psychology Today says: “Satoshi Kanazawa, a psychologist at The London School of Economics and Political Science, argues that, while we have specialized mental modules for navigation, social interaction, and other age-old tasks, general intelligence is its own module handling only evolutionarily novel circumstances. And he has data showing that people with higher IQs are...
8/15/11 (Gustave Eiffel)
Gustave Eiffel, designer of the Eiffel Tower, enjoyed a successful career as an architect despite having dyslexia and a paralyzing fear of heights.
8/14/11 (Crystal Watches)
Quartz crystals have been in regular use for many years to give an accurate frequency for all radio transmitters, radio receivers and computers. Their accuracy comes from an amazing set of coincidences: Quartz — which is silicon dioxide like most sand — is unaffected by most solvents and remains crystalline to hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit. The property that makes it an electronic...
8/13/11 (DW words)
It is thought that there are only 3 words in the English language that begin with the letters “DW.” This is not true. According to morewords.com there are at least 34. Granted, many are various tenses and forms of the same word (and I’m not sure some of them are words at all), but there are still far more than three. They are: Dwarf Dwarfed Dwarfer Dwarfest Dwarfing ...
The first air-breathing fish and amphibians extracted oxygen using gills when in the water and primitive lungs when on land—and to do so, they had to be able to close the glottis, or entryway to the lungs, when underwater. Importantly, the entryway (or glottis) to the lungs could be closed. When underwater, the animals pushed water past their gills while simultaneously pushing the glottis down....
8/11/11 (Köchel Catalogue)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was quite prolific, and some of his works have similar names. For absolute identification, a man named Ludwig von Köchel assigned a number to each work. These numbers are all preceded by ‘K.’ and procede in chronological order. This catalogue was completed in 1862. There have since been revisions and re-printings. The most recent revision is known as K6, and the...
8/10/11 (Gold Leaf)
Have a piece of furniture that just isn’t swanky enough? There is a solution. For insta-fancy, anytime, go for gold leaf. It’s surprisingly easy. First, you will need some supplies. 1. Paint. Something close to gold color is best, in case the leaf comes up in places. 2. Wondersize or Aquasize. (Any sort of “size” adhesive will do.) 3. Patent Gold Leaf. 4. 4...
8/9/11 (Pocket Square)
Today, I learned a neat way of folding a pocket square called the three-stair fold. Check it out. http://www.samhober.com/howtofoldpocketsquares/Threestairs.htm
8/8/11 (Weighting Papers)
In outdoor theatres, wind is a fairly common occurance. So, how do these theatres handle papers, like those that go in suitcases and on desks? Well, they weight them. Today, I learned how. First, make sure that you have two pieces of paper exactly the same size for every sheet of paper you want to appear on stage. It’s best if these pieces already have whatever writing they need on them. ...
8/7/11 (Piercing Healings)
According to a brochure at a piercing salon, it takes a male nipple piercing about 2 - 3 months to heal, while a female nipple piercing takes 4 - 6 months. The fastest healing piercings are those on the genitals and the tongue at 4 - 6 weeks. A standard earlobe, for comparison, takes 2 - 3 months to fully heal.
8/6/11 (Chair Seats)
Turns out that a fairly standard seat of a cushioned chair (the wooden kind that one might find at a dining room table) is secured with four screws, each one put in from underneath. The chair frame itself has a diagonal brace at each corner designed for the purpose, and the screws are long enough to grip into the cushioned seat itself, which has a wooden bottom.
For those familiar with the stories surrounding the Trojan War, you might remember that one of the Greek heroes was Agamemnon. The first play of the Oresteia — a trilogy written by Aeschylus — tells of his return from war and his murder at the hands of his wife, Clytemnestra. Her reasons for doing so are debatable, but include the fact that when Agamemnon departed for Troy, he sacrificed his and...
8/4/11 (Vital Wheat Gluten)
When you make a whole grain bread, a lot of the “white” part of the wheat grain is lost, which contains the gluten. Gluten is the sticky, paste-like part of the dough that traps air and lets the dough rise and not grow too dense. Therefore, when baking bread with whole wheat flour, it is sometimes necessary to add more gluten. You can buy it in powdered form called “Vital Wheat...
8/3/11 (Social and emotional issues in gifted...
thisisnotpsychology: Isolation Isolation is one of the main challenges faced by gifted individuals, especially those with no social network of gifted peers. In order to gain popularity, gifted children will often try to hide their abilities to win social approval. Strategies include underachievement (discussed below) and the use of less sophisticated vocabulary when among same-age peers than...
One of the earliest Russian novels was Yevgeniy (Eugene) Onegin. It tells the story of a “superfluous man” — a brilliant, but arrogant aristocrat with no purpose in life — and Tatyana, the woman he didn’t love until too late. It was written by Alexander Pushkin and published serially between 1825 and 1832. It consists (according to Wikipedia) of: …389 stanzas of iambic...
8/1/11 (Elm Trees)
Elm tree meaning includes strength of will and intuition. During the 18th and 19th centuries, elms were popular as ornamentals by virtue of their rapid growth and variety of foliage and forms. This popularity lasted until World War I when the consequences of hostilities, notably in Germany, and the outbreak of Dutch elm disease saw the elm slide into horticultural decline. Elm wood is valued for...