Monday, November 02, 2009

Learn Something New

I love trivia. Little-known facts, seemingly useless bits of knowledge taking up space and brain cells and keeping me endlessly entertained. Suduko? Crossword Puzzles? No thanks. I'll take 'Jeopardy Questions for 1000' please!

So, we had a contest in the Sock Club this past weekend. I wanted trivia. Things that make you go huh?? Srsly?? Here's a collection of submissions for your enjoyment:

Mice live a couple of years but mole rats can reach the venerable age of 28. The long life is probably a consequence of their protected existence. Mice have a short life span because they have many predators. Better to breed fast and young than prepare for an old age none will never [sic] live to see. Gray squirrels, on the other hand, have fewer enemies and can live for more than 20 years.” (Don't tell the Yarn Harlot the squirrel thing. It's best to keep that one to ourselves.)

Mosquitos have teeth.

In Old English, "wife" was grammatically neuter, so it was normal to say, "I spake with thy wife and it said."

A certain well-known fairy tale features slippers of glass, which a moment of thought will reveal as absurd. However, the tale dates to medieval France, and the French for glass - verre - is pronounced the same as ermine - vair - a fashionable slipper material of the day.

Dimetradon (see image from, were not dinosaurs. Despite being a dino look-a-like, these sail-backed creatures lived in the Permian, (299-251 Million years ago) and are actually more similar to mammals than dinosaurs. The difference lies in the skull. Mammals, Dimetrodon, and other "Mammal like reptiles" of the Permian are Synapsids (meaning there is a single hole in the skull behind the eye), dinosaurs, snakes, lizards and corocodiles are Diapsids (two holes in the skull behind the eye). Mososaurs, Pleisiosaurs, and Pterosaurs (which lived in the Mesozoic (think: Jurassic and Cretaceous), 251 to 65 Million years ago) were also diapsids although they are not dinosaurs. Also Birds evolved from dinosaurs!

Celery contains eugenol (the active ingrediant in clove oil and used intemporary dental fillings to numb the cavity) which will cause some people to get a numb feeling in their mouth when they eat it.

When Mozart was a little boy, he had a canary. Mozart was so smart that he could tell that his canary sang in the key of G major.

Did you know the placement of a donkey's eyes in its' head enables it to see all four feet at all times??

The length from your wrist to your elbow is same length of your foot. Your mouth produces 1 liter of spit/saliva a day.

There are some species of armadillos that only give birth to identical quadruplets.

In order to avoid predators when they're at sea, elephant seals sleep at a depth of 1,000 feet. They can do this because they don't breathe while they're asleep. While a typical dive lasts half an hour or so, they can stay underwater for up to two hours.

Gummibärchen were invented in 1922 by Hans Riegel, owner of Haribo. They are not only tasty little things, they are also subjects of art:

Check out the art: here
Or subjects of design: here
and literature: here

The dot over an "i" is called a tittle.

The can opener was invented about 50 years after the can.

If you get some of your own blood on something, your own saliva will remove it.

The most widely used form of mass transportation in the United States is the elevator.

So, who won the contest? Well around here, we're pretty concerned about predators. Specifically, Mosquitos. The fact that they have teeth... well, I can't slap fast enough now and I think I'll go munch on some garlic and stock up on bug spray for the coming summer - it's on sale right now you know! Here's what I found in detail when looking this one up:
Mosquitoes have four knife-like tools of serrated teeth that surround a pair of fine tubes — one for dripping a pain suppressor and one for sucking blood.
A common house mosquito (Culex sp.) stabs the skin with her sharp
snout and saws in with her four knife tools to draw blood. She shoots in saliva laced with anesthetic (to escape notice) and an anticoagulant (to keep blood flowing). Then she sucks blood.
In 90 seconds, she sucks enough blood to nourish 100 eggs or more — and is too heavy to fly. She makes a controlled descent to a close safe spot where she squeezes in on her abdomen. Water oozes out of the blood, filtered through the abdominal wall, and forms a large drop.
Light again, she takes off.
During her short adult life (two weeks to a month) she bites one to three times, says Larry Weber, naturalist and author of Spiders of the North Woods.
(quoted from 9/8/2005 'WonderQuest' by April


(**But as a knitter... I want to know how many of you tested the length from your wrist to your elbow with your foot?)

So, Debby won the Club Contest and she's won some wonderful yarn I'll get in the mail here this week. Feel free to post your own trivia to the comments section, I love a good trivia-read ;-)


Pat S said...

The saliva one reminded me of a comedian (I think it was Jeff Foxworthy) who said that the chemical composition of a mom's saliva is identical to Formula 409 - never fails to crack me up. As for the mosquito one? - double eeeeuwwwww.

Marigold said...

oh yeah, i was comparing my foot with the whole wrist-to-elbow measurement. It was only after I contorted to place my foot by my arm that I realized I could have went to find a ruler instead. My foot is a little shorter than that measurement.

Rachel said...

yeah I did the contortion thing too -- close enough to make no nevermind.

mosquitos -- EUWWWWW

emily10 said...

Good facts! I have to admit the glass slipper thing has always bothered me, but no longer!

Sally M said...

...and yes, I so did the foot up to the wrist thing, and then noticed the ruler sitting in plain sight ON TOP OF MY DESK!! I measured both ways and I am within an 1/8 of an inch the same (foot a bit shorter)

I have new-found respect for the nasty mosquito now.

georg said...

Actually, Vair comes from a particular breed of squirrel which has since gone extinct, and not ermine, which is still around. Ermine is an entirely different pattern heraldrically speaking. Let me know if you want links.

Karen said...

I did, and it isn't. But my foot is less than an inch shorter, not bad for an approximation.

Nice contest!

Cheers, Karen

The Knifty Knitter said...

I think I read that tidbit about the forearm in the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules book. I've used it many times when working on sock projects.

Chalyn said...

i knew about the vair/verre/glass slipper thing. but i didn't know about arm length and foot length. probably a good thing as, after minimal contortion, i discovered that my wrist to elbow measurement is at least 1.5 inches longer than my foot.