Fun Facts Roundup

4-1/2yo Elle (approximately 10 hands) and a foal (or is this a pony?)

▪ The height of horses is measured in “hands,” or 4″ increments. (Source: Biology Corner)

▪ The driest (non-polar) place in the world is the Atacama Desert in Chile. (Source: National Geographic Magazine)

▪ (This sounds very hoax-y, but it is real.) A chicken named Mike holds the record (18 months) among chickens for living without a head. (Source: The BBC)

▪ The word “arctic” is derived from the Greek word ἀρκτικός (arktikos) for “near the bear” (bear is ἄρκτος or arktos). (Source: Oxford Dictionaries Online)

▪ M.I.T. sued Frank Gehry and his firm back in 2007 for extensive leaks at the Gehry-designed Stata Center; when Gehry was asked to address the lawsuit, he said, “these things are complicated … and they involved a lot of people, and you never quite know where they went wrong … the chances of it getting done ever without something colliding or some misstep are small.” Gehry is considered by some to be among the worst living architects; as a friend of mine who was an MIT undergrad used to say, “it’s not a Gehry building if it doesn’t leak.” (Source: The New York Times)

▪ The “Average Color of the Universe” is a shade of light beige. (Source: NASA)

▪ Centipedes, despite their name, never actually have exactly 100 legs, because they always have an odd number of leg pairs. (Source: Current Biology)

▪ Six U.S. states–Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wisconsin–allow for private ownership of big cats, primates, and bears without permits. (Source: Business Insider)

▪ A camel’s hump holds no water, but instead stores fat. (Source: The Library of Congress)

▪ The spacesuits worn by the astronauts of Apollo 11 were made by Playtex, then primarily a latex girdle maker. (Source: Smithsonian Magazine; a related read in Wired)

▪ Panama hats originated in Ecuador. (Source: Financial Times)

▪ Panthers are not a distinct species of big cats. A black panther is “an umbrella term that refers to any big cat with a black coat.” (Source: National Geographic)

▪ Quango is the acronym for “quasi-autonomous non-governmental organization”; scuba is short for “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus”; pog is derived from “passion fruit, orange, guava”; laser is the acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”; and the “care” in care package was originally short for “cooperative for American remittances to Europe.” (Source: Oxford Dictionaries Online)

▪ The mantis shrimp is as beautiful as it is deadly, possessing the fastest punch on earth at 80km per hour. (Source: Science Magazine; related links here and here)

▪ Before entering politics, Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States, was a tailor. (Source: The White House)

▪ Gatorade was invented by a team of physicians and researchers at the University of Florida to treat fatigue and heat-related illnesses suffered by players of the school’s football team: the Florida Gators. (Source: Gatorade)

▪ Antlers–found on male deers and male and female reindeers–are grown and shed annually; horns generally grow continuously throughout the life of the animal, but do not regenerate if broken off. (Source: National Park Service)

▪ The word “daisy” evolved from the Old English word, dæges ēage, meaning “day’s eye.” (Source: Oxford Dictionaries Online)

▪ Saudi Arabia has no rivers, lakes, or natural vegetation because of scant rainfall (average monthly rainfall ranges from 1mm to 15.6mm). (Source: National Geographic)

▪ Déjà-vu has an antonym: jamais-vu (literally “never seen”), which describes feeling as though a familiar thing is actually new. (Source: Psychology Today)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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