Fun Facts Roundup

June 24, 2017

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!

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