In 1944 carrier pigeons were extremely important in the war effort. They carried important information from the front lines to the command centers. The problem was getting the carrier pigeons to those front lines safely. Initially, pigeons were dropped from planes in small containers with parachutes attached. Inevitably some got caught in trees. Others came … Read More
The word “salary” comes from the word salt
In ancient times salt was valued very highly. It was used for many varied reasons including pottery-making, mummification and food preservation. It was historically used as a method of trade and currency, including the purchase of slaves. The phrase “not worth his salt” comes from that fact. It originates from the Latin ‘salarium argentum’, the … Read More
Official weather temperatures are always recorded in the shade
Most weather stations are protected by a shield or are located in some sort of instrument shelter, which is located a distance above the ground to keep it from reading temperatures as cooler than they are. The shield or shelter itself keeps the thermometer out of the sun and therefore makes the reading more accurate … Read More
Kawaii means “cute” in Japanese
Not to be confused with the Hawaiian island Kauai, Kawaii means “cute”. Kawaii is not only enjoyed, but it’s a pursuit in Japan, somewhat defining the Japanese aesthetic currently. With Kawaii icons like Hello Kitty, Pokemon and the wide-eyed innocent look of anime, the Kawaii movement has grown world-wide.
Have a chocolate pot? You need a chocolate muddler
Hot Chocolate drinks have been popular since the Victorian era, and it’s from that time that we get the chocolate muddler. Hot chocolate used to be served from large pots (similar to coffee pots) made of porcelain or metal where the chocolate would end up settling on the bottom. This was because the chocolate was … Read More
Thomas Jefferson was the first President to shake hands rather than bow
When Jefferson was inaugurated, he started the new tradition of shaking hands rather than bowing to constituents. Bowing was started by President George Washington who would bow to guests at presidential receptions to avoid physical contact.
Yes, there was an Egyptian Cheetah Goddess. Her name was Mafdet.
A precursor to the goddess Bastet (and her alter-ego Sekhmet), Mafdet was the first feline goddess. Prominent during the reign of the First Dynasty pharaoh Den, she was often depicted as a woman with the head of a cheetah. She is also mentioned in the Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts as protecting the sun god Re … Read More
You can catch salmonella from a lizard or a turtle, so wash your hands after handling
Most, if not all, reptiles carry Salmonella in their intestinal tract and intermittently or continuously shed these bacteria in their feces. Studies have shown that 85% of all turtles, 77% of lizards, and 92% of snakes carry one of the 500 serotypes of Salmonella. Salmonella usually do not cause any illness in reptiles, but can … Read More
Rattan is not just for furniture – you can eat it
If you find raw rattan (the plant), you can cut away the nasty, thorn-laden outer husk to get to the inside (the palm heart) that tastes like a potato. Full of starchy fiber, it will make you feel full.
Alyssa Milano was the inspiration for Ariel in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”
One of my favorite childhood books was “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Anderson. When Disney made it into an animated feature film, I happily went to it as a child and loved every minute of it. Now, one of my favorite TV shows is “Project Runway”, and today these two favorites converged when Alyssa … Read More