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Date: Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013 20:11
Blue Fireflies Hunting Elk Photo by s58y (CC BY 2.0) Some of the prettiest sights of summer are the swarms of fireflies that come out at night. In some parts of the world, their yellow, blue, and magenta lights are so bright that it's possible to read by them! While the basic purpose of the firefly's flicker was known as early as 1532, the specifics of their communication weren't understood
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "Samuel Morse, benjamin franklin, Alfred ..."
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Date: Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 20:35
North American Flying Fox Photo by nekoretro (CC BY-SA 2.0) Why are people so afraid of bats? They certainly seem cute enough, and while some bats are certainly very dangerous, like vampire bats and Siamese false eagles, most bats wouldn't hurt a fly. Since those particular species are found only in remote locations, there must be some other reason for the primal anxiety most people feel
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "radar, mammals, bats, radiation, cancer,..."
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Date: Thursday, 24 Jan 2013 22:31
It's time for a new feature on Undeniable Facts! On Save with Frugal Dan, I'll share a new tip each week for keeping more of your hard-earned cash in your pocket! It's almost February, and that means the last of the so-called "arboreal holidays" are behind us, so retailers are anxious to clear out what remains of their Christmas tree stock. They'll be offering that merchandise at bargain
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "frugality, savings, trees, plants, Fruga..."
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Date: Monday, 07 Jan 2013 19:28
Lighthouse in Galicia, used during the Spanish-American WarPhoto by Luis Alves (CC BY 2.0)We've all heard those jokes that start "How many _ does it take to screw in a light bulb?" What you may not know is that like most riddles, this joke started as a serious question. Believe it or not, the earliest light bulbs really did take more than one person to screw in, and figuring out exactly how many
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)"
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Date: Saturday, 12 Nov 2011 02:05
Today is 11/11/11! What are the odds?So where did the word "eleven" come from anyway? Turns out it comes from our friends, the Jews. Originally, the word was "unleavened". According to Jewish tradition, any bread you consume on the ides of the month must be unleavened (no flour), or the angel of death will come and take your babies. Eventually, this "unleavened day" lent its name to its place on
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "eleven, numbers, Jews, math, etymology"
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Date: Saturday, 08 Oct 2011 15:41
Sand dollar with claws removedPhoto by Editor B (CC BY 2.0)The humble sand dollar is the only crustacean to have had a currency named after it. In fact, the Byzantine empire actually used the sand dollar as its currency from 200 - 310 BC, favoring it for its durability and the difficulty of counterfeiting a living animal.This ultimately led to economic disaster, however, when a particularly warm
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "economics, sand dollar, Byzantine empire"
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Date: Friday, 17 Jun 2011 22:05
Spectators watch as a Buddhist calculates the 3080th digit of piPhoto by Mark Eslick (CC BY 2.0)We all know that pi is irrational, meaning that there's no pattern to its digits. So how is it that we can calculate it to the thousandth decimal place and beyond?As with all transcendental numbers, the answer lies in the secretive religion of Zen Buddhism. To compute each digit of pi, a Yogi will
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "pi, Buddhism, religion, math"
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Date: Wednesday, 15 Jun 2011 19:20
Closeup of L. psittacusPhoto by Joi Ito (CC BY 2.0)The critically endangered Tunisian parrot beetle (Leptinotarsa psittacus) is the only species of insect capable of imitating human speech. It uses this talent to scare off predators, which universally fear humans.The beetle's extra-precise antennae can pick up sound waves from up to ten yards away or more. After picking up a suitable sound, it
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "biology, entomology, insects, beetles, z..."
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Date: Tuesday, 14 Jun 2011 20:00
Ever notice how the wings on a jet can often look like they're in pretty bad shape? Fact is, jets don't need wings at all. They are held aloft by their eponymous turbojets, much like the space shuttle, which is why the wings don't flap except in emergencies. They are only there so that people on the ground do not mistake them for Incoming Bomb Missiles (ICBMs).Prop planes, on the other hand, need
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "jets, aerodynamics, airplanes, physics, ..."
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Date: Friday, 10 Jun 2011 01:29
We've all heard scientists talk about "fundamental forces", but what are they really yammering on about? There are five fundamental forces:The "weak force". This force is commonly known as "force of will".The "strong force", popularized by the movie Star Wars.The "electronica force", or "force of habit".The "gravitational force", or "force of nature".The "centrifugal force", also known as the "
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "Mexican jumping beans, forces, Mexico, s..."
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Date: Monday, 06 Jun 2011 16:20
Photo by TheCulinaryGeek (CC)In a pinch, you can make red wine out of red wine vinegar simply by adding one part sugar for every two parts vinegar, and zapping the mixture in the microwave. The reaction takes about ten minutes per liter, and if high quality vinegar is used, most people won't notice that anything is up. Add a little grape juice, and you'll have even the most discerning
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "bourbon, law, Grover Cleveland, vinegar,..."
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Date: Thursday, 02 Jun 2011 22:53
Adolph Hitler, King of the NazisWhy do we call things of incredible value "priceless"? To find the answer, we must turn the clock back to the first world war. In 1915, the Nazis invaded and occupied London, and as usual, the first order of business was to send the Gestapo around to every house to collect any valuables to add to Germany's coffers.Of course, with so many houses to search, it was
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "WWI, Nazis, Germany, history, etymology"
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Date: Wednesday, 01 Jun 2011 20:17
Photo by Roger Price via Flickr(per Creative Commons) Decaffeinated coffee is just fantastic for those of us who like to start off the morning with a hot beverage but dislike the idea of using drugs (recent studies prove that caffeine is nearly as addictive as crack cocaine). But how do they separate the delicious parts of coffee beans from the dangerous narcotics they contain? Amazingly, the
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "nuclear physics, carbon dioxide, coffee,..."
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Date: Wednesday, 01 Jun 2011 00:55
Sick and tired of sitting in traffic every day? That lane on the far right side of the highway that nobody drives in is called the "shoulder" and is reserved for clinically impatient drivers. Chronic sufferers can apply to get a special sticker to put on their car which makes it legal to use the shoulder when traffic gets too heavy.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "highways, traffic, cars"
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Date: Monday, 30 May 2011 15:49
Ever wonder why a day is 24 hours long? It turns out that 24 hours works out to one million seconds. It's metric, folks!
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "days, seconds, hours, units, metric syst..."
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Date: Monday, 30 May 2011 00:29
Photo by Goldstein.Group via Flickr (per Creative Commons)As you might have guessed, the salt shaker was invented by the Shakers, a loosely organized group of semi-religious Jews, famous for their elaborate machinery. The Quakers, however, disavow any knowledge of the origin of the pepper quaker.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "Quakers, salt, Shakers, pepper"
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Date: Saturday, 28 May 2011 22:23
Photo by Squeezyboy via Flickr (per Creative Commons)If you're like most people, you've probably been given the impression that horseshoes are used to protect horses' hooves from wearing out. What a bunch of malarkey!If you stop to think about it, it makes no sense that horses would need shoes to protect their hooves. After all, wild horses don't wear shoes, and they never have hoof problems.In
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "horses, blacksmith, horseshoes, magnets,..."
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Date: Thursday, 26 May 2011 20:38
Ironically, the popular beverage known as the Strawberry Toenail contains no strawberry juice! Its red color and tangy flavor actually come from cranberries.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "beverages, juice, cranberries, strawberr..."
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Date: Friday, 20 May 2011 21:01
Hangnails: we've all had 'em. But you may not be aware that what appears to be a harmless nuisance may in fact be a parasite in disguise. Not to fear though – a simple litmus test will tell you what's what.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "hangnails, parasites, medicine, litmus t..."
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Date: Thursday, 19 May 2011 16:55
Here in the US, we use attenuated current (AC) to power our homes, but that's not the case everywhere. For example, in Spain they use discrete current (DC), and in Russia they use reverse current (RC). But the UK has a completely different solution: static electricity.Even today, most of the UK's energy is provided by sheep farms. Farmers drive huge electrodes into the ground, and as the sheep
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Dan Serena)" Tags: "United States, static, lightning, electr..."
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