Tuesday, October 28, 2008

That Sea-Monkey® is such a shrimp...

Literally. Sea-Monkeys® are actually just the brand name for a variety of brine shrimp. These fishies (actually crustaceans) can live in suspended animation for years if kept in an oxygen free environment, which is what allows the period sized (.) eggs to be shipped to your front door and still hatch.
Brine shrimp have a life span of only one year. Could you imagine? Your entire life in one year.

Click here for more information on the original Sea-Monkeys®.

Thank you Miss Kelly for inspiring this post.

Let me pick your brain...

Yes, my knowledge of random facts is vast, but even I could learn something new. Feel free to send your own random tidbits or questions to be answered to LRBranigan@gmail.com.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A red car does not mean higher car insurance, or more speeding tickets

No need to avoid buying a red car for insurance reasons. Insurance companies will not give you higher premiums for the color of your car, and cops will not pull you over if you sport a red ride (any police out there to verify? please comment...) According to Snopes it is actually gray/silver cars that get the most tickets (sorry Pep).

How do I know this? I was a red car owner myself. My insurance was not higher than any of the other cars on our plan (because of the color of my car at least). Despite the fact that it was a modest bright red C-RV, I got pulled over just as often as anyone else.

Odds are if you are driving a red car and get pulled over, it's probably because you deserved it (as I did; don't tell my mother that...). And depending on the red car, you might be compensating for something as well...

A bulldozer tire weighs 700 lbs

The average bulldozer tire weighs 700 lbs. Off-the-road (OTR) tires, including tractor tires, are built with extra internal reinforcement to withstand harsh conditions and heavy loads. These heavy duty tires can cost up to $50,000.

How do I know this? Master mulch/mum/pumpkin/assorted plant farmer Jeremy Halper of Cornell Farms in Belle Meade, NJ educated me on these massive tires during a visit to his farm.

Another fact about the bulldozer tire...it is about 5'2"tall. Just like me!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Who has better dreams, your dog or a duck-billed platypus?

Ever seen your dog start to wag, whimper, or wiggle around during sleep? That means your dog is dreaming. Dogs are mammals, and like other taller, less furry mammals (humans) they experience REM sleep, the section of the sleep cycle where we dream.

The duck-billed platypus experiences more REM sleep than any other mammal. They also lay eggs. And have bills. Go figure.

What does your dog dream about?

Mine has a reoccurring dream of becoming a smurf...

Beat that platypus!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Super glue is no match for nail polish remover

If your skin (or someone else's) is stuck together with super glue never fear, it can be easily removed with nail polish remover.

How do I know this? Well, its pretty obvious that I was gluing something and my fingers happened to get glued together. It happens.

I have discovered that nail polish remover is useful for much more than making my nails pretty. It can be used for stain removal (like when you spill nail polish on the floor of a hotel in Tampa and make your brother go down to the gift shop to pick up an overpriced bottle of nail polish remover so your mother doesn't see) and to get rid of permanent marker mishaps (like when someone writes "for a good time call" and your number).

Check out some more uses courtesy of Sandra.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pineapples are berries, and clearly not apples or mini pine trees

That's the biggest berry I've ever seen... Pineapples are actually a mass of berries which have fused together creating a central fruit.

The pineapple, the only edible fruit of the Bromeliaceae family (There are other pineapple looking plants that you don't eat like the one I bought my friend as a gift. I was wondering why it never grew...), is not in any way related to apples or pine trees.

Pineapples were brought to Europe for the first time in 1493 by Christopher Columbus himself (carried it the whole way... not really, well he could have). The Spaniards thought it looked like a pine cone, and named it "Pine of the Indies". At that time in Europe, the English, being so creative, referred to most fruit as "apples". Mix the two together, TA DA, pineapple!

Don't believe me? Well prepare to be schooled by Union County College.

Thank you Cakers for bringing this to my attention.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fish do sleep, and have sleeping problems

Fish sleep regularly just as people do, but their eyes remain open. Why? Because they don't have eyelids! Sleeping habits of fish depend on breed; some seem to be still in open water while others hide under rocks or logs. Fish are very light sleepers, and will wake with the slightest ripple of water.

Some fish even have sleep disorders, like insomnia (such as the Dave Attell Fish, ha ha). Check out these Zzzz-less zebrafish.

This topic was submitted by Laura Johnson

Bees are the only insects that make food for humans

Honey Bees are the only insects that make food for humans.

Not only do they make us food, but 1/3 of the human diet comes from insect pollinated plants -- 80% of which is the work of bees. Personally, I am not a fan of bees (I am terrified) but I do like plants and food, so I guess they aren't that bad.

Thank you Snapple cap for bringing this topic to my attention. For more info visit Herbs N' Honey.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The largest pickle factory in the world is in Holland, MI

The largest pickle factory in the world is the Heinz Pickle Factory in Holland, Michigan.

How do I know this? Every summer of my childhood we would spend a week or so at my grandparents cottage on Lake Macatawa in Holland. This cottage was built by my great grand father, and my grandmother and father spent all of their summers in this cottage. When it was built, the was nothing but forest around it, and as the area developed, the cottage remained the exactly the same. Well, on that same lake is the Heinz Pickle Factory. My uncle spent time one summer working dumping salt and vinegar into the large pickle vats. Before a storm, when the wind changes, all you can smell is pickles, and I happen to love pickles.

For more information on the factory, click here.

Gnats go to the highest point on your body

Hands up! (Baby, hands up!) This day camp favorite song was good for more than spirit day, it was also a great way to keep gnats out of your face.

Why, you ask? Gnats (those annoying little swarming bugs that seem to have no purpose) always target the highest point on your body, so by "raising up" you send the gnats up in the sky and out of your face. My softball team may laugh at me, but I'd rather look silly than deal with flies in the outfield.

While I haven't found a scholastic source to verify this fact, there are plenty of websites that agree. Check this one out.

Why Boston is called Beantown

Boston is called Beantown because of baked beans.

Back in colonial times Boston was part of the triangle trade, resulting in mass amounts of sugar cane which was made into molasses. Molasses is a key ingredient of Boston Baked Beans, a favorite dish of the times. This mass of molasses turned deadly when a molasses tank burst open and killed 21 people during the The Great Molasses Flood of 1919.

Why do I know this? One of my co-workers asked me why Boston was called Beantown, and the information just stuck...like molasses.

Click here for more information on Beantown.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Peanuts are not nuts

Peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes.

How do I know this? A good friend of mine is allergic to nuts. Whenever she was asked about her allergy, she would explain how all nuts would kill her, but not peanuts because they are legumes. She was so allergic to nuts that on Halloween her father followed us trick or treating to make sure she didn't eat anything. We were 12.

For more information visit the Peanut Institute.