Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sweet Potato Pie made of yams is not a Sweet Potato Pie

It would be a Yam Pie. That is because while they are similar in color and shape, sweet potatoes and yams are not related.

The library of congress puts it best:

"Yams are a monocot (a plant having one embryonic seed leaf) and from the
Dioscoreaceae or Yam family. Sweet Potatoes, often called ‘yams’, are a dicot (a
plant having two embryonic seed leaves) and are from the Convolvulacea or
morning glory family."

The topic of sweet potato vs. yams was recently covered on an episode of the Food Network's Unwrapped.

Oh Marc Summers, its been a long time since Double Dare...

Thanks to John for bringing this to my attention.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Smart people adopt pets

A year ago today I adopted an eight week old puppy named Chloe from the Jersey Animal Coalition.

On our one year anniversary I would like to remind everyone of the importance of adoption. There are millions of pets out there without homes and unless they are adopted many of these helpless animals will be put to sleep.

It isn't easy having a dog but it is very rewarding. While I may not have gotten to sleep late in this past year, and the beast has eaten many of my possessions (most recently my iron; not the cord, she actually removed the buttons and left the rest intact), I am so glad she is mine and I can't imagine my life without her.

To find a shelter near you, visit Pet Finder.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What is a Crownie?

A Crownie is a hybrid of a cookie and a brownie. Developed in 2008 by Katie Foley and Lila Branigan, Crownies have become a popular dessert in northern New Jersey which is enjoyed as a breakfast, snack or dessert.

The creators of the Crownie have plans to release a reduced-fat version of the hybrid in early 2009.

Barney Rubble needs career counseling

Barney Rubble of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon, "The Flintstones" did not have an official occupation for the first few years of production. He held odd jobs from TV repossession to short-order cooking until he finally landed a job with his buddy Fred at the quarry.

For more info on Barney's career path, visit The Straight Dope and avoid less accurate answers like this one.

Thanks to John for this question submission.

"Fug" boots helped fight WWI/WW2

Sheepskin boots were commonly used by shepherds in Australia and New Zealand, where the boots were originally developed and given the name "Ugg" boots, for "Ugly Boot".

These boots were also popular amongst aviators in WW1 and WW2 because of their ability to keep feet warm in non-pressurized planes at high altitude. (They are also helpful for shielding my feet from the cold at 6 AM when my dog decides she needs to go out.)

These brave soldiers called their sheepskin boots "FUG" boots. (Yes, there is more to learn about world wars than what one gets from late nights playing Call of Duty alone in their room.)

For more information about these wonderful foot protectors, click here. To read the words of a hater (whose blog I no longer follow), click here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bamboo is the fastest growing grass in the world

Bamboo is the largest, fastest growing evergreen grass in the world. There are about 1,000 species of bamboo worldwide. Some bamboo can grow up to .5 - 1 ft per day! Since bamboo is a grass, it keeps its leaves year round; even in the snow.

How do I know this? Growing up, my next door neighbors kept a traditional Japanese backyard complete with a forest of bamboo (my dad has spent the last 23 years trying to stop it from expanding into our yard). During bad ice storms the bamboo would bend with the weight of the ice, forming little caves on our yard, but it would never break.

Bamboo is very flexible and is used to build earthquake resistant housing. For more information on bamboo, visit TreeHugger.com.

Earthworms don't have lungs

Earthworms breathe through their skin. Oxygen combines with mucus on the outside of the worm and then enters the worm's blood vessels. The skin has to be wet in order for the oxygen to enter, but not too wet.

If the worm is too dry then it will die, if it is too wet then it cannot absorb the oxygen and then suffocates, and dies. Very sad. This is why whenever it rains the sidewalk is covered with earthworms -- watch your step!!

For more information on earthworms, click here. Link

Monday, November 3, 2008

Smart people vote

That's right. Smart people vote. Especially tomorrow.

If you aren't sure where to vote click here to find your local polling place.

Thanks to Bill for the helpful link.

The quarter test

The quarter test is a method of measuring the tread on your tires.

How do you do it? Take a quarter and place it Washington's (not Lincoln's head. Back in the day this test was preformed with a penny. To be super safe the test now uses a quarter, because it is bigger. I think.) head first into the tire tread. If you can see his whole head, it is time to get a new tire.

How do I know this? Last Thursday the automotive team at work hosted an educational experience on tires and tire maintenance. They taught us all about tires and how to change them. This would have been helpful a few months ago when I got a flat on 80 on my way to work...

Thank you AAA.

For more info about tires, check out these handy tip sheets courtesy of the Auto team.