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  • Believe it or What

    50 things we learned this year, from the weird, to the... okay, they're all pretty strange, some are funny, some are semi-educational, some are just wacky and bizarre.




    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    1. U.S. life expectancy in 2005 inched up to a record high of 77.9 years.

    2. The part of the brain that regulates reasoning, impulse control and judgment is still under construction during puberty and doesn’t shift into autopilot until about age 25.

    3. Blue light fends off drowsiness in the middle of the night, which could be useful to people who work at night.

    4. The 8-foot-long tooth emerging from the head of the narwhal whale is actually a type of sensor that detects changes in water temperature, pressure and particle gradients.

    5. U.S. Protestant “megachurches” - defined as having a weekly attendance of at least 2,000 - doubled in five years to more than 1,200 and are among the nation’s fastest-growing faith groups.

    6. Cheese consumption in the United States is expected to grow by 50 percent between now and 2013.

    7. At 68.1 percent, the United States ranks eighth among countries that have access to and use the Internet. The largest percentage of online use was in Malta, where 78.1 percent access the Web.

    8. The U.S. government has paid about $1.5 billion in benefits to thousands of sick nuclear-weapons workers since 2001.

    9. Scientists have discovered that certain brain chemicals in our tears are natural pain relievers.

    10. FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover wrote a drooling fan letter to Lucille Ball in 1955 to tell her how much he enjoyed an episode of “I Love Lucy.” “In all the years I have traveled on trains,” he noted, “I have often wondered why someone did not pull the emergency brake, but I have never been aboard a train where it was done. The humor in your program last Monday, I think, exceeded any of your previous programs and they have been really good in themselves.”

    11. Wasps spray an insect version of pepper spray from their heads to temporarily incapacitate their rivals.

    12. A sex gene responsible for making embryos male and forming the testes is also produced by the brain region targeted by Parkinson’s disease, a discovery that may explain why more men than women develop the degenerative disorder.

    13. Ancient humans from Asia may have entered the Americas following an ocean highway made of dense kelp.

    14. An impact crater 18 miles in diameter was found 12,500 feet under the Indian Ocean.

    15. Americans spent almost $32 billion on toys during 2005. About a third of that was spent on video games.

    16. A new planet described as a “super-Earth,” which weighs 13 times as much as our planet, exists in a solar system 9,000 light-years away.

    17. A gene for a light-sensitive protein in the eye is what resets the body’s “internal clock.”

    18. Australian scientists discovered a polyrhachis sokolova, which is believed to be the only ant species that can live under water. It nests in submerged mangroves and hides from predators in air pockets.

    19. Red wine contains anti-inflammatory chemicals that stave off diseases affecting the gums and bone around the teeth.

    20. A substance called resveratrol, also found in red wine, protects mice from obesity and the effects of aging, and perhaps could do the same for humans.

    21. Two previously unknown forms of ice - dubbed by researchers as ice XIII and XIV - were discovered frozen at temperatures of around minus 160 degrees Celsius, or minus 256 Fahrenheit.

    22. The hole in the earth’s ozone layer is closing - and could be entirely closed by 2050. Meanwhile, the amount of greenhouse gases is increasing.

    23. Scientists discovered what they believe to be football-field-sized minimoons scattered in Saturn’s rings that may be debris left over from a collision between a comet and one of Saturn’s icy moons.

    24. At least once a week, 28 percent of high school students fall asleep in school, 22 percent fall sleep while doing homework and 14 percent get to school late or miss school because they overslept.

    25. Women gain weight when they move in with a boyfriend because their diet deteriorates, but men begin to eat more healthy food when they set up a home with a female partner.

    26. Some 45 percent of Internet users, or about 60 million Americans, said they sought online help to make big decisions or negotiate their way through major episodes in their lives during the previous two years.

    27. Of the 10 percent of U.S. teens who uses credit cards, 15.7 percent are making the minimum payment each month.

    28. Around the world, middle-aged and elderly men tend to be more satisfied with their sex lives than women in the same age group, a new survey shows.

    29. The 90-million-year-old remains of seven pack-traveling carnivorous dinosaurs known as Mapusaurus were discovered in an area of southern Argentina nicknamed “Jurassic Park.”

    30. A group of genes makes some mosquitoes resistant to malaria and prevents them from transmitting the malaria parasite.

    31. A 145-million-year-old beach ball-sized meteorite found a half-mile below a giant crater in South Africa has a chemical composition unlike any known meteorite.

    32. Just 30 minutes of continuous kissing can diminish the body’s allergic reaction to pollen, relaxing the body and reducing production of histamine, a chemical cell given out in response to allergens.

    33. Saturn’s moon Titan features vast swaths of “sand seas” covered with row after row of dunes from 300 to 500 feet high. Radar images of these seas, which stretch for hundreds of miles, bear a stunning likeness to ranks of dunes in Namibia and Saudi Arabia.

    34. Scientists have discovered the fastest bite in the world, one so explosive it can be used to send the Latin American trap-jaw ant that performs it flying through the air to escape predators.

    35. Janjucetus Hunderi, a ferocious whale species related to the modern blue whale, roamed the oceans 25 million years ago preying on sharks with its huge, razor-sharp teeth.

    36. DNA analysis determined the British descended from a tribe of Spanish fishermen who crossed the Bay of Biscay almost 6,000 years ago.

    37. Marine biologists discovered a new species of shark that walks along the ocean floor on its fins.

    38. Most of us have microscopic, wormlike mites named Demodex that live in our eyelashes and have claws and a mouth.

    39. The common pigeon can memorize 1,200 pictures.

    40. The queens of bee, ant and wasp colonies that have the most sex with the largest number of males produce the strongest and healthiest colonies.

    41. By firing atoms of metal at another metal, Russian and American scientists found a new element - No. 118 on the Periodic Table - that is the heaviest substance known and probably hasn’t existed since the universe was in its infancy.

    42. A “treasure-trove” of 150-million-year-old fossils belonging to giant sea reptiles that roamed the seas at the time of the dinosaurs was uncovered on the Arctic island chain of Svalbard, about halfway between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole.

    43. Sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday can disturb your body clock, leaving you fatigued at the start of the week.

    44. Migrating dragonflies and songbirds exhibit many of the same behaviors, suggesting the rules that govern such long-distance travel may be simpler and more ancient than was once thought.

    45. During the past five years, the existence of a peanut allergy in children has doubled.

    46. Photos taken of Mars in 1999 and 2005 show muddy sand, indicating there may have been a flood sometime between those years.

    47. A python was the first god worshipped by mankind, according to 70,000-year-old evidence found in a cave in Botswana’s Tosodilo hills.

    48. Red wines from southwest France and Sardinia boast the highest concentrations of chemical compounds that promote heart health.

    49. One of the most effective ways for athletes to recover after exercise is to drink a glass of chocolate milk.

    50. Researchers from the University of Manchester managed to induce teeth growth in normal chickens - activating genes that have lain dormant for 80 million years.
    |TG-33rd|Calvin

  • #2
    Re: Believe it or What

    Cool round-up. Thanks for posting it.
    ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
    No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

    <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

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    • #3
      Re: Believe it or What

      Originally posted by calvin View Post
      50. Researchers from the University of Manchester managed to induce teeth growth in normal chickens - activating genes that have lain dormant for 80 million years.
      Ok, so that one just scares me. I did a little research of my own and... well... it's TRUE!!

      birdie_in_Texas:ok..i feel stupid here..what is "NS"..? Wyzcrak:Natural Selection. Don't feel at a loss for not knowing the acronym. Feel at a loss for not having experienced the game.

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      • #4
        Re: Believe it or What

        "27. Of the 10 percent of U.S. teens who uses credit cards, 15.7 percent are making the minimum payment each month."

        That one is actually very encourging.
        I’m not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
        - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
        - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
        - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
        - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
        - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
        - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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        • #5
          Re: Believe it or What

          Originally posted by El_Gringo_Grande View Post
          "27. Of the 10 percent of U.S. teens who uses credit cards, 15.7 percent are making the minimum payment each month."

          That one is actually very encourging.
          Yeah I would have thought that percentage would be higher.
          Retired 6th DB

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          • #6
            Re: Believe it or What

            Originally posted by calvin View Post
            6. Cheese consumption in the United States is expected to grow by 50 percent between now and 2013.
            Don't tell Britain!
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            • #7
              Re: Believe it or What

              43. Sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday can disturb your body clock, leaving you fatigued at the start of the week.
              As a father of two young children, I can attest to the fact that not sleeping in EVER doesn't exactly put a spring in your step. Maybe this fact should have said

              43. Having to work for a living will make you feel fatigued.

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              • #8
                Re: Believe it or What

                24. At least once a week, 28 percent of high school students fall asleep in school, 22 percent fall sleep while doing homework and 14 percent get to school late or miss school because they overslept.

                The percentages are MUCH higher. I even kind of work it out for myself. 2nd hour i have Spanish, so i tend to sleep. 4th hour i have English, and my teacher is the stupidest woman alive, so i tend to sleep. 6th hour i have programming, so i tend to sleep. Junior year is really nice, because most of the teachers just dont care if you sleep like they did in previous years. I guess they figure we're old enough to know if we can get away with it.

                Still have A's in all those classes by the way :P

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                • #9
                  Re: Believe it or What

                  I had a HS Calculus teacher who gave so much extra credit (to boost the rest of the class) that 1/2 way though the course another student and I were camping out on 120+ averages. I literally slept through the rest of the class.

                  Then I went to boarding school. No sleepy there ever. Not even at night.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Believe it or What

                    Originally posted by Santa View Post
                    Junior year is really nice, because most of the teachers just dont care if you sleep like they did in previous years. I guess they figure we're old enough to know if we can get away with it.

                    Still have A's in all those classes by the way :P
                    Wait until you see what university can be like. You kinda have to learn to self-regulate. :)

                    One of my more proud moments was when I went into my first-year Physics mid-term and had to fill out two bits of data at the top. The first was my name, and the second was the name of my prof. Well, I had a small problem because I couldn't even point to my prof and ask someone what his name was. There were three profs at the front and I'm sure he was one of them, but I had never entered the classroom. I attended all the labs, what do you want?

                    I had a good grasp of Physics, but I didn't have good discipline, so I spent most of my time observing applied Physics in front of pinball machines at the arcade. :D

                    I believe I did attend a class at some point between the mid-term and the final to get the prof's name.
                    Peace through fear... since 1947!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Believe it or What

                      Hehe I slept through my digital electronics class. I actually laid my head on my desk and slept every day. My teacher would wake me up for the important bits (pun intended). That was the only class I aced.
                      Retired 6th DB

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                      • #12
                        Re: Believe it or What

                        I knew a guy who fell asleep during a programming class. He actually dosed off while typing so when he woke up he had a screen full of "ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd".

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                        • #13
                          Re: Believe it or What

                          Sometimes I get students who fall asleep in class. I don't wake them. Instead, I write stuff in their notebooks.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Believe it or What

                            I only fell asleep during one class. It was during my NRTOC indoc period. Indoc at Villanova is during the 1st six weeks of freshman year, 4 days a week from 530-730. The class room was on the 3rd floor of an air conditionless building. The room was really warm and I was exhausted, I didn't stand a chance. I was asleep before the teacher had passed around the handouts. He let me sleep as he knew the deal.

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