Weekly Wrap Volume 2

milky-wayHow Our Galaxy Came to Be Called the “Milky Way” and What It’s Called in Other Languages

No, it has nothing to do with the candy bar. Like many words we use today, the English name of our galaxy is derived from its Latin name: Via Lactea. Translated, that means “the road of milk.” The Romans actually got the name from the Greeks, who called our galaxy “galaxias kyklos” or…

sherlockSherlock Holmes Never Said “Elementary, My Dear Watson”

Elementary, my dear Watson“, sometimes quoted as, “Elementary, dear Watson“, is one of those phrases that everybody knows the character of Sherlock Holmes said. You know, just like everyone knows that Kirk said “Beam me up Scotty” and Darth Vader said, “Luke, I am your father”. The thing is, none of those characters ever said any of those things….

Uncle Sam“Uncle Sam” was a Real Person

In 1789, Samuel Wilson and his brother Ebeneezer moved to Troy New York and setup the business E. & S. Wilson which, among other things, dealt in meat packing.   By the war of 1812, this business was fairly prosperous and E. & S. Wilson obtained a contract with the U.S. government to provide the army with beef and….

poeWhen Edgar Allan Poe was Court-Martialed and Convicted

Edgar Allan Poe is best known for his poems and short stories, but what is not as well-known about the man is that Poe had a somewhat turbulent stint in the military. The trouble began when Poe enrolled in a course at the University of Virginia. His foster father gave him a $100 (about $2,000 today) to cover living expenses for the year. Any university student today can tell you that university fees add up—the courses, the books…

A Hard Day's Night Beatles FactsThe First Time John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr Played Together

It was the autumn of 1960 in Hamburg, Germany.  The fledgling group who had recently changed their name officially to “The Beatles” were playing at a local club called The Kaiserkeller. At the time, the Beatles consisted of five members- John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, plus their then-drummer Pete Best and their pretty mediocre bass player, Stu Sutcliffe.  The Beatles were playing 8-hour shifts at the club…

Bonus Quick Facts:

  • “School” comes from the Ancient Greek “skhole”, which meant “leisure or spare time”.
  • A “tittle” is nothing dirty, it’s simply the name for the dot over the letter “i”
  • About 3 billion pounds of potatoes are used to make McDonald’s fries every year, this is about 8% of all potatoes grown in the United States or a half a percent of all potatoes grown in the world per year.
  • An average beef cow (200 kg of usable meat) produces enough meat to make about 4,500 hamburgers at McDonalds.
  • Another word for growling “tummy” sounds is “borborygmi”.
  • Apple trees are a member of the Rose family (Rosaceae).
  • You cannot determine if a bear can climb a tree by their color. For instance, the “black” bear can also be brown, yellow, and even white.
  • Calvin Klein’s “Obsession for Men” is often used by photographers to attract “big cats”- jaguars, leopards, tigers, lions, etc. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, the cats go crazy for it. The Brookfield Zoo even uses it to keep their big cats in very visible areas of their cages during business hours.
  • Elvis Presley had an identical twin brother who was delivered 35 minutes before him, but was stillborn.
  • England makes up about half the total area of the UK. It is also about the size of the state of Alabama. You could also fit about three of the entire United Kingdom in the state of Texas.
  • Ever wondered what the symbols used instead of spelling out a swear word explicitly, such as “F*@k”, are named? In this context, the symbols are known as “grawlixes”.
  • For many, many more fascinating and extremely thoroughly researched Quick Facts click here

Other Interesting Stuff:

cockfightChickens Were Initially Domesticated for Cockfighting, Not Eating

Anyone who’s been chased around the yard by a pissed off chicken knows these birds are neither purposeless nor fearful. Descended from some of the fiercest creatures ever to roam the planet, the blood of today’s Gallus domesticus carries all of the pride, courage, fury and viciousness of its ancestors. Harnessing these qualities by the simple expedient of sticking two males together in a small…

marathonThe Remarkable Story of the First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon

“No woman can run the Boston Marathon,” said Arnie Briggs, Kathrine Switzer’s running coach. This coming from a man who had been excited to see a woman start running with the all-male cross country team at Syracuse University. He insisted that women were too fragile to run for 26 miles, though he conceded that if Switzer could do a 26-mile practice run…

Hiroo OnodaA Japanese Soldier Who Continued Fighting WWII 29 Years After the Japanese Surrendered, Because He Didn’t Know

Hiroo Onoda is a Japanese citizen that originally worked at a Chinese trading company.  When he was 20 years old, he was called to join the Japanese army.  He promptly quit his job and headed off to training in Japan.  At a certain point in his training, he was chosen to be trained at Nakano School as an Imperial Army Intelligence Officer.  In this specialized military…

ice-cream7Why Seaweed is Sometimes Used in the Making of Ice Cream

Seaweed didn’t exactly come into play during those “make your own ice cream” science experiments you probably did in elementary school, but it is sometimes used in the making of commercial ice cream. No, it isn’t just in seaweed-flavoured ice cream, either. Seaweed is actually used as a type of thickening agent for ice cream. Technically, the substance usually used to thicken the ice cream is called “agar”…

ice creamWhat Causes Ice Cream Headaches

While many theories on what exactly causes ice cream headaches or “brain freezes” have existed for some time, it has only been very recently that it was discovered exactly what is going on here.  It turns out, ice cream headaches are a result of a rapid change in the size of…

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