Weekly Wrap Volume 49

This is a weekly wrap of our Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here.

chemo-340x453Why Does Chemotherapy Make Your Hair Fall Out?

Most cells in the human body divide using a process called mitosis. This process has 5 phases (prophase, prometaphase, metaphase, anaphase, and telephase). It is preceded by interphase, and results in the cell dividing, called cytokinesis. When a cell reaches the end of its lifespan, it gets destroyed in a pre-programed process called apoptosis. There are many types of cancer (over 200). All types are a result of the same problem, unregulated cell growth. Cells that divide more rapidly than apoptosis can regulate- effectively, too much mitosis. The result is excessive tissue, known as tumors. These tumors can be localized, or they can spread… (more)

Arthur-St.-ClaireThe Many U.S. Presidents Before George Washington

Schools in the United States teach children from an early age that the first president of the United States was George Washington. But teachers often forget to mention a small, kind of important detail- George Washington was the first U.S. president under the current United States Constitution, but he wasn’t the country’s first president. Before the U.S. Constitution came into being, the Articles of Confederation served as the glue which held all thirteen states together as a single country. (See: The Articles of Confederation: The Constitut� don’t we just burn it?”ion Before the Constitution) The Articles went into effect in 1781, and they established a loose alliance among the states. The Articles also defined the role of Congress to oversee the national needs, as well as the office of the president. Due to the fear of giving too much power to one person, the office of president was extremely limited in power and scope, and was not even a paid position.  Rather, the primary roles of the president… (more)

rice-krispiesWhy Rice Krispies Pop

Rice Krispies, also known as “Rice Bubbles”, in some countries, are created by preparing rice in such a way that it will “pop” like popcorn during the cooking process, albeit much less dramatically.  This popping puffs up the kernels. When the rice is finished cooking, most of the Rice Krispies will have thin solid walls with hollow, sealed, areas inside where air pockets have formed. In the first theory of what is causing the fracturing of the walls, the sudden temperature shift caused by adding cold milk to the Rice Krispies causes the air inside the hollow pockets to… (more)

brainYou Actually Use All of Your Brain, Not 10%

Over the years, the myth that you only use about 10% of your brain has been widely spread with the source of this myth often falsely attributed to Albert Einstein. It turns out though, that every part of the brain gets used, despite what Hollywood; snake-oil type self help peddlers; and many others would have you believe. All other evidence aside, intuitively, if 90% of the brain wasn’t used for anything, then damage to those parts of the brain that comprise thatt a person at all. In reality though, damage to just about any part of the brain, even tiny amounts, tends to have profound effects on the person who suffers that damage, at least… (more)

burning-moneyThe Time the K Foundation Burned a Million British Pounds for No Apparent Reason

On August 23, 1994, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty set fire to, and completely destroyed, £1 million. What makes the story even weirder is that nobody, not even the burners, seems to really know precisely why. Beginning in 1987, under several different names including The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu and The Timelords, Drummond and Cauty produced a number of hit club music singles, including “Doctorin’ the Tardis.” By 1991, as The KLF (Kopyright Liberation Front), the two were one of Britain’s best-selling music acts. Before retiring in 1992, the duo released a blueprint… (more)

Quick Facts:

  • Before launching the Chef Boyardee line of products, Chef Boiardi, in 1915 at the age of 17 years old, supervised the catering for President Woodrow Wilson’s wedding reception.
  • Humans enjoy five or more different tastes namely:  sour, bitter, salty, umami (associated with meat), and sweet. We can taste sweet things thanks to two proteins generated by two separate genes.  Cats, on the other hand, have a mutant chemoreceptor in their taste buds that prevents them from tasting sweet things, which is a trait shared by all cats big and small, not just domestic ones.
  • Of the 39 ingredients that make up a Twinkie, only one of them is strictly a preservative or rather its only purpose in being included is because it’s a preservative.  Some of the other chemicals have preserving side effects, but their use is primarily as substitutes for dairy ingredients.  The lack of these dairy ingredients and the air tight plastic wrap are the primary reason that the Twinkie can last approximately 25 days on the shelves, outlasting so many of its other baked brethren in that respect.
  • Bart Simpson is voiced by a woman, Nancy Cartwright, who also does the voices for Nelson, Ralph, Todd, and Flanders among others.
  • Light travels from the Sun to the Earth in about 8 minutes and 19 seconds. However, it actually takes about 10,000-170,000 years for a photon to travel from the core of the sun to the surface.
  • Donald Fauntleroy Duck was created in 1934.  He was first thought up after Walt Disney overheard Clarence Nash doing his now famous duck voice for the first time.  At the time, Nash was demonstrating a variety of voices he could do.  Walt Disney decided to hire Nash to do the voice of a duck character that would take over the role of some of the negative attributes that Mickey used to portray, but now with Mickey being a role model, could no longer do. Donald made his debut in “The Wise Little Hen” where he and Peter Pig tried various means to get out of doing work, such as faking stomach aches.
  • Barry Manilow wrote the State Farm advertising Jingle “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There.”  He’s also worked on jingles for Band-Aid, KFC, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and McDonalds.

Other Interesting Stuff:

human-bones-340x508The Large Number of Human Remains Found In Ben Franklin’s Basement

For eighteen years, Ben Franklin, the great American inventor, diplomat, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a tenant in a beautiful four story Georgian house at 36 Craven Street in London, mere blocks from the River Thames. As ambassador from the colonies, he entertained, lived, and even allowed other intellectuals of the time to stay at the house while he lived there from 1757 through 1775. Nearly 225 years later, as the house stood dilapidated and on the brink of collapse, a group called “Friends of Benjamin Franklin House” decided to renovate the building and turn it into a museum honoring one of America’s founding fathers. Work commenced, but only a month into the renovation, a construction worker named Jim Field made a startling discovery… (more)

Margaret_Chase_SmithThe First Female Presidential Candidate

On January 27, 1964, then three-term Senator Margaret Chase Smith put the first crack in the “hardest, highest glass ceiling” when she announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. Although she never really came close to winning it, Senator Smith’s presidential campaign helped dispel centuries of chauvinism and paved the way for female political leaders in the U.S. today.
Early Life Senator Smith was born on December 14, 1897, in Skowhegan, Maine to working class parents, George Emery and Carrie Matilda Chase. Margaret attended public school, played on the basketball team,and graduated in 1916. Over the next decade, Margaret… (more)

julia-child-e1311685240613Julia Child was a Top Secret Research Assistant for the Predecessor of the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services

After graduating from college with a degree in English, Julia Child, then named Julia McWilliams, worked in the advertising department for W. & J. Sloane in New York City as a clerk.  She later moved to California and continued to work in advertising in more or less the same position.  When the U.S. entered WWII, Child tried to volunteer for the Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), but was rejected due to her height (6 feet 2 inches, which was 2 inches above the maximum for WAVES). This turned out to be a good thing as, had she been accepted to WAVES, she never would have met her husband who got her interested in cooking and was her first teacher in the culinary arts.  Rather, she eventually found her way to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under General William J. Donovan. She began there as a low level clerk and, within a year, had risen to senior… (more)

writing-340x512Where “Catch-22″ Came From and the Origins of Other Famous Words and Phrases

Not set in stone, the English language is constantly evolving to describe new developments and experiences and to match the zeitgeist of the times. With words created out of necessity to describe a new technology, like tweet and telephone, their origins are relatively easy to trace back to the people who first invented them. With others that seem to rise organically in society, like bromance and muffin top, it is almost impossible to say exactly who coined those terms.  However, for those words that were introduced into the language in a published work, we can determine with near or absolute certainty who invented them. Here are a few for your reading pleasure: Catch-22: “a set of circumstances in which one requirement, etc., is dependent upon another, which is in turn dependent upon the first”.  This was coined by Joseph Heller in his 1961… (more)

This Week’s Podcast Episodes:

Quote of the Week:

  • “Nations have recently been led to borrow billions for war; no nation has ever borrowed largely for education. Probably, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization. We must make our choice; we cannot have both.” -Abraham Flexner
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