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Week of September 18, 2022

Batty About Factoids

Sunday

Bats are the only mammal on Earth which can sustain flight (though others can glide).

Monday

With over 1,000 known bat species, bats are the second largest taxonomic order after rodents, comprising about 20% of all classified mammal species globally.

Tuesday

Bats find insects to eat by echolocation, the emitting of high-pitched sounds and listening to the echoes to spot nearby bugs it bounced off of. With this tactic, some bats can consume about 20 mosquitoes per minute.

Wednesday

Bat poop (guano) contains saltpeter, which is used to make gunpowder, and a Confederate kiln at one Texas bat cave churned out 100 lbs / day during the American Civil War.

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Week of September 11, 2022

Digital Acronym Week (DAM!) #6

Sunday

CAD = Computer Aided Drafting / Design

Monday

CGI = Computer Generated Imagery

Tuesday

TLD = Top Level Domain

Wednesday

ISP = Internet Service Provider

Thursday

DDoS = Distributed Denial of Service

Friday

MMORPG = Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game

Saturday

PVP = Player vs. Player

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Week of September 4, 2022

Focused on Facts

Sunday

The first eyeglasses are generally thought to have been created in 1285 and were made of quartz, since glass at that time was too flawed to be good for glasses.

Monday

Eyeglasses work by taking on some of the light ray management that the eye would do in a person with perfect vision. If you’re nearsighted, your glasses focus incoming light rays onto the retina of your eye so that faraway objects you see aren’t blurry. If you’re farsighted, eyeglasses spread the light over a wider area of the eye’s retina, bringing nearby objects into focus.

Tuesday

Sunglasses in the form of slits cut into walrus ivory have been used to reduce snow glare by Inuit people for 2,000 years.

Wednesday

The idea may seem obvious now, but eyeglasses went about 450 years before the development of frames with hooks that go behind the ears.

Thursday

In addition to accomplishments in science, writing, politics, diplomacy, and more, Benjamin Franklin was also the inventor of bifocals, which allow wearers to focus on objects both near and far.

Friday

Most modern “glasses” lenses are plastic, which tend not to shatter and are hence safer for the wearer.

Saturday

About 75% of adults need some form of vision correction.

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Week of August 28, 2022

Let’s Sleep On It

Sunday

The regular use of pillows goes back about 9,000 years, but the notion that they should be soft only goes back about 2,000. Before that pillows were made of stone, wood, ceramic, metal, and other hard materials. Among the reasons for the rigid pillows was a fear that such softness would steal bodily energy or appear as weakness.

Monday

You might not think the purpose of your pillow is to keep your head off the ground so that insects don’t crawl into your ears, nose, or mouth, but this was a reason early pillow adopters used them.

Tuesday

Between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Industrial Revolution, pillow use and evolution was greatly slowed in the Middle Ages. Henry VIII even banned the use of pillows for all but pregnant women.

Wednesday

One modern pillow and mattress staple material, memory foam, was actually developed by NASA to keep test pilots better cushioned during flight.

Thursday

The oldest discovered burial in all of Africa is that of a young child with its head on a pillow. It was about 80,000 years old, and researchers named him “Mtoto.”

Friday

There are well over a dozen types of stuffing options for the modern pillow shopper, including natural and synthetically-sourced material.

Saturday

Competitive pillow fighting is a real sport, involving two competitors trading blows with 2 lb. specialized pillows for 90 second rounds.

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Week of August 21, 2022

Drawing Factual Conclusions

Sunday

Pencils don’t contain lead and never have, but write with graphite, a pure carbon isotope (diamonds being another form of pure carbon). Graphite deposits have been mistaken for lead, however, and pre-pencil writing styluses were made of lead, perhaps explaining the misnomer.

Monday

Pencils work because the graphite’s carbon atoms are arranged in sheets, bonded strongly to other atoms to the side of each other, but only weakly to those sheets above and below. Accordingly, they “rub off” easily, such that pencil marks are sheets of carbon atoms.

Tuesday

Pencil-ready graphite is so delicate it must be encased in something to be usable, and before hollowed-out wooden tubes, early pencils were graphite wrapped in paper or string.

Wednesday

The uses of the pencil informed its naming. Pencil comes from “pencillum” or “fine brush” in Latin, and graphite comes from “graphien” or “to write” in Greek.

Thursday

The graphite pencil went about 200 years before it got that pink eraser attached. Before that, bread crumbs did the trick.

Friday

Famous natural philosopher and writer Henry David Thoreau was also part of the very successful John Thoreau & Company family pencil business, and himself developed many major innovations to pencil quality and manufacture.

Saturday

The letters and numbers on pencils, including that testing favorite yellow “No. 2”, indicate the formulation of that pencil’s graphite for blackness, hardness, and ability to sharpen to a fine point.