April 30, 2020

A few things I learned this month

Below, a quick roundup of a few of the things I learned in April, 2020.

USB drives use Flash memory, which means the the ones and zeros of your data are stored on transistors. his means that an empty USB drive (which mostly holds zeros) weighs more than a full USB drive (which has ones and zeros). (Science Focus)

Giraffes have extremely tight skin around their legs. Like compression socks, this tight skin aids circulation by squeezing blood vessels and helping regulate blood pressure. (National Geographic)

Yellowstone National Park was designated the world’s first national park in 1972 by President Ulysses S. Grant. The park was created to preserve the unique geothermal features (including most of the world’s geysers) from private development. (NPS)

Researchers found 1,700-year-old chicken eggs, along with other ancient objects, in a waterlogged pit in southeastern England. A few eggs broke during extraction, releasing a sulfurous smell—but one remained intact, making it the only complete egg found from Roman Britain. (BBC)

To help boost Sydney Harbor’s endangered seahorse population, scientists bred baby seahorses in an aquarium and built crab-trap-like undersea hotels” to protect them as they adapt to the wild. (Sydney Aquarium)

A new study finds that Ikaria wariootia, a wormlike creature the size of a grain of rice that existed half a billion years ago, was probably one of our oldest relatives. Ikaria is maybe the oldest bilaterian animal that we find in the fossil record, the first to crawl around the seafloor, gobble up organic matter at one end and poop it out the other end. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

At least 400,000 Canadians live in residential care homes, and the average nursing home resident is 82 years old, suffers from multiple medical conditions, and takes 10 medications a day. Almost 70 per cent have a diagnosis of dementia, with the majority requiring around-the-clock care to support activities such as toileting, feeding and getting out of bed. (G&M)

Agatha Christie’s novels have sold more than one billion copies in the English language and another billion internationally. She is history’s best-selling novelist; her books are outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. (LitHub)

The word Sasquatch is believed to be an Anglicization of the Salish word Sasq’ets, meaning wild man” or hairy man.” J.W. Burns coined the term in the 1930s. Burns was an Indian agent assigned to the Chehalis Band, now known as the Sts’ailes First Nation. (Canadian Encyclopedia)

In an example of beautiful symbiosis, the honeyguide bird leads local human hunters to wild beehives stashed in the cavities of baobabs and other tall trees. The humans then scale the trunks, smash the hives, and make off with the sticky riches, leaving the wax and the calorie-rich larvae within for their the birds. (Audubon)

The distinctive smell of spring is caused by geosmin, a soil-based compound responsible for that recognizable yet hard-to-describe olfactory sensation. Our noses are so finely attuned to the organic compound, in fact, that we can detect it better than sharks can recognize blood. (Nature Microbiology)

Leap years do not occur in years that are evenly divisible by 100, unless they are evenly divisible by 400, when they become a leap year once again. (Wikipedia)

The term foodie” was first used in print in 1980 by New Yorker magazine’s Gael Greene. (We’re History)

An ultracrepidarian is one who consistently offers opinions and advice on subjects way beyond their understanding. (Twitter)

The Anti-Mask League of San Francisco was an organization formed to protest the requirement for people in San Francisco, California, to wear masks during the 1918 influenza pandemic. (Twitter)

The office cubicle originated as the Action Office,” designs by Robert Propst and introduced by Herman Miller in 1968. The Action Office was designed as a set of components that could be combined and recombined to become whatever an office needed to be over time. (Herman Miller)

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