Interesting Stuff: Who Knew?

More Than 10 Facts About The Number 10

Dear Kid,

Today is the tenth day of the tenth month of the tenth year (assuming you started counting 10 years ago), so it seems appropriate to talk about the number 3.

Great Facts About the Number 10 DearKidLoveMom.comJust kidding, the number 10.

I was going to share 10 fabulous facts about the number 10. But there are too many fun facts to stop at ten. Then I thought about 10 times 10 facts—until I realized that no one wants to read (or write) 100 facts.

So here are a bunch (I counted) of seriously interesting (mostly) facts about the number 10.

We (or at least most of us) have 10 fingers and 10 toes. Which is useful considering that most numbers we deal with are in base 10 (and that’s not even counting—get it, counting—the metric system). Also, the length of your hand (if you’re an adult) is a tenth of your height.

Number 10 Downing Street is the home of the British Prime Minister. But only if you say “Number 10” in a British accent.

“Deca” means ten (you knew that). But did you know that “decimate” really means to reduce by a tenth? If you write the number 10 twice (1010), you get the number ten in binary. Now that’s cool.

Ten is a triangular number (think about how bowling pins are arranged: 1+2+3+4). It’s also a tetrahedral number (very few people care).

There are 10 acres in a square furlong. (I never knew that, did you?)

Crabs, lobsters, shrimp, and other crustaceans have 10 legs. This makes them very tasty (but difficult to find shoes for).
A $10 bill is also known as a “sawbuck.” The traditional 10th anniversary gift is tin, while the modern gift for the 10th anniversary is diamonds. That’s a lot of sawbucks.

There are 10 Lords A-Leapin’ according to the song. Capricorn (the sea-goat) is the 10th sign in the Zodiac. (Sea-goat? What on earth is a sea-goat?)

There are 10 provinces in Canada, eh? Virginia is the 10th State in the Union.

The number 10 is very important in sports, because it is the maximum number of events most people can watch at any one time. (I’ve watched you flip channels!) The decathlon has ten events. In auto racing, driving a race car at ten-tenths means driving as fast as possible. There are 10 yards in a first down, and ten yards in a football endzone. A basketball hoop should be hung 10 feet above the ground. There are ten players per side in lacrosse. The top score in gymnastics is 10 (except it isn’t anymore). Surfers try to Hang 10.

Odysseus traveled for 10 years (and that was before the invention of frequent traveler miles).

There are 10 commandments (plus “Pick your stuff up off the floor!). There were 10 plagues (the 11th may be the floor of your room). There are Ten Sephirot in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. In Hinduism, Lord Vishnu appeared on the earth in 10 incarnations.

The Richter scale is measured in tenfold increase of energy. There are ten official ink-splats in the Rorschach inkblot test. The atomic number for neon is 10 (which you can write in neon).

Ten is the number you count to when you need to take a moment, and you take 10 when you need a longer break. We love Top Ten Lists, and searching for the perfect 10. 

10-4 good buddy.

Love, Mom

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It’s All Jibber Jabber

Dear Kid,

The things I do for you. Seriously. This is me going Above and Beyond in the Mom department.

I’ve been watching Big Bang Theory. There is an episode in which Penny tells Sheldon that she hasn’t seen him recently and misses his jibber jabber. Sheldon asks if she knows where the term “jibber jabber” comes from, and Penny says, “Oh, my God, you’re about to jibber jabber about jibber jabber.”

At that moment, Leonard interrupts to tell them that Howard’s mom is in the hospital (it turns out to be food poisoning, not the fact that Howard is going to marry a shiksah that put her there) and we never learn the etymology of jibber jabber.

Well, that can’t be right.

No, seriously, Sheldon never returns to the subject and we are left uninformed.

So, being that kind of mom, I looked it up.

Turns out that it wasn’t the shock of finding himself in a hospital with all those icky germs that kept Sheldon from telling us about jibber jabber. It’s that it’s boring—seriously boring—and the writers were smart enough to know that saying “jibber jabber” is fun, but talking about it isn’t.

There are no interesting stories. There are no amusing anecdotes. The term just is. No one agrees who invented it. No one cares.

It’s just jibber jabber.

Love, Mom

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Mastiffs, Elephants, the Alps, and a Chihuahua

Mastiffs, Elephants, the Alps, and a Chihuahua

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time (or for all I know, two or three times upon a time) Hannibal was getting ready to cross the Alps.

He decided to take soldiers because they fight better than hairdressers (and everyone knew about Sampson) and elephants (because elephants are well-known for enjoying a romp in the snow—not). “Why not take a dog?” said Hannibal’s friend Flavius (Flavius is Latin for “friend who knows nothing but always gives advice”).

“Um, no,” said Hannibal, picturing a Chihuahua (even though Chihuahuas hadn’t been invented yet).

There are lots of types of mastiff; they are all bigger than you. They are also all furrier than you. It’s possible that they eat more than you (not really). They almost certainly drool more than you. I hope. DearKidLoveMom.comThen Flavius (Latin for “friend who occasionally has a reasonably good idea”) showed Hannibal a mastiff (Latin for “freakin’ huge canine”).

“Holy cow!” said Hannibal who was never really good with animals (see: Elephants and Snow [above]).

So mastiffs marched with Hannibal, the elephants, and the soldiers over the Alps.

On the way, they met (and by “met” I don’t mean “met”) other dogs. Eventually, one of the offspring was born with a barrel of whiskey around its neck and Saint Bernards were invented.

After they crossed the Alps, all the mastiffs got together and agreed that Alp-marching wasn’t anything they were interested in doing again. Ever. In fact, they agreed that most forms of work and/or exercise were worth avoiding, a credo they follow to this day. Do not argue with a mastiff about who gets control of the channel changer.

There are lots of types of mastiff; they are all bigger than you. They are also all furrier than you. It’s possible that they eat more than you (not really). They almost certainly drool more than you. I hope.

Like most dogs, mastiffs are very sweet, delightful creatures. Except when they aren’t (like if they’re being asked to cross the Alps). Always ask the mastiff’s person before saying hello to avoid being its mid-day snack.

Love, Mom

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The Magic (or not) of Tiny Houses

Dear Kid,

I have been watching too much HGTV. Mostly tiny house shows.

I am fascinated with these homes that are smaller than a refrigerator. I don’t want one, mind you, but I’m fascinated.

Most of the tiny homes are built with a tiny budget and are more functional than anything else, but there are some that are high(er) end. For example, I was watching one last night that had three (count them, three) televisions—including one that swung out outside the home (the better to ignore nature and watch The Game).

Building a tiny home (in 30 minutes) involves operating in time-lapse reality. Today, we built the entire outside of the home in 12 seconds.

It also involves getting rid of pretty much everything you own. You can take anything you want as long as it fits in this gigantic 3 foot by 2 foot storage space. Who can fit all their worldly belongings in a space the size of a postage stamp?

Here’s what I really don’t understand. When you drive around with your tiny house hitched to your vehicle, don’t the chairs and things slide around? How does that work, exactly? And how do the plates stay on shelves if it’s open shelving?

And why am I so interested?

There has to be some HUGE (or tiny) secret to how people live in these things. It’s like an impossible magic trick and I’m desperate to know how it works.

Please let me know if you figure it out.

Love, Mom

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National Coffee Day | 9 Facts You Don’t Know (This Is Awesome)

National Coffee Day | 9 Facts You Don’t Know (This Is Awesome)

Dear Kid,

It’s National Coffee Day.

By all rights, the banks should be closed, all offices and schools should be off, and tickertape parades should be held in celebration.

Wait. Cancel the tickertape and confetti. That might get in the coffee. Eww.

Birds are singing. Lattes are being poured. And all over the world, people are gradually becoming sufficiently caffeinated.

Happy sigh.

You already know my most important thoughts about coffee: Make good coffee. Drink it. Be human.

National Coffee Day DearKidLoveMom.comAnd you know that the Cincinnati Coffee Festival is coming to Cincinnati November 11 and 12, 2017 (shameless plug).

But did you know:

Coffee was the first food to be freeze dried. And yes, it’s a food.

The largest “cup” of coffee ever brewed was 3,700 gallons. That’s a lot of coffee.

You know the wonderful scent of a freshly opened bag of coffee? It might be fake scent. Some companies (include Dunkin and Stbx) use faux coffee smells to convince you to come in, stay longer, spend more. And that same technology is often injected into bags of coffee to, um, “enhance” your bag opening experience. (And I don’t care. I love the smell of a freshly opened bag of coffee.)

In England in the 17th century, women were forbidden to drink coffee in public. Who’s sipping now, huh?

A tall Starbucks coffee has about 7.6 times the caffeine of a can of Coke and more caffeine than a 12-ounce can of Red Bull. Go easy, young grasshopper.

Coffee grounds are environmentally friendly slug repellant.

A third of the tap water Americans drink is consumed after it makes a trip through the coffee pot and becomes liquid gold (by which I mean coffee). But the liquid gold euphemism works, because coffee is second only to oil in being the top traded commodity.

Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a cantata inspired by coffee addiction. Ahhh, Bach. (Serious extra points if you get that one.)

The oldest cat ever was Creme Puff, who lived to be 38 years old and died in 2005. The owner fed her coffee, bacon, eggs, and broccoli every morning. This is not a recommended diet for cats. Or people. Or turtles. (Have you ever seen a turtle drink coffee?)

Happy National Coffee Day.

Love, Mom

For those extra-devout among us, Radar O’Reilly said, “Ahhh, Bach” on M*A*S*H. Great episode (weren’t they all).

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Fourteen Facts About the Number 14

Fourteen Facts About the Number 14

Dear Kid,

It’s the 14th in honor of which I present 14 (more or less) facts about the number fourteen.

Facts about the number 14. DearKidLoveMom.comFourteen is the number of forgetfulness.

Huh? Who knew there had to be a number for forgetting?

In Tarot, the number 14 represents temperance, reasonableness, and self-control. Unless you forget.

A sonnet is a fourteen line poem.

Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of the United States 1853 – 1857. The entire world has forgotten.

There are 14 pounds in a stone and 14 days in a fortnight. Unless you use the stones to build a fort. In a night.

A cuboctahedron is a solid with 14 sides. It has six squares and eight equilateral triangles.

Vermont became the 14th state in 1791.

In hexadecimal, 14 is represented as E.

In binary, it’s 1110.

The moon waxes for fourteen days and then wanes for fourteen days. Wax on; wax off. Sonnets have been written about the moon. Generally not in binary.

Fourteen is the atomic number for silicon and the (approximate) atomic weight of nitrogen.

In China, the number 14 is unlucky. A fact best forgotten. Unless you’re in China.

In golf, a player can have no more than 14 clubs in the bag.

Seriously, forgetfulness has a number?

Love, Mom

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