Friday, August 21, 2009

v29.5: There She Blows!

Good morning folks,

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Friday has found us once again.  This time it comes just before a hurricane that is scheduled to hit us sometime this coming Sunday.  I won't say I'm not worried about it as there is potential for some family traveling on Sunday and driving in a Category 4 Hurricane is never advisable.

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I'm sure you have all heard the phrase "There She Blows" before.  You also probably know that phrase originated in 1851 in the classic novel "Moby Dick".  Whale hunters would always yell out that phrase whenever a whale surfaced and blew water out of their blow holes.  So what does that have to do with my musing?

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Before I get started, I thought it would be pertinent to give you some facts on Whales.  As you can imagine, there are many different types of Whales out there.  Some, like the Blue Whale, have an average lifespan of 80 years while the humpback has an average lifespan of 40 years.  The Blue Whale is the largest of all the whales and is the largest mammal on the face of the earth.  How big you ask?  The largest recorded Blue Whale had a length of 110 feet and weighed 209 tons.  Just to give you an idea, that is bigger than the largest estimated size of prehistoric dinosaurs.  Yes, you read that correctly, the largest Blue Whale recorded is larger than the largest dinosaur recorded.

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So again, what does that have to do with anything?  Hopefully you learned something you didn't know before.  Tidbits of useless knowledge are everywhere to be found if you know where to look.  For example, did you know that the tongue of a Blue Whale weighs as much as a 2005 Hummer H2?  Yeah, I stuck my tongue out too.  The Internet is full of these little useless facts if you do a Google search and look for them.  I have decided to take a collection of them that I found on http://www.totallyuselessknowledge.com and paste them here for reading enjoyment.  Drop by that site for more as I'm sure they will make you say "Wow" a few times.

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Here they are in no particular order:

  • The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.

  • Once a bull has impregnated a cow, it will never impregnate that same cow again. So once a bull has had his way with your herd, he is useless.

  • Carnivorous animals will not eat another animal that has been hit by a lightning strike.

  • Mountain goats can walk almost straight up a cliff due to a supple pad on each cloven hoof. These pads have extremely soft centers. When the animal puts its foot down, each pad works like a powerful suction cup, enabling the wild goat to appear to defy gravity.

  • The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.

  • A group of geese on the ground is a gaggle, a group of geese in the air is a skein.

  • The underside of a horse's hoof is called a frog. The frog peels off several times a year with new growth.

  • The shape of plant collenchyma cells and the shape of the bubbles in beer foam are the same - they are orthotetrachidecahedrons.

  • Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian coat of arms for that reason.

  • Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.

  • Camel's milk does not curdle.

  • An animal epidemic is called an epizootic.

  • Murphy's Oil Soap is the chemical most commonly used to clean elephants.

  • The housefly hums in the middle octave, key of F.

  • An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

  • The longest recorded flight of a chicken is thirteen seconds.

  • A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.

  • If NASA sent birds into space (inside a space capsule, that is), they would soon die because they need gravity to swallow.

  • It was discovered on a space mission that a frog can throw up. The frog throws up its stomach first, so the stomach is dangling out of its mouth. Then the frog uses its forearms to dig out all of the stomach's contents and then swallows the stomach back down again.

  • Studies show that if a cat falls off the seventh floor of a building it has about thirty percent less chance of surviving than a cat that falls off the twentieth floor. It supposedly takes about eight floors for the cat to realize what is occurring, relax and correct itself. [Who figured this out?!]

  • Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucous every two weeks otherwise it will digest itself.

  • Armadillos have four babies at a time and they are always all the same sex.

  • Armadillos are the only animal besides humans that can get leprosy.

  • To escape the grip of a crocodile's jaws, push your thumbs into its eyeballs -- it will let you go instantly.

  • Reindeer like to eat bananas.

  • A group of unicorns is called a blessing.

  • Twelve or more cows are known as a "flink."

  • A group of frogs is called an army.

  • A group of rhinos is called a crash.

  • A group of kangaroos is called a mob.

  • A group of whales is called a pod.

  • A group of ravens is called a murder.

  • A group of larks is called an exaltation.

  • A group of owls is called a parliament.

  • No animal, once frozen solid (i.e., water solidifies and turns to ice) survives when thawed, because the ice crystals formed inside cells would break open the cell membranes. However there are certain frogs that can survive the experience of being frozen. These frogs make special proteins which prevent the formation of ice (or at least keep the crystals from becoming very large), so that they actually never freeze even though their body temperature is below zero Celsius. The water in them remains liquid: a phenomenon known as 'supercooling.' If you disturb one of these frogs (just touching them even), the water in them quickly freezes solid and they die.

  • The pupil of an octopus' eye is rectangular

  • All porcupines float in water.

  • The cells which make up the antlers of a moose are the fastest growing animal cells in nature.

  • A hedgehog's heart beats 300 times a minute on average.

  • You can tell a girl crab from a boy crab by their stomachs. A girl has a beehive and a boy has a lighthouse.

  • The pH of cow's milk is 6.

  • The world's smallest mammal is the bumblebee bat of Thailand, weighing less than a penny.

  • The Dalmatian is the only dog that gets gout.

  • You should not eat a crawfish with a straight tail. It was dead before it was cooked.

  • The distance between an alligator's eyes, in inches, is directly proportional to the length of the alligator, in feet.

  • Kiwi birds are the only birds with their nostrils at the end of their beak rather than the top.

  • All elephants walk on tip-toe, because the back portion of their foot is made up of all fat and no bone.

  • Giraffes have no vocal chords.

  • A fullgrown bear can run as fast as a horse.

  • When opossums are playing opossum, they are not "playing." They actually pass out from sheer terror.

  • Rhinos are in the same family as horses, and are thought to have inspired the myth of the unicorn.

  • Camels have three eyelids to protect themselves from blowing sand.

  • A lion's roar can be heard from five miles away.

  • The cheetah is the only cat in the world that can't retract it's claws.

  • Dogs and humans are the only animals with prostates.

  • The placement of a donkey's eyes in its' heads enables it to see all four feet at all times

  • Roosters can't crow if they can't fully extend their necks.

  • The fingerprints of koala bears are virtually indistinguishable from those of humans, so much so that they could be confused at a crime scene.

  • Oak trees do not have acorns until they are fifty years old or older.

  • Cat's urine glows under a blacklight.

  • An iguana can stay under water for twenty-eight minutes.

  • Ben and Jerry's send the waste from making ice cream to local pig farmers to use as feed. Pigs love the stuff, except for one flavor: Mint Oreo.

  • Ostriches stick their heads in the sand to look for water.

  • An eagle can kill a young deer and fly away with it.

  • In the Caribbean there are oysters that can climb trees.

  • Polar bears are left-handed.

  • You can hold the mouth of an alligator shut with two fingers, but if you put a clenched fist in its mouth when it bites down it will break every bone in your hand.

  • The platapus and the Echidna are the only mammals that don't give live birth.

  • The world's termites outweigh the world's humans 10 to 1!


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Like I said, Wow.

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Well folks, it is Friday and as luck would have it I have a busy day ahead of me at work.  My boss, who has been mostly MIA in my project for the last 6 months, is now starting to become involved in what I'm doing.  I find it quite frustrating because I could have really used his help over the last few months but now I fear that all the decisions I was forced to make will now be called to question; we shall see.  Remember folks, predators are animals that live by preying on other animals.  Priest are people that live by praying on other people.  Don't get the two confused :)

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Cheers,

Al