Monday, July 30, 2012

Things I Don't Know

Actually, this should be entitled, "Things I Didn't Know But That I Know Now and Was Surprised to Learn," but that's too long and not as catchy as the actual title. Anyhow, on to the things.

The scientific name of the American bison is Bison Bison. You'd think that with all the scientific names out there that they could come up with two different ones, but they didn't. Must have been vacation week at the scientific names office. I have a suggestion, though: Bison Burger. That name would remind everyone of the great herds of buffalo that roamed the plains and also of how delicious they are served on a bun with your favorite condiments. I offer this suggestion freely without any expectation of profit or recompense.

Stil, in the animal kingdom, polar bears are not white. Their fur is clear and looks white because of the way it refracts light. It would be strange if they appeared to be clear (would we call them glass bears then?), but that would help them hide from predators, if there are any predators willing to take on a polar bear. I know I am not. They appear to be peaceful creatures, and I hope their environment doesn't melt. And come to think of it, appearing to be white works against the ice floes. That much is clear (ha ha).

Next, I learned recently that there was a proposal to add the likeness of Susan B. Anthony to Mount Rushmore. It didn't happen because they didn't have the money to complete the sculpture. So they put her on a dollar coin instead. Which is better? I can't decide.

It is actually possible to see the minute hand move on a floor-sized grandfather clock. Ours moves 1/32 of an inch around the dial with each tick of the pendulum. Hours of fun to watch!

The last thing I learned that I didn't know before is a point of maritime law. When someone dives on a shipwreck to recover its cargo, the salvager must first sue the shipwreck to obtain legal rights to the contents of the wreck. It would seem bad enough to be a shipwreck, but being sued by a salvager would seem to be adding insult to injury. However, that's the law, so please don't go taking stuff from a shipwreck without filing suit first. I just know you will.

That's about all for this time. I'll revisit the topic when I learn some more things I don't know. Since there's a lot I don't know, this series could go on for a long time. In the meantime, you can come up with some things you don't know. Good luck!


  1. I'll bet you will be deluged with posts of things OTHER people never knew...

  2. Dan, I love learning stuff like this, even though I don't retain much of it. The glass polar bear thing really intrigues me. It's poetic, somehow.

    Random questions interest me. Just yesterday, I did a similar blog post (, and this morning, I incorporated random questions in my class in order to teach would/could phrases (like, "Would you rather be a toaster of a microwave oven? Give three reasons why."). After the students completed the stupid questions exercises, I gave them philosophical ones (like, "If you could live forever, would you? Give three reasons.").

    Asking questions really makes us think in different ways, especially if we don't know the answers. I also find it kind of relaxing to think about things I don't know. There is no end to the possibilities, since I know so little in the context of the all.

  3. Educational and humorous! Liked it on both fronts!