Metatalktail Hour: Fun Fact! March 25, 2022 5:31 PM   Subscribe

Happy weekend, MetaFilter! This week, tell me your funnest fun fact! Blow my mind!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 5:31 PM (93 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Apologies to folks who've seen this, but I have a funnest fun fact really on my mind today, which is that a fantasy and chivalry-themed collaborative storytelling game with definite rules for suddenly changing the narrator and for derailing the narrator as the players build up a fairy tale together was invented over 200 years ago, and in France, it was so popular that it appeared in at least nine editions in the early 1800s. Histories of fantasy games and tabletop games don't seem to mention this, except with a vague nod toward oral storytelling in general, but here's my translation of one version of the game if you want to see how different this is.
posted by Wobbuffet at 6:12 PM on March 25 [12 favorites]


Courtesy of my 7 year old son today: manatee farts help them float.
posted by Night_owl at 10:27 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


manatee farts help them float

This was fascinating! But I offer a slight correction - manatee farts help them sink, per the article.

(Or is a "a fart" the gas itself rather than the act of passing it? Enquiring minds want to know!)
posted by Dysk at 12:58 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


This may or may not be a fact, but when I was in high school in Montana in the 80s our physics teacher told us if Montana decided to secede from the union, it would have been the fourth largest nuclear power in the world. In the era of Red Dawn and Wargames, this seemed like the best movie idea I had ever heard.
posted by purenitrous at 3:03 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Chris Pine is the son of Robert Pine.

Who played Sgt. Joseph Getraer on CHiP’s. He was also in a Lost in Space. Chris’ grandmother was Anne Gwynne, who starred in an episode of Flash Gordon. Flash was a kind of knock-off of John Carter of Mars, which was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the guy that created Tarzan.

Anne also starred in a movie based on Conjure Wife, a short story by Fritz Leiber.

Anyway, Robert Pine also did an episode of Gunsmoke, which starred James Arness, who happens to have been the brother of Peter Graves, from Mission: Impossible.

James was also the alien in the first version of The Thing, written by John W. Campbell. Ben Hecht was a script doctor on the The Thing, and is arguably the greatest screenwriter who ever lived that you’ve never heard of. He wrote Stagecoach, worked on Gone With The Wind, and did several movies with Alfred Hitchcock, Oh, and he also wrote The Front Page, which was remade as My Girl Friday. With whatshisname, that guy from all the Hitchcock movies. Oh yeah. Cary Grant.

Now, when John Meston wanted to move Gunsmoke from radio to tv, he wanted John Wayne to play Marshal Dillon. (there's a rumor Robert Zimmerman chose his stage name because of Gunsmoke) But John didn’t want to do tv, so he recommended James Arness. Meston had to cough up so many scripts, week after week, that of course, he knocked off a version of Hamlet for one. You may have heard of Hamlet.

Anyway, Star Trek did an episode in the original series based more or less around Macbeth. In fact, a lot of Star Trek titles come from Shakespeare quotes.

Oh, and Chris Pine played Captain Kirk in the reboot.
posted by valkane at 4:28 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


That is a fun fact. You know how you always suspect something, and have wondered it multiple times, but you never take two minutes to actually verify it with a Google search? That’s me and Chris Pine having parents in show business. And now I don’t have to!
posted by michaelh at 5:01 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


No state name in the USA has the letter 'q' in it.
posted by Splunge at 8:55 AM on March 26


Male bees, known as drones, do no work in or for the hive. When winter approaches, the rest of the hive (all females) toss them out and won’t let them back in the hive. The queen will lay new drone cells as spring approaches.
Also, bees have many distinct jobs in the hive - the oddest to me is that of “mortuary bee”, assigned to take dead bee bodies out of the hive and deposit them a safe distance from the hive. I’ve seen blue jays standing by to grab the bodies (which can still sting, so they shake off the stinger).
posted by dbmcd at 10:32 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]


I recently learned that Frank Lloyd Wright's son was the inventor of Lincoln Logs.
posted by Twicketface at 11:35 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]


The technical name for the "fear of long words" is sesquipedalophobia.

Sesame Street's Cookie Monster's real name is Sidney.

Further bulletins as events warrant.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:57 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


1. Oxen used as draft animals are sometimes shod, like horses.
2. But unlike horses, oxen have cloven hooves, each requiring two shoes: one on each "clove." (Is there a word for each half of a cloven hoof? Please tell me if there is.)
3. Also unlike horses, oxen can't balance on three legs while a farrier holds up Leg #4 and nails the shoes on.
4. Therefore, an ox that is to be shod is either thrown to the ground with three legs shackled while one is shod, or else hoisted up on a giant sling with three legs shackled while one is shod.

I direct you to the fascinating Wikipedia page about oxen and urge you to follow the external links, which are also fascinating.
posted by scratch at 12:06 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Maybe just ironic (and certainly no fun for the participants) but it you were aware during 1966 and listening to the radio you couldn't miss Ssgt Barry Sadler's big number, the Ballad of the Green Berets. Not the worst, most obnoxious right-wing intrusion into top-40 radio (that was a year later, with the Open Letter to my Teen-aged Son) but the biggest hit. So what happened to Barry Sadler? In December 1978, in the culmination of a dispute over a woman, he killed a country music songwriter in Nashville with a gunshot to the head. Then in Guatemala City, ten years later, he was shot in the head, while sitting in a cab.
posted by Rash at 12:38 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Most unanticipated sentence from a person in a nonfiction piece that I've read in a long time: "I know where to get pig blood in Seattle."
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:05 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


The inventor of the lobotomy, Egaz Moniz, won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1949. Some people believe that legitimized the procedure and silenced his critics, leading more doctors to perform them. (OK, maybe "fun" isn't the right word there.)


it you were aware during 1966 and listening to the radio you couldn't miss Ssgt Barry Sadler's big number, the Ballad of the Green Berets.


At about that time, my Girl Scout squad had a big argument over whether naming our squad The Green Berets was insulting to the men fighting in Vietnam. I believe we decided to come up with another name.
posted by FencingGal at 1:24 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


in February 1977 a friend and I wrote a letter to the LEGO folk. With 1974 existing pieces we drew little detailed plans for air tanks, jetpacks, cargo packs, a couple of space vehicles, and suggestions (arms, helmets), etc.
and they actually wrote back. something something copyright but they absolutely loved the ideas. now my friend wrote the letter and received the letter which we both signed and I wanted a copy. In 1977 was not exactly easy getting a copy but my dad could do one because the company had the latest technology " I'll just have it to you the next day" and I never got the letter even for one day to copy it so I was a little miffed.
but I came to learn that sometimes people have to learn to let go of their LEGOS.
posted by clavdivs at 1:24 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


More like a string of musical facts about one building than one fun fact.

The Pythian Temple on Manhattan's Upper West Side was built in 1927 as a central meeting place for the 120 Knights of Pythias lodges in Manhattan. The building included an acoustically excellent auditorium on the third floor. When membership in the fraternal organization fell in the 1940s the Pythians rented out the auditorium to Decca Records to use as a recording studio. Billie Holiday and Sammy Davis, Jr. were among the artists who recorded there. In April 1954, a session produced by Milt Gabler, Billy Crystal's uncle, ran overtime and kept Davis waiting outside because the band drowned out the singer's voice on the first take. Gabler combined both takes and Bill Haley and the Comets' "Rock Around the Clock" was a big hit. Buddy Holly's last recordings, the string sessions that included "True Love Ways" and "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" were made in the same studio in 1958. The building was converted to luxury condos in 1986. The Germanotta family moved in a few years later and their oldest daughter Stefani is now better known as Lady Gaga.
posted by plastic_animals at 1:35 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Some random facts about ancient Mesopotamia:

* Despite what video game designers think, ziggurats had no rooms inside: they were solid stone, with a temple on top.
* Innkeepers were usually women. One of them, named Ku-Baba, started a dynasty, in Kish.
* As late as the 18th century BCE, it was considered undignified for a king to ride a horse. He should ride in a chariot pulled by mules.
posted by zompist at 2:18 PM on March 26 [8 favorites]


John Tyler was president of the US from 1841 to 1845. And as of today, 177 years later, one of his grandsons, Harrison Ruffin Tyler, is still alive. Lineage details.
posted by beagle at 2:54 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


scratch asked Is there a word for each half of a cloven hoof? Please tell me if there is.

In sheep it is a "claw"; as I found out several years ago when one of our sheep had a deep-seated infection that required the removal of half her offside back foot. While the vet drugged up the leg with ketamine, xylazine & novocaine, I was tasked with holding the sheep's head. Analgesia in sheep is not an exact science; so when the beast started to stir half-way thru the procedure, I had to break Leviticus Ch18v23 "Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith . . . it is confusion." If getting covered in sheep-dribble, a bit of blood-spatter and sundry other sheepily fluids is defilement, then I was defiled. The sheep, and her attendant lamb made a full recovery.
posted by BobTheScientist at 3:03 PM on March 26 [6 favorites]


Hippos can't swim.
posted by dobbs at 3:15 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Look at the inside of your arm from your wrist to your elbow. That is exactly the length of your foot. If you're nimble enough you can set your foot in there to measure it.

You can take the words from the Gilligan's Island theme song ("just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip .." and sing them to the tune of Amazing Grace and it fits perfectly! Or you can take the lyrics of Amazing Grace and sing them to the tune of Gilligan's Island, and it will fit as beautifully as your foot does from the crook of your elbow to the bend of your wrist.

The little plastic tip on the end of a shoelace is called an aglet.
posted by Kangaroo at 3:55 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Male and female reindeer are bulls and cows, not bucks and does. Both bulls and cows grow antlers. Antlers grow up to an inch a day. Bulls often drop their antlers before Christmas, while cows keep theirs until spring. So Santa's reindeer are probably all cows. (Or perhaps steers; we may never know.) In Christmas movies where the antlers are covered in velvet on Christmas eve... well, that's just wrong. They rub the velvet off in the fall. If you see a reindeer around Halloween there's a good chance it will have bloody strips of velvet hanging from its antlers, very festive (for specific values of festive).
posted by evilmomlady at 4:33 PM on March 26 [9 favorites]


Usually there is an invitation during Metatalktail Hour to talk about off-topic stuff, but this week there isn't. Hope it's OK!

We just told their foster mom that we are interested in the bonded pair of kitties she's been nurturing for six months or so. She's a few hours away in Spokane, though, so we have to wait another month until her next visit to Seattle for her to bring them.

May I present Crash and Eddie (Crash is all black, Eddie has a few white spots). They have mild cerebellar hypoplasia.

Fun Fact: cerebellar hypoplasia in cats is usually caused by the mother having feline panleukopenia (distemper) while pregnant. CH (also known as Wobbly Cat Syndrome) isn't painful or progressive and requires no special medical care. Those with mild cases like Crash and Eddie just have balance problems and tremors.
posted by QuakerMel at 5:19 PM on March 26 [7 favorites]


Or you can take the lyrics of Amazing Grace and sing them to the tune of Gilligan's Island

Relatedly, almost all of Emily Dickinson’s poems can be sung to the tune of the Gilligan’s Island theme. This isn’t as shocking as it sounds, because both are written in the common meter.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 5:49 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


Relatedly, almost all of Emily Dickinson’s poems can be sung to the tune of the Gilligan’s Island theme.

And The Yellow Rose of Texas.

Gilligan's first name was Willie. It was never mentioned in the series.
posted by FencingGal at 5:55 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


You can take the words from the Gilligan's Island theme song ("just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip .." and sing them to the tune of Amazing Grace and it fits perfectly!

I tried this and wound up using "In the Pines" instead of "Amazing Grace" and it still worked.
posted by curious nu at 6:29 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Supposedly you can sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to the tune of the Star Wars theme, but I have never dared to try.
posted by scratch at 7:24 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


There are flowers called pinks, for what might seem like obvious reasons. But they weren't actually named for their color - the color was named after the flower!
posted by Redstart at 8:07 PM on March 26 [8 favorites]


In the first two drafts of The Lord of the Rings, the main character was called Bingo Bolger-Baggins. He was only renamed Frodo in the third draft. Oh, and Frodo Baggins is not his real name. That's the English translation. His real name in Westron is Maura Labingi. I wonder what Bingo Bolger-Baggins is in Westron?

The babies of the (tiny) Cape Serotine bat are born with adult-sized feet.

Great White Sharks and tuna are not cold blooded. They aren't fully warm blooded like Opah, an Antarctic fish, but except for their gills, they have warm blood that keeps their internal organs and muscles warm.

Despite assertions to the contrary by motivational speakers and corporate newsletters, we can, in fact, explain how bumblebees fly in terms of normal, aerodynamics and physics. They don't glide like an airplane or flap their wings like a pigeon, they whirl their wings forwards and backwards tilted in a way to create vortexes in the air.

Unlike cats and dogs, rats don't mind if you touch their tails.
posted by Zumbador at 8:58 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


John Williams was inspired by the score of the Ronald Reagan movie Kings Row to create the score for the Strategic Defense Initiative Star Wars A New Hope.
posted by Monochrome at 9:04 PM on March 26


"Usually there is an invitation during Metatalktail Hour to talk about off-topic stuff, but this week there isn't. Hope it's OK!"

Always okay! My kids are on spring break so were SHRIEKING IN MY EAR as I posted and I was like "ahhhh just post the topic!"
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:23 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Gilligan's first name was Willie. It was never mentioned in the series.

I always thought Gilligan's first name was "Little Buddy". If it was never mentioned in the series, how does one know it is Willie?

Fun fact: The indentation at the bottom of a bottle is called the punt or the kick. It is there for stability.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:25 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


If it was never mentioned in the series, how does one know it is Willie?

It was implied: How Willie ruin their chances of leaving the island this time?
posted by mochapickle at 10:54 PM on March 26 [9 favorites]


There are flowers called pinks, for what might seem like obvious reasons. But they weren't actually named for their color - the color was named after the flower!

The same is true of orange! Colour named after the fruit. Before the fruit was introduced to Europe, everything we think of as orange was just considered a shade of red or yellow in most European languages.
posted by Dysk at 12:10 AM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Tippitoeing away from the fun facts thread, I am allergic to fun, to fung, as in fungible, to fungus as in, well, inedible fungus. Fun is just a three letter work, I mean, it isn't even a four letter word. You start this word kind of in the back of your throat, like another word, I hear every so often, or like in Deadwood, (consisting of half the script, in fact, I decided it was a cost saving effort,) but as it gets to the front of the mouth, you start to stick your tongue out, to finish the N, and yeah. Have a fun night!
posted by Oyéah at 1:50 AM on March 27


My personal fun fact is that Bon Dylan is my third cousin. (No, have never met him.)
posted by obfuscation at 5:31 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


This was the handiest fun fact working at a bookstore: On the barcode on the back of the book, there are two actual bar codes, a big one and a little one. Above the little one is a five-digit number, usually beginning with 5. The numbers following the 5 are the book's price. (So on a hardcover the code might be 52995, which tells you the base price of the book is $29.95.) Go and be enlightened!

(Sometimes the 5-digit code is 90000, in which case you are out of luck, sorry.)
posted by restless_nomad (retired) at 5:33 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


About 21,000 light years from here there's a star system called the Hulse-Taylor binary. It's two neutron stars orbiting a common center of mass.

(For those of you who don't know, neutron stars are incredibly small and dense. On average, they're about 1.5 times the mass of the sun, but only about twelve miles across. They're so dense that all the normal matter has squished together into an undifferentiated mass of neutrons. They're the "Oops! All Neutrons!" of stars. I can't find an exact figure, but a teaspoonful of neutron star would weigh many, many tons.)

At their closest approach to each other, they're moving at around 450 kilometers per second. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it's almost a *million miles per hour*. They're losing energy, though, which is radiating out in the form of gravitational waves. They're very slowly spiraling in on each other, and will merge in about 300 million years.

When that happens, they'll form a black hole and in the process emit a gamma ray burst, which will put out in about two or three seconds as much energy as the sun has in its *entire multi-billion-year lifetime*. It'll briefly be the brightest thing in the universe.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:46 AM on March 27 [13 favorites]


A baby alpaca is called a cria.

Each tiny individual component of a raspberry is called a drupelet.
posted by southern_sky at 5:47 AM on March 27 [6 favorites]


Raspberries? Not berries
Strawberries? Not berries
Blackberries? Not berries
Eggplants? Berries
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:44 AM on March 27 [9 favorites]


If it was never mentioned in the series, how does one know it is Willie?

It was in the original treatment for the series for a pilot that never aired. That was written by Sherwood Schwartz, creator of the series, who also said on several occasions that it was Willy (upon further research, I spelled it wrong).
posted by FencingGal at 6:45 AM on March 27


Gilligan's first name was Willie. It was never mentioned in the series.

So, everyone on the island were calling him by his last name all those years? That kinda sucks.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:03 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Look at the inside of your arm from your wrist to your elbow. That is exactly the length of your foot. If you're nimble enough you can set your foot in there to measure it.

Mmmm . . . Having done just that and discovered that my foot is actually slightly longer than my forearm - the pad of my big toe hits the pad of meat below my thumb - I did some searching and discovered that it's actually more like, for most people it's mostly pretty close, but maybe not exact.

OTOH, I also discovered that this particular bit of folk wisdom/fun "fact" probably originated with Leonardo da Vinci.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:28 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Kiwi (the birds) eggs are 20% of the size of adult kiwis (also the birds)
posted by aubilenon at 8:56 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


It's not at all an unknown fact, and I'm not sure it's fun, but I was recently surprised to learn that the guy who invented leaded gasoline, Thomas Midgley Jr., also invented Freon.

In line with Restless Nomad's fun one, I remain fascinated by decoding utility pavement markings.

Last night I dreamt that I was posting a metatalktail comment about seeing two specific shiny beetles. Which isn't actually an event that has happened, at least within the last year. I so rarely remember dreams that it seems like a bit of a waste of a dream. Also, anybody who tells you you can't read or use mechanical or eletrical devices when dreaming is either lying or talking about a brain very different from mine. I can correct typpos, use a cell phone, and solder. (I have had a lucid dream exactly once, well twice in one night, while very ill. At least, I woke up with a memory of having a lucid dream, which is good enough. It was fun.)
Look at the inside of your arm from your wrist to your elbow. That is exactly the length of your foot. If you're nimble enough you can set your foot in there to measure it.
Hmm. Measuring from the base of the thumb to the outside of the elbow, my arm is an inch longer. Measuring from the inside of the elbow, my foot is 1.5 inches longer. I suppose one could tweek the definition of wrist. 13% isn't bad, I guess.
posted by eotvos at 9:41 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


i went to a cd and record show in an american legion hall in grand rapids and learned that someone makes circular stickers with jane fonda's likeness on them, labelled the hanoi jane urinal target - needless to say, the hall's bathroom was adorned with these - amazon has them available for 18.95 for 10

i guess someone's always coming up with a new method to piss your money away
posted by pyramid termite at 9:42 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


(Sometimes the 5-digit code is 90000, in which case you are out of luck, sorry.)

That's alright, I can't afford that much for a book anyway.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:44 AM on March 27


Buddy Holly's last recordings, the string sessions that included "True Love Ways"...

When I heard this as kid I thought he said True Love Weighs and pictured the weight of love like the old ball and chain. Heavy.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:59 AM on March 27 [1 favorite]


kangaroo and others: Look at the inside of your arm from your wrist to your elbow. That is exactly the length of your foot.

TYFS another fine example of allometry which is new to me. My mother would buy kids' socks by wrapping the heel to toe part of potential purchases round the child's clenched fist until she found a match.
As noted in the da Vinci link cited by soundguy99 above, your height from heel to pate is pretty damn close to the span to the fingertips of your outstretched hands and the height from heel to navel vs heel to pate is p.d.c. to φ the golden ratio 1 : 1.618. All these measurements tell us that we grow to a pattern /program so that things work in a coordinated fashion. If our arms were different lengths, it would be hard to clap, for example. How growth hormones make this happen is still largely mysterious.
posted by BobTheScientist at 11:26 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


You can check to see if pants will fit you by holding the waistband around your neck. It's not always exact, and the rise/fit makes a difference, but it saves a ton of try-on time when you're thrifting.

Also: Our 10-Day Metafilter IRL Spring Cleaning event officially starts tomorrow! Come join us and get your home freshened up for spring and/or grouse with me about the daily assignments. It's free and it's fun!
posted by mochapickle at 11:40 AM on March 27 [5 favorites]


In the off-topic category, Mrs. Example and I went to a pottery studio yesterday and tried our hands at throwing stuff on the wheel for the first time. We made five pots between us. We're wanting to try it again soon.

Fun fact: pottery wheels are a lot more physically demanding than they look on TV. My arms kind of hurt today.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:50 AM on March 27 [2 favorites]


There are flowers called pinks, for what might seem like obvious reasons. But they weren't actually named for their color - the color was named after the flower!

Yep; the flower name probably comes from the incised edges of the petals, as in the pattern made by pinking shears!
posted by aws17576 at 12:46 PM on March 27


My fun fact is that most images of analogue watches have the time set to 10:10. See? I don't know why, and I only noticed it about a month ago.

So anyway, looking at twitter today, I came across this post: The nine fell off the face of my watch and bound the hands, and I first thought, ooh weird and cool. Then I thought ... um, 10:10 though? Odd or suspicious? Oddspicious?

Oddspiciously probably photoshopped innit?

So there you have it; knowing this one weird fact saved me from being tricked into thinking something was strange and cool. I win.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:47 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


I remember hearing as a child that clocks in ads were set to 8:20 to commemorate Lincoln's death. Snopes says no, that they are set at 8:20 or 10:10 to best show the manufacturer's logo. Snopes also says that some people say 10:10 is to commemorate JFK's death (also no).
posted by FencingGal at 1:25 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


My neck is 15 inches around, my waist is.competing with a small barrel. No way is that neck measure your pants thing, right.
posted by Oyéah at 1:33 PM on March 27


I noticed the watch-time thing finally when I was looking at this Cartier watch I was thinking of buying (hahahahaha no), and kept checking out the "sunbeams," wondering if it would make it easier for me to tell time that isn't 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 on a watch with no numbers, because I'm really ass at telling time on a watch face with no numbers. So I was looking at this, and looking at other watches with no numbers, trying to find examples I could try to read, and found out that it's always 10:10 in haha-no-Cartier-watch-for-you land.

Nice watch, though, if you really must have diamonds on your watch. (Please don't assume I spend all my free time looking at diamond encrusted watches. I also spend time looking at other diamond encrusted items.)
posted by taz (staff) at 1:47 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


My neck is 15 inches around, my waist is.competing with a small barrel. No way is that neck measure your pants thing, right.

Try eeeeet.
posted by mochapickle at 2:32 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Also, I heard that clocks are set to 10 and 2 because it's a pleasing image. Subconsciously it looks like a smile.
posted by mochapickle at 2:33 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Taz I can’t tell from the pixels nor from having seen a lot of shops in my time
posted by obfuscation at 2:59 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


My forearm between the inside of my elbow and my wrist is 2-3 inches longer than my foot – and my handspan is 6-8 inches greater than my height, but from childhood on I’ve had an unassailable conviction that my arms are abnormally short, embarrassingly short.
posted by jamjam at 3:01 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


They drank Flavor Aid at Jonestown, not Kool-Aid.

(We grew up on Flavor Aid, Kool-Aid's bargain-bin cousin, but Mom could never get us to drink the green lime packet that came in the multipack. One time she decided it was just the unpleasant color, and added a bunch of food coloring to it. It didn't taste one bit better looking like dirty ditch water.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:03 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


So, everyone on the island were calling him by his last name all those years? That kinda sucks.

How do you think the professor feels? I don't believe he had a name at all.
posted by spitbull at 3:04 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


I think his name was Ayn Merrian.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:07 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


It was never spoken during the run of the show, but the Professor's name was Roy Hinkley.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:17 PM on March 27


The Professor was Roy Hinkley. That was in the first episode.

Fun fact about me: I know the names of all the castaways. The Skipper was Jonas Grumby, also named in the first episode. All full names are given when they’re listening to the story about their disappearance on the radio. Except Gilligan’s. Even the newscaster just calls him Gilligan.

My mom once sent me a comic about Trivial Pursuit, Gilligan’s Island edition. This was before the internet when people would make phone calls to ask each other weird questions they were wondering about.
posted by FencingGal at 3:19 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]




There must be a dissertation somewhere on Gilligan's Island as an allegory for a white colonial utopian fever dream.
posted by spitbull at 3:24 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


I had forgotten about that radio report in the first episode! "Well-known Scoutmaster," hehe.

I still use Gilligan's Island to remember the seven deadly sins.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:29 PM on March 27


This weekend, our kid noticed that the name of the production assistant credited on the film Cult of Chucky is "Harry P. Ness." No, seriously.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:47 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


You can sail from Pakistan to Siberia without ever changing course.

Also, sharks have been around for five times longer than Saturn's rings.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 4:41 PM on March 27 [11 favorites]


sharks have been around for five times longer than Saturn's rings.

And they might still be around to see the demise of those rings.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:18 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


8675309 is a prime number. And it is the junior twin prime of 8675311
posted by Mitheral at 5:39 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Compared to ~80% mask observance two weeks ago, during today's grocery store visit I saw more like 20% of people still masked. I'm going to stay masked up in public places until I'm convinced we're not on the way to another wave (I'm following online info of local cases by county), but at this point I'm willing to let down my guard for smaller gatherings of my personal social group.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:26 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Isopods carry their young in a pouch called a marsupium.

(You may know isopods by another name: roly polys or pillbugs. They're little crustaceans that live under decaying logs in the woods, but there are a lot of marine isopods too.)
posted by amtho at 6:55 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Excellent username found in the wild: one of the many stomachs of the cow

Or, extrapolating from that: Third Stomach from the Sun

I cheerfully provide this service free of charge.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:04 PM on March 27 [2 favorites]


three barf monte
posted by pyramid termite at 7:38 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]


Mr. T. never said “I pity the fool” in any episode of “The A-Team.” That line is from “Rocky III.”

(And in case anyone is inclined to ask: yes, I have watched every episode of The A-Team to confirm.)
posted by holborne at 7:41 PM on March 27 [5 favorites]


So it probably won't surprise you that the stereotype of a ninja as a silent assassin dressed in black has almost nothing to do with what historical ninjas looked like. But it may come partly from the Japanese theater tradition of kuroko, masked stagehands who dress all in black to show they're not part of the action and are "invisible" as they change sets or move props around or whatever. Since none of the characters can see them and the audience is trained to ignore them, a ninja character disguised as a kuroko could therefore take their victim, and the audience, completely by surprise.

If that's even a little true, I would love to have been in the first audience to see it.
posted by jameaterblues at 8:20 PM on March 27 [5 favorites]


Sort of like this, you mean? (an oldie-but-goodie)
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:49 PM on March 27 [3 favorites]


Greg_Ace that's awesome!
posted by jameaterblues at 9:39 PM on March 27


The belief that carrots help you see in the dark was spread by the British during WWII to cover up the fact that they had invented radar.

Also, baby puffins are called pufflings.
posted by carolr at 7:31 AM on March 28 [7 favorites]


Each of the "c"s in Pacific Ocean is pronounced differently.
posted by OHenryPacey at 7:51 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]

Compared to ~80% mask observance two weeks ago, during today's grocery store visit I saw more like 20% of people still masked.
My neighborhood and university campus have given up entirely this week. They were doing great for 2 years. The public transit system and the Asian supermarkets are the last sensible institutions standing. I loved them already, but I love them more now. I'm not looking forward to teaching with a mask tomorrow, but it would be a complete delusion or sociopathy to do anything else.

I often despair at the choices humans make, but the last week of has made it locally obvious in a way that is really hard to ignore. I'll stop now to avoid even more explicit politics.
posted by eotvos at 8:20 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


I really appreciate the fact that the introduction of GPS was the first time that general relativity was empirically proven.

As a refresher, relativity essentially tells us that time slows down as you go faster. However, we needed some extremely accurate clocks to measure this phenomenon. Since the measurement of position is really a measurement of time (another fun fact!), GPS relies on atomic clocks to provide highly accurate position fixes to receivers on the ground.

Story goes that when GPS was being designed and implemented, there was still some debate about the validity of general relativity. The original code was written to not take relativity into account, but there was a backup code set that could be "switched on" just in case with the relativity corrections in place. The new code was obviously needed once it was noted that position fixes were drifting almost precisely as much as the relativity error said it would.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:24 AM on March 28 [1 favorite]

I really appreciate the fact that the introduction of GPS was the first time that general relativity was empirically proven.
Hmm. I apologize for being a "well, actually," guy, and I absolutely agree that the GR implementation in GPS is really neat, useful, and interesting. It's beautiful proof and worth celebrating.

But, there are pretty convincing demonstrations that came before that: Perihelion precession of Mercury (which was a post-facto test), Eddington's measurement of the deflection of starlight during an eclipse (which was questionably interpreted, but seems to have been more or less right), the Pound–Rebka experiment in 1959 (which directly measured gravitation time dilation), the Hulse-Taylor pulsar slowdown due to gravitational waves (which is rock solid and happened before the first GPS satellite launch but, to be fair, after its design.) The GPS corrections are awesome. I'd argue against calling it "first." But, it is very cool!
posted by eotvos at 8:38 AM on March 28 [3 favorites]


Might be too close to current events to be "fun" but I was recently reminded that the Russian army's official uniform didn't allow socks until 2007 and then in 2013 the Minister of Defense made socks mandatory. They previously used something called portyanki, which are pieces of fabric wrapped around the foot. Between 2007 and 2013, according to those articles, many commanders still forced their soldiers to use the foot wrappings, which necessitated the 2013 decree. An RT Russiapedia post linked in that 2013 Guardian article above shows the process of wrapping portyanki, and ironically the picture of portyanki in use is from a Ukrainian source.
posted by msbrauer at 9:40 AM on March 28 [2 favorites]


There are flowers called pinks

The red clothes worn for a British fox hunt are also called pinks. But not by everyone. Scroll down here to "Pink, Pinque, and All that Nonsense."
posted by Rash at 11:09 AM on March 28


They previously used something called portyanki, which are pieces of fabric wrapped around the foot.

That triggered a memory of a mini-documentary I saw as a kid in the ‘80s about life in the Soviet Army. I remember one of the soldiers saying that they always joked amongst themselves that if they ever ran out of ammunition they would just wave their foot cloths at the enemy until the smell knocked them over.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:07 PM on March 28


Made comment in the wrong thread - meant to post in family speak.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 1:38 PM on March 28


>If our arms were different lengths, it would be hard to clap, for example.
Fun fact: I regularly make clapping sounds with other people who have different lengths of arm to me in a manoeuvre known popularly as a "high five."

(I find these "golden ratio" things really endorse a normal than none of us have and it grates against the claims that patterned natural things have beauty. On paranoid days I worry that the same arguments get used for eugenics.)
posted by k3ninho at 4:06 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Also, baby puffins are called pufflings.

My heart! I cannot handle how cute that is!
posted by mochapickle at 4:34 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


>Also, baby puffins are called pufflings.

My heart! I cannot handle how cute that is!


Wookiepedia tells us that although the porgs were a stand-in for the real-life puffins at the filming location, their young are called "porglets" rather than "porglings," which I find rather disapporgling.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:27 PM on March 29 [1 favorite]


Relating to old & newer tech:

Our ca. 2005 garage door opener will not operate if LED bulbs are installed in it. CF bulbs work OK.

In our even older refrigerator, CF bulbs don't light up when the door opens.

A new day clock (shows only the day of the week, not hours & minutes) does not keep time well at all when using a rechargeable NiMH battery. Alkalines work fine.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:41 AM on April 1


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