Showing posts with label Interesting Facts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Interesting Facts. Show all posts

Thursday, May 7, 2020

A Bit of History: How Old Glory Came To Be

A country's flag is symbolic of their journey to independence as a nation. Citizens are always so proud to display their flag during national holidays. Just the sight of the flag strengthens the sense of patriotism in the citizenry. 

In its 244 years of independence, the United States flag has undergone so many modifications. The current flag with 50 stars is the 27th modification, which was ordered by President Eisenhower in 1959. It became official in 1960. 

The U.S. flag is commonly called "Stars and Stipes," "Star Spangled Banner." and "Old Glory." The first two "nicknames" are for obvious reasons, because the flag has indeed stars and stripes and is a banner. But why is it called "Old Glory?" 

The name "Old Glory" has an interesting story to it. In 1824, Captain William Driver hoisted a flag on his ship before he set sail on a voyage around the world. He exclaimed, "I will call her Old Glory!" This was the flag that accompanied Captain Driver in his sea voyages until 1837 when he retired and moved to Nashville, TN. 

Image source:

The flag Old Glory had 13 stripes in alternating red and white color, 34 stars and an anchor to symbolize Captain Driver's voyages at sea. However, during the civil war, Captain Driver feared that Old Glory would be desecrated so he had it sewn inside a quilt for safeguarding. It was not until 1862 when Nashville was taken over by the Union headed by Ulysses Grant that Captain Driver revealed the flag and was granted permission to hoist it over the dome of a former Confederate state capitol. 

That's a bit of American flag history there for you. 

Every year on June 14, we celebrate U.S. Flag day. It is a day dedicated to commemorate the adoption of the first flag on June 14, 1777. We usually decorate our front porches with the colors red, white and blue, and proudly display American flags on our windows and front yards. It is a day we spend with family and be thankful for the freedom we so enjoy. 

How will you be celebrating Flag Day? Will you be displaying our flag on your window, porch or front yard? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, March 16, 2020

How To Make Your Voice heard in Politics

Image source
Being educated about and involved in politics is important. Everyone deserves to have a say in how they are represented in Washington DC, and corresponding with your representatives is one of the best ways to do so. So, here are two tips to effectively contact your representatives.

Online Resources

If you've ever thought, "How do I contact my DC representative?" the quickest and easiest way to do that is by email or another online resource. Most politicians have ways to contact them listed on their official websites, and you can send your exact thoughts in that way. However, there are official websites dedicated to making your voice heard on the issues you care about, such as eVoiceAmerica, which is linked above. If you care about the issues the American people face and you have ideas, don't be afraid to contact your representatives through email.

Know Who Represents You

Every city has its own set of representatives at varying levels, whether at the local, state, or federal level, so it can sometimes be confusing to decide who you're supposed to contact for what reason. The person who most directly represents you at the highest level is the person who represents your district in the federal government. There are online resources where you can input your zip code, and it will tell you who your representative is. This is the person you will want to contact for most of the big, important issues people tend to care about the most. For local representatives, visit your city or county's official website.

Making your voice heard in politics is the duty of a civilian. For your representative to be able to represent your beliefs properly, he or she needs to know what beliefs you hold. The more eloquent and articulate you are about your position, the more likely they are to understand you and represent you properly.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Right now, many people are anxious about the state of the world. Issues like climate change, nuclear proliferation, and flu pandemics are all things that could effectively end life as we know it in the west. Worse still, the media tends to focus on these future unknowns instead of the successes that we’re achieving today. The 2010s were, globally-speaking, a roaring decade that saw more people lifted out of poverty than ever before in the history of our species. 

Even in the US, things are looking good. Between 1970 and today, incomes doubled. Continued progress in technology and factor productivity mean that the average person today is around twice as productive as their counterparts fifty years ago. The statistics on poverty are promising too. The number of people in the US living below the poverty line has fallen substantially since World War Two, owing to a combination of government welfare programs and economic opportunities in the private sector. 

If you would like to learn more about the role of the government in tackling poverty across America, take a look at the following infographic. It charts the progress of the nation from the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the aftermath of the Great Depression up to the present day. 

What’s nice about it is that it leads to some optimistic reading. It proves that the world isn’t all bad and that, overall, our societies are making substantial progress. Poverty rates are falling long term, and they could go even lower in the future if productivity and wages pick up.
Infographic by Norwich University

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

How to do an Auction Properly

Image Credit: Pixabay CC0 Licence
Auctions are great for bagging a bargain and finding something unique but there is a knack to them. For a start, you want to make sure that whatever you are bidding on is worth the money you are spending! 

Whether you are at a used-car auction, an antiques auction or even a charity auction, finding the things you want second hand can be a great way to save money. So, here are 3 rules to follow to avoid overspending. 

Preview the Catalogue

One of the most important parts of an auction is knowing what is going to come up for sale. While you might have your eye on a car right now, it’s well worth knowing if a better or more suitable model is coming up. Some companies, like the Western Auction Company, actively encourage customers to take a look around beforehand and even provide free parking so that you can take your time deciding what to bid for.

Previewing the catalog also gives you the chance to decide what an item would be worth to you. In other words, how much would you be willing to part with to get your hands on it? Which leads us to….

Setting Your Upper Limits

It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment of an auction and keep on bidding but this is a fast way to spend way more than you had planned. The key to sticking to your spending limits is to know when to stop. This means deciding exactly how much you are willing  to spend on an item before it comes up and then stopping the bidding process once that number is reached. This applies at online auctions too.

Remember: every bid adds up so you must also stick to a budget for the day. If you’re worried that you’ll overshoot in the heat of the moment, take a friend with you to keep you honest! If you’re looking for a real bargain, the afternoon is often the best time to bid as there will be fewer bidders around. 

Stay Calm, Bid Small

When you bid at a live auction, the auctioneer slowly increases the price incrementally until all but one of the bidders remains. This is why you should never try to up the bid yourself or go straight to your upper limit. Stay calm and let the process go on - you don’t want to reveal how important an item is to you because other bidders may decide to up their game.

While being at an auction can be really exciting, try not to stand out too much or draw attention to the items you really want to take home. Auctions are competitive so having a poker face will work well for you. You don’t want other bidders to see when you are closing on your upper limit but you also don’t want them to assume you have enough money to continue driving up the price. Be calm and objective as far as possible. 

Good luck! 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The human body is a masterpiece. The structure and the physiology are truly marvelous! 

A few years ago, I wrote a post about some amazing body facts which surprisingly turned out to be my most read blog post. There is so much to learn so I am sharing some interesting information about the human body's internal structure.

► What are the largest and smallest organs in the body?

The skin is the largest organ. In an average sized human, the skin has a total area of 20 square feet. The skin acts as the body's first line of defense against illness and infection. It also helps regulate our body temperature and protects our internal organs from damage due to external elements.

Photo credit
The smallest organ is the pineal gland. It is about the size of a grain of rice (5 to 8 millimeters) and is located in the center of our brain. Its main function is to produce melatonin which regulates our sleep cycle.

► What are the largest and smallest bones in the body?

The largest and strongest bone is the femur or thigh bone. Its upper end connects to the pelvis to form the hip joint while its lower end connects to the tibia and to form the knee.

The smallest bone is the stapes, which is one of the three tiny bones found in our middle ear. It measures around 3 x 2.5 millimeters. Now that is tiny!

Human stapes bone size in comparison with a penny
► The small intestine has an absorptive surface area of 250 square meters!

The small intestine is a long, narrow tube roughly about 6 meters (20 feet) in length. It is where nutrients in the food we eat are absorbed and carried through the bloodstream. What is more amazing is that inner lining of the small intestine has an absorptive surface area of 250 square meters (2,700 square feet), roughly about the size of a tennis court!

The inside walls of the small intestine are not flat, rather, it has circular (mucosal) folds along its entire length. These folds have villi or small projections that protrude into the lumen (cavity) of the small intestine. However, that is not yet the end of it. Every villus has multitudes of epithelial cells, each of which has microvilli. Think of surface area multiplied!

► The longest nerve cell in the body is approximately 0.91 meters (3 feet)!

A nerve cell or neuron is composed of 4 parts - the dendrites, the some (or cell body), the axon and the axon terminal. The axon is the longest part of the nerve cell. It carries nerve impulses away from the cell body. The longest nerve cell axons in the body are those of the sciatic nerve. They start from the base of the spinal cord down to the big toe of each foot. That is approximately 3 feet long in an average height human!

► Let's talk about the red blood cells

An average person has about 20-30 trillion red blood cells circulating in their body. Did you know that a pinhead-sized drop of blood can contain as much as 5 million red blood cells! A healthy red blood cell is only 6.2 to 8.2 micrometer in size. It is difficult to imagine such a minute thing doing the task of oxygenation for the body!

A red blood cell's lifespan is 100-120 days. New cells are formed in the bone marrow and the old cells are destroyed in the spleen. 

Here's another interesting fact about red blood cells - it only takes one minute for a red blood cell to circulate the entire human body. From exiting the heart through the aorta into the circulatory system, it only takes 60 seconds for a red blood cell to return back to the heart through the superior and anterior vena cava. Wow.

► Our brain and neurons

Acting as the command center, our brain does really amazing things. An average human brain weighs about 1400 grams (roughly 3 pounds). It receives 20% of the body's blood supply. According to credible sources, our brain contains about 100 billion neurons or nerve cells that work non-stop in receiving and sending nerve impulses.

There are different sizes of neurons. Some are very small with short axons and dendrites, while others have very long axons (see information about the sciatic nerve above). You may be wondering about the speed at which impulses travel through these neurons, right? The speed depends on the thickness of the axon. It has been discovered that the thicker the axon, the faster the speed of travel of impulses. So we can deduce that the long nerve cells have thicker axons to enable them to convey information faster.

How fast is fast? "Slow" transmissions are about 0.5 meters per second, while "fast" transmissions reach the speed of 120 meters per second (268.43 miles per hour)! Can you imagine something going that fast inside our own bodies? Mind-boggling.

► How strong is stomach or gastric acid?

Our stomach produces three different kinds of acid that aid in the digestion of the food we eat. These acids are potassium chloride, sodium chloride, and hydrochloric acid. With a pH level of 1 to 3, these three acids can dissolve metal! Oh goodness. And to think we have that inside of us? How on earth does our stomach stay intact with that much acid in it?

We must thank our stomach's epithelial cells which produce mucus and bicarbonate that forms a layer of protection for our stomach lining. The pancreas likewise produces bicarbonate that it secretes into the duodenum part of the stomach for further protection and avoid damage to the small intestine. Sometimes, our stomach produces too much acid that the epithelial cells are unable to cope with. This is the reason we suffer from gastric ulcers.

The human body is wonderfully made, don't you agree? From two tiny cells merging together into a single cell that divides a multitude of times comes forth a human being! There is so much to learn and appreciate about this living, loving, thinking and rational creation that we call "our body."

Feel free to read my first blog post about human body facts here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Weird Facts About Natural Gas

Natural gas stands at the cusp of becoming the most used fuel source on the face of the earth. In honor of this fact, here are some interesting and weird facts about natural gas and all it stands for! 

1. Natural gas consists of methane, mainly, but there are also other ingredients as well. these other ingredients consist of propane, butane, and a few others. 

2. In its natural state, natural gas has no odor, has no color, and is highly flammable. It is also lighter than the air so it can float in the air very easily. To make it easier to detect if there is a natural gas leak, companies who use it add an additive called mercaptan which smells like rotten eggs. While this may be an unpleasant odor, it goes a long way to ensure that people do not blow themselves up if it has leaked into the environment. 

3. Natural gas has been around for quite some time. Historians state that it was first discovered back in 6000 BC in the Middle East. It was discovered by the process of lightning from the sky igniting buried reserves of natural gas that had been seeping from the ground. This was long before the ADVENT OF natural gas piping installation came to be. 

4. In fact, the very first natural gas pipes were invented in China in 500 BC and were made from bamboo. The natural gas which flowed these unique pipes was used in the production of salt brine. 

As you can see, there are some very weird and wonderful facts concerning natural gas. Not only is it an incredibly useful fuel to have available but it has a long and storied existence as well. Hopefully, this has piqued your curiosity into learning more about natural gas and its many uses.