One of the principals that I have in my life is A DAY IS WAISTED IF YOU HAVEN’T LEARNED ANYTHING!!! And by ‘anything’ I don’t necessarily mean something science-related; actually, I often don’t count biology-related science in, because I have so much of it everyday that it’s almost inevitable that I will find something new by just studying my lectures or doing a bit of an outside reading (and that’s why I love what I do, as Feynman rightly put it “science is an expanding knowledge of ignorance” – the more we learn the less we know). Moreover, if the only thing I do would be learning biology this would leave me horrifyingly narrow-minded which is the one thing that I’m scared like death (I’m not really scared of death but can’t find any other expression in my head at the moment). So recently I’ve started a sort of a diary of knowledge (sound really cheesy) or learning for learning’s sake book, where basically I write a few facts that I have learned each day. These facts range from very boring to funny or serious ones and are about everything from physics to cooking or from traveling to politics. In a way I just want to make sure that I’ve learned something each day and also I just often find huge gaps in my knowledge that are sometimes just shameful to admit (I know one cannot know everything but at least a good attempt of trying to see beyond the four-walled-box-world should be made).
Having said that, I had an idea that I can try and post a fewof the more interesting facts in my blog in addition to the regular posts.
Also, I’ll make the same footnote to each of my fact-post:
- If anyone reading this FINDS A MISTAKE IN THE FACT PLEASE WRITE A COMMENT AND I’LL MAKE SURE TO CORRECT IT (not just because it’s a mistake but because I want to know it)!
- If anyone reading this HAS ANY INTERESTING RANDOM FACT THAT YOU WANT TO SHARE PLEASE COMMENT AND I’LL ADD IT TO THE POST (crediting you) (again-because I want to know)!
So here it goes:
#1. During the Classical period in Athens a word >idiot< was used to describe person who didn’t participate in public affairs and political gatherings, and was more interested in his/her personal affairs (so all those who don’t go to vote are idiots in the true sense of the word (no offence)).
#2. Word barbarian comes from ancient Greece were Greeks called all non-Greek speaking people barbarians because there language for Greeks sounded like “bar bar bar”.
#3. Up to industrial revolution stale urine was used to bleach clothes.
#4. First paper money was invented in China in 7th century by Tang dynasty.
#5. Oldest apple pie recipe was probably written in 1381.
#6. Zoroastrianism is probably the first monotheistic religion founded in 1st millennium BC and had around 3.5mln. devotees in Persia at that time.
#7. Poison hemlock was given to Socrates to preform his suicide. It has neurotoxin coiine in it that blocks neuromuscular junctions which leads to paralysis and collapse of respiratory muscles and oxygen deprivation.
#8. When you go out of shower it’s always much nicer to step on carpet than on bathroom floor made from tiles that always feel very cold. That’s not because the floors are of lower temperature than the carpet they are actually the same temperature but because floor plates have much better thermal conductivity than the carpet has.
#9. Glass delusion was one of the symptoms of a type psychiatric disorder in middle ages. King Charles the 6th of France had this disorder and he sometimes thought he was made of glass. He didn’t let other people touch him so he wouldn’t shatter and had special clothes made for him so as to protect and support him in case of any accident.
#10. In Middle Ages some of the greatest scholars of the time (influenced by that insane God-knows-it-all idea) were devoting their time on trying to find solutions to such questions as:
Can God make two hills without intervening valley?
Can God ever know more than he thinks he knows?
Can two angels occupy the same space at the same time?
-Talking about revolutionary ideas!!!
#11. When Spanish first came to New World the main cause of the deaths of natives was not that Spanish killed them but the coming of new diseases such as mumps, smallpox, typhus, etc. One disease, however, that came from New World to Europe vas venereal Syphilis. The names for this syphilis varied across Europe: Italians called it French disease, French called it the disease of Naples, Polish called it the disease of Germans and Russians…wait for it… the disease of Polish!- what a nice lot we europeans are