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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 6, 2018 12:11 pm 
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I enjoyed the article also Henry. So the gist is: if I think I know something well, I don't really but if I think that I merely have peripheral knowledge about a subject, maybe I know more that I realize.

My husband and I keep my iPad next to us so when one of us wants to know about a subject or cannot remember something (most often), we look it up. I love to learn.


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 6, 2018 12:43 pm 
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TillerBee wrote:
I enjoyed the article also Henry. So the gist is: if I think I know something well, I don't really but if I think that I merely have peripheral knowledge about a subject, maybe I know more that I realize. [...]


You mean like a Know-Nothing could be a Know-Something? :nerd:

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 6, 2018 1:36 pm 
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Or perhaps a know-it-all really is an ignoramus.


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 6, 2018 1:54 pm 
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TillerBee wrote:
Or perhaps a know-it-all really is an ignoramus.


:coffee screen:

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 7, 2018 8:39 am 
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Why Flamingos Stand On One Leg

It's hard to think of another bird as goofily charming as the flamingo. Penguins might have a fancier wardrobe, but flamingos have got an unflappable cool belied by their Pepto-Bismol color, their shoehorn-sized beaks, and their Slinky-like necks. Oh, and then there's their habit of standing around on one leg all the time. Why do they even do that?

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There are a couple of ways to go about answering this question — you might try to answer why any one individual flamingo stands on one leg, or why flamingos as a group developed this habit in the first place. There's recently been a major breakthrough on the first question, so I'll start there. But I’m warning you: While no birds were hurt in this study, it's going to make you think about dead flamingos.

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According to researchers Young-Hui Chang and Lena H. Ting, any given flamingo has a great reason to stand on one leg: It's just easier. You might be astonished by exactly how much easier it is, however. In videos of eight juvenile flamingos at Zoo Atlanta, they saw that not only did the birds easily fall asleep while standing on one leg, but that when they were sleepy or restful, they would sway much less on that one leg than when they were awake on two. That suggests that flamingo joints have a "locked" resting position that secures them in place — as long as they're standing on one leg. But just to make sure, they wanted to prove that a flamingo could stand on one leg without any muscle activity whatsoever. And what better way to do that than by trying to balance deceased flamingos?

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The grislier part of the experiment used two (previously) deceased flamingos from the Birmingham Zoo. Lo and behold, once the researchers were able to put the birds in the correct, one-legged position, they were able to stand up no problem. That's ... probably a bit further than I would have gone to prove a point, but at least we finally have an answer to the question, "Can dead flamingos stand up?" Yes. Yes, they can.

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Lena Ting (left) and Young-Hui Chang

So there you go: Flamingos stand on one leg because it's physiologically easier for them to do so. The way their legs work means they can rest all of their weight on one side without having to use their muscles to maintain balance. Great. But why? What made the birds evolve this joint-locking trick? As with any speculation about the purposes behind evolution, we'll likely never know the complete answer. But there are a few theories on the broader reasons for the balancing act.

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One theory, championed by animal behaviorist Matthew Anderson, is that the behavior helps the birds manage their heat regulation. According to his 2009 study, more flamingos start standing on one leg the colder it gets outside (although most flamingos prefer to stand on one leg most of the time anyway). That theory has gained some traction in recent years, but studies since that one have not been able to recreate their findings. Instead, those scientists suggest that the birds are lifting one foot as they drift off to sleep. Like dolphins and some other animals, only one side of a flamingo's brain sleeps at a time, so perhaps the birds lift up a leg on only one side because it's on the resting side.

Excerpt and conclussion from Anderson study:”The majority
of birds observed standing on 1 leg appeared to be resting at the time, suggesting
that this behaviour may be associated with sleeping, rather than
thermoregulation. The positive correlation between unipedal posture
and temperature for wading birds (Fig. 3) could be explained by a
tendency for birds to rest and therefore sleep at the warmer temperatures.
Rattenborg et al. (1999) used electroencephalography to measure brain
activity and demonstrated the ability of ducks to sleep with 1 eye open and
1 hemisphere of the brain active. This behaviour allows birds to rest
while remaining alert to risks in their immediate surroundings including
predators (Rattenborg et al. 1999). The ability to shut down 1 half of the
brain is known as unihemispheric slow wave sleep (USWS; Rattenborg et al. 1999)
and is also observed in cetaceans where this behaviour ensures that
whales and dolphins do not drown when they sleep
(Hecker 1998; Rattenborg 2006).”


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Of course, one leg or two, there's still the question of why the birds sleep standing up in the first place. Well, flamingos make themselves at home on some of the most toxic, caustic bodies of water in the world. The water they prefer is often flesh-strippingly alkaline, and the ground that surrounds the shores absorbs those harmful properties. The scaly skin on their legs is tough enough to handle it, but their softer flesh is a little more at risk. In other words, if you were going to curl up on that mud, you'd start feeling uncomfortable pretty quickly. But if you can sleep standing up, then everything is just gravy.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 7, 2018 3:02 pm 
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I've always heard that the reason a flamingo sleeps one one leg that if it lifted its other leg it would fall on its butt.


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 8, 2018 8:36 am 
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How Does The Cactus Survive In The Desert?

Cactuses are thrifty plants that live in dry regions. They may not get much moisture where they live, but they manage to make the most of what they do get.

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Since the cactus’s long roots lie close to the surface of the ground, they can catch water from desert rains. And since the roots have a cork-like bark covering them, they can absorb the water quickly.

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Because the cactus has no leaves, its stems do the job of manufacturing food for the plant and of storing its water. And because these stems grow upward rather than out, not too much of the plant faces the direct drying rays of the sun. These broad stems have a great deal of room for storing the water and a thick covering for protecting it.

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In addition, the plant’s sharp, pointed needles keep desert animals from sucking out this valuable liquid. However, cactus plants have saved the lives of thirsty people stranded in the desert.

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A cactus plant only three feet tall may have roots spreading out to a length of ten feet across the desert!

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 8, 2018 11:20 am 
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I was going to say "remember Tequila is grown from a cactus" but I looked it up and discovered my life-long belief was wrong. The blue agave plant may look like a cactus but is really a succulent. Nevertheless, Tequila sunrises are still good...

Here's a prickly pear cactus that I grew from a "pad".

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I have several cactus in my gardens and one interesting thing I've observed is that in cold weather, the cacti shed most of their moisture and shrivel up, some so much I can hardly find them in the winter.


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 8, 2018 12:38 pm 
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TillerBee wrote:
[...] I have several cactus in my gardens and one interesting thing I've observed is that in cold weather, the cacti shed most of their moisture and shrivel up, some so much I can hardly find them in the winter.


Makes sense. Water tends to freeze in winter. I'd hate to see your cacti deal with that. :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 9, 2018 8:42 am 
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How Did Sharks Get Their Name and How Are They Different From Mammals Like Whales and Dolphins?

Shark Week is right around the corner:

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Sharks are fish that date from more than 420 million years ago, before the time of the dinosaurs.

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There are over 440 species of Shark and some like the whale shark, which can reach 39 feet, feed only on plankton and small squid.

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Whale Shark

Sharks were called “sea dogs” by sailors until the 16th century.

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After Sir John Hawkins’ sailors exhibited a specimen in London in 1569, the word “shark” was used to refer to the large sharks of the Caribbean Sea, and later became a general term that we use today. The name might also have come from the Yucatec Maya word for shark, xok.

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Sir John Hawkins

It seems like sharks should be mammals, but they’re cold blooded fish, and have a cartilaginous skeleton which make them unique from regular bony fish.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 10, 2018 8:33 am 
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The Kepler Spacecraft Is Running Out Of Fuel

Kepler is the world's first mission with the ability to find true Earth analogs – planets that orbit stars like our sun in the "habitable zone." The habitable zone is the region around a star where the temperature is just right for water – an essential ingredient for life as we know it -- to pool on a planet's surface.

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Kepler Spacecraft

The spacecraft, named in honor of the 17th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler, was launched on 7 March 2009. It has been active for 9 years, 4 months and 2 days as of July 9, 2018. The aim is to find periodic dimming caused by extrasolar planets which cross in front of their host star. As of January 2013, there are a total of 2,740 candidates.

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Astronomer Johannes Kepler

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March 7, 2009

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Kepler looks at a point in space

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Dimming Star

Earlier this week, NASA’s Kepler team received an indication that the spacecraft fuel tank is running very low. NASA has placed the spacecraft in a hibernation-like state in preparation to download the science data collected in its latest observation campaign. Once the data has been downloaded, the expectation is to start observations for the next campaign with any remaining fuel.

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Size comparisons of discovered exoplanets

To start with, the mission lifetime was 3.5 years. In 2012, this was extended to 2016, partly due to difficulties in processing and analyzing the huge volume of data collected by the spacecraft. And, of course, it’s still out there today – albeit with an empty fuel tank. The fuel situation doesn't come as a big surprise; NASA announced in March that Kepler was running low and would likely have to cease operations in a matter of months. Refueling the spacecraft is not an option; Kepler orbits the sun, not Earth, and it's currently millions of miles from our planet.

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In Depth

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 11, 2018 8:23 am 
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What Is A Sweat Lodge And What Is It Used For?

A sweat lodge is a small dome-shaped structure made out of bent poles covered with hides.

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Men gather in these structures as part of a religious ceremony. In the center of the sweat lodge they place a pile of stones that have been heated in a fire. Pouring cold water over the stones, the participants fill the lodge with steam, causing them to perspire profusely.

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Modern Sweat Lodge interior

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The indigenous sweat lodge ritual was thought to cleanse both the body and the spirit.

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But a few words to the wise: If you’re entertaining the thought of attending a sweat lodge session, think again and make sure you click on the “In Depth” link below.

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In Depth

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