#SomethingNewEveryDay – Getting to First Base

Yeah, I know what you were thinking.  But, I mean first base literally.

flickr user: calebunseth under Creative Commons license, without modification.  https://flic.kr/p/6E3nCY

flickr user: calebunseth under Creative Commons license, without modification.

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Facebook asking how many ways a batter can safely reach first base in baseball.  I just today got around to finding out the answer, and I was pretty surprised.

I counted:

A hit, a walk (bases on balls), hit-by-pitch, an intentional walk, catcher drops strike three and fan interference.  But, that was all I could come up with on my own.

Turns out?  The answer is:  23.  Pffft.  Talk about easy …

What are they, you ask?  Read this post from How Stuff Works to find out.

My favorite:  “A game is suspended with a runner on first (maybe for rain) and that player is traded to another team before the makeup; another player can take his place.”

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#SomethingNewEveryDay – Literally

Yes, literally, literally.  I, in fact, write every day about something I learned just that day.

Today, though, I learned that literally now means “figuratively.”  Apparently, if enough people misuse a word for enough time it literally changes the meaning of the word.  Literally.

literally

Are you confused now about when I might punch you in the throat?  Will I punch youi n the throat at all?  It’s okay.  I’m confused, too.  Literally.  You know – the way The Oatmeal defines it.

#SomethingNewEveryDay – That Ringing in Your Ears

Last night, when the house was finally quiet, I sat down to catch up on some reading.  Almost instantly, I heard a high-pitched ringing in my ears.  This is definitely not the first time I experienced this, and I’ve always assumed that it’s some sort of reverberations that happen after your move from a very noisy environment to a very quiet one.

Close, but not quite.  (Or quiet, which is what I originally typed and thought about leaving there …)

The ringing has a name:  tinnitus.  It occurs when your ear’s outer hair cells, which vibrate to help you hear quieter sounds, go haywire and spontaneously oscillate.  The oscillation then becomes audible until the nerves responsible for making it stop get the message – usually in about 30 seconds.

Anatomy of the Human Ear.svg
Anatomy of the Human Ear” by Chittka L, Brockmann A – Perception Space—The Final Frontier, A PLoS Biology Vol. 3, No. 4, e137 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030137 (Fig. 1A/Large version), vectorised by Inductiveload. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

For more about tinnitus (and when it’s not “normal”), click here.

 

#SomethingNewEveryDay – Toe-ma-toe, Toe-mah-toe

You’ve probably heard that a tomato, although widely consider a vegetable, is actually a fruit in the scientific sense of the word “fruit.”

Creative Commons Image: Flickr- Transguyjay

Creative Commons Image: Flickr- Transguyjay

Well, I learned today – possibly to my chagrin – that the United States Supreme Court actually weighed in on this issue in 1893. (I’m hoping it was an otherwise slow year.)  In a case titled Nix v. Hedden, the Supreme Court declared that a tomato is, in fact, a vegetable.  At least when it comes to tariffs.  Why?  No tariffs on fruits, kids.  Taxes, death … and laundry.

#SomethingNewEveryDay – A Butt Load

I’ve definitely said it.  You’ve probably said it.  When referring to a large amount of stuff, you’ve called it a “butt load.”

I had always assumed the expression was hyperbole and a slightly more polite way to say you’ve got a lot of shit.  Well, I was wrong.  A “butt” is an actual unit of measurement equivalent to two hogsheads or 126 gallons.  That’s still a lot of shit.  Just, hopefully, not literal shit.

When clicking the measurement link, see also, “megadeath.”  It’s not just a metal band.

 

#SomethingNewEveryDay – Smell and Memory

One of my favorite “ice breaker” type questions is this:  Had you to give up one of your five senses – sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell – which one would you choose?

I know from my own experiences that there is a strong association between smell and memory.  Whenever I smell a humid basement – that strange mix of wet concrete specific to New England – I can immediately remember a hundred things about my grandparents’ house.  Years ago, I walked past a man wearing the same cologne a long-ago, long-time boyfriend wore, and I found myself a little choked up before I pieced together what I remembered and why.

But, I never studied why smells can trigger memories.  So, I went in search of an article that might explain, and I found a great one on HowStuffWorks.  It’s worth a read.  The most interesting fact I learned was about anosmia.  Anosmics are people without a sense of smell.  I had no idea that there was an actual name for this condition.  I also did not really appreciate how global sense of smell is in terms of how the human brain works (or doesn’t work).

#SomethingNewEveryDay – Desert Rain Frogs

I love frogs.  It was a surprise even to me.  The year I was waiting for my bar exam results, two of my best girlfriends took me to a little town in California called Murphys.  It’s a wonderful place to eat, shop and wine taste.  But, Murphys is also known for its frogs (or, more specifically, its frog-jumping contest).  In one of the many shops we visited to kill the s  l  o  w  e  s  t  day ever, I found a ceramic frog with huge eyes that I immediately found comforting – the way a child might find comfort in a teddy bear.

But up until yesterday, my experience with frogs was limited to the kind that croak that throaty ribbit people who live near golf courses know and hate. (Yeah, I’m talking to you, G.)  Then, I saw and heard this:

He’s like a real-life squeak toy. And, the juxtaposition of that adorable squeak with his puffy posturing is so stinkin’ cute. I mean terrifying. (Sorry, dude. I mean cute. It can’t be helped.)

You can learn more about desert rain frogs at The Eco-LOL-ogist (which is a great blog if you like science-y type stuff or need a not-so-boring-you-want-stick-a-pencil-in-your-eye resource for a research paper).