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” 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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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).
Moon jellyfish, or Aurelia aurita, look like tiny, translucent, dancing buttons. We met them today on a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They are in a tank installed in a dark room, where speakers pipe in hypnotic music. I could watch them for hours.
Took this today at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
You can read more about them here.
Life Savers were invented in 1912 by a chocolatier. He was frustrated by chocolate that melted in the summer heat, so he wanted a candy that would boost his sales in hotter months. Thus, the Life Saver was born. The name came from the flotation devices, which were installed on passenger ships that same year. And the chocolatier found his production by happenstance, watching a pharmacist using a pill maker while waiting at the drug store.
I don’t know if it saves lives, but folks sitting next to me in a meeting after I’ve had coffee probably really appreciate a well-timed wintergreen-flavored Life Saver.
Meditation is not new to me. I’ve tried it in the past, but I’ve not found it as effective as others. Today, though, I saw this quote posted on the wall of a Facebook friend, and I realized that meditation wasn’t working for me, because I was doing it wrong. Now, I am inspired to try again.
Let it go! Let it go! (Sorry, I could not resist.)
I am not a fan of hard-boiled eggs. I make them once a year at Easter so that the kids can color them. But, until I saw this post from Savorychicks, I had no idea you could actually infuse a hard-boiled egg with other flavors. And, I definitely had no idea they could be so beautiful. I’m wondering if balsamic vinegar would work in place of the soy sauce and what the color result might be. I will report back.
Photo credit: Savorychicks via Pinterest
My husband and I went to the farmer’s market in our town the other night. As I was looking at cucumbers, I spied this:
Found at our trip to the local farmer’s market.
It is a lemon cucumber. It’s not lemony in flavor; it gets its name from its appearance. This one isn’t that yellow but some were. I think these have a stronger flavor than green cucumbers, but the basic flavor profile is the same. They are much prettier than green cucumbers when cut open, so if I wanted to feature cucumbers in a salad, I would definitely use these.