The “R” in “Rx” stands for the Latin word “recipe,” meaning “take,” and the first doctor to use “Rx” used it as a verb with the same meaning, “Rx two aspirin” being equivalent to today’s “Take two aspirin.” (The word “recipe” had had the same function from the 13th through the 17th centuries.) Those two letters were a 19th-century take on a 16th-century symbol, the letter R with a line through its slanted leg—the line signaling that the “R” is functioning as an abbreviation. It wasn’t till the early 20th century that “Rx” came to be used as the noun we know today. As for the noun “recipe,” it followed the same trajectory, referring to a medical prescription for about 100 years before it developed its connection with cooking in the early 17th century.

Merriam- Webster (source)


Cats don’t purr because they are happy, they really just use it as a way to heal themselves and make their bones denser.

Scientific American (source)

That cat’s bones are SO DENSE.

I promise, I haven’t forgotten about this blog! I’ve just been incredibly busy lately. Even though I have been learning things that I want to share with all of you, I haven’t had the time to do all the necessary research! I’ll get back to it soon, but in the meantime, keep investigating!

The original Monopoly pieces have their shapes (iron, wheelbarrow, shoe, etc.) because the game was meant to play with items found around the house, like buttons and thimbles. Eventually, Hasbro standardized the tokens to include them with each board.

The Straight Dope (source)

For creating visual effects, green screens and blue screens are the most common for Chroma Key image overlay because they are furthest from human skin tone. Even though blue is further from the red in skin, cameras are more sensitive to green and easier to light up, so it is the more common background nowadays. (source)

The differences between venom and poison:

Poisons must be absorbed via a mucus membrane (lungs, intestinal lining, nose, etc.).

Venoms must be injected, from a special appendage for this purpose.

It seems like venomous animals are more active with their toxins, (doing it on purpose) while poisonous substances are more passive (i.e. they must be eaten or inhaled). I say substances because not only animals can be poisonous, but things like plants and bleach are too. However, only animals are venomous.


Here’s an interesting related video:


The Roaming Naturalist (source)

List of Venomous Animals (wiki)




– Catnip does get cats “high,” but it may be more of a sexual / pheremone reaction than a chemical high like that found in humans using marijuana.

– It has different effects depending on whether it is consumed or inhaled, and even cats with no sense of smell can be affected.

– Humans have used catnip (usually in teas) as a mild sedative and to relieve joint pain.

Scientific American (source)

(The video speaks the truth, and seems to have gotten many of its facts from






1. Highly original and proving influential on later work.
2. Of or relating to semen or seed.


From Latin semen (seed). Ultimately from the Indo-European root se- (to sow) which also gave us seed, sow, season, seminary, and disseminate. Earliest documented use: 1398.


Pigeons are superstitious. In other words,they (like humans) fall victim to the Regression Fallacy. They believe that random actions affect certain outcomes, like how not washing your jersey will help your team win the big game.

PsychClassics (original B.F. Skinner experiment)

Psychologist World (summary / source)


The New 7 Wonders of the Natural World were decided on 11/11/11, after calculating millions of internet and phone votes. They are:
– Amazonia
– Halong Bay
– Iguazu Falls
– Jeju Island
– Komodo
– Puerto Princesa Underground River
– Table Mountain

New7Wonders of Nature official site

– Alcohol and drugs are physically addictive because they release dopamine. Dopamine is normally associated with happiness, but it can also be associated with learning and memory. The addiction actually comes from the pleasant subconscious memories formed while under the influence.

Science Daily (source)

– Many punctuation marks were created by mashing together the letters of a short Latin word or phrase.

– This symbol (#)  is called an Octothorp.

Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader (source, via Neatorama)

The Venus Effect is a phenomena in paintings and movies that leads viewers to believe that a subject sees themselves in a mirror, even if the angle is physically wrong. Technically, the subject would be seeing the viewer in the mirror if the viewer can see the reflection of the subject.

io9 (explanation)

Click for another article.

Corvids (crow family) can hide their food in up to 200 different places, remembering each one and even returning to each before the food spoils.

Io9 (source) (source)

(Both of the above linked articles cite numerous sources of their own and are worth a read.)

– Polydactyl Cats (having more than the normal 5 toes in front / 4 toes in rear) on all four paws is very rare.

– They were at once considered bad luck (instances of witchcraft) and good luck, as sailors would bring them aboard ship for their excellent mousing ability.

–  Teddy Roosevelt had a polydactyl named Slippers.

The Straight Dope (source)

The phrase “wild hair” (as in ‘he took off from work because he had a wild hair’) is short for “wild hair up his butt.” It means to have a fixation or obsession with something, because if you have a wild hair up your butt you can’t think about anything else.

The Washington Monthly (source)

Not to be confused with

– Modern mirrors are made with a backing of aluminum.

– Reflected words appear backwards because mirrors reflect front to back, like looking through the image ( not flipping right to left).

– Acoustic mirrors reflect sound instead of light, and were used as a pre-radar.

How Stuff Works (source)

Sunlight and/or Vitamin D is directly linked to testosterone levels.

BBC News (source)


There is a medical condition called Methemoglobinemia, in which the blood carries oxygen but does not properly deliver it. This results in the patient literally having blue skin (or worse, more life-threatening symptoms).

NCBI (study)

University of Nebraska (source)


Sorry kids, but the math and physics of Santa making his fabled trip prove to be impossible magic.

Snopes (source)

Social Security numbers act as a code telling those in the know when and where you were born (or the card was issued). (decoder)

Electronic Frontier Foundation (source)

Ballet tutus evolved not only to allow the dancer free movement, but also so the audience could see the intricate movements of her feet. (source)

There is a gene named after Sonic the Hedgehog. It plays an important role in embryonic development, and if mutated, can cause holoprosencephaly (when the brain does not separate into two hemispheres), which in turn can lead to cyclopia (cyclopsism).

It was named for the videogame character not for its ability to jump and catch golden rings, but because it was the early 1990s and the other two “hedgehog” genes had already been discovered.

Nature (source)

Proprioception is the sense of where are our bodies are in space. It is very sensitive, and can be affected by drugs / alcohol, injury, and even tool use.

Wise Geek


– “Temperature and humidity affect odor because they increase molecular volatility.”

– Distinct odors are dependent on both the shape & size of the odor molecule, and the vibrational frequency of it.

HowStuffWorks (source)

Some parrot species get each other’s attention by doing imitations of their intended conversation partner, rather than call each other by name. (source)

The most effective manner of brushing one’s teeth was developed by Dr. Charles Bass, who had previously worked on malaria and other tropical diseases before turning to dental hygiene. He also revolutionized dental floss, by switching the material to nylon from silk.

Bass toothbrushing technique (instructions)

The Matsuo culture in Southern  China is a matriarchal (or matrilinear) society. Families are focused on the women, and many generations of women live together in the same house, caring for children. Husbands do not live with wives, but brothers / uncles stay with their own families and help out. (source)


A particularly nasty example occurred after an earthquake in Japan in 1923.

National Geographic – video

Smithsonian Magazine (source)

Today I learned that a spambot can hack into your blog site and post everywhere on your behalf, and fixing it via phone is a pain in the patoot.


I’ll have a better one tomorrow, I promise.

So many things about octopodes!

– After mating, males get a form of dementia and sometimes chew their own arms off.

– A Hawai’ian creation myth states that the universe has gone through several changes, and the only survivors from the last one are octopodes, which are aliens.

– The tiny blue-ring octopus has enough venom to kill 26 people in only a few minutes.

Read more at The / Sexy Beast.

The word “alcohol” probably comes from an Arabic word for an ancient powder used as an eye makeup. The original word “al-ghawl” also gave us the English word “ghoul” and can trace the etymology of calling alcohol “spirits.”

(Condensing the powder into a useable makeup caused a distillation of sorts, and those that breathed the vapors were thought to be possessed by supernatural beings (spirits), similar to the effects of being drunk.)

VIAS Encyclopedia (source)

Scientists may have found a cause for certain neurological diseases – a toxin moving up the food chain starting with cyanobacteria.

Discover Magazine (source)

The word “gay” had another original meaning – and I don’t mean happy.

“In addition to its original and continuing senses of “merry, lively”and “bright or showy,” gay  has had various senses dealing withsexual conduct since the 17th century. A gay woman  was a prostitute, a gay man  a womanizer, a gay house  a brothel. This sexual world included homosexuals too, and gay  as an adjective meaning “homosexual” may go back to the late 1930s.” (source)

The commonly seen “plague doctor” mask is shaped in such a way because the “beak” contained a mix of herbs and straw to act as a filter for the bad odors, which were believed to be the cause of disease.

The chirurgeon’s apprentice (source)

“Rabbits are altricial, having young that are born blind and hairless. In contrast, hares are born with hair and are able to see (precocial).”

Wikipedia (source).

Salon business is a good indicator of the economy.

That is to say, when business picks up in a salon, it is a sign that the national economy is getting better.

USA Today (source)


Scaph”ism\, n. [Gr. ska`fh a trough.] An ancient mode of punishing criminals among the Persians, by confining the victim in a trough, with his head and limbs smeared with honey or the like, and exposed to the sun and to insects until he died.

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