November

 

1st November

 

When you rub your eyes, the pressure automatically stimulates the cells of the retina, which creates a moving visual sensation of stars and patterns which are known as phosphenes.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

2nd November

 

The Maillard Reaction is a chemical reaction that occurs between amino acids (building blocks of protein) and particular carbohydrates known as

reducing sugars; it happens in almost all food that is cooked, but the appearance, aromas, and flavours vary.

 

When a slice of bread is toasted, the dry heat eliminates every trace of moisture, causing its elasticity to disappear.  The process also causes the

outer layer of carbohydrates and amino acids to combine, giving it a distinct taste. The Maillard reaction is not only responsible for the browning, the change in the flavour, but also the appetising smell.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

3rd November

 

‘Hub Island’, also known as ‘Just Room Enough Island’, is located in the ‘Thousand Islands’ chain which constitutes an archipelago of 1,864 islands that straddles the Canada-USA border in the Saint Lawrence River.

 

The island measures approximately 3,300 ft² sq (310 metres²) and is known for being the smallest inhabited island in the world. The island has a house which takes up most of the surface area, a tree, shrubs, and a tiny beach.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

4th November

 

Stephanie Meyer (b 1973) is an American novelist best known for her vampire romance series ‘Twilight’ which has sold over 100 million copies.

 

Raised in ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’, Meyers was influenced by her Mormon beliefs that when a couple get married in a Mormon temple, they are sealed and will stay bound both here and in the afterlife. When Edward (the telepathic vampire) bit Bella (the human), she was transformed into a vampire for eternity, and the two remain forever bound.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

5th November

 

Not only does Switzerland rank as one of the most expensive places to live, but it is also costly to visit.  Brothers Patrik and Frank Riklin decided to highlight this in an art project by launching the world’s first zero-star hotel which was also a blatant jab at business practices.

 

The hotel offers guests a queen-sized bed dressed with Egyptian linen sheets, positioned in a scenic outdoor location. They have access to a portable bathroom which is about a three minutes walk away.

Upon arrival, the guests receive a free cocktail, and after a good night’s rest, a butler (who is usually a local donned in wellies) serves a cooked breakfast. Although the hotel has a waiting list, the visit can not be guaranteed as the hotel is weather-dependent and often closes due to adverse weather conditions.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

6th November

 

Pistanthrophobia, which is the fear of trusting people based on past experiences, is characterised by the fear of building up intimate relationships/friendships with new people. Past traumas and hurtful events get projected onto others with the expectation that they too will backstab, cheat, lie, and manipulate.

 

Psychologists recommend a conscious change in thought patterns to purposefully turn negative thinking into positive ideas, e.g. ‘why didn’t that person text me back?’ becomes ‘they must be busy at work right now!’. Recommendations also involve putting time aside to do enjoyable activities to curtail the habit of overthinking; learn from the past and note what the warning signs were.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

7th November

 

When a caterpillar begins the process of morphing into a butterfly, it spins itself inside a silky cocoon and releases enzymes that almost liquefy it completely. Scientists have discovered some memory-storing neurons that remain, as well as small imaginal discs similar to embryonic cells, which evolve from the soupy substance into different parts of the butterfly (such as its antennae, eyes, and wings).

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

8th November

 

Erotomania, also known as De Clerambault’s syndrome, is a type of delusional disorder that may be a symptom of a psychiatric illness where the affected person firmly believes that another individual is in love with them regardless that there is clear evidence to the contrary.

 

One famous case is that of the man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981. John Hinkley Jr (b 1955) became obsessed with the actress, Jodie Foster. After stalking her and sending her love poems, he wrote to let her know that the reason he was going to assassinate the president was for her benefit as then he would appeal to her as an equal.

 

Freud theorised that erotomanic delusions were a psychological defence mechanism against the disappointment of rejection and unrequited love.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

9th November

 

For centuries, England has celebrated the foiling of the plot to blow up the ‘Houses of Parliament’ on the 5th November 1605 by burning effigies of Guy Fawkes (1570–1606) and other figures guilty of High Treason. Over time, the effigies became known as ‘guys’ which morphed into a way to describe creepy people. It then became a generic term for men addressing friends in informal situations, and today it is often used as a gender-neutral phrase.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

10th November

 

A lion will eat almost anything that they can catch; their most common prey are antelope, buffalo, giraffes, pigs, wildebeests, and zebras.

 

On average, a lion kills about fifteen large animals each year.

 

A lion requires 7 kg of food each day while a lioness can survive on 5 kgs; for this reason, they are happy to feast by scavenging on other animals’ kill.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

11th November

A suggested title for Disney’s 1994 animated film, ‘The Lion King’, was ‘King of the Jungle’. Despite what the movies portray, lions live in an egalitarian society (i.e. everyone is equal) and do not rule the animal kingdom. They don’t live in jungles either but rather in grasslands, rocky hills, and savannahs.

 

The word jungle comes from the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit where the word jangala-s described an uncultivated ground. There may have been confusion in translating the word to English as an uncultivated ground was interpreted as an uncontrolled or overgrown forest - this may also explain why a lion gets hailed as the ‘king of the jungle’.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

12th November

 

A sneeze travels at approximately 100 miles per hour (161 kph). Pinching your nose to stifle sternutation can lead to potential injuries such as a ruptured eardrum, a middle ear infection (caused by forcing unreleased bacteria to travel backwards), damaged blood vessels in the eyes or nose, injury to the diaphragm, a brain aneurysm, or broken ribs.

 

In 2018, a British man was rushed to hospital as the suppressed pressure had put a hole in the soft tissue of his throat causing air to leak into his neck. The medical staff compared his injury to a gunshot wound or to something that might have happened in a car accident.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

13th November

 

Cats are digitigrade animals, i.e. they walk on their toes which means that declawed cats can have trouble balancing.

 

Cats usually have eighteen claws – five on each front paw and four on each of their back paws.

 

Many countries have banned declawing as the pain continues after surgery and can be crippling.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

14th November

 

During brain development, there is a requirement for a constant supply of fatty acids to support the growth of nerve cells known as neurons. This fat keeps the brain stable, prevents disease, and facilitates cognitive performance.

 

The adult brain consists of approximately 60% fat which maintains the membranes and myelin sheaths surrounding the neurons. These myelin sheaths are a fatty insulating layer that sends electrical impulses along the neurons. The nervous system can not function properly without the sheaths – if absent, there would be problems with movement, thinking, and sight. Scientists discovered that people with Multiple Sclerosis have deficient levels of specific fatty acids in their red blood cells and plasma.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

15th November

 

It takes approximately one year to hand-make a Rolex watch.

 

The most expensive stainless steel, known as 904L, is used which is said to be resistant from rust, corrosion, and pitting.

 

Some of the best indicators to identify fakes are:-

 

  • the second hand of a fake will tick rather than move smoothly,

  • a genuine watch will have a finely-crafted winder that has engravings and grooves,

  • the cyclops lens on a real Rolex will magnify the date,

  • and a genuine Rolex will be quite weighty.

 

The Hard Rock Café presents employees with a Rolex when they have served ten years of employment - a reward made to all staff, not just executives.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

16th November

 

When the inner voice speaks the larynx makes subtle movements mimicking those of real speech.

 

Some people hear words as they read, which is called sub vocalising and makes reading up to five times slower.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

17th November

 

The body relies on three main things to balance:- vision, the vestibular system, and proprioception.

 

Vision lets us know where we are in relation to nearby objects and helps us to sense any movement. It also enables us to identify the surroundings and our location relative to the periphery.

 

The vestibular system, which is a sensory system that forms part of the inner ear that maintains equilibrium, is sensitive to changes in head position, speed, and direction, and sends signals to the muscles that control eye movement as well as to the muscles that control posture.

 

Proprioceptors, such as muscle spindles (stretch receptors) and tendons, detect changes in length or tension and send data to the central nervous system, which gives a sense of spatial position and movement. This information is processed, and messages are sent to the musculoskeletal system to maintain the balance.

 

A properly functioning balance system will enable us to see clearly while moving at speed and ensures we keep our posture and stability. However, some situations can disturb this and cause confusing messages to be sent to the brain, e.g. when travelling by boat or aeroplane, which can result in feeling dizzy or nauseous.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

18th November

 

When we are asleep, not only do our hearts keep beating and our lungs keep working, but we retain awareness of the sleeping position. We also maintain a knowledge of our peripheral surroundings which explains why, as adults, we don’t usually roll out of bed! 

 

However, this is something that progresses over time and as young children are still developing and gaining knowledge of how their bodies operate in the world around them, they are more likely to roll out of bed.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

19th November

 

Some monkeys urinate on their hands and then proceed to rub it over both their hands and feet. Primatologists initially suspected that this ritual helped them to regulate their body temperature as well as improving their grip on branches.

 

Further research and observations on capuchin monkeys found that alpha males doubled the number of times they did this if they were interested in a female – it signalled to her that is was okay to make advances on him! The studies also confirmed that those who participated in this urine-washing routine had lower stress levels.

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

20th November

 

Canada, the second-largest country in the world, has the most coastlines. The shorelines, measuring 125,567 miles (202,080 km), front the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Arctic Ocean to the north.

 

Covering 16,006 miles (25,760 km), Australia ranks at number 8 in the top-ten countries with the most seacoast. Surprisingly Japan comes in seventh place as its 6,852 islands (of which about 430 are inhabited) have to be taken into consideration. In total, Japan’s coastlines measure 18,486 miles (29,751 km).

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

21st November

 

On the 17th November 2010, the American TV host, Jimmy Kimmel, announced that it was ‘National Unfriend Day’. Kimmel created the annual event as a day to celebrate self-care by simplifying online connections by unfriending anyone who does not add joy to the social networking experience.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

22nd November

 

Between 1905 and 1916, Rjukan, a town in Norway, was founded by the Norwegian engineer Sam Eyde when his company, ‘Norsk Hydro’, started producing saltpetre (a component in fertilisers) in the area. Eyde selected the particular location due to its proximity to the nearby ‘Rjukan Falls’ which provided an easy means of generating large amounts of hydro-electricity.

 

However, surrounded by the majestic Gaustatoppen mountain, the town’s inhabitants were deprived of sunlight for six months of the year. To counteract this, Edye, who was aware that sunlight was important for health and wellbeing, had several forward-thinking solutions. One idea was to install a cable car that would take passengers to the top of the mountain and enable them to bask in some rays. He also thought of installing a sun mirror that would reflect sunlight down into the town. However, it was about one hundred years after this concept that technology progression made it possible. In 2013, three computer-driven heliostats were placed at the top of the mountain to capture the sun’s rays and bounce the reflection into the town square.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

23rd November

 

Amazon released the first kindle on 19th November 2007; within five and a half hours the innovative product sold out.

 

The name ‘Kindle’, which means to arouse or inspire, was chosen by two branding consultants who felt that it was an appropriate metaphor for the intellectual excitement that came from reading.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

24th November

The ‘Alnwick Garden’, located in Northumberland, England, is a multi-award winning visitor attraction inspired by the Duchess of Northumberland.

 

Lurking amid the sprawling twelve acres of colourful flowers and plants is an area known as the ‘Poison Garden’ which grows around one hundred toxic plants. Visitors can only enter the gated area when on a guided tour and even then they are warned not to linger too long, not to touch, and not to taste the plants. There are several incidents recorded of people fainting from inhaling the toxic fumes. Many visitors are shocked to learn that the plants they have growing in their gardens at home are considered dangerous. The ‘Poison Garden’

includes:-

 

  • Giant Hogweed which will burn the skin and cause blistering for up to seven years.

  • Aconitum, also known as Monkshood, has poisonous berries that will cause death if swallowed.

  • Prunus laurocerasus, also known as laurel and commonly used for hedging, produces cyanide.

The poison garden also has an educational element as a variety of drugs are grown – this is used as a starting point to teach the dangers of drug addiction, particularly to ‘high’ school pupils!

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

25th November

Sushi originated in the rice-growing region of Southeast Asia, along the Mekong River, about 2,000 years ago. The term sushi originally referred to the fermented rice use to preserve fish.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

26th November

Active volcanoes emit gases that are 99% water vapour, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide – the remaining 1% comprises of small amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrogen fluoride, and other minor gasses. When the gases react with oxygen and moisture, they form hazardous air pollution known as vog which appears grey and contains tiny droplets of sulfuric acid that create acid rain. This acid rain can cause considerable damage by leaching lead from roofing and other building materials, which in turn becomes a health hazard when it contaminates the water supply. Another danger of vog is that it reduces visibility which can be detrimental to aircraft, ocean traffic, and even road users.

 

Hawai is no stranger to vog as its most active volcano, Kilauea, can emit gases that create a blanket of vog that envelop the island.

 

The name, Hawaii, is derived from the name of the state’s largest island, Hawai.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

27th November

 

About two-thirds of the population of the U.S. state of Hawaii live on O‘ahu  - the third largest of the Hawaiian islands.

 

On the north shore lies the famous Mokle’ia Beach which attracts swimmers and surfers all year round.

 

In 2004, the police departments received numerous phone calls alerting them of plane wreckage on the beach. It transpired that the debris was from Oceanic Flight 815 – the plane that crashed during the pilot episode of the popular TV show ‘Lost’. The wreckage was simply part of the filming set for the hit show that ran from 2004 to 2010.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

28th November

 

In the summer of 1990, Dorset man Steve Feltham sold his house, left the family business, and headed to the Scottish Highlands to begin his search for the Loch Ness monster. Living in a parked van which has subsequently turned into his home, he continues the search; the Guinness Book of Records recognised him for completing the longest continuous monster hunting vigil of Loch Ness.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

29th November

 

For the 1970 movie, ‘The Private Life of Sherlock Hommes’, a mechanical Loch Ness monster, measuring 30 feet (9.14 metres) long, was created by special effects expert, Wally Veevers. Originally built with a long neck and two humps, the director decided to have the humps removed, but that ended in disaster as it caused the monster to sink! 

 

In 2016, an underwater robot named Munin (which had previously searched for downed planes) located the model’s remains lying 590 feet (180 metres) below the surface on the loch bed.

 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts

 

 

 

30th November

In an attempt to reduce water wasted by women continually flushing public toilets to cover up any embarrassing noises, Japan installed the ‘Sound Princess’. When this modern piece of technology is activated, a loud flushing sound drowns out any offensive noises. Some models come with volume controls should excessive flooding or strong winds be expected. 

Source: Smarter Every Year – 366 Random Facts