Tuesday, March 1, 2011


You can change your hydrangea bush’s blooms from pink to blue by burying an aluminum gardening tool near its roots.

The reason the smell of almonds (“bitter almonds”) indicates cyanide poisoning is because almonds actually contain cyanide. So do peach pits, but cyanide doesn’t smell of peaches. So do lima beans; in fact, lima beans grown in the tropics have dangerous concentrations of cyanide.

A horse’s hoof is actually its toenail.

Though theories abound, no one is quite sure why cats have whiskers.

King Tut, whose traveling exhibit we are going to see today in Saint Paul, was actually a minor, unimportant pharaoh of ancient Egypt.

Walking around an area counterclockwise (“widdershins”) is considered bad luck.

A diamond, which is a form of carbon, will burn like a lump of coal. Though I don’t recommend it.

Because of the possibility of a crash, Prince Charles and Prince William never travel on the same plane.

A group of geese on the ground is a gaggle, a group flying in the air is a skein.

Taphephobia is the fear of being buried alive. (Modern embalming methods remove any possibility of that happening.)


Linda O. Johnston said...

According to Wikipedia, "A factoid is a questionable or spurious—unverified, incorrect, or fabricated—statement presented as a fact, but with no veracity." I've heard that Wikipedia's contents are often unreliable. Is that definition therefore a factoid?

Betty Hechtman said...

I didn't realize that was the meaning of factoid, Linda. I thought it meant interesting piece of information, which is what Monica's list was made of.

It must be awfully hard to light a diamond on fire.

Ellen said...

Diamonds are carbon, and heated sufficiently, will combust. Lavoisier used sunlight concentrated by powerful magnifying glasses, and focused it on a diamond. The diamond slowly disappeared, leaving behind carbon dioxide. But it did not so much burn, as lose its outer layer atom by atom to hungry oxygen molecules.

Monica Ferris said...

I think some of my "factoids" meet that definition, Linda. That is, I remember hearing them as fact, with nothing in particular backing them up.

Ellen, that sounds an awful waste of a diamond.