Book talks for readers at Chisago Lakes Middle School.

Monday, September 14, 2009

101 Things You Need to Know (and some you don't!)

I know what you're thinking. You see a book called, 101 Things You Need to Know, and what happens? Your survival instinct sets in. Your skin gets clammy. Tiny beads of sweat start to form. The memory of a waiting room flashes into your consciousness. A voice deep inside you speaks, "Quick, run while you can." You swear it looks just like a book that would be sitting at your dentist's office before having a tooth pulled. You sense this is a book you don't want to get to know. But wait, before your brain leaves the room, here are a few reasons why you just might want to take a closer look:

Reason #1 - It's Disgusting!

Did you know a cockroach can live a week without its head? If you’re lucky enough to catch one, try chopping its head off and watch it continue to live for a few days afterwards. What passes for a brain in a cockroach isn’t centered in the head but is spread out through its whole body. Cockroaches don’t breath through their mouths. They have tiny holes throughout their body that they can use to breath in oxygen. Cutting off the head doesn’t cause them to bleed uncontrollably because they do not have blood pressure the way we do. (So why do these almost indestructible creatures finally die after about a week?)

Reason #2 - Miracle Mike

Chickens have been known to run around for a few moments after their heads are cut off. However, the world record was 18 months set by a chicken named Miracle Mike. (How did Miracle Mike survive that long?)

Reason #3 - I dare you.

How about this one? Did you know that just about everyone sneezes with their eyes closed? Some people believe that if you sneeze with your eyes open that your eyes will pop out. (Is this true? - There's only one way to find out.) Closing the eyes when sneezing is a reflex, but it is still a mystery why this reflex happens.

Reason #4 - Because it's funny when it's someone else.

There are many reports about people that can’t stop hiccupping. Some people have been known to hiccup non-stop for years. What is your favorite cure for the hiccups? Try one of the cures mentioned in the book such as: Thinking about pineapples, make yourself sneeze, pull your tongue, or eat sugar. Keep this in mind-none of these cures worked for Charles Osborne. Osborne unfortunately hiccupped for 68 years without stopping from 1922 to 1990.

Example #5 - Separate yourselves from those of lesser intelligence.

Finally, here’s one that maybe worth knowing. There may be an explanation why we have to deal with numbers that are based on a system of 12 instead of 10. (Which is easier?) We have 12 inches in a foot, 24 hour day, 60 seconds in an minute, etc.. The ancient Babylonians (where Iraq is today) used a system of counting with their fingers. They noticed that they had a built-in hand held calculator. Take your thumb and use it to count the three sections each of our fingers divide into. You should get 12. A long time ago the French tried to divide time into sections of 10, but the idea never caught on.

Okay, the Miracle Mike example may have gone too far, but don't write this book off so easily. Have a talk with your brain, stay in the room, and turn a page or two. (How many of you did I lose when I mentioned the word dentist?)

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