Monthly Archives: December 2012

No Fun Fact Today

I’ll be back next week, just taking today off.

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The Night Before the Night Before Christmas: A Rant

Where I live, there are groups of people, including a major news network, which promote “keeping Christ in Christmas”. I want to point out a few things, first being that not all Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25th or at all for various reasons, the history of the holiday, perceived idolatry, etc. Next are the top ten things you think about when you hear “Christmas”. What are they? Jesus may be in there, maybe Mary and Joseph, the Nativity, the Wise Men, and so on, but most of what I’m betting you’ll think of is secular: Santa, eggnog, presents, the Christmas Tree, gingerbread, again and so on. There are two Christmases. First, there’s the “Christ Mass”, the Jesus birthday celebration, sermons and praying day. Then there’s the secular, consumerist Christmas with presents and merriment and so on. “Keeping Christ in Christmas” ignores those who celebrate the secular Christmas and those who would rather not celebrate Christmas at all. Sorry for missing last week, I’m back on a regular schedule.

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Sildenafil (other uncommon names: 1-[4-ethoxy-3-(6,7-dihydro-1-methyl-7-oxo-3-propyl-1H-pyrazolo[4,3-d]pyrimidin-5-yl)phenylsulfonyl]-4-methylpiperazine, or C22H30N6O4S) is a common prescription drug originally synthesized by a group at the Pfizer’s facility in Sandwich, Kent, UK for use as a hypertension and heart disease drug, however, clinical trials found little impact on heart disease. It does however work well for treatment of a specific type of hypertension called pulmonary hypertension as well as altitude sickness, which may be experienced by mountain climbers and pilots, and another disorder. Some rare but serious side effects of sildenafil include stroke, heart attack, hypotension, and sudden hearing loss. Although illegal to use without a prescription, there is recreational use of sildenafil which is not diminished by the drug’s brand name and notoriety. Finally, the 2007 Ig Nobel Prize (not to be confused with the Nobel Prize) in Aviation went to an Argentinian team who discovered that sildenafil positively impacted how quickly hamsters recover from jet lag. Bonus points if you can guess the brand name of sildenafil (no cheating).

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Nature’s Bad@$$es: The Pen-Tailed Treeshrew

I’m changing the “Historical Bad@$$” series to the “Bad@$$es” category, which will also include different species of animals.

Like many treeshrews, the pen-tailed treeshrew has a high brain-to-body mass ratio, but unlike other treeshrews, it is nocturnal. Also, its diet consists mainly of alcohol. The pen-tailed treeshrew spends several hours each night drinking fermented nectar from the bertam palm tree equivalent to 10-12 wine glasses of 3.8% alcohol. The pen-tailed treeshrew does not get intoxicated, despite alcohol levels that would affect humans, because they make extensive use of an alcohol metabolism pathway not highly used in humans.

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