An End to The Apocrypha

I’ve decided it’s not worth the effort to continue making new posts here. This blog isn’t getting the traffic I would have hoped for and I’ve been falling off schedule more and more lately. So, for now, I’m going away. I might come back, if my interest or yours is renewed. Until such time as that arrives, however, I will not be posting any new fun facts to The Apocrypha.

Goodbye, stay safe, happy browsing, and most of all DFTBA.

-Wesley (kogan56)

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Ghoti

Ghoti can either be silent or pronounced like “fish” or “goatee”, ghoti is an amalgam of parts of other English words, where gh from enough, o from women (plural) and ti from nation are combined to spell the word fish. Ghoti is one example of weirdness in English pronunciation which has been used to promote spelling reform in the English language. Silent ghoti uses gh from though, o from people, t from ballet, and i from business.

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Leap Years, Days and Seconds

2012 was a leap year, 2013 wasn’t, 2016 will be, 2014 won’t be, 2000 was and 1900 was not. Years are about 365 days long, but not exactly (measuring years is kind of hard to do and there are different ways of doing it, but a sidereal year is about 365.256363004 days long, and a tropical year is about 365.24219 days long, the difference is in the way the two are measured), and this difference between clean lengths of time like 365 days and the awkward 365.24219 days is enough to throw seasons off so that summer occurs in December. The Gregorian calendar uses a trick to adjust for this, adding a day to February. Normally, a year in the Gregorian calendar has 365 days, except for every fourth year (4, 8, 12, 16, …2004, 2008, 2012, 2016) which have 366 days. However, every 100th year (100, 200, 300, …2100, 2200, 2300) will not have a leap day, and thus have 365 days. Finally, every 400th year (400, 800, 1200, 1600, 2000, 2400) will have a leap day, and be 366 days long. This brings the average Gregorian calendar year to 365.2425 days long, not terribly different from the 365.24219 day long tropical year. Finally, leap seconds. The length of a day varies slightly, caused by gravitational forces on the Earth by the moon, sun, and other planets and usually only changes by a second, over the course of time. To keep the average length of a day as close to 86400 seconds as possible. Like leap years, leap seconds keep the rigid 86400 second day from drifting so 12-noon was sunset.

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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

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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