Isn’t it such a thrill to happen upon an intriguing book by chance? Meandering down the library aisles, scanning titles from that sideways-head position, maybe trailing a finger along the spines… And then one pops at you. You pause, maybe utter a “hmm” under your breath. You pull it out, read the back summary. Oh yes. This is the one for you.
And you know what would make all that even better?
This is exactly what the ~Dewey Decimal Discovery~ project is all about. I’ll be reading one nonfiction book per month from each of the Dewey Decimal categories, in order, with January being the 000’s, February the 100’s, and so on. On top of that, I’ll only be picking books that I’ve stumbled upon spontaneously at the library. At the end of each month I’ll write a post to share all the interesting brain snacks!
My friend and fellow blogger Lorena Black is joining me on the bookscapades. If anyone else wants to participate, feel free!
Well let’s get to it then, shall we?
January was section 000, which includes topics such as: computers, library science, trivia, quotes, and journalism. Since this is a project about expanding one’s education, I decided to kick it off with a book encompassing that general idea. It’s called, “20 Things You Didn’t Know About Everything” by the editors of Discover Magazine, Dewey Decimal #001.9.
The book was set up as 20 topics, with 20 things about each topic. Basically a buffet of random info. Here were the facts I found most interesting:
~ Roman Emperor Claudius created a law allowing his citizens to pass gas. How generous! Until it was overruled in 315 BC, when Constantine forbade all farts. Aw, bummer. (Hur hur hur, get it? Bummer? Hur hur hur hur…)
~ Rats can tread water for 3 days. Take that, Michael Phelps!
~ In 400 BC, Scythian archers would dip their arrows into feces or decomposed flesh to bring the double-whammy of infection on top of wound. Another creative tactic: stampedes of armored elephants. Yeah, that’ll do the trick. Until your enemy sends out the flaming pigs, of course, scaring your elephants into backtracking over your own army.
~ Greek philosopher Chrysippus died from laughing too much while watching a donkey eat figs.
~ Now, I’m not really a believer in alien encounters, but this was curious: In 1955, an entire family living on a farm (it’s always a farm!) claimed to have been in a face-to-face battle with hostile aliens. The family described shooting at the oncoming creatures (which were small and slender with clawlike hands), but the bullets couldn’t harm them. All night long the combat raged, until finally the family drove to the police for help. When officers came, no aliens were found. But as soon as the police left, the pesky little buggers went right on attacking. The family was not known for being pranksters or in any way incoherent and gave similar testimonies when interviewed separately. Huh. Not sure what to make of that.
~ Bees can recognize human faces. When researchers put sweet liquid on one photo and bitter liquid on another, the bees soon learned to find the photo they knew had the sweet liquid, even when none was present (going by memory and vision alone).
~ About 70% of internet porn viewing happens between 9am and 5pm, Monday through Friday. Something to think about when your boss closes his office door.
~ Aristotle thought that earthquakes were caused by winds under the earth’s surface. Hey earth, didn’t you hear Constantine? No underground wind!
Your turn. 🙂 Got an intriguing fact to share?