fun facts

I have learned some wacky things lately. Check it out:

  • You eat more plants, you live longer. (for this and other food truths see Mark Bittman’s TED talk)
  • Jerry Springer used to be Mayor of Cincinatti (see this episode of This American Life)
  • According to NPR, all American plastics contain toxic chemicals that have been banned in Europe
  • The Uyghurs of Xinjiang, China enjoy a form of bagel known as girde nan, which is one of several types of nan, the bread eaten in Xinjiang. It is uncertain if the Uyghur version of the bagel was developed independently of Europe or was the actual origin of the bagels that appeared in Central Europe. (from Peter Hessler)
  • According to Islam, you have to wash yourself / your clothes if a dog touches you. And you’re not allowed to keep dogs indoors.
  • In China, however, there’s a widespread traditional belief that dogs are lucky. Dogs are able to see good fortune in your future, purportedly, so if a stray dog follows you home, it’s a happy omen! (these two are from my ESL group. I don’t know how we started talking about dogs…)
  • The U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s single biggest consumer of petroleum, using more of it every day than the entire nation of Sweden. See here

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One Response to “fun facts”

  1. David Says:

    Interesting footnote to the Islam-China difference: I believe it was last year that was the year of the pig on the Chinese calendar, and this led to a lot of conflict in Indonesia. Much of the population there is Muslim, and their religion has a noted hang-up about “unclean” animals, of which the pig is just about at the top of their shit list. Thus, there were many reports around February of persecution of the ethnic Chinese minority in Indonesia. My favorite article on the subject asked a prominent Muslim scholar in Jakarta about allegations of people being beaten for possessing pictures of pigs, and he laughed and assured the reporter that this was ridiculous, that the Chinese were free to carry images of pigs, so long as they didn’t take them out in public.

    It’s always interesting to think about the dynamics of two cultural “others.”

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