Does a leopard's roar sound like a cough? In drafting a report about leopards, my ten-year-old and I came across this factoid. And so we had to youtube it to be sure.
How did the Jivaros Indians shrink heads? I know. I KNOW. I can't believe I looked this up, read about it, and then SEARCHED GOOGLE FOR IMAGES. It all came about while reading the story of Jim Elliot, a missionary to Ecuador. That book casually mentioned a neighboring tribe, the Jivaros, who would shrink the heads of their (decapitated, duh) enemies and then wear these heads around their bodies. So I had to know. I JUST HAD TO KNOW HOW IT WAS DONE. In the process, I managed to gross all of us out. I mean, seriously. THIS STUFF REALLY HAPPENED.
What is the difference between a nation and a country? I was asked this while driving. On the interstate. In the dark. Yes. I often wonder if my kids sit around and think of impossible questions for me to answer--just to throw me off. No surprise, I had to come home and look this up and explain it while not behind the wheel. Is this something you could define right off-hand? If so, YOU ARE A BETTER PERSON THAN ME.
What happens when a person is struck by lightning? Here again I give you Exhibit A of what it's like to live with kids. They wanna know! They wanna see PICTURES! (don't worry, we skipped that part) So two of my kids (the boys) were endlessly entertained by Humans As Lightning Rods, and the third (the girl) is now convinced we're all going down in Flames of Death by Lightning. Isn't learning something new FANTASTIC?!
How does a drawing salve work? My ten-year-old got a big 'ol splinter in his hand, and after much screeching and howling we collectively decided to put the tweezers back where the sun don't shine. So off I went to google this problem, and VOILA, who knew there a thing called "drawing salve?" It's apparently used to draw out (HENCE THE NAME) all kinds of negative things from the skin. Did it work for us, you ask?! Well, it took a week for the splinter to come out, which is about how long it would have taken on its own. Harumph.
Can you kill a Webkinz pet? The only explanation I have for this is "tweenage boys." And I was surprising entertained by the answer myself. Oh, we are in a special category, people. SPECIAL CATEGORY.
How do traffic lights work? We spend a lot of time tootling around the city, sitting at traffic lights. Hence this question. My tween says he used to think that actual people watched the traffic at each intersection, and flipped a switch to make the lights turn. Sounds good to me. The more I think about the sheer magnitude of what it takes to program and run the lights of a city, the more impressed I get. This video is great for understanding ("understanding") the actual mechanics of a traffic light. And this link now has me looking for loops in the roadways. Who knew?
What tune is the Star Spangled Banner based on? While making my kids memorize the lyrics to our national anthem, we discovered it's based off a British song entitled "The Anacreontic Song." And the poem it is based on was written exactly 200 years ago, so voila! More trivia to cheer to make us stand up and salute!