A Weekly Dose of Fun Facts #3

Emily Teismann, Copy Editor

     Welcome to the third edition of ‘A Weekly Dose of Fun Facts’. If you’re new to ‘A Weekly Dose of Fun Facts’, this is a weekly article series dedicated to the odd, the interesting, the cool, and the fun facts of this world (you can check out the first edition here as well as the second here). Each fact will be unique and randomly hand selected by your author, who loves some trivia herself. So, as always, let’s get factual!

Monday: A former NASA scientist invented the Super Soaker.

     Lonnie Johnson, who was not only an instrumental part of the missions to Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn but also in the development of the stealth bomber whilst working for the US Air Force, invented the popular toy in 1989, after a leak sprang at his home whilst experimenting with a heat pump in 1982. For the next seven years, he brought his idea to fruition, licensed it, and then sold it to the Larami Corporation as the Power Drencher. It became the Super Soaker after a few improvements in marketing and design. The Larami Corporation eventually sold the soon to be popular toy to Hasbro, where it is still owned now. 

Tuesday: The oldest operating library is in Morocco.

     The Al-Qarawiyyin library in Fez, Morocco opened 1369 C.E. (Common Era) in the University of Al-Qarawiyyin, which is also the world’s oldest university, having been built in 859 C.E. The library is home to over 4,000 manuscripts, most of them extremely rare like the original 9th-century Quran (the Holy Book of Islam), still in its original binding and the oldest work in the entire collection. The library, as well as the university itself, was founded by a woman named Fatima El-Fihriya, who attended and graduated at the university. Her original diploma can still be found in the library. Visiting this place is definitely now on my bucket list. How about you?

Wednesday: Koumpounophobia is the fear of buttons.

     Yes, you read that right; buttons. Though relatively rare, Koumpounophobia (try saying that at least once) is very real. People suffering from koumpounophobia tend to avoid clothing with buttons.

Thursday: Holding in a sneeze can be dangerous.

     According to experts, though uncommon, it is possible that one can damage the blood vessels in their eyes, nose, or eardrums due to the pressure that holding in a sneeze can cause, which can result in the vessels bursting. So, no matter how loud or soft or how disruptive or embarrassing it might be, don’t hold your sneeze(s) back. Let it go.

Friday: On average dogs can learn up to 165 words. 

     Of course with an average, there are exceptions like Rico, a border collie who could recognize 200, and Chaser, another border collie who could recognize 1,200 words. The key is consistency. Pick a term for something and don’t change it. For example, call their nightly meal “dinner”, but if you or someone else also refers to it as “supper”, then there will be confusion and it would be unlikely that your loving friend wouldn’t understand. Furthermore, dogs tend to understand better when the word is linked to an object or action, like “ball” or “sit” and when the word has hard sounds like T and R instead of soft consonants like S and F. Using single word commands also proves more effective than a long sentence. However, you must remember genetics play a role in the amount of words a dog can recognize. Dogs that are known for their intelligence like border collies, German shepherds, and golden retrievers are more likely to pick up more words than those who are known for other qualities. 

     Like always, I hope you enjoyed! Even though school is officially out after this week, I will be continuing this series into the summer. See you next Monday and enjoy your week! 

P.S: I’m sure you noticed the exclusion of Saturday and Sunday. It was accidental and they will return in the next edition.

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