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Country Roads: It’s so easy to get sidetracked

Arvid Huisman huismaniowa@msn.com
Arvid Huisman huismaniowa@msn.com

The Internet is a fascinating research tool. I wish I’d had Google as a resource when I was writing news. It would have made the job easier.

On the flipside, the Internet can be too handy. Often I notice interesting stuff while looking for something else and I find myself sidetracked.

Here are some of the weird things I have discovered online while looking for something else.

For example, I discovered that skepticisms is the longest word that alternates hands when typing. And the only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words. Taphephobia is the fear of being buried alive. No relationship but interesting.

I learned online that a jiffy is an actual unit of time ̶ 1/100th of a second. So when you promise to do it in a jiffy, you’d better be ready to move. Fast.

I have long believed the Proverb (17:22) which states, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Now doctors claim that laughing lowers levels of stress hormones and strengthens the immune system. Online I learned that 6-year-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day and adults laugh only 15 to 100 times a day. My friends are right: I never did grow up. I laugh much more often than 100 times a day.

Stand by for Internet news: women are buying bigger bras. That’s right, the average woman says she now wears a 34DD-sized bra, according to data from lingerie retailer Intimacy. That’s up from a 34B just 20 years ago! It’s easy to get sidetracked on the Internet.

It was on the Internet that I learned that the lifespan of a human hair is, on average, 3 to 7 years. Mine have not enjoyed such longevity.

Do you remember the fairy tale about Rapunzel? Remember, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair?” According to something I discovered while looking for something else one human hair can support 3.5 ounces. With hundreds of thousands of hairs on most human heads, that old fairy tale seems much more plausible.

In spite of the overabundance of phones (cellular and landline) in our country, people who research such things estimate that more than half of the people in the world have never made or received a telephone call. These poor folks have never thrilled to the ring of a political robocall.

Did you know that in the course of an average lifetime you will, while sleeping, eat 70 assorted insects and 10 spiders. And I thought sleep drool was icky.

For years I have been aware that camels are called “ships of the desert. However, I did not know (until I found this on the Internet) that they are so called because of the way they move, not because of their transport capabilities. I also learned that a Dromedary camel has one hump and a Bactrian camel two humps. The humps are used as fat storage. Thus, an undernourished camel will not have a hump. Therefore, an undernourished camel will never get a role in a GEICO hump day commercial. (I figured that out without the benefit of the Internet.)

Test your doctor to see if he/she knows this next tidbit I found online: If you pour cold water into a person’s ear, their eyes will move in direction of the opposite ear, if you pour warm water into their ear, their eyes will move towards that ear. This is used to test for brain damage and is called caloric stimulation. I always thought caloric stimulation had something to do with an ice cream sundae.

Ever heard the phrase, “Stupid crows?” Come to find out crows are not stupid. Students studying crows at the University of Washington wore wigs and masks because the crows would remember their faces and harass them for the remainder of their college career.

One other thing I have learned: don’t believe everything you read on the Internet (or in e-mails.) My BS detector works well when I’m online but it’s still human. That’s why it’s so easy to get sidetracked.

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