Category Archives: Ever Wondered

What’s the Story Behind All the ‘Stans?

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In Persian, the suffix “istan” means “place of or land.” In Russian, the word “stan” means “settlement.” Similarly, in English, many countries end with the suffix “-land” (England, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, and Ireland, for example). There are seven countries in Central Asia that share the “stan” suffix:

  • Afghanistan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Pakistan
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan

The “stan,” however, is where the similarities end. Because of geographical proximity, the countries share some ethnic groups (there are more than 100 different ethnic groups in the seven ‘stans), but the languages are unique. The stans closer to Russia are more Russian Orthodox, while the stans in the south are mostly Muslim.

I just wanted to enlighten you with some geography. Honestly, this question has been in my head for such a long time. I guess I finally got a chance to Google it (got the info from here & here).
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The Hazards of Reusing Cooking Oil

When people talk about bad restaurants, they usually say that they keep on reusing the same oil to deep fry their food. I always wondered why it’s a bad thing. It turns out that it is not necessarily bad all the time.

Here’s what I found on Livestrong’s website:

For safety and quality, it is better to use fresh cooking oil each time you fry. However, if you deep-fry large amounts of food frequently, it is not always practical from an economic standpoint. By preparing food for minimal contamination of the oil and straining the oil to get out any food particles left over, you can reuse most oils as long as they are properly stored.

Bacteria and Free Radicals

If used oil is not properly strained and stored after it cools, bacteria can feed on food particles left in the oil. Unrefrigerated oil can even lead to the growth of Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism, a potentially fatal food poisoning. Refrigerating or freezing oil retards bacterial growth. Rancid — meaning old and stale — oil contains free radicals, molecules that can damage cells and lead to increased cancer risk, as well as affect the quality of your food. The good news is that your nose can easily identify rancid oil.

Storing Oil for Reuse

As soon as oil cools enough to handle, strain through layers of cheesecloth, paper towels or coffee filters to remove food particles. Store in a clean glass jar. Never mix it with unused oil. Seal the jar tightly, label it with the date, and refrigerate or freeze for no longer than a month. It may become cloudy in the refrigerator or freezer, but will clear at room temperature. Never reuse oil if it foamed or changed color during heating, or if it has an odd odor or smells like the food you cooked.

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Noisy Stomach

The random-est questions pop into my head and I always wonder what the answer may be. Thank God for Google. My question is weird, and some of you may think you know the answer, but you will be surprised of what the answer actually is.

So, why do our stomachs growl?

What is it that makes our stomachs shout out? Hunger is certainly a factor. When you haven’t chowed down in a two hours, receptors in the walls of your stomach trigger the hunger-arousing hormone ghrelin, which tattles to your brain that the pipe is empty. There are other things, like low blood sugar, that also send that message. And your brain, being the boss, steps in to solve that problem by releasing the hormone orexin, which tells your stomach it might be time to fill ‘er up again.

First the hormone triggers your stomach’s smooth muscles to contract. Acids and other digestive fluids are deployed in the stomach and intestines to get the space ready for the next meal. The contractions move in a ring-shaped formation along your entire gut, forcing remaining mucus, food and bacteria from the area. These contractions produce vibrations, which are responsible for making the racket. The grumblings can last up to 20 minutes and repeat every hour or two until you’ve gotten food in your belly.

But the noises don’t only occur when you need food, although they’re louder in an empty cave; they happen after you’ve eaten, too. The contracting muscles of your stomach and small intestine are also responsible for mixing food with gas and fluid. These contractions move down the intestinal tract toward the exit just a few inches at a time. All this food/gas/liquid squishing also makes your stomach muscles vibrate, which produces a more tempered rattle. Full Article

I found a website with some ways to prevent stomach growling when in crowded, but quiet places.

Number of Continents on Earth

A couple of days ago, I was asked about the number and names of the continents on Earth. There were 30 other people with me, but only one was able to answer correctly. I was only able to name 6 and I really thought they were the only ones. I felt dumb when it turned out that there are actually 7 continents. I forgot that Antarctica is a continent too. Most of the group were able to name 5 of them. That really struck my attention because this should be common knowledge, but very few people know it accurately. The continents that people mostly forgot were Antarctica and Australia. Some even thought that North and South America are one continent.

Here’s the list of all the continents just in case you forgot them too!

Africa

Antarctica

Asia

Australia

Europe

North America

South America

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Drink Warm Water Rather Than Cold Water

I’ve been told by a friend that drinking warm water is better than drinking cold water when you’re thirsty. At first, I didn’t believe her, but after some research I was proven wrong. The brain tricks our body into thinking that we need cold water to cool us down. That’s why you feel that your thirst has been quenched when drinking cold water as apposed to warm water. It turned out that drinking warm water promotes perspiration, which helps cool down your body. It also flushes toxins from your body and purifies your bloodstream. That is why tea is consumed in many cultures during the summer because it actually helps cool your body down. I’m really going to try to stay off cold water!

PS. By warm water I mean room temperature water!

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Ever Wondered – Expiration Dates

Knowing if cosmetics are expired is a trick that I recently learned. I used to think that the date on the product is the time span of which the product was made and when I should stop using it. Sometimes it would be two years. My sister then taught me something I never really noticed. On all cosmetics there’s a sign resembling an open pot with a number written on it. That number is usually in months and it signifies how long the product would last after you opened it for the first time. The symbol is called the period-after-opening symbol or PAO symbol.

I learned that very few people actually know about it. This is a problem that no one cares about, but I think it’s important. For example, many people in supermarkets want to smell the shampoo, so they start opening up different bottles in order to get a whiff. That automatically means that the product would expire after let’s say a year even though it says that should last 4 years without being opened. That means whoever buys that bottle of shampoo wouldn’t know that it has been already opened and that’s unfair for the customer. I used to be guilty of doing that, but I stopped doing that the second I found out. I think everyone should, unless you’re actually willing to buy all the bottles you opened.

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Ever Wondered – Why People Hate Comic Sans?

Comic Sans. The ever disputed and hated font between designers and computer users worldwide. Why all this hatred? In 1994 , Vincent Connare designed the font for it to be used solely for comic book speech bubbles. He found that Times New Roman shouldn’t be used in comic books and that’s why he made it. He does presume a solid argument, but it’s popularity is torture. It was used in Microsoft Bob, Microsoft 3D Movie Maker, Windows 95 Plus, and Windows 95. It was eventually included in Microsoft Publisher and Internet Explorer (link). Whenever I see a logo or sign that uses Comic Sans, I assume two things, the person who made this is clearly naive, or a kid choose the font. I won’t deny it, but I used to like using Comic Sans as a kid, but then I realized how stupid it is. The way its designed is targeted for a young audience and not for it to be used by everyone. I’m not a designer, but after reading this article I realized how bad the font is. For your own sake, please don’t use this font.. unless forced by a higher authority!

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Creeped Out

Ever had a number that keeps on haunting you? I don’t believe in superstitions, but there’s something that is really creeping me out! It used to happen a lot around 2 years ago, but now it’s much less. Every time I look at a clock/watch it’s 9:11. Sometimes its am and other times pm. It doesn’t matter because what’s important are those freaky numbers. I really don’t have anything else to say except why does it happen? I do check the time throughout the day, but I would always look at the time when its 9:11. The numbers in this order mean a lot of things.
911- Emergency Hotline in America
9/11- Destruction of the twin towers
9/11- My brothers wedding
9:11- ?

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Ever Wondered – The Jim Twins

Jim Lewis and Jim Springer first met February 9, 1979, after 39 years of being separated. Both had been adopted by separate families in Ohio, and had grown up within 45 miles of each other. Both men were six feet tall and weighed 180 pounds. Growing up, they’d both had dogs named Toy and taken family vacations in St. Pete Beach in Florida. As young men, they’d both married women named Linda, and then divorced them. Their second wives were both named Betty. They named their sons James Alan and James Allan. They’d both served as part-time sheriffs, enjoyed home carpentry projects, suffered severe headaches, smoked Salem cigarettes, and drank Miller Lite beer. Although they wore their hair differently they had the same crooked smile, their voices were indistinguishable, and they both admitted to leaving love notes around the house for their wives. Some skeptics later claimed that such details were exaggerated or that coincidences were just coincidences. Their differences, more apparent now since some time has passed, are more subtle.

These parallels made them perfect candidates for behavioral research. Dr. Thomas Bouchard of University of Minnesota studied the personalities and attitudes of the twin Jims, and the results were very similar. When they looked at the data on twins’ intelligence, Bouchard’s team reached a controversial conclusion: for people raised in the same culture with the same opportunities, differences in IQ reflected differences in inheritance rather than in training or education. That suggests the strong influence of heredity. This contradicts the behaviorists’ beliefs that our brains were blank slates waiting to be inscribed by experience.

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