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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What Have You Forgotten? (Fun Facts and a giveaway)

Have you ever had your child come to you with a question that you know you should know, and you realize you don't know? Know what I mean? My daughter and I were having a discussion this morning about some pre-calc that she didn't understand. I told her yet again, that math had been my best subject in high school/college - and she informed me that it was so long ago she just figured I wouldn't remember! (To be honest - and I think I can be honest with you all - I probably wouldn't have remembered, but as long as she had her text - I'm a quick study!)

If you have ever forgotten something you think you once knew, leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School. Please leave your email address so that I can get in touch with you. (Giveaway open to U.S./Canada only and will end Dec 29.) I guess you can even enter if you still know it all, too! Meanwhile, see if you remember the facts below.


12 Days and 12 Facts for This Holiday Season
By Caroline Taggart,
Author of I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School

Ever catch yourself saying I Used to Know That?

Each holiday season brings another round of cocktail parties, family get-togethers, and corporate gatherings -- and invariably, lots of small talk. It's easy to feel overwhelmed when discussing politics, literature, and other intellectual "stuff," especially when what is thought to be general knowledge is often long-forgotten. Enter I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School. From English and Literature to Math and Science, from History and Geography to Religion and Other-Worldly Topics, this book leaves you equipped to handle any topic of conversation.

Here we've cherry-picked twelve fun facts for the holiday season -- one for every day of Christmas (or whatever holiday you prefer!) Quiz yourself to see how much "stuff" you need to brush up on before hobnobbing with the boss or office crush.

1. On building sentences: Just what is a "clause"? (Not to be confused with Santa Claus.)

Answer: A clause contains a subject and a verb and may stand alone as a sentence or as part of a sentence (when it is often called asubordinate clause): Santa Claus loves cookies but can't eat them without milk.

2. How many bones is the spine made up of?

Answer: 26 small bones called vertebrae (Be careful lifting all those heavy holiday boxes.)

3. Acclaimed author Charles Dickens (1812-70) wrote which Christmas classic?

Answer: A Christmas Carol. The miserly Ebenezer Scrooge tries to ignore Christmas and is haunted by the ghost of his former partner, Marley, and by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, who show him the error of his ways.

4. The fist chapter of this famous book opens with "Call me Ishmael." Name the book and author. (Hint: it makes a whale of a gift!)

Answer: Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Melville is also the author of Pierre and the unfinished Billy Budd.

5. There's a name for the process of watering your Christmas tree? Who knew?

Answer: Grab the kids and give them this science factoid as they nurture the family tree: Osmosis is a form of diffusion that is specific to the movement of water. Water moves through a selectively permeable membrane (that is, one that lets some types of molecules through but not others) from a place where there is a higher concentration of water to one where it is lower.

6. Can you name all 6 wives of Henry VIII, father of the Church of England?

Answer: (Listed in order) Catherine, Anne, Jane, Anne, Catherine, Catherine. They are often remembered as divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Sure makes you think twice when complaining about bad relatives.

7. Who was the 16th President of the United States?

Answer: Abraham Lincoln (R, 1861-65) and yes -- he really was born in a log cabin on a winter's day. Notably famous for many reasons including his Gettysburg Address: "Four Score and Seven Years ago our fathers brought fourth upon this continent a new nation conceived in Liberty . . . "

8. 'Tis the season to be jolly giving! Don’t forget to tip well this season -- etiquette coaches will tell you that means no less than 18%. So just how much should you tip on a bill of $50?

Answer: Percent means by a hundred, so anything expressed as a percentage is a fraction (or part, if you prefer) of 100. So 18% is 18 parts of 100, or 18/100 or .18. If your bill is $50, multiply 50 by .18 to get your tip total of $9. If you're feeling generous, a 20% tip would require you to multiply 50 by .20, for a total of $10.00

50.00 x .18 = 9.00

50.00 x .20 = 10.00

Percentages can also be holiday-relevant when it comes to figuring out in-store sales. In this case, you want to multiply by the inverse of the percentage listed. So if you have a $50 sweater that's on sale for 25% off, multiply 50 by .75 for your total of $37.50. That same $50 sweater on sale for 40% off would equate to $30, or $50 multiplied by .60.

50.00 x .75 = 37.50

50.00 x .60 = 30.00

9. Brr, it's cold outside. But just how cold does it have to be to get some snow around here?

Answer: Did you know that the freezing point of water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit? Keep an eye on the temperature and watch your footing for ice on the ground. (See previous fact about those treasured vertebrae!)

10. Everyone knows Santa and his elves live in the North Pole. But what about the South Pole (aka Antarctica)?

Answer: The South Pole was discovered by Roald Amundsen (1872-1928, Norwegian), who was also the first to sail though the Northwest passage, the sea route from Pacific to Atlantic along the north coast of North America. Antarctica is the only continent that contains no countries -- instead, it is a stateless territory protected from exploitation by an international treaty. A good place for the elves to protest low wages?

11. Which Ocean is bigger: the Pacific or the Atlantic?

Answer: The Pacific Ocean is larger at 69,374 square miles -- that's almost double the Atlantic, which comes in at 35,665 square miles. Making it even more astonishing that St. Nick can cross the globe in just one night.

12. Remember the reason for the Season! Can you name a few things that both Judaism and Christianity have in common?

Answer: Both are monotheistic religions that share the first five books of the Christian Old Testament. Both religions view Jerusalem as a sacred site, the former for the Wailing Wall (contains the remains of the temple that was thought to be the place where God resides on earth) and the latter for Christ's burial and resurrection site.

Happy Holidays to all!

©2009 Caroline Taggart, author of I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School

Author Bio
Caroline Taggart, author of I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School, has been an editor of non-fiction books for nearly 30 years and has covered nearly every subject from natural history and business to gardening and astronomy. She has written several books and was the editor of Writer's Market UK 2009.

For more information please visit www.amazon.com.

24 comments:

DarcyO said...

I am constantly being reminded by my seventh-grade daughter how much I have forgotten. How many miles in an acre, for instance. I would love to have this book to help me out!

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

Pam said...

I remember all kinds of useless info, such as the lyrics to every song I've ever heard in my life, but ask me the info I should have known back in 1st grade and there's no chance of me remembering it...

melacan at hotmail dot com

Wanda said...

I used to know simple math but have long since forgotten since grade school. Now I rely on my calculator.
wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)coom

Janet Ruth said...

I agree with Wanda, and for some reason "simple math" seems much harder than it used to. I need to have my calculator close by or I feel lost.

alongtheway(at)telus(dot)net

rubynreba said...

I used to know all the states and capitals but I doubt if I could sit down and write them all now.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Linda Henderson said...

Okay, I totaly feel stupid now because I didn't remember half of these. I used to know all the symbols for the chemical elements but darned if I can remember many of them now.

seriousreader at live dot com

Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, babe. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Rachel said...

I've only been out of high school for 5 years and I've forgotten a ton. This book is a great idea. Thanks for the giveaway!

Rachelhwallen@gmail.com

Benita said...

I've forgotten many things that I once knew. I'd love to read this book.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

clenna said...

When I was a smart mouthed teen, my father once told me "I've forgotten more than you'll ever know." Later when i thought about it, I realized he was right. he grew up in a poor home, had to make ends meet, lived during the Great Depression, watched cars become the fad instead of the horse and buggy, watched unions take over the factories and lived to see man walk on the moon!

clenna at aol dot com

Lee P said...

I recently watched a tv game show called Are You Smarted Than A 5th Grader with my daughter and it was hard! She knew more than me. I'd love to read this book so that I can dazzle her with my new found knowledge. Thank you for this giveaway.

chinook92 at gmail dot com

Jane said...

I definitely had trouble retaining things I've learned in the past.

janie1215 AT excite DOT com

ossmcalc said...

As a high school math teacher who doesn't get to teach the same math class two years in a row, it seems that about the time I get it all straight and where I can teach the subject like crazy, they give me a new subject to teach. I just love it when a student reminds me that that is not the way we do it anymore. These kids today know so much more than I will ever know because they have so many more learning resources than we did. I would really like to read this book as I definitely have forgotten alot over the years.

thank you,

Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

ossmcalc said...

As a high school math teacher who doesn't get to teach the same math class two years in a row, it seems that about the time I get it all straight and where I can teach the subject like crazy, they give me a new subject to teach. I just love it when a student reminds me that that is not the way we do it anymore. These kids today know so much more than I will ever know because they have so many more learning resources than we did. I would really like to read this book as I definitely have forgotten alot over the years.

thank you,

Christine
womackcm@sbcglobal.net

AmandaSue said...

This would be really useful with kids in junior/high school! Thanks for the chance.

unforgetable_dreamer_always(at)hotmail.com

Jennifer said...

I would like to learn how much I used to know!!!

justjenniferreading@gmail.com

Thanks for the giveaway!

Jaime said...

I used to know Algebra, couldn't tell you a thing about it now
copperllama at yahoo dot com

throuthehaze said...

I have forgotten so many things. I would love to read this
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Dawn M. said...

I was never good at math so it's no surprise to me that I've forgotten most of it. What does bother me is how much grammar I've forgotten. I'd hate to take a test on it now. I'm pretty sure I'd flunk!

Thanks! :0)
librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Angie said...

I used to know how to speak Spanish, but if you don't use it-you lose it! I'm sure that's true of many of the facts in this book.

aksimmo@brainerd(dot)net

CherylS22 said...

This looks like a fun read - please enter me. Thanks!

Happy Holidays!
megalon22 at yahoo dot com

JoanneR said...

My 3-year old granddaughter is coming of the age to ask those questions. Would love to read this and keep up with her.
joannereynolds@sbcglobal.net

Nancye said...

I can remember things from when I was a kid, but not what I had for breakfast!!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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