Have you noticed that the world is way too serious these days? I mean -- there are reasons why it's serious. I know that. But we can't do serious all day, every day. So here's some non-serious sciency stuff.
When I'm researching a new book, my family gets used to my wandering through the living room or sitting down to a meal and starting the conversation with, "Did you know...?" It means I've found another awesome, mind-boggling, who-woulda-thunk-it fact in my research. Some of those facts make it into the final book. Some don't. But I love them all. So here are a few.
When I was researching Out of the Ice: How Climate Change is Revealing the Past, I read about Ötzi the Iceman, the man who died 5300 years ago in the Alps and whose body lay frozen and preserved all that time, along with his travel gear. Which included socks! Somehow, knowing that a guy who lived and died so long ago wore socks makes him so much more real in my mind. And they weren't ordinary socks. He wore leather shoes stuffed with grass to protect him from the cold, and string socks to keep the grass in place.
What a Waste! Where Does Garbage Go? Roman soldiers wore socks! Inside their sandals!!
Roman fort of Vindolanda in notoriously cold and wet northern England, an ancient rubbish dump revealed the truth. Almost 2000 years ago, someone in a Roman soldier's family (his mother?) sent him a care package containing -- as recorded in a letter that is still legible -- two pairs of sandals, two sets of underwear -- and socks.
Indian Runner Ducks? They are weird! They stand upright, like penguins, and instead of waddling like your average duck, they can run.
|Here's a little family of Indian Runner Ducks. They're sometimes called|
bowling pin ducks or penguin ducks, and you can see why.
Photo by Alan Rockefeller - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
And why my sudden interest in Indian Runner Ducks? I think it's related to the fact that there are currently seven Indian Runner Duck ducklings living in a basket in our laundry room. I'm looking forward to watching them race around the yard like speedy penguins in a few weeks.
Here -- have a duckling picture. If that doesn't cheer you up, I don't know what will.
|Claire Eamer photo|