Monday, April 25, 2005

Okay, I realize it's been more than awhile since my last post. But a lot has been going on and I haven't had the time to think up any creative-yet-somewhat-true stories to share with you all. Forgive me, for I have returned.

First of all I just have to celebrate that I got a sweet suite in Keefe next year with some of my favorite Wheaton girls: Amy (my oh so cool future roomie), Sarah, Genna, Esther and Meg!!! Forever Young is our winning theme... don't ask what it means, it's just too complicated for my fingers' liking to type out for you all. Basically, we got a suite because we said we're going to act like kids and fingerpaint and stuff... sort of, not entirely our plan, but true enough for the case of this blog. If I can get a spot in one of the oh-so-competitive-to-get-into suites on campus just by saying I'm going to fingerpaint for the Wheaton community, then I must be Mel Gibson's son.... which I'm clearly not.... so there's more to it than fingerpainting. Now that I mention it though, I wonder where he lives off campus.... hmm....

Speaking of wondering, I've been wondering a lot lately. More crazy, stupid questions to collect in Trisha's not yet existent book entitled "Random Things You Unconciously Have Wondered All Your Life But Never Thought of Asking Until Now". I must give credit where it's due. Not all of the questions I will tell you about have been thought of or even researched by me. But they have all indeed struck my curiousity in ways that are inexplicable slash unexplainable... whichever you think sounds smarter. Nonetheless, I will be inserting in-text citations in the proper MLA format when necessary.... that is, I will give credit to the people who thought up the questions, but there's no way I'm actually going to cite where I got the answers... not like those random websites care anyways, the only people I'll hear from who "care" are those who thought up these questions and then yell at me that I stole their idea and published it in my blog. Moving on...

Though probably the weakest of all my thought provoking questions, it is the one that struck me first and opened my mind to the world of random questioning. While in the bathroom of the lovely Meadows East 3rd dormitory, I went to grab my toothbrush and proceeded to brush my teeth. I noticed that, yet again, my toothbrush holder was slightly ajar, exposing about four millimeters of my blue (or is it red?) toothbrush. This got me wondering, why don't they make toothbrush holders the right size to actually hold a toothbrush? You may think I'm crazy if you have not had this experience. Perhaps you have only used a toothbrush holder while vacationing, at which time you may have also used a TRAVEL-SIZED toothbrush, which works out quite nicely. But in the big boy world of toothbrushes, these toothbrush holders don't cut it. They're too small. It should be a one size fits all kinda thing, not a one size fits most!!! This has been a thorn in my thumb, or whatever that crazy expression is, for this whole year. Yes, it's kind of like the timeless "why do they sell hotdogs in packages of 8 and hotdog buns in packages of 12" question... but I bet you haven't heard the toothbrush holder one before! Just as a side note, when I went to to verify the correct number of hotdogs vs. buns that are sold in a package, I noticed that supermarket industry hotdog sellers got tired of this age-old question and started packaging both hotdogs AND their buns in packages of 8! Learn something new every day.... oh yes, and the credit here all goes to me (Carr, "Toothbrush").

Next question was raised, and researched by Miss Amy Lizbeth Breckenridge. Where do hamsters come from? I mean, you never see a hamster crossing the road, or running around in the woods. What's up with that? Where do they live? The answer to this one my friends is actually kind of cool... at least I think so.... in a nerdy kind of way. Hamsters were first "discovered" in 1839 in the Syrian desert in the Middle East.... so that's like Asia or Africa or something. For awhile they were thought to be extinct, but in 1930 a scientist in Syria found a girl hamster and her 11 babies. Only four of the little hams lived!!! Every hamster today is descended from those four brothers and sisters.... try not to think of it as incest, it's much more pleasant that way. They were smuggled into England in 1932 in the pocket of an unnamed zoologist and brought to the United States in 1938. Someone thought these little, furry mice like things from Asia/Africa would make good pets and they started breeding them alot more. Hamsters are "once again" extinct in the wild... none have actually been seen in Syria since two were captured by a rodent control officer in the 1980’s. Word is that if you spot one in Syria and report it they'll give you some award... not money I don't think.... more like an honorary plaque or something. Tell me honestly that that isn't cool and I'd bet $10 you were lying. That's a fun little history/biology/zoology question there I think!!!! (Breckenridge, "Hamsters").

Okay here's another one... why is it that the hair on your head can grow to be very long but the rest of the hair on your body "knows" when to stop growing at a certain length? Brian thought up this mind boggling phenomenon and I looked up the answer to this question... the answer of which goes way over my non-biology orienented brain. But I'll give a shot at explaining it with as few biolographic terms as possible. Okay, so your body hair has these hair follicle things and they're programmed to stop growing every couple of months or so versus head hair follicles which are programmed to grow for years at a time. Then there's something about growth phases, and rest phases, and hair falling out. It all boils down to, your body knows. Basically, that's the only law of biology I'll ever need to know. Your body knows what it's doing. Case closed. Still an interesting question. If you're a biology person I recommend looking up the real answer... it's probably really interesting if you understand it. (Gonsalves, "Hair").

Okay, next question, courtesy of Kurt Adametz. With heart transplant surgery, during that amount of time when you're heartless (when they removed your actual heart and have not yet fully sewn in your new-from-another-person's-chest heart) are you technically dead? That is, if you're heartless, your heart obviously can't be beating, and a beating heart is what makes you alive (in my non-biology world at least), so do you kind of die and come back to life? It may sound silly, but I bet you're intrigued. I had some people assure me that there was no way around "temporarily dying"... that "of course" that's what happened during a heart transplant, and "how could I think otherwise?". But these people were making fun of me and just testing me to see how gullible I was. Here's some relief... you don't die. During surgery, a heart-lung machine takes over the functions of the heart and lungs, freeing the heart from its normal function so that it can be removed. The use of the machine allows the surgeon to carefully stop the heart while the vital organs continue to receive blood and oxygen. Simple answer I suppose. I'm glad to know that if I ever need a heart transplant I won't have to go through a temporary death. (Adametz, "Heart").

This last question I have not yet been able to find a direct answer to. So if you can help me out, please do. I was just wondering, how many chickens die naturally nowadays... I mean, so many seem to be killed for food... how many out there actually die a natural death? What I really want to know is what percentage of all chickens that are born actually end up dying naturally. Like I said, no direct answer. Whenever I typed "chickens amount killed food die naturally" into google I only got about 8 million animal rights sites. I now know however that animal activists are angered about animals used for not only food, but also dairy, animal testing, clothing, pet shops and entertainment. I kind of already knew this, but I didn't know it was these significant six that showed up everywhere... it was like a list of the ten commandments or something.... 1,2,3,4,5,6, bim bam boom... a paragraph dedicated to the exact same reasons why animal activists are angry on every site. It's like the official rules to being an activist or something. I'm sorry, it's not something to joke around about. I'm kind of ashamed, looking back. Not enough to erase it all, but ashamed nonetheless. More pertinent to my actual question however is that 9 billion chickens are killed each year in the U.S. for food. And the most I've been able to gather from any one website is that that number is by far "the majority of chickens born each year". 20 million are killed each day in the U.S. When thinking up this question, I didn't want to find all these gruesome details that make me feel guilty about not being a vegetarian.... I wanted to know how many die naturally... which can be a beautiful thing.... natural death. Certainly better than the destiny 9 billion American chickens fulfill each year. Before answering the question I would have thought billions still die naturally... now, after visiting all these awful sites, I swear to you I wouldn't be shocked if the number last year was seven. This one, again... all me. (Carr, "Vegetarianism").

Some fun questions, huh? Get you thinking??? Good! I'm glad!!! I'm glad to have inspired you all to find out what makes hair mousse so puffy, why the sky actually is blue, and why the gas tank is on the left side of some cars and the right side of others. I'm also glad to have taught you a thing or two. My real question now is, once it's published will you go out and buy "Random Things You Unconciously Have Wondered All Your Life But Never Thought of Asking Until Now"?