With 2014 coming to a close, I thought I’d do a bit of a year-end recap. Here’s a few questions with super-interesting answers that weren’t quite meaty enough to merit a full blog post. Enjoy!
- Did some woman really microwave her poodle in an attempt to dry it off? Nope, urban legend. People have microwaved pets, but only out of cruelty – not stupidity. Since thinking about people torturing dogs is sad, here’s some exploding eggs to cheer you up…
- Speaking of microwaves, some people think microwaving food kills the nutrients. Is that true? No. But yes, too. It’s complicated. Generally speaking, cooking food by any method results in a loss of nutrients. This is why, for example, it’s healthier to eat raw vegetables than it is to eat cooked vegetables. But is microwave cooking especially bad? Nope. Research suggests that microwaving is no worse than any other cooking method and that, if anything, it might be slightly better due to the decreased cooking times involved! Nuke on!
- Is Jesus coming back at the Davis Drive exit off of I-40? Nope! The bright lights you’re seeing are a result of Syngenta’s new high-tech greenhouse. The company, which specializes in high-tech crops, has built a $72 million dollar greenhouse facility capable of simulating the growing conditions of any climate in the world. If they’re simulating, say, the Sahara desert… things can get pretty bright around Davis Drive at night.
- Speaking of high-tech crops… GMO crops are bad for you, right? It’s possible, given the fact that we don’t know all of the health effects involved. (But, then, we don’t know all of the health effects involved in eating asparagus, either.) However, there is currently no scientific evidence to support the existence of adverse health effects. In a 2012 summary report, the American Medical Association concluded, “Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature.” You can take the tinfoil hats off now.
- What happens when people with hyphenated last names get married? Things get messy. NPR covered this one pretty well.
- Do the Russians really like my blog? I’ve been getting lots of Russian readers for my blog! And they’re all coming to my page from sketchy Russian sites like www.darodar.ru! Or at least that’s what it looks like in my Google Analytics reports. Turns out, nobody from Russia has visited. At all. Instead, the “traffic” is a result of Russian bot-nets spamming random Google Analytics account numbers with referral-traffic beacons in an attempt to get unsuspecting webmasters to visit the aforementioned sketchy Russian sites…
- What do the stars on the uniforms of Cracker Barrel employees mean? As a very nervous new recruit explained to me one day, they represent levels of training. Cracker Barrel gives their employees a lot of training, and tests them every couple of months to see if they’re ready to move up a level. Employees that have just started get an apron that says “Rising Star.” As they complete training, they get a uniform with one star, then two. Four is the highest number of stars a Cracker Barrel employee can have.
Finally, to wrap up the 2014 Odds and Ends post… the one question that I haven’t yet been able to answer! Why does UNC-Chapel Hill hyphenate their name, while other UNC system schools (e.g., UNC Greensboro) do not? If you know the answer, get in touch!