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In 1813, Camembert cheese was made an honorary citizen of the town of Caen in Normandy.

27,000 trees are felled each day for toilet paper.

On 26 November 1867, due to a loophole in the law, Lily Maxwell became the first woman to vote in a British parliamentary election. As it turned out, British women would have to wait to 1928 to get the vote.

Air contains about a billion trillion atoms per cubic inch.

The male line in the Roman family tree was Pater (father), Avus (grandfather), Proavus (great-grandfather), Abavus (great-great-grandfather), Atavus (great-great-great-grandfather), Tritavus (great-great-great-great-grandfather).

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Mittelschmerz [Noun.]

Pain felt in the ovary when ovulating. It is generally felt on one side of the abdomen and may vary each month, depending on which ovary is releasing an egg.

On Mother Instinct

“You may observe mother instinct at its height in a fond hen sitting on china eggs – instinct but no brain.”

– Charlotte Gilman

Taxonomic Hierarchy

In biology, every organism has several taxonomic classifications; these classifications are taken from the taxonomic hierarchy. This hierarchical tree displays how all Earth organisms are related to each other.

Biological ClassificationTo illustrate this hierarchical tree, imagine a daffodil, ladybug, goldfish, human, cat, fox, jackal and dog.

Out of the three Domains that make up Life on Earth, the Eukarya is the most diverse domain. (The other two Domains are that of the Archaea, a group of single-celled organisms, and that of the Bacteria, very small organisms whose cells do not have a nucleus.)

This Eukarya Domain includes all organisms with complex cells, or a single cell with a complex structure; in these cells the genetic material is organized into chromosomes in the cell nucleus. Obviously, this includes the life forms listed above.

The Eukarya Domain is made up of Kingdoms; the Animal Kingdom being the most well known. This Kingdom includes all the animals listed above, from ladybug to dog, but excludes a plant like the daffodil.

The Animal Kingdom is made up of Phyla; the Phylum Chordata is one of the most interesting Phyla because it includes all vertebrates. That is to say, all mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds – to name a few – are part of this Phylum. Note that the ladybug is not part of this Phylum.

The Chordata Phylum is made up of Classes; the Mammal Class being the most dominant on Earth. Humans, cats, foxes, jackals, dogs and all other animals who suckle their young are part of this Class. This excludes the goldfish.

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”
– Mark Twain

The Class of Mammals is made up of Orders; if we take the Order of Carnivora, the carnivores, we would exclude human beings (who are the story telling member of the Order Primates, in the Family of the Hominidae, of the Genus Homo). This leaves us with the cat, fox, jackal and dog.

The Order of Carnivora is made up of Families; the fox, jackal and dog are part of the Family Canidae. That is, all dog-like animals. This excludes the cat.

The Family Canidae is made up of Genera. (The term comes from the Latin genus meaning “descent, family, type, gender”; from the Ancient Greek: γένος, “race, stock, kin”.) In our example, the fox is part of a different Genus than the jackal and the dog.

The Genus Canis is made up of Species; the most widely accepted definition of a species is ‘the largest group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring’. That brings us to the difference between a jackal (canis aureus) and a dog (canis lupus), who are part of the same genus, but are different species.

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
– Groucho Marx

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Under Chairman Mao, every Chinese family was obliged to kill a sparrow a week to stop them eating all the rice. The project was ineffective because sparrows don’t eat rice.

The word lethologica describes the state of not being able to remember the word you want.

When the novelist, poet, designer, translator, and social activist William Morris died in 1896, his doctor attributed his demise to ‘his simply being William Morris, and having done more work than most ten men’.

The striped mittenfish, a deep sea species recently discovered in the Java Sea, can change its sex at will by turning its entire body inside out.

There is evidence to suggest that the fable writer Aesop, who married and divorced at least fifty women, was fond of non-traditional unions. He wed his daughter, his sister and his own mother.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Iceland’s Anti-incest App

Iceland likes to keep it weird, but weird as in they voted for a mayor who ran as a member of the so-called Best Party and used to be a comedian and punk rocker. Weird as in drinking more Coca-Cola per capita than any other country in the world. Not weird as in having babies with close relatives.

Unfortunately, since there are only around 320,000 people living in Iceland, and most share common ancestors, almost everyone is related to each other distantly. This is disturbing when you think about how easy it might be to accidentally crush on a cousin. Therefore, people are working to make sure relatives stay out of each others’ bedrooms by embracing technology.

To that end, a new smartphone app has been developed in Iceland that can be used to alert each of Iceland’s inhabitants as to whether they share a common ancestor with potential sexual partners.

“Finndu út hvernig þið eru skyld með því að bömpa símunum.”

The anti-incest function allows users to bump their phones together to check their heritage against a central database and make sure they’re not breaking any laws before knocking boots. The app’s motto is actually “Bump in the app before you bump in the bed.”

Assortative Mating‏

In human genetics, assortative mating‏ is a form of non-random mating in which pair bonds are established on the basis of phenotype i.e. observable characteristics, which is thought to underlie mate selection in a variety of animal species as well.

“I had a patient once who dreamed she kept her husband in the deep freeze except for mating. Lots of men feel that way.” – Robert Johnson

English: Ladybird mating Български: Чифтосване...

Two Coccinella Septempunctata, or Ladybirds mating

In human relations, the assortative mating process may lead a person to choose a mate according to religious, cultural, or ethnic preferences, professional interests, or physical traits.

Positive assortative mating, or homogamy, exists when people choose to mate with persons similar to themselves; this type of selection is very common.

Negative assortative mating is the opposite case, when people avoid mating with persons similar to themselves.

“All nature’s creatures join to express nature’s purpose. Somewhere in their mounting and mating, rutting and butting is the very secret of nature itself.” – Graham Swift

Kinship‏ Systems

The anthropological term kinship entails all human relations or connections by blood, marriage or adoption. Seven major patterns of kinship systems of the human family can be identified through anthropological and ethnic terminology:

  • Eskimo kinship (lineal kinship)
  • Hawaiian kinship (generational system)
  • Sudanese kinship (descriptive system)
  • Iroquois kinship (bifurcate merging)
  • Crow kinship (expansion of bifurcate merging)
  • Omaha kinship (expansion of bifurcate merging)

All systems listed below have a nuclear family in which everything is viewed from a person called Ego; he or she has a brother and a sister, a mother and a father. All supplementary descriptions (listed below) explain the uniqueness of the respective kinship system.

Eskimo: Ego has a mother and a father, a brother and a sister. Siblings of Ego’s mother and father are known as aunts and uncles, all of their children are cousins. In short, this is the common European kinship system. (lineal kinship)

Hawaiian: All cousins are brothers and sisters of Ego. Also, all aunts and uncles are mothers and fathers of Ego. Basically, Ego’s entire family consists mothers and fathers, and brothers and sisters. (generational system)

Sudanese: Ego has no aunts or uncles but father’s brothers and sisters, and mother’s brothers and sisters instead. The children of these people are paternal and maternal cousins to Ego; the paternal and maternal cousins who are children of Ego’s father’s brother and Ego’s mother’s sister are parallel cousins, the paternal and maternal cousins who are children of Ego’s father’s sister and Ego’s mother’s brother are cross cousins. (descriptive system)

The Iroquois, Crow, and Omaha kinship systems have the following in common: Ego has a mother and a father, a brother and a sister. The sisters of Ego’s mother are Ego’s mother as well, the brothers of Ego’s father are Ego’s father also. All children of Ego’s mothers and fathers are his sisters and brothers. The brothers of Ego’s mother and the sisters of Ego’s father are Ego’s uncles and aunts respectively.

Iroquois: The children of Ego’s uncle and aunt are Ego’s cousins. (bifurcate merging)

Crow: The children of Ego’s uncle are Ego’s cousins; the female children of Ego’s aunt are Ego’s aunts as well, the male children of Ego’s aunt are Ego’s fathers. (expansion of bifurcate merging)

Omaha: The children of Ego’s aunt are Ego’s cousins; the male children of Ego’s uncle are Ego’s uncle as well, the female children of Ego’s uncle are Ego’s mothers. (expansion of bifurcate merging)

See other: Hall of Fame Posts