One of the things I love most about writing for others is the research involved.
True, I'll never earn a spot on Jeopardy! for most of this stuff.
That said, I've become quite the fountain of knowledge on subjects related to pop culture, brain science, history, geography, human biology, the animal kingdom, and the business world!
Here are 20 fascinating (and sometimes weird) things I've learned throughout my writing career.
1. Stay in school
In the video for Tearin’ Up My Heart, *N SYNC members Joey Fatone and JC Chavez erroneously hold up two fingers to represent the “too” during the lyrics “when we are apart, I feel it too.” (Ironically, Chavez does this—you got it—two times.) Just watch: you’ll see it at the 2:11 and 3:03 marks.
2. Be very afraid...or not
It’s extremely rare that a wolf will ever attack a human.
3. Holy hand cramps, Batman!
It takes up to 345 "cow squirts" to produce one gallon of milk.
4. Calling Kenny G...
According to research, playing the didgeridoo can treat sleep apnea.
5. Unlike Kenny G, middle children ROCK
Middleborns are significantly less likely than their older and younger siblings to cheat on their romantic partners.
6. Christmas-y Canada
That big chunk of land just north of the United States is home to a bunch of places with holiday-happy names: Chimney Lake (British Columbia), Cranberry Portage and Snowflake (Manitoba), Gift Lake (Alberta), Noëlville and Turkey Point (Ontario), Sled Lake (Saskatchewan), Stocking Harbour (Newfoundland), Christmas Island (Nova Scotia), and Reindeer Station (Northwest Territories).
7. Pooh would love this
More than 3,000 years after his burial, King Tut’s tomb was found to contain tightly air-sealed vats of edible honey.
8. Time well spent?
Companies spend approximately 15% of its collective time in business meetings.
9. Fatal attraction of the bird variety
Bald eagles court each other in a locked-talons plunge to the ground called "cartwheeling." Timing must be perfect or certain death awaits the would-be lovers.
10. Not so tasty
In Fergalicious, Fergie's first single off her debut album The Duchess, will.i.am misspells the word "tasty" approximately 10 times.
11. Maybe not *N SYNC and Fergie/will.i.am., though
According to science, listening to bubblegum pop music can be as good for the brain as listening to classical music.
12. Worse than the Mary Jane
Constant emailing and texting can reduce a person's IQ test scores by an average of 10 points--about three times more than the effect of smoking pot.
13. Yes, there's a word for that
Philemaphobia is the fear of kissing.
Casu Marzu cheese—a favourite among Italians living in Sardinia—is made of rotting cheese, served with live maggots.
15. As sly as a...oh, never mind
In the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, foxes were sometimes burned as symbols of evil.
16. Which came first?
In 2008, Canadian researchers declared that the egg came before the chicken. (Apparently, dinosaurs formed bird-like nests and laid bird-like eggs long before birds.)
17. Literally no fear
The peregrine falcon likes to “nest high” - like, really, really high - at heights of up to 12,000 feet.
18. Obscenely obese
The polar bear is uber-huge: it can grow to a weight of 1,700 pounds!
19. That's a lot of nectar
The hummingbird consumes almost half its body weight in sugar. Every. Single. Day.
20. And finally...ambiverts are a real thing
It's possible to be an outgoing introvert.
What random things have you learned on the job? Contact me or comment below!
"Ottawa writer for hire" Lindsey McCaffrey is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and content strategist for businesses and non-profit organizations. Learn more about Lindsey here.