Ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas! Santa is a character of Christmas traditions.
- Santa is also commonly known as ‘Saint Nicholas’, ‘Father Christmas’ and ‘Santa Claus’ but has other names in other traditions.
- Santa is said to bring gifts to the good little children on Christmas Eve, December the 24th.
- Santa is also typically thought to be a joyful man with a white beard and wears a red coat, white cuffed red trousers, a black belt and boots.
- According to a tradition originating in the 1820’s, Santa lives at the North Pole with his elves, nine reindeer that fly, and Mrs Claus.
- Santa is thought to enter houses via chimneys, and stuff empty stockings or ‘Santa bags’ (an old pillowcase, or especially designed bag) with lots of presents.
- Santa is believed to create a list of ‘naughty and nice’ children, the ‘nice’ children receive special gifts and the ‘naughty’ children miss out or traditionally receive coal.
- Santa is a mythical person, though people still believe in him. People like to dress up as Santa to keep the tradition alive.
- Santa was probably created by the British and the Americans as a mix of Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas and Father Christmas.
- It is common practise in many countries for children to write letters to ‘Santa’ to express their wishes about what they would like to receive from him for Christmas.
- Many post offices around the world accept letters written to ‘Santa’ and in 2006, France collected approximately 1,770,000, and the other top 4 countries followed: Canada (1,060,000), Finland (750,00) and the United Kingdom (750,000), and Germany with (500,000).
Santa Claus 29 October 2012 , Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus>
Ever heard of the Lord of the Rings? Well, that is J.R.R. Tolkien’s work.
- J.R.R. Tolkien’s full name is John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.
- J.R.R. Tolkien was born on the 3rd of January, 1892 into a family of craftsmen, and died on the 2nd of September, 1973 at the age of 81.
- J.R.R. Tolkien is best known for is works of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion.
- J.R.R. Tolkien was a close friend to fellow author C.S. Lewis and were both members of the Inklings.
- J.R.R. Tolkien worked at the Oxford English Dictionary after his years of service in World War I.
- In World War II, J.R.R. Tolkien was a codebreaker due to the high literature standards he had.
- J.R.R. Tolkien was married to Edith Bratt, who lived from 1889-1971 and they had four children: John Francis Reuel Tolkien, Michael Hilary Reuel Tolkien, Christopher John Reuel Tolkien and Priscilla Mary Anne Reuel Tolkien.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Roman Catholic, was said to be an atheist, but later became a Christian.
- J.R.R. Tolkien had a road named after him (Tolkien Road), in Eastbourne, Sussex.
- J.R.R. Tolkien rarely signed his work, meaning his autograph is highly valued by collectors.
J. R. R. Tolkien 29 November 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._R._R._Tolkien>
Hic, Hic, Hic – got the hiccups ey?
- Hiccups are known as ‘Synchronous Diaphragmatic Flutter’ or ‘singultus’ in medical terms.
- Hiccups or singultus comes from the Latin word ‘singult’ which means ‘the act of catching ones breath while one is sobbing’.
- Hiccuping can be caused by quick eating, soft drinks, alcohol, dry breads, some spicy foods and laughing.
- Hiccups repeat many times a minute.
- The hiccups can be self-cured easily.
Sound Clip: Hiccup
- American Charles Osborne had hiccups for 68 years (1922- February 1990) and won a Guinness World Record.
- Only mammals can have hiccups.
- Hiccups are also commonly known as hiccoughs.
- An arc reflex involving the diaphragm and glottis make the ‘hic’ noise.
- Hiccups are normally only treated for long, continuous durations.
Hiccup 12 November 2012 , Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiccup>
One disease and ten facts.
- Chicken pox is a highly contagious disease on the body, infected by the virus named Varicella Zoster Virus (the VZV).
- The main symptom of chicken pox is a spotty, itchy, blistery rash.
- The chicken pox virus spreads through air by coughing and sneezing and can spread by direct contact with a pox.
- Chicken pox blisters become scabs and fall off in approximately six days.
- The mammal group called primates are able to catch chicken pox. This group includes chimpanzees and gorillas.
- Chicken pox symptoms in an adult can include headaches, aching muscles, loss of appetite, rashes and/or a fever.
- The chicken pox scabs can appear all over the body, including on the face, nostrils, mouth, lips, eyelids, ears, palms of your hands, soles of your feet and in your throat.
- Adults, especially males, normally have more severe chicken pox.
- Having chicken pox as a child may trigger shingles as an adult.
- A vaccine was developed by Michiaki Takahashi in 1974 and has been available in the United States since 1995.
Chickenpox 23 October 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chickenpox>
Ten Random Facts’ fourteenth post! Many human brains are behind this fact site – just don’t mix up the small animal brains for the real brains!
- Your human brain floats in a shockproof liquid to help prevent your brain from injuries.
- An average adult brain is 1.4-1.5 kilograms which is about 2% of your total body weight.
- The human brain is divided into four lobes. These lobes are the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the temporal lobe and the occipital lobe.
- The human brain is as soft as a bit of gelatin or tofu.
- The cerebral cortex, the main control centre, is the largest part of your brain.
- The left side of your human brain controls the right side of the body, meaning the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body.
- The right side of the human brain is normally symmetrical to the left side of the human brain.
- The human brain is the central control system of your body.
- Most people’s language skills is stored on the left side of their brain.
- The United States launched a brain research program called ‘The Decade of the Brain’ in the 1990’s that lasted for ten years.
Human Brain17 October 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_brain>
Bryan, J 1995, Your Amazing Brain, Wishing Well Books, Australia
Your eye is amazing- and here is ten random facts about them!
- Your eyelids and eyelashes help protect your eyes from dust, dirt and germs from entering them.
- Your eyeball is as big as a ping-pong ball.
- Your eye sees an image upside down, so your brain flips the image the right way up.
- Tears are made of water, chemicals and oil.
- If your cornea and retina do not work together your vision will be blurry.
- Eye muscles move more than 100,000 times a day.
- The cornea, the visible part of your eye, is the only part of your body that should not contain any blood.
- Your eye has a jelly-like coating, scientifically named vitreous humour, that moulds your eyeballs into a round, spherical shape.
- 32% of the world’s population have blue or grey irises,12% of the world’s population have green or light brown irises and 25% of the world’s population have dark brown irises.
- Your eye uses cells called rods, which sees gray-scale, and cones, which see colours. 1 eye has about 120 million rods and 7 million cones.
Otway, H 2008, Exploring Your Senses, Tormont Publications, Ireland
Your Eyes 2012, Kids Health, <http://kidshealth.org/kid/htbw/eyes.html>