First Posted: 2/26/2012
By Samantha Weaver
• It was English philosopher Francis Bacon who made the following sage observation: “The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses.”
• I’m sure you’ve seen photos of those picturesque covered bridges. It seems that they would have provided a welcome haven for people driving buggies caught out in the rain. You may be surprised to learn, though, that the bridges weren’t designed with a roof for the comfort of travelers. Being made of wood in an era before protective sealants, the bridges themselves needed to be protected from the elements.
• Most frogs lay their eggs in the water; that way, when the tadpoles hatch they are already in their element. The red-eyed tree frog, however, protects its eggs from aquatic predators by attaching its eggs to the underside of leaves that hang out over a body of water. Once the eggs hatch, the tadpoles fall into the water.
• The next time you travel to the United Kingdom, if you visit the university towns of Cambridge or Oxford, you should keep off the grass. Professors are the only ones allowed to walk on most of the green swards in those towns.
• In ancient Rome, it was widely believed that holding in gas could cause a person to catch a disease or become poisoned. This was such a concern to public health that Emperor Claudius went so far as to pass a law making it legal to fart at banquets.
• Have you ever known someone who keeps making the same error over and over again despite being corrected? The next time you run into this person, you’ll know what to call him or her: a mumpsimus.