That interesting piece of trivia comes courtesy of the latest DISCOVER magazine. The publication is another of my guilty pleasures, like watching Melrose Place on Wednesday nights - though far more educational and without the eye candy.
I've been dragging my boss throughout Edmonton the last month visiting schools and libraries that are hosting author visits during our annual Taleblazers festival, and the question kids ask the most is: Where do you get your ideas?
Though the idea factory does exist (somewhere, I'm sure near the North Pole), most of the authors I've talked to say reading the newspaper and magazines, or watching educational shows often provides spark for the imagination.
DISCOVER magazine does that for me.
The publishers have inserted a small booklet in this latest issue of the publication called Things You Didn't Know About Your Body, Your World, Your Universe. And from that, I provide this random list of weird, gross, and inspiring Did You Know factoids:
- Somniphobia is the fear of sleep. And apparently, there are no known celebrities that suffer from this disorder.
- An adult bedbug can survive up to one year without feeding. If that doesn't make you change your sheets, I give up.
- Over a lifetime, an average person spends more than 6 years dreaming, clocking more than 136,000 dreams in all. So, that's where the idea factory gets its fuel.
- A Swedish company, Promessa, will freeze dry your body in liquid nitrogen, pulverize it with high frequency vibrations, and seal the resulting powder in a cornstarch coffin. It claims this "ecological burial" will decompose in 6 to 12 months. I give it about two years before we see a thriller novel written about this topic...ready? Set. GO.
- Careful when you inhale. Globally, dead skin accounts for about a billion tons of dust in the atmosphere. Your skin sheds 50,000 cells every minute.
- The Cleveland Public Library, Harvard Law School and Brown University all have books clad in skin stripped from executed criminals or from the poor. Go ahead, I'll give you a second to re-read that. Nope. No joke.
- At the center of almost every snow crystal is a tiny mote of dust, which can be anything from volcanic ash to a particle of outer space. And I put that on my tongue?
- Ever hear of watermelon snow? These ruddy-tinted drifts smell like fresh watermelon and taste great - but eating it will give you diarrhea. The "snow" gets its colour from a species of pigmented algae that grows on ice.
Want more? Check out blogs.discovermagazine.com for a daily dose of science, and this month, log on to discoverwebmagazine.com/web/bodysavesyourlife for nine amazing functions your body does to keep you alive.
And I'm off...because there has to be a story about a textbook covered with the skin of an ex serial killer. Doesn't there?