The red dye used in many foods and cosmetics comes from the insect cochineal?
Cochineals live on the nopal cactus in Mexico, and are harvested at about 3 months old. It takes about 70,000 insects to make a pound of cochineal dye!
I found this information in the book Fifty Animals that Changed the Course of History by Eric Chaline on page 66. This was an interesting book; it talked about animals you would never have thought were beneficial to us.
The book A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield recounts the colorful history of cochineal dye and the quest by many world powers to obtain their own supplies of this beautiful dye.
You would be amazed at the amount of insects, animals and plants we are exposed to everyday. Nature in Cosmetics and Skin Care by Cyrille Corbeil will simultaneously surprise and disgust you.
Some bugs can be very similar to one another and the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders or The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Insects by Martin Walters will help you identify what’s bugging you
Dyes from American Native Plants: A Practical Guide by Lynne Richards and Ronald J. Tyrl and Wild Color: the Complete Guide to making and using Natural Dyes by Jenny Dean will help you make your own dyes… without having to collect bugs! And once you have your supply of dye, Fabric Dyeing for Beginners by Vimala McClure will get you started using them.
And finally, there are other things you can color besides fabric. Curious George Colors Eggs by Margaret Rey is a fun book for kids about primary color blending.
To be fired originally meant that you could no longer work in your trade?
Back in the days of travelling tradesmen, workers would carry their work tools in a sack. A new employer would hold their sack for them while they were at a job. If the boss was unhappy with an employee’s work, he would give the work bag back –“sacking” them and they would move along… If they did something really bad, he would burn the tools and sack and they would be “fired”, no longer able to work in a trade without their tools.
I found this information on pages 106 & 107 in the book Red Herrings & White Elephants by Albert Jack. It has the origins of many of the phrases we use every day. There were quite a few that really made me laugh when I learned how they had come about.
It can be devastating to be let go. What To Do When You Are Fired or Laid Off by PK Fontana is a complete guide to the benefits and legal rights you need to know to get back on your feet.
I am a firm believer in “there is always a bright side” so, with that in mind, here are a few books to help you plot your course and use this opportunity to become self-employed, discover opportunities in growing fields or network for a similar position in another company: Thank-you for Firing Me! by Kitty Martini & Candice Reed, Eliminated! Now What? by Jean Baur and Getting Back to Work by Linda K. Rolie are a few good ones.
There are numerous books in our Career Center collection to help you when creating a resume, filling out an application, or preparing for a job interview. But first, take a look at Encore Career Handbook by Marci Alboher to help you pick a meaningful career.
Perhaps, after being fired, you would like a new career as a firefighter! For some local inspiration you should look at Fire boys : 100 years of Everett Firefighting History by Charles Z Henderson.
The average adult produces more than 2 quarts of sweat each day? That is about 1.9 liters!
I found this information on page 5 in the book The Sweaty Book of Sweat by Kelly Regan Barnhill. This is not the kind of book I usually read, but once I picked it up I was so fascinated I had to read it all. There are two kinds of sweat glands: Eccrine glands all over your body and Appocrine in the armpits and groin area.
I also found out that you have 2000 sweat glands in an area the size of a postage stamp on the palm of your hands. Don’t Sweat It!: Every Body’s Answers to Questions You Don’t Want to Ask By Marguerite Crump is a very helpful book for teens and pre-teens that explains all about body odors, sweat and oil glands and all the other changes adolescents are going through.
For as bad a reputation as sweat has, a lot of people go to an extra effort to sweat on purpose. The Athlete’s Way: Sweat and the Biology of Bliss by Christopher Bergland provides a plan to “make exercise a pleasurable habit…. and no longer be something to dread”
If you haven’t started a fitness plan yet, and you need a little more help getting motivated, Mayo Clinic Fitness for Everybody from the Mayo Clinic is a book you should take a look at, especially the list of “excuse busters” on page 192!
When you do get yourself motivated enough to get out there and sweat, what better music to work out to than the CD Child is Father to the Man by Blood, Sweat and Tears?
The first record of the Olympic Games dates back to 776 BC! The three original events were running, wrestling and chariot racing.
I found this information on page 33 in the book Understanding Greek Myths by Natalie Hyde. I found this book to be fascinating, especially the stories about the Greek Gods and their lineages. I enjoyed the photographs of the Greek artifacts as well as the bits of history.
The Olympic Games (An Eyewitness book) by Chris Oxlade gives all kinds of information about the Olympics, including a history of the games as well as pictures of the clothes, stopwatches, equipment and the sports themselves – - and how they have changed through the years.
Children can get caught up in the excitement of the Olympics as well! The Summer Olympics by Bob Knotts is an easy book for kids who want to know more. It gives the basics for most of the events and includes a beginning history of the games.
For up and coming statisticians, The Complete Book of the Olympics 2012 Edition is for you. Learn some of the facts and statistics about the Olympics and amaze your friends! And don’t forget The Olympics: Athens to Athens 1896 – 2004 which shows you the locations and highlights of previous games.
Of course, especially here in the northwest, how can you say “Olympics” and not think of our very own Olympic Mountains and Olympic National Park? Olympic Mountains (Images of America) by the Jefferson Co. Historical Society shows the Olympic mountains and has lots of interesting (black and white) photographs and stories about the settlers in the early 1900’s.
Olympic: the Story Behind the Scenery is a book with stunning photographs from the Olympic Peninsula, ranging from the mountain tops to the shore. There are wildflowers, animals, trees, birds and sea life. Learn the history behind the National Park and the territory surrounding it.
Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth!
I found this information on page 22 in the book Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Body & Mind. This is a children’s book full of facts, stats, lists, records and more. It is so fun to look at and wonder why people do these kinds of things.
Of course, being afraid of peanut butter is rather an odd phobia… most people are just afraid of things like speaking in public, thunder, spiders or heights. The children’s book What to Do When You’re Scared & Worried by James J. Crist, Ph.D. is a good guide to helping children (and adults) understand their fears. The book also provides some very good tools and exercises to help calm some of the worries you might have. Are You Afraid Yet? by Stephen James O’Meara explains the science of being afraid.
How can you tell if you are just afraid of something or if it is a full blown phobia? The book Phobias And How To Overcome Them by James Gardner, M.D. and Arthur H. Bell, Ph.D. delves deep into the problems of phobias. The book is an immensely helpful guide to understanding and coping with these deeply rooted and widespread afflictions. It also has a whole list of other types of unusual phobias.
On another note, I think that even people with arachibutyrophobia would probably still enjoy making a fun bird feeder with peanut butter. This very simple book, Watch Me Make A Bird Feeder by Jack Otten, gives easy directions to create a bird feeder with your kids or grandkids.
And if you’re not afraid of peanut butter, you may be interested to see how it is made. From Peanut To Peanut Butter by Robin Nelson explains the process in easy to understand steps with pictures.
And lastly, there is a cute song about peanut butter “Sticking” by Raffi on his Singable Songs Collection.
Did you know that male platypuses are poisonous? The male platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus in Latin) has a spike on his hind foot. The spike is used to inject venom, usually in self-defense. I found this information in the book Poison! by Tammi Salzano and Heather Dakota on page 48.
For more information about platypuses, check out the children’s book A Platypus’ World by Caroline Arnold. This excellent book follows the development of platypuses from eggs, to babies, to maturity. For very young children Platypus! by Ginjer L. Clark shows very simple pictures comparing a platypus to a beaver and a duck.
The library also has a very cute DVD called Dot and the Kangaroo which is the story of Dot, who gets lost in Australia. She meets a kangaroo who helps her, and they meet many native animals along the way, including a pair of platypuses who sing about being ornithorhynchus.
And finally, for adults, Platypus: the Extraordinary Story of How a Curious Creature Baffled the World by Ann Moyal will tell you all the facts about the discoveries and theories of platypus research.
That Santa’s reindeer are most likely female? Mature male reindeer lose their antlers in November and December after the mating season. Females keep their antlers until after they have given birth in the spring.
I found this information in the book Reindeer by Emery and Durga Bernhard.
Reindeer are one of seven subspecies of caribou. Caribou and reindeer are the only members of the deer family in which both males and females grow antlers. Young males also keep their antlers until spring, so Santa may have his sleigh pulled by young males instead of females…..
The Encyclopedia of Deer by Dr. Leonard Lee Rue III has some magnificent pictures of all sorts of deer, elk, moose and detailed information about their habitats.
It just wouldn’t be the holidays without the story of Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer! We have the legend in both book and DVD. Be sure to get a recording of the song. The whole family can sing along. There are MANY artists that have recorded it.
And finally in the book Encyclopedia of Christmas we learn that Clement C. Moore wrote the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, which is where Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder and Blitzen got their names. There are answers to everything you could ever wonder about Christmas in this book!
There are five kitchens in the White House. The main kitchen on the ground floor, one upstairs for the family, one underground for the staff, one for guests and a pastry kitchen just for desserts!
I found this information on pages 214 & 215 in the book National Geographic Kids Almanac. If you are a trivia buff you will find tons of information to share. It has facts, stats, lists, records and more. I also learned that workers use 570 gallons of paint to cover the outside of the White House!
Entertaining at the White House by Peter Schifando and J. Jonathan Joseph is full of beautiful pictures of entertaining at the White House, sumptuous table settings, the children’s Christmas and Easter events and many noteworthy personalities.
An Invitation to the White House by Hillary Rodham Clinton also has pictures of the lovely table settings, but it also shows all the “behind the scenes” preparation for the lavish events they have there. The back half of this book is a cookbook with recipes served at the White House, including a butter-cream filled mocha cake that looks awesome.
Previously the White House had been practically emptied of furniture, art, table settings, etc. between presidents. President Harrison’s wife, Carrie, began the White House China collection. This started the tradition of future first ladies helping to preserve the history of furnishings. See a history of the building and the refurbisments in The White House by Kenneth W. Leish
There are some great fiction books and movies with stories based on the White House. Check out the DVD Murder at 1600. Or look for I.Q, Book Two, The White House by Roland Smith, a young adult book where I.Q and Angela solve a mystery at the White House. And don’t forget the children’s mystery White House White-Out by Ron Roy.
The biggest Ferris Wheel in the world is the Singapore Flyer. It is an amazing 542 feet tall, the same height as a 42 story building! I found this information in the book That’s Awesome! Any little future inventors will love the technology shown throughout this book.
George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. designed the original Ferris Wheel for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Skeptics laughed and called him the “man with wheels in his head.” Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City tells the true story about the Chicago World’s Fair and the “murder, magic and madness at the fair that changed America.”
Fair is a great book for kids who are interested in 4-H, showing animals or entering items in the fair. It talks about the different breeds of cows, swine and sheep and shows how they set the carnival up.
The third biggest Ferris Wheel in the world is the London Eye in London, England. It is 427 feet high. In the children’s book The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dow, Ted and Kat watch their cousin Salim get on the London Eye. At the end of the ride, when the doors open Salim is nowhere to be seen.
Did you know that there are more ratfish in Puget Sound than any other kind of fish? An estimated 200 million are at home in Puget Sound. That’s more than 30 fish for each person in the state!
I first read about the ratfish (chimaeras) in the Seattle Times last summer and found them fascinating! Unfortunately they are not edible because they are cartilaginous. Even the seagulls won’t pick at their carcasses.
You can see a good picture of the spotted ratfish in Pacific Coast Inshore Fishes. There are 37 different varieties of chimaeras. Of course, not all live in Puget Sound.
Extraordinary Fish by Frances Dipper explains that ratfish are ancient relatives of sharks and have been around at least 400 million years. According to Dipper, in mythology a chimaera was a monster with a lion’s head, a serpent’s tail and a goat’s body. There is a conflicting description of this beast in The Dictionary of Classical Mythology by Jenny March. According to March, the chimaera have three heads, one of a fierce-eyed dragon, the second of a goat and the third of a snake on its tail.
In the story Pegasus by Marianna Mayer, you can read all about how the King of Lycia sent Bellerophon to kill the Monster Chimera. He rode on Pegasus, defeated the monster and won the hand of Princess Philonoe.