Posts By Bill Smallwood

  1. Fun Fact Friday: Thomas Edison

    609px-Edison_and_phonograph_edit1

    Did you know that Thomas Edison invented over 1000 electrical products, most of which we still use some form of today? It’s true! Most people are aware that Edison invented the first practical light bulb, and the phonograph record, but did you know that he invented the motion picture camera? He also invented switches, fuses, […]

  2. Fun Fact Friday: The Oregon Trail

    AppleIIe

    Chances are, just about anyone who went to elementary school during the 80′s and 90′s has seen or played the educational video game The Oregon Trail. You may even have been at the receiving end of the game’s iconic Game Over message, “You have died of dysentery”…but did you know that the game was originally […]

  3. Fun Fact Friday: Shel Silverstein

    Did you know that Shel Silverstein, the children’s book author, poet, and illustrator, also wrote Johnny Cash’s hit song, “A Boy Named Sue”? It’s true! Silverstein was, prior to writing his well-known children’s books (The most famous being Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree.) a Korean War veteran, and was first published in […]

  4. Fun Fact Friday: Yogurt with a side of bugs?

    Cochineal_drawing

    Did you know that many food products, including most brands of yogurt, are colored using a substance derived from insects? It’s true! You may have noticed Starbucks in the news a while back, announcing that they will no longer use the ingredient known as cochineal. Cochineal is a South American insect. The insect, and its […]

  5. Fun Fact Friday: Nashville

    words

    Did you know that Nashville is home to our DE Assessment team? It’s true! Here are a few more fun facts about Nashville: Downtown Nashville (©Sami99tr/Wikimedia Commons) Nashville is home to the Grand Ole Opry. Nashville was founded on Christmas Eve 1779. The 7th and 11th presidents, Andrew Jackson and James K. Polk, lived in […]

  6. Fun Fact Friday: Star Trek inventions that became reality

    Captain Kirk's flip phone (Davidbspalding/Wikimedia Commons)

    Did you know that quite a few of the technological marvels from television’s Star Trek started out as science fiction, but are now reality, or even commonplace? It’s true! Cell Phones: It’s funny when you think about it. Remember flip phones? Captain Kirk had one before they were cool! While mobile phones are now a […]

  7. Fun Fact Friday: Earthquake Resistant Buildings

    7 story building shake-table test

    Did you know that Japan (and some other countries) build buildings that are nearly earthquake proof? It’s true! Japan is very prone to earthquakes, so their engineers spend a long time determining how to make structures more resiliant to the effects of plate tectonics. These buildings are designed to move with the force of an […]

  8. Fun Fact Friday: California Condor

    Condor in flight

    Did you know that in the early 1980s, the California Condor was nearly extinct, with only 22 left in North America? It’s true! The condor is a massive vulture, with wings spanning up to 9.8 feet, making it one of the largest North American birds (along with the Trumpeter Swan). Condors are scavengers and can […]

  9. Fun Fact Friday: Building a PC is a bit like Legos

    A home built PC

    Did you know that building a computer really is like Legos? It’s true! Modern PCs are made of off-the-shelf parts that snap together effortlessly. It’s easy to upgrade your computer, buying only the parts you need, and save money. You can even build a computer for a friend or family member from parts you may […]

  10. Fun Fact Friday: Harrison Ford

    Tom Sorensen

    (©Tom Sorensen/Wikimedia Commons) Everyone knows Harrison Ford as Han Solo and Indiana Jones, but did you know that Ford’s first role for director George Lucas was carpenter, when he was hired to install cabinets in Lucas’ house? It’s true! Harrison Ford was a struggling actor who taught himself carpentry to make ends meet. Being hired […]

  11. Fun Fact Friday: Snakes in New Zealand

    Yellow bellied sea snake

    Did you know that there are no snakes, either native or introduced, in New Zealand? It’s true! It should be said, more specifically, that there are no land snakes in New Zealand. Due to New Zealand being an island, the commonly held explanation is that there was no way for land snakes to get there. […]

  12. Fun Fact Friday: Chickens

    chickens

    Did you know that chickens actually store away gravel inside their bodies to aid in the digestive process? Chickens (and other birds) have a special organ called a gizzard. When chickens eat, they ingest bits of gravel and stones. These stones (called gastroliths) are stored away inside the gizzard, and help to grind the harder […]

  13. Fun Fact Friday: Flying Cars

    © LotPro Cars / Wikimedia Commons

    Science fiction is an ever-evolving genre that often reinvents itself to stay ahead of current trends in technology. After all, many inventions that were once science fiction are now commonplace. There is one constant exception, inspiring the question that many have asked, however tongue-in-cheek: “Where’s my flying car?” From Doctor Who (2007) to The Fifth […]

  14. Fun Fact Friday: Flying Saucers

    343px-White_House_position_on_ET

    Did you know that the FBI recently published a 1950 memo in which an Air Force investigator claimed to have seen flying saucers and alien bodies recovered in New Mexico? According to the memo, the craft were “circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies […]

  15. Fun Fact Friday: Jethro Tull

    Jethro_Tull_(agriculturist)

    Did you know that farming was revolutionized in the 1700′s by an agriculturist named Jethro Tull? Much like George Washington Carver, Tull believed that there were better and more efficient ways of farming possible, and set about trying to discover them. Tull’s influence is still seen in agricultural practices and equipment to this day. Jethro […]

  16. Fun Fact Friday: One-Room School

    © John Doe / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

    Did you know that in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s, most small towns and rural areas had a one-room school? If you’ve never read or watched Little House on the Prairie, you may not be familiar with the term, but a one room school is exactly what it sounds like…a single free standing building […]

  17. Fun Fact Friday: The Statue of Liberty

    EdwardMoran-UnveilingTheStatueofLiberty1886Large

    As you probably know, Lady Liberty was a gift from France to the US…but did you know that she has a 35 foot waistline? The Statue of Liberty’s dedication ceremony was held on Thursday, October 28, 1886. She’s over 111 feet tall (not counting the pedestal), she is made of copper (the green is due to weathering), […]

  18. Fun Fact Friday: Grumpy Cat

    From "Discovery Channel US" Twitter page

    You may have seen the internet’s ubiquitous frowning cat on Facebook, or on Reddit, or maybe even at South by Southwest (aka SXSW, the annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin) where Grumpy Cat recently made a special appearance, but did you know that Grumpy Cat isn’t actually grumpy? Grumpy Cat,  […]