The advantage of learning new things is that you can insert them into almost any conversation. These nuggets of knowledge can establish you as a learned and wise individual. Just toss out a rhetorical “did you know” and then unleash your brilliance. 


We just experienced the daylight saving time switch, but did you know the original idea changed the clocks eight times per year? The concept was proposed by an Englishman in a 1907 pamphlet. It was never implemented due to being too confusing. 


“To maximize time spent during the daylight hours, he suggested changing the clocks at 2 A.M. on Sundays during the spring and fall. But, unlike today, the transition was to happen twenty minutes at a time over the course of four weeks, twice a year, for a total of eight time changes each year. And rather than an even hour, the time difference would be eighty minutes.” ?(https://historyfacts.com/world-history/fact/an-early-proposal-for-daylight-saving-time-changed-the-clock-eight-times-a-year/)


Another thing happening this time of year is the playoffs and championships of winter high school sports. Did you know that the fastest growing high school sport in the country is girls' wrestling? “Where once girls wrestled on boys teams, they are wrestling in sanctioned and official tournaments against girls. Their names are going onto plaques on their high schools’ walls and into state record books.” 


The sport is experiencing an amazing upswing. “The number of high school girls’ teams quadrupled nationally and the number of girls wrestling in high school quintupled to over 50,000 through last year, according to figures from the National Federation of State High School Associations. Last year alone, it shot up nearly sixty percent.” (https://apnews.com/article/wrestling-girls-high-school-c1e18531cf36831e158282ea08ca9775)


If you plan on flying somewhere for a summer vacation, something being tried out in Las Vegas might interest you. Did you know the TSA is testing self-screening security checkout? “PreCheck passengers can bet on getting to their gates with greater alacrity by scanning themselves and their bags while minimizing interactions with TSA agents.”


The TSA says: “The self-screening program isn’t primarily about saving time. It’s designed to create a more pleasant, passenger-friendly experience that lightens the workload of TSA agents.” Meanwhile, big retailers are eliminating self-checkouts because they have proven to be inefficient and too expensive. Go figure. (https://www.morningbrew.com/daily/stories/2024/03/10/self-checkout-comes-to-airport-security)


If your vacation involves walking on a beach, you may want to take care. Did you know the heels of your feet host the most fungus of any body part? Those flip-flops could be a lifesaver. 


“Researchers determined that the human heel is the body part most ripe with fungi. The heel of the foot contains eighty different types of fungi. That number only increases when you include the rest of the foot, as toenails were found to provide refuge for sixty types of fungi and the space between toes adds another forty.” Yuckity! (https://www.interestingfacts.com/human-body-superlatives/ZFBclDgK3gAHvM57?)


If you travel to Europe, Germany has a unique tourist attraction. Did you know the world's narrowest street is only a foot wide? “The Spreuerhofstrasse — located in Reutlingen, Germany — measures one foot, 0.2 inches at its tightest, and a meager one foot, 7.68 inches at its widest.” 


If you saunter down this lane, watch your head. “The 65-foot-long street is also limited vertically; those over 5 feet, 10 inches have to duck at the exit. Many who pass through are pelted with drips from overhead gutters.” (https://www.interestingfacts.com/fact/65e8d29ce78268b56047ea81)


For those who stay close to home, watching television is a common pastime. If you're a fan of CSI and NCIS, did you know there's a new field is known as astroforensics? “In a first-of-its-kind experiment, scientists want to study bloodstain patterns in microgravity.”


Why is this research essential? “These types of tests may aid in investigating extraterrestrial crimes and accidents that could happen in a space station or shuttle.” There could be a “CSI Mars” in your future. (https://interestingengineering.com/science/scientists-study-blood-patterns-in-microgravity-to-solve-space-crimes)


More down to earth, medical improvements are always great news. Did you know that in the future mechanical heart pacemakers could disappear? “Scientists at the University of Chicago developed a new kind of minimally-invasive pacemaker that dissolves over time.”


Here's how it works. “This technology eliminates certain risks that come with traditional pacemakers. The new pacemakers use lightweight silicon membranes to adhere to the heart’s exterior and implantable optical fibers to regulate the heart rhythm. This new method is extremely precise, allowing for nearly limitless customization of pacing sites with ease.” (https://www.verywellhealth.com/new-pacemaker-8601865)


Finally, a good chuckle comes from those madcaps in Norway. Did you know that Norwegians use the word “texas” to denote craziness? “The Norwegian word 'gal' translates as 'crazy' in English. However, citizens of the Nordic nation have adopted a more unconventional slang term to describe something that’s unpredictable, chaotic, exhilarating, or simply scary—'texas.'”



When is the word applied? “As used in Norway, the term isn’t capitalized, and it’s employed as an adjective to conjure an atmosphere—meaning you wouldn’t be calling a person 'texas,' but rather a situation or event. You’d say 'det var helt texas,' or 'it was completely texas.'” 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews