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Rhetoretician -- Fiction etc.

Useful Facts, Hints & Advice

Useful Facts, Hints & Advice

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In what may be a doomed attempt to be more "student-friendly", I have decided to provide my students, at the beginning of each class session, with a piece of "practical, useful information" that is unrelated to the subject I am teaching (business law).

I only just started thinking about this, and I've come up with only these two snippets so far:
  • In Massachusetts you are more likely to be stopped for speeding if you’re driving in the left lane.
  • Your mousetrap will work better if you bait it with peanut butter, rather than cheese.

Want to add to my list? All sincere entries welcome.

  • The first president of the United States was not George Washington. GW was the first elected president under the US constitution but John Hanson was the first president. This is useful any time you want to start an argument.

    • That is fascinating!

      ...Although I'm not sure it comes under the category of "useful." For my students, this particular piece of information wouldn't be useful for starting an argument. If they used the line, their respondant would just say, "Oh? Thanks."
  • Burning fat should always be put out with a fire blanket (or a lid, if it is in a pot or pan), never with water, as that will cause an explosion.

    Dowsing has traditionally been used not only for finding water, but also in mining for finding metal ores.

    My brain is usually filled up with snippets like these, but it's empty now. Silly. Well, it'll get back - and then I'll post more.
    • Edit: Burning, liquid fat (I doubt solid fat will explode, though I advice against testing. Or say oil).

      Pregnant women who consume a pint or more of diet soda daily are considered having high-risk pregnancies. (But don't ask me to cite my source, because I don't remember. I discovered this when I was pregnant first time, and has since forgot where I read it. It was an eye-opener, and thankfully I've never fit the criteria)

      When boiling legumes, if you discard the boiling water the moment it starts boiling, and finish boiling in a second water (not counting in the soaking water, which is, of course, discarded too), you greatly reduce the air-producing abilities of your beans.

      Wrapping a slightly crushed (rolled with a rolling pin) leaf of cabbage around an inflammated area helps heal the inflammation. (Cover the area with plastic film and a bandage. Works a treat on computer wrists, for instance. Areas where more cabbage is consumed have less intestinal inflammations and cancers).

      Scientific experiments have been conducted to test the effectiveness of prayer. Bacteria in the prayed for test tubes showed a significantly greater growth rate.

      Common butterwort, Pinguicula vulgaris, can be used to make a thick, fermented milk, similar to buttermilk (according Wikipedia). (I have no experience with buttermilk, but I love the thick milk made with butterwort).
      • I'm going to use most of these. I'm not sure my students would find it helpful to be able to increase the growth rate of bacteria, though... (Yes, yes, I know the broader principle you're invoking, but they wouldn't...)
  • The first Prime Minister of Australia, Edmund Barton, was also known as "Tosser" because of his prodigious drinking talents.

    That's probably totally useless for your purposes but it is nice to know, even in 1901, Australians got their priorities right.
  • Right -tight. Left - loose.
    • I can't even begin to imagine the context in which you apply that advice!
    • Oh, okay. That makes sense. I was imagining putting on tights or gloves. And then I wondered if it was political...
      • Thanks for asking, Ros! I was struggling to find out whatever this would mean. It got me thinking about my old arts teacher who said left-right, right-wrong when arguing why we should draw with our left hands, as the left is linked to the right half of the brain which is the more creative one.
      • You don't want to know what I thought she was talking about.

        (...."Ken. You. Gutter. Out."...)
    • Don't feel bad dear. It must be from many years of 'do-it-yourself' experience that our generation have done. ;)

      I knew exactly what you meant straight away!

      Righty-tighty, Lefty-loosey
      • Well, okay, I confess that I knew too, but it was so much fun to pretend that I thought she meant something naughty...
  • Wrap celery in aluminum foil and it will last a loooooong time. :)
    • Thanks! It works better than plastic wrap or baggies?
      • On the same note, you should always store mushrooms in paper bags. And don't put cut onions in the fridge unless you like everything else to taste of onion.
  • The International Space Station orbits the earth at 17,500 miles per hour. Astronauts and Cosmonauts experience sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes.
  • (Anonymous)
    Useful info: poison ivy, a vine/shrub, is very hearty in New England.
    You can get poison ivy rash from: patting a pet that has been walking among the leaves, from doing the laundry of someone who has been walking in it, the dormant stem parts (in winter), your garden gloves, garden tools, and sneakers. You can also get a nasty rash inside your mouth from breathing in the smoke when it is burned (as in burning a brush pile).
    It has beautiful red leaves and pretty white berries in the fall.

  • When changing a nappy ('diaper', for you americans/canadians) always take off your child's socks first!
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