Display until March 24, 2015
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This week, Tidbits seeks the answers to some of life’s greatest mysteries!
• Ever wonder why wedding rings are worn on the third finger of the left hand? Back in ancient Egypt, it was believed there was a blood vein running from that finger directly to the heart. The vein was called “vena amoris,” the vein of love, and rings, usually bone, ivory, or leather, came to be worn on that finger. Rings, as a never-ending circle, symbolize the unbroken continuity of undying love.
• Men’s fashion dictates that the bottom of a vest remains unbuttoned. This “unwritten rule” came into practice at the beginning of the 1800s. Up until that time, vests were worn buttoned from top to bottom. England’s heir to the throne at the time, the Prince of Wales, was a large man, and his girth at the waist restricted him from buttoning that final button. Because of his status, the Prince set many fashions for elite society, and all men began following his ritual.
• Mosquito bites swell and itch because of the saliva of the female mosquito. Once she pierces your skin, she injects the saliva into the wound. The saliva dilutes the blood to enable the female to suck it up more easily. An allergic reaction is produced in the body, resulting the swelling and itching.
• It’s a no-brainer that macadamia nuts come from the macadamia tree, but what’s the origin of that name? This little nut was named after Dr. John MacAdam, a Scottish-Australian chemist, medical teacher, scientist, and politician. MacAdam promoted the cultivation of the nuts in Australia, and his friend, colleague, and Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Dr. Ferdinand Mueller, named the nut after him in 1857. Cultivation of the trees spread to Hawaii in the 1880s, the only area where the nuts are commercially successful.
• When and why did folks make the transition from pocket watches to wristwatches? In 1907, Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, a pioneer in the airship and dirigible industry, asked French jeweler Louis Cartier to design a watch for his wrist, to enable him to check his flying time in speed trials without having to continually reach into his pocket. The invention gained further popularity during World War I with soldiers serving in the trenches.
• Why do chicken eggs vary in size? Generally, the older the chicken the bigger the egg. However, different breeds, such as the Leghorn, tend to lay larger eggs. The size – Jumbo, Extra Large, Large, Medium, etc. – is determined by the minimum weight per dozen. For example, a dozen Jumbo eggs must weigh at least 30 oz., while Extra Large dozens must weigh 27 oz., and Large, 24 oz.