Archive for the ‘Fun Facts’ Category

Ok, I have a problem with this one. As Neil Armstrong once said when asked what state should get credit for inventing flight, “Well, Ohio provided the innovation. North Carolina provided the wind.”

PS- Alabama invented hearing aids?

PPS- Oklahoma must really be proud of the parking meter, huh?

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Ohio seems well represented.

Check out Jonathan, the oldest damn animal in the world. Jonathan is a Seychelles Giant Tortoise and has lived through a lot. I mean, this dude was born in 1832 and has lived through the the Civil War, both World Wars, 9/11 and that God awful 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show. Hell, Jonathan was born before Albert Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi, Vincent Van Gogh, Thomas Edison and freakin’ Betty White.

At 188-years old he’s now living a relaxing life on the remote island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic, just chillin’ like a villain in the sun whilst eating grass and weeds and stuff.

And get this – Jonathan is so popular on St. Helena that his portrait is on the back of the island’s five pence coin. That’s cool. Anywho, Jonathan the World’s Oldest Known Animal.

Nebraska. Who knew? Complete rankings are below the map.

Here the 2019 rankings:

1. Nebraska
2. Iowa
3. Missouri
4. South Dakota
5. Florida
6. Kentucky
7. Kansas
8. North Carolina
9. Montana
10. Hawaii
11. Arkansas
12. Wisconsin
13. North Dakota
14. Vermont
15. New Hampshire
16. Alabama
17. Texas
18. Idaho
19. Mississippi
20. Wyoming
21. Oklahoma
22. Tennessee
23. Massachusetts
24. Michigan
25. West Virginia
26. Ohio
27. Rhode Island
28. Georgia
29. Indiana
30. Connecticut
31. Maine
32. Delaware
33. Colorado
34. Pennsylvania
35. Utah
36. Louisiana
37. New Mexico
38. Arizona
39. Virginia
40. Minnesota
41. South Carolina
42. New Jersey
43. California
44. Oregon
45. Nevada
46. Washington
47. Illinois
48. Alaska
49. New York
50. Maryland

Not a coffee drinker so I do not care. Italy is a bit of a surprise though.

Basketball rules have changed a lot over the years, even some dramatic ones in the last 30-years or so. Some of these might just surprise you . . .

1900-1901

A dribbler may not shoot for a field goal and may dribble only once, and then with two hands.
Wait. What? What does that even mean?

1908-1909

A dribbler is permitted to shoot. The dribble is defined as the “continuous passage of the ball,” making the double dribble illegal.
Great that they finally allowed the dribblers to shoot, man.

1910-1911

No coaching is allowed during the progress of the game by anybody connected with either team. A warning is given for the first violation and a free throw is awarded after that.
Hear that? NO COACHING ALLOWED. So strange. Then again, maybe they were onto something.

1921-1922

Running with the ball was changed from a foul to a violation.
If traveling was a foul James Harden would be out of games very early.

1923-1924

The player fouled must shoot his own free throws. Before this rule, one person usually shot all the free throws for a team.
Designated free throw shooters, man. Steve Nash would have averaged 50 a game.

1937-1938

The center jump after every made basket is eliminated.
Yes kids, before this rule was changed there was a jump ball after every basket.

1939-1940

Teams have the option of taking a free throw or taking the ball at mid-court.
This would actually lead to some intersting strategy.

1944-1945

Defensive goal tending is banned.

I’m guessing the advancement of player athleticism led to this rule.

1944-1945

Offensive players cannot stand in the free throw lane for more than 3 seconds.
Good rule. Congestion on the court is not a good thing.

1948-1949

Coaches are allowed to speak to players during a timeout.
And thus the modern basketball coach was born.

1956-1957

The free throw lane is increased from 6 feet to 12 feet.
Look at that old 6-foot lane. So damn small.

1956-1957

Grasping the rim is rule unsportsmanlike conduct.
Players be jumpin’ higher!

1967-1968

The dunk is made illegal during the game and during warmup.
Ah, the famous Lew Alcindor rule.

1972-1973

An official can charge a technical foul on a player for unsportsmanlike conduct if the official deems the player ‘flopped’ to get a charging call.
Aaaand flopping is still not called today.
1972-1973
Freshman are now eligible to play varsity basketball.
This is why Alcindor’s UCLA freshman team used to beat the hell of of the varsity all the time.

1973-1974

Officials can now penalize players away from the ball for fouls for acts such as holding, grabbing and illegal screens.
Great rule and hard to believe it took this long to add it.

1976-1977

The dunk is made legal again.
And a nation rejoiced!

1981-1982

The jump ball is eliminated except for the start of the first and second half, and overtime if necessary. An alternating arrow will indicate possession of the ball in jump-ball situations in a game.
And the Possession Arrow was born.

1985-1986

The 45 second shot clock is introduced.
The shot clock is coming to high school basketball as well . . . soon.

1985-1986

If a shooter is intentionally fouled and the basket is missed, the shooter will get two free throws and the team will get possession of the ball.
Hard to fathom that I was coaching before the addition of the intentional foul.

1986-1987

A three point shot was introduced at 19’9″.
And everything began to change . . .
1989-1990
Three free throws are awarded when a shooter is fouled from three point range and misses the shot.
Oddly enough, for a couple years after the advent of the 3-point shot you only got 2 free throws if fouled while shooting it. Dumb.

1993-1994

The shot clock is reduced from 45 seconds to 35 seconds.
Will it get shorter?

1997-1998

Timeouts can be made be players on the court or the head coach.
Seems odd now, but before this coaches could not call timeouts. You had to yell for your players to do it.

So yeah, the game has changed. A lot. I wonder what it will look like in 50-years?

Color coded with each team’s colors.

In the world today, 1 in 200 men are direct descendants of Genghis Khan.

Check out that Flower Mantis, man. How have I missed this guy? Just stunningly beautiful like you read about. The little dude climbs up twigs of plants and sits there, imitating a flower and patiently waiting for its prey. It then sways from side to side, and soon various small flies land on and around it, attracted by the small black spot resembling a fly on the end of its abdomen. The Flower Mantis at once seizes the bug and the party’s over. Diabolical. Anywho, Flower Mantis.

Hey kids, remember The Wonder Years? The Wonder Years aired from 1988 and 1993 and depicted the years between 1968 and 1973. When I watched the show it felt like it was set in a time long, long ago, which it was – way back when I was a youngster. But get this- if a new Wonder Years premiered today, it would cover the years between 2000 and 2005.

Think about that for a second.

Interesting.

Interesting stuff.

I met Lex Wexner once. Seemed like a regular dude.

Yikes.

Interesting.

For readers of Shoe: Untied that are from areas other than Southern Ohio, the mascot of the local school where I taught and coached for many years is a Bearcat. I actually wrote about our mascot in a blog entitled The Origin of the Bearcats and the Black & Gold. However, do any of you know what a Bearcat actually is? Let’s take a gander . . .

An actual Bearcat is a glorious creature. It has a body like a small bear and a tail like a monkey, not even kidding. It’s scientific name is Binturong, which is cool but not nearly as cool as Bearcat. They have long, low, stocky bodies covered with coarse, shaggy black fur tipped in gray, so they sometimes appear speckled. Long ear tufts protrude from their small, rounded ears. Just look at that guy on the right. Their faces have slightly lighter fur and stiff, white whiskers that can reach up to 8-inches long. They grow to be about 6-feet long including the tail and weigh between 25 and 50 pounds.

Binturongs live in the dense tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia and are not often spotted in the wild. They’re currently classified as vulnerable, with populations declining more than 30% over the past 30 years. The main threats to binturongs are habitat destruction, hunting, and the wildlife trade, and that’s just sad. Save the Binturong, man!

Their secretive nature has kept many aspects of their behavior hidden until recently, but my crack staff here at Shoe: Untied has unearthed some fascinating nuggets for your perusal. Read on for my list of facts that make the Bearcats a weird, awesome and wonderful animal . . .

1. Although the Binturong is also known as the Bearcat, it’s not closely related to bears or cats. The Binturong belongs to the Viverridae family, an ancient group of small to medium sized mammals found only in the eastern hemisphere. A bunch of them live in Vietnam.

2. The meaning of the word Binturong is unknown. The language it was derived from is now extinct. That means it goes waaaaay back.

3. Binturongs are in the order Carnivora, but they mostly eat fruit. In the wild, they eat a varied diet which can include carrion, eggs, plant shoots and leaves, small invertebrates, fish, birds, small mammals, and fruits like the strangler fig. In captivity, a Binturong could enjoy dog food, leaf-eater biscuits, ground meat, carrots, yams, tomatoes, apples, bananas, and their favorite, grapes.

4. They smell like buttered popcorn. True story. Like other members of the Viverridae family, the Binturong has scent glands, which are located just under its tail. As it moves about, the Binturong drags its tail, marking branches and foliage in its territory. To humans, the smell is reminiscent of buttered popcorn, but to other Binturongs it communicates that the area is occupied and they should move along. It can also help male and female Binturongs find each other when they want to mate. Cool.

5. Binturongs make lots of noises to communicate. A happy Binturong will chuckle (seriously), but an irritated one will utter a high-pitched wail or growl fiercely, sort of like Monica, a girl I dated in college. On the prowl, it may periodically produce a series of low grunts or a hissing sound made by expelling air through its partially opened lips, also reminiscent of Monica. A female Binturong in the mood for love will purr. Again . . . never mind.

6. Binturongs live high in the forest canopy and rarely come down to the ground. They are excellent climbers, moving slowly and cautiously through tree branches, aided by strong feet with semi-retractable claws. Their hind legs can even rotate backwards so their claws still have a good grip when climbing down a tree head-first. Due to their large size, Binturongs cannot leap between trees; they must climb down to the ground to move from one tree to another. Binturongs even sleep high in tree branches, curling up with their heads tucked under their tails.

7. They have prehensile tails. The Binturong is the only Old World mammal and one of only two carnivores (the other is the kinkajou) with a prehensile tail. Its tail is almost as long as its body and acts like another limb when climbing. At the tip of the tail is a leathery patch for extra traction when gripping branches. The binturong’s tail might be its most important climbing tool. Even when sleeping, its tail is anchored securely around a branch.

8. They walk like bears. Binturongs walk flat-footed, like bears and you and I. This results in an ambling, side-to-side gait. A strut if you will. Bearcats are cool.

9. Females can delay implantation of an embryo. Binturongs mate throughout the year, yet most births occur between January and March. Scientists think this means Binturongs are one of the approximately 100 mammal species capable of delayed implantation. Say whu-u-u-u-u-t? This allows them to mate whenever they encounter a male, but time the birth of their young to a season with favorable environmental conditions. Bearcats can control when they give birth. That’s wild, man.

10. Binturongs have a special relationship with the strangler fig. Binturongs play an important role in their rainforest habitats by spreading the seeds from the fruits they eat in their droppings. This is especially true for seeds of the strangler fig, which cannot germinate without assistance. The Binturong is one of only two known animals with digestive enzymes capable of softening the tough outer covering of the fig’s seeds. This special relationship makes the Binturong a keystone species in the rainforest ecosystem.

And finally, get this – Bearcats have 5 toes. This means all those paws you see on our school’s walls, shirts and other logos are wrong. The paw prints actually look this:

We need to fix this. It’s not too late, people!

New studies show that having a dog as an inside companion can lengthen your life by as much as 24%.

So yeah, I ran across this site called The Loon Preservation Committee and now I can’t get enough of loons, man. I swear I watched their Loon Cam for 7 1/2 hours straight last night. Just went into a trance like you read about. Anywho, the site has awesome links like “Mortality and Nest Failure”, “Loons and Lead”, and “Banding and Tracking Loons”. They even have a Loon Census and a link that shows you how to build Nest Rafts for Loons:


Dude, that’s a man-made Nest Raft for Loons. Cool. I guess nesting loons face a variety of challenges during their 27-day incubation of eggs. Loon nests are vulnerable to natural or human-induced water level changes that can flood nests or leave them stranded out of reach of parents, which makes me sad. Floating nest rafts rise and fall with water levels and help loons cope with these water level changes. Nest rafts also provide alternate nest sites to help loons displaced from traditional sites by shoreline development or recreational use of lakes, and offer protection from raccoons, eagles and other scavengers whose populations have increased due to the availability of human refuse.

They even have Loon Cruises up in New Hampshire on Squam Lake. The route of the cruise (which lasts 90-minutes) is chosen to maximize loon observations, because hell yes it does. Tickets are $27, which seems a little steep but how often do you get a chance to observe a loon up close? The answer is never, man. Can you say Bucket List?

Did you know that loons have solid bones, making them less buoyant? Because of this they are extremely powerful swimmers. They can also dive to depths of up to 200-feet for durations of up to 5-minutes which is freaking incredible. And get this – loons can achieve a flying speed of up to 80-miles per hour! Finally, the amazing loon can stay in the air for hundreds of miles in one flight! That’s crazy, dude.

And because their legs are located towards the back part of their bodies, it is very difficult for loons to walk or to take flight from land. In fact, it is often difficult for them to take off from water; the loon will usually need the help of wind. To take off, loons will need to use a runway – first they will figure out which way the wind is blowing, and then run straight into it while flapping their wings like a boss. Once they have enough air rushing beneath their wings, they can become airborne. Because of the loons need for a runway, they must be careful only to land in areas where there will be enough surface water for them to take off again.

You can find this and much more on the website. Here’s a link, because I know you’re dying to find out more about loons:

https://www.loon.org/

Enjoy!

As of yesterday, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy had been a major league manager from 1995-2019. His career record? 1995-2019. Mind blown.

According to data gathered on all 50-states by the National Federation of State High Schools Association, more girls are playing on boys football teams than ever before. For the 2018-2019 school year 2,404 girls played 11-man tackle football on boys teams at the high school level. That’s more than has ever been recorded in the NFHSA’s history.

Depending on the time of day or time of year, there could be anywhere from 8,000 to 20,000 planes mid-flight at any given moment over the United States. In addition, an average of 2,789,971 passengers a day fly in and out of U.S. airports.

Sea Otters hold hands when they sleep so they won’t drift apart. Animals, man.

According to a French study of social interactions, men who approach a single woman on the street will get her phone number one out of 10 times. If the same guy approaches women while walking a dog his odds go to one in three times. The research says that a man with a dog signals that he has the resources and the willingness to care for others.

Las Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer could buy the 15-most valuable NBA teams and still have 5-billion dollars left in his bank account.

 

Coyotes are impossible to exterminate. The more coyotes get killed, the more they procreate. This occurs because the coyote howl acts as a roll call. A normal coyote litter size runs between 4 and 5 puppies. However, if the female does a roll call howl and the population is sparse based on these calls, the female will generate more pups. They’re effectively taking a census with the howling. A low census causes a chemical or metabolic change in breeding females and they’ll have as many as nine puppies in the litter to make up for the population loss. Coyotes are now in 49 states.