Label: Fun Facts

July 28, 2011

             

Ever been on a boat and suddenly felt horribly sick? Well, a whole lot of people have felt the very same thing. This sort of seasickness is commonly a form of motion sickness, which is what happens when your brain gets tricked! How so, you ask?

 

As you look out over the glistening blue water from your boat, your eyes may rest on a lighthouse or even a lonely house on the other side of the shore. Since your eyes are quite still and you’re looking at something stationary (also, quite still), your brain believes that you are also perfectly still. But if you’re on a rocking boat, your inner ear is able to sense that you’re not balanced and not still and is able to communicate to the brain that you’re actually moving.

 

Scientists believe that we tend to get sick when the brain is getting these sort of conflicting messages (one from the eyes that says we’re still and one from the ears that says we’re moving). They think that when this happens, the brain concludes that one of these messages is false and that we must be hallucinating (or dreaming) due to some sort of poison. And so, the brain comes to the rescue by releasing certain chemicals designed to make us vomit and remove the poison from our body.

 

Fun fact: When we feel like vomiting, we often refer to it as suffering from nausea (or being nausesous). In fact, the word nausea comes from the Greek for seasickness (naus means ship in Greek). So, it looks like even the dudes in ancient Greece felt the same thing!

Image: New York Times Company (illustrated by Victoria Roberts)

 

Posted by: Saira Jesani

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February 13, 2009

 

 

I was walking down a trail in a swampy area near the shore in a National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia when this poisonous snake, a water moccasin,  crawled out of the grasses on one side of the trail and headed across to the other side. Naturally, I had no objections. Why does a water moccasin cross a trail?

To get to the other side, of course. smile

A water moccasin is also called a cottonmouth or a black moccasin.  It’s called a cottonmouth because it will stand its ground and open its jaws, exposing the white lining of its mouth. Adult water moccasins are large and capable of delivering a painful and potentially fatal bite,  but their reputation for attacking people without warning is not exactly accurate.

Water moccasins live in the Eastern part of the United States,  usually near slow-moving streams and shallow lakes. They are strong swimmers and will even enter the ocean where they will sometimes swim to nearby islands.

 

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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January 27, 2009

Do you know that all snakes are carniverous? That is, snakes eat only other animals, no plants.

Do you know that some snakes can eat an animal that weighs more than they do? (Can you imagine eating a sandwich that weighs more than you do?) 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Animals Nobody Loves, Animal Books, Fun Facts, snakes   •  Permalink (link to this article)