What are your favorite fun/happy facts?
Mine is about my spirit animal.
Manatees have long been known as gentle giants, and somehow sailors once confused them with beautiful women. What fewer people know about manatees, is that they control their buoyancy with flatulance. Their whole life is floating around and eating seagrass. They get gassy and start to float up, so they let a few farts out to get back down to the seagrass. And you thought dolphins had life figured out.
I like language-based stuff:
The word "facetiously" has all of the vowels in order.
When viewing a planetary body from space, the line that separates the lit part of the planet from the dark part is called the "terminator".
There is a category of words called "contronyms" where, depending on the context in which they are used, a single word can take on opposite meanings (e.g. "I dusted the windowsill with a cloth" / "I dusted the cake with powdered sugar").
The following sentence is grammatically correct and has meaning: "The complex houses married and single soldiers and their families." It is an example of a "garden path sentence" which is a sentence that is specifically designed to be misparsed by readers. (If you're having trouble with it, see the explanation here).
More language facts:
Will update if I think of any more.
Do you have a blog or a podcast or anything? You should consider it, if not. Would subscribe.
Ha, I appreciate it. I don't really have any qualifications (yet) though, or any time really to do such a thing. Maybe I'll do a YouTube channel someday, who knows.
My favorite fun language fact is that religious and sacrilegious don't share an etymology
I'm not quite sure how this differs from a sentence like colourless green ideas sleep furiously, other than it might take longer to realize it's nonsense?
It's slightly different. The example you gave is specifically meaningless when parsed correctly, while a garden path sentence appears meaningless until it is parsed correctly.
EDIT: In case anyone is having trouble seeing it in my example, read the sentence with "complex" as a noun and "houses" as a verb.
The sentence intentionally misleads you because most readers first parse "complex" as an adjective and "houses" as a noun, making "married" the verb of the sentence, which doesn't make any sense and which causes the structure of the sentence to fall apart if you keep reading it that way.
It's a fun little optical illusion of grammar.
Shit, I just finally parsed it correctly. Complex is a noun. At first I just thought it was just word salad arranged in such a way it takes a long time to figure out, ie: there are a lot of syntactically correct ways of starting the sentence, but none of them pan out.
The distance of the first flight by the Wright brothers was less than the length of the C-5 Galaxy cargo floor.
(Not sure this is a fact, but...) Legend has it that Franz Schubert had composed his Fantasia in F Minor (a duet; four hands, one piano) with a lady in mind, whom he liked (loved?). In one section, he deliberately composed the notes to meet or sometimes cross over. In order to play the notes, the hands of the two players have to come into contact. So, he deliberately wrote that part in such a way as to be able to touch the hand of the girl he liked.
I forget where exactly in the piece this happens, but I believe it's in the contrapuntal section from bars 474 to 512.
You may think you saw your dog have an erection, but you’re probably wrong. A dogs full erection is a sight to be seen and honestly quite humbly.
A blue whale's penis is longer than a human being – 10 feet (3 meters).
The tortoise penis is a large disgusting pulsating bulb when “erect”. Don’t Google it (I know you will).
I’m not sure these facts are happy, but I find them amusing.
Speaking of amusing: bananas are radioactive. Blew my mind when I first found out that one of my favorite fruits has a healthy-but-non-zero amount of a radioactive isotope.
My girlfriend works as a vet, and apparently penis cancer is quite common for dogs. But to treat it, it has to come out, so she first has to masturbate the dog so it gets an erection.
You gotta do what you gotta do...