Tropical coral reefs are ridgelike or moundlike structures composed of corals and other aquatic organisms. They border the shorelines of more than 100 countries. Although coral reefs comprise less than 0.5 percent of the ocean floor, it is estimated that more than 90 percent of marine species are directly or indirectly dependent on them—they are home to approximately 4,000 species of fish alone.
Reefs protect human populations along coastlines from wave and storm damage by serving as buffers between oceans and near-shore communities. The Great Barrier Reef, located in northeast Australia’s Coral Sea, measures 1,616 miles (2,000 kilometers) in length. It the largest living structure on Earth, and can be seen from the Moon.
Yes! And so are dirt, earthworm, vomit, and grass. It’s not really clear how the folks at the jelly belly company figured out the flavor recipe for each bean, but those that have tried them say they are authentic tasting! Jellybeans, a type of candy made from sugar, corn syrup, and food starch, have traditionally been made with fruit flavoring.
One company, called Jelly Belly, made flavors like butter popcorn, cotton candy, and watermelon in the 1980s. These jellybeans were endorsed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who kept a jar of them on his desk in the White House, and who also made them the first jelly beans in outer space, sending them on the 1983 Challenger shuttle as a surprise for the astronauts.
Scientists have conflicting opinions about whether dinosaurs were warm-blooded or cold-blooded. Some paleontologists think that all dinosaurs were “warm-blooded” in the same way that modern birds and mammals are, with a high rate of metabolism (body chemistry). Some scientists think they were “cold-blooded,” much like modern reptiles. Some scientists think that very big dinosaurs could have had warm bodies because of their large body size, just as some sea turtles do today. It may be that some dinosaurs were warm-blooded—the problem is that it is hard to find evidence that shows with certainty what dinosaur metabolisms were like. An understanding of dinosaur metabolism helps paleontologists understand the behavior of dinosaurs. If they were cold-blooded, they were most probably sluggish, with only occasional bursts of quickness.
In addition, they probably would not have been very smart creatures. Like modern crocodiles, they probably spent most of their time basking in the sun, moving only to get more food. On the other hand, if dinosaurs were warm-blooded, then they were probably active, social animals. They would have been quick, alert, and intelligent. They would have spent much of their time actively grazing, like the modern antelope, or hunting in packs, like the lion.
According to a national survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufaturers Association in 2008, Americans owned about 75 million dogs and 88 million cats. Approximately 39 percent of U.S. households own at least one dog, and 34 percent own at least one cat.
According to the American Kennel Club, Labrador retrievers are the most popular dog breed, followed by Yorkshire terriers, German shepherds, and golden retrievers. Persian cats are the most popular feline breed, followed by the Maine coon and the Siamese. Combined reptiles are the next popular type of pet, followed by birds and horses.
The earliest recorded New Year’s festival was in ancient Babylon in what is now Iraq. Before the introduction of a calendar year, the celebration took place in spring during the planting season.
The Babylonian feast was elaborate, lasting eleven days, and included copious drinking and eating in a tribute to the gods of fertility and agriculture. Celebrating the new year was both a thanksgiving and a plea for a successful new harvest.
There are many organizations in the United States and all over the world that study and research plant and animal species, determining which ones may be headed for extinction (when a species of plant or animal dies out completely). Any species in such danger is described as “endangered.” Once a species is endangered, it becomes illegal to hunt that animal or destroy its habitat.
In 2008 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the organization that maintains the nation’s list of endangered and threatened plants and animals, listed more than 1,000 animals worldwide (“threatened” species are those that might soon become endangered). The goal of such organizations is to help a species recover to the point that it no longer needs to be listed as endangered.
A rainbow is an arc that shows all the colors, with their different wavelengths, that make up visible light. Seven colors make up a rainbow, and they always appear in the same order: red, with the longest wavelength, is on the top, followed by orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo (a deep reddish-blue that is often difficult to see), and violet, which has the shortest wavelength. A good way to remember the order of those colors is by taking the first letter of each to spell “ROYGBIV,” pronounced “roy-jee-biv.” A rainbow occurs when sunlight passes through water droplets and is refracted or bent by their rounded shape into separate wavelengths.
Rainbows can sometimes be spotted in the spray of lawn sprinklers, in the mist of waterfalls, and—most spectacularly—in the sky during a rain shower when the Sun is still shining. A rainbow appears in the part of the sky opposite the Sun. Because the Sun must also be low in the sky, near the horizon, late afternoon is the best time to look for a rainbow if the day has been sunny with a few short rain showers or thunderstorms.
When the Irish introduced Halloween to America, children celebrated with a night of mild vandalism. Their bag of “tricks” included breaking or soaping windows or overturning outdoor toilets. Soon they realized that adults would offer candy or other “treats” to stop these tricks. They then offered the homeowner a choice of giving them goodies or suffering the consequences. This mild blackmail demand came as, “Trick or treat?”
The Sun is extremely hot. The surface of the Sun (or its outer visible layer, called the photosphere) is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,537 degrees Celsius)— about 50 times the temperature required to boil water.
The core of the Sun, where solar energy is created, reaches 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (15 million degrees Celsius). It is so intense that nuclear reactions take place there.
Exclusive men’s country clubs were called golf clubs long before the game was invented. “GOLF” is an acronym derived from the phrase “gentlemen only, ladies forbidden.” Men had formed these clubs to enjoy themselves without the politics of dealing with women.
When they began chasing a small ball around the grounds they gave the game the same name as their club: golf.