HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE – I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School

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GIFT IDEA – I USED TO KNOW THAT: STUFF YOU FORGOT FROM SCHOOL

I think this book is neat and would be a terrific gift for anyone, especially students. All of the facts from the following article are directly taken from the author’s book I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School. Currently, Borders Book Store is featuring the book as one of the top five best holiday gift books for 2009.

I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School

Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Michael O’Mara Books Ltd (May 22, 2008)
ISBN-10: 1843173093
ISBN-13: 978-1843173090

12 Days and 12 Facts for This Holiday Season

By Caroline Taggart,
Author of I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School


Ever catch yourself saying I Used to Know That?

Each holiday season brings another round of cocktail parties, family get-togethers, and corporate gatherings — and invariably, lots of small talk. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when discussing politics, literature, and other intellectual “stuff,” especially when what is thought to be general knowledge is often long-forgotten. Enter I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School. From English and Literature to Math and Science, from History and Geography to Religion and Other-Worldly Topics, this book leaves you equipped to handle any topic of conversation.

Here we’ve cherry-picked twelve fun facts for the holiday season — one for every day of Christmas (or whatever holiday you prefer!) Quiz yourself to see how much “stuff” you need to brush up on before hobnobbing with the boss or office crush.

1. On building sentences: Just what is a “clause”? (Not to be confused with Santa Claus.)

Answer: A clause contains a subject and a verb and may stand alone as a sentence or as part of a sentence (when it is often called asubordinate clause): Santa Claus loves cookies but can’t eat them without milk.

2. How many bones is the spine made up of?

Answer: 26 small bones called vertebrae (Be careful lifting all those heavy holiday boxes.)

3. Acclaimed author Charles Dickens (1812-70) wrote which Christmas classic?

Answer: A Christmas Carol. The miserly Ebenezer Scrooge tries to ignore Christmas and is haunted by the ghost of his former partner, Marley, and by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, who show him the error of his ways.

4. The fist chapter of this famous book opens with “Call me Ishmael.” Name the book and author. (Hint: it makes a whale of a gift!)

Answer: Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Melville is also the author of Pierre and the unfinished Billy Budd.

5. There’s a name for the process of watering your Christmas tree? Who knew?

Answer: Grab the kids and give them this science factoid as they nurture the family tree: Osmosis is a form of diffusion that is specific to the movement of water. Water moves through a selectively permeable membrane (that is, one that lets some types of molecules through but not others) from a place where there is a higher concentration of water to one where it is lower.

6. Can you name all 6 wives of Henry VIII, father of the Church of England?

Answer: (Listed in order) Catherine, Anne, Jane, Anne, Catherine, Catherine. They are often remembered as divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Sure makes you think twice when complaining about bad relatives.

7. Who was the 16th President of the United States?

Answer: Abraham Lincoln (R, 1861-65) and yes — he really was born in a log cabin on a winter’s day. Notably famous for many reasons including his Gettysburg Address: “Four Score and Seven Years ago our fathers brought fourth upon this continent a new nation conceived in Liberty . . . ”

8. ‘Tis the season to be jolly giving! Don’t forget to tip well this season — etiquette coaches will tell you that means no less than 18%. So just how much should you tip on a bill of $50?

Answer: Percent means by a hundred, so anything expressed as a percentage is a fraction (or part, if you prefer) of 100. So 18% is 18 parts of 100, or 18/100 or .18. If your bill is $50, multiply 50 by .18 to get your tip total of $9. If you’re feeling generous, a 20% tip would require you to multiply 50 by .20, for a total of $10.00

50.00 x .18 = 9.00

50.00 x .20 = 10.00

Percentages can also be holiday-relevant when it comes to figuring out in-store sales. In this case, you want to multiply by the inverse of the percentage listed. So if you have a $50 sweater that’s on sale for 25% off, multiply 50 by .75 for your total of $37.50. That same $50 sweater on sale for 40% off would equate to $30, or $50 multiplied by .60.

50.00 x .75 = 37.50

50.00 x .60 = 30.00

9. Brr, it’s cold outside. But just how cold does it have to be to get some snow around here?

Answer: Did you know that the freezing point of water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit? Keep an eye on the temperature and watch your footing for ice on the ground. (See previous fact about those treasured vertebrae!)

10. Everyone knows Santa and his elves live in the North Pole. But what about the South Pole (aka Antarctica)?

Answer: The South Pole was discovered by Roald Amundsen (1872-1928, Norwegian), who was also the first to sail though the Northwest passage, the sea route from Pacific to Atlantic along the north coast of North America. Antarctica is the only continent that contains no countries — instead, it is a stateless territory protected from exploitation by an international treaty. A good place for the elves to protest low wages?

11. Which Ocean is bigger: the Pacific or the Atlantic?

Answer: The Pacific Ocean is larger at 69,374 square miles — that’s almost double the Atlantic, which comes in at 35,665 square miles. Making it even more astonishing that St. Nick can cross the globe in just one night.

12. Remember the reason for the Season! Can you name a few things that both Judaism and Christianity have in common?

Answer: Both are monotheistic religions that share the first five books of the Christian Old Testament. Both religions view Jerusalem as a sacred site, the former for the Wailing Wall (contains the remains of the temple that was thought to be the place where God resides on earth) and the latter for Christ’s burial and resurrection site.

Happy Holidays to all!

©2009 Caroline Taggart, author of I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School

Author Bio

Caroline Taggart, author of I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School, has been an editor of non-fiction books for nearly 30 years and has covered nearly every subject from natural history and business to gardening and astronomy. She has written several books and was the editor of Writer’s Market UK 2009.

I Used To Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School is available for purchase online at Amazon.com.

WIN IT!

One winner will receive a copy of the book I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School.

HOW TO ENTER. (MANDATORY)

To enter leave a comment on this post telling me a subject you’ve forgotten most of what you learned about in school.

BONUS ENTRIES – LOTS OF THEM!

1 – Sign up for my newsletter. (in sidebar)
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1 – Blog about this giveaway, including a link here.
1 – Place my button on your blog.
1 – Visit  HereAndThere.US (my Mom) and leave a comment on any post (except a giveaway post) there. Then return here and leave a comment on this post telling me one thing you read or learned on my Mom’s blog. (That’s two comments you need to leave for this bonus entry, one there and one here.) Unlimited entries for this method of entry.

Leave an additional comment for each entry you qualify for. You must have completed the first entry according to the instructions to be eligible for any bonus entries.

THE SMALL PRINT.

US addresses only please. This contest will end on Friday 12/18/09 at 11:59 pm est.  If you’ve entered any of my giveaways before then you know that only comments containing all of the requested information will be eligible for entry. The winner must contact me to confirm they wish to receive the prize within two days of my email notifying them they’ve won.  Good luck to everyone!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

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Comments

  1. 53

    Nancye Davis says

    Faved you on Technorati
    ID: Nancye Epperson Davis

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  2. 55

    Nancye Davis says

    I follow you on Twitter
    ID: @NancyeDavis

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  3. 58

    Nancye Davis says

    I used to know how to solve Geometry problems, stuff like theorems and postulates. I couldn’t do any of that! Heck, I wasn’t very good at geometry back then either!! :)

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  4. 61

    Anne G says

    Physics for sure. Just last night my daughter was asking for help with her homework and it was all about radioactive decay and alpha and beta particles, and I didn’t have a clue.

  5. 67

    Cheryl Bradley says

    I have forgotten a lot about chemistry. I had to take tons of chemistry for my major in college (microbiology), but the truth is, I rarely use any chemistry in my field.

  6. 68

    Dianad says

    Being 63 I’ve forgotten most of everything unfortunately. I think reviewing French would be the most interesting as I’ve loved that subject and got great grades. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway

  7. 83

    Jaime P says

    Algebra, I don’t remember anything about algebra, but it was the one subjects I got A’s in

  8. 91

    says

    I’ve almost completely forgotten the parts of speech. I’m terrible at remembering what a verb, adverb, adjective, etc is. I’m dreading trying to help my son with those in a few years!

  9. 98

    Michelle says

    I am pretty sure I have forgotten everything I learned from middle school science/history. I couldn’t tell you the first thing about photosynthesis or the Cold War… It’s a shame really

  10. 100

    Marci says

    Punctuation! I can never remember when and where to put a comma, colon, semi-colon etc….

  11. 102

    NGS says

    We watch Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? once in a while and it turns out that my husband and I, despite being subscribers to National Geographic, really need to brush up on our U.S. and World Geography!!