Curioddities… how curious!

An exercise in thinking

Vinny’s got a few new snippets for you about keeping our bodies in tip-top shape, from Ripley’s Curioddities.

Ripley says in 75 years the human heart pumps 3 billion gallons of blood – enough to fill a tanker 46 times. That’s a lot of liquid! Vinny says to keep your blood flowing, drink lots of plain old water whenever you get thirsty.

Vinny also says kids and their families should make exercise a part of their day. And according to Curioddities,  it’s not really that hard.  Start getting into shape just by thinking about it! Researchers in Britain divided people into three groups. One exercised their pinky fingers twice a week. The second group just thought about exercising their little fingers. The third group did nothing. Then they measured finger strength.  Fingers in the first group were 33% stronger. The third group showed no change. But the second group, who had just thought about the exercise, increased finger strength by 16%. How ODD! Scientists explain it this way.  Increased brain activity sends signals to the muscles faster, improving strength. Visualizing your activities works!

Vinny’s saved the best tidbit for the last. Do you HATE needles? Well, Ripley says soon kids will be able to eat french fries instead of getting shots. Scientists are building vaccines into the genes of potatoes. At Loma Linda University Medical Center in California, a potato with a built-in cholera vaccine has been successfully tested on mice. Cholera kills 3 million children a year in places where people can’t afford vaccines. These new potatoes provide a cheap way to protect kids from disease. Vinny says: let’s take a pass on those fries, though… Mashed potatoes, anyone?

There are 208 pages of amazing facts on all kinds of subjects in Curioddities. Check it out yourself at your nearest library.

Ripley’s Curioddities Scholastic New York, 2011.

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