1.  the presidents!!!!  Carrie and I try so hard to learn about them.  we both have a hard time retaining anything but we try.  we do have flash cards, a laminated placemat hanging in our pantry, and a great puzzle my mom gave us (that also combines #2 below).  we have learned so many interesting things about them.  among them, that JFK was NOT the youngest president ever (just the youngest elected president ever), and guess who was?  Teddy Roosevelt!  can you believe it?  we were shocked.  I also love referring to the presidents with their first name and middle initial.  e. g. Chester A, Rutheford B, or James K.

2.  geography.  my geography classes at k-state were probably my favorite classes I took.  so fascinating.  goes with my love of travel.  last school year, when we had a bunch of snow days, I learned all the countries in europe and africa (with help from here).  I cannot tell you how much smarter I feel knowing all those countries.  you should learn them too, it really helps you get lots of stuff on jeopardy right.  you feel pretty legit when you know where eritrea and djibouti are.

3.  big cats.  did you know that jaguars are not normally black?  they can be, but only about 10% of them are.  most of them are tannish with black spots on them (but the spots are more like rings, so they are different from cheetahs & leopards).  also, did you know that the “puma” is not an actual type of big cat?  it is just a term that can refer to mountain lions or cougars.  so fascinating.

4.  Greenland.  oh my gosh, I love learning about Greenland.  did you know most scientists think it is actually 3 separate islands covered by one big ice sheet?  isn’t that crazy?  and, did you know that there is a university there, but it only has 150 students, because the government will pay for their residents to go to college anywhere in the US or UK?

5.  bananas.  did you know that bananas are radioactive?  that the potassium in them makes them glow under black lights when they are ripe? the banana tree is the largest flowering plant in the world.  India is the top banana producing country in the world, giving us about 26 million tons a year.  the most popular banana, the one we eat today, is called the cavendish banana, and it will only be around (at least in wide consumption) for another 20-30 years before they have to find a new kind for us to eat.  the seeds are too tiny to plant, and they lack genetic diversity, so they don’t have much lasting power.  don’t worry, they will replace it with another kind (but it probably won’t taste the same).  also, bananas are nutritionally similar to a potato.  aren’t bananas fascinating?  I have been teaching my students about them lately.  their favorite thing to hear about is that they also come in four colors (green, yellow, red & purple).  then I have to show them how to turn a banana into a dolphin.  and tell them “that’s what you learn in college.”

what else should I learn about?  I am so glad we live in an age where it is so easy to learn.  just today I learned that a handful of separate “sources” that “used to be employed” at area 51 have accounts of working with an alien named J-Rod.  apparently he was a big deal.

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