How Different Types of Scent Can Influence Emotions and Behavior

This is a guest post by Catherine Stewart. Fragrances have been around since time immemorial. History reveals that people during the Bronze Age are the first ones to try perfume making. It was also widely used by the elite Ancient Egyptians who distilled fragrances from lily and attar. Later on, the Mesopotamians created their own […]

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Deep Lines

T. S. Eliot (left) and Carl Sandburg (right) In the January 19, 1980 edition of the New York Times Book Review, editor T. O’Connor Sloane III told the following story: Many years ago, when Robert Giroux was editor-in-chief of Harcourt, Brace, he told me this little anecdote. He was expecting a visit from T. S. Eliot one […]

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Quotable #83: Life and Death

“The first breath is the beginning of death.” — Anon. “There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.” — George Santayana “It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. The act of dying is not of importance, it lasts so short a time.” — Samuel Johnson, quoted […]

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Quotable #82: Past and Present

“He who controls the past, controls the future; and he who controls the present, controls the past.” — George Orwell, 1984, 1949 “The past can’t now be altered, the future has yet to be lived, and consciously to experience every moment of the present is the only way to gain at least the illusion of immortality.” […]

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A Postcard That Traversed Time and Space

In 1948, a mother from Spiceland, Indiana sent a postcard to her son. It took 58 years before her son received it. However, it was not as straightforward, as the town’s postmaster had to purchase it on eBay. Judy Dishman, Spiceland’s postmaster, was browsing on eBay while on vacation when she saw a postcard that […]

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“Loss in Delays”

The following poem titled “Loss in Delays” was written by Robert Southwell (1561 – 1595), an English poet and priest during the Elizabethan era: Shun delays, they breed remorse, Take thy time, while time is lent thee; Creeping snails have weakest force, Fly their fault, lest thou repent thee; Good is best when soonest wrought, […]

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Learn Fun Facts’ Monthly Miscellany, February 2019

Random Ramblings The past Lunar New year was quite hot here in Hong Kong. While it’s not that “hot”, it’s hotter than the normally cool temperature people enjoyed during this period. Unsurprisingly, the temperatures on the second and third day of this year’s Lunar New Year were the highest on record, reaching up to 24.9ºC […]

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Distribution of Talent

William Shenstone (1714 – 1763), an eighteenth-century poet, once remarked that if the public is divided into a hundred parts, the corresponding distribution of talent may be estimated in this way: Fools: 15 Persons of Common Sense: 40 Wits: 15 Pedants: 15 Persons of Wild Taste: 10 Persons of Improved Taste: 5 Just for fun, […]

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The Reason Dostoevsky Preferred to Work at Night

Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821 – 1888) usually liked to work through the night. With tea, cigarettes, and sweets as fuel, he could pull several all-nighters to write his novels. He told a friend through a letter why he preferred to do his business at night: It is night now; the hands of the clock […]

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“Physical Law”

While perusing an old newspaper, specifically St. Cloud Times, May 10, 1946, this amusing short verse by Esther Baldwin York caught my attention: Little boys and cookie jars Gravitate together. Separate them by a shelf It’s a question whether It will be a stool or chair For the best ascent, Or the jar hooked off the […]

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