3 random fun facts I recently discovered

Highway Sign
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We’ve been in quarantine for a good while now, and I’m sure we all feel stuck in the same monotonous routine. My life certainly hasn’t been too exciting as of late, so I’m here to share some random facts I’ve learned this week as a result of some questions that popped into my head.

Why are highway signs not in all capital letters?

When driving, have you ever noticed how road signs aren’t in all capital letters? For instance, you will see “Highway 61” instead of “HIGHWAY 61.” But why? As a curious individual constantly in pursuit of knowledge, I decided to investigate. I discovered that actually, road signs used to be written using only capital letters, but people realized they were actually much harder to read from afar. Sentences with all capital letters look like monotonous bricks of words, whereas words with lowercase letters are more shapely — the g’s dip below the baseline of the font, and h’s span the whole height of the line. Cool stuff!

Why is Spanish spoken so quickly?

Perhaps you’ve noticed that Spanish speakers tend to speak Spanish much faster than English speakers speak English. One reason for this is that the informational density of Spanish is far lower than English, so it takes more syllables in Spanish to convey the same amount of meaning than in English. So the next time you sit in Spanish class horribly lost because your professor is speaking at 100 mph, high syllable rate and low information density are to blame!

How did Simba in “The Lion King” grow so quickly?

Something else I’ve thought about during the week is Disney’s “The Lion King.” In the cartoon, there’s a distinct scene during the song “Hakuna Matata” where Simba, Pumbaa and Timon are walking, and with a quick time lapse, Simba has turned into a full grown lion. Pause. This scene was rather suspicious to me. Surely, a massive 420-pound lion could not live off a diet of grubs. Or could it? Insects are known to have a decent amount of protein. Thus, I began digging around, and it turns out Simba would have totally died if he was a real lion. In order to survive, he would’ve had to consume six grubs per minute all day long, meaning he would be unable to sleep. Combined with his singing and dancing, not to mention the nutritional needs of his comrades Pumbaa and Timon, Simba would have most certainly passed away before he could overthrow Scar and save the Pride Lands. Perhaps the next time you decide to watch “The Lion King,” you can tell your friends with complete certainty that this movie is complete fiction.

These are the most interesting, previously unknown facts that I came up with this week. As you can see, if you do a little research about the random thoughts that pop into your head, you really do learn something new every day, and sometimes, it’s pretty fun stuff!

Contact Kristel Fung at [email protected].