Things You Never Knew

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April 29th 2020
Published: April 29th 2020
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To keep your mind off this terrible pandemic, here is some totally worthless facts (from Travel Trivia, MSN, and others) to fill your hard drive. Although several countries lay claim to the world’s oldest flag, the “Dannebrog” or “Danish cloth” holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s oldest flag in continuous use. King Christian IV made things official in 1625 with his War Articles for flying “the flag and Colours of Command in the Navy in Denmark,” but the Danish cloth had actually been in use long before that. Its first known depiction was in the 1370s in the Gelre Armorial (a medieval collection of coats of arms), and later it was used in war during the 16th century naval battles with Sweden. The Scottish Saltire is older and its history has been a subject of debate, but vexillologists (studiers of flag history) at the Flag Institute consider the evidence stronger that Denmark's flag has been used for a longer continuous period of time.Folklore states that Scotland’s national flag traces its beginnings back to a battle that took place in the village of Athelstaneford in 832 AD. When King Angus lead an army of Picts on a mission to take Lothian, he was confronted by the powerful Saxon troops of Athelstan. Believing he would be beaten, Angus led his soldiers in prayer. They were greeted with the sight of clouds resembling the saltire (St. Andrew’s cross) set against a blue sky. Angus promised to make the saltire the national flag and St. Andrew the patron saint if he won the battle, which he did. This story would make it the oldest flag in Europe, preceding that of Austria and Denmark’s 13th-century Dannebrog.National flags were first used as field signs and forms of identification during military battles on land and at sea. They often featured simple geometric shapes that could be recognized by soldiers from a distance. Today, flags are symbols of national pride flown by everyone from royalty to the government and general public. Some are simple patterns while others feature images of birds, dragons, ships, and other things considered representative of a country. Have you ever stopped to contemplate why a flag is a certain color, what the images stand for and who designed them?
You may not trust your senses when you first come upon Krzywy Domek (pictured). The name is Polish for "Crooked House," and it's an appropriate one. This building bends and twists to distort the idea of what a building should look like. Walls warp in and out, bulging in some areas and appearing to collapse in others. A roof of blue and green shingles tops the structure, looking suspiciously like the back of a dragon.

The end result? Something that looks like it came straight out of a fairytale. That makes sense, too, as the building designers wanted to pay homage to a famous Polish children's illustrator Jan Marcin Szancer. Inside the building, you'll find a shopping center complete with bars, stores, and restaurants. Our advice: Stick to the outside of the building for the best selfies.

A word about Crayola, a truly American product:

Officially, Prussian blue was the very first synthetic color ever created. It was first crafted in 1704 by a chemist from Berlin who mixed cochineal (a red dye) with iron sulfate and a cyanide mixture. The result was a dark blue pigment that quickly became a much sought-after shade. In fact, it was popular for so long that it outlasted the empire for which it was named.

The Kingdom of Prussia was dissolved in 1918 after World War I, so it was long gone by the time Crayola introduced the hue to their lineup in 1946 (pictured above). But by 1958, the company renamed their Prussian blue crayon to "midnight blue," either because schoolchildren didn't know what Prussia was anymore, or because of complaints that the name wasn't "Cold War sensitive."

What happens when you hear someone do any of the following: smacking their lips while eating, slurping drinks, breathing, yawning, sniffling, humming, tapping their fingers, typing or texting with the keyboard clicks switched on? If you have a strong emotional response and a desire to escape or stop the sound, you may have misophonia.

Literally meaning a “hatred of sound”, misophonia is a neurophysiological condition in which people have a disproportionately negative reaction to specific sounds. People with the condition are aware that they overreact to certain sounds, it’s just that their reaction is not within their control.

The trigger sounds that people with misophonia react to can vary from person to person. However, some categories are more common than others and they tend to be related to the mouth or eating, breathing or nasal sounds and finger or hand sounds. Evidence suggests that this aversion develops in childhood and tends to get worse over time.

People with misophonia find trigger sounds more distressing if they are produced by family members rather than by strangers. This may make family meals particularly problematic for misophonics.

Misophonic responses tend to be emotional, with anger being the most common response, ranging from mild annoyance to extreme rage. People can also feel other strong emotional responses such as anxiety or disgust. Physiological responses include an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, sweating and muscle contractions.

You might assume that everyone has, to some degree, a negative response to certain sounds, such as a sudden, loud bang or high-pitched squeal. Yet in misophonia, people can react to sounds that are not widely considered unpleasant, such as whispering or soft breathing. Quiet sounds can evoke as much of a reaction in misophonics as loud sounds.

Researchers have investigated whether misophonia is linked to, or caused by, other psychiatric or physical conditions, such as tinnitus, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder. The evidence suggests that, although some association exists with these conditions, none of these disorders can fully explain misophonic symptoms, suggesting misonphonia is a separate and independent condition in its own right. (High pitched sounds tend to do this to me).

Well, I have either bored you silly, or you now have a new hobby. Have a safe day, again!!!


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