1. Greenland is icy, and Iceland is green. Go figure. Why is Greenland called Greenland?
2. Discovery Channel’s now-canceled TV show Dirty Jobs, featuring the intrepid Mike Rowe, began in November 2003. What was the first dirty job featured on the show?
3. A question related to speed: how fast, in pecks per second, can the average woodpecker peck?
4. Another question related to speed: when a hummingbird hovers, how fast, in flaps per second, can it flap its wings?
5. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell placed the first telephone call: “Mr. Watson. Come here. I want to see you.” A century later, in 1973, who placed the first call on a cell phone?
1. Eric the Red founded the first Norse settlement in Greenland in 985 AD. Some sources say he chose the name Greenland in hopes that an appealing name would attract settlers. Another possibility: the coastal area where he settled is actually, like, green.
2. Mike’s first dirty job was to harvest bat guano from a cave for use as fertilizer.
3. Up to 20 pecks per second. In case you were wondering, air pockets in the bird’s head cushion and protect its brain.
4. Depending on the species, up to 80 flaps per second. Hummingbirds are pretty amazing. They can hover, fly backwards, and haul tail at speeds of up to 35 mph.
5. In 1973, Martin Cooper, chief of research at Motorola, used the world’s first portable wireless phone to call his rival, Joel Engel of AT&T’s Bell Laboratories, no doubt to gleefully rub it in.