In this week’s facts edition: A Good Thing to Know For Those With Red Hair, The History of the Hawaii State Flag, The Largest Employers in the World, Protecting the Space Shuttle, and Why Blue Birds Aren’t Really Blue.
A Good Thing to Know for Those With Red Hair
A 2004 study in the medical journal Anesthesiology found something that could be very important for people with red hair. The researchers looked at the difference in the anesthesia requirement between women with red hair and those with brown and black hair, and they found that redheads required 19% more anesthesia than those women with brown or black hair.
Anesthesiologists had provided anecdotal evidence that redheads required more anesthesia for surgery, but no one had tested the reports to see if it was true. Researchers set out to test the hypothesis that redheads did, in fact, require more anesthesia than people with other hair colors. While the exact reason is not known, researchers concluded that red hair is a distinct phenotype, or a description of a person’s actual physical characteristics, which can be linked to their anesthesia requirement. Going even deeper, they concluded that the reason for the need for increased anesthesia could be from what makes a person’s hair red in the first place; a mutation of the melanocortin-1 receptor gene, one of the key proteins that regulate hair and skin color. In short, it’s probably not a bad idea for a redhead, of either gender, to confirm how much anesthesia they are going to get if they have to have a surgical procedure. Source
The History of the Hawaii State Flag
The Hawaii state flag is one of the more interesting flags of the fifty states. It has the Union Jack of Great Britain in the left corner, and the rest of the flag is made up of red, white, and blue stripes. How did the flag of the state become so unique? The story starts with King Kamehameha, the man who united the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 into one kingdom after many conflicts and warfare. In the late 1700s, Kamehameha flew a British flag over his home given to him as a sign of friendship by King George III. When the War of 1812 came about, however, an American flag was flown over Kamehameha’s home to appease American interests. This didn’t sit well with British officers who were in the King’s court. To satisfy both sides, Kamehameha had a new flag made which was designed by an officer in the Royal Navy and incorporated bits of each nation’s flag. Stripes were made to appease the Americans, and the Union Jack was put in the left corner to appease the British. The eight stripes of the flag represent the major islands of Hawaii just like the thirteen stripes on the American flag represent the original thirteen colonies. Source
The Largest Employers in the World
The four largest employers in the world in order are the U.S. Department of Defense, China’s People’s Liberation Army, Walmart, and McDonald’s. The U.S. Department of Defense has 3.2 million employees and is comprised of active servicemen and women, reservists, national guard, and civilians representing the four services. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is second and has 2.3 million employees in its five branches of service as well as its reservist branch. Walmart is number three with 2.1 million employees and is the largest private employer in the world, and McDonald’s is number four with 1.7 million employees. Source
Protecting the Space Shuttle
Why Blue Birds Aren’t Really Blue
Although they look blue, there is really no such thing as a blue bird. Birds get the color of their feathers from the food they eat. These foods contain pigments called carotenoids, but no bird can make the color blue from these pigments. The blue we see on birds is the result of how light waves interact with the arrangement of keratin in the bird’s feather. Keratin is the protein structure that makes up hair, nails, skin, and feathers, just to name a few. When light strikes a feather, red and yellow wavelengths of light are canceled out, and the blue wavelengths of light are reflected and amplified back to a person’s eye. The keratin structure reflects light in different ways because of its shape, and our eyes perceive these minute differences as different shades of blue. Source
That’s it for another edition of the Random Facts of the Week. Check out more fun facts here.
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