December Pulse Rate

The world record for the lowest temperature achieved by science was the chilling of a chunk of rhodium (a metal) to within a billionth of a degree above the coldest temperature possible, absolute zero.

Victims of hypothermia sometimes engage in what is known as “paradoxical undressing”— the removal of clothing despite extreme cold. A theory is that when muscles that have been tensed against the cold become fatigued and relax, there is a rush of blood to the extremities, leading to the feeling of being overheated.

The Hebrew calendar’s (currently the year 5770) official first day was the 6th day of creation—the day Adam and Eve were supposedly created.

The original walk-in freezer: Around 400 BC, Persian engineers came up with a way to store ice into the summer that was harvested in bulk during the winter. They called it a yakhchal and it was an underground space lined with chill-retaining walls made of ash, sand, egg whites, lime, clay, and goat hair.

The song “Jingle Bells” was not originally intended as a Christmas tune. It was simply one of the “joyful songs” written in New England during the 19th century. It also has three more verses beyond the well-known first verse and chorus.

The Menorah or Hanukiah has nine candles. Eight are lit for each day of Hanukkah and the ninth, known as a shamash (which is usually in the center of the Menorah), is lit specifically to light the other candles.

Go to starting December 1st to tap into the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) Santa Claus tracking data. Your tax dollars at work.

The Guinness world record for largest snowflake is 15 inches, observed in January 1887 at Fort Keogh, Montana.

A tradition in Ecuadorian New Year’s Eve celebrations is the burning in effigy of hated political leaders.

The deadliest avalanche took place in Wellington, Washington in March 1910. It hit two snowed-in passenger trains and killed 96 people.

The famous poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” generally attributed to NYC poet and college professor Clement Clarke Moore and first published in 1823, is the origin point of many now-iconic Christmas facts and traditions. These include Santa Claus’ physical description, his flying sled/reindeer, the names and number of his reindeer, and the bringing of gifts to children.

Besides the US, the only other locale that celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (the third Monday of January) is the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Its mayor, Tadatoshi Akiba, is an MLK admirer.

Conclusions drawn from a Spy magazine article “The Physics of Santa Claus” reveal the realities of Santa Claus’ Christmas tasks. With each child (around 378 million) receiving just one present, his sleigh, plus reindeer would weigh over 353 million tons. But that wouldn’t matter because of the required speed of his sled (650 miles a second) to get to all those kids on time, would cause the whole assemblage, including Santa, to vaporize.

The earliest Roman calendars did not assign months to what is now known as January and February.

A father and daughter in Eau Claire, Wisconsin constructed the first official snowman ever created in January, 1809. It was apparently intended as a type of scarecrow, to frighten away Boxing Day elves, which legend states were Christmas present thieves. By the time of the Civil War, snowmen were widespread.