I have decided to intersperse my blog posts with items of a factual nature. I hope you'll find them interesting and a refreshing change from my frequent gripes or tiresome bragging about grand children.
Herein is my first offer. Twenty five interesting facts about summer.
1. The word “summer” is from the Proto-Indo-European root *sam-, meaning summer. The root *sam is a variant from the Proto-Indo-European root *sem-, which means “together/one.”
2. The “dog days of summer” refer to the weeks between July 3 and August 11 and are named after the Dog Star (Sirius) in the Canis Major constellation. The ancient Greeks blamed Sirius for the hot temperatures, drought, discomfort, and sickness that occurred during the summer.
3. Summer is the by far the busiest time at movie theaters, and Hollywood always hopes to earn a significant portion of total annual ticket sales through summer blockbuster months. To date, the top 10 most famous summer blockbusters of all time are 1) Jaws, 2) Star Wars, 3) Jurassic Park, 4) The Dark Knight, 5) Raiders of the Lost Ark, 6) E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, 7) Forrest Gump, 8) Ghostbusters, 9) Animal House, and 10) Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
4. In the United States, over 650 million long-distance summer trips are made.
5. In the United States, the top 5 most popular summer vacations are 1) beach/ocean (45%), 2) a famous city (42%), 3) national parks (21%), 4) a lake (17%), and 5) a resort (14%).
6. The top 5 most popular summer vacation activities in the United States are 1) shopping (54%), 2) visiting historical sites (49%), 3) swimming/water sports (49%), 4) going to a park or national park (46%), and 5) sightseeing tours (46%).
7. In the summer heat, the iron in France’s Eiffel Tower expands, making the tower grow more than 6 inches.
8. The month of June was named after either Juniores, the lower branch of the roman Senate, or Juno, the wife of Jupiter.
9. The word “solstice” is from the Latin solstitium, which is from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop) because it seems as if the sun stops at the solstice.n
10. Both “equinox” and “solstice” refer to the path of the sun throughout the year. During a solstice, the sun is either at its northernmost point (Tropic of Cancer) or it is at its southernmost point (Tropic of Capricorn). An equinox is either of the two days each year when the sun crosses the equator and both day and night are equally long.
11. Summer babies are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and are less likely to become CEOs. Because summer babies are typically the youngest children in each school class, their relative immaturity can affect the quality of their education.
12. The word “season” is from the Old French season, which means “sowing/planting” or “seed time.”
13. Ancient pagans celebrated midsummer with bonfires. It was believed that the crops would grow as high as a couple could jump across the fire. Additionally, bonfires would generate magic by boosting the sun’s powers.
14. Warmer weather causes certain diseases to peak during the summer, such as Valley Fever, West Nile Lyme Disease, and food poisoning.
15. While rare, the plague is more readily contracted and spread during the warm summer months, particularly in the western U.S. In 2012, for example, a Colorado girl contracted the disease when she touched a dead squirrel on a family camping trip.
16. Leprosy is more readily contracted during the summer. Each year about 150 Americans contract leprosy, the same skin-disease that is mentioned in the Bible. In the United States, the source of leprosy is usually armadillos. The disease is transmitted when people, particularly in the southern U.S., hunt, kill, and eat infected armadillo.
17. According to custom, in the United States, a person can wear white pants only during the summer, or between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
18. A ubiquitous summer treat is watermelon. Watermelon is part of the cucumber, pumpkin, and squash family and consists of 92% water. On average, Americans consume 15 pounds of watermelon annually.
19. Popsicles, a popular summer treat, was accidentally invented by an 11-year-old boy in San Francisco in 1905. He left a glass of soda sitting outside and by the next morning the soda had frozen. He began selling them at an amusement park in New Jersey. In the U.S., cherry is the number 1 flavor.
20. July, the hottest summer month in the Northern Hemisphere, is National Ice Cream Month, not surprisingly. Americans eat an average 20 quarts of ice cream a year. Vanilla is the most popular flavor, with chocolate coming in a distant second.
21. Contrary to popular belief, crime rates do not increase during the summer. However, the types of crimes change as the seasons change. For example, during the summer, bike thefts and items stolen from cars increase. During the winter, criminals are more likely to steal cars and Christmas presents left in cars.v
22. The first Olympic Games in the modern era were the 1896 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad in Athens, Greece. The Games featured the Panathinaiko Stadium, the first giant stadium of the modern world that housed the largest crowd to ever watch a sporting event.
23. According to Forbes, the top 9 most hazardous summer injuries are caused by 1) playground equipment; 2) skateboards; 3) trampolines; 4) lawn mowers; 5) amusement attractions; 6) non-powder guns, BBs pellets; 7) beach, picnic, camping equipment; 8) barbeque grills, stoves, equipment; and 9) trimmers, small garden tools.
24. According to the CDC, children are more likely to gain weight over the summer because kids are less active, are more likely to have an inconsistent sleep schedule, and tend to eat more junk food.aa
25. Before the Civil War, schools did not have summer vacation. In rural communities, kids had school off during the spring planting and fall harvest while urban schools were essentially year-round. The long summer holiday didn’t come about until the early 20th century.