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I found this book sometime in hazy past. (At a used bookstore? In a cardboard box on the sidewalk? I can't remember.) It's called A Book About a Thousand Things, it's by a guy named George Stimpson, and it was published in 1946. It's my new favorite book. From page 113:

Why does a red schoolhouse symbolize education?

Although most wooden schoolhouses in the United States are now painted white, a few generations ago it was customary, especially in New England and other northeastern sections of the country, to paint frame schoolhouses red, not because that color was preferred, but because red paint was cheaper than any other kind obtainable. Thus the little red schoolhouse became a symbol of popular education in general.

And from page 259:

Does thunder kill chicks in the shell?

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Many people are of the opinion that thunder frequently affects the hatchability of eggs. Poultry experts assert that there are many instances on record that apparently support the common belief that thunder sometimes kills chicks in the shell. If such a phenomenon exists it has not been adequately explained by either physical or biological science... Of course a different problem is presented in cases where lightning actually strikes in the vicinity of eggs that are being incubated. Both the terrific shock and the lightning itself would probably have an unfavorable effect upon the eggs.

You don't say!

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