Math skills of Venus Fly Traps

mullet over

Botanists have found out that Venus Fly Traps can count. As if wary of false alarms from wind, falling leaves, etc., the clever rascals seem to never snap shut after one touch. On the second touch, the size of the prey is analyzed by how many “hairs” on the Trap are touched simultaneously. The number of hairs triggered tells the plant whether the quarry is too large to digest and how much digestive juice to ooze into the absorption chambers if the victim is deemed edible. Research indicates that other carnivorous plants such as Pitcher Plants and Sundews do not have the ability to count touches.

No matter how badly your favorite major league baseball team is doing, I assure you that it will fare better than the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics (now in Oakland). The 1916 team finished 40 games behind. I mean 40 games behind the next worse team. Their nickname unofficially became the Philadelphia Pathetics. The Athletics had earlier turned down a chance to offer a contract to a young player named George Herman Ruth. Ruth proved to be a player with potential.

Studies related to sleep and lighting have revealed that workers sleep significantly better whenever fluorescent lighting is replaced by lights that emit shades of blue during the daytime and are then exposed to longer light wavelengths at night.

Here is another “fact” that has proven to be bogus: Sharks never get cancer. Yes they do. Scientists have known this information since 1908 when a malignant tumor was found in a blue shark.

In America a small-farming trend is booming in many large cities. The plots are on rooftops where people have to haul dirt and other essentials to roofs, apartments, etc. Individual parcels often cover no more than 20 square feet. From these diminutive lots, fresh vegetables are harvested several months of the year. Some enterprising “farmers” even manage to raise poultry in available spaces.

Scientists and engineers are planning the construction of a desalinization plant off the coast of California by employing some old concepts on an enormous scale. Dubbed the “Monterey Bay Regional Water Project,” sea water is to be removed from as much as two miles deep and piped to the plant. More than 55,000 homes should be supplied with potable water. The water taken from the submarine trench would be used to cool the plant before being processed and the resulting calcium wastes would be recycled to make limestone building materials. Proposals are that the plant will be operational by 2018. Well, do not be intimidated by the math skills of any Venus Plants – and have a great week.

James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at