Mail order houses

mullet over

Major League Baseball teams sponsor various “give-away” events in order to attract fans. Free shirts, “bobbleheads,” team caps, bats, etc. are typical souvenirs handed out to attending fans. A bit of irony occurred with the Minnesota Twins on August 10 of this year. The “Umbrella Night” game was rained out.

What sort of gift would be appropriate for Fidel Castro on his 90th Birthday (it was on August 13)? Officials in Cuba ordered and presented a cigar that was 295 feet in length.

Real estate in San Francisco is acquired at a premium these days. Smaller dwellings are becoming the norm and the market has prompted one bay area company to offer mail order houses that total between 264 and 480 sq. ft. for interior living space. The houses arrive packed in flat boxes and cost up to $225,000 each. Some assembly is required.

A watermelon listed as the heaviest ever grown was harvested somewhere in Tennessee and weighed 350.5 pounds. Eso es una gran sandia.

The Komodo Dragon is the largest species of lizard extant. Adults can grow to lengths exceeding 10 feet and weights of more than 150 pounds. The reptiles have been reported as attacking humans, apparently even when not provoked. Their bites can be deadly.

Construction is underway to complete a 1400 foot bridge across China’s Zhangjiajie Canyon. I mention this particular bridge because it will be the longest and highest glass bridge in the world. Spanning a gap more than 900 feet in the air, the structure will be made using a steel frame and hundreds of tempered glass panels that are slightly more than two inches thick. A special feature is that the highest bungee jump (870 feet) on earth is to be offered to tourists. It will be a COLD July day at Furnace Creek (Calif.) when I deliberately leap to fall 870 feet. Cold day.

Our smartphones, LEDs, car batteries and several other modern day devices would not exist without rare earth elements (called REEs). China currently supplies over 90% of the rare earths sold on world markets and charges dearly. A new abundant source may soon be tapped right here in the good old U.S.A. American coal plants produce well over 100 tons of coal ash annually. Researchers from Duke University have recently shown that coal ash from Wyoming and Appalachian regions contains billions of dollars of REEs. Now scientists have focused on economically extracting the REEs using an ammonium-sulfate solvent. This could be big. Have a safe and leap-cautious week.

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