Sink Wink #1 and Sink Wink #2

mullet over

Wheat farmers have taken planting efficiency to new heights in the state of Washington. Smaller grains produce more seeds per pound and large grains fewer seeds. This might sound blatantly obvious, but too many or too few plants per foot can significantly lower crop yields. In Colfax County some farmers have colluded with agriculture experts to employ equipment that constantly measures kernel sizes while adjusting the grain counts placed in each inch during the sowing process.

Likely you have heard of the seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. You may even have been guilty of one of these failings some time in your existence. Have you ever wondered who we can thank for this list? It was ‘way back in 590 AD that Pope Gregory I itemized these transgressions to warn all Christians to be wary and avoid such turpitudes (different from terrapins).

I was told as a child that once a human touched the young of wild animals (birds, foxes, rabbits, etc.), the mother would never take the defiled back for caring or nurturing because of the contaminating smell placed on the unfortunate offspring. Apparently, this is another legend with little or no basis in fact. Carefully handled fledglings are commonly returned to nests to resume being protected and fed. The situations appear to be similar with lion cubs, wolves and several species. I must wonder who the heck was brave enough to return baby lions and wolves.

Scientists in Africa have developed a technique for determining the quality of drinking water in Lake Tanganyika by collecting and studying snails from numerous regions of the huge lake. Sliced tissue samples are examined for retention of various pollutants, toxins and bacteria. Nearby village leaders are apprised of the results, hopefully making life a little easier and healthier for the native inhabitants.

Required achievement tests administered in our nation’s schools have fomented new opportunities for deception and fraud. The duplicity was more rampant than I thought. For the years 2011 and 2012, the GAO (Government Accountability Office) recently reported that 33 of our 50 states had instances of cheating with respect to test grading, answer altering and other “irregularities.” This information is depressing to me on several levels.

In Texas, there is a sink hole near Wink that is named Sink Wink #1 and is just over 361 feet in diameter. Nearby is Sink Wink #2 which is a little over 900 feet across. SMU researchers Zhong Lu and Jin-Woo (I am not making this up) blame regional oil and gas extraction over the past 90 years. Have a great week.

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