Axe handle bats

mullet over

What is the biggest piece of jade you have ever seen – or heard of? Try this chunk on for size: Miners in Burma have unearthed a boulder of almost pure jade. Its weight was not estimated in carats, but in tons. Consensus is “about 210 tons.”

Approximately 99 percent of intercontinental data is transmitted through undersea cables, not satellites. Sending information by satellites is significantly slower than cable communication. Earthquakes, trawler fishing and anchor snagging can play havoc with below-surface lines used for data transfer. Even so, the typical undersea cable is functional 25 consecutive years with no needed repair or replacement.

For those with extra pocket change: A commercial supersonic jet is set for production by the year 2023. The AS2 is designed to cruise at 1000 mph. Twenty advanced plane orders have been submitted and more are expected. Flight fares have not been established, but I somehow doubt retired math teachers or trivia-column writers will be prominent on AS2 passenger lists.

It was in 1992 the confirmed discovery of an exoplanet (planet outside our solar system) was first made. Once astronomers “got the hang of it,” several more verified discoveries of exoplanets were substantiated. “Several” meaning 3,400 have been identified since 1992 … and still counting.

For decades most baseball bats were round and had round handles. However, a new concept may be developing. Bat handles shaped similar to the oval shapes on axe handles are being used by a few converts at the major league level. Two very good hitters who started for the 2016 Boston Red Sox used the axe handle bats and swear the new shapes are easier to grip, less slippery and make their swings more “ergonomically friendly.” The reshaped bats are thus far entirely legal and can be purchased by the public for about $225 each.

In South Yorkshire (England) Thomas Watson-Wentworth remodeled his inherited Jacobean house in 1725. Subsequent heirs have somewhat expanded the humble abode to where it is the largest privately owned home (known as Wentworth Woodhouse) in the United Kingdom. Included are more than 300 rooms. The exact number depends on one’s concept of where a room ends and hallways and entryways begin. That perception and the fact it is difficult to keep track of 300 rooms while remembering which rooms have already been counted make a precise total problematic. I have no such problem with my house. Well, do not worry excessively about exoplanets – and have a great week.

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