First aid and then to jail

mullet over

– Australia has some of the strangest fauna on our planet. The continent’s ecosystem is fragile, vulnerable to invaders. Zoologists estimate that one of every eight indigenous mammal species therein has become extinct in the last two centuries due largely to the ravages of rabbits, foxes, pigs and other “introduced” animals.

– It has become the practice of many Christians worldwide to give up a particular food, pastime, etc. during the 40 days of Lent. By strict designation, Sundays should not count as part of the 40. That would imply that Lent should actually last about 46 days, not the widely accepted XL. Just sayin’.

– According to scientific definitions, the human body is not only a machine, but also an engine (a device that converts energy into motion). Comparable efficiency is not our strong point. Cases on point: a refined steam engine can typically be rated at more than 90% efficient. A typical human body will render only 3% efficiency. Well-trained athletes perform much better. Examples such as my potential carcass might do conspicuously worse. Note that there is little room below 3%.

– The orangutan is the only living great ape native to Asia. The auburn-colored mammals of the genus Pongo were at one time widely distributed across Earth’s largest continent. Unfortunately, orangutan habitats are now limited to zoos and shrinking rain forests in Sumatra and Borneo.

– Some fans at Wrigley Field take baseball very seriously. It may be news to a few that Cub players also approach the games with a great deal of sincerity. During one hotly fought contest, a relief pitcher (Randy Myers) yielded a homerun that gave the visiting Astros a lead. An enraged Cub supporter ran from the stands and rushed the pitcher’s mound, confronting Myers. Myers decked the ill-advised fan. Security helped the wobbly chastiser – to gain access to first aid and then to jail.

– Genuine silk has long been used as a cosmetic. Chemists and physicians have now revealed why silk-based balms have been prized for centuries. Silkworms produce 18 identified amino acids that make up components of silk. These acids can provide numerous dermatological health benefits. Synthetic silk offers no similar advantages.

– The sport of tennis was once immensely popular in Europe. Historical sources indicate that there were at least 1800 tennis courts in France during the 13th century. Military leaders played. Nobility played. Kings played. Even one pope played. It is claimed that the term “deuce” comes from the French “A Deux” (not to be confused with “adieu”) which implied “two to win.” Well, wisely use your 3% — and have a great week.

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