Use your petabyte efficiently

mullet over

– Baja California is a special place with more than 700 plant species that are native to no other regions on earth. Some of those plants are almost bizarre in appearance and thrive with an average rainfall that hovers around 10 inches per annum. Generally, the peninsula’s soils lack nutrients required by most flora on our planet. Yet, there stand idrias and ocotillos flourishing and swaying in the wind.

– Neuroscientists estimate that the typical adult human brain can store one petabyte of data. To aid in perspective: one petabyte is equal to the total storage available on one million computer drives with one gigabyte of capacity on each unit. Egad. Same neuro guys estimate my brain to be in the 4K (+ or -) range.

– The tree shrew reportedly has the highest brain mass-to-body ratio of any known mammal. These rodents’ brains make up about 10 % of their total body weights. If my body were similarly constructed, it should be toting a 22 pound brain. I am fairly certain my cerebral tonnage falls short of twenty-two pounds. However, my abdominal region …

– A noteworthy mollusk inhabits the Atlantic Ocean. This fauna is known as the Quahog Clam (not making this up). The animals are cited here because the creatures sport growth rings that scientists can use to calculate the age of any specific QC. Recently, growth rings on a certain Quahog have revealed that bi-valve was 502 years old. A sad note must be included in my report. The scientists from Bangor University inadvertently killed the old Quahog while studying the clam they had nicknamed Ming.

– A much deadlier bonehead event occurred in 1934. The Soviet Union had constructed a huge aircraft replete with a movie theater, newspaper office, pharmacy, laundry, café, and other special amenities. The craft was named Maxim Gorky and was to have its big show-off flight with 43 people aboard. A single-engine plane was to be flying nearby for visual comparison. The pilot of the smaller plane was an ace named Ivan Blagin. Rather than simply fly alongside, hot shot Ivan decided (on his own) to do a loop-de-loop around the Maxim Gorky. Ace Ivan ran his craft into the larger plane. Both planes plunged to the ground, killing Ivan and all 43 aboard the Maxim. The stunt so infuriated and embarrassed the Soviets that there yet exists the word “blaginism” in the Russian language. The word means “idiotic show-off behavior.” Well, I hope that you manage to use your petabyte efficiently – and that you have a fine week.

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