10,000 castles

mullet over

Statistically, men who earn their livelihoods in commercial fishing industries have the most dangerous jobs of all Americans. More than 1 per 1,000 were fatally injured in 2017. Another 3 per 1,000 were seriously injured. The median pay was reported to be just over $28,000 per annum. That vocation ilk would appear to be more dangerous than that of public school teachers or referees of children’s games (with parents present) — with very little more pay.

Some historians claim that there were once more than 10,000 castles in Spain. Today an estimated 2,500 still stand. Both numbers are estimates because there is no consensus as to which structures qualified as “castles.” If a building has no roof or has badly deteriorated walls, can that edifice qualify as an existing castle? How about a roof with some outside walls, but no interior walls intact? Even tax assessors do not all agree. Speaking of taxes, several family castles have been seized by local governments because of unpaid taxes. It is quite possible to selectively become an owner of a Spanish castle by simply paying all back taxes. Extensive repairs shall likely be in order. Olé.

In the 1400’s, the Mongol Empire covered some nine million square miles (twenty-three million square kilometers). It was the largest contiguous land empire in the history of the world. The scattered British Empire once included almost 14,000,000 square miles (36,000,000 square kilometers) of ground.

Just FYI: the border between the United States and Mexico is approximately 1,954 miles long. The maritime boundaries extend 18 miles into the Pacific Ocean and 12 miles into the Gulf of Mexico.

President William McKinley’s likeness is on U.S. $500 bills. None of those bills are currently in circulation, supposedly. Should you have one, do not spend it.

Until recently, only three elements were known to be susceptible to the effects of magnetism (under normal conditions): iron, cobalt and nickel. Engineers from the University of Minnesota have discovered that a fourth element is attracted to magnets – ruthenium (element # 44 on the periodic chart). Go ahead and try a magnet on a piece of your ruthenium. See?

In May of 2018, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano overflowed with lava which mostly poured into a nearby bay. Hawaii now has 875 new acres and 700 fewer homes which were destroyed as the molten rock wended its way downhill. Well, do be extra cautious while commercially fishing – and have a tremendous day.

James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at jkwhite46@gmail.com.