An article was published in the November issue of a national science magazine averring that there are approximately 8 million distinct species (combined) of plants, animals, fungi and algae on earth. To complicate the enumeration process, there are about a trillion species of bacteria. Most bacteria have not been scientifically described or identified. In order to enable the average reader to comprehend how much a trillion is, let me say that one trillion is more dollars than the U.S. government spends in an entire day. That sum of money is flabbergasting to most tax payers.
In the 1930’s, several pelt-bearing animals called nutrias were imported from South America to Louisiana. The nutrias did well. However, pelt markets crashed and thousands of the large live rodents were released into the Pelican State’s swamplands. The Louisiana Myocastor coypus population exploded pretty much unchecked and rapidly became a significant invasive species problem. Some expanses in Louisiana are infested with more than 6,000 nutrias per square mile. They are edible.
It may surprise some to read that Connecticut has the highest percentage (67%) of tree coverage for “urban and community” regions of all our 50 states. Sorry Alaska, I guess tundra does not qualify. Since the 18th century (during our colonial period), Connecticut trees have been prized for building construction and furniture-making.
According to an international health monitoring organization, 844 million people do not have daily access to safe drinking water (data compiled in 2017). Of course this number includes hundreds of millions of children.
Want to look cool and get around cheaply? Currently on the U.S. market is an electric (battery-powered) kick scooter. Manufacturer advertises a 15 mile range off of one charge. Retails for $600.
Spam was introduced to the American public in 1937 by a man named Jay Hormel. By 1940, over 70% of American households had dined on Spam. The product was declared to be “inexpensive, nutritious, tasty, easily transported and possesses a long shelf-life.” Spam became a staple for American servicemen who were fed some 150,000,000 pounds of the canned meat. It was referred to by many G.I.’s as “ham that did not pass its physical” and “one reason war is hell.” A multitude of troops discharged after the war vowed to never again eat Spam. In 2017, one hundred twenty-two million cans were sold world-wide, which would equal one can of that special meat being opened every four seconds, twenty-four hours each day (even Christmas). I have long been involved with Spam. Also spam. Be thankful if you have clean drinking water – and have a great day.
James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.