BY JAMES K. WHITE | JANUARY 11, 2012
The President of the United States was waiting in his parlor
Take a deep breath. A fully inflated healthy adult human lung should have approximately 100 square meters of internal surface area.
For decades, some believed that “seeding” promising rain clouds with silver iodide could generate precipitation. After a 40 year study, researchers at Tel Aviv University have concluded that cloud seeding produces from 0 – 3 percent additional rainfall.
A procedure for preserving food was pioneered by French scientist Pascal (nope, not Pasteur) by using extremely high air/water pressures. New technology can subject foods to as much as 80,000 psi (pounds/square inch) and this much pressure will destroy the cell walls of any living bacteria (E. coli, listeria, etc.). The method known as High Pressure Preservation (HPP) does not have the bad reputation of irradiation and typically leaves the texture and taste of staples unchanged. A food safety professor (a what?) at The Ohio State University avers that applications of this process can enable stores to sell pre-cooked meals including fried eggs, bacon, stews, etc., which can be safely left on the presentation shelves for years. Even raw shellfish and some vegetables have lasted for months while remaining edible.
Usually it is poor judgment to deliberately aggravate your boss. George B. McClellan was appointed general in chief of the Union Army in early November, 1861. Later that same month, his boss (one Abraham Lincoln) visited McClellan at the general’s home. George told his house servants to inform the president that he was tired. Then the arrogant (and some say inept) commander simply went to bed and ignored the fact that the President of the United States was waiting in his parlor. On March 11, 1862, McClellan was demoted. In November of 1862, he was relieved of his lesser command and was never given another.
Herman Melville had his “Moby-Dick” published in 1851. Some book reviewers of the 1850’s described the novel as “ridiculous” and the author’s reputation suffered. It was after Melville’s death that the work was hailed as a masterpiece and a great American Novel. I liked Ishmael and Queequeg, but my behavior is similar to Pip’s.
George Washington was present at America’s first hot-air-balloon flight (1793).
A man in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland recently received four citations for four speeding violations that occurred at the same location in a matter of two minutes. It seems that the man was seeing the speed camera system “flash” at him, so he kept driving by in an attempt to figure out what was going on. He found out to the tune of approximately $800. Have a great week.
James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The buzzard, the bat and the bumblebee
If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.
The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.
A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.
In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up! That's the answer, the escape route and the solution to any problem. Just look up.
Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but faith looks up!
Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly and trust in our Creator who loves us.