Dogs have less to say

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James K. Polk has the distinction of being the only Speaker of the House of Representatives to become president of the United States.

Historians cannot agree as to who should be recognized as the first King of England. Some declare that King Egbert (also spelled Ecgbryh – folks from that era were not noted for their fine spelling) reigning from 802-839 was the first monarch of England. Others claim the first true English king was Ethelstan (also Athelstan – here we go again). He reigned from 924-939. Notice the 85 year gap where there was apparently no King of England. It appears that someone would have noticed. I suspect lousy bookkeeping.

Most houseflies “hum” in the key of F as they zoom about. Hmmm

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was not only a skilled and prolific composer, but also quite the family man. He had 20 children. Sadly, only 9 lived to adulthood.

Animal behaviorists have identified more than 100 distinct vocals sounds made by domestic cats. Most pet dogs produce only 10 or 11 distinct vocal expressions. Possible conclusion: dogs have less to say.

Aircraft engineers have dusted off some sketches of a supersonic biplane drawn by Adolf Busemann in the 1930’s. There were no jet engines that could generate enough power to make the plane feasible some 80 years ago. What makes the plan’s design so intriguing is that the two sets of wings on the craft can be aligned so that the super shock waves are nullified, resulting in no sonic boom.

Recent data indicates that there were 6,000 heat-related ER visits in the U.S. attributed to sports activities in 2011. Approximately 25% of the 6,000 were football related. U.S. sportswear companies plan to soon market athletic wear especially designed to use wick-like fabrics and evaporation to significantly assist in keeping perspiring athletes cooler.

A Japanese tire manufacturer may have re-invented the wheel, or the wheel/tire combination. Extending a concept used on lunar vehicles, the new wheel is made up of woven thermoplastic spokes radiating from an aluminum hub. A durable band of rubber tread is securely fixed around the wheel’s circumference. There is nothing pneumatic about the tire, ergo there is nothing to deflate and go flat. Not only could this invention be a financial bonanza, but the environmental nightmare of what to do with 300 million pneumatic tires that are annually scrapped could eventually disappear.

Well, listen to your cat – and have a great week.

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