BY JAMES K. WHITE | DECEMBER 26, 2012
The bad news is …
3-D printers are now on the market that can produce increasingly complicated objects. The printers can access fluids such as plastic gels (that harden), various chemicals, powdered metals and epoxies. From digital instructions, a multitude of items can be created. These “printers” have experimentally produced ibuprofen tablets and car parts using data sent remotely. The possibilities seem voluminous once 3-D printers are made capable of accessing molten metals. They could then generate jewelry, knives, firearms, etc. Potential for these apparatuses (I looked up this word) has already produced both enthusiasm and angst.
Some good news is that our oceans are capable of absorbing many tons of excess carbon dioxide. The bad news is that much of this absorbed CO? converts into acids. Some regions of the Northern Pacific Ocean have become so acidic (according to a 2012 study) that the mortality rate of oyster larvae now exceeds 80 percent.
On a happier note, a biologist from LSU has discovered a tiny new frog in Papua New Guinea. Adults are less than one-third of an inch in length, much smaller than an American dime. The name is Paedophryne amanuensis (name for frog, not the LSU guy).
There exists a famous list identifying the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Of those magnificent seven, The Great Pyramid is the only one still standing. The pyramid is reputed to be a tomb for Khufu and was built in circa 2680 B.C. (They had a lot of circas back then.) The structure contains approximately 2.3 million stone blocks and the average weight of each stone is just over 5,000 pounds.
“Sleep experts” say that healthy people normally require 10-15 minutes after going to bed before falling asleep. Folks who go to sleep in five minutes or less are almost certainly sleep-deprived. Elephants can sleep while standing. However, when a pachyderm enjoys a “deep sleep” (REM), she lies down.
I had previously read that coyotes manage to survive inside the boundaries of several U.S. cities. Even so, I was surprised when a recent study indicated that more than 2,000 coyotes currently reside within the Chicago metropolis area. 2,000? The carnivores are mostly nocturnal and love to eat domestic cats, small dogs, squirrels and scraps of food discarded by humans. Some coyotes appear to be losing their fear of people as one was captured inside a Chicago restaurant.
I hope Santy Claus was good to you.
James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.