The shopping cart made its debut


Your chicken nuggets may never taste the same. In September of 2013, the USDA issued a ruling that allows chickens raised and slaughtered in the U.S. to be shipped frozen to China. While in China, the frozen poultry can now be legally “processed” by various means and returned to the U.S.A. to be sold as food for humans. Yummy.

A new species of bat has been discovered and named in South Sudan. Some locals refer to the mammal (Niumbaha superba) as the badger bat because it has a black body and bright white stripes, thusly being redolent of a common badger.

Many are unaware that more than 400,000 enemy combatants (mostly German and Italian) were transported by ship and imprisoned in the continental U.S.A. during the latter stages of WWII.

Do you recall those “mood rings” which were such a fad a few years back? Well, gimmickry may have presaged science once again. In June of 2013, scientists conducting research at Carnegie Mellon (totally different from Musk Melon) University had identified brain activities for nine specific emotions, including anger, fear, lust, envy, pride, disgust, sadness, happiness and shame. While not yet constructed, data monitors could easily be devised to reflect readings with a representative color for each emotion. Mini-monitors assembled in the shape of bracelets or rings may not be far in the future.

John I of Magna Carta fame was not a popular monarch in England. Many of his kingly/princely activities involved schemes for levying and collecting taxes. One of his more creative efforts was revealed during the early years of the 13th century when he began to tax widows who remained unmarried “too long.”

The poet/playwright T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) was actually Thomas Stearns Eliot.

Some inventions that are ubiquitous (clean word) today were conceived decades after an apparent need was present. For instance, it was not until Oklahoma grocery store owner Sylvan Goldman connected two folding chairs and added small wheels in 1937 that the shopping cart made its debut. Goldman made far more money from his special cart invention/patent than he did from selling groceries.

Comets can be spectacular and fascinating. It is not uncommon for a comet to have a tail 10,000 miles in length. However, scientists speculate that the total volume of every atom in a comet’s tail would be less than the capacity of a common pill bottle. Well, enjoy your imported chicken treats – and have a great week.

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