BY JAMES K. WHITE | JULY 25, 2012
One slang phrase for lobster is “sea bug.” These so-called sea bugs had become so abundant in the 18th century along America’s northeast coastline that the crustaceans were sometimes used as a field fertilizer. The lobsters were despised as a food source and were often included in prison inmates’ meals in order to extend a stern admonition as to how harsh conditions could be for those committing crimes.
The newt is a diminutive salamander with remarkable regenerative capabilities regarding legs, internal organs and skin. Medical researchers and biologists have recently removed a particular newt’s eye lens more than a dozen times and each time the newt has grown a new lens biologically identical to the original. The hope is to someday understand the process well enough to regrow body parts on humans.
Norman Rockwell is an American artist who became famous partially because he created more than 300 covers for “The Saturday Evening Post.” What many folks do not know is that an artist named J. C. Leyendecker drew more covers for that particular magazine than did the renowned Rockwell.
Reclamation: New Zealand’s Campbell Island suffered the fate of many unspoiled isles once rats were locally introduced. Literal havoc was wreaked upon the indigenous wildlife, especially the native birds. However, after an operose (clean word) campaign, the island has been declared rat-free. (One wonders whether a similar campaign might succeed in D.C.) Native flora and fauna are making remarkable recoveries on Campbell Island.
The location of the sightseers’ and honeymooners’ allure, one Niagara Falls, moves approximately 5 feet upstream each year (natural erosion).
The widely-recognized Chevrolet insignia was copied from some wallpaper designs that Billy Durant deemed attractive while in Paris (1913). Mr. Durant (founder of General Motors) ordered that the symbol that he “originated” was to be emblazoned on all his new Chevrolet automobiles.
For decades pioneers feared a mysterious disease that caused extreme pain and death. The mother of Abraham Lincoln was felled by the affliction in 1818. It was not until 1927 that “trained medical researchers” were able to determine that the cause of the malady was an herb known as white snakeroot. Whenever cows happen to eat this plant, milk from said bovines becomes deadly toxic for humans. An ironic bit of trivia is that the Shawnee medicine men had long known about the effects of white snakeroot but apparently were never asked. Well, you might plan a visit to Niagara Falls before the natural wonder disappears – and do have a pleasant week.
James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.