AUGUST 22, 2012 | BY JAMES K. WHITE
Don’t step in the “mobeetie”
A new concept in stadiums (stadia?) is on some drawing boards. Football fields, baseball fields and large capacity movable seating sections (with and without roofs) are planned to be built on huge floating barges. Two or even three barges could be temporarily connected (including restroom-shower facilities) and entire venues could be floated to suitable ports, perhaps next to huge parking lots. The shape-shifting, site-changing stadiums could be used for varied sports presentations, rock concerts, political rallies, etc. for rental fees without the enormous construction costs or loss of valuable acreage inherent with traditional arenas.
For you soccer fans, especially those who have been miffed by “bogus” goals, help may be on the way. German engineers have developed an electronic goal-detecting system wherein magnetic fields are generated across the faces of on-field goal regions and the soccer balls are embedded with special chips that set off visual and audible indicators whenever legal goals are scored. Similar applications are possible in both ice hockey and American-style football.
Years ago (1879), a town in north Texas filed to have its name officially registered as "Sweetwater.” There was already a town in Texas named Sweetwater, so one of the citizens said that the place should be called “Mobeetie,” which was an unspecified Indian dialect for “Sweetwater.” The name was officially accepted by the state. Years later a person who purportedly spoke several Native American dialects informed town residents that “mobeetie” actually means “buffalo manure.” Mobeetie, Texas is still on the map – population 107 (plus or minus a few).
Improved varieties of a legume called chickpeas have caused quite a stir amongst farmers, nutritionists and hungry people. The humble pea provides twice as much protein as a similar weight of corn and the plants are not only quite hardy but also improve the soils in which they grow by releasing nitrogen. More than 50 nations currently grow chickpeas on a large scale. Farmers in Asia and Africa have reported that chickpea per-acre yields have doubled over the last three years.
Kiwis are peculiar birds for several reasons. One notable feature is the size of the eggs they lay. Kiwis and chickens are approximately the same size and weight. However, the New Zealand fowl’s eggs are about six times as massive as domestic hen’s eggs. The “australis mantelli” gets its common name from the cry of the females, “kiwi kiwi,” which is bird talk for “ouch!”
Well, remember that a little research might be in order whenever you are selecting town names – and have a great week.
James White is a retired mathematics teacher who enjoys sharing fascinating trivia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.