BY JAMES K. WHITE | OCTOBER 3, 2012
Multitasking may be overrated. Dr. Clifford Nass of Stanford University has conducted research which indicates people who are simultaneously working on two or more complex tasks are often affected by stress, irrelevant stimuli and lack of concentration. All these factors can combine to lessen achievement levels. This could be why I must choose to either walk or chew gum.
Do you feel spunky after a good meal? Roman armies of old frequently designated a special platoon to be in charge of tending chickens. The birds were conveyed in crowded coops but were kept well-nourished and sheltered. Just prior to big battles, Roman combatants were served special meals of roasted chickens and boiled eggs. Roman commanders firmly believed that keeping an army well fed was a key to success in warfare.
In certain Tibetan meadows above 15,000 feet, one can observe children, women and men on their knees digging amongst the mountain grasses. Such has become a common sight as people eagerly search for a biological oddity – a ghost moth larva infected with the fungus yartsa gunbu. I am not making this up. The moth/fungus combination is believed by some to be a panacea that cures a litany of afflictions including baldness, liver diseases, heart ailments, HIV/AIDS and infertility. The “miracle” product is routinely sold for more than $3,000 per ounce. Wow. Let’s get some knee pads and head to Tibet.
Seventeen nations have collaborated to develop a technological marvel called the James Webb Space Telescope. The huge device (21 foot primary mirror) is to be placed in an orbit approximately 930,000 miles from Earth in the year 2018. Astronomers are very excited and anticipate receiving data that should “inform us of many wonders yet unknown.” Gee, scientists have already discovered more stars than I can keep track of (over a hundred).
Take a look at your pet octopus. He or she will have eye pupils that are rectangular.
Do you have a troublesome daily commute? Perhaps you do not have it so bad. In 1990 there was a traffic jam in Japan that extended 84 miles and included a 72 hour wait. This is a world record – unless a longer tie-up has occurred this week. I might mention the 2010 traffic jam of Beijing. It was a mere 62 miles long, but reportedly took 10 days to unjam.
Newspaper headline: Citizenry Split on Mayor as Uniter or Divider. Well, good luck in your pursuit of yartsa gunbu – 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.