“The unpleasant one”

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Cough, cough – According to 2013 American Lung Association data, California has seven of the USA’s ten dirtiest cities (as determined by ozone-contaminant levels). Texas has two (Houston and Dallas, numbers 7 and 8).

Rhinoceroses in the wild are endangered worldwide. Some people believe that powdered rhino horn is a powerful aphrodisiac and are willing to pay ridiculously high prices for the item ($70,000 per kg). As a result, thousands of the disappearing Dicerorhinos are illegally slaughtered annually. The horns are removed from the dead animals and quickly sold on the black markets. A new program enacted by wildlife rangers and zoologists involves sedating rhinos and reviving them subsequent to a dehorning process. Horns thusly removed are destroyed. The beasts are cosmetically damaged, but are no longer targets for horn poachers.

Passenger jets of the future may have a new look. Engineers working at Cal Poly (not named after parrots) have designed jets with the engines mounted on top of the wings. The new location appears to significantly increase wing-lift capabilities and reduces noise pollution to the ground by as much as 30 percent.

A clothing firm plans to soon market socks at $20 per pair. The foot coverings are made of Dyneema, a product 15 times stronger than steel, and are guaranteed to never get holes. However, you can still lose them in the dryer.

There are bullfights in Garza, Costa Rica. While these fights seldom result in any deaths, the bulls always survive. It is the bullfighters or montadores that take the risks. The montadores may “win” the fights by fatiguing the bulls or by riding the subdued beasts, but never by stabbing with swords. The bulls usually win as the bullfighters normally will give up and run or are so injured that they cannot continue and must be rescued. Some bulls are national heroes. The most famous is a bull named Malacrianza, which roughly translates to “the unpleasant one.”

You likely have never heard of a Russian named Nadezhda Popava. However, most every Nazi fighting on the Eastern Front in WWII was very aware of this woman. While bomber pilots were considered to be Aces after completing 25 bombing missions, Nadezhda successfully piloted an astonishing 852 bombing missions over Germany. Nazis called her “The Night Witch” (and other names). Nadezhda Popava passed away in 2013 at the age of 92. Well, I hope that your socks do not have holes and that you have a most enjoyable week.

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