A rather strange event occurred

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MULLETT OVER BY JAMES WHITEFor several years, the USA had topped the list in monies spent on international travel. However, those days are past as China has zoomed to first place spending an estimated $102 billion during the most recent data year (2012). USA and Germany tied for 2nd at roughly $84 billion.

If tourists spent some of those funds visiting Ecuador, they may have seen a few volcanoes in the region. There are 30 volcanic sites on the mainland and 14 more on nearby Ecuadoran islands. Nine mainland volcanoes have erupted since 1534, some violently and more than once.

The blend called sucralose (marketed as Splenda) was developed by a chemist who was working to create an insecticide that would attract ants, etc.

Manhattan College is located in the Bronx. Perhaps real estate in Manhattan is prohibitively expensive.

A rather strange event occurred in New Zealand in 2013. An earthquake registering 7.2 on the Richter scale hit a densely (for N.Z.) populated area, but no buildings or bridges collapsed. No resultant injuries were reported. The quake happened slowly over a period of about four months and only sensitive seismic instruments detected the tectonic movements. Geologists and seismologists are carefully studying the scientific reports in an attempt to understand exactly what transpired near Wellington, N.Z.

A specially adapted (for firefighting) Segway can be remotely operated and carry up to 400 lbs. of equipment. The device has fire-resistant tires and a maximum speed of 18 mph. It can tote a hydrant-connected hose with a directional nozzle while streaming water at 600 gallons per minute. The Segway Robotic appears to be effective in dousing flames and in aiding firefighters to keep out of harm’s way.

A newly developed building material called cross-laminated timber (CLT) is reshaping the construction of tall buildings. In Stockholm, a 34 story all-wood frame and wall structure has been approved to be erected this year. A 42 story CLT skyscraper is being planned. Proponents claim that these wooden edifices are stronger, lighter and more fire-resistant than those made of either steel or concrete. Improved engineering (better weight distribution), superior materials, lower costs, precision-fitted components and smaller carbon footprints are claimed to be additional advantages offered by this unconventional concept.

Well, if you must endure an earthquake, I hope that it is one of those really slow ones. Have a great week.

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