An article intended as a spoof


Scientists are focusing analyses on the protective shell sported by small mollusks that live in the depths of the Indian Ocean. A particular species of scaly-foot snail has a protective exoskeleton that withstands the pressures exerted some 8,000 feet below sea level. The hope is to copy the shells’ complex structure designs in order to fashion items such as helmets, bulletproof vests and even aircraft hulls that are stronger and lighter than any currently in existence.

Lamesa (pronounced “La Meesa” locally), Texas is legally the “Legendary Home of the Chicken-Fried Steak” – so declared by the Texas Legislature. The whole legend got started (1976) when an Austin newspaper fabricated and published an article intended as a spoof. The story was about a Lamesa café cook in 1911 who misunderstood a waitress’ written request for two lunch items: chicken, fried steak. The comma was omitted and “history” was made. Lamesa residents feature an annual Chicken Fried Steak Festival in April (This year April 25-27). Venders and cooks offer their wares while a lot of smiley eating transpires.

Rhinehart, a computer programmer and part time nutritionist, has been busy developing a new super-efficient food. He has blended a bland tasting liquid that contains dozens of basic ingredients deemed essential for human existence and growth. The concoction is called “soylent” and reportedly requires little or no foodstuffs from either agriculture or animal husbandry production. This soylent is similar to what most digested food becomes prior to being absorbed into our bodies. Claims are that the mélange is inexpensive to make and extended production is sustainable, perhaps easing global problems pertaining to starvation and malnutrition.

Birds make vocal noises by means of an avian noise-making organ called a syrinx. Turkeys and vultures have only one set of syrinx membranes and are hardly noted for their fine song creations. However, song birds have comparatively complicated syrinxes containing multiple membranes that can produce a spectrum of tones and even simultaneous sounds that harmonize. The feathered melody makers also have adapted their calls to better be heard in differing environs. Trilling notes do not carry well through heavy vegetation, so jungle and forest birds usually warble or whistle. I think that I’ve warbled a few times. It’s embarrassing.

Seven U.S. presidents have been Harvard alumni, beginning with John Adams in 1797. Well, I think that cafeteria staff at my grade school might have been ‘way ahead of Rhinehart on creating soylent – at least they had the bland factor mastered. Have a great week.

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