I am not making this up

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MULLETT OVER BY JAMES WHITEWarren G. (Gamaliel) Harding was the first U.S. President to broadcast a speech over the radio waves. Not to be outdone, Ronald Reagan was the first Commander-in-Chief to wear contact lenses.
A zoologist in Costa Rica recently discovered that the Mucuna holtonii flowers echo special sounds to attract nectar-drinking bats. I am not making this up. The plants have singular fragrance-wafting slits in the upper portions of their flowers. The fluttering mammals follow the scents while emitting short sound bursts and deciphering the echoes. The bats have learned to identify those special slit reverberations and hone in on the meals being offered.
Weather can play havoc with one’s travel plans -- and with the airline industry’s profits. One snowy week in February (2013) saw more than 14,000 flights being cancelled. Experts estimate that each cancellation costs the involved airline an average of $250,000. O’Hare experienced the most cancellations while the Dallas-Ft. Worth terminals had the second most.

Human deaths caused by snakebites are not exclusively tragedies of the past. Almost 100,000 confirmed poisonous snake-induced deaths were recorded in 2012. Lack of proper medical attention and scarcity of appropriate antivenoms were major factors. Dr. Matt Lewin is working to overcome those two obstacles by developing education programs, special cell-phone apps (for first-aid) and inexpensive nasally-administered antivenoms that have extended shelf lives.
The last known dodo bird died in 1681.

The planet Saturn has 60 identified moons. This situation might present an opportunity for personal legacy as only 52 of those moons have officially been named.

In North America, the earth is about 3,000,000 miles closer to sun in the winter than in the summer.

During Gerald Ford’s presidency, his dog Patsy gained celebrity status. So many fans wrote to the White House requesting the autograph of Patsy that a special rubber stamp of the canine’s paw was commissioned. It seems that the pet’s actual front paws had become raw from “autographing” and the stamp fabrication was a humane gesture. The “forgeries” were kept secret until Ford left office in 1977.

Scientists estimate that underneath the Saharan Desert there are water reservoirs containing an astonishing 150,000 cubic miles of the valuable liquid. Most of the water is considered to be inaccessible because of physical barriers (depth, rock strata, etc.). Well, I hope you enjoyed learning about those clever Mucuna holtonii and I wish you a pleasant week.

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