Luckily, the bullet hit no one

Bookmark and Share

james k whiteIn about 480 B.C., Croesus became king of Lydia (now part of Turkey) at age 25. Croesus used river silt containing electrum (an amalgam of gold and silver) to mint the world’s first standardized coins. Since he made the only real money, C-man was soon the richest person in the world. His wealth was legendary. People still often use the phrase “Rich as Croesus” when making reference to some tycoon, Mid-Eastern prince or attorney.

The first “human cannonball” was a 16 year old girl called The Great Zazel. She was launched 60-70 feet along a parabolic path onto a huge fishing net (London, 1877). At first, she was paid only “eating money,” but was soon earning more than 50 times the average annual income of a London laborer. The Great Zazel (Rosa Richter) lived to be 76 and died of natural causes.

The first fare-paying passenger to fly in space was a Japanese man named Toyohiro Akiyama. He visited the space station Mir (December, 1990). I suppose he is home by now.

Recently, a man named Sebastiaan Bowier pedaled a bicycle at a speed of 83.13 mph unaided over a flat surface. I can assure the reader that Sebastiaan has legs more powerful than mine.

A researcher from The University of Florida has confirmed that about 25% of the human population has a significantly higher number of functioning taste buds upon their tongues. These folks can taste flavors the rest of us cannot. Such people are usually labeled as “picky eaters” and normally do not care to eat leafy green vegetables or meat with substantial fat content.

In a felony assault trial, a lawyer (Clement Vallandigham) was attempting to demonstrate to a jury that the alleged victim could have shot himself. Clement showed the jury members a revolver and grasped it at the same angle a firearm was supposedly held at the crime scene – and pulled the trigger. The gun fired. Luckily, the bullet hit no one. Vallandigham won the case.

The Tanzanian Parasitic Wasp is probably the world’s smallest winged insect. With wings folded, the entire wasp is smaller than the eye of most houseflies.

On January 20, 2014 the U.S.-launched space craft Rosetta will awaken from a 42 month deep-space dormancy period and commence a detailed study of a comet with the charismatic name “Comet 67P.” Well, I hope that you become as rich as Croesus.

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