A place named Muckanaghederdauhaulia

james k white Woolly bovines called highlanders thrive in the pastures and mountains of Scotland. Those extraordinary animals have two distinct lengths of hair, each providing special protections. The longer strands (often measuring 12 inches or more) are oily and jiggly which are functional in fending off rain, snow and insect pests. The dense shorter coats keep the animals warm in frigid weather that would doom other livestock. Since the highlanders are kept warm without needing special thick layers of fat, the beef they provide is remarkably lean. The hair coats are normally shed (and regrown) annually. The hardy mammals can also eat plants too tough for most grazers. The breed is becoming popular in climes once thought too cold for beef cattle, especially in regions of Canada and Alaska.

LASERS are intensified beams of light. A cousin beam, the MASER, is a concentration of microwaves. An immense improvement was achieved when an English physicist named Oxborrow (really!) used a hydrocarbon crystal to create a powerful MASER generator about the size of a loaf of bread. Previously, such potent devices were the size of household refrigerators.

One might be witness to a Northern Sky spectacular during the early morning hours of January 4, 2016. This is purportedly the best time to observe the Quadrantids Meteor Shower. Look towards the handle of The Big Dipper.

Ireland has what is likely the only place named Muckanaghederdauhaulia. The name reportedly means “pig marsh between saltwater firths.” I do not make this stuff up.

Researchers estimate the average person will spend six years dreaming while asleep. Z-Z-Z-Z

Although classified as a volcanic island, Tahiti has no active volcanoes.

The U.S. military has operated pilotless helicopters (Kaman K-Max models) in war zones since December of 2011. These high-tech choppers can carry 6,000 pound loads more than 200 miles and make pinpoint deliveries as directed by personnel using laptops and engaging autonomous flight controls on pre-programmed GPS routes. The loads are gently deposited and the wingless aircraft then return for maintenance and more cargo.

The Reebok Shoe Company named their enterprise after an African gazelle. I do not recall anyone ever referring to me as “a gazelle.” The African beast called a gnu is said to be named after the grunty noises the animals make. I consider it a blessing that I am not named after the noises I make. Well, enjoy those Quadrantids and have a Happy New Year.

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