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A Matter of Perspective

I have been reading back over my previous musing and I have come to the realization that I have been laying some pretty heavy stuff down lately.

So in that light, I thought I would offer some “lighter” material this week.

I have been reading this book aptly titled, “The Book of General Ignorance.” It was written by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson.

The book’s sole purpose is to show you that everything you thought you knew was wrong! There are 230 short chapters each dedicated to a question for which many of us will undoubtedly fail to arrive at the correct answer.

I thought I would share a few with you.

1. How do moths feel about flames?

If you answered that they are drawn to them, you would be mistaken.

They are not attracted to them, they are disoriented by them. Moths use the sun and moon to help them fly in a straight path.

Long story short, “when people came along with their portable miniature suns and moons and a moth flies past, the light confuses it. It assumes it must somehow be moving in a curved path because its position in relation to the stationary sun or moon has unexpectedly changed.

“The moth then adjusts its course until it sees the light as stationary again. With a light source so close, the only way this is possible is to fly around and around it in circles.”

Bummer for the moths! I wonder how many millions of dollars were spent on the research to discover this?!

This next one is kind of frightening but very interesting nonetheless.

2. What is the largest living thing?

It’s a mushroom. It might even be one that lives on a tree stump in your yard. It is the honey fungus (Armillaria ostoyae).

Most of them don’t get as big as the world’s largest recorded specimen which is in Malheur National Forest in Oregon. It covers 2200 acres and is estimated to be between 2000 and 8000 years old.

Fortunately, most of it is underground in the form of a “massive mat of tentacle-like white mycelia (the mushroom’s equivalent of roots). These spread along tree roots, killing the trees and peeping up through the soil occasionally as innocent-looking clumps of honey mushrooms.

Digest that for a while!

3. How long can a chicken live without its head?

I was way off. After having butchered chickens with my dad when I was a kid, I had seen them run around “like chickens with their heads cut off” but that only lasted a few minutes at tops.

The longest known chicken to live with its head cut off was two years.

Yep, you read that correctly. His name was Mike and he was known as Mike the Headless Wonder Chicken.

He was being butchered on September 10, 1945, but the “axe missed his jugular vein and left enough of his brain stem attached to the neck for him to survive, even thrive.”

He was featured in Time and Life magazines and was a sideshow attraction all over the United States.

His owner would feed him through an eyedropper. But he also “pecked” at the ground with his neck.

Mike died when he started to choke one night and his owner realized he did not have the eyedropper to help Mike clear his airway.

Well, there you have it, a couple of tidbits that will have you scratching your head (if you still have one!) and wondering what in the world...



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