Mullet Over #565

ThinkingUniverseThe world’s first speed limit for automobiles was codified in 1903 (England).

Russia’s February Revolution was in March.

In 1810, Tabitha Babbitt of Massachusetts notched a flat metal disc and attached the device to a contraption that resembled a spinning wheel, foot pedals and all. Voila! The circular saw was invented. By 1813, her innovation led to the first water-powered saw mill. Tabitha was encouraged to obtain a patent on her idea, but she declined to do so because she felt it was prohibited by her religion (Shaker).

NeonAs a general rule, scientists should stay clear of politics. Georges Claude was already a prominent French chemist and physicist in 1910 when he discovered that neon gas gave off a bright orange glow as it conducted electricity. Claude subsequently became wealthy as he manufactured and sold the world’s first neon signs. Later, during the Nazi occupation of France in WWII, Claude thought that Germany was certain to win the war and somewhat passively supported the Nazi regime. After Germany surrendered (1945), Georges Claude was convicted of treason and spent 5 years in prison. He died in 1960.

There is little chance of a population explosion involving Alpine Salamanders. Females of the species usually remain pregnant for more than 36 months. These particular ovoviviparous amphibians nearly always give birth to twins.

IndianStickBallThe game of lacrosse was invented by Native Americans.     “La crosse” means “the stick” in French.

One of the hot money crops in the United States is pistachio nuts. Iran had long been the world’s main source of the green delights. However, economic trade sanctions and a 2008 devastating late frost in Iran compelled buyers from China, Western Europe and Israel to look elsewhere. Elsewhere has often been California where pistachio export tonnage has increased by a factor of 10 over the last few years.

The heart of an active hedgehog normally beats about 190 times per minute. The pulse drops to 20 bpm or less whenever the small mammal is in deep sleep or winter hibernation.



Chemists and molecular engineers claim to have produced some aligned carbon atoms in a strand of graphene that measures less than a millimeter in diameter. The skinny filament is so amazingly strong that it can be used to suspend a 1,000 pound weight in midair.

Well, there seems to be no immediate cause to fear being overrun by ovoviviparous amphibians, so have a great week.