Beware the Frog!

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Double click for a larger version of the image…

Did you know that there are around 5000 species of frog in the world?  Every continent has them except for Antarctica. The largest frog in the world is the Goliath frog. It can grow as long as 3 feet when stretched out, and can weigh as much as a human baby (7+ pounds). They are found in Equitorial Guinea and Camaroon in western Africa, lack vocal sacs (so they make no noise) and can as long as 15 years.

The recently discovered Paedophryne amauensis is not only the world’s smallest frog, but also the world’s tiniest vertebrate.  It is about the size of a housefly, averaging 7.7mm long, living solely on the rain forest floor leaf litter detritus in New Guinea.

The Goliath frog could be quite alarming due to its size, the Paedophryne amauensis is interesting because of it’s diminuitive size, but the poison-dart frog is the deadliest of all the croakers. On average they are about 6/10ths of an inch long and are native to central and South America. They are called the “poison-dart frog” because four species of them are used to kill prey by some of the indigenous tribes. They dip the tip of their blow darts into the poison secreted by the frogs and the darts are used to kiill prey…and on occasion, undoubtedly, people. It is said that a single drop of the poison will kill a human being within three minutes.

So, instead of “Beware of Dog”, I thought this item which I saw at a craft fair on Saturday, gave new meaning to “Beware of Frog!”

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on this day in 1998, a pipeline explosion in Jesse, Nigeria, killed 700 people. The resulting fire burned for nearly a week.

Nigeria is an oil-rich country on the west coast of Africa. The oil fields are controlled by several multi-national corporations in cooperation with the Nigerian government. Very little of the proceeds from oil exports reaches the average citizen of the country and millions of people live in abject poverty. In fact, gas pipelines run right through impoverished villages.

One such pipeline ran through the town of Jesse, where it became commonplace for residents to steal oil from the pipeline to supplement their meager incomes. This was known as “bunkering” and was taking place on October 18, when a helicopter was dispatched to disperse the people assembled at the pipeline. Just after the helicopter arrived, a massive fireball shot up 100 feet into the sky. The exact cause of the explosion remains unknown.

The pipeline explosion incinerated hundreds of people instantly. Others died from agonizing burn injuries. The fire burned so hot that rescue workers could not approach the scene for six days. Meanwhile, survivors, some suffering from terrible burns, were afraid to go to the hospital for fear that they would be charged with theft or be blamed for causing the fire.

Finally, specialists from Houston, Texas, arrived with firefighting foam that helped the firefighters extinguish the blaze. Heavier security surrounding the pipelines was instituted in the wake of this disaster.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Speed dating, invented by a rabbi from Los Angeles in 1999, is based on a Jewish tradition of chaperoned gatherings of young Jewish singles.

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