Are you keeping track of your birthdays? Do you still celebrate them? Put candles on your cake (even at the risk of burning down your house)? If you are finding yourself reluctant to talk about your age, perhaps you should start counting your age in dog years.
I’m not a beer drinker, but when I saw the sign in today’s picture, I thought it was clever. Some of you may need to consider this way of counting how many beers you have had! (But I don’t recommend you try that with a highway patrol officer!)
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1931, a swarm of grasshoppers descended on crops throughout the American heartland, devastating millions of acres. Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, already in the midst of a bad drought, suffered tremendously from this disaster.
Since the very beginning of agriculture, people have struggled to prevent insects from eating their crops. Locusts and grasshoppers, insect cousins, are among the most feared pests. A plague of these insects can occur when conditions cause their populations to suddenly explode. Usually, this happens under drought or very dry conditions since their egg pods are vulnerable to fungus in the wet soil. When the soil is very dry, swarms can develop.
Professor Jeff Lockwood of Wyoming describes being in a swarm as follows, They explode from beneath your feet. There’s sort of a rolling wave that forms out it front of you. They hit up against your body and cling against your clothes. It’s almost like being immersed in a gigantic living being. Locusts and grasshoppers undergo a significant transformation when they become part of a swarm. Their wings and jaws grow, enabling them to travel greater distances and increasing their appetite.
The July 1931 swarm was said to be so thick that it blocked out the sun and one could shovel the grasshoppers with a scoop. Cornstalks were eaten to the ground and fields left completely bare. Since the early 1930s, swarms have not been seen in the United States. However, North Africa and parts of the Middle East continue to experience problems with insect swarms, which sometimes include as many as 1 billion bugs.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: air travel has significantly increased the speed with which diseases can spread. Most of the world’s great cities are now within a few hours of each other. As SARS showed, a virus that is in Hong Kong one day can be carried to any point in Southeast Asia within three or four hours, to Europe in 12 hours, and to North America in 18 hours. Nearly 1.5 billion passengers travel by air every year.