Useless trivia!

Ah, the gardening business is good. Unfortunately, that means it's time for me to suddenly change topics. Ready? Here we go!

1. Back in the days of the Roman Empire, Celtic was fairly widespread throughout Europe, and there were two dialects: "P" Celtic and "Q" Celtic. These were recognised by their native speakers as being distinct languages, but an outside observer would be hard pressed to tell the difference. The Romans referred to one of those peoples as "Germanus", which translates loosely to "out and out" Celts. In other words, "those people who are obviously Celts, except that they seem to think they're different from those other Celts we've seen. Even though they're obviously Celts. Go figure. Anyway, Hail Caesar!"

And that's why they prefer to refer to their country "Deutschland".

2. Here's one for those who know the pain of ISO 17025: Up until 1699, even though the mile was the standard unit of distance in Sweden, the actual length of a mile would vary widely, based on what part of Sweden you were in.

If "Seinfeld" took place in 17th century Sweden, one episode would have had Kramer and J├Ârge taking their horse to an abandoned racetrack in a far-off province, because its smaller mile would let them claim the equine speed record.

You know, the idea of a Swedish 17th century "Seinfeld" sounds much more appealing than it has any right to be.

3. My new favourite insect is the leaf-rolling caterpillar. In order to misdirect wasps, its larvae has a ring of blood vessels around its anus, and a hinged plate on top. When it defecates, it builds up pressure before releasing the hinge, allowing it to propel its waste up to two feet away!

And you thought projectile vomiting was bad.

4. Actually, I do have one bit of news from the greenhouse: After playing with the new camera, we decided to take a group photo. I'm the third from the right, with the cold nose and the hot chest.

Imposing, aren't we? Kind of like the Rainbow Brite version of Reservoir Dogs.


Anonymous said...

Fine, if no one else will say it: "Hot chest... indeed!"

Why does it always fall to me to make these comments?


Denton said...

Because I don't use sock puppets. Otherwise, I would have said it myself days ago.

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.