THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- APRIL 15, 2017
None of us know very much, but it's not our fault. In fact, by the time you read this sentence you will have fallen farther behind because 1.7 megabytes of new information is created every second. “More data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race.”
Keeping up with the expansion of knowledge is no easy task. “Until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years.” According to IBM, the doubling of knowledge now happens every 12 hours. By this time tomorrow all human knowledge will have doubled twice!
(https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2015/09/30/big-data-20-mind-boggling-facts-everyone-must-read/#46e9750217b1 and http://www.industrytap.com/knowledge-doubling-every-12-months-soon-to-be-every-12-hours/3950)
Even with all this going on, I have faith that the big things will take care of themselves. What I worry about is all the minutia. The useless information that exists just because it is. Just because a piece of information is rather pointless does not mean it has no value. Right?
Like, with Easter tomorrow, did you know that about 1.5 billion Peeps candy chicks were produced for the holiday? When they were introduced in 1953 each Peep took 27 minutes to make, but now it only takes six minutes. Over 5.5 million Peeps are made each day at the Just Born factory in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Peeps had wings at first, but they were removed in 1955.
Speaking of food items that were removed, did you know McDonald's once served pizza? It was a short-lived menu item from 1989 to the early 90s. There are only two remaining McDonald's that still serve pizza, in Pomeroy, Ohio, and another in West Virginia. A big reason why pizza was dropped was the “boxes were too big to slide through drive-thru windows.” (http://www.newser.com/story/240867/mcdonalds-pizza-it-exists-and-this-guy-found-it.html)
Peeps and pizza may not be normal components of a healthy diet, but some Florida diners might prefer them over bat salad. When they opened prepackaged salad they discovered a dead bat. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says two people started eating the salad before noticing the decomposing winged mammal, which was found in a deteriorated condition." The package was labeled “Organic Spring Mix.” I fail to see the problem. I am not aware that there are commercial bat farms, so the bat was obviously wild caught and hence an organic source of protein. If I may paraphrase Jed Clampett of the “Beverly Hillbillies” TV show: “The best thing about bat salad is it's just as good the second day.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/04/09/bat-found-florida-salad-centers-for-disease-control-recall/100262288/)
On the subject of animals, I just found out that mailing someone a 20-foot snake is lawful. “A Washington, D.C., circuit court decided that it is no longer a federal crime to ship both reticulated pythons and green anacondas within the 49 continental states.” Hey, they make great gifts you can now ship to friends and family.
Pythons are tricky pets, though. “They mostly eat prey that’s up to a quarter their own length—so, around five feet, or the height of your average fifth grader.” One of these will keep the neighbor kids off your lawn, eh?
Anacondas can grow to 400 pounds and in the wild they sometimes “eat a deer.” These may be the ultimate home security system; stop the burglary and consume the burglar.
While the snakes are guarding your home, you might want to use your extra time to pursue a new occupation. A guy in Italy has come up with a good paying job that requires no talent whatsoever. You can make $1600 per month by standing in line.
“According to national statistics, Italians waste 16 days per year waiting in line, which costs the economy about $43 billion.” So an enterprising man, Giovanni Cafaro, “founded a network of waiting professionals.” The 500 “codisti” are sort of an Uber of line waiting.
I would be perfect for this profession. I went to a Catholic school run by nuns, so if there is anything I know how to do it's line up. We were taught to line up alphabetically, by birthday, by height, by boy-girl-boy-girl, and by grade point average. (To this day I can recognize classmates by the backs of their heads). We could even do combinations, like alphabetically by height. Show me an orderly line and I'll show you a group taught by nuns.
Finally, with Major League Baseball starting, did you know that the major leagues go through about a million baseballs per year? One million is a pretty big number, but not as impressive as the hot dog count. “The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimates that baseball fans will consume nearly 19 million hot dogs and more than 4.1 million sausages during the 2017 MLB season.” (www.hot-dog.org)
The total cost of baseballs used is around $7.5 million a year. They use 8-10 dozen per game and each individual ball has an average usage of about eight pitches. (http://mashable.com/2015/01/24/sports-balls-nfl-deflate-gate/#VNzeMCtLVqqB)
Virtually all of the baseballs used by MLB come from one factory in Costa Rica. There is no machine that sews baseballs, so every ball is hand-stitched. “Each of the 108 stitches per ball must be perfect. The factory’s output is about 2.4 million baseballs per year.” (http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/11/12/costa-ricas-major-league-concern)
Those baseballs are too shiny to use right away, though. Before every game, the umpires use a special mud from New Jersey to prepare the baseballs for play. “For nearly three quarters of a century, a special variety of Jersey muck, Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud, has been removing the sheen from baseballs for just about every professional baseball team in the country.” It's an MLB dirty secret. (http://baseballrubbingmud.com/)
That's a lot of baseballs. By comparison, the average number of balls used in an NFL game is 42-54, the NHL uses 30-45 pucks, and the NBA just three basketballs per game.
Well, that's enough minutia to keep you semi-informed for a while. Take Easter Day off. All human knowledge will only quadruple by Monday, so you won't miss much.