To have some fun at a summer soirée just dazzle the attendees with a fact and walk away. Causing befuddlement can be quite perplexing to the befuddlee but quite entertaining for the befuddler. 


In last week's column I offered some topics that might rescue you from boredom at gatherings. This week I offer a different strategy. Toss a fact into the air and let the peanut gallery try to figure out what to do with the information. It's pretty close to throwing fresh roadkill into a murder of crows just to see what happens. Then, if anyone asks where you came up with this stuff, just direct them to the source and dazzle them a second time. 


Fact: We earthlings are now experiencing the highest carbon dioxide levels in human history. “Scientists recorded the first ever carbon dioxide reading above 415 parts per million (ppm) at the Mauna Loa Observatory. It’s not just the highest carbon dioxide has been in 61 years of data. It’s the highest its ever been in 800,000 years of data.” Source: https://earther.gizmodo.com/atmospheric-co2-levels-just-hit-a-scary-new-milestone-1834726038.


Fact: A new study suggests streaming music may be polluting the earth. While the use of plastics needed to create records has gone down, “...the energy it takes to stream and download digital music has caused greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to rise sharply.” Researchers at the University of Glasgow stated: “The research shows GHGs of 140 million kilograms in 1977, 136 million kilograms in 1988, and 157 million in 2000. But by 2016 the generation of GHGs by storing and transmitting digital files for those listening to music online is estimated to be between 200 million kilograms and over 350 million kilograms in the US alone.” Source: https://www.gla.ac.uk/news/headline_643297_en.html.


Fact: Speaking of plastics, the debris is a problem in the earth's oceans. Want proof? “The Cocos Keeling Islands make up barely 6 square miles of land, about 1,300 miles off the northwest coast of Australia. More than 414 million pieces of plastic debris are estimated to be currently sitting on the islands weighing 238 tons.” Scientists have found 373,000 toothbrushes and around 975,000 shoes (largely flip-flops) on the beaches." Source: https://www.npr.org/2019/05/16/723641299/remote-island-chain-has-few-people-but-hundreds-of-millions-of-pieces-of-plastic.


Fact: Plastic is not the only problem for the earth's waters. “Scientists studying freshwater shrimp in British waterways have made an eye-opening discovery. According to a new study, all the shrimp they looked at tested positive for cocaine.

Beyond cocaine, illegal pesticides, pharmaceuticals and ketamine were also widespread in the shrimp that were collected.” Source: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article229912739.html.


Fact: We all know credit cards are yuck magnets. A recent newspaper headline proclaimed: “Credit and debit cards have more germs than cash and train station urinals.” When it comes to cash, though, some interesting things have come to light, particularly if you happen to have a $100 bill in your wallet. “Despite the advent of debit and credit cards and various types of electronic payments, cash remains the most frequently used payment form, according to a Federal Reserve study, with the number of bills in circulation rising for 17 straight years. One recent development is that there are now more $100 bills out there than any other denomination, as they have emerged as a favored way to store wealth and aren't exchanged as often as many other bill types. This meshes with a finding that $100 bills were the cleanest U.S. currency type examined, with $5 bills the dirtiest, followed by $10 and $20 bills.” Source:  https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/05/22/debit-credit-cards-have-more-germs-than-train-station-urinals/3762009002/.


Fact: Speaking of money, you may not have as much as you would like but that is not the case for the country's CEOs. “Did you get a percent raise last year? Congratulations, yours was in line with what CEOs at the biggest companies got. But for chief executives, that 7 percent was roughly $800,000. Pay for CEOs at S&P 500 companies rose to a median of $12 million last year. At more than 40 percent of the companies, the CEO’s pay rose by at least double the percentage of the median worker’s pay gain.” Source: https://www.apnews.com/1a68c31f2cb54b15af536cbe168442bf.


Fact: For maximum output, companies might want to pay attention to the thermostat settings in their workplaces. “The battle of the thermostat may have a real effect on workers' productivity, and women benefit when offices are warmer, a new study found. Researchers found that women generally performed better in warmer temperatures and men in colder ones. At low temperatures, men clearly outperform women. At high temperatures the gender difference disappears." Source:



Finally, you may want to use a fact that is guaranteed to send people to their phones and tablets to see a video. They won't believe this unless they see it for themselves. 


Fact: “Auto giant Ford is teaming up with a robotics firm on a self-driving delivery project which features a two-legged robot carrying packages from the car to your front door. The robot, named Digit, is made by Agility Robotics. It moves like a human and can lift packages weighing up to 40 pounds. The robot is able to react to situations like being bumped while maintaining its balance. It can also climb up and down stairs and navigate uneven terrain.” Video Source: https://youtu.be/WHWciIxNK2c


There's more. “Ford's plan to leverage robots for home deliveries is only the beginning. In January, Amazon revealed it started testing a six-wheeled robot named Scout to make deliveries in a neighborhood in Washington state. Meanwhile, FedEx is working on a SameDay bot capable of delivering packages autonomously.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2019/05/22/ford-walking-robot-deliver-packages/3765162002/)


Now that you have dazzled and befuddled your audience, let the fun begin. 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews