One of the cool things about that internet thingy is how much information is at our fingertips. Imagine a life where you'd actually have to wait ten seconds for the answer to a question. You can now unearth almost anything with just a click or swipe.  


For instance, the “World Wide Web” almost had a different name. “It wasn’t the original moniker.” A few ideas were considered: Information Mine. Mine of Information, and Mesh. In 1990, World Wide Web was adopted, since “mesh” sounded too similar to “mess.” (


Back then there was one website. The “Mesh” has grown a bit since then. “It has blossomed into nearly two billion websites, as of 2022.” No wonder information is so easy to find. 


There is info on the smallest of things, like the humble penny. “The manufacturing cost for a penny is more than double its value — in 2021, each penny cost 2.1 cents to strike. That same year, the government produced 7.6 billion pennies, equating to a financial loss of $145.8 million.” Eliminating pennies is an idea that has been considered. Canada did that in 2012. (


Speaking of cash, people were not always paid with coins of the realm. The Mesh tells us that things like salt and beer were sometimes used in lieu of money. The oddest, though, went on in Russia and Finland. “Squirrel pelts were once used as a form of currency. Fur was a valuable commodity in the frozen tundra, providing a source of clothing and blankets. Therefore, the pelts became important in trading. Sometimes those using pelts as currency went even further, using the ears, snouts, and other parts to make change.” (


With all those pelts being swapped, you have to wonder what happened to the squirrel meat. To paraphrase Jed Clampett: 'The thing about squirrel stew is it's just as good the second day.' 


Once you know what's for dinner the obvious decision is when to have dinner. I found the answer on the Mesh. “Dinner time varies around the world. Using data from the American Time Use Survey, between 2018 to 2022, we can see the percentage of households in this country who were eating during a given time. Most households eat dinner between 5:07pm and 8:19pm, with peak dinner time at 6:19m.” (


The state with the earliest average dinner time is Pennsylvania at 5:37 pm. The latest starter is Texas at 7:02 pm. Michigan, at 6:10 pm, is in the middle of the pack. 


One dinner component might be cauliflower. The Mesh gives us an interesting fact about this vegetable – you can hear it grow. “While most plants are silent, cauliflower is able to eke out a barely audible sound. The vegetable can add as much as one inch per day. That rapid expansion means the florets of the plant’s popcorn-like heads often rub against one another as they grow, creating a noise many farmers call 'cauliflower creak.' Some agriculturalists describe the tone as a soft squeak.” (


Still in the produce aisle, knowing what's in season is always helpful. The Mesh notes: “At one time or another, you’ve likely heard the advice to eat seasonally or, more specifically, to eat seasonal produce. The benefits of following this advice are vast and varied, and they include everything from better-tasting food to money savings to a positive impact on your environment and local agriculture.”


Reader's Digest has a hand guide complete with graphics at: All four seasons are covered. “In-season produce tends to be fresher and has a better flavor compared to fruits and vegetables that are shipped from faraway places or stored for extended periods. Eating in-season allows you to enjoy the natural and full taste of each food item.”


Finally, the summer vacation season is still in full swing, but a headline on Travel+Leisure is valuable advice (via the Mesh): “Never Share Photos of Your Boarding Pass on Social Media.”


They make a good observation. “Boarding passes contain quite a bit of personal information. Your boarding pass always shows your full legal name, your ticket number, and your passenger name record (PNR), which is the six-digit alpha-numeric code that is unique to your booking. Using the PNR and your last name, a hacker can have full access to your booking information, which will give them access to your phone number, email address, and emergency contact information.” 


There's even more hackers could exploit. “Sharing your boarding pass details could have consequences beyond travel-related theft and scams, too. "You’re tipping off scammers that you’re about to be on vacation, meaning you might be less diligent in checking your bank accounts for any unusual activity. Letting people know you’re on vacation means you’re also sharing that you’re away from home, as well as the dates you’ll be out of town, leaving your home at risk of physical security threats like break-ins." (


The bottom line? "Keep your info safe and save the travel bragging for when you're safely back home!" After all, the Mesh will still be there when you return. 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at and