In this blogposting…
*Words, Words, Words
*What I Found Out Today
So get out there and give ‘em hell…
Hmmmmm. The curse of truckshunterdom strikes again. Sid and Hildie have got in touch to tell me that there is no cafe in Gateshead Central Library; it’s closed for refurbishment until (ironically) two days after AGM XX.
They’ve suggested that we meet in the cafe in Saltwell Park instead.
I will agree to this on one condition only; that we make our customary pilgrimage to the ginkgo tree. That’s the only way that a splendid time is guaranteed for all.
So, if we’re agreed on that, the AGM will now take place at 1100 on Thursday 14 October in Saltwell Park.
WORDS, WORDS, WORDS
A few months ago, truckshunter Natasha sent me a list of her favourite words; not because of their meanings but more because of their sounds, construction and overall intrinsic beauty.
This resulted in a very pleasurable torrent of favourite words from all over the truckshunter universe.
Well I’m thrilled to the marrow to report that I’ve heard from Michael, in Houghton-le-Spring. He’s emailed me to say how pleased he was that I used the word ethereal in a recent blog, ethereal being one of his favourite words.
And just for good measure, he’s added a few more. I love them - although I’ve had to look a couple of them up.
They’re smashing, aren’t they? Especially wafture.
Feel free to send me your own nominations for the Truckshunter Book Of Lovely Words.
WHAT I FOUND OUT TODAY
They say - not entirely accurately - that you learn something every day. So here’s s titbit of exotica that floated my way earlier this morning, when I should have been doing something else…
Today I found out that bananas are naturally radioactive.
This is because they contain relatively high amounts of potassium. Specifically, they contain Potassium-40, which is a radioactive isotope of potassium.
And it doesn’t end there. Far from it.
The fact that bananas are radioactive has actually given rise to a recognised unit of radiation: namely the banana equivalent dose (BED); this is the average amount of radiation you are exposed to by eating one banana. (I’m not making this up.)
The banana equivalent dose is (it says here) ‘occasionally used to help conceptualise the relative danger of various radiation sources and amounts’. For instance, the amount of radiation typically leaked by a modern nuclear fission reactor.
Stay with me - it's worth the effort.
This leaked radiation is typically extremely small, usually about one picocurie. A picocurie is a millionth of a millionth of a curie.
Now, I know perfectly well that one picocurie still doesn’t make much sense to most people, me included. And that’s why the banana equivalent dose was introduced - to give everyone to whom these things are important an easy way to understand whether X amount of radiation is harmful or not (given that we all know that bananas aren’t harmful).
For instance, living within 10 miles of a typical nuclear power station will expose you on a daily basis to just a bit more radiation than you’d get from eating one banana a day.
(Your assignment today, should you be insane enough to accept it, is to tell someone that fact. Just say 'living within 10 miles of a typical nuclear power station will expose you on a daily basis to just a bit more radiation than you’d get from eating one banana a day' and record their reaction.)
Now before you start boycotting bananas because of this wholly unexpected and deeply unsettling information, consider this….
To cause any degree of illness in a person, it takes about 100 rems. (A rem is a quantity of ionising radiation - a measurement of how much radiation a person is exposed to.)
So, on the basis that eating one banana a day for a whole year only exposes you to 3.6 millirems, you’d need to eat about 10,000,000 bananas in order to reach 100 rems.
So be careful. You have been warned.
Hildie has pointed out - apropos the John Lennon picture in the last blogposting - that, had he lived, he would have been 70 today.
ONE GOOD TERN...DESERVES ANOTHER
Inspired by the tern revelations last time out, newcomer Stan (about whom I know nothing but his name) has sent me some more bird facts.
*Ducks never lay eggs in the evenings; no-one has worked out quite why this is
*Sea water does not harm albatrosses, which drink nothing else; their digestive tracts remove most of the salt
*The nests of the penculine tit are so strong that they can be - and are - used as carrier bags
Which brings us neatly back to the carrier bag pictures, I guess….
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