Pulse Rate June 2012

Jerry Garcia is considered the most-recorded guitarist in history. From the early 60s to his death in 1995, an estimated 15,000 hours of his playing (with the Grateful Dead and various solo projects) is committed to tape.

The ease with which mosquitoes find us may seem uncanny, but their senses are fine-tuned for the job. Their antennae can detect human-emitted carbon dioxide and lactic acid from 100 feet away, they can sense the chemicals in sweat and their eyes are adept at spotting movement and bright colors.

The ubiquitous summer sound of cricket chirps can be used to determine temperature in Fahrenheit. Just count the number of chirps in 15 seconds and add 37.

Jellyfish are 95% water. The rest is a translucent, inert jelly-like substance called mesoglea.

The pseudonym “Mark Twain” is actually a riverboat call for water that is 2 fathoms deep
(about 12 feet), the minimum depth for navigation.

By the time Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany in 1934, he had avoided paying taxes to the tune of 405500 million Reichsmarks, about $6.3 million today. However, these debts were forgiven.

Flying a flag at half-staff to honor the recently deceased originated when a British ship’s captain died at sea in 1612 and the flag was lowered in tribute to him. It is thought that the flag is lowered to make room for the “invisible flag of death.”

Ancient Romans required 4 million crushed murex mollusk shells to create one pound of purple pigment. The color, known as imperial purple, was reserved for the togas of emperors, consuls and senators because of its great expense.

The Greek philosopher Plato is credited with discovering that two different paint colors could
be mixed to produce a third color. This discourse on colors is printed in the Timaeus, his
dialogue about the universe.

Seasonal changes are more extreme depending on the tilt of a planet’s axis. Uranus has the most extreme tilt angle in the solar system at 97.9 degrees—almost on its side. In each hemisphere, winter solstice brings 21 years of darkness and summer solstice brings 21 years of daylight.

Summer, 1858 in London was known as The Great Stink, the peak of untreated human waste disposal in the river Thames. It was so bad that Parliament nearly left the city, and almost immediately they allocated funds for an effective sewer system.

The case for keeping free-range toads as pets in the warmer months: Each eats about 10,000
insects per summer.