INSIDE LOOK
10/1/2017

Useless Trivia

Jennifer Zurko
Do you ever hear something and think, “I never knew that!”
 
For instance, did you know that male seahorses are the ones that give birth instead of the females? Did you know that between 1900 and 1920, Tug of War was an Olympic event? And did you know that Joey Chestnut broke his own world record this year by eating 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes?
 
I like hearing little trivia tidbits like that. Most of them are useless, but sometimes you get to slip one in to a conversation to show how smart you are … or how lame you are. Depends on the crowd.
 
This month’s cover story centers around one of those facts that I don’t think a lot of people know, or have even thought about. If I asked you, “What’s the story with pH?” you’d probably regale me with tales of woe about how you can never get it right … or how successful you’ve been with keeping it just right. But did you know that the “birth” of pH came from beer?
 
Industry notable Lynn Griffith schools us on how figuring out a more precise way to test the acidity in beer in the early 1900s gave us what we know of today as pH. It’s an interesting read and you’ll be a little wiser for reading it.
 
Did you know that Chris, Ellen and I saw over one million new varieties at Spring Trials in April? Well, that’s not exactly accurate (but it felt like it!), however, we did see a lot of new stuff. I asked 10 breeders to send me growing information on one of the plants that stuck out for them during this year’s Spring Trials and we’ve got all of that.
 
Did you know that almost 800,000 businesses filed for bankruptcies in 2016? Let’s hope that never happens to you! And one way to avoid the worst is to be prepared for the worst—which sounds easy. No one is really truly ready when you have a major crop loss. But, perhaps when you read Paul Thomas’ tips on the dos and don’ts, and if you’re ever faced with a crop loss, you’ll be better able to handle it.
 
Did you know the tallest dandelion ever measured is 70 inches? No one would ever want to deal with that in their greenhouse (not that you would let it get that out of control) … or any weeds for that matter. So Dr. James Altland, a researcher with the USDA-ARS, conducted studies on using hot water and steam to prevent weeds from sprouting in your pots. 
 
Did you know that the longest article in TIME magazine was 26,000 words? (It was on health care, which is not surprising it took that long to discuss it.) I’m at about 490 right now, and don’t plan on trying to break that record, so I’ll just stop here. GT