List the things you’re curious about:
- My friend, Linda, has been worried about rattlesnakes lately. She lives on a river, which gives her a beautiful view, but also a generous number of wild animals close by. Her fenced yard keeps out some, but not all, pests. The fence would not keep out snakes. There has been, according to CNN, an above average number of venomous snake encounters this year; there were two serious incidents of rattlesnake bite in Michigan recently. In addition, Linda has a new puppy. Curious and friendly, a poisonous snake could be a particular danger to her. In conversation with others about her concerns, Linda posted this set of facts: “45,000 people in the US are bitten by snakes annually. 8,000 by poisonous snakes . 125,000 deaths annually throughout the world.” Wow! I’m not personally concerned about snake bite, mainly because we have no poisonous snakes here on Beaver Island. Still, those are impressive numbers. It made me curious how that compared to deaths caused by other varmints. Linda lives in an area that has signs warning of bears. Bears! Now that is something that I’d be nervous about! Turns out, annual deaths in the U.S. by bear attack are almost zero. Likewise, sharks, despite the haunting memory of Jaws. Sharks cause, on average, only one fatality every two years. Spiders, though, kill 6.6 people each year in this country. Mosquitoes and the diseases they carry are responsible for more than a hundred deaths each year in the United States. The deadliest animals, though, responsible for the most fatalities, are farm animals: horses, cows, pigs and goats. Next in line, statistically, are insects: hornets, wasps and bees. As I am nursing a bee sting that I got while putting clothes on the line last evening, that is particularly scary. The animal next in line for causing death is the dog. Finally, I came across a few reassuring facts about snake bite (not to disregard Linda’s legitimate concerns): “the chances of dying from a venomous snakebite in the United States is nearly zero, because we have available, high-quality medical care in the U.S. Fewer than one in 37,500 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the U.S. each year (7-8,000 bites per year), and only one in 50 million people will die from snakebite.” Whew!
- I am unreasonably curious about who Sarah Jessica Parker’s husband is. I don’t know why I care, and I don’t understand why I can’t remember the answer, but “Who is Sarah Jessica Parker’s husband?” is one of my most common Google searches.
- I started wondering, recently, about the high incidence of pirate’s with an eye patch. What, in that profession, was causing the loss of an eye? Or was it, perhaps, that one very famous pirate had only one eye, so our idea of all pirate’s appearance was based on his? My curiosity was piqued. I did some research. According to one theory, the purpose of the patch was not to cover a missing or damaged eye, but rather to allow the wearer to see in the dark. It takes about twenty-five minutes for our eyes to adjust when going from bright light to low light situations. Imagine that a battle starts on the upper deck of a ship, in the bright sunlight. The fight moves to below-decks, where there is no light. The pirate can see right away, though, because he has one eye that has already adjusted to the dark. The idea is that he would switch the patch over to the other eye when moving from light to dark, having an advantage over those with two “good” eyes.
- I am curious, always, about what my dogs are thinking. They reveal a lot with their expressions, and from there I usually fill in the blanks.