Coastal Post Online


September, 2003

Judy Borello

Fun Facts to Know

Hi Folks! I thought I'd share this with you because I found it very amusing and educational. So let's move back to yesteryear and check it out:

Year of 1903. This ought to boggle your mind! The year is 1903, one hundred years ago, what a difference a century makes! Here are some of the US statistics for 1902:

The average life expectancy in the US was 47 years. Only 14 percent of the homes in the US had a bathtub. Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. A three minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars. There were only 8,000 cars in the US and only 144 miles of paved roads. The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph. Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union. The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average wage in the US was 22 cents an hour. The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year. More than 95 percent of all births in the US took place at home. Ninety percent of all US physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard." Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents and coffee cost fifteen cents a pound. Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo. Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.

The five leading causes of death in the US were: 1) Pneumonia and influenza 2) Tuberculosis 3) Diarrhea 4) Heart disease 5) Stroke. The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet. The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30. Crossword puzzles, canned beer and iced tea hadn't been invented. There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day. One in ten US adults couldn't read or write. Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school. Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and is a perfect guardian of health." Eighteen percent of households in the US had at least one servant or one domestic. There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire US. Just think what it will be like in another 100 years. It boggles the mind.

Another little bit of trivia that I thought was interesting: In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship and it was also before commercial fertilizer's invention, so large shipments of manure were common.

It was shipped dry because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by-product is methane gas. As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles, you can see what could (and did) happen. Methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined just what was happening. After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term "Ship High In Transit" on them which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.

Thus evolved the term, "S.H.I.T." (Ship High In Transit) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day. You probably did not know the true history of this word. Neither did I. I always thought it was a golf term.

PS Today I'm on my way to Tillamook Bay, Oregon with a girlfriend, Dolores Olafson, who I have known since first grade. The comparison of Tillamook Bay with Tomales Bay goes like this: Watershed Area (sq. miles): Tomales - 216; Tillamook - 597. Bay Area (sq. miles): Tomales - 11; Tillamook - 13. Average Bay Length: Tomales - 12 miles; Tillamook - 6. Average Bay Width: Tomales - 1 mile; Tillamook - 2 miles. Average rainfall: Tomales - 35 inches; Tillamook - 90 inches; Livestock population: Tomales: 10,970; Tillamook: 28,600; Human population: Tomales, 11,000; Tillamook, 25,000. Shellfish leases: Tomales 513; Tillamook 2500.

So I'm going to talk to some ranchers there and also a biologist and then we'll learn more about this coliform dilemma that is based on perception instead of scientific fact. (Back to the drawing board on the subject of "SHIT.".)



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