Q. Why do umpires use hand signals for “Strike!” “Safe!” and “Yerr Out!” Is it to accommodate those poor suckers in the nosebleed seats who sit so far away that they have trouble following the game?
A. Nope. Not even close. The person who had trouble following the game was William Hoy, the first deaf player in the majors, in 1892. It was he who invented the now classic signs.
Q. You’re born with about 300 of them, wind up with around 200, you stand, lift, push and keep your shape with their help, they’re tough and durable yet light and resilient, constituting only about 14 percent of body weight. What are they?
A. Your bones, which shrink in number due to fusings together. And if you ever doubt the singular strength of these anatomical building blocks when they’re healthy, consider that one cubic inch of bonestuff can withstand 19,000 pounds, the weight of 10 small cars, making them four times stronger than concrete, say Gil Brum et al in “Biology, Exploring Life: 2nd Edition.”
Q. Imagine you stumbled into a time warp and back onto a Mesozoic plain. Could you outrun a dinosaur?
A. By analyzing footprint remains and estimated weights of large dinos, zoologist R. McNeill Alexander, in his book “Animals,” concludes that a 37-ton brontosaur may well have been about as athletic as an elephant. Elephants can’t gallop or jump but can run at least 10 mph, and probably more.
The much lighter horned-dinosaur Triceratops, at 7 tons, may have been able to gallop, but probably not as fast as a buffalo, speculates Alexander.
A really fast human can run at about 27 mph very briefly, 22 mph averaged over a 100 meter race. But most of us run a lot slower than this, so fleeing a pursuing dinosaur would have been an iffy proposition, depending on one’s physical condition, the type of ‘saur and terrain, and whether the beast recently had lunch.