Saturday, July 25, 2009

Again with the worms?

A skeptical reader has challenged my claim that worms under a farm may actually weigh more than the stuff up top.

First, I observe that skepticism is a more powerful tool for honest scientific inquiry than all the microscopes and telescopes ever constructed. God bless and keep you Charles Fort.

Second, the nerve of that guy! Ain't I after all, the never to be challenged owner of all information that isn't worth knowing? Doesn't bode well for our culture, somebody just wandering in and politely asking if something I said is really true. I fear for our country.

Third, it wasn't my claim at all really. I just quoted the Worm Digest. Still? One has a certain ethical responsibility for the accuracy of advocates they quote. (HEY? Fox news, CBS, NY Times? Did ya'll pick up on that?) So sure, I'll go for an independent inquiry of this worm thing. I don't mind digging into it.

Well, seems pretty simple. I need to know how much a worm weighs and how many are in an acre. OK, I'm gonna need tweezers, a bulldozer, and a set of bathroom scales. Wait Dave? Maybe there's an easier way? I'm just saying?

Darwin spent twenty years studying worms on his farm, and concluded fertile land could support 53,767 worms per acre. I so admire precision in the stupid. Not like he was gonna round off or anything, right? People at the Rothamsted Institute think Darwin was wrong. WHAT? Somebody says Mr. Darwin made careful observations but drew flawed conclusions? Who are these upstart blasphemers at this Rothamsted place?

They're privately endowed group of scientists who check each other's math. Been in biz at least 160 years. Their focus is to learn as much as possible about everything pertaining to agriculture.

Well, I guess that's OK. Don't seem to be aligned with some organized religion. So according to them, how incorrect was Darwin the Great, about worms I mean?

Only by 32 really. As in take the number he came up with and multiply it by 32. According to the latest research, a healthy acre of land might have up to 1.75M earthworms. Well, anybody can make a mistake, I guess.

A typical adult earthworm weighs .46 grams, according to National Geographic. That's about 973 worms per pound. So do that math thing David?

OK. Under a 400 acre farm, maybe 720K lbs. of earthworms thrive. That's more than the weight of two Boeing 747's. There's just a lot more going on around us and between us at any given time than any of us are capable of realizing. I sure would like to say more, but I'm seized with an unexplainable hankering for a delicious Colt 45. WORKS EVERY TIME! Why did I just say that?

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