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Scientific Discovery of the Day

April 21, 2020

No, it has nothing to do with COVID-19.

What I discovered today was that if Canada geese eat cattails then their poop will have white fluff, like the white fluff inside cattails, on it. I found that out this morning when I was out for a walk and stepping lightly around a checkerboard of some odd-looking goose poop and then a few yards further on reached the path that winds through a marsh with a goose buffet of yummy cattails.

You wouldn’t know it by talking to me today, but years ago, back in the early 80’s, I enjoyed camping. The more I camped the more I wondered if I could actually ever survive in the wilderness so I bought some wilderness survival books to see what it was all about and to find out what Rambo knew that I didn’t. The books  were interesting enough, and I only mention it because I learned in those books that cattails have many uses in wilderness survival for more than just food for Canada geese. You can use cattails for tinder (the starting a fire tinder, not the dating tinder) and you can make rope out of the cattail leaves and you can eat them in a bunch of different ways, including like corn on the cob. I also learned how to distill your urine using a solar still. Turns out that wilderness survival was more attractive in my imagination than in reality, so my skills were never put to the test. I’ve never distilled urine and I’ve never eaten cattails or used cattails for anything other than taking photos of them.


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