The For Fact’s Sake columns are – according to Google and The Duck ’n Fiddle’s Explanation of Everything – based in truth. Occasionally however, some names and places have been changed to protect innocent people involved.

Blown in the wind

We’re all aware that various products we consume, have ‘powdered’ versions of themselves. We have powdered eggs, powdered milk, jelly powder, gravy powder, and of course the wildly popular powdered wine.

But, over the last decade, scientists and dietitians have created an organic, vegetable-based formula going as powdered meat – a somewhat coarse, granular compound ideal for hamburgers, horrogs, worsrolle and curries. Just add water, create your own shape of patty or sausage, and let it set/harden before cooking. Quick, convenient and animal-friendly.

Their mission, however, wasn’t to put abattoirs and butchers out of business for humane reasons, but rather to help repair the ozone layer.
Methane expelled by livestock is a major contributor to this problem. By radically reducing the amount of cattle on the planet, they reckon that the greenhouse effect would dwindle and disappear over a few decades.

Apart from rising up and destroying the ozone layer, some methane stays hovering just above ground level – a highly combustible, invisible killer.

As we all know, cows are the world champions at expelling gas. Large herds are particularly dangerous. A ranch-hand in Kansas learnt this lesson too late when he lit a cigarette with cows all around him. The air simply exploded in a blinding flash, and he was dead in seconds. At the funeral his boss delivered the eulogy and tried to lighten the mood with a wise-crack. “I told him that smoking would kill him one day.” Nobody laughed though.

Anyway, vegetarians and vegans are delighted not only for the plight of the ozone layer, but that the slaughter of animals would be curtailed. This triggered off another group of scientists – probably ordinary carnivores – who did their own survey, and came up with some interesting data.

As any dietician will confirm, the consumption of fresh fruit and veggies generates a build-up of gas. Cows are the living proof. The study also revealed that vegans and vegetarians expel 20% more gas than non-veggies.

Quite how they managed to arrive at that figure I find somewhat disturbing, but nonetheless they were then able to calculate that if the 7.8 billion people around the world all switched from eating flesh to munching veggies, that extra 20% increase in their personal output – multiplied by 7.8 billion similar outlets – would do more harm to the ozone layer than the cows. Food for thought, nè?

Alternate Spelling

Last year we discussed how the words through, tough and thorough were spelt similarly but sounded vastly different. English, like many other languages is a fruit salad of multiple influences, adopted and incorporated over many years. The spelling therefore often pertains to the original language.

This got a bloke called Ben Dover from New Zealand all fired up, because he emailed me a single word, and bearing in mind the strange English spelling of words, asked me if I could work out what it was. The word is ghoughphtheightteeau, and he claims it is something we come across every day – nothing cryptic or mysterious at all.

Well, needless to say I was none the wiser after days of pondering and head-scratching, so I emailed Ben and after pleading and eventually bribing him, he finally gave me his formula. This is what he wrote:

GH stands for P as in hiccough.
OUGH stands for O as in dough.
PHTH stands for T as in phthisis
EIGH stands for A as in neighbour
TTE stands for T as in gazette
EAU stands for O as in plateau

Therefore, according to Ben, this is a legitimate way to spell potato, and to be honest, he’s probably right. It’s just a lot easier not to.

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