Ears of corn almost always have an even number of rows. Foodreference.com explains the science:
Row number is always an even number because corn spikelets are borne in pairs, and each spikelet produces two florets: one fertile and one sterile. Stress at a particular stage in development could theoretically produce an ear with an odd number of rows - but I believe if you looked under a microscope, you would find an unseen row that failed to develop fully.
When corn ears are found that have an odd number of rows, that's considered weird enough to make news. For instance, cases of odd-rowed corn surfaced in 1930 (found by Everett Kelderhouse of Collins, Iowa), 1941 (found by Ignac Sedlacek of Malmo, Nebraska), and 1949 (found by Alfred Kohnert of Calamus, Iowa).
Lincoln Evening Journal - Oct 24, 1941
Carrol Daily Times - Sep 14, 1949
In popular culture, finding odd-rowed corn was sometimes used to make impossible-to-come-true promises. For instance, slaves might be told that they could have their freedom if they could find an ear of corn with an odd number of rows. But in the example below, recounted in Atheism and Arithemetic, Or, Mathematical Law in Nature (1885), one slave supposedly devised a way to find some odd-rowed corn:
A story is told of a slave who, on being promised his freedom if he would find an ear of corn having an odd number of rows of kernels, went into the corn-field and carefully opening the husks on a number of ears, deftly cut out a row of kernels from each, closing up the husks over the ears again. The corn grew and ripened, closing up in its growth the vacant spaces, and when it was gathered he found an ear with an odd number of rows, and presented it and claimed the promised boon!
A facility being built in New Jersey is going to be the world's largest vertical farming plant. AeroFarms is set to be 3 times bigger than the next largest place of its kind located in Japan. Water usage is much lower while yield is substantially higher than standard farming operations. It looks like something that would be used to grow food in a Mars colony or in an underground bunker after Armageddon. But perhaps we will find that solving world hunger is a Jersey thing.
There is so much to love about this video, from the whimsical music which makes it seem as if the cucumbers are just going on holiday, instead of being wrenched from their happy fields and families, then sliced and seasoned for consumption by monstrous hairless apes, to the very phrase "pickle packer." The one omission, understandable in light of 1950s' reticence, is no mention of the cucumber as sex toy.
In 1904, this young lady was dismissed as "demented." Today she might be recognized as a great performance artist.
Quietly entering the offices of various city officials this morning, a young lady about twenty-five years of age, neatly and attractively gowned in green, opened a paper bag of dried peas, threw a handful on the floor and left after making the statement, "Peas mean something." Later she went to the court house and repeated the act in the offices of Clerk of Courts Fred Badger and Sheriff M.J. Rounds.
As a follow-up to my prior immortal potato post, here's Dave McConkey who claims to have found a way to petrify potatoes, and he then makes works of art out of these perma-potatoes. I'd be curious to know what exactly his process involves, but I doubt it's actual petrification, since soft tissue doesn't petrify (as far as I know).
If you want to delve deeper into the mystery of petrified potatoes, check out the Potato Rock Museum, which describes itself as being "all about the search for the elusive 'Potato, Rock' or the 'Petrified Potato' or the Per Mineralized Potato."
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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
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