Friday, December 12, 2008

AWOL Acorns

Once again, a major news organization brings us a story about how scientists are baffled. "Scientists baffled by..." "...baffles scientist." "World famous scientist: 'I'm baffled." How come headlines always have these phrases and never something like "Scientists pretty sure they know what causes..."? Is the world that desperate to think of scientists as the same kind of bumbling goons everyone else is? Anyway, CNN.com says that scientists are currently baffled over an apparent shortage of acorns along the eastern seaboard. Normally, autumn leaves fall from the oak trees, and the ground becomes littered with crunchy acorns, but there are areas in several northeastern states that reportedly have no acorn coverage at all. The lack of crackly acorn shells might be a boon to stealthy games of outdoor hide and seek, but it's worrying some people that the nation's squirrels will starve to death this winter. But what CNN goes on to tell us that these baffled scientists really aren't baffled at all. Last year saw a bumper crop of acorns, so it's not unusual that this year's supply would be noticeably less. Of course, that doesn't do much to help starving squirrels, but I'm pretty sure there's nothing to worry about there either. Like the rest of us, the squirrels are probably hoarding their food supplies for the coming economic apocalypse. In fact, there may not even be an acorn shortage at all. I'm willing to bet some bushy-tailed robber barons have set up underground warehouses full of them. Someone has to profit from desperation. More details here.

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