April 14, 2014
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by Kathy Wolfe Since April is National Frog Month, it only seems fitting for Tidbits to bring you the facts on these little creatures. • Frogs are amphibians, meaning they are cold-blooded and split their time between land and water. Their body temperature changes depending on their surroundings. If it’s cold, certain frogs dig underground burrows or hole up in the mud of ponds. • More than 4,700 species of frogs can be found around the world. The U.S. is home to about 90 species. Frogs can survive in an astonishing variety of climates and live on every continent except Antarctica. It’s not just warm tropical climates they thrive in – they also dwell in deserts and on mountaintops. Some wood frogs live north of the Arctic Circle, subsisting for weeks in a frozen state. The glucose in the frog’s blood acts as an antifreeze that collects in the vital organs, preserving them while the body freezes. • The front legs of a frog have four toes each, and the back legs have five toes. While aquatic frogs’ legs are longer and stronger to help them swim, land-dwelling frogs have shorter legs for walking and climbing. The tree frog’s large round toe pads act as suction cups to help it grip branches. turn the page for more
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FROGS (continued): • Although it does have lungs, a frog breathes through its skin, which allows oxygen to pass through it, so its skin must always be moist. If it isn’t wet enough, there isn’t enough oxygen and the frog suffocates. The frog doesn’t take a drink when thirsty – all the moisture the frog needs is absorbed through the skin. • At least once a week, frogs shed their skin. After doing a lot of twisting and stretching, a frog will pull the skin over its head.
Although the frog will usually eat the skin, some species, like the Australian water-holding frog, uses the shed skin as a cocoon to burrow in. This desert-dwelling water-holding frog can wait seven years for rain in its underground burrow. • Out of all animals with a backbone, frogs are by far the best jumpers, with many able to leap up to 20 times their body length. If a human could do that, it would be about a 100foot (30.5 m) jump. The longest frog jump on record took place at a 1989 South Africanfrog derby when Santjie the frog leaped 33 feet, 5.5 inches (10 m.). • Not all frogs are jumpers. Costa Rica’s ﬂying tree frog soars among the branches aided by its feet.
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The webbing between its toes fills with air much like a parachute, enabling the frog to ﬂy from tree to tree. • Have you ever tried to sneak up on a frog? It’s “nigh on” impossible because its bulging eyes enable it to see in all different directions without even moving its head. And because its eyes are located on the top of its head, a frog can sit in the water with only its eyes and nose above the surface. Frogs have three eyelids, two of which are used above water, and the other to protect its eyes when it is under water. • Although most frogs stick to a diet of insects, snails, spiders, and worms, some species dine on small fish and even mice. Argentina’s horned frogs can eat a mouse in one mouthful, swallowing it whole. Africa’s dwarf puddle frog gobbles up to 100 mosquitoes in one night’s dinner. It takes less than one second for a frog to roll out its long sticky tongue, grab its prey, and return it to its mouth. While the frog does have a row of teeth on its upper jaw, they’re only to hold the prey while the frog kills it. The teeth are not used to chew.
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For Advertising Call (307) 655-5095 FROGS (Continued): • An unusual species known as the glass frog has transparent skin, meaning you can see its internal organs, bones, and muscles. An observer can view the heart beating as well as the stomach digesting food. • You can distinguish the male from the female frog by checking out its ears, located just behind the eye. If the ear is larger than the eye, it’s a male; if the ear is smaller, it’s a female. • The largest kind of frog is the Goliath frog native to the Cameroon in West Africa. The Goliath’s body can grow to nearly a foot (30 cm) long, and can weigh as much as a housecat, about 7.3 lbs. (3.3 kg). In contrast, one of the world’s smallest frogs can be found in Brazil. The adult Gold Frog measures just 3/8th of an inch (9.8 mm). • What’s the difference between a frog and a toad? Technically, the toad is a frog because it also belongs to the order Anura. Toads are simply frogs with dry warty skin and short hind legs. Frogs have smooth moist skin and long webbed hind legs.
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EASTER And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Pe’ter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Her’od would have brought him forth, the same night Pe’ter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Pe’ter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. Acts 12: 4-7 THEE CHURCH OF CHRIST
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If you’ve been on the Internet for a number of years and have refused to buy the latest and greatest things that have come out, you might currently have an unsupported operating system. Specifically, on April 8, 2014, Microsoft ceased support of the XP operating system, which first came out in 2001. While Microsoft started warning consumers a few years ago, many people have been unwilling to upgrade to the next operating system (Vista and then Windows 7). With XP support gone, you’ll no longer have security updates. Microsoft won’t fix new system vulnerabilities, ever, and criminals know this. At the same time, if you don’t want Windows 8.1 (many people don’t), you still have options: ¥ Upgrade your computer to Windows 7, if you can. This might not be an option if your computer is too old to support the program. Unless you’re highly skilled in wiping hard drives, you’re better off handing your machine over to a repair technician for the installation. Here’s the dilemma many have to face: XP is a 32-bit program. Windows 7 is a 64-bit program. You can’t simply install Windows 7 over XP and expect the upgrade to go well. The hard drive has to be wiped (erased), with all your programs erased and your files saved elsewhere. Then, after installation, all your software and programs need to be reinstalled. (Yes, there is a Windows 7 32-bit version, but you’re better off avoiding that.) If you have a techie do this upgrade, it going to cost you some money for all the hours spent feeding software into your computer. ¥ Buy a new computer. At this point, you’ll have a hard time finding a new system with Windows 7 on it. Everything in stores is now up to Windows 8. Look for one with downgrade rights to Windows 7. ¥ Buy a refurbished computer with a new copy of Windows 7 64-bit on it and install your software yourself. All in all, this might be your cheapest option. Notice there’s no recommendation to jump in with a new computer and Windows 8.1, which is coming out this month with fixes to Windows 8. Unless you’re going all the way to touch screen and are up for a whole new experience and steep learning curve, Windows 8.1 might be too much of a leap. David Uffington regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Send email to columnreply2@ gmail.com. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.
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residential, lots & land, Recreational, Commercial, Farm & ranch MARATHONS With the Boston Marathon scheduled for Monday, April 21, Tidbits examines the facts on the history of marathons, while focusing on a few famous events. • The official distance of the modern marathon is 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 km). It began as a commemoration of legend’s run of the Greek messenger and soldier Pheidippides. At the completion of the Battle of Marathon between the Greeks and the Persians, Pheidippides was sent from the battlefield to Athens to announce the victory. After running the entire distance without stopping, he rushed into the assembly, proclaimed, “We won,” then collapsed and died.
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MARATHONS (Continued): • When the modern-day Olympics began in 1896, the marathon was one of the original events, although there was no standardized distance. In 1908, at the London Olympics, the race course was from Windsor Castle to the White City Stadium, followed by a partial lap of the track within, a distance of 26 miles, 385 yards (42.195 km). In 1921, the International Amateur Athletic Federation made this the official length of a marathon. • There was no Olympic women’s marathon until the 1984 Summer Olympics. • The first New York City Marathon was held in 1970 with 127 competitors running several loops around Central Park’s Park Drive. Only 100 spectators were on hand to watch 55 of these runners cross the finish line. Held every year on the first Sunday of November, the race has dramatically changed. The course now winds through all five boroughs of New York City, beginning on Staten Island, finishing up outside Tavern on the Green near Manhattan’s Central Park. • The New York Marathon begins promptly at 10:10 A.M. and has a time limit of 8.5 hours. One of the largest marathons in the world, this past year there were 50,304 finishers, including the millionth runner to start the course in its 43-year history. Since 1970, the race has been cancelled only once, in 2012, due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy the week before. • The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon, first held in 1897, the year after the marathon’s premiere in the Olympics. From its humble beginnings with 18 participants, the Boston event has grown to about 20,000 participants, with 2013’s race boasting 26,839 entries. About 500,000 spectators are on hand annually.
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Give Cats the Carrot DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I’ve owned and trained cats most of my adult life. Regarding your recent column on keeping cats off the counter: You’re right, of course, about training cats when they’re young. But felines are smart creatures, so even an old cat can learn new tricks. The key is to use their dislikes and/or their acute senses of hearing and smell. Most cats dislike getting wet. So, if the rattling pennies don’t work, a small squirt gun or water pistol -- emphasis on “small” -- works remarkably well with training (not disciplining) felines to not jump on tables, etc. Aim for ears or neck. Avoid the eyes, of course. Cats differ from dogs in that dogs can be disciplined by the stick; cats are trained mainly by the carrot. So when your kitty cat has jumped down from the table, love him up. The same applies for various kitty cat bad habits, such as scratching the furniture, etc. One thing that doesn’t ever work with a cat is swatting them, as one might do with a rolled up newspaper for a dog. Corporal punishment only insults them. Also, for neighborhood cats prowling your garden, ﬂowerbeds, etc., at night and yowling, black pepper sprinkled about is most effective. -- Stephen B., Daytona Beach, Fla. DEAR STEPHEN: You’ve taught this old cat a couple of new tricks. I agree that cats don’t respond at all well to discipline, but they can be convinced to do (or not do) certain things. When there’s something more interesting to do than jump on the table -- like chase a felt mouse on a string -- cats have no problem hopping down to concentrate on that. Send your questions or comments to ask@ pawscorner.com. Readers whose questions are published in the print edition will receive a free copy of my booklet, “Fighting Fleas,” also available as a Kindle download. (c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.
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MARATHONS (Continued): • Each year, the Boston Marathon is held on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday in April. This date commemorates the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775. • The Boston Marathon did not officially allow women until 1972. However, in 1966, 23-year-old Roberta Gibb donned her brother’s Bermuda shorts and hooded sweatshirt and hid in the bushes near the starting line. The starting gun went off and after half the pack of runners had started, she jumped in. She had been training for two years, running as much as 40 miles in one day. • In order to compete in Boston, a runner must be at least 18 years old, and have completed a certified standard course within a certain period of time before the Boston event.
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