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Counting Pollens April 13, 2010

Posted by markgeil in Things that amuse me.

Kids made me smile twice this weekend. The first time was while discussing Atlanta’s absolutely miserable pollen. Pollen counts above something like 150 are considered severe – stay indoors, wear a mask sort of severe. Well, last week our pollen count neared an all-time record, reaching over FIVE THOUSAND!

Following this conversation, an inquisitive kid asked, “How do they count the pollen.” I smiled because I was stumped, and I had never once thought of that question. Surely someone doesn’t take little tiny pollen tweezers and count each day, 1-2-3-4-5. If it was me, I’d get to 300, then the pollen would make me sneeze, which would scatter the remaining pollen (pollens?), and I’d be sunk.

I poked around the internets for a bit, and even found Pollen.com, but even mighty Wikipedia couldn’t tell me how the pollen is counted. They said something about a sticky rod being rotated in the air to gather the pollen, but not how they actually count the gathered particles.

Clever question.

The second time a kid made me smile was while touring the museum at Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield National Park. We had reached the end of a corridor that recounted the battle and its import in the Civil War. Just by the exit door was a sign over one last exhibit that read “Aftermath”. I heard a little girl read the sign aloud, slowly, the way a kid reads an unknown word phonetically. Here’s what I heard:

“Af-ter-math. Ugh. I hate math!”

 So, here’s hoping the girl who hates math does not wind up counting pollen.



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