Some Myths about Carrots


  • Carrots are good for the eyes. Myth started by the British during World War II as cover for radar’s abilities to detect airplanes.
  • Carrots are good for the ears. Myth started by the British during World War I as cover for sonar’s abilities to detect submarines.
  • “Carrot” the plant is the same word as “carrot” the vegetable. These are etymologically completely separate words that happen to be spelled alike, much like “bear” the animal and “bear” meaning to-put-up-with, that were merged in the one act of simplifying English that anyone was ever able to agree on.
  • Carrots are good for the sense of touch. Myth started by the British during the Franco-Prussian War just in case they had to get involved and needed cover for their long-stick technologies.
  • Carrots are naturally orange. They were bred to be orange; in their natural state they are polka-dotted.
  • Carrots are good for the sense of taste. Myth started by the British immediately after the Battle of Austerlitz because apparently you can get Germans at war to believe anything about carrots.
  • Carrots are kind of long, tapered candle-shaped things. They are actually five-dimensional spheres and this is just how they appear projected into our three-dimensional Euclidean space.
  • Carrots are good for the smell. Myth started by the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War because they wanted in on this fun too as long as they had to deal with Hessians.
  • Carrots have never started forest fires. Well, often myths have an element of truth to them. In fact carrots have never put out forest fires, but not for want of trying.
  • It’s interesting whether Mel Blanc liked carrots or not. He was an actor hired to play someone who liked carrots.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index dropped nearly ten percent in trading due to panic from the discovery that the DVR has suddenly stopped recording The Price Is Right and nobody knows how to get it through its head that these are so new episodes that it should be recording.

85

Some Fine Sentences In This Reuters Article About Sequencing the Carrot Genome


Without distracting from the interest in science stuff caused by this science news, and after taking a moment to tell you I did that comic strip thing again on my mathematics blog, I’d like to bring some excellent sentences to the reader’s attention. By the reader I mean you:

  • [Carrots] are familiar to everyone, and generally well-regarded by consumers, but like most familiar things, people don’t necessarily know the background stories.
  • The common weed called Queen Anne’s Lace is a wild carrot.
  • Worldwide carrot consumption quadrupled between 1976 and 2013 and they now rank in the top 10 vegetable crops globally, the researchers said.
  • The earliest record of carrots as a root crop dates from 1,100 years ago in Afghanistan, but those were yellow carrots and purple ones, not orange ones.
  • Paintings from 16th century Spain and Germany provide the first unmistakable evidence for orange carrots.

I realize that it’s fully legitimate that carrots used to come in way more colors than they do now, and that they became orange because people deliberately grew them orange and that it’s all tied up with the Dutch War of Independence and all that. But I love the talk about searching for evidence of orange-ness in carrots. This is the sort of question that makes academia work. Also I had no idea (per a sentence that didn’t make the cut) that caraway was “a close relative” of the carrot, but I admit I didn’t have any better ideas what caraway ought to be a relative of. Also, so wait, like, Charlemagne had come and gone before anyone anywhere planted and ate carrots on purpose? That’s just weird, man.

Our Rabbit Explains


“I like baby carrots,” said our pet rabbit.

“I know you like them, but why would someone send them?” We’re having enough trouble with mysterious deliveries.

“Because I like them,” he said again, obviously upset that I wasn’t getting this point. “I look like I’m big when I eat the tiny carrots!”

“You are big.” He’s a Flemish giant, which as a breed grows to Mark Trail-esque proportions. “You’re bigger than I was through third grade.”

He nodded, “And I didn’t even go to third grading! That’s how big I am!”

“Where did they come from, though?”

And our rabbit looked at me as if disappointed I was so dense. “They’re cut from full-size carrots to just look like baby carrots. Don’t you know how the world works?”

“Why would the world arrange somebody to send you baby carrots?”

“Obviously the world knows I like them!”

“But why?”

“Because it’s true! It couldn’t know that I don’t like baby carrots, because that isn’t true, and if you actually know something then it has to be a true thing or else you don’t actually know it.”

I like his reasoning, but I feel like there’s something missing.