Biomass is the total amount of living organisms in a given area, expressed in terms of living weight per unit area. It can include microorganisms, plants, and animals. An amazing amount of biomass is created by the approximately 10 quintillion insects living at any one time. In fact, the almost one million known insect species comprise 300 times the total weight of Earth's human population. What other single class of organisms makes up a staggering 25% of the global biomass?
Back in the day
A cautionary tale for financial institutions the world over, the collapse of Barings Bank, a centuries-old British bank, resulted from the activities of a single, unscrupulous employee. The man in question, derivatives broker Nick Leeson, made unauthorized, unhedged futures transactions on Nikkei, racking up £827 million ($1.3 billion) in losses in no time. He hid these losses by reporting them as gains and got away with it due to a lack of oversight. What brought the whole scheme crashing down?
Born on a day like today
Cody's father passed away when he was just a boy, leaving him to support the family. He worked as a wagoner, trapper, and prospector before joining the Pony Express at 14. After serving in the American Civil War, he became a buffalo hunter—hence the nickname "Buffalo Bill." Writers chronicled his frontier exploits, making him a folk hero. He capitalized on his fame with "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show," which toured the US and Europe for decades. How many buffalo did Bill claim to have killed?