Mental Floss

What Would You Do With $540 Million?

Jason English

On Fridays, I post a series of unrelated questions meant to spark conversation in the comments. Answer one, answer all, respond to someone else's reply, whatever you want. On to this week's topics of discussion...

1. Tonight's Mega Millions winner won't walk away with Scrooge McDuck money — in 2011, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $44.1 billion. But he or she will be doing OK. That is, of course, unless they blow it. I've read competing statistics this morning that say either 68% or 90% of lottery winners file for bankruptcy within ten years. But today is a day for completely unrealistic dreams! If you won the jackpot, would you take the lump sum or the annuity? What would be your first crazy purchase?

2. Last week a few of us here went on a food pilgrimage ... about 10 blocks south, to the Taco Bell in Penn Station. Since I had no interest in the Doritos Locos Taco but wanted to splurge on something, I opted for a bucket-size Twig and Berries (44 ounces) from the Planet Smoothie next door.

It was a long walk back.

What's the longest distance you've traveled for a specific food?

3. Six years ago, we quoted a New York State wildlife expert who calculated that if a woodchuck could chuck wood, he could chuck as much as 700 pounds of the stuff. In the last ten days, two gentlemen named Garrett Ourth and Joe Pratt have emailed me a combined total of 16 times to take issue with the statistic. While I don't want to encourage people to send me 16 emails on any subject, I am curious to see if others have done their own research. Here's Garrett and Joe's math:

"We believe a woodchuck's chucking ability depends wholly upon their weight and the size of their teeth as well as the time they are given for them to chuck wood. The average woodchuck weighs 7 pounds. If they are born in the fall they have 1 inch teeth, 16 weeks later (which is spring). Woodchucks can chuck three times their body weight in two days. So a woodchuck of average proportions should be able to chuck 10.5 pounds in a day. Most woodchucks live in white pine forests. The average white pine weighs 26 pounds. This being understood, the average woodchuck chucks an average of 1/3 of an average white pine tree per day. Please email us back your opinion on this ASAP."

I ask you: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

[Have a great weekend! See all the previous Friday Happy Hour transcripts.]