How high can we reach?

Most of us probably don't give a lot of thought to fleas. Unless, perhaps, we work as an entomologist, or our business is pest control, or we have a dog or cat that brings home more of these creatures than we'd like to have around the house! Yet there are people who actually train fleas. There are even flea circuses. I heard a flea story the other day.

It seems that if you put a flea in an inverted glass jar, he will repeatedly try to jump out. The flea doesn't see the glass, however, and each time he jumps, he hits the clear glass ceiling. With little effort, of course, the flea could readily jump high enough to escape if there weren't that transparent barrier. Yet after a while, the flea becomes convinced he can't jump any higher than the glass. And, anyhow, what's the use? He just keeps hitting his head!

April 28, 1997

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