12 March 2011

Weekend smörgåsbord

A 69-year-old Russian woman died of natural causes.  Her elder sister tried to reanimate the corpse; she first "preserved" the body with gasoline, then tried to "jump start" it using wires connected to electrical outlets.  The Russia Today link describes the not-unexpected sequelae.

A NYT article says that college students in the 1960s (my era) studied 24 hours/week, whereas "their counterparts today study 14 hours per week."  I find it hard to believe that things have changed that much.

The surge in foreclosures is now sweeping through churches, especially independent churches.  The Wall Street Journal explains why.

There may be an upside to perimenopausal hot flashes.  Those with the worst symptoms may have a reduced risk for later breast cancer (because of lower estrogen levels).

A thought-provoking question:  would death be easier to accept if you knew you had been cloned?  It's relevant to the plot of the movie "Moon."

Archaeologists have unearthed the location of the long-lost "Great Wall of Vietnam" - a 127-km long structure built in the 19th century.

An excellent brief video at the BBC extols the benefits of a dark sky and the problems of light pollution in depriving us of an awesome view.  I wish I can embed it, but you can at least still watch it at the link.

A half-hour-long AlJazeera video explores the recent resurgence of polio in Africa, and how it is affecting adults.

Two girls, one box.  Six-minute video.  You know you want to find out...

What do children call their gay parents?  Dad and daddy?  Mommy 1 and Mommy 2?

A Belgian man ran 365 marathons in a year.

A tape has been located of the first Superbowl game in 1967.  Surprisingly, it was not officially recorded by any organization.  The networks didn't begin preserving shows until the 1970s.  This newly-discovered tape was recorded by a man at his workplace.  Oh, and BTW, Packers 35, Kansas City 10.

An essay at Paris Review argues that "all teenage girls are at least half-lesbian."

People Magazine reports that the dress Michelle Obama wore for her appearance on The Today Show cost... $35.

When a murderer-kidnapper was apprehended, it was discovered that his house had "
a living room stuffed with leaves, a bathroom lined with more than 100 bags of leaves, and a freezer that contained only a couple of red popsicles and two dead squirrels."  Photos via J-Walk.

Some insects don't breath using simple diffusion, but rather actively ventilate through multiple tracheal tubes.  Explained at Reddit, though without a primary source link.

New York magazine offers a state-of-the-business assessment of the porn industry.  Has the internet boosted it, or killed it?

Remember the Chilean miners who were trapped underground for a couple months?  Do you know how they passed the time?  They smoked marijuana.

An undercover TSA agent was able to get through security at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with a handgun during testing of the enhanced-imaging body scanners..."

Was George Washington a Christian?  "Washington was a soldier and a statesman, not a theologian. He was not, as some have suggested, an evangelical Christian. Those evangelicals who claim him today should realize that Washington would probably not meet the requirements for lay leadership in their own congregations."

A compilation of science tumblrs.  Someday I should blog a list of my favorite tumblrs, because some of them are pretty amazing.

Archaeologists have found evidence of the oldest human in Alaska - a child who was cremated 11,500 years ago.  The site was a permanent home - not a hunting camp - which is equally significant.

Techniques have been developed to scale up the manufacture of graphene.

A low-flying aircraft crashes into four buildings.  You have to feel sorry for any people who may have been inside...

A Minnesota congressman is asking the Pentagon to stop sponsoring NASCAR races.

The BBC offers an audio slideshow of images from their new series "The Human Planet."  Some stunning images.

You could probably lead a full and satisfying life without ever knowing what a slimy snot otter is.  But as a TYWKIWDBI reader, you probably have enough curiosity to click the link and find out.

A column at the Telegraph reminds us that most oil price spikes have come because of shocks on the supply side of the equation, but a shock caused by higher demand from third-world countries can be just as consequential, and is becoming increasingly likely.

How to rehabilitate an abused paint brush.  Posted because I have yard and garage chores to do.

There are now five children walking around and enjoying the use of laboratory-grown urethras.  Imagine the lifestyle improvement for those kids.

Some congressmen in Florida want to make it illegal to take pictures of farms

An essay at The Guardian provides a concise
history of the illustrations used in publications of The Arabian Nights.

And finally, a Salon essay explains "How Dungeons & Dragons Changed My Life."  The story brings back fond memories for me of meeting in a friend's basement to draw on huge pieces of graph paper and kick in doors of rooms full of orcs.  Good times.

Photo credit.


  1. The Paris Review essay is quite silly. Just because the author had those experiences and has seen others having them doesn't mean everyone does. As a former teenage girl, I can assure you that I was in no way, shape, or form enamored of other girls (Or boys, for that matter. I thought I was asexual until I met my [now] fiance.).

  2. Speaking as a college student, 14 hours seems like an overly generous estimate of how much I study every week (even defining "studying" a bit broadly, to include working on essays). Then again, I've always valued quality over quantity, and I do have a 3.9 GPA for what that's worth.

  3. So I've gotta ask...why aren't you on tumblr? And if you are, where?

  4. I teach at a community college, and I'm amazed at how many students expect to get a C simply by showing up (and not turning anything in, not even a token assignment). I suppose that's what happened to them in high school. Many of them get upset if they have to do any real research at all, or submit multiple drafts of papers, etc. Granted, this is a community college-so it might be different than 4 year schools. Younger students are typically more outraged by homework than older students.

  5. I have never studied 14hours in any week. I would agree this is a generous estimate. Perhaps for those attempting a doctorate or masters but I did fine with about 7 hours a week. I don't know how I could even find 14 extra hours during the week: classes, extra curriculars, full time job and sleep.

  6. Re : Cloning.

    Wow. Not even a nod to James Patrick Kelly's "Think Like a Dinosaur". It even became an episode of The Outer Limits.

    Related, and kind of fun, is this youtube video.

  7. Paula, I have a different experience teaching in a community college. I found my community college students to be just as hardworking and enthusiastic as my university postgraduate ones, especially considering many of the ones in the technical school were working to support themselves at the same time.

    Of course that was the 1980s. Things may have chaged a lot since then.

  8. Amanda, I do not have a tumblr. I'm not sure what advantage it would offer as an addition to TYWKIWDBI. As a substitute, it would likely take less time, but as another project... I just don't have time. Sadly.


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