18 May 2012
Links for you to explore
Because I just don't have time to present them as individual posts.
A "former FBI Special Agent and head of the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force Al Qaeda squad" says the TSA is useless. Not annoying - useless. A summary at BoingBoing, with links to the source material.
An explanation of how restaurant menus are designed to incorporate a variety of marketing tricks. "A box draws attention and, usually, orders..." The $115 platter is there to make everything else look cheaper.
"A proposed new time-keeping system tied to the orbiting of a neutron around an atomic nucleus could have such unprecedented accuracy that it neither gains nor loses 1/20th of a second in 14 billion years." "So we'll have a leap-neutron-second every 280 billion years? How am I supposed to write that into my software?"
A new LED light puts out more power than is put into it. Literally. It "produces 69 picowatts of light using 30 picowatts of power, giving it an efficiency of 230 percent." The reason it isn't breaking the first law of thermodynamics is explained at Wired.
Another e-voting system goes down in flames. "Within 48 hours of the system going live, we had gained near complete control of the election server."
The best behind-the-back basketball pass I've seen all year.
Three hundred years ago, Sweden had a February 30th. The reason is explained at Widow's Weeds.
A man in Milwaukee tried to rob a bank. He was unsuccessful. "Found in the suspect's possession: "How to Be A Successful Criminal."
Some women report reaching orgasm or achieving sexual pleasure while working out at the gym. Details re the favorite type of equipment at Discover magazine.
A compilation of "All the nipples on view in the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Safe for work, I guess.
An Easter egg hunt was cancelled because of "the behavior of aggressive parents who swarmed into the tiny park."
"The 56-year-old man held his left leg against an electric saw in his home workshop and severed his foot just above the ankle." He also threw it in the oven so it couldn't be reattached.
A "bone luge" is a way to drink liquor out of a bone in a restaurant. In case you need a new way to drink liquor.
Drivers were once taught to hold a car's steering wheel in way to maximize control of the vehicle. Now the importance of where to place your hands is determined by the possibility that the airbag may inflate. Among the injuries the NHTSA reports from improper placement of the hands when an airbag deploys are amputations of fingers or entire hands, traumatic fractures and a particularly stomach-churning injury called "degloving." Got your hands in the right spot?
Lewis Lapham has written an insightful appraisal of the American health-care system in the latest edition of his Lapham's Quarterly. I can't do it justice with brief excerpts; those interested should read the five pages at the link.
Also at Lapham's Quarterly, a scary story about how force-feeding was used against suffragettes in 1910.
For every fan of American football. Video of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford during a game in which he was "miked up" for sound. Cleveland takes a 24-3 lead. Stafford gets crushed with an injury to his shoulder. And then...
"A 93-year-old Florida grandmother has parked her car for good after driving 576,000 miles (927,000km) over 48 years at the wheel of one trusty vehicle."
A collection of photos of swallowtail butterflies of the world. Beautiful creatures.
Snow globes on a windowsill set fire to a man's couch.
Fourteen photos of gynandromorphs, mostly butterflies, but also birds. One half of the body is female, one half is male.
A video explains how to peel a head of garlic in ten seconds.
At the GOP convention in Florida, water guns will be banned. But real guns will be permitted.
A 125-year-old sturgeon was caught in Wisconsin. It was "bigger than a linebacker." And it was released after being tagged.
If you want to look up famous people who share your birthday, you know you can do so on Wikipedia. But for the birthdays of fictional characters there is an infographic at Flavorwire, via Neatorama.
According to Sentence First, the phrase "who to follow" is grammatically permissible.
Here is the archive of every Jeopardy question ever asked. Over 222,000 entries.
Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald helped one another's careers. "Ella Fitzgerald was not allowed to play at Mocambo (a Hollywood nightclub) because of her race." Marilyn made a call, and Ella said it changed her career.
Should obituaries of pets be in the newspaper? "Because they openly announce that a pet was part of a family, and bring legitimacy to mourning the pet as a family member, obituaries for animals push up against the definition of "family" in ways that may be quite upsetting for some people."
When the Pioneer spacecraft left the solar system, they began slowing down. No one has ever been able to explain why - until now.
Surveillance Self-Defense is a website that specializes in explaining how you can prevent yourself from being subject to surveillance.
There are lots of fossilized dinosaur footprints in Maryland. A man has made a hobby of collecting them. 20-pic photoessay at the link.
Retreaded tires can be dangerous. If that's not inherently apparent, read the link.
A BBC video shows poisonous sea snakes (kraits) hunting in packs. I would embed the impressive video if I could, but you can view it at the BBC, via Neatorama.
Bee colony collapse disorder linked to pesticides.
A cheerful story of a puppy rescued from a cholla cactus. With video.
Chess enthusiasts may be interested in 17th-century examples of the knight's tour.
CARCA is the acronym for the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Cat Association. "Our goals are to train and maintain a network of highly efficient avalanche search and rescue cat teams across Canada." My ailurophile wife suspects it's a spoof.
A story in Spiegel Online reports on new investigations about the art work and personal life of Albrecht Dürer. "In 1517, he ventured a detailed depiction of a scrotum -- a pioneering act in the West. Some of Dürer's drawings are so suggestive that researchers kept them secret for years and locked them away in the closet. One example is the drawing "Youth with Executioner." It shows an executioner, armed with a sword, who is stroking a half-naked young man, who voluptuously acquiesces. Other sketches also show naked men's bodies."
The etymology and history of first names.
Cigarette cards were erotic photographs inserted in cigarette packs. A gallery of them is posted at Marinni's Livejournal blog (in Russian). Probably not safe for work, depending on where you work. And for those of you who used to buy Playboy for the articles, here is the English translation of the site's content.
The Great Pyramid's secret doors are still being investigated.
Otters Who Look Like Benedict Cumberbatch. Self-explanatory.
A Slate column details the history of buttermilk. It's not the same product your grandparents enjoyed.
Canada has an alternate currency ("Canadian Tire money") that you should know about if you're planning to visit Canada, in case you encounter some.
A delightful story: "Gac Filipaj, an immigrant from the former Yugoslavia, completed his Classics degree with honors after balancing classes with a fulltime custodial job for the past 12 years." He has now graduated from Columbia University while working there full time.
A man in Kentucky was arrested for leaving his son in the car while he went into a bar to drink. His son is seventeen years old.
A woman's pants caught on fire after she picked up some rocks and put them in her pocket. It sounds totally implausible until you read the explanation offered by "jl" in the comments.
Enough. Got to get outside.