08 June 2013

Black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) egg

To get rid of an earworm, select a task that uses your active memory. “Something we can do automatically like driving or walking means you are not using all of your cognitive resource, so there is plenty of space left for that internal jukebox to start playing... Verbal tasks like solving anagrams or reading a good novel seem to be very good at keeping earworms out."

You can now view a 4 billion pixel panoramic image of Mars taken by the Curiosity rover.

A gallery of scleral (eyeball) tattoos is not for the faint of heart.

Three hundred members of a German (flea) circus froze to death.

Britain's youngest grandparents are 29 years old.

How to enjoy America's national parks without strenuous hiking.

Examples of video shot with "a digital 3-axis gyro-stabilized handheld camera gimbal. The completely silent device weighs under 3.5 pounds bare and can be operated solo, or with the help of a second "gimbal" operator."

The Atlantic has a set of portraits of Jahrhundertmensch (centenarians).

A video explains how to make blueberry pancakes in which the blueberries are embedded and properly distributed.

"A transgender woman in South Florida faces charges of practicing cosmetic surgery without a license, after police say she injected an unwitting patient’s buttocks with a handful of unsafe substances, including tire mender Fix-A-Flat..."

Thermostatic mixing valves incorporated into bath tub faucets prevents scalding water (>120 degrees) from entering the bath.  These are now required by the Minnesota Plumbing Code.

Details about the recent discovery of thousands of Roman artifacts in London: 700 boxes of pottery fragments, 100 fragments of writing tablets, the largest quantity of Roman leather ever to have been found in the capital.

Re the Beatles' song "Get Back" - "Better known as a playful take on counterculture, starring the gender-bending Sweet Loretta Martin and the grass-smoking Jo-Jo, the song originally dealt with South Asian immigration to the United Kingdom... An early version of the song, known to bootleggers as “No Pakistanis,” began with Paul McCartney muttering, “Don’t dig no Pakistanis taking all the people’s jobs.”

A glossary of English language idioms derived from baseball.

"Green Dragon" is a nitrous-powered, marijuana-infused liquor.  "...alcohol absorbs through the digestive tract in a faster, much more predictable way than solid edibles--and so does whatever's dissolved in that alcohol. Hence the precision-infused Green Dragon."  On a related matter, a medical marijuana-hating assemblyman caught with marijuana gets charges dismissed.

23 photos of "unbelievable places."

Children as young as 10 years old are regularly sexting.  "One schoolteacher questioned said pupils are so pressured into sending naked photos to each other that they trawl the internet looking at child pornography to find suitable images.  Ms Barry said: "I was gobsmacked when I asked a class of 13-year-olds if they had ever sent naked pictures of themselves and not a single hand did not go up. "What is most worrying is the fact young people do not identify this as a problem. For them it is part and parcel of school life.

Results of the 2013 Webby Awards.

Re the photo (taken May 30): The alert came from my wife, who yelled "Stan, black swallowtail in the garden!"  We both hustled out, and there she was, hovering near the ground seeking a suitable location for her eggs.  For years we've been raising fennel for the specific purpose of attracting black swallowtails, but it hadn't emerged yet.  She visited the big clump of parsley, then chose to oviposit on a fresh shoot of Queen Anne's Lace, a weed which we tolerate but deadhead before it can reseed itself in the fall. 


  1. The most interest thing for me in the Curiosity picture is looking down and seeing the robot itself. I wonder if it is possible to see the night sky very clearly...

  2. But what if I *want* scalding water? Do I have to go and heat it on the stove?


  3. Interesting about the ear worm. I have a song that I keep in reserve for when I get ear wormed. Singing it drives the ear worm out and then it just fades away.

  4. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/432463.stm Not the youngest grandma, by at least three years. And the one prior to the one in this link was 28. That link was 1999, so I'm guessing she's still around. The one in this post is from 2011. And that grandad has since had another baby with a different woman to the granny in the story, who he wasn't with even at the time of the photos. What a mess.

  5. The baseball idioms list is missing "Southpaw". Or is that not an idiom?

    When I was living in Oz, I'd find myself using that term which confused the heck out of the Aussies. They would first assume that I was insulting lefties.

    1. Apparently the term was developed in boxing -


      - and applied to baseball, rather than being originally baseball-derived.


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