12 September 2013


A further update from Krebs on Security on skimming devices and fake PIN pads installed at gas station gas pumps.

And from PC Magazine's Security Watch a reminder to never plug your phone into a charger you don't own (as for example at a hotel):  "Any current iPhone is vulnerable to this attack. The only defense is a very simple rule: don't plug your phone into a charger you don't own. If you do, you could find your supposedly-secure iOS device totally owned by malware."

An awesome gallery of 42 photographs of glasswing butterflies.

A column at Scientific American encourages Americans to abandon traditional grass lawns in favor of other plantings.

From the archives of British Pathe, ten tragedies caught on news film.

As a result of climate change, ticks are devastating moose populations.  "They can send a moose to its death, with up to 150,000 dining on every calf, cow and bull in certain parts of the Granite State, wildlife biologists estimate. There was a time when eggs laid in this age-old cycle perished on winter snow. But that hasn’t happened lately in New Hampshire... As the number of ticks explodes, moose have disappeared by the thousands in areas where they were most abundant. Many of those still alive are eerily thin, with rib cages visible through ragged skin. They are mere shadows of themselves, zombies with antlers."

It is NOT true that there are testicle-eating fish in the waters of Scandinavia.

A former Vogue editor has written a book about "size zero" model...
On another shoot I was chatting to one of the top Australian models..."My flatmate is a 'fit model', so she's in hospital on a drip a lot of the time." A fit model is one who is used in the top designer ateliers, or workrooms, and is the body around which the clothes are designed. That the ideal body shape used as a starting point for a collection should be a female on the brink of hospitalisation from starvation is frightening.
A gallery of over 50 photos of a shoe store that was closed up and left alone for 40 years.

A column at Salon offers "Eight signs the rich have way too much money."

As the conflict rages in Syria, Syrian-Americans sometimes find themselves at odds with one another. "Sectarian identity is a large part of Syrians, and it gets imported to America," he said. "Anti-Assad is just a code word for Sunni, for people who don't like to speak about it."

People in California pray at a tree that is "weeping God's tears."  Scientists say it is aphid excrement.

The Museum of Sex has a detailed description of the internal anatomy of the clitoris.

The Beatles were introduced to marijuana by Bob Dylan. "The Beatles didn't fall immediately under the spell of marijuana, but after a few months, according to John, they were "smoking it for breakfast," "Let's have a laugh" soon became their code line for "Let's have some marijuana."

Brief video depicts an impressive karate move.

Rattlesnakes (and other snakes) are important parameters in limiting the spread of Lyme disease by ticks.

Fruit juice may be worse for children than soda pop.  "A book from the 1920s on feeding children by L Emmett Holt says that you should give toddlers just one to four tablespoons (15-60ml) of fresh orange or peach juice. Compare this with today's 200ml children's juice boxes, which contain about 17g sugar, the equivalent of more than four teaspoons. The biggest problem with juice, as far as Lustig is concerned, is the lack of fibre."

Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone tackles the college loan scandal.  "It's complicated. But throw off the mystery and what you'll uncover is a shameful and oppressive outrage that for years now has been systematically perpetrated against a generation of young adults... our university-tuition system really is exploitative and unfair, designed primarily to benefit two major actors [colleges/universities and the government]."

A sea snail hatched and grew under the skin of a little boy's knee.

Got a ceiling fan?  Put some colored tape on it and then turn it on.

In response to the question "What is a "dirty little (or big) secret" about an industry that you have worked in, that people outside the industry really ought to know?," a long discussion thread at Reddit details the workings of the funeral industry and how it exploits the consumer.

Photos at the top:  The caterpillar of the common Cabbage White butterfly is the only Midwestern butterfly larva that can be considered an agricultural pest.  So nobody raises them - except me.  I removed several from my wife's broccoli plants (which have dark green leaves) and put them in a container with some wilted iceberg lettuce (which was pale green), and was startled to see the multicolored frass in the container.  Next year I'm going to throw in some red cabbage and see how artistic the result will be.


  1. Another link that you may find blogworthy some day

    The World's Oldest Trees


  2. You'll notice that I have a comment under the "traditional grass lawn" article.

  3. Mein Gott, Stan, over here it is Saturday morning and I checked your site for the first time in a few days to find this?! What a wonderful list of links! Many thanks. I had already read the story about the testicle-eating fish and knew it had to be a hoax but the story was too new for snopes and hoaxslayer to tell us. A warm freshwater fish living in the cold salty Baltic? Never...

    And the front lawns? Well, cutting all that grass and making the equipment to do so is a huge industry employing tens of thousands, nay, tens of millions of fathers and other men, and women, and there is sure to be a huge campaign to keep them doing just that. You wait and see!

  4. Regarding the USB charger danger - you should always use a USB condom.

    1. Some discussion of the USB condoms here -


  5. Did you see this on Quigley's Cabinet today? Butterflies drinking turtle tears for the the delicious salt: http://quigleyscabinet.blogspot.com/2013/09/turtle-tears.html

    1. I did see that, miakoda. But I had covered the same topic back in 2008 -


      - and in 2009 -


      - and then again in some detail in 2012 -


      - so I didn't want to do it again. But it truly is fascinating.

  6. Per the lawns - many cities and even just suburbs (especially where a HOA is involved) won't let a homeowner do away with the grass lawn in favor of other plantings or gardens. Why? They're "unsightly" or grow above a certain height determined by the city or HOA. Honestly, it's nuts. Most won't even allow a couple of hens. No roosters, mind you, but egg-laying HENS. Yet, during WW2, the USDA encouraged even city-dwellers to have a couple of hens for eggs. My, how times have changed.


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