10 August 2014

"He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die."

The Faulkner Glossary contains both local Mississippi dialect words and the "highfalutin" words of conventional English used by the author.

A compilation of Bible verses Christians tend to ignore.

Jury nullification explained. "You declare the defendant "not guilty" regardless of the evidence and let him walk free, "nullifying" the unjust or unfair law... the right to nullify is given to us by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, the same part of the Bill of Rights that gives us the right to trial by jury.

From the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, an examination of the ecosystem inside hollow oak trees.

Contrary to established practice (and conventional wisdom), colon carcinoma with mets to the liver may be best managed by transplanting a new liver.
Six out of every ten patients who received a new liver were still alive five years later. This is more than ten times the rate elsewise expected for colorectal cancer patients with liver metastases.
The website of Oxford Dictionaries asks "How do you pronounce scone?" (to rhyme with cone or to rhyme with con?)

A mother left her 4-year-old son in the car while she went into a store for five minutes.  Nothing happened to him.  But a lot happened to her.

It saddens me to report the cyberdeath of the Cynical-C blog.  After ten years of blogging, Chris wrote his goodbye post several months ago.  I was hoping he might experience a change of heart, but apparently the DNR status was irrevocable.  Farewells and condolences are in the second post down.  On the upside, Chris has left the blog up and there is a huge archive, accessible via the "tags" in the right sidebar.

The Washington Post has an interesting recurring column for grammar geeks.

There is a peat bog in the Congo that is the size of England.  No bog bodies so far, because it isn't being harvested.  But it is important for the implications on the physics of carbon cycling.

A layman's guide to chlorine.

Video of a couple in a truck that gets hit by lightning (still image screencap at left).  They were trapped in the vehicle with the fumes because the doors wouldn't open.  No deaths, but oofda...

"...a pair of male brown bears at a zoo in Croatia have been engaging in oral sex--and lots of it..."  Explanation, discussion of fellation among animals (with safe-for-work images) at Huffington Post.

Meta for the day:  A list of lists of lists.

Guidelines for exercise by survivors of polio.  Post-polio Health International has a variety of excellent resources.

There are many variants of bikinis - microkinis, tankinis, trikinis, pubikinis, skirtinis, etc., and Wikipedia has pages for each of them.

Simple repetition can transform speech into song.  Click on these two sound demos at Rob's Webstek.

There is a special trick needed to eat tremoços (explained at Oregon Expat).

When you read about how the U.S. Postal Service is a money-losing operation, it is crucial to understand that the organization is required by law to continue ridiculous activities like subsidizing certain shipments to Alaska.  "The 12-pack of Coke alone cost the Postal Service $21 to get here."

There are a variety of toilet seats with enhanced functions in common use worldwide, but unfamiliar to Americans.

Why tap water is better than bottled water.

"An end-of-life doula is someone who is trained to comfort and support someone who is dying. In other words, just as a birth doula accompanies a baby into this world, an end-of-life doula accompanies a person out of this world. I wanted to become one."

A link to the Twin Cities Unicycle Club.

A theory that there is a secret anagram hidden in the movie "Skyfall" -
The key anagram is the cryptic message Silva sends to M shortly before all mayhem breaks loose: “THINK ON YOUR SINS.” The language is so highly stylized that I was certain, from the time the words appeared on the screen of M’s laptop, that there was a message hidden within.
(spoilers at the link for those who haven't seen the movie)

More than you ever needed to know about golf tees.

An awesome yellow jacket nest.

Solar energy is making quantum leaps forward, at least in Australia; "The impact has been so profound, and wholesale prices pushed down so low, that few coal generators in Australia made a profit last year. Hardly any are making a profit this year. State-owned generators like Stanwell are specifically blaming rooftop solar."

A humorous photoessay on why birth control exists.

A detailed post about the Triete meridian - "But there is (was!) also a system of local prime meridians, intended to serve the limited chonometric needs of the people in their surroundings. Their august presences have dissipated over time from having been essential local features and exemplars of the timekeepers’ art, until now they are little more than atrophied historical appendages, modest curiosities at best."

The MMR vaccine scare, and how is was manipulated.

Why you should never use two spaces after a period.  TYWKIWDBI still does, because of 50-year-old touch-typing reflexes I can't control.

The La Madeleine mammoth (carved on ivory) proves than early man coexisted with the animals.

Top image of a foraminifera (credit Spike Walker) from the Wellcome Awards, via Nag on the Lake.

In the title are the closing sentences from Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian (previously reviewed).


  1. A mother left her 4yr old son........ that link takes you to the scone pronunciation.

    1. Over the years I've learned not to delete my bookmarks until about a week after I do a linkdump, which allows time for my army of thousands of proofreaders to doublecheck everything for me. Fixed (and it's a fascinating read at the link). Thanks, anon.

  2. I got used to the bum gun after a trip to Thailand. I miss how easily it cleans.

    1. "Bum gun" explained: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidet_shower

  3. I miss Cynical-C, too. I kept going back to check, and I'm afraid that this time it's for real. Sad.

  4. Regarding the solar in Australia article...

    Unfortunately while it is having a positive effect on renewable energy in Australia, it is also an example of effective corporate lobbying...

    We live in a suburb of Brisbane and have just put solar panels on our roof with the aim of having a zero or even negative power bill. When the government was first trying to encourage people to use solar panels (because of renewable energy targets and to try and reduce the demand on aging infrastructure) they introduced a rebate for purchase as well as a 44c rebate, meaning that any energy you would put back into the grid generated by the solar panels would pay you 44c per KWH. In the beginning the 'traditional' electricity suppliers were encouraging this but they completely underestimated the number of people that would take this up - and of course that affected the bottom line of the electricity companies. Our electricity retailers are big multinational companies so you can imagine the lobbying power they have over our local government. Eventually the government rebate got decreased to 26c and then 8c (plus 8c from the electricity companies). Now there is no government rebate and the electricity companies are free to pay you whatever they like for the electricity you put back in the grid (in fact by law they don't actually have to charge anything!). So now we are paid 8c for what we put back in the grid, but what we take we are charged 26c per KWH, so we effectively have to produce three times as much as we use, which we currently are not (although our power bill is less than 1/5 of what is was when we didn't have solar). What that initial 44c rebate did do however is kickstart the industry and produce a supply and demand market that meant solar panels are now very cheap...

    There are some areas of Australia where the solar takeup has been so successful that 40-50% of the houses have it, and the local grid infrastructure can't handle any more so any new applicants for solar in those areas are being rejected. In another example of corporate lobbying, even if you don't connect your house to the grid (and use batteries instead) you still have to pay for the electricity companies to run the cables to your house 'just in case', or limiters, or other special hardware. The article mentions this and also battery storage, but what it doesn't mention is that battery storage effectively doubles the cost of a solar system and only lasts around 10 years. (For us, a 5.5kw system with 22 panels was around $11,000. Adding batteries would have added around $10,000 to the cost).

    So yes it's a great thing but like anything there are corporate and governmental interests at play...

  5. Now I want to read Blood Meridian again...

  6. With regard to putting two spaces after a period, it depends on where the period comes. If it comes after an abbreviation then I'll use just a single space (bldg., sf., in., ft., etc.), but I've always used two spaces at the end of a sentence to show that it IS the end of the sentence.

  7. I think two spaces at the end of sentences, even with proportional fonts, makes the text easier to read. And I don't for a minute believe that doing this bumps the page-count of a printed book by even one page in more than 1 in a hundred cases.


  8. That MMR link was genuinely shocking for me. Until now, I'd always believed that Andrew Wakefield was 'merely' an incompetent and deluded doctor. Many thanks for posting.


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