12 July 2015


"Five years ago, a legendary art dealer left his home in Santa Fe, traveled to an undisclosed location somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, and hid a 42‑pound chest filled with priceless treasure. Why?"  More information in a long read at California Sunday.

Students at M.I.T. figured out how to game the Massachusetts lottery.  "The math whizzes quickly discovered that buying about $100,000 in Cash WinFall tickets on those days would virtually guarantee success. Buying $600,000 worth of tickets would bring a 15%–20% return on investment... By 2005, the group had earned almost $8 million with its system..."

An article posted during the Glastonbury Festival discussed various devices available for purchase that allow you to pee in public places.

A trailer for an upcoming documentary movie about Chris Farley.

Reminders to exercise caution when first consuming edible marijuana products.

The American Recall Center appears to be an educational website offering "drug and medical device recall information."  When you read the fine print you discover that the website is "sponsored by Weitz & Luxenberg P.C., a law firm focusing on providing legal services to clients injured by negligent corporations and/or entities."

A remastered renovation of "The Third Man" is now playing in theaters.  (See my old posts re The Third Man Theme and the closing scene where Anna walks out of Holly's life.) (and this re the location of that and other scenes in the movie).

The reason your eyes get irritated at public swimming pools is not the chlorine per se. "It’s chlorine mixed with poop and sweat and a lot of other things we bring into the water with us.”

A gif illustrating the timeline of full marriage equality in the United States.

A retired United Methodist minister immolated himself on a street in Texas.  "He called on the community to repent and said he was “giving my body to be burned, with love in my heart” for those who were lynched in his home town as well as for those who did the lynching, hoping to address lingering racism... Moore explained that his death was not an impulsive act, but one to which he had given great thought... Moore left behind a copy of a New Yorker article... about the Tibetan Buddhist monks’ protest of China’s domination of Tibet. They, too, set themselves on fire."

A reminder of your rights when detained by a policeman.

A remarkable disc golf hole-in-one.

"To escape the demons of his mother’s death and ease his pain," a man in Boston murdered his mother's doctor.  "Across the United States, hospital shootings are now a monthly occurrence. In the year leading up to Davidson’s murder, there were more than a dozen, claiming 15 lives, and the trend is clearly on the rise.. While not all hospital shootings are aimed at doctors, many are..."

The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy - 10 hours of cinema - fails the Bechdel testNever do two named female characters talk to each other.

A well-deserved and long-overdue tribute to Dr. Donald W. Seldin, chair emeritus of internal medicine at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School - the most memorable teacher I ever had, and the man who taught me everything I know about DKA.

A teenager in Arkansas woke up with an earache; he reached into his ear and pulled out a 4-inch centipede.

Was President Zachary Taylor murdered?

Safe at third base after an innovative slide.

"There’s so much milk flowing out of U.S. cows these days that some is ending up in dirt pits because dairies can’t find buyers... Agri-Mark, a 1,200-dairy cooperative in New England that had $1.1 billion of sales last year, started pouring skim milk last month into holes used for livestock manure. It was the first time in five decades, and farmers so far have unloaded 12 truckloads, or 600,000 pounds (272 metric tons)..."

A subterranean urban farm in London grows vegetables hydroponically to supply London restaurants with fresh veggies.  No sunlight required.  Travel distances from farm to user negligible.

If you like to fish, or just enjoy a quiet evening on the lake, and are sick and tired of assholes who speed around in power boats, you can get enormous amounts of schadenfreude by viewing this video.  Here it is remixed with a loop set to music.

Here's your feel-good story for the day.  In South Carolina, a school custodian lost her home in a fire.  Students at the school met with their superintendent and with the help of United Carpenters for Christ, built a new home for the custodian.

In my view, the #1 candidate for this year's Darwin Award is a Texas man who went swimming with alligators. "...Woodward ignored verbal warnings and a posted "No Swimming Alligators" sign and seemed to mock the deadly creatures before going in the water. "He removed his shirt, removed his billfold ... someone shouted a warning and he said 'blank the alligators' and jumped into the water and almost immediately yelled for help..." Video at the link (sfw).

The runner-up for the award would be the man in Maine who put a fireworks mortar tube on his head and ignited it.  "There was no rushing him to the hospital. There was no Devon left when I got there."  "Devon was not the kind of person who would do something stupid."  Alcohol was involved.

A five-minute video illustrates how we are living in "exponential times."

"Attackers on a motorbike threw acid in the faces of three teenage girls on their way to school in Afghanistan's western Herat province... The girls, age 16 to 18, are students at one of the biggest girls' schools in Herat city... "This is the punishment for going to school," the men told the girls after pouring the acid on them."

Hackers were able to give orders to a German missile battery. "The attack took place on anti-aircraft ‘Patriot’ missiles on the Syrian border. The American-made weapons had been stationed there by the Bundeswehr (German army) to protect Nato ally Turkey. According to the civil service magazine, the missile system carried out “unexplained” orders. It was not immediately clear when these orders were carried out and what they were."

Rural Costa Ricans paint their satellite dishes to turn them into billboards.

According to the latest Gallup poll - "In the second quarter of 2015, Democrats regained an advantage over Republicans in terms of Americans' party affiliation. A total of 46% of Americans identified as Democrats (30%) or said they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party (16%), while 41% identified as Republicans (25%) or leaned Republican (16%). The two parties were generally even during the previous three quarters, including the fourth quarter of 2014, when the midterm elections took place."

India has experienced a massive medical school admissions scandal.  "Question papers were leaked, answer sheets rigged, impersonators - themselves bright, young students - were hired to sit for candidates, and seats sold to the highest bidder."

The rails are a large family of birds.  The etymology of the word has nothing to do with railings or railroads.  Rather, it derives from the birds' harsh cry and the French word "rale" - just like the inspiratory crackling lung sounds.

Oreos are crushing their competition.  "Today, nearly one out of every five dollars spent on cookies is spent on an Oreo... Oreos are dominant globally, too. The brand, which accounts for roughly 5 percent of worldwide cookie sales, has more than three times the foothold of any other cookie."

When Sweden plays Denmark in sports, the scorecard reads SWE-DEN.  The unused letters from their names spell...

The awesome creature in the header for this divertimento is a Cecropia Moth, photographed by reader Rob Witwer in Colorado.  Cecropias are members of the group commonly referred to as the giant silkmoths; they are impressive not just for their size, but for the intricate beauty of the patterns on their wings.  On hot summer nights they are drawn to the light from building windows.  Raising caterpillars of any of these moths provides an unparalleled experience for children.  Sadly, these magnificent adults - including the one in the photo above - die within a couple days because they are born without mouthparts, so they cannot feed.  They have to live off stored energy until they can mate; that is their only biologic purpose for existing.


  1. > Oreos are crushing their competition.

    just wait until hydrox cookies return! :-)


  2. Note: The only link in the Darwin Awards paragraph is the one to the Wikipedia article on the Darwin Awards. I gather there's supposed to be another one with a video.

    1. Link inserted. Thanks for the heads-up, Adrian.

  3. (Incidentally, I don't think I've ever seen Oreos in Australia. So I'm not sure where the "dominant globally" thing comes from.)

    1. I think it comes from the chart of worldwide sales in the article. They have 5X the sales of Arnott's worldwide, for example.

    2. My daughter lives in Melbourne and often buys Oreos from the local supermarket, for my grandchildren, she says.
      Oreos share shelf space with our local brand Griffin's, here in New Zealand.
      Probably hard to come by in Antarctica.

  4. Well, I guess I won't be going to the pool today after all ;)

    1. Wait till you learn what makes the sea salty...

  5. >> "When the media caught word of the lab results (which didn’t make for a good headline), they thoroughly lambasted Clara Rising, the researcher who’d ordered the exhumation...and publicly shamed her...'Sometimes there are good reasons for tampering with a grave; serious historical evidence establishing the possibility that President Taylor was assassinated would be one,' reads a 1991 The New York Times editorial. 'But Ms. Rising has produced no such evidence, only a hypothesis...'Amidst all of this, Rising held her head high."

    The mainstream media has again shown no understanding of science and produced no good evidence for public shaming.

  6. And yet its the phrase, "Protesting students say the scam is the 'murder of meritocracy'" that concerns me the most.

  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN9wtBrAEFs Emergency butterfly surgery

    p.s. that is how the video is labeled on YT.


    1. Nothing to be gained by correcting him. Tx.

    2. here is a real butterfly wing repair video:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah0SBALIc0o Live Monarch Foundation - How to fix a broken butterfly wing

      i am surprised at much handling the butterfly (and the moth in the previous video) can take and still survive!



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