24 September 2016


Gifs of children eating dark chocolate for the first time.

Last year a Washington Post columnist wrote an article describing Red Lake County, Minnesota as the "worst place to live" in the United States.  Now he lives there.  Happily.  He explains why in this post.

A bill being considered by Congress proposes to exempt Olympic athletes from paying taxes on the monetary value of their gold medals.   This op-ed column offers a logical dissent.

"'Arm doors, cross-check and all-call'? A former flight attendant helps decode cabin-crew jargon."

The BBC offers a list of the best 100 movies of the 21st century (i.e., the last 16 years).

"...there is a catch to the autonomous dream [of self-driving 18-wheel trucks] — these vehicles will not be impervious to hackers. In a paper they will present at the Usenix Workshop on Offensive Technologies in Austin next week, the researchers will show that even the long-haul vehicles currently on the road, with their comparatively modest autonomous systems, are vulnerable to attack.

Digg offers constantly updating threads of all news stories, tweets, etc. on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  By the time you get to the bottom of the thread, there are new ones at the top.

Yersinia pestis has now been confirmed (by DNA) as the cause of London's Great Plague of 1665.

Three Louisiana politicians who voted against disaster-relief funds for Hurricane Sandy victims in New Jersey and New York have requested disaster-relief funds for their own constituents.  You can read their excuses here.

Bad Lip Reading of the Democratic National Convention.

How to go faster on a bicycle.  

A 17-minute video details the construction of U.S. Bank stadium and offers a tour of the billion-dollar facility.  For Minnesotans and avid Vikings fans only.

In recent years, cholera has afflicted at least 770,000 Haitians and claimed over 9,200 lives. The Haitian epidemic alone resulted in an 85 percent increase in the number of cholera cases worldwide. The UN has not explicitly said it caused the cholera outbreak; however, the Secretary-General's office says peacekeepers who arrived in Haiti after the earthquake may have helped trigger the epidemic.

This is how to throw a hammer (gif and discussion thread).

A map of the locations of the 10,000 most powerful earthquakes.

"For the past several years, a group of researchers has been observing a seemingly impossible wood ant colony living in an abandoned nuclear weapons bunker in Templewo, Poland, near the German border. Completely isolated from the outside world, these members of the species Formica polyctena have created an ant society unlike anything we've seen before." 

  Got a dead tree in your front yard?  This man will create an impressive sculpture from it.

Metabolic features of chronic fatigue syndrome (published in PNAS).

"A woman had never completed the first stage of the "American Ninja Warrior" national finals. Enter stuntwoman Jessie Graff, who not only completed the course, but absolutely crushed it."

Transporting massive wind turbine blades (video).

"Japan's Ministry of Home Affairs squashed publication of the tragic story of First Lieutenant Hajime Fujii, an instructor at Kumagaya Army Aviation School. In December 1944, Fujii's wife Fukuko committed suicide along with their two children, Kazuko(age 3) and Chieko (age 1), so that her husband could freely go on a special attack(suicide) mission."

Totally awesome kiteSpectacular (if you like dragons).

"There’s an incredibly pervasive myth that the best way to keep your battery healthy is to let it drain all the way to zero before recharging. Alas, like littering and the all-bread food pyramid, this is no longer considered a best practice. In fact, it’ll actually shorten the lifespan of your phone. Instead, to keep your battery healthy and ensure it’s able to maintain as much of a charge as possible, you want to give your phone regular charges..."

An extended read about the life of sportscaster Verne Lundquist.

"The playground set from Hell."  (downed power line)

"...bats (and, to a lesser extent, dogs and humans) waggle their heads to enhance their perception of sounds as they survey their environments... All creatures with two ears do this — humans, cats, dogs. That's why Wohlgemuth recognized the movement from his dog."

Interesting mailbox.  I'm guessing it's in Tennessee.  But apparently it's not unique.

The highest paid public employee in each state.

Hard-core socialists don't consider Bernie Sanders to be one of them.

The largest conservative newspaper in Texas has endorsed Hillary Clinton.  As has the Cincinnati Enquirer (the first time in a hundred years they have endorsed a Democrat).

Paramount is now streaming 175 movies online for free.

Collin Powell has said (in leaked emails) that Israel has 200 nuclear weapons.

"Fast-Swimming Swordfish Automatically Lubricate Themselves."  Full details at Ed Yong's amazing blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science.

"Here’s What Happens When You Give $1,000 to Someone in Extreme Poverty."

The Articles of Federation, which served as the U.S. first constitution, included "provided for a blanket acceptance of the Province of Quebec (referred to as "Canada" in the Articles) into the United States."

"If you had $1 for every year the universe has existed (approximately 13.8 billion years). You wouldn't even make the top 50 on the Forbes list."

The most interesting name I've seen this year: Equanimeous St. Brown.  "His father, John Brown, had a college friend... who was writing a book featuring a character named Equanimeous... his friend said it was inspired by the word equanimity, which... means “calm emotions when dealing with problems or pressure.” Brown liked the name so much that he vowed to bestow it on his first son."

The images embedded in this week's divertimento are illustrations from Renaissance maps, 
selected from a gallery at Elisandre - L'Oeuvre au Noir.


  1. If you had $1 dollar for every year the universe has existed, you wouldn't even be able to buy a brand-new Nissan Versa.


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