20 October 2016


At farm supply stores you can purchase "artificial insemination gloves."  The non-veterinary uses are limited only  by your imagination.

Moose vs. lawnmower.  Moose wins.

Einstein is a famous talking parrot (5-minute video).

A woman cleverly stole mail from mailboxes by attaching a mousetrap to a segment from a vertical window blind.

Canities subita is the medical term for hair turning white overnight.

"In the hospital, Carter lost control of his right arm, then over his legs and other muscles within a few days. He now can only wiggle a toe and move the left side of his face. He has been diagnosed with a mysterious, polio-like illness called acute flaccid myelitis, a condition that seems to be surging this year."

Karma is well known to be a bitch (gif).

In episode 595 of This American Life ("Deep End of the Pool"), Act One ("If You Cannot Afford an Attorney, Some Random Dude Will Be Appointed to You") is a long listen (29 minutes) but provides amazing insight into the practice of public defenders.  If you're in a hurry, just try the first five minutes...

The benefits of going bald.  "While the bald and balding men were not considered as physically attractive as the other men, one category of scores was far higher. The men were consistently rated as more intelligent, influential, knowledgeable, well-educated, high social status, honest and helpful – traits collectively known as social maturity."  (and there's more...)

A robot wins a game of tic-tac-toe (8-second gif).  You have time for this...

Via Everlasting Blort, the worst of McMansions (scroll down the page).

A movie poster for "Forrest Trump."

There is a new world record for largest pumpkin: 2,261 pounds.  "By focusing on thickness as well as weight, gardeners hope to create structurally sound behemoths. As the younger Dill told Inverse in September 2015, he is cultivating a squash that is “pretty well solid right through to the cavity.”

In September, skeletons of Asian ancestry were discovered in a Roman Britain burial site.

"In early 2009, the seven largest publicly traded college operators were worth a combined $51 billion. Today, they’ve been all but wiped out."  Thanks, Obama.

Disappearing trick.  LOL.  (15-second gif)

NASA's Astronomy Photo of the Day offers a zoom into a star cluster.

I heard some numbers on a podcast of No Such Thing as a Fish that I found hard to believe, but I tracked down confirmation at NASA -
When a star dies, its core collapses under the pull of gravity to form an exotic type of star. Average-sized stars like our sun leave behind white dwarfs. These stars contain about as much material as the sun, but gravity squeezes them down to the size of Earth. A teaspoon of white dwarf material would weigh about 15 tons!

If that doesn’t impress you, stars much bigger than our sun leave behind neutron stars. These objects contain even more material than the sun, but they are only about 10 miles across -- the size of a city. A teaspoon of neutron star material would weigh 4 billion tons!
Also via NSTAAF, there IS such a thing as -1 on the Richter Scale.

A deer enjoys a leaf blower.

Is a "juncture" the same as a "junction?"  Grammarist explains.

How hard can it be to get into a tub?

"If I drop food on the floor, I still eat it. I do that because the harm I might get from the floor is not worth my concern compared with many, many other things. You may feel differently. Either way, make an informed judgment based on relative risks, not on any arbitrary span of time that one thing has been touching another."

An interesting read about tsunamis in confined spaces.

"Ladybug, you are cleared for takeoff."

A half-court basketball shot (taken by a proxy) wins a student $10,000.

"When blind writer Trish Vickers failed to notice her pen had run out of ink, Dorset Police made a real impression on her.  The boys in blue came to her rescue and recovered 26 pages of her book."

Juggling flaming torches.  Ta-DAAAA !!  (I really hate to LOL at "fails," but sometimes it's hard not to.)

There is a new drug for severe eczema (a monoclonal antibody interleukin inhibitor).  It's currently in Phase 3 trials.

A map (and discussion thread) of the 14 drill holes in Mars made by Curiosity.

"Lyndel Rhodes listening to Willie Nelson sing a song she wrote."

Footprint of a titanosaur.

"Almost half of a 50-strong herd of cows in western France ate themselves to death after chomping on the equivalent of a whole winter’s rations in just one night."

Forbes Magazine released its annual list of the 400 richest Americans, a record 42 of whom are immigrants.

Opposition to Galileo was not just religious - it was also scientific.

Clever Oktoberfest outfits (gif).

"Bachelor hacks" - several of which are surprisingly clever.

Police have issued an appeal for information about why a chicken was seen crossing the road in Dundee.

"The U.S.’s largest pneumonic plague outbreak in nearly a century has been identified, and it all started with a sick dog... The CDC also found that one of the cases may have resulted from human-to-human transmission, something that hasn’t happened in the States since 1924."

Clever: "Police arrested Logan Pack, 24, for Felony Burglary. They say he collected receipts from the parking lot at Home Depot, then used the receipts like a shopping list to obtain the items from the shelves and return the goods for cash."  I have often wondered why more people don't do this (or perhaps they do).

Where to go when your cruise ship hits rough seas.

Here's the Saturday Night Live spoof of the second presidential debate.

If there is such a thing as a humorous Halloween costume of a suicide vest, this may be it.

Credit for the photos embedded in this week's Divertimento goes to Ásta Henriksen, who teaches English at the Icelandic School of Commerce, and whose hobby is photographing "hearts" in Icelandic nature (via Iceland Monitor).


  1. i was at that pumpkin weigh off - great fun!!!


    1. just to add, the best part of the weigh off is the guys driving in with their punkins and unloading them. the actual weighing is almost secondary or tertiary - you sort of see who the winners are going to be, although there often is a surprise during the weighing. before the pumpkins got SO big, folks from the crowd would help to unload. i had a chance to lift a few of them puppies - they ARE heavy.


  2. the deer and leaf blower? looks like flehming.


  3. https://soundcloud.com/optional-knowledge/why-do-we-laugh-at-pain

  4. Hi,
    Great choices :-)

    The BBC did a programme which referenced the Lituya Bay tsunami, with a survivors interview;
    full programme apparently (can't find a length, being a computer numpty);
    At an altitude of 50m in Devon La Palma collapsing could cause us a few problems.
    cheers another phil

    1. That appears to be a 4-minute excerpt from what must have been a fascinating program.

    2. The second link has the 45 minute video, but as it is BBC Worldwide in the UK I have to go anonymous to watch it!
      cheers phil

  5. I think that shipboard picture is a wave pool. I don't see anyone holding on or struggling to move around and the day looks to be clear, no wave motion to be seen via the horizon. People should be swaying or otherwise indicating movement.

    1. I think you're right! Good observation. (and the frequency of the waves is probably too high for a large ship to be experiencing)

    2. Looking original video compared with others, i think those waves are higher than they should be and are a result of ship movement.

      Compare with this one, whew they closed the pool:

  6. For the richter scale, the mangnitudes correlate to powers. So a negative power just means you do the inverse of the positive power. It seems confusing at first, but with a base of 10 you would get 10^2=100, 10^1=10, 10^0=1, 10^-1=.1, 10^-2=.01, etc

    1. mangnitudes was supposed to be magnitudes...

    2. I believe it's also a reflection of the fact that today's technology can measure tremors several log powers lower than the lowest observable ones when the scale was established.

    3. Doubtful, they are basic devices that pick up vibration, similar in principle to something like a record needle. Too small of a vibration would just be noise, it could be someone walking in the room or a car driving by. I do believe the negative numbers are just a mathematical artifact of using a logarithmic scale. You can cross the zero line on the X scale and the Y value just infinitely approaches zero as you go left.

  7. Nice collection of miscellanea. I found out that there are treatments for Trumpet Nail.


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