30 January 2017

Divertimento #122

The archaic term for mustard seed is eye of newt." Often misunderstood for an actual eye of a newt, this name has been popularly associated with witchcraft ever since it was mentioned as an ingredient to a witch's brew in Macbeth."

"Only three known species go through menopause: killer whales, short-finned pilot whales, and humans."

"What movie changes the plot if you add a random 'R' somewhere in the title?"  Some clever suggestions. ("A Fish Called Rwanda," "The Best Years of Our Livers," "Winter's Boner," "Fright Club," "Pulp Friction," and others are  in the list)

How to get rid of unwanted electronic devices (where to sell them, donate them, recycle them).

"Coal supporters are pushing a bill [in Wyoming] that would bar utilities from using the state's abundant wind power to provide electricity within the state."

Regarding the media enablers of the Trump election: "Les Moonves, the executive chairman and CEO of CBS, said, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter about Trump’s candidacy: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” He added: “Donald’s place in this election is a good thing. . . . Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? . . . The money’s rolling in and this is fun. . . . I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”

"A startup called Ambrosia will fill your veins with the blood of young people and empty your pockets of $8,000."

"Hygge is a Danish word (say HUE-gah) for a particular atmosphere grounded in the joys of simple pleasures."

"...when GOP candidates are looking for big donors to back them, they have options... If you don’t get Sheldon Adelson, you can go to the Koch brothers, and so on. In Michigan, the DeVos family is a class of donor all by themselves.” (see the chart here).

LifeProTip: "If you want to browse a site that requires login (e.g. WSJ) copy/paste the link to https://archive.org/web/ to read."

"The world’s eight richest billionaires control the same wealth... as the poorest half of the globe’s population."

"After a police chase in 1956, in which he crashed his motorcycle, [Robert Craig] Knievel was taken to jail on a charge of reckless driving.  When the night jailer came around to check roll call, he noted Robert Knievel in one cell and William Knofel in another.  Knofel was well known as “Awful Knofel”... so Knievel began to be referred to as Evel Knievel..."

How to gut a small fish with chopsticks (video).

"Genderless Nipples posts up-close pictures of people's nipples, making it unclear if they belong to men and women. This clever strategy completely bamboozles Instagram's algorithm for n00dz detection..."

Some gas pumps have mute buttons (not labeled), so you can turn off annoying videos.

"Asgard is now the name of a large clan of microbes. Its members, which are named after Norse gods like Odin, Thor, Loki, and Heimdall, are found all over the world. Many of them are rare and no one has actually seen them under a microscope. But thanks to their DNA, we know they exist. And we know that they are singularly important to us, because they may well be the group from which we evolved."

Massive alligator seen in Florida, crossing the path of a nature preserve.

The top 20 home inspection photos of 2016.

"This is the Broomway, allegedly “the deadliest” path in Britain, and certainly the unearthliest path I have ever walked. The Broomway is thought to have killed more than 100 people over the centuries; it seems likely that there were other victims whose fates went unrecorded. Sixty-six of its dead are buried in the little Foulness churchyard; the other bodies were not recovered."

If you've ever daydreamed of becoming a lighthouse keeper.

"...an estimated 1 in 4 Alabamans are functionally illiterate, meaning they're unable to manage daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills beyond a basic level."

LifeProTip: "In Gmail settings you can turn on "Enable undo send" which allows you to cancel sending an email for up to 30 seconds after you've sent it."

A quick laugh for anyone dealing with burdensome college debt.

"An unusual case of self-inflicted cesarean section with maternal and child survival is presented. No similar event was found in an Internet literature search. Because of a lack of medical assistance and a history of fetal death in utero, a 40-year-old multiparous woman unable to deliver herself alone vaginally sliced her abdomen and uterus and delivered her child..."

Prince may have died of a Fentanyl overdose.

A recent study suggests that black bears are NOT attracted to the smell of menstrual blood.

The best uses of color in movies (video, 13 minutes)

The blog Not Exactly Rocket Science is ending after 10 years.  Ed Yong will now write for The Atlantic.

The usefulness of infrared cameras for home inspections.  Interesting and revealing.

Continuing the debate about seat belts on school buses.

Google Maps has added images of amenities in hotels.

"An unidentified fisherman in the Philippines kept a giant pearl that might just be the biggest ever under his bed for the last 10 years." (image at the link) "The fisherman's find, which weighs 34 kg, is estimated to be worth US$100 million."

A flash mob in Minneapolis says goodbye to Mary Tyler Moore (with video of mass beret-tossing) (caution: earworm).

"The Food and Drug Administration urged parents Friday to not use Hyland's homeopathic teething products containing belladonna, commonly known as deadly nightshade."

gif: how a person with OCD folds their socks.

gif: a cow catching snowflakes on its tongue.

gif: athletic street dance.

gif: hockey player high-sticks himself.

gif: straight stick moving through a curved slot.

gif: cats use advanced mathematics to calculate their jumps.

gif: clever dog costume.

gif: this is described as a "standard daycare trick" for putting on a winter parka.

gif: backyard luge course.

gif: innovative first-grade physical education class.

gif: man being chased by a Tasmanian Devil.

The images in this linkdump come from a gallery of "antique book patterns from front or end papers. Spanning from 1890-1930," compiled by the Bergen Public Library.  (more examples at the link)


  1. currently pursuing paper marbling for some projects I have in mind, going to be a trial and error for a bit, an art to everything and all that. There are some masters out there though, I love the examples you provided.

  2. As a lifelong resident of Alabama, I feel that the "1 in 4 Alabamians are functionally illiterate" is misleading. While I'm sure that the school systems here face many challenges, I do not think the problem of illiteracy is because we are simply ignorant folks. Rather, Alabama has seen a huge uptick in immigration from Latin American countries. Where I live, the school system has gone from maybe 1% Hispanic 20 years ago to approaching 40% Hispanic now. Many of these children, and especially their parents, come from places where literacy and schooling are not a priority.

    I say this only to defend the inevitable backlash an article like this might cause against our schools. This illiteracy isn't because our schools are terrible. It is a challenge of a different sort.

    1. Or worse, that Alabamaians are just stupid Southerners.

  3. BBC Radio 4's "More or Less" did a nice piece explaining why the 8 Billionaire state is meaningless. - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04q68z3

  4. That LPT just changed everything. Thank you.

  5. The gifs made a hard day so much easier, thank you.

  6. For fans of the discontinued Not Exactly Rocket Science, I would suggest Ed Yong's email newsletter The Ed's Up.

    1. ...which I see he does mention in the linked article, sorry! Consider this another endorsement for it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...