12 January 2017

Divertimento #121

Security cam documents the incredible reflexes of a father saving two children.  Note how he runs toward the danger.

"Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life... touches on some still-relevant financial topics, including the nature of banking, the philosophical calculus behind issuing loans, and the way American families’ financial fates are intertwined..."

There are hate crimes and there are hate crime hoaxes.

"A racehorse called Party Till Dawn has returned a positive drug test for methamphetamine."

Toddler unhappy that a book is finished (gif).

Restoring a 50-year-old hammer (note especially now the leather grip is crafted).

"Escape rooms, as they are known, are opening at a giddying rate everywhere from America to the Philippines. They have been described as the “fastest growing entertainment trend since the cinema” and are quickly becoming a staple of stag and hen parties, corporate team-building exercises and friends’ nights out. "

"Dominoes" using the capstones on a wall.  Don't quit early - wait for the unexpected ending.

A 12-minute-long video shows how Christmas hard ribbon candy is made (mostly by hand).

"A multiperson con that happens all the time in Southeast Asia. A female on a scooter pulls up to the male victim..." (gif at the link)

Solar and wind power are now cheaper than fossil fuels in 30 countries. "As prices for solar and wind power continue their precipitous fall, two-thirds of all nations will reach the point known as “grid parity” within a few years, even without subsidies."  Another article notes that “solar, battery storage, electrical and hydrogen vehicles, and connected devices are in a ‘J’ curve (of upward growth potential).” One consequence of this new energy economy is that, “the price (of oil) could drop to $10 if markets anticipate a significant fall in demand.” “The promise of quasi-infinite and free energy is here.”  These changes have a relevance to Donald Trump's proposed economic policy.

"Robert the Bruce really did suffer from leprosy, scientists have concluded after reconstructing his face from his skull."

You can now find out whether your ancestor fought at Agincourt.  "The French fighting men are now part of a database which lists more than 250,000 names of English soldiers who fought in campaigns between 1369 and 1453, including Agincourt. All together, the database is the largest list of medieval people ever assembled."

The thinnest wood shavings ever.  Looks to me like a medical microtome applied to wood.

You think your dog is housebroken.  This dog is housebroken.

If a website won't let you view an article because you have an ad blocker installed, there is a way you can override that impediment.

"Welders exposed to airborne manganese at estimated levels below federal occupational safety standards exhibit neurological problems similar to Parkinson’s disease."

High-school basketball player vs. Michael Jordan (photo).

Last year Warren Buffett made $32,000,000.  Per day.

"China promised Friday to halt its domestic ivory trade completely by the end of 2017, a decision greeted by environmentalists as offering real hope for an end to a poaching crisis that is wiping out tens of thousands of elephants across Africa. “China’s announcement is a game changer for elephant conservation.”

Donald Trump described as the "substitute teacher" of American presidents.  (While he's there "chaos reigns and nothing of any substance gets done.")

Another video of the red crab migration at Christmas Island.

A rant about the definition of a "grilled cheese sandwich," insisting that it's not the same as a "melt."

The Shaker sect is on the verge of extinction.

Star jelly (also called astromyxin, astral jelly, star rot, star shot or moon poo) is a gelatinous substance sometimes found on grass or even on branches of trees. According to folklore, it is deposited on the earth during meteor showers. Star jelly is described as a translucent or grayish-white gelatin that tends to evaporate shortly after having “fallen.” Explanations have ranged from the materials being the remains of frogs, toads, or worms, to the byproducts of cyanobacteria, to the paranormal. Reports of the substance date back to the 14th century and have continued to the present day.

"Dabbing" explained.

A glitch in a videotape spoils a report on a woman struck by lightning.

Accommodations in northern Norway.

"Two staff at East Lake library have been suspended for allegedly creating bogus borrowers, in order to outwit automated book-culling software designed to ditch titles that are not being read. The accused have alleged that the practice is widespread among librarians fighting to protect book budgets from unnecessary purchases."

You can now buy anti-surveillance clothing.

Norway is the first country in the world to drop its FM radio network. "FM will be replaced by digital audio broadcasting (DAB), which is said to have clearer sound and signal, and is already being broadcast in Norway. DAB also allows for eight times as many stations as FM for the same cost. The problem is that more than 2 million cars in Norway don’t have DAB receivers, nor do many homes."  Switzerland, Britain, and Denmark plan to do the same thing.

"A mysterious disease has been killing ducks and eagles in Florida’s wetlands, and endangered snail kites may be its next victims."

How some silent film special effects were created.

Clever woodworking: a drawer hidden within a drawer (gif). Via.

"A piece of fabric described as the Holy Grail of fashion history will become one of the star attractions at Hampton Court Palace after it was identified as the only surviving piece of clothing worn by Elizabeth I. The country’s leading experts on royal garments have spent the past year piecing together clues about the provenance of the beautifully embroidered textile, which had been cut up and used for hundreds of years as an altar cloth in a Herefordshire parish church."

A video for those who like snooker.

A useful sign in a ladies' restroom at a bar.

If someone is allergic to quinine, a gin and tonic can be lethal.

A remarkable badminton rally (gif).

Props to this bodybuilder with cerebral palsy.  Discussed here.

This is a bunraku puppet.

The images embedded in this divertimento come from the 2016 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar.  Descriptions, credits (and more photos) at the link.


  1. i feel the same way when i finish a good book.


  2. That man saving those children has given me a little bit more faith in humanity. He was like a superhero!

  3. Replies
    1. Title amended accordingly. I had totally forgotten (also had to update #120) and I wondered what you meant - perhaps you had won a game of cribbage?

      Thanks, Rob.

  4. Anyone know where the phrase housebroken comes from? I mean, I get the house bit, but what's being broken? (Non-native speaker, so forgive me if it's something obvious.)

    1. I would guess that the "break" refers to breaking a pattern of behavior (of excreting body waste randomly).

  5. The Hidden Drawer Within a Drawer gif isn't playing all the way through. Send them to this link for the full one. I watched it about 74 times, thinking I missed something until I went to google.

    1. I just now tried the link, and the gif oop that played for me was the same duration as that embedded at Reddit. I do see in their thread that a lot of people can't get the gif to work properly and they have some alternatives listed, so I'll add the Reddit link as a via, just in case.

  6. The video of the lightning survivor was from my local TV channel in Moline, IL. Maybe I should watch the 6 o clock news instead of the 10.


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