Prominent crypts of Fuchs (the black is mascara).
Via the Pics subreddit.
(after the fire) "First, they came across the half-burned trunk of Peter Englund lying in his front yard. Then, when they approached Englund's well, they were met by an overwhelming stench. Peering down into the well, they could make out the top layer of what would turn out to be a stack of eighteen bodies - Englund's wife and his seven children and nine other people, most of them neighborhood children..."After the fire, trainloads of sightseers came to gawk at the devastation, including ghoulish opportunists who scavenged the wasteland for safes and cashboxes, stripping jewelry from the bloated corpses.
Here we show that feathers from five species of birds of paradise... structurally absorb incident light to produce extremely low-reflectance, super black plumages... SEM, nano-CT, and ray-tracing simulations show that super black feathers have titled arrays of highly modified barbules, which cause more multiple scattering, resulting in more structural absorption, than normal black feathers.More at the link. Fascinating. Via Wired.
[normal black feather on the left, "super-black" on the right; details at the link]
By increasing the number of times light scatters, structurally absorbing materials can increase total light absorption to produce a profoundly black appearance. For example, a shiny metal with a smooth surface that reflects 30–70% of visible light can be converted to a matte black material that reflects less than 5% of light by adding microstructural surface complexity that increases structural absorption. Natural examples of structural absorption have been described in the wing scales of butterflies...
Our findings demonstrate that super black bird of paradise feathers structurally absorbs up to 99.95% of directly incident light... Interestingly, in both butterflies and birds of paradise, super black patches are always adjacent to bright, highly saturated, and structural colors... We hypothesize that structurally absorbing super black patches evolve because they exaggerate the perceived brilliance of adjacent color patches through a sensory/cognitive bias inherent in the vertebrate mechanism of color correction.
Truthfully, no one really knows for sure how and why it was built [in 1882]. What’s well established is that it was built right after the mountain pass was completed, probably as a lounge for people who wished to escape and enjoy the silence, or attend one of the many lavish parties held inside. So this might answer the question as to why it was built. Or maybe it was meant to be a resting place for the mountain workers, but, in no time, the charming location and what it offers in terms of isolation and excellence inspired the elite to climb the scenic road.Drone video here.
And then there is the Rhône glacier right next to it. Only 200 steps away, it offers a spectacular close-up view of an icy scenery like no other place on Earth. The Belvédère Hotel is raised on a rock, practically over the glacier, so the view is available right from the hotel’s balconies while guests are slurping their morning coffees. Not only that but from the 1890s onward, an ice chamber inside the glacier has been carved out, re-drilled and maintained as a walkable tunnel. (much more info at the link)
For more than three centuries, a plague of unshakable lethargy blanketed the American South.The rest of the story, with a video, is at PBS.
It began with “ground itch,” a prickly tingling in the tender webs between the toes, which was soon followed by a dry cough. Weeks later, victims succumbed to an insatiable exhaustion and an impenetrable haziness of the mind that some called stupidity. Adults neglected their fields and children grew pale and listless. Victims developed grossly distended bellies and “angel wings”—emaciated shoulder blades accentuated by hunching. All gazed out dully from sunken sockets with a telltale “fish-eye” stare.
The culprit behind “the germ of laziness,” as the South’s affliction was sometimes called, was Necator americanus—the American murderer. Better known today as the hookworm, millions of those bloodsucking parasites lived, fed, multiplied, and died within the guts of up to 40% of populations stretching from southeastern Texas to West Virginia. Hookworms stymied development throughout the region and bred stereotypes about lazy, moronic Southerners...
“You had an entire class of Southern society—including whites, blacks, and Native Americans—that was looked upon as shiftless, lazy good-for-nothings who can’t do a day’s work,” my mom explained to me. “Hookworms tainted the nation’s picture of what a Southerner looked and acted like.”
In Ovid's Metamorphoses, Pyramus and Thisbe are two lovers in the city of Babylon who occupy connected houses/walls, forbidden by their parents to be wed, because of their parents' rivalry. Through a crack in one of the walls, they whisper their love for each other. They arrange to meet near Ninus' tomb under a mulberry tree and state their feelings for each other. Thisbe arrives first, but upon seeing a lioness with a mouth bloody from a recent kill, she flees, leaving behind her veil. When Pyramus arrives he is horrified at the sight of Thisbe's veil, assuming that a wild beast has killed her. Pyramus kills himself, falling on his sword in proper Babylonian fashion, and in turn splashing blood on the white mulberry leaves. Pyramus' blood stains the white mulberry fruits, turning them dark. Thisbe returns, eager to tell Pyramus what had happened to her, but she finds Pyramus' dead body under the shade of the mulberry tree. Thisbe, after a brief period of mourning, stabs herself with the same sword. In the end, the gods listen to Thisbe's lament, and forever change the colour of the mulberry fruits into the stained colour to honour the forbidden love.There are older versions of the myth, noted at Wikipedia (whence the image by John William Waterhouse, 1909). Romeo and Juliet is an obvious adaptation.
"In the room were a "plain deal table and two chairs." The usage is not of "plain deal" but of a plain "deal table." Deal = soft wood with implications of "cheap" or "humble."
"If it makes you feel better, my dear, I'll take my fee out of the next rich blacketeer who really is guilty." The story is set in post-WWII London, so a "blacketeer" is a portmanteau word referring to a black-market racketeer.
"Mrs. Taylor was sitting up in bed, with her hand still on the bell-push. It's the sort of bell-push they have in hospitals, with a long white cord fastened on the wall..." Self-explanatory, but I've never heard the term before, despite spending 30+ years in hospitals.
"Acushla!" he chided her... I've already prepared your defense." Anglicization of the Irish word chuisle = "pulse" (of my heart).
"It was blowing a gale, but there was a dancy kind of moon." I couldn't find this anywhere.
"Counsel for the defence, producing a key which he said belonged to the back door of his own house, demonstrated that it would fit the back door of "The Priory." Calling witnesses, he showed that the lock was a "Grierson," which had been fitted to nine-tenths of the houses built in London during the 'fifties and 'sixties of the last century." I was startled to discover that locks of older houses were not necessarily individually keyed in the post-WWII era. Note also the use of the apostrophe on the dates to indicate the elided "eighteen," just as Carr uses 'phone on many occasions.
"By the Lord, I think you'd give anything on earth to see me come a cropper!" A familiar phrase with obvious meaning, but I had to look up the derivation. It obviously means to suffer a misfortune, but originally meant to take a bad fall off the back of a horse (crupper being the horse's hindquarters). The Aussie equivalent is said to be "come a gutsa/gutser."
"He was a spiv and a drone and an eel and a butterfly!" Wiktionary says flashy con artist, low common thief, slacker. Some connotation of well-dressed, perhaps related to "spiffy?"
"Since it was past nine o'clock, all electric light and heat and gas had to be turned off..." The novel is set in 1947. Last year I did browse the book Austerity Britain, but had forgotten that utility shortages extended this long past the end of the war.
"A man was bashed about by two wide-boys in Renshaw's pay." Thugs in context. Definitions indicate a man who lives by his wits, wheeling and dealing, or a petty criminal.
"The moley was an extraordinary potato, its surface jagged with the edges of safety-razor blades. They ground it into your face, twisted it, and--" I couldn't find this. ?prison slang
"The so-called club was hot and frowsty, not large and not much cleaner than the billiard-saloon below." Musty, stuffy, stale, warm. Variant of frowsy and maybe related to fusty (etymology: 14th c. from fust wine cask, from Old French: cask, tree trunk, from Latin fūstis cudgel, club.)
"Anybody got an electric torch?" Flashlight, obviously. Quaint.
"She swept up the knitting-bag and hared out." Probably to run like a hare; I don't have time to look up everything.
"Modern secret societies, you know," Dr. Fell mused, "are mere tyros in their quickness to slash out and kill." Beginner, novice, from Medieval Latin tyro, tīro (“young soldier, recruit”)
"We were skylarking, that's all. No harm done." Originally a nautical term "to jump about joyfully, frolic; to play around, play tricks." ?presumably related to some behavior of the bird?
I mentioned in reviewing a previous book my surprise at seeing 'phone written with an apostrophe, and earlier in this post 'fifties and 'sixties. In this story there is mention several times of the 'flu.
"His grey tie was pulled down skew-whiff from the hard collar..." From askew (obviously) + weft to mean fabric out of alignment. ?does this lead to "squiffy" meaning "drunk" ?
"The door was closed; or, as the barristers liked to say, sported." Didn't find any help in the usual places. Finally located this in the Bartleby definition of sport a door or oak: "To keep an outer door shut. In the Universities the College rooms have two doors, an outer and an inner one. The outer door is called the sporting door, and is opened with a key. When shut it is to give notice to visitors that the person who occupies the rooms is not at home, or is not to be disturbed. The word sport means to exhibit to the public, as, “to sport a new equipage,” “to sport a new tile [hat],” etc."
"Oh, bedad," he whispered..." Irish "By God." (Patrick Butler is Irish).
"Can you think of a place more poetic to plot damnation to the spalpeens than in the sink of their own iniquity?" More from the Irish: poor migratory farm worker, often viewed as a rascal or good-for-nothing.
"Will you kindly permit me to question my client, so that all of us may not land prematurely in chokey?" British slang for prison, but why?
"Both of them were speaking ventriloquially, without moving their lips." The meaning is obvious, but I have never seen the word used as an adverb!
"It wouldn't have been so bad if they hadn't been so incarnadined polite." "Blood-red" by definition - presumably a play on the British use of "bloody."
"No noise! Want the scotches on us?" The context indicates that it refers to the police. Probably some British history related to this usage (?).
Wiktionary: "The term is applied when the flower is used in a children's pastime by which the number of puffs needed to blow the filamentous achenes from a dandelion is supposed to tell the time." Used here as a derogatory term for stupid or naive.
"Nobody knows. I think I know. But that's because more grasses come to me, with secret information..." Slang term for police informer.
"Butler quietened Hugh as the call-boy, from mere force of habit, banged a fusillade of knocks on the dressing-room door." A boy or man who summons actors when their presence is required for a performance. I wonder if this is related to the "Call for Philip Morris" character in old cigarette ads?
"Before another day, I promise you, that damned old fraud will very much regret giving the cut-direct to his own nephew." I found nothing on this.
"He was in a large and luxurious, if somewhat heavily and loweringly furnished, bedroom..." With cloudiness or threatening gloom. From ME louring.
"Across the bedroom a door stood open to a sybaritic bathroom." From Sybarita, an ancient Greek city in southeastern Italy noted for the luxurious, pleasure-seeking habits of many of its inhabitants.
"On the desk, at one side, lay a heavy stone paperweight. This would do to smash the ring to flinders; to pound and crush its diamonds, if that were possible..." Fragments, splinters, probably of Scandinavian origin: compare Norwegian flindra (“splinter”).
In Hugh's office, and between Butler and Lord Saxemund as might have been expected, there was progressing a truly memorable schemozzle." A state of chaos and confusion, from Yiddish.
26.11.4 Special hardware: Doors opening into hazardous areas shall have door-opening hardware which is knurled or has a roughened surface to give tactile warning to persons with visual impairments. Hazardous areas shall include but not be limited to loading platforms, boiler rooms, and electrical equipment rooms.
knurl:Knurl related to "gnarly." Cool. You learn something every day.
- A contorted knot in wood.
- A crossgrained protuberance; a nodule; a boss or projection.
- A lined or crossgrained pattern of ridges or indentations rolled or pressed into a part for grip.
etymology:knur + -le (“diminutive”), from Middle English knar (“knot in wood”), earlier sense “a stone”, of Unknown origin.
gnarl is a later variant, from gnarled, via knurled.
Researchers at the University of Pisa, Italy, have solved a longstanding mystery around the honeycombed skull of one of the Italian martyrs beheaded by 15th century Ottoman Turk invaders when they refused to give up their Christian faith...
The skull was later drilled, most likely to obtain bone powder to treat diseases such as paralysis, stroke, and epilepsy, which were believed to arise from magical or demonic influences...
"The perfectly cupped shape of the incomplete perforations leads(us) to hypothesize the use of a particular type of trepan, with semi-lunar shaped blade or rounded bit; a tool of this type could not produce bone discs, but only bone powder," Fornaciari said...
This would make the Otranto skull a unique piece of evidence supporting historical accounts on the use of skull bone powder as an ingredient in pharmacological preparations...
Indeed, in his Pharmacopée universelle, a comprehensive work on pharmaceutical composition, French chemist Nicolas Lémery (1645 –1715) detailed how powdered human skull drunk in water was effective to treat "paralysis, stroke, epilepsy and other illness of the brain.""The dose is from half scruple up to two scruples," Lémery wrote."The skull of a person who died of violent and sudden death is better than that of a man who died of a long illness or who had been taken from a cemetery: the former has held almost all of his spirits, which in the latter they have been consumed, either by illness or by the earth," he added.
Scruple: a unit of apothecary weight, with symbol ℈. It is a twenty-fourth part of an ounce, or 20 grains, or approximately 1.3 grams. More generally, any small quantity might be called a scruple.Note this harvesting of bone powder with a trepan tool is a bit different from trepanning to treat disease in the patient on whom it is done.
The earliest cranial surgery (trepanation) has been attested since the Mesolithic period. The meaning of such a practice remains elusive but it is evident that, even in prehistoric times, humans from this period and from the Neolithic period had already achieved a high degree of mastery of surgical techniques practiced on bones. How such mastery was acquired in prehistoric societies remains an open question. The analysis of an almost complete cow cranium found in the Neolithic site of Champ-Durand (France) (3400-3000 BC) presenting a hole in the right frontal bone reveals that this cranium underwent cranial surgery using the same techniques as those used on human crania. If bone surgery on the cow cranium was performed in order to save the animal, Champ-Durant would provide the earliest evidence of veterinary surgical practice. Alternatively, the evidence of surgery on this cranium can also suggest that Neolithic people practiced on domestic animals in order to perfect the technique before applying it to humans.The full study is published in Nature (via Gizmodo).
According to Torsten Sløk, the chief international economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, income inequality is a major factor that has been holding back the U.S. economy for nearly a decade.The wealthy and the corporate CEOs continue to recite the mantra that wealth "trickles down."
“One important reason why the expansion since 2009 has been so weak is that wealth gains have been unevenly distributed,” he wrote. “A decline in the homeownership rate and the number of households holding stocks has dampened consumer spending growth for the bottom 90% of households.”
Per his data, the median net worth for all income percentiles except the wealthiest one dropped between 2007 and 2016, usually by double-digit amounts.
"We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
---- Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis
"Fran & Marlo Cowan (married 62 years) playing impromptu recital together in the atrium of the Mayo Clinic. He'll be 90 in February."Found at Within the Crainium.
Troxler's fading has been attributed to the adaptation of neurons vital for perceiving stimuli in the visual system. It is part of the general principle in sensory systems that unvarying stimuli soon disappear from our awareness. For example, if a small piece of paper is dropped on the inside of one's forearm, it is felt for a short period of time. Soon, however, the sensation fades away.An even more dramatic example is in the video at Digg.
A conventionally shaped bow causes a bow wave. A bulb alone forces the water to flow up and over it forming a trough. Thus, if a bulb is added to a conventional bow at the proper position, the bulb trough coincides with the crest of the bow wave, and the two cancel out, reducing the vessel's wake. While inducing another wave stream saps energy from the ship, canceling out the second wave stream at the bow changes the pressure distribution along the hull, thereby reducing wave resistance.
“There are many qualified conservatives who would be effective representatives for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, and Paul Nehlen isn’t one of them,” said Kevin Seifert, the head of Ryan’s political operation. “His bigoted rhetoric and his reprehensible statements should disqualify him from holding any public office and we are confident voters in Southern Wisconsin feel the same way.”There are currently three other candidates - one Republican and two Democrats (links with information about each at Ballotpedia).
Bryce is a union ironworker and Army veteran. He was a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016, serving as a Sanders delegate from Wisconsin during the Democratic National Convention. He’s proud of his working-class roots — unlike a lot of other candidates, it’s typical to see Bryce standing on a construction site with a hard hat on in his campaign ads, rather than wearing a suit...I've embedded his first campaign video above. It's very effective.
He’s indicated he’s a different kind of Democrat, and has also been cautious when talking about whether he would support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi if she were to run for speaker if Democrats can retake the majority in 2018...
Bryce is a supporter of Medicare-for-all and has said he would sign on to the bill that is currently proposed in the House. He’s running on a platform that focuses mostly on jobs and the economy and has made infrastructure a huge focus of his campaign...
Coggeshall thought something was wrong with the raccoon, since it was out in broad daylight. What came next confirmed that. As Coggeshall left his garage to try to shoo the animal away, the raccoon stood up on its hind feet and flashed its sharp, white teeth and pink gums. Saliva dripped from its mouth.Suddenly, it collapsed into a comatose-like state, Coggeshall said. It soon awoke from its lethargy, walked around for a bit, then got back up on its hind feet again.“It was kind of startling,” Coggeshall told The Washington Post. “And it kept coming back to the house. It was at my door about two or three times.”
Glitter beer has become the “what will they think of next?” beer story of this spring, part of the larger trend of sparkly foods from doughnuts to pizza and cupcakes. Many news outlets have run stories of local breweries jumping into the fad...
Eichelberger said the German-made glitter he’s using does not affect flavor. It contains titanium
dioxide — a white compound that’s used as a pigment in paint and sunscreen — and tiny flakes of mica, a pearlescent mineral that’s the same stuff found in kids’ craft projects and teenagers’ hair.
All of that sounds not super great to put in your body, but if the Food and Drug Administration says it’s safe (it does), let’s have a glitter beer party! (Really, though, titanium dioxide is commonly used as a food coloring, and mica flakes have been in toothpaste for years.)...More information at the Wisconsin State Journal.
Glitter beer has incited many eye rolls and much hand-wringing from purists, especially on beer Twitter. But appearance has always been a part of beer evaluation, and rather serious beer writer Jeff Alworth noted on his “Beervana” podcast that glitter allows a drinker to follow the usually hidden convection cycle of a beer as it is agitated while pouring and drinking.
"The effect shown in this clip is true for any object that has three different moments of inertia, e.g. as shown here for a prism. If you try to spin the object along two of its axes, it will spin in a smooth stable way, as shown here. In particular, these axes are the ones that have the highest and lowest moment of inertia. On the other hand, if you try to spin it around the axis with the intermediate moment of inertia, things get a bit chaotic. The reason is that any small perturbation (e.g. if you didn't throw it perfectly or if a whiff of wind blows) in the motion will cause the object to try to rotate about another axis of rotation as well. The net result is that you get the tumbling you see in the GIF. This effect is called the intermediate axis theorem, or the tennis racket theorem. In case you are interested in a more technical explanation, I posted a longer write-up here a while back."More discussion at the Wikipedia entry on the Tennis Racket Theorem and at the Educational GIFs subreddit source.
Members of the House and Senate committees that will question Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about user privacy protection next week are also some of the biggest recipients of campaign contributions from Facebook employees directly and the political action committee funded by employees.
The congressional panel that got the most Facebook contributions is the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which announced Wednesday morning it would question Zuckerberg... Members of the committee, whose jurisdiction gives it regulatory power over Internet companies, received nearly $381,000 in contributions tied to Facebook since 2007, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The center is a non-partisan, non-profit group that compiles and analyzes disclosures made to the Federal Election Commission.The second-highest total, $369,000, went to members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which announced later that it would have a joint hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee to question Zuckerberg on Tuesday. Judiciary Committee members have received $235,000 in Facebook contributions...“Powerful interests provide lots of money to the committees that have jurisdiction over them, and they do it to gain influence with those members of Congress,” Wertheimer said. “It’s a fundamental problem that exists throughout the system and throughout the committee structure, and it undermines public confidence that the members are going to make decisions in the best interests of the American people.”Overall, Facebook has contributed $1.1 million to House members, split almost evenly between the parties...
"Plus, nearly 30 members of Congress own Facebook stock, according to a story in Roll Call, including two Democratic members of the committee who will question Zuckerberg next week."
"Paid Over $700 for transmission service and it wasn’t even done! Car was on the Hoist for 11 minutes! And charges for Over 90 minutes labour!! "
Jingtai County, Baiyin City, Gansu Province, China. This is a section of mountain road leading to the Yellow Stone Forest.
An Edmonton woman who received donor stem cells from her sister during a procedure in Calgary last year has been declared cured of her sickle-cell disease and health officials believe Revée Agyepong is the first adult in Canada to be cured of the disease through this method...Anyone who has ever seen a sickler in crisis, with excruciating pain in every bone in their body from no fault of their own, will appreciate what an absolutely awesome event this is. I have a family member who received stem cells to treat scleroderma, and spoke this week to a woman whose son received intraarticular stem cells to try to reverse degenerative arthritis. Macular degeneration, ALS, and other "incurable" diseases are being studied. Amazing.
“When Revée approached us, we had coincidentally been thinking about adult stem cell transplant for sickle-cell disease based on the remarkably good outcomes that Alberta Children’s Hospital has been seeing with transplants in the pediatric population,” explained Dr. Daly in a released statement. “She met all the necessary criteria in terms of being able to tolerate a transplant but, most important, she had a sibling who was a 100 per cent match.”
The procedure proved successful but there are concerns as her immune system will remain compromised as a result of the anti-rejection drugs. The side-effects are expected to persist for another year.
On Tuesday, blood tests confirmed the 26-year-old was sickle-cell disease free.
"Over the past few months, what we've seen is that Revée's sister's bone marrow has taken over the production of Revée's red blood cells," said Dr. Daly. "The amount of sickle-cell hemoglobin in her bloodstream has decreased almost to zero."
MACS J1149+2223 Lensed Star-1, also known as Icarus, is a blue supergiant observed through a gravitational lens and the most distant individual star detected, at 9 billion light-years from Earth... Light from the star was emitted 4.4 billion years after the Big Bang. According to co-discoverer Patrick Kelly, the star is at least a hundred times more distant than the next-farthest non-supernova star observed, and is the first magnified individual star seen.More at the link. I find it curiously difficult to think about this star using verbs in the present tense, since everything we know about it (position, size, wavelengths) describe it nine billion years ago.
Cassina, or black drink, the caffeinated beverage of choice for indigenous North Americans, was brewed from a species of holly native to coastal areas from the Tidewater region of Virginia to the Gulf Coast of Texas. It was a valuable pre-Columbian commodity and widely traded. Recent analyses of residue left in shell cups from Cahokia, the monumental pre-Columbian city just outside modern-day St. Louis and far outside of cassina’s native range, indicate that it was being drunk there. The Spanish, French, and English all documented American Indians drinking cassina throughout the American South, and some early colonists drank it on a daily basis. They even exported it to Europe...For further discussion of the NON-emetic properties of the tea, see Atlas Obscura.
Upon export to Europe, cassina was marketed in England under the names “Carolina tea” and “South Sea tea,” and in France as “appalachina,” likely a reference to the Appalachee confusing array of names emphasizes the practicality of the Linnaean classification system, which was still in its infancy when Europeans learned of cassina. William Aiton, an eminent British botanist and horticulturist, director of Kew Gardens, and “Gardener to His Majesty,” is credited with giving cassina the scientific name it bears to this day: Ilex vomitoria. Ilex is the genus commonly known as holly. Vomitoria roughly translates to “makes you vomit.”...
In the earliest days of the Southern colonies—when plantations were being carved out of woodland and luxury imports were rare—cassina drinking was widespread from slaves to plantation owners. But as plantations became larger and more profitable, the nouveau riche demonstrated their wealth by drinking expensive imported tea.
The peregrine falcon reaches faster speeds than any other animal on the planet when performing the stoop, which involves soaring to a great height and then diving steeply at speeds of over 320 km/h (200 mph), hitting one wing of its prey so as not to harm itself on impact. The air pressure from such a dive could possibly damage a bird's lungs, but small bony tubercles on a falcon's nostrils are theorized to guide the powerful airflow away from the nostrils, enabling the bird to breathe more easily while diving by reducing the change in air pressure. To protect their eyes, the falcons use their nictitating membranes (third eyelids) to spread tears and clear debris from their eyes while maintaining vision. A study testing the flight physics of an "ideal falcon" found a theoretical speed limit at 400 km/h (250 mph) for low-altitude flight and 625 km/h (388 mph) for high-altitude flight. In 2005, Ken Franklin recorded a falcon stooping at a top speed of 389 km/h (242 mph).Discussion of biomimetics/biomimicry here. Via.