09 December 2018

Divertimento #158

An article at The Hill notes that "North Korea's nuclear threat is nothing compared to its cyber warfare capabiities."  "Cyber warfare levels the global playing field in a way nuclear weapons can’t for North Korea. The risk-return calculation for hacking versus nukes is exponentially different."

"A new study, published in the British Medical Journal, says there's "strong evidence" that the longer we spend in education the more likely we are to need glasses."

Photo dramatically illustrates the importance of a firedoor.

"Why All Baking Instructions Want Us To Heat Ovens To 350°F"

"The Chief Executive of children’s charity Barnardo's has claimed that as many as 15,000 children could have been illegally adopted in Ireland."

Video of a perpetual motion machine.  

The Apollo 13 astronauts never said “Houston we have a problem.” 

Just for fun, explore the subReddit "What is this thing?"

"...in many cases, the medicines your doctor prescribes are cheaper than the co-pay your health insurance charges, which means that if you just buy the meds instead of charging them to insurance, you save money. "  

"An Indonesian woman has been found in the belly of a giant [23-foot] python after the swollen snake was captured near where she vanished while tending her vegetable garden, police said on Saturday." 

If a service dog without a person approaches you, it means the person is down and in need of help.

Medieval monasteries branded their books (pix at the link).

In the game of petanque, "to fanny" is to shut out the opponent.  "When a player loses 13 to 0, he is said to fanny ("il est fanny", he's fanny, or "il a fait fanny", he made fanny) and must kiss the bottom of a girl named Fanny. Virtually everywhere in Provence where pétanque is played, you will find a picture, woodcarving, or pottery figure of a bare-bottomed lass named Fanny."

"Gaslighting" in the modern era: "People who help domestic abuse survivors say that they are facing an epidemic of women whose abusers are torturing them by breaking into their home smart devices, gaslighting them by changing their thermostat settings, locking them out of their homes, spying on them through their cameras." 

"Fierce yet adorable, Humboldt martens have been described as the west coast’s own Tasmanian devils.... But there are some dangers that the marten cannot withstand – such as marijuana cultivation."

"Using data collected by NASA’s late-great Cassini space probe, scientists have detected traces of complex organic molecules seeping out from Enceladus’ ice-covered ocean. It’s yet another sign that this intriguing Saturnian moon has what it takes to sustain life."

"When you stay in a hotel room and there is a Bible, open the Bible and flip through the pages, sometimes Christians leave cash for each other as a 'pay-it-forward', but you get free money whatever your beliefs."

How to save a wet book.

Romansh is one of Switzerland’s four national languages.

The outcome of the "marshmellow test" is probably strongly influenced by the household income of the child being tested.

"Most of our mainstream political discourse on “fighting inequality” has revolved – for years now – around the more narrow goal of eliminating extreme poverty. Few of our elected leaders ever dare suggest that maybe we ought to think about eliminating extreme wealth as well."

Irony of a pair of signs next to a self-checkout machine.

Water-rich minerals exist between 410 and 660 kilometers below the surface of the earth, in a region called the transition zone, sandwiched between the upper and lower mantles.  " If we consider all of the planet’s surface water as one ocean, and there turn out to be even a few oceans underground, it would change how scientists think of Earth’s interior. But it also raises another question: Where could it have all come from?"

"An Oregon woman who disappeared a week ago has been rescued after surviving at the bottom of a Californian coastal cliff by drinking water using the hose from the radiator of her car which had veered off the road."

"More Movies Should Show Teen Acne."

Video of every Minnesota Vikings touchdown in the 2017-2018 season (15-minute video).

"...the oldest direct evidence of bread found to date, predating the advent of agriculture by at least 4,000 years."

"When a young Birmingham college student's car broke down the night before he was supposed to start a new job, he didn't panic. At least not for long.  Instead, Walter Carr walked. From Homewood to Pelham. All night. In the dark. 20 miles or more."  His employer rewarded him by giving him a car.

3-minute video of a company in China that makes talking sex dolls.   A lot of Westworld vibes here.

"Within the space of a week, two women were impaled by giant umbrellas while enjoying a trip to the beach."

"The largest surviving chained library in the world is at Hereford Cathedral in the UK, where all the books are still kept under lock and key in their original chains. It has been rebuilt in its original arrangement, exactly as it had been from 1611 to 1841." (video at the link)

Take a look at this:  the global seismic network shows worldwide earthquake tremors in real time (toggle for day/week/month). The area around Anchorage Alaska is lit up like a Christmas tree.

A 6-minute study of the "visual footprint" of Darth Vader in the three original Star Wars movies.  Some interesting info.

"Suicides may be greatly underreported in skydivers."  A report in a forensic science journal.

A man and his mother both became infected with rat lungworms after eating raw centipedes.

Embedded images from this book:


  1. I would've used

    C is for cnidarian.



  2. I mean walking 20 miles isn't that difficult. I do it a few times each year for fun. I live just outside of Pelham, Alabama. The terrain isn't difficult.
    I don't see why anyone who walks that far should get such a reward.
    I mean I appreciate that this kid did what he had to do. (That's rare for people today...most would've just made an excuse.)


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