12 June 2024

Notice to regular readers

June is the traditional month for graduations, weddings, and family gatherings, and I'm going to honor that tradition by taking several weeks off from blogging.   In my absence I think I've arranged for my favorite group of posts to be reposted - the "readers bookshelves" series that I inaugurated in I think 2013 and have reposted at least once in 2020.  It is the one subsection of TYWKIWDBI that is truly unique, and these are the posts that I most enjoy.  I'm hoping this reposting will give new readers a chance to see what the old-timers lives were like.  I am willing to accept new material for the series (or updates from the old-timers), and there should be some guidelines accompanying the first post of the series.  It might be best to refrain from sending lots of pix while I'm gone because they might overload my emailbox (which only has a capacity of 100 MB).

The other aspect of my vacation from blogging is that your comments (on old posts or the new ones) will probably not be curated until I get back to my desk, so don't interpret silence as rejection.  I'm looking forward to getting up and walking around and actually talking to people and seeing what this thing people call "real life" is like.  Bye for now.  Stan.

Addendum:  the “readers bookshelves” reposts are not posting.  Thought I had them scheduled for this week.  Not sure what’s wrong.  Expect silence on the blog a few more days.

11 June 2024

Built-in bookmarks

Every now and then one of the books I get from the library has a cloth bookmark stitched into the binding.  To be quite honest, the amenity is superfluous, because I always have a paper bookmark that I can jot down notes and page references on - but I really do like these cloth ones.  They seem to hearken back to an earlier era when books were crafted and stylish rather than mass-produced.  I don't know whether these bookmarks constitute a significant expenditure in the production scheme, but I wish more publishers would incorporate them.

Addendum: a Google search yields many articles about things left behind in books returned to libraries.
John Farrier can probably add some salient comments.  The Oakland Library list is immense.

"Intertwining" illusion

What you are looking at is four concentric circles of boxes.  Credit to Baingio Pinna.

Why prior generations were happier

Working together we can defeat socialism

Interesting footwear

Might give added gait stability, like using a three-point cane.

Found at (where else?) the Awful Taste But Great Execution subreddit.

Where to hide stuff in your home

Allegations of treason in Canada

From an article in Politico:
OTTAWA — The capital of one of the world’s most stable democracies is gripped by growing panic about foreign agents working in elected office. A bombshell report by Canadian lawmakers has unnerved Parliament Hill, alleging that unnamed politicians have been covertly working with foreign governments.

The revelation in heavily redacted findings released this week by an all-party national security committee adds intrigue to a separate and ongoing inquiry into foreign interference in Canada’s 2019 and 2021 elections.

The new report from the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians is the first to suggest that lawmakers in Canada’s parliament may have helped foreign actors meddle in political campaigns and leadership races. Heightened anxiety in Ottawa about foreign interference comes in the middle of historic global elections where factors such as artificial intelligence and emboldened foreign powers are testing the resilience of democratic systems.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been on the defensive since the allegations broke Monday. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is calling on the government to name names...

The all-party NSICOP said Monday that it has reviewed intelligence that suggests “semi-witting or witting” parliamentarians have worked with foreign missions to mobilize voters during a political campaign; have taken cash “knowingly or through willful blindness” from foreign missions or their proxies; and have shared privileged information with foreign diplomatic officials.
More at the link.

05 June 2024

Wealth Inequality in the United States

About 6 minutes long, and worth your time.  But if you are in a hurry, start at the 1:36 mark.  The last five minutes is stunning.

So there's fire in Dolly Parton's pajamas?

There's a term for the type of grammatical ambiguity in this headline, but I can't remember the word.  Not "eggcorn."  Something else.  (And since this was in the New York Times, I can't help but wonder if it was intentional).  What is the term?  Then I'll write some more about it.

Addendum:  Hat tip to reader Brad, who remembered the term "crash blossom."  See my previous posts "Two 'crash blossom' headlines" and "Crash blossom of the day."  And way back in 2010 I posted this list of crash blossom headlines (selected favorites in boldface):  (I double-dare you to read the 16 boldface ones out loud without laughing.  It has never been accomplished).
Blind Bishop Appointed To See
L.A. Voters Approve Urban Renewal by Landslide
Patient At Death's Door - Doctors Pull Him Through
Stadium Air Conditioning Fails - Fans Protest
Queen Mary Having Bottom Scraped
Fund Set Up for Beating Victim's Kin
Never Withhold Herpes Infection From Loved One
Autos Killing 110 a Day - Let's Resolve to Do Better
Blind Woman Gets New Kidney from Dad She Hasn't Seen in Years
Flaming Toilet Seat Causes Evacuation at High School
Defendants Speech Ends in Long Sentence
Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Stiff Opposition Expected to Casketless Funeral Plan
Collegians are Turning to Vegetables
Quarter of a Million Chinese Live on Water
Farmer Bill Dies in House
Eye Drops off Shelf
Reagan Wins on Budget, But More Lies Ahead
Miners Refuse to Work after Death
Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Deaf College Opens Doors to Hearing
Prosecutor Releases Probe into Undersheriff
Old School Pillars are Replaced by Alumni
Sex Education Delayed, Teachers Request Training
4-H Girls Win Prizes for Fat Calves
After Detour to California Shuttle Returns to Earth
Air Head Fired
Alcohol Frequently Seen In Cases (from the Colorado Daily News)
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
Ban On Soliciting Dead in Trotwood
Bank Drive-in Window Blocked by Board
British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands
British Union Finds Dwarfs in Short Supply
Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy (from the Louisville Courier Journal)
Child's Death Ruins Couple's Holiday
Deer Kill 17,328
Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case
Drunken Drivers Paid $1000 in `84
Enfields Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
Enraged Cow Injures Farmer with Ax
Heat Wave Linked to Temperatures (from Daily Sun Post)
Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors (from the Providence Journal)
Include your Children When Baking Cookies
Infertility Unlikely To Be Passed On (from the Montgomery Advertiser)
Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
Jerk Injures Neck, Wins Award (from the Buffalo News)
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Killer Sentenced to Die for Second Time in 10 Years (from the Post News)
Lack of Brains Hinders Research (from The Columbus Dispatch)
Lansing Residents Can Drop Off Trees
Lawyer Says Client is Not That Guilty
Lawmen from Mexico Barbecue Guests
Legislator Wants Tougher Death Penalty
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half (From the Valley News)
Lung Cancer in Women Mushrooms
Man Jumps Off Bridge. Neither Jumper nor Body Found
Man Minus Ear Waives Hearing (from The Sun)
March Planned For Next August
Messiah Climaxes In Chorus Of Hallelujahs (The Anchorage, Alaska Times)
Milk Drinkers are Turning to Powder
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
New Vaccine may Contain Rabies
Official: Only Rain Will Cure Drought (from The Herald-News, Westpost, Massachusetts)
Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over (from The Overland News)
Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told
Prostitutes Appeal to Pope
Putting Mattress On Floor Prevents Fall From Bed (from the Associated Press)
Queen Mary Having Bottom Scraped (from The Times, in the U.K.)
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge
Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted
Shot Off Woman's Leg Helps Nicklaus to 66
Some Pieces of Rock Hudson Sold at Auction
Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim
Steals Clock, Faces Time
Stolen Painting Found by Tree
Stud Tires Out
Study Finds Sex, Pregnancy Link (Cornell Daily Sun, December 7, 1995)
Survivor of Siamese Twins Joins Parents
Teenage Girls Often Have Babies Fathered by Men (The Sunday Oregonian)
Two Convicts Evade Noose, Jury Hung (Headline from the Oakland Tribune)
Two Soviet Ships Collide, One Dies
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
War Dims Hope for Peace
Woman Improving After Fatal Crash
Addendum:  one on a book cover, posted at Creative Bloq, via Neatorama

Here's one I spotted today (March 25) on Google News:

Just to clarify: it's the tornado that's expected to last for hours. not the homes.  And here's an old one I posted back in 2010:

Reposted from 2020 because I needed a laugh today.

Addendum:  Found this one at Bad Newspaper.

04 June 2024

An accidental death mask

"The handwritten French label on the reverse of this tiny plaster cast explains its history. In 1878, a stone Roman burial sarcophagus was found in the gardens of a Paris convent. When a tiny Roman child died 1800 years before, cement sealing the sarcophagus leaked inside and formed a mould of the child’s face. This plaster cast was created using that mould sometime between its discovery and 1920. The translation states the child was buried with a perfectly preserved small glass bottle. However, there is no indication of the cause of death."

Girls' "tomato clubs" (1910)

"In 1910, Mare Samuella Cromer, a rural schoolteacher in South Carolina, organized a girl's tomato club so females aged 9 to 20 could “not learn simply how to grow better and more perfect tomatoes, but how to grow better and more perfect women.”

Soon, there were tomato clubs in a number of states. The idea was simple: Teach rural girls how to plant and grow tomatoes, then harvest and can them, and sell them for a profit. The only work the girls didn't do themselves was the plowing of their individual 1/10th acre plots.

In one notable example, a girl harvested 2,000 lbs. of tomatoes. After sales, she earned a profit of $78 (about $2,470 today). This was *real* money for girls who came from hardscrabble backgrounds.

In 1915, one tomato club girl was quoted as saying the work was “long and sometimes tiresome...It has been a way by which I could not only have my own spending money and pay my expenses at the Farm Camp, but I also have a bank account of sixty dollars." (About $1,881 today.)"
Text and cropped image via the InterestingToRead subreddit.  While looking for the source I found The History of Tomato Clubs, Tomato Club Canning Equipment, Early 20th Century, and the Wikipedia page for Home demonstration clubs.

03 June 2024

A "rider on the storm"

"Here, I report on a rare case that implies the upper limit of the seabird capacity to tolerate a storm. A GPS-equipped streaked shearwater (Calonectris leucomelas) was apparently caught in a huge typhoon, showing swirling flight high over the mainland of Japan. It finally came through without landfalls when the typhoon returned to the sea...

...the overall direction of the bird's movement overlapped the path of the typhoon, with a sequence of five anticlockwise circles  50–80 km in diameter. While swirling, the movement speed of the bird was between 80 and 170 km h−1, with a GPS-based altitude record of up to 4700 m. These speeds and altitudes were much higher than those recorded during regular flights (flight speed: 10–60 km h−1, altitude: <100 m...

...the horizontal movement directions and high speeds of the shearwater were likely to be passively determined, whereas the altitude might have been partially self-controlled. It remains unknown whether the bird could not or chose not to escape from the typhoon; once caught in the storm and displaced toward land, it might have been safer to stay within the storm rather than to resist it until it returned to the ocean with reduced wind speeds. This speculation was supported by the fact that the bird landed on the water as soon as it returned to the sea..."
Full scientific report at Ecology.

The astronaut wears Prada

"In a press release, Axiom said Prada would bring expertise with materials and manufacturing to the project.

One astronaut told the BBC he thought Prada was up to the challenge due to their design experience.  That experience has been built not only on the catwalks of Milan but also through Prada's involvement in the America's Cup sailing competition.

"Prada has considerable experience with various types of composite fabrics and may actually be able to make some real technical contributions to the outer layers of the new space suit," according to Professor Jeffrey Hoffman, who flew five Nasa missions and has carried out four spacewalks."

"Blackwater rivers" are "jungle tea"

Many rivers are dark enough to be called “blackwaters” and for some, it even gets into the name. One of the largest tributaries of the Amazon, and the fifth greatest river in the world by discharge, is called the Rio Negro because of the organic matter that darkens its waters. Yet even among these, the Ruki stands out.

Like other blackwater rivers, the Ruki gets its color from dissolved organic compounds (DOCs) in its waters. Ironic as it may seem, its lack of sediment also contributes. Although soil darkens a clear mountain stream, it’s seldom as black as the tropical forest matter that gives the Ruki its color. The Ruki runs through nearly flat territory, so it doesn’t scrape up much sediment.

On the other hand, the heavy rains in the area wash DOCs from plant material on the forest floor. During the rainy season, the same flatness causes large areas to flood, and remain underwater for weeks, leaching even more compounds out. “The Ruki is essentially jungle tea,” Drake said.
More information at IFL Science.
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