28 December 2008
The world's largest emerald weights 850 pounds. Not carats, mind you. Pounds.
What to do with calendars at the end of the year? One suggestion is to recycle the pictures into colorful envelopes. I would suggest not using these for postal mailings, since patterned envelopes may impair computerized reading of addresses and ZIPs, but they would look nice on gifts.
A California family found $10,000 (cash) inside a box of crackers.
A girl in India has set a new record as the youngest person ever to pass the exam as a Microsoft Certified Professional. She is 9 years old.
During the riots in Greece, one of the "anarchist agitators" smashing windows etc. was filmed mingling freely with the police. The narration of the YouTube video is in Greek, but the guy does appear to be acting like an agent provocateur.
An increasing number of private individuals are dressing up in Spandex outfits of superheroes and going out on the streets to battle criminals.
A long article in the WSJ details how Iceland succumbed to financial trends and became a prime victim (and a prime propagator) of the worldwide financial meltdown.
Presurfer has a link to a good article on How To Avoid Looking Like An American Tourist. Lots of commonsense and ordinary recommendations, but also some one might not think of. I didn't know holding one's fork in the right hand makes Americans obvious in restaurants.
Modern nostalgia for a white Christmas can be traced back to a string of unusually cold and snowy winters during Charles Dickens' childhood.
The earth is being bombarded by cosmic rays from a mysterious nearby source.
Nice photos of ice ribbons emerging from a metal fence.
The Madoff scandal prompted Alex at Neatorama to list the 9 Most Brazen Ponzi Schemes (the ninth one is the American Social Security system).
A purple squirrel has been seen in England. Hopefully unrelated to reports of amateurs doing genetic engineering at home.
Smoke from an office fire in Houston killed three people. The insurance company is arguing that the policy does not cover deaths due to "pollution."
Ancient and modern legends of "milky seas" can be explained by bioluminescent bacteria. (There was also an excellent satellite image of such a phenomenon, but I can't locate it right now).
Video of the incredible camoflage of an octopus.
Annoy-A-Tron - a tiny device you hide in a (friend's) office. It intermittently emits a "beep" but it's so tiny it's hard to find.
"The Curse of the Crying Boy" - a story from Fortean Times.
(image credit here)