15 December 2014

"History is a set of lies agreed upon" - Napoleon

"The typical spices used in winter include nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and anise. These spices contain two groups of chemicals, the allylbenzenes and their isomers, the propenylbenzenes. It was suggested 40 years ago by Alexander Shulgin that these substances act as metabolic precursors of amphetamines...Humans may be exposed to amphetamines derived from these precursors in forno, the formation during baking and cooking, for example in the preparation of Lebkuchen, or Christmas gingerbread. It is possible that this may be responsible, in part, for uplifting our mood in winter. "

A set of two articles in Der Spiegel details the outrageous profits made by the human scum who act as traffickers for persons seeking asylum in Europe. "Jafir had insisted that the total fee for the trip to Italy -- €7,000 ($8,735) per person -- be paid in advance. Ahmad doesn't comment on the amount, which corresponds to at least two average annual salaries in prewar Syria... Ahmad and 126 other refugees boarded the vessel..."

The Motherboard at Vice explains that "erection vendors" in Peru are driving some amphibians toward extinction.  "Frog Juice, or Jugo de Rana, as it's referred to in Spanish, has been dubbed the Peruvian Viagra. It's a concoction that's believed to have strong medicinal powers with purported benefits including increased blood flow, lung function, and more poignantly, sexual stimulation."

The top song played in U.K. funerals is the Pythons' Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.  I posted the video six years ago; I suggest clicking that link and playing it while reading the rest of this linkdump. ("Always look on the bright side of death.  Just before you draw your terminal breath.")

An article (with video) at The Telegraph documents the changes that occur when a man adds ten non-diet Cokes a day to his diet.   In a month "the previously gym-toned Mr Prior put on two stone in weight, and saw his blood pressure rise to an unhealthy 145/96. He also reported strong cravings for more sugar, even though he was consuming 350g of sugar daily from his Coke intake alone."

So, you think you understand Putin's role in the situation in Ukraine?  What if someone said it was the West that was responsible for the escalation of hostilities?  "Europe and America did not understand the impact of these events, starting with the negotiations about Ukraine’s economic relations with the European Union and culminating in the demonstrations in Kiev. All these, and their impact, should have been the subject of a dialogue with Russia."  That's Henry Kissinger speaking.  The op-ed piece at Salon suggests "this is a non-Western nation drawing a line of resistance against the advance of Anglo-American neoliberalism across the planet."

Terminal lucidity is the subject of an interesting article in Scientific American.  The term refers to "The (re-)emergence of normal or unusually enhanced mental abilities in dull, unconscious, or mentally ill patients shortly before death, including considerable elevation of mood and spiritual affectation, or the ability to speak in a previously unusual spiritualized and elated manner."  For example " A 92-year-old woman with advanced Alzheimer’s disease... hadn’t recognized her family for years, but the day before her death, she had a pleasantly bright conversation with them, recalling everyone’s name."  At one of the links in the article a reasonable postulate is that when the brain is dying, an inhibitory hemisphere or locus dies first, releasing normal function by memory cells that had previously been suppressed.

Big Agriculture doesn't want libraries to share seeds.

The largest known block of stone carved by humans weighed an incredible 1,650 tons.  It was created in about 27 B.C. but never used for construction. (via Neatorama).

In six years your IRA balance can go from $5,000 to $196,000,000.   But only if you know how to twist the intent of Congress to your personal advantage.

"A German man committed to a high-security psychiatric hospital after being accused of fabricating a story of money-laundering activities at a major bank is to have his case reviewed after evidence has emerged proving the validity of his claims."

As you watch the American collegiate football playoffs, take a moment to ponder this tweet by the quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes: "Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain't come to play SCHOOL classes are POINTLESS."

A gif of a German sport called headis.  Discussed at Reddit.

Vortices in swimming pools are way more complicated and interesting than you would expect (also via my old friends at Neatorama).  What you're really seeing is both ends of a "half-vortex ring."

YouTube link.

 Wikipedia is the number one "go-to" resource that saves me countless hours of searching. TYWKIWDBI supports Wikipedia; if you enjoy this blog, you should support them too.

Top image of Trapiche emeralds (Muzo, Colombia) via Minerals, Minerals, Minerals!  Time travel image via Mark's Scrapbook of Oddities and Treasures.  I am going to do a sign like that for our front yard next summer.

The way things are going, I may be able to return to regular daily blogging in about one more week.


  1. I'm glad life may be settling down a bit for you ~ best thoughts to you and your family.

  2. I hate to be pedantic (I honestly do), and I love your posts and this blog, but frogs aren't invertebrates. :/

    1. I've told other readers that on this blog pedantry is welcomed with open arms. I enjoy having a couple thousand proofreaders; it makes the final product more polished and useful. Fixed - thank you.

  3. You can support Wikipedia by use of an Amazon "purchase", if this seems safer to you. You also get a nice thank-you e-mail in return. Wikipedia gives you a link.


  4. Ukraine is its own country. No one has to check with daddy before a sovereign country gets to make its own political and economic decisions. Just because Russia has captured that country at other times in history doesn't mean it gets to make all decisions for the Ukraine for the rest of time.

  5. Best wishes, Stan, and thank you very much for the best blog on the internet.


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