18 October 2015


Share the joy and amazement as a baby experiences rain for the first time.

In a Spiegel Online interview, "whistleblower Peter Wilmshurst discusses how pressure from Big Pharma corrupts research into new medicines and leads companies to cover up fraudulent data. He says he has no regrets about taking on an entire industry."

Listen to a porcupine vocalizing as it enjoys eating a pumpkin.

Paul Krugman counteracts the "fantasies and fictions of the first Republican candidate debate."

Finally, a likely explanation for what happened to the lost colony at Roanoke.

A Bloomberg op-ed piece opines why the Fed should raise interest rates now.

"With Red: A Natural History of the Redhead, Jacky Colliss Harvey sets out to discover everything — what it takes to make a redhead, where in the world they come from and why they exist at all; whether redheads are actually different or just treated differently; how they got their reputation, what that reputation might be and whether they deserve it."

High-school football is undergoing some dramatic changes:
"...convention is being challenged by a more professional model at the highest levels as top players urgently pursue college scholarships, training becomes more specialized, big business opens its wallet, school choice expands, and schools seek to market themselves through sports, some for financial survival. Increasingly, prep football talent is being consolidated on powerful public, private, parochial, charter and magnet school teams. And recruiting to those schools is widespread in one guise or another."
How lights are changed in an IMAX theater.

An impressive apple peeler-slicer from Pampered Chef.

A report that 4/5 of the cocaine being sold in Britain has been cut with a veterinary deworming medicine (levamisole), giving users ulcerating skin lesions.

Razor scooter fail reminds us that smokers and drinkers aren't the only ones causing higher costs for medical insurance.

"A postgraduate student of counter-terrorism was falsely accused of being a terrorist after an official at Staffordshire University had spotted him reading a textbook entitled Terrorism Studies in the college library."

A compilation of incidents occurring during the Hajj.

Robert Reich:  "Meritocracy is a lie."

Watch out!  Slow down!  Be careful on this corner!

A North Carolina woman says she is happier than ever after she fulfilled her lifelong wish of becoming blind.  Drain cleaner to the eyes did the job: "My eyes were screaming and I had some drain cleaner going down my cheek burning my skin,” she said. “But all I could think was ‘I am going blind, it is going to be okay.”

A discussion thread of "what's considered trashy if you're poor, but classy if you're rich."

Arguably the greatest slam dunk in the history of basketball.

A school district has banned elementary students from playing the game of tag:
“The Mercer Island School District and school teams have recently revisited expectations for student behavior to address student safety. This means while at play, especially during recess and unstructured time, students are expected to keep their hands to themselves. The rationale behind this is to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all students..."
A Congressman drank the Pope's leftover water.  "The congressman also gave some of the papal water to his wife Debra, and two staff members, to drink. He then invited US Senator Bob Casey, also from Pennsylvania, into his office. Senator Casey brought his wife and mother and they all placed their fingers in the glass."

Security camera footage gif of a bored schoolboy.  Definitely worth the 15-second watch time.

A review of the battle of Agincourt.  I used to include Agincourt in my lectures about death by asphyxiation.

A feel-good story for the day.  "I couldn't imagine spending five hours a day traveling back and forth to work, let alone on foot,” Officer Stamper said..."

The world's only menstruation museum.

A list of this year's winners of MacArthur foundation "genius grants."

A Danish travel company's humorous advertisement ("Do it for Mom") encourages young people to have sex and explains how grandmothers can help them.

A cat gif is better when sound is added.  Or like this.  If you are among those who detest cat gifs, the links are still useful for adding sound to other gifs.

"Few people know that the U.S. government is directly responsible for Popeye's dependence on the canned green vegetable. In the 1930's, America was mired in the Great Depression. The U.S. government was looking for a way to promote iron-rich spinach as a meat substitute. To help spread the word, they decided to hire one of America's favorite celebrities, Popeye the Sailor Man.  It was a smart plan. And it worked like a charm."

The impressive caterpillar of the Hickory Horned Devil (becomes a moth, Citheronia regalis).

A delineation of 994 mass shootings in the United States in 1004 days.

Why the American family farm is the deadliest workplace.

"The City of Montreal is going ahead with its controversial plan to dump eight billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River."

If you need a quick or cheap engraved ID tag for your keys or luggage, go to a pet store and use their tag machine.

California governor Jerry Brown has signed into law "Right To Die" legislation.

A vicar clearing out a cupboard at his church found a forgotten first edition King James Bible dating back to 1611.

Stoke your schadenfreude with this video of the owner of a Lamborghini revving his engine until it catches fire and destroys the vehicle.

"Inside the Koch Brothers' Industrial Empire."

Impressive performance with one and with two hula hoops.

When the NHL goes into overtime now, the competition is 3-on-3.

After an attack by a swan, a man gives the swan what for.

Tips on eating barbecue.

gif of uranium in a cloud chamber.

The top photo is of a replica of the 1868 locomotive "Leviathan," constructed by David Klocke, and photographed by Fred Boucher at Steamfest 2009.  The other images embedded in this divertimento come from a gallery of drawings posted at BibliOdyssey, as a reminder to me that not all early American locomotives were painted black.  Identities and information about the locomotives at the link.


  1. The vocalising porcupine sounds exactly like Morph, the British childrens' TV character.

    More comments to come, perhaps, as I make my way through the list.

    1. that's not a 'real' porcupine - i.e., what you encounter in north america?

      p.s. for some real (blood curdling, no less) porcupine vocalization, listen during mating season.


  2. Thank you. You post so many interesting links. I especially enjoyed the pieces by Paul Krugman and Robert Reich. Economics used to be (don't know if it still is) required for high school graduation, but it would seem that the vast majority of Americans don't have a clue about it. Unfortunately, that includes many serving Congresspeople and way too many "presidential" candidate.

    1. Learning economics from Paul "Alan Greenspan should create a housing bubble to replace the NASDAQ bubble" Krugman is ill advised. Not to say he never says things that are correct, but he is more a pundit than an economist.

  3. With regard to interest rates, it's funny how the rationale for raising them keeps changing. Before, it was inflation fears. Now, it's asset bubbles in certain sectors. Every time someone in the financial sector talks about interest rates, it wouldn't hurt to ask cui bono.

  4. So glad that bbq link specified *Eastern* Carolina Style. Almost every time I get bbq here in the Midwest, people go on and on about "Carolina Style" when they really mean Eastern Carolina Style and have no idea there are two types in NC and another in SC.

    1. so the two carolinas (i.e., NC and SC) have three types of bbq?


    2. Yup. The eastern style they mentioned uses just a little vinegar-based sauce andthe whole pig. Western NC (Lexington style) uses lots of tomato-based sauce and just the shoulder meat. SC has a mustard-based bbq sauce and I *think* they use the whole pig.

  5. I've been using my little red apple peeler for years. It's not $34.00 from Pampered Chef, tho, it was bought at the local grocery store for $14.99 and works exactly like the one shown ☺

    1. if you google 'antique apple peeler' images, you can see that the pampered one is a take off on those old school ones.



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