11 November 2016


... because I (and probably many readers) need a "little diversion" right now...

The word "mom" is now often "used by young women to express admiration for another woman (who may or may not be an actual mom). It started out on social media, and you'll often find it in the replies or comments on Twitter or Instagram. It's even spread to network television."  The link also touches on the morphing of usage for "dad" and grandparents.

High-speed macro photography shows how a hummingbird's tongue works.  (It's not a simple siphon.)

Scuba-diving an abandoned mining pit in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

"Tussle-mussies" explained.  "“Some have flirting mirrors on them,” Deitsch says, “so a young women carrying a tussie-mussie could see who was behind her.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson tells about his early interaction with Carl Sagan.  "I already knew I wanted to become a scientist, but that afternoon I learned from Carl... the kind of person I wanted to become."

How the gear works on a reciprocating water sprinkler.  Amazingly clever and simple.  I never knew this.  And I will echo the top comment: "I can just hear the sound."

How to stop autoplay videos (detailed directions for Chrome, Firefox, and IE).  Ironically (?) there's one on the link.

“Paul clapped his hands close to the spider and the neuron fired, as expected. He then backed up a bit and clapped again, and again the neuron fired. Soon, we were standing outside the recording room, about 3-5 meters from the spider, laughing together, as the neuron continued to respond to our clapping. Based on everything they knew it shouldn't have been possible, but there it was..."

Adding weaponry to drones has major consequences:" Flying IEDs are not a game changer, but they add a level of difficulty to military operations, and they have the potential of making life for deployed troops even more perilous. The rationale of using flying IEDs is similar to using suicide bombers: They can ensure a charge explodes at the most opportune moment to cause the biggest effect. And drones provide non-state groups with airborne capabilities."

Stupid?  Or wanted more exercise?

7-year old: "I called 911, but first I slapped her with a piece of pizza."  Makes sense.  If someone doesn't respond to pizza...

"The difference between patriotism and nationalism is that the patriot is proud of his country for what it does, and the nationalist is proud of his country no matter what it does; the first attitude creates a feeling of responsibility, but the second a feeling of blind arrogance that leads to war" - Sidney J. Harris.

And the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath.

A flowchart to help you decide which off Edward deVere's plays to read.

Modern society has now progressed to the point that you can now purchase a motion-activated light in your toilet bowl...

...and Swedish fish flavored Oreo cookies

The people who found and uncovered the Arabia steamboat have a new project: "a four-month excavation of the Malta expected to start about a year from now. The current weather pattern is too wet to attempt a recovery this winter, the best time of year to dig to protect frail artifacts from summer heat and humidity."

The dangerous interaction of hurricanes and factory farms.  "The carcasses of several thousand drowned hogs and several million drowned chickens and turkeys were left behind. An incalculable amount of animal waste was carried toward the ocean. Along the way, it could be contaminating the groundwater for the many people who rely on wells in this part of the state, as well as threatening the delicate ecosystems of tidal estuaries and bays."

"Reykjavik City Council has announced its decision to switch off street lights in selected parts of the Icelandic capital to enable those in the city to enjoy the fantastic Northern Lights display..."

A woman made $20 in one hour by sitting outside and holding up a sign explaining that she needed money to buy make-up.

This man paints the pavement with water.  I thought it was ovaries and a uterus, but it's not.

"In operation from 1854 to 1941, the London Necropolis Railway was the spookiest, strangest train line in British history. It transported London’s dead south-west to Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, in Surrey, a cemetery that was built in tandem with the railway. At its peak, from 1894 to 1903, the train carried more than 2,000 bodies a year."

A long read about radical right-wing extremists in the United States.

A website that helps people turn their pets into "emotional support animals" so they can take them aboard airplanes and public transports.

This five-minute video shows a flash flood.

A "kung fu master" is accidentally debunked on live television when the host accidentally breaks some of the "solid" bricks.

A clever tennis ace (but with a foot fault...)

Monarch butterfly lovers should help eliminate swallow-wort plants.

A video of fossil-hunting in North Dakota.

How college football players use videos to improve their performance. "...there could be 20 plays of what an opponent does on first down, and 15 plays of what they do with one running back, no tight end and four wide receivers... Rallis, an Edina native, said he will watch four to five hours of film on his own time each day."

How to use cardboard to mulch a garden.

Clever url for a honey-wagon company.

How to cut string with your bare hands (or, more precisely, how to use string to cut itself.)

A clever gif illustrates how many years someone your age/sex will live (on average).

A girl and her duck.  Try not to laugh when he asks her "When did you first find out..."

A clever trick.  And another (even better) one.

"When struggling to hang a picture or mirror on a screw on the wall, push the spikes of a fork down over the screw, with the handle pointing up. Then slide the picture string down the fork down onto the screw. Then remove the fork."

Could the corpse of an astronaut generate life on a planet?

Short lifespan: adult mayflies emerge, mate, and die within 30 minutes.

Chicago Cubs' World Series victory predicted in a 1993 high school yearbook.

Magic trick using rubber bands.   Explained in this video.  Not quite the same as this QI rope-escape episode.

Photos from a gallery at the Washington Post of entries in the Nikon Small World photography competition.


  1. For added irony, I already have Flash set to activate only when I tell it to, as that article recommends, and it still doesn't stop their auto-playing video.

  2. I'm FAR from a fan of Trump, but I'm so thankful that we don't have to suffer through a Hillary presidency. Neither one of them are remotely qualified to hold the office.

  3. Timothy, I can understand not wanting Hillary in office but I don't think you can say she's unqualified. Unwanted, sure. Unqualified? No.

  4. Amy - I agree with you also.

    This was a much needed diversion, thank you!

  5. If the guy painted the sidewalk with a concrete sealer, that pattern would show every time it rains.

  6. As already pointed out in the thread, the gear transmission, cool as it is, has little to do with sprinklers - at least not the kind you're probably thinking of: Those are called impact sprinklers and use the force of the water itself to move around: The jet causes a springed arm to bounce back and forth against the head, bumping it along little by little. The rotation can either be full circle, or have a "return cycle", which gives the characteristic sound you mentioned. Here is one in action.

  7. Knowing your fondness for butterflies, I hought you might find this diverting:



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