31 July 2017

Divertimento #132

Showerthought: "If you like to drink, you know when the liquor store closes.  If you are an alcoholic, you know when the liquor store opens."

A nice summary of how to prevent tick-borne diseases.  This year a new tick disease has been reported - bourbon virus.  One woman died after developing hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis.

Video from the World Taxidermy Championships (via Neatorama).

"Why do 2,000-year-old Roman piers survive to this day, yet modern concrete seawalls embedded with steel crumble within decades?" (It's because of the pozzolanic reaction).

The latest ransomware epidemic was spread by a software update.

Video explaining sinkholes (quite interesting).

A photo gallery of world parliaments.

Kinder Suprise Eggs cannot be imported into the U.S.

"In July 1975, a 17 year old boy in Bermuda was killed when a taxi struck him, knocking him off his moped. He died exactly a year after his 17 year old brother was killed while riding the same moped, in the same intersection, by the same taxi driver carrying the same passenger."

Girls as young as nine are requesting labiaplasties.

"English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts."

A very negative opinion on Tesla.  And a cautionary view on the overall market.

How to find out what the internet knows about you.

"The frozen bodies of a Swiss couple who went missing 75 years ago in the Alps have been found on a shrinking glacier."

A child's humorous fold-out art.

65,000 people sing Bohemian Rhapsody.

"Seven north Atlantic right whales have been found floating lifelessly in the Gulf of St Lawrence... in what is being described as a “catastrophic” blow to one of the world’s most endangered whales."

Minnesota party politics is a microcosm of the national situation.  "Is Minnesota split into rival regions — a liberal island in the Twin Cities and a vast conservative sea in greater Minnesota?... The big battle not only pits Democrats against Republicans but rages within the parties — especially the DFL."

Undersea rivers are awesome.

The voyages of the Chinese treasure ships.  The fourth voyage was conducted by 63 treasure ships crewed by 28,000 men.

Paths of every solar eclipse that will occur in your lifetime (type in your birth year).

The life and death of Richard Bachman.

Retired greyhounds become professional blood donors.  "Greyhounds represent the bulk of the donors, and with good reason because they typically have a universal blood type that any dog can receive. Greyhounds also have big neck veins that make drawing blood easy."

Summary of the major themes of Blade Runner (including whether Deckard was a replicant).

When you spill a truckload of slime eels on a highway.  "The slime from one hagfish can expand to five gallons when combined with water."

If you are a senior citizen, get your lifetime pass to the national parks soon (the price goes up from $10 to $80 next month).  I got mine years ago.  Haven't used it so far, but I'm not dead yet.

How to unplug a clogged toilet.

London is experiencing a wave of attacks with acid.

Confirmation that false heads do protect butterflies (video at the link).

"22,000 people have now found themselves legally bound to 1000 hours of community service, including, but not limited to, cleaning toilets at festivals, scraping chewing gum off the streets and “manually relieving sewer blockages”. (because they didn't read their wifi terms of service)

Richard Feynman explains how railroad trains stay on the tracks on a curve since their axles don't have differentials.

"... doctors found 27 contact lenses in a 67-year-old patient’s eye..."

"The Brazilian environment ministry is proposing the release of 860,000 acres in the National Forest of Jamanxim for agricultural use, mining and logging."

The robot apocalypse is not due quite yet. (personally I wonder if someone pushed it)

Animal rights activists released tens of thousands of minks from a farm in central Minnesota.

"Up until four years ago, Rio Celeste, a 14-kilometer river in Costa Rica’s Alajuela province, was a complete mystery to scientists, who could not understand why its waters had an unusual turquoise color. And then they realized that it wasn’t turquoise at all." (TL;DR "optical illusion")

The history of the papasan chair.  "U.S. soldiers picked up papasan and mamasan during World War II and spread them throughout the Asia Pacific. Mamasan soon became slang for a madam of a brothel and, come the Vietnam War, papasan was referring to a pimp."

"How I made $290,000 selling books."

The "murderer's thumb" is brachydactyly.  It occurs in about 1% of the world's population.

"Honey, I found the spoon."

The images embedded in today's divertimento are selected from a gallery of images of a home listed for sale in Texas.  Dozens more pix at the realtor's website.  The home is yours for $1,275,000.


  1. the links for ""In July 1975, a 17" and "Girls as young as" are the same.

    the links for "Paths of every solar eclipse" and "The life and death of" are the same.


  2. Stack Exchange has hundreds of groups. The English Language one is great, so is the sci-fi page, the parenting page and the math section! So many fascinating questions with such great answers... I owe most of my programming skills to Stack Overflow.

  3. There are thousands of stupid articles about Tesla saying it's a junk company whose stock is going to zero. Why are you printing such junk? It's not even remotely true.

    1. Eight months have passed since I wrote this post, and this article in the New York Times still raises doubts about the viability of the company -


      "In just the past week, Tesla’s troubles have intensified. Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the company’s credit rating, concerned that it was burning through cash. Those worries have grown so dire that some analysts are asking whether the company could run out of money by the end of the year... Moody’s concluded that Tesla probably needed to raise more than $2 billion from investors to be able to finance its operations, continue capital investment and pay debts and other financial obligations that will come due soon. According to Moody’s, Tesla has $200 million in convertible bonds due later this year, and $900 million due in early 2019.

      “Liquidity is going to be very tight by the end of the year,” Bruce Clark, a senior vice president at Moody’s, said in an interview. “They need to re-establish credibility with the capital markets.”

      Are you still bullish ??

  4. "randomware" needs quick fix to "ransomware" ...

    Otherwise, thanks for the diversion! :)


  5. Several lovely pieces here. I will definitely share some of them on social media.

    About the Rio Celeste thing, though: according to the article the water appears blue because it reflects blue light, which is the definition of actually being a colour. How is that an optical illusion?


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