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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thursday links

I've been accumulating these for years: Way too many Thanksgiving links.

After 6 Years And 720,000 Attempts, Photographer Finally Takes Perfect Shot Of Kingfisher.

Yesterday was "Evacuation Day, when the British ran 'way" from New York City at the end of the Revolutionary War. Here's the story of the young man who slithered up a greased flagpole to rip down the British flag.

Happy Thanksgiving (and Black Friday)

It's Black Friday, Charlie Brown

Jimmy Kimmel put this most recent Peanuts holiday special together in 2012:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving links

Time to invite the neighbors to dinner, kill them, and take their land. 

Here's a huge roundup of Thanksgiving links: how turkey got its name, why the Lions and Cowboys always play, Ben Franklin's account of the first Thanksgiving, Buffy Thanksgiving episode ("ritual sacrifice, with pie"), Mark Twain, science, the Thanksgiving birthday pattern, WKRP turkey giveaway ("as God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly"), Cicero, the best turkey fryer PSA ever, and lots more.

'A Day of Thanksgiving and Praise': Remembering President Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation.

Weird Incidents Involving Wild Turkeys, and a Scientific Look at How Female Turkeys Choose Their Mates (and avoid the unwanted ones).

A definitive ranking of Thanksgiving sides, taking into account the availability theorem and the leftover theorem. Related, this map of side dishes by region.

From the American Chemical Society: What Happens When You Eat Too Much?

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include weird Stonehenge replicas, a parasitic worm that increases women's fertility, the science of smiling, and test-tasting computer-translated recipes.

Have an excellent Thanksgiving, and be good to all of those people you're thankful for!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday links

A round-up of Thanksgiving links: how turkey got its name, why the Lions and Cowboys always play, Ben Franklin's account of the first Thanksgiving, Buffy Thanksgiving episode (ritual sacrifice, with pie), and more.

Gallery: 11,000 camels gather each year at the Pushkar Camel Fair.

Test Tasting Computer-Translated Recipes.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include the royalties for Mein Kampf, original names of cartoon characters, videos to entertain your cats and dogs when they're home alone, and a zoo that housed wolves and three species of bears together.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Weird Versions of Stonehenge

A semi-permanent set of Stonehenge (wiki) replicas (unlike the cupcake version I once made with kids):


Carhenge is located near the city of Alliance, Nebraska, on the High Plains region of the United States. It consist of 39 vintage American cars arranged in a circle and partially buried to keep them upright. Arches were created by welding more cars atop the erect ones. The entire structure is spray painted with a shade of gray to mimic the color of stone. The idea was conceived in 1987 by Jim Reinders as a memorial to his father.


Foamhenge is a full size replica built of Styrofoam and locatred in the town of Natural Bridge, in Virginia, USA. Its creator, Mark Cline, took great pains to shape each 'stone' to its original shape, fact-checking his designs and measurements with the man who gives tours of Stonehenge in England. Each block is set into a hole in the ground, reinforced by a steel pipe that goes through the block. The pipe is anchored to the ground with cement. Each stone is placed in astronomically correct position. 


Fridgehenge was a Stonehenge replica built of refrigerators. Fridgehenge stood outside Santa Fe, New Mexico for almost a decade, but following complaints from neighbors, it was dismantled in 2007. Another Fridgehenge was built in the UK in 2014, and yet another one earlier this year.

More henges at Amusing Planet, via Presurfer.

Do You Have What it Takes to Win This Testicle Beauty Pageant?

Other than the word testicles, I don't think that there's anything unsafe for work in this post - if you follow the links, all bets are off.

You, yes you, could win $5,000 in this beauty contest for your balls.
The man who brought you the famous vaginal beauty contest in order to create his baffling three-orifice sex toy hasn't forgotten about you, gents. This time around, he's encouraging the men of the world to nominate their balls via photo submissions on his site, where users can rank which pair reigns supreme. But it's not just for street cred: the first place winner will collect $5,000, the second place $3,000, and the third $2,000.

If you win, your naughty bits will then be 3D-scanned and their likeness forever immortalized in novelty items like doorstops and paper weights.
Lots more here. 

D.C. Chief Lanier encourages people to “take the gunman out” in active shooter situations

She's absolutely right, of course, but given the "unconstitutionally restrictive" D.C. gun laws, this is surprising. From WTOP:
In an upcoming segment of “60 Minutes,” Metropolitan Police Chief Police Chief Cathy Lanier says it’s unrealistic to think police will make it to an active shooter situation in time to save lives, so victims will have to prepare to “run, hide or fight.”
“If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there,” she tells Anderson Cooper for the segment, which will air Sunday at 7 p.m. on CBS.
Lanier said this is radically different from what police have often told people. But after a series of tragic domestic attacks – including the 2013 murders at the D.C. Navy Yard — it is clear that merely calling 911 and waiting for a response isn’t enough.
“The fact is most active shooter kill their victims in less than 10 minutes,” she said. “It’s a different scenario.”

I was born on this day in 1948; a few ruminations on growing old, plus the Thanksgiving birthday pattern

For those of us born between the 22nd and 28th and have always wondered, here's how it works: The Thanksgiving Birthday Pattern.

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
~H. L. Mencken

I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming that comes when you finish the life of the emotions and of personal relations; and suddenly find - at the age of fifty, say - that a whole new life has opened before you, filled with things you can think about, study, or read about...It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you.
~ Agatha Christie

All would live long, but none would be old.
~Benjamin Franklin

The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children.
~Clarence Darrow

Every old man complains of the growing depravity of the world, of the petulance and insolence of the rising generation.
~Dr. Johnson

Too old to plant trees for my own gratification, I shall do it for my posterity.
~Thomas Jefferson

How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young -- or slender.
~William James

For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away,
The sky is filled with stars invisible by day.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Morituri Salutamus

It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real, they are bruised and wounded.
~W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage

When I was young I was amazed at Plutarch's statement that the elder Cato began at the age of eighty to learn Greek. I am amazed no longer. Old age is ready to undertake tasks that youth shirked because they would take too long.
~W. Somerset Maugham

Optima quaeque dies miseris mortalibus aevi prima fugit: subeunt morbi tristique senectus et labor, et durae rapit inclementia mortis.

Of the measure of days allowed to piteous mortals, the best days are first to leave: illness and sorry old age loom up, suffering and death's untender mercies take all away.
Experience is a revelation in the light of which we renounce our errors of youth for those of age. 
~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

When the loud day for men who sow and reap
Grows still and on the silence of the town
The unsubstantial veils of night and sleep,
The meed of day's labour, settle down,
Then for me in the stillness of the night
The wasting, watchful hours drag on their course,
And in the idle darkness comes the bite
Of all the burning serpents of remorse;
Dreams seethe; and fretful infelicities
Are swarming in my over-burdened soul,
And Memory before my wakeful eyes
With noiseless hand unwinds her lengthy scroll.
Then, as with loathing I peruse the years,
I tremble, and I curse my natal day,
Wail bitterly, and bitterly shed tears,
But cannot wash the woeful script away.
~Alexander Pushkin, Remembrance

The spiritual eyesight improves as the physical eyesight declines.

So Life's year begins and closes;
Days, though short'ning, still can shine;
What though youth gave love and roses,
Age still leaves us friends and wine.
~Thomas Moore, Spring and Autumn

Though now this grained face of mine be hid
In sap-consuming winter's drizzled snow,
And all the conduits of my blood froze up,
Yet hath my night of life some memory,
My wasting lamps some fading glimmer left,
My dull deaf ears a little use to hear.
~William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday links

A Thanksgiving miscellany: Mark Twain, science, WKRP, Cicero, the best turkey fryer PSA ever, and more.

Crazy Russian Hacker has some kitchen tips to help you out with Thanksgiving festivities. The cupcake tin full of appetizers is my favorite.

A Depression-Era Zoo Housed Wolves and Three Species of Bears Together. It Didn’t End Well.

Are your animals home alone all day? Here's a free archive of entertaining videos for cats and dogs, with bonus cat and dog links for humans. Semi-related: The Long and Glorious History of Cat Ladies.

Who gets the royalties for Hitler's Mein Kampf?

Mortimer Mouse? The Original Names of 10 Cartoon Characters.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include President James Garfield's birthday (when he was shot, Alexander Graham Bell showed up with a metal detector to try to locate the bullet),  the Gettysburg Address and a Pennsylvania newspaper's retraction for an 1863 article calling Gettysburg Address "silly remarks", a woman who won the right to wear a spaghetti strainer on her head for her driver's licence photo, history of people mailing themselves in boxes, a defenestration supercut, and a father who borrowed a Go-Pro, held it backwards and recorded his entire vacation as one long selfie.

A free archive of entertaining videos for cats and dogs, with bonus cat and dog links for humans

There are lots of cat and dog videos around, but generally they're made for humans to watch. These purport to entertain your animals - I don't personally find them all that fascinating, but per youtube comments on Paul Dinning's channel, lots of dogs and cats do. I guess if you leave your pets home alone it would be nice to leave the TV on for them.

Over the past 6 years, Paul Dinning has created a YouTube channel packed with over 400 videos featuring the wildlife of Cornwall, England. And, from that footage, he has cobbled together playlists designed to delight all cats and dogs with access to the internet. And, apparently cats and dogs are watching. 
Here's Squirrel and Bird Fun:

And The Ultimate Videos of Birds for Cats To Watch:

Previous posts, about animals but for humans:

Terrible pictures of men with cats, bonus Nazis with cats.

Slow Motion Flipping Cat Physics, with bonus Buttered Toast/Cat Paradox video.