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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tuesday links

Today is Helen Keller's birthday. Here are quotes, links, some history, and a selection of (non-PC) jokes.

14 of History’s Craziest Baldness Cures



How Animals Develop Regional Accents: Whales, bats, and birds have local dialects.

Why Do Onions Make Us Cry?

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include the forgotten undercroft of the Lincoln Memorial tunnels dug by giant sloths, how much business pay to get on those big blue exit signs, and how to steal pizza without anyone knowing.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Great moments in science (if Twitter had existed)

These are from a couple of years ago, but I've never seen them.

Jonas Salk:

Tycho Brahe:

June 27 is Helen Keller's birthday. Here are quotes, links and a selection of (non-PC) jokes

Helen Keller (wiki). in addition to being an inspiration for millions (is there a better example of the overcoming of adversity in recent history?) was also the inspiration for a lot of jokes, mostly one-liners. These are wildly non-PC today, but a few decades ago they were quite popular. The jokes are at the bottom of the post, but first some quotes:

The mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew than that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, joy, set it free!

~ Helen Keller (The Story of My Life, Ch. 4)

The hands of those I meet are dumbly eloquent to me. The touch of some hands is an impertinence. I have met people so empty of joy, that when I clasped their frosty finger-tips, it seemed to me as if I were shaking hands with a northeast storm. Others there are whose hands have sunbeams in them, so that their grasp warms my heart.

~ Ibid., Ch. 23

Helen Keller and Mark Twain
Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.

~ Ibid., Ch. 22

I am charmed with your book - enchanted. You are a wonderful creature, the most wonderful in the world - you and your other half together - Miss Sullivan, I mean, for it took the pair of you to make a complete and perfect whole.

~ Mark Twain (letter to Helen Keller, 17 March 1903)

Of late our periodicals have been filled with depressing revelations of great social evils. Querulous critics have pointed to every flaw in our civic structure. We have listened long enough to the pessimists. You once told me you were a pessimist, Mr. Clemens, but great men are usually mistaken about themselves. You are an optimist.*

~ Helen Keller, (letter to Mark Twain - read the whole thing, via Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 1)

June 27 is the anniversary of the birth in 1880 of American writer, lecturer, and humanitarian Helen Adams Keller (wiki) (1880-1968), who was blind and deaf from the age of 19 months. Born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, Keller was deprived of her sight and hearing by a childhood disease, but her private tutor, Anne Sullivan (1866-1936) - through a series of innovative teaching methods - gradually taught her to understand and communicate with others. 

Keller became a world-famous advocate for the blind and disabled, and in addition to The Story of My Life (1903), wrote Midstream, My Later Life in 1929 and lectured on the issues of blindness all over the world. Helen Keller seems to be fading from public memory, but the dramatization of her early teaching by Anne Sullivan in William Gibson's play, The Miracle Worker (1960), is still regularly performed, and the film version, starring Anne Bancroft as Sullivan and a young Patty Duke as Keller, is available. 

*Much more on the friendship between Helen Keller and Mark Twain at Open Culture.

Here's a video of Helen Keller visiting Martha Graham's dance studio - I'm not sure of the date on this:


Jokes after the jump. If you're offended by this kind of stuff, don't read it.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

It's not fat, it's intelligence

Flintstones:


Via Dyspepsia Generation

Awkward Pregnancy Photos

There are thousands of these available on the interwebs; I had a really hard time choosing the most awkward and eventually ran out of time/energy to search for them. At any rate, here's a selection - feel free to link to more in the comments.  

By the way, if you know someone who likes awkward photos so much that you want a related Christmas/birthday/whatever present, there's also a book full of them called, appropriately enough, Awkward Family Photos, and a day-to-day calendar version which provides you with, presumably, 365 awkward pictures.





Mom, why is Daddy wearing a dog collar?



I can see why Rudolph wasn't allowed to join in any reindeer games:


I think he's pissed off about her stretch marks:





What's up with the tire?


Sympathetic pregnancy?


Related posts:

Creepy photos of Easter Bunnies with kids

Awkward Christmas photos

Awkward glamour photos

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Teens Handcuffed for Selling Bottled Water on the National Mall Without License


The news and a grievance-mongers are making this about the kids being black, but this sort of thing is happening all over - links to related stories are below. It's not a race problem - it's an over-regulation problem.. When you give the job of enforcing BS regulations to guys with guns and handcuffs, it escalates.

NBC:

An elected official in Washington is asking U.S. Park Police why teenagers were handcuffed for selling bottled water on the National Mall.

The arrests were made on Thursday. A witness took photos of three young black men being handcuffed by plainclothes police officers.

According to Sgt. Anna Rose of the U.S. Park Police, shortly after 5 p.m., officers detained three teens, ages 16 and 17, at 12th Street and Jefferson Drive, Northwest, for illegally vending.

The teens told officers they did not have a vendor’s permit, which is required to sell items on the National Mall, Rose said.

“Officers placed them in handcuffs for the safety of the officers and of the individuals,” Rose said on Friday.

Democratic D.C. Council member Charles Allen wrote a letter to Park Police Chief Robert MacLean on Friday asking him to explain the agency's actions.

In the letter, Allen noted the lack of charges and said he doesn't think the officers' actions were justified. He compared it to arresting kids for operating a lemonade stand.

“I would appreciate your response in reviewing yesterday’s events. I would also appreciate knowing how standards and expectations will be evenly applied in the future,” Allen said in the letter.

Related:

Town Says Teens Who Cut Neighborhood Lawns Must Pay $110 For Business Licenses

The Inexplicable War on Lemonade Stands.

Here's a roundup from a few years ago of lemonade stand shut-downs by government officials. I'm sure the list would be longer now.

Teens Detained for Selling Water on the National Mall | NBC4 Washington

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday links

Tomorrow (June 24) is the birthday of Ambrose Bierce, author of The Devil's Dictionary.

Caterpillars Recruit Friends with Anal Scraping. If you know of others who use the same method, feel free to discuss in the comments.

Lincoln Memorial Undercroft - A cavernous three-story, 43,800-square-foot basement that was forgotten about for 60 years. 


How Much Businesses Pay To Get On Those Big Blue Exit Signs

These Massive Tunnels Were Dug By Giant Sloths.

ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, and include the history of the Aloha shirt, the first day of summer, why it's called Area 51, the rural mail carriers who count wildlife on their routes, and how cats used humans to conquer the world.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday links

Summer started this morning at 12:24 EDT - here's some solstice science, history, poetry and music. Related: Fridgehenge: to celebrate the solstice, British guy recreates Stonehenge using old refrigerators

 
Hawaiian Style: The History of the Aloha Shirt.

How to Have a Healthy Summer: Advice from 1656.

You've Got Quail: Why Thousands of Rural Mail Carriers Count Roadside Wildlife Every Year.


ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include the science of whiskey flavors, the anniversary of Waterloo (with a Lego re-enactment), the art of Soviet children's literature, and, for Father's Day, a selection of parenting advice from Homer Simpson.

Summer solstice science, quotes, poetry and music

Whatever is dreamed on this night, will come to pass...

Walking around the grocery store on a hot day always reminds me of this Shakespeare quote:
For men, like butterflies, show not their mealy wings but to the summer.
~ Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida Act III, Scene 3

Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound;
And through this distemperature we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose.

ShakespeareA Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II, Sc. 2

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.

~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

In early June the world of leaf and blade and flowers explodes, and every sunset is different.

~ John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.

~ Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.

~ Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

Thou orb aloft full dazzling,
    Flooding with sheeny light the gray beach sand;
Thou sibilant near sea, with vistas far, and foam,
    And tawny streaks and shades, and spreading blue;
Before I sing the rest, O sun refulgent,
    My special word to thee.

~ Walt Whitman, A Summer Invocation

Shine on, O moon of summer.
Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak,
All silver under your rain to-night.

Carl Sandburg, Back Yard

Today is the summer solstice (wiki): at the solstice (from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop)), the Earth reaches the point in its orbit where the northern hemisphere is most tilted toward the sun, which puts the latter higher in the sky at noon than at any other time of the  year.*  This is also the day of the year with the longest daylight period and the shortest night.  In prehistoric times, the summer solstice was of great importance to aboriginal peoples. The snow had disappeared, food was easier to find, and crops already planted would soon be harvested in months to come. From then on, however, the days would begin to shorten, indicating the inevitable return of the cold season. 

Here's a brief explanation on the mechanics of solstices and equinoxes:



The two revolutions, I mean the annual revolutions of the declination and of the centre of the Earth, are not completely equal; that is the return of the declination to its original value is slightly ahead of the period of the centre. Hence it necessarily follows that the equinoxes and solstices seem to anticipate their timing, not because the sphere of the fixed stars moves to the east, but rather the equatorial circle moves to the west, being at an angle to the plane of the ecliptic in proportion to the declination of the axis of the terrestrial globe.


Here's Nigel Kennedy playing the last movement of Vivaldi's "Summer" concerto from The Four Seasons:



Here's the view from Stonehenge.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

How To Steal Pizza Without Anyone Knowing

This would work with anything round (think cake or pie):



Related: The Scientific Way To Cut A Cake (or pizza...):