Some Gifs


A skilled pool player

A creative way to tie a tie

How to melt metal using a strong magnet


How a water snake “bumps” fish straight into its mouth

A hypercube: A 3 cube continued inward to n-dimensions.






Link Dump

We take universal signs for granted. After all, they hardly take any effort to understand and are an integral part of our world. But who invented them, when, and why?

A clever Cinderella costume

How and why did a dead millionaire prompt women in the early ’30’s to have as many children as possible within 10 years?

This sweet, fruit smelling cup is designed to help you lose weight.

Why is mint associated with fresh breath and cleanness? Why not another flavor?

In the age of clickbait and overly dramatic TV science programs, formal academic articles found in scientific journals have been seeing an increase in inflated language such as “groundbreaking,” “amazing,” and “unprecedented.” How is this affecting science?

A short article on the important of bass in music from a neurologist’s perspective.

A ring from about 850 A.D. was found in a female grave in Sweden bearing the inscription of “to Allah.” This helps to confirm the theory that Scandinavian Vikings were traveling to Islamic countries.

This lost Michelangelo painting has been hanging in a man’s living room in New York for years.

Do NOT put powdered sugar on a birthday cake with lit candles.

How do scientists synthetically create and recreate scents?


Link Dump


“I’m Popeye the Sailor Man, I’m Popeye the Sailor Man, I’m strong to the finish ’cause I eats me spinach, I’m Popeye the Sailor Man!” Toot, toot! We all know Popeye, Bluto, and Olive Oyl, but it might be surprising to know that their role during the Great Depression was far more than just entertainment. Funded by the U.S. government, the cartoon was created to promote spinach as an iron-rich supplement to meat. And it worked very well.

Public child shaming: cruel abuse or an effective means of punishment?

What happens to your body if you survive Ebola?

Is there a code hidden in the eye of the Mona Lisa?


The Hidden Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy.

Unwilling to accept that anything could be truly wrong with his own flesh and blood, Joe Kennedy, with his wife’s complicity, subjected 23-year-old Rosemary to an experimental treatment that left her severely debilitated and institutionalized for the remaining six decades of her life.

How do jellyfish move so efficiently? Surely they can’t eat enough to have enough energy to push themselves through the water, and their bodies are so delicate, any force would tear them to bits. So how do they do it?

The art of camera angles: 6 photographers are given 6 different biographies of the same man, ranging from millionaire and hero to ex-convict. How do they unconsciously and consciously approach their subject?

Oh great, my pinkie toe just fell off. Yes, this is an actual thing called dactylolysis spontea, first recorded in 1867, where the body automatically and mysteriously amputates its own limbs.

Between approximately 250 and 271 A.D., an epidemic hit Egypt and the Roman Empire so hard that sources report “the end of the world,” with more than 5,000 deaths a day. This plague undoubtedly hastened the fall of the already weakening Roman Empire.

This pigeon has been trained to identify breast cancer.

In the Chinese city of Yiwu, 600 factories produce 60% of the world’s Christmas decorations, despite many of the workers not even knowing what Christmas is.

In my research on music and the brain, I came across people with anhedonia, a rare form of amusia where people are not only indifferent towards music, but actually physically dislike music, actively going out of their way to avoid hearing music. While most people experience high amounts of brain activity and releases of dopamine and other neurotransmitters linked with pleasure, those with anhedonia experience the opposite reaction.

After jazz pianist Edward Hardy moved into a nursing home, he placed an ad in the newspaper looking for musicians to play with. Nearly 80 people reached out, including three of his former band members whom he hadn’t seen in almost 35 years. Video at the link.

Disney has prohibited adult visitors (14 and older) from dressing up in costumes, along with other restrictions in a new policy.

Christopher Ullman is a professional whistler, and has won many championships with his skillful imitation of various birds and musical instruments.


Link Dump

Pope John Paul II’s favorite recipe: the Poland Polish Kremowka Papieska, here for recipe and here for video. Incredibly rich, but looks delish.

A closer look at this Rembrandt reveals several layers.

This breed of chickens is completely black, inside and out.

A blocked toilet in Italy led to a new museum after a little excavation led to an old Roman grain storage site, the tomb of Messapians, and the basement of a Franciscan convent.

11,000 years of isolation has led to this Venezualan town in the Amazon to have a completely different set of gut bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

A short history of the stethoscope.

What the Vietnam War revealed about Native Americans and their hair. I’d take it with a grain of salt, but it’s interesting.

New theory on the Nazca Lines: were they used like road signs for traveling?

A new world record for Libor Hroza, who scaled a 15 meter wall in 5.57 seconds.

Are you ready to be completely disgusted? This spider dissolves her guts to feed her children.

The man who tastes sound.

How does lithography work?

These pants are painted to look like a comic book.

This 51-year-old man sneezed out a child’s toy dart that he had apparently stuffed up his nose over 40 years before.

What that extra shoelace hole on your running shoes is for.

Leprosy in the UK probably originated from one Scandinavian man.


Link Dump

I don’t know how long this one will be. We will see.

A mysterious Viking message scratched on a piece of wood. After much deliberation, the code was finally cracked, only to reveal a cheeky message of “Kiss me.”

While on the subject of Vikings, archaeologists uncovered ruins of a Viking trade center in ….wait for it….Australia

An explanation of the Kensington System, a system created by Victoria, Duchess of Kent, in order to render her daughter Victoria, future queen of the United Kingdom, as weak and dependent on her mother as much as possible.

Dr. James Barry: The first woman military surgeon? (note the question mark.) He/she rose to the status of Inspector General in the British Army during the early 19th century, and was quite a successful but very hardened doctor.  She was quite dedicated to improving the diets and sanitary conditions of the patients.

Toads and clever crows. Please don’t read if you don’t like thinking about violent ways of dying. Really.

While on the subject of livers, (if you clicked the above), a Russian man who recently got a liver transplant from an African-American has reported his skin getting darker despite not having been in the sun. Really raises some interesting questions regarding the role of the liver. Is filtering blood all it does?

Well this link dump has a great vibe, doesn’t it. How about a wasp the size of your hand that has a sting so powerful that it makes you wish you were dead? Luckily it only lasts three minutes and isn’t deadly, but that isn’t much consolation if you’ve been stung by one.

Here’s another wasp, but with venom that kills cancer cells.

This is huge. I can’t emphasize this enough. This is huge! A new system of vessels directly link the brain to the immune system.

These vessels, part of the lymphatic system, have escaped detection until now because they closely follow blood vessels, making them very easy to miss if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.  The vessels carry and distribute lymphatic fluid with immune cells between the lymphatic system and the body.

A very interesting article written by a liberal professor about his liberal students. It is truly scary. As a student at a large university, I experience it often in classes outside of the music building. Very often the vibe inside of liberal study-related classes can only be compared to walking on glass shards and hot nails. Teachers can barely teach for fear of having a single student be potentially “mentally affronted” or “emotionally damaged” or whatever, which could very easily cost them their job.

As Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis writes, “Emotional discomfort is [now] regarded as equivalent to material injury, and all injuries have to be remediated.” Hurting a student’s feelings, even in the course of instruction that is absolutely appropriate and respectful, can now get a teacher into serious trouble.

This whole social justice situation has reached a point of complete paranoia. This constant push for complete freedom, particularly emotionally, doesn’t free people – it restricts them, because we have to constantly monitor our smallest actions for fear of stepping on someone’s emotional foot. It has completely blown itself out of proportion, and all we can do to keep from being “haters” or “unsympathetic” and what-not is to close our eyes and fumble around the elephant in the room, hoping we don’t trip up. As the author said himself, “No one can rebut feelings, and so the only thing left to do is shut down the things that cause distress — no argument, no discussion, just hit the mute button and pretend eliminating discomfort is the same as effecting actual change.” How can you teach, especially in higher level classes, when you can’t have any discussions for fear of offending someone? It’s ludicrous. Anyways. This isn’t the point of my blog.

Julia Child Used To Be A Spy?

Did you know that before she became a world-renowned chef, Julia Child was a spy?? And a fantastic one at that. She and several other famous names now have their history revealed.

It’s reached a new low, folks. These teenage employees were so engrossed in their own conversation that they failed to recognize when a robber attempted to rob the Subway where they were supposed to be working. As the video at the link shows, after a couple minutes of standing and trying to get their attention, the would-be robber had no choice but to leave the store. Those kids failed so hard they won.

The origins of the red, green, and yellow traffic lights.

The San Andreas fault isn’t the most dangerous one. It’s his lesser-known brother that runs for 700 hundred miles off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. This is the one we should be worried about.

Why do we pick our nose?

Why are dogs so happy to see us when we get home from work?

This house from the 1940’s was completely untouched until the brother and sister living in it for the past 70 years passed away and the house’s insides were broken up and sold at auction. That absolutely drives me crazy when that happens. Why couldn’t it have been made a museum instead? At least we have pictures of what it looked like.

Similarly, here’s one from the 1950’s, with all the bells and whistles, all in Mamie pink, of course.

A Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Cup and Other How to’s

An odds and ends post to make up for the spotty posting.

How to make an individual chocolate chip cookie in a mug.

How to make a bed spread featuring the periodic table.

How to turn any Youtube video into a gif. A handy thing, if you ask me.

How to neatly fold things.

How to properly season a cast iron skillet.

How to create a scheduling poll easily.

How some synesthetes see music.

How the pipe organ works.

How to write a resume, or rather, how not to write a resume.

How to have a sense of humor.

Steve, a lonely guy who forces his friendship on his new neighbors. A short featuring Rupert Friend, Colin Firth, Kiera Knightly.


Link Dump.

Mikemikemikemikemike! What time is it Mike! hahaha! Link dump time! woowoo! <—(in case you don’t get the silly reference.)

Okay, silliness over, on to particle detectors. (woowoo!) “A new ultra-precise particle detector is being developed to investigate the bizarre properties and behaviors of tiny elementary particles that seem to defy the laws of traditional physics.”

In 774 AD, a red crucifix was seen in the skies and noted on a British parchment. This, along with a mysterious spike of radioactive carbon-14 in Japanese tree rings, are both indications of a supernova or solar flare. However, scientists know of neither in that year. So what happened? It has to do with a red dust cloud and the Earth’s positioning with the Sun.

Archaeologists discovered a pot of 2,400 year old soup. Not exactly edible, perhaps, but impressive nevertheless. The soup, found in a tomb near the ancient city of Xian, was still liquid, and was found along with a vessel of wine.

Abraham Lincoln and his wife were extremely devoted to their sons. On February 20, 1862, William Wallace Lincoln died of typhoid at 11 years old. He was very similar to his father in character and intelligence, and the two were very close. So close, in fact, that Lincoln could not see his son buried, but rather embalmed him and kept him in his friend William Thomas Carroll’s family vault, where he visited his son often to talk to him.

If you never learned a language, can you think to yourself? When we think through a situation, or think in general, we unconsciously think using the language we have learned. But what if we never knew a language? How could we still work through a logic problem or anything if we can’t express it, even in our minds? If we can’t, then how did we create language in the first place? An interesting thought.

There’s lightning – and then there’s dark lightning; the lightning we can’t see, that contains high doses of radiation.

A demonstration of medieval armor’s flexibility. Armor was impressively heavy, to be sure, but there are so many images of knights needing cranes to get on a horse that push the idea that they completely restricted movement. The foot soldier’s armor, shown above, allows for surprising freedom of movement. The heavy armor for those on horseback were used more for those in jousting tournaments, and were not regularly used for hand to hand combat, for obvious reasons. Men that fell off their horse in that heavy armor often had difficulty getting back up and once down, were effectively dead.

How to turn your smartphone into a cosmic ray detector.

A new method of measuring magnetism atom by atom. Basically, scientists have realized they can distort an aberration corrector (typically used to enhance microscope images) to enhance the magnetic signal of an atom so it can be measured. Without this distortion, measuring an atom’s magnetism is basically impossible, which makes precise measurements of magnetism in larger experiments a whole lot harder.

Painters, builders, winemakers, chemists, housewives, plumbers, etc. all loved lead. Little did they know what they were doing to themselves. A short history of the fatal attraction of lead.

A theory on why we dance from the perspective of evolutionary psychology.  After all, we all have an innate urge to dance, despite our culture, religion, gender. But why do we?



Another Link Dump


We used to have two s’s: a long one and a short one. How did the printing press encourage our language to have only one?

In 1746, a book was written in a secret code that took years to crack. When it finally was, it revealed a secret society.

Benjamin Franklin loved the turkey. He even wanted our national symbol to be one. In fact, he loved turkeys so much that he tried to electrocute one as a party trick.

How about the time he became a colonel in the Pennsylvania militia?

Charles Dickens had a lot of cranky, greedy, selfish scrooges in his books, most notably Ebeneezer Scrooge in his A Christmas Carol. What’s not known is how accurately his figures were based on a real person.

The history and origins of the fork.

A Swedish 16th century warship was discovered, surprisingly intact, and with thousands of pounds of silver coins.


We have red tomatoes thanks to a meteorite

How about the recent genetic mutation that was meant to increase uniform ripeness of the tomato, but has affected the taste quality?

With seven billion people on this Earth, it isn’t surprising that there are unrelated people who look alike. This photographer decided to capture some.

Parents who don’t want to kill their terminally ill children because of religious reasons are being accused of torturing them. “The doctors, from Great Ormond Street Hospital, called for an overhaul of the legal system to reduce the weight given to parents’ religious beliefs in such cases.”

Geneticists have developed a fruit fly that can count.

This father and daughter are the first two people to share in a telepathic conversation thanks to science.

4,000 year old Chinese noodles were found.

One huge link dump

Ok folks, I have such a huge collection of bookmarks starting years back that I’m just going to unload a bunch here. Peruse as you will.

Here’s a great start: A bone eating worm. Something has to clean up the remains the fall to the bottom of the ocean.

Quantum mechanics is as shaky a science as the particles they attempt to study. However, a (once) new discovery on how particles communicate with each other over distances has closed a seeming contradiction of physics that Einstein once struggled to close in his theories.

While we hear of numerous species going extinct, here’s one that was recently discovered. A new species of whale was found when construction workers on a California road uncovered its skeleton.

Another species! How about a tarantula the size of your face to ponder when you go to sleep tonight. But don’t worry. You needn’t fear unless you live in Sri Lanka.

A team of researchers in the Cambodian jungle discover the lost city of Mahendraparvata, a medieval city built 350 years before the Angkor Wat temple to its north.

What makes someone mentally ill, psychologically, physically….socially? An interesting perspective from someone who was diagnosed, but not really mentally ill. It is all too true that doctors today are much too eager to diagnose mental illnesses to people and prescribe debilitating drugs to them. This impedes not only their ability to attempt to function as a regular human being, but it impedes our progress in understanding the human mind and the subtleties of its functions.

There were so many people that didn’t take the Civil War seriously that there were picnics of up to several hundred people who would gather with food and blankets to watch the battles on the sidelines, close enough to observe the action but far away enough to avoid seeing the blood, death stares, and agonizing cries of the soldiers.

Yamaha created a silent piano: a grand piano with the same touch, sound, etc, but with a headphone jack to enable silent practicing.

It has become socially unacceptable to be bad at grammar. So why is it socially acceptable to be bad at math? In fact, I personally hear many of my friends and coworkers loudly proclaiming, almost with pride, that they are bad at math. It is almost as if it’s cool, since at least in the United States, the majority of our students are barely passing mathematics. So why is that?

“Sometimes, when you shut your eyes tightly or are in a pitch black room, your eyes decide it’s time for a light show. Random, psychedelic-like patterns and flashes of color will dance around your field of vision like it’s 1969. While you can appreciate the entertainment, in the back of your mind you wonder what is causing the phenomena.”

Which drugs actually kill Americans?


Thomas Edison may be known for a lot of inventions, but many of these weren’t even original. Here is a list of seven individual inventors who came up with sound recordings before Edison’s team of inventors did.

The history of applause – is it a natural human tendency, or is it learned? Here is an interesting history of its development and how it has changed from being used to scare enemies in battle to a means of encouragement and approval.

The medicalisation of evil: how can one diagnose a truly evil person? In science, it has become the norm to completely block out religion. “The answer, of course, is subjective. Many scholars have argued that our concepts of deviant behaviour have changed over time, first being seen as a sin, then a crime and now a medical problem.” An interesting perspective on medical diagnoses and Christianity. The bottom line is, as he put it, that mental illness is not a choice. Cold homicide and evil cruelty is a choice.

The Victorians were absolutely obsessed with hummingbirds.

Foleys, gaffers, python wranglers…what does it all mean?

A Roman brick with a cat print was part of Washington’s Fort Vancouver. How’d that work out?

How did rabbits bring about the end of the Neanderthals?

Harry Houdini, the great magician and escape artist, kept a scrapbook on his thought, secrets, and tickets from his acts. That scrapbook was lost – until now.