Amazon Deals

New at Amazon

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday links

Hey, Firefly fans - It's Unification Day

In 1859, the United States and Britain Almost Went to War Over a Pig.

Alexander Graham Bell’s Tetrahedral Kites (1903–9).

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include Talk Like a Pirate Day, the 1899 Johnstown flood that killed 2,000 people, and why blue is the world's favorite color.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hey, Firefly fans - September 20 is Unification Day

Here's Wikipedia on Firefly's Unification Day:
Unification Day is a holiday celebrated in the fictional universe of the science-fiction television series Firefly. It marks the day in which the Alliance forces defeated the resistance ("Browncoats") in the Unification War.
"The Train Job", the second episode of the series (although Fox originally aired it before the pilot episode "Serenity"), opens with Mal, Zoe, and Jayne in a bar during a Unification Day celebration. Malcolm's brown coat and his disinterest in celebrating Unification Day lead to a brawl.

Unification Day is a holiday mentioned in the backstory of the television series Firefly. According to Nathan Fillion (Mal), the holiday is on September 20th.

Tuesday links

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, me hearties! Instructions, translators, and the Dave Barry column that started it.

Is there a single food that you can survive on forever?

Bacteria from elite athletes’ poop might boost sports performance.

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include the blue-skinned family, Dr. Samuel Johnson's birthday, the now-abandoned Russian town that was aiming nuclear missiles at America from just 125 miles away, and the Illinois Pre-Columbian settlement of Cahokia.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, me hearties!

A Pirate’s Glossary of Terms – An extensive (and more historically accurate) listing of pirate terms and phrases,

Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Compiled in 1811 bu Captain Francis Grose, purports to define the language of cuthroats, cutpurses and others in the London underworld, but it makes a fine pirate reference book, too!

The Talk Like A Pirate Day Song.

A 12-step program for drawing a pirate.

"Cap'n Slappy" and "Ol' Chumbucket", the
founders of Talk Like a Pirate Day

17 Swashbuckling Facts About Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Wikipedia page.

Instructions: How to talk like a pirate.

Here's an English to Pirate translator, and a Pirate Quote Generator, for those occasions when just translating a word or two isn’t enough.

Dave Barry's Talk Like a Pirate column from 2010: Is that a yardarm in your doubloons, or are you just glad to see me?

Monday links

Dr. Samuel Johnson (wiki) was born on this date in 1709: here's a selection of his insults and Scotland-bashing comments.

The now-abandoned Russian town that was aiming nuclear missiles at America from just 125 miles away.

How to Get Breasts like Apples: Beauty Tips for the Early Modern Woman.

How the Frozen Lake Battle in Game of Thrones Was Filmed.

This Family Has Had Blue Skin For Centuries — Here’s Why.

The Mysterious Illinois Pre-Columbian Settlement of Cahokia.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include 19th century money saving tips, IBM’s 1937 corporate songbook, the definitive sandwich family tree, and how honey is harvested.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

How the Frozen Lake Battle in 'Game of Thrones' Season 7, Episode 6 Was Filmed

From HBO, check out the rather extraordinary effort it took to put the frozen lake battle in Game of Thrones together:

Related posts and links (I haven't checked all of the old links - apologies if any have died):

Here's a compilation of all 150,966 deaths so far on Game of Thrones (NSFW - violence)

Very cool visual effects reel from season 5 of Game of Thrones: Mastering the Dragons

Game of Thrones season six: three latest leaks from on set (spoilers).

For $20K, Game of Thrones Author Will Write You Into Future Novel Then Kill You Off

Valyrian steel, length of the seasons, dragon biology: The Science of Game of Thrones, bonus geological map.

If Game Of Thrones Characters Were Drawn By Disney

Game of Thrones infographic chronology: 4 seasons of the 4 main families and the Night’s Watch.

Video: Hodor (Kristian Nairn) Describes His Awkward Game of Thrones Nude Scene.

Game of Thrones Wine Map: The Wines of Westeros.

Supercut of pithy quotes from Game of Thrones, Seasons 1-3.

Fallen behind on Game of Thrones, or want a refresher before Season 4? All 3 seasons recapped in 9 minutes.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday links

IBM’s 1937 corporate songbook is something of a hoot.

Some 19th century money saving tips.

Eyewitnesses to the Great Los Angeles Air Raid.

Sex And The Censors: America’s First Obscene Books Commission (1953 – 1973).

The Definitive Sandwich Family Tree.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include creepy Soviet-era playground sculptures,  the 1917 Halifax explosion, the Night of the Flaming Ballerinas, why there’s a West Virginia, and the anniversary of the 1812 battle of Baltimore.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

IBM’s 1937 corporate songbook is something of a hoot

A bit of IBM history: "For thirty-seven years," reads the opening passage in the book, "the gatherings and conventions of our IBM workers have expressed in happy songs the fine spirit of loyal cooperation and good fellowship which has promoted the signal success of our great IBM Corporation in its truly International Service for the betterment of business and benefit to mankind."


Tune: "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean" 

Thomas Watson, Sr.
Thomas Watson is our inspiration, 
Head and soul of our splendid IBM. 
We are pledged to him throughout all nations, 
He’s our President and most beloved man. 
His great wisdom has guided each division 
In such service to all humanity 
That we all unite to make this one decision, 
None can match him or our worldwide company. 


T. J. Watson, we all honor you, 
You’re so big and so square and so true, 
We will follow and serve with you forever, 
All the world shall know what I. B. M. can do.

Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, the
 precursor to IBM, was founded on June 16, 1911
Tune: "Tipperary" 

We adore you, Otto Braitmayer 
Our great pioneer, 
You’re a wise and able leader. 
And you always are sincere. 
You’re our President’s right bower- 
Our Manufacturing Guiding Star,
I. B. M. will honor you forever 
Vice-President Braitmayer.

Tune: "Jingle Bells"

I. B. M., Happy men, smiling all the way. 
Oh what fun it is to sell our products night and day. 
I. B. M., Watson men, partners of T. J. 
In his service to mankind-that’s why we are so gay.

I've pasted a few pages below, but the full version of the 1937 songbook is available as a PDF here and a plain text version of the the 1935 songbook is here - I haven't compared them but assume that they're largely (if not entirely) identical. There's a .wav version of the official IBM theme song, Ever Onward, here and more music clips here.

As an aside, my mom worked as a secretary for Tom Watson Sr. at IBM during WWII while they were making munitions - once the war was over all of the women were fired to make jobs available for the returning "boys".

More at Ars Technica, Business Insider and the links above.

Thursday links

It's the anniversary of the battle of Baltimore, inspiration for the Star-Spangled Banner.

An eyewitness look at the 1917 Halifax Explosion.

September 14, 1861 was The Night of the Flaming Ballerinas.

Why There’s A West Virginia.

Getting to Know Whale Vaginas in 7 Steps.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include H.L. Mencken's birthday, 1950 information tests to try on your children, jay-walking and the fight for the streets, and why elephant brains, which have three times as neurons as ours, don't perform better than ours.   

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tuesday links

"Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods." It's the birthday of H.L. Mencken, noted curmudgeon, satirist, and political and cultural critic.

"Jay Walking" and the Fight for the Streets.

The Paradox of the Elephant Brain - with three times as many neurons, why doesn’t the elephant brain outperform ours?

Having a beer might help get your creative juices flowing.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include drinking cold water and other 19th century causes of death, three simple rules for fire ants when building a tower, and the anniversary of the Battle of Borodino, on which War and Peace and the 1812 Overture are based.