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Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday links

Winston Churchill was born on November 30, 1874: here he is on Islam (and other things)

Woman surprised when bank 'glitch' showed her $1.4 trillion overdrawn.

21 Truly Upsetting Vintage Recipes.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include Thanksgiving, the mean drunk gene, the giant claw machine that dredges bicycles from Amsterdam canals, and the post-Thanksgiving Peanuts holiday special It's Black Friday, Charlie Brown.

Winston Churchill's was born on November 30, 1874: here he is on Islam

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!

Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property—either as a child, a wife, or a concubine—must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proseltyzing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science—the science against which it had vainly struggled—the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.

Churchill (wiki), from The River War, via Powerline.

I have never accepted what many people have kindly said - namely, that I inspired the nation... It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion's heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar. I also hope that I sometimes suggested to the lion the right place to use his claws. 

~ Churchill (speech in Westminster Hall, 30 November 1954) 

The ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen. 

~ Churchill (describing the qualifications of a prospective politician, quoted in Adler, Churchill Wit

Naval tradition? Monstrous. Nothing but rum, sodomy, prayers, and the lash. 

~ Churchill (quoted in Harold Nicholson, diary, 17 August 1950) 

He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle to steady his fellow countrymen and hearten those Europeans upon whom the long dark night of tyranny had descended.* 

- Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) (broadcast, 30 November 1954) 

November is the anniversary of the birth in 1874 of the greatest British statesman of recent times, Winston Spencer Churchill (1874-1965). Born into an aristocratic family, Churchill was educated at Harrow and Sandhurst and served in the British Army in India, the Sudan, and South Africa. Elected to Parliament in 1900, he became the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911 but was discredited and forced to resign by the failure of World War I's Gallipoli campaign in 1915. 

Subsequently, Churchill held several cabinet-level offices under both Liberal and Conservative governments, but he left politics between 1929 and 1939 and restricted himself largely to warning of the rise of Nazi Germany. In 1940, seven months after the outbreak of World War II - Britain's darkest hour - he supplanted Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister and led his nation to victory in 1945. Turned out of office in the next election, he nonetheless returned as Prime Minister between 1951 and 1955. Also a prolific author, Churchill received the 1953 Nobel prize in literature for such books as The World Crisis (1923-29), a biography of his ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough, his multi-volume memoir of World War II, and The History of the English-Speaking Peoples

* N.B. The "We shall fight on the beaches speech" (wiki), perhaps Churchill's greatest wartime utterance, in the House of Commons, 4 June 1940 - I'm struck by his note of weary resignation, almost totally lacking in rhetorical enthusiasm. Text of the most famous paragraph is below - full text here

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

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.”