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Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday links

How Difficult Is It to Land on an Aircraft Carrier in Rough Seas?

August 29th, 2:14 AM: Skynet Becomes Self-aware.

Buffalo Bill's house (from Silence of the Lambs) is for sale.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include the anniversary of the Vesuvius eruption that buried Pompeii, a gallery of ads for 19th century magic shows, the $30 million cheesemaking ring smashed by the Russian police, and Pop-Tart (and Count Chocula) beer.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Advice from 1896: how to Drive an Electric Car

"Such a motor is odorless, almost without vibration, and is practically noiseless. It can run with great speed and climb almost any hill road so long as it is smooth... When the battery is empty it may be recharged again at electrical stations maintained for the purpose, after which the carriage is ready for its journey once more...
Aside from the device for supplying power to the wheels, there are numerous others for guiding and controlling the machine when it is under way. Near the seat of the driver are a number of switches and levers, which to one just learning how they operate are rather bewildering...
The driver must keep his eyes wide open and both his feet and hands busy. With his left hand he grasps the power lever which controls the speed, while with the right he manages the steering lever. He has one heel all the time on an emergency switch that cuts off the current, and at the same time must ring a gong to warn people of the approach of his pneumatic-tired conveyance. With the other foot he manages a reversing-switch that will back the carriage, while with his toes he applies a quick brake.
When he wishes to turn on the lights he presses a button under the seat. So it may be seen that he is rather busy, and can never go to sleep and let the old horse carry him home."
Henry Davenport Northrop, The Gem Cyclopedia of Universal Knowledge
Related articles:  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday links

Norwegian company live streaming 11 months of caviar aging.

Russian police smash illegal $30 million cheesemaking ring.

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include the anniversary of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, works of art carved into watermelons and Oreos, overlaying an image of a Star Wars warship on the island of Manhattan, and a supercut of improbable weapons used in movies.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Monday links

It's St. Bartholomew's Day - some history, the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, a brief documentary, and Monty Python.

How Women in the 18th Century Got Those Sky-High Hairdos.

Supercut of Improbable Weapons.

Space Elevator Update: Space elevator could zoom astronauts into Earth's stratosphere.

To get a sense of how massive a Star Wars warship really is, overlay an image on one on the island of Manhattan.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include the science of melting cheese, a history of aliens in films, the history of lightbulbs, and a video showing how easily rats can swim up your toilet.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Supercut of Improbable Weapons

As cool as any of these were in the original movies, aggregating them is even better:

Weapon & Film List (in order of appearance):

Ladder - First Strike
Melons - Transporter 2
Umbrella - Kingsman
Afro Picks - Undercover Brother
Ship - Pacific Rim
Shirt - Transporter
Tea Cup - Chronicles of Riddick
Guitar Case - Desperado
Trash Can - First Strike
Ballpoint Pen - The Bourne Identity
Gopher-Chuks - Kung Pow: Enter The Fist
Credit Card - The Glimmer Man
Guitar - Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Record - Shaun of the Dead
Limo Antenna - Crocodile Dundee
Banjo - Zombieland
Hairspray + Cigar - Live and Let Die
Guitar Case #2 - Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Bowler Hat - Goldfinger
Toothbrush - Oldboy
Calligraphy Brushes - The Magnificent Butcher
Forks - Mystery Men
Carrot - Shoot ‘Em Up
Belt - Pootie Tang
Magazine - The Bourne Supremacy
Chair - Thunderball
Bike Pedals - Transporter
Toilet Cover - Zombieland
Fire Hose - Transporter 2

via Ace.

Happy St. Bartholomew's Day - some history, a brief documentary, and Monty Python

If St. Bartholomew's Day be fair and clear,
Then a prosperous autumn comes this year.

St. Bartlemy's mantle wipes dry
All the tears that St. Swithin can cry.*

~ Traditional English proverbs

Michelangelo's painting of The Last Judgment on the end wall
 of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, where Bartholomew is depicted
 below and to the right of Christ. The face on the discarded skin of
 the saint has long been accepted as a self-portrait of the
artist. Note the flaying knife in Bartholomew's right hand.
August 24th is the feast day of St. Bartholomew (wiki), who is mentioned in three of the Gospels as an apostle and may be the Nathanael of John 1:45-51 and 21:2. According to tradition, he was flayed alive and then beheaded in Armenia and thus is often portrayed with a large knife and occasionally his own skin flung over his arm. 

For obvious reasons, Bartholomew is the patron saint of tanners; it is less obvious why he is also the patron saint of plasterers and cheese merchants**. From 1133 to 1752, London's great Smithfield fair began on this day and was also known as St. Bartholomew's Fair partly because of its proximity to the ancient hospital of that name. 

It's also the anniversary of the St. Bartholomew's Night Massacre (wiki) in 1572, when French king Charles IX - urged on by the dowager queen, Catherine di Medici, ordered the slaughter of Huguenots throughout France on the saint's feast day. 

The massacre was timed to coincide with the wedding of Henry of Navarre (later Henry IV) in Paris, which attracted many prominent French Protestants to the capital. Admiral Gaspard de Chatillon, Comte de Coligny (1519-1572) was the first to die, followed by 2,000 more victims in Paris and perhaps 10,000 in all of France (although accounts differ). 

When the news reached Rome, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a Te Deum and had all the city's church bells rung in thanksgiving. The St. Bartholomew's massacre became a major cause celebre among European Protestants and in France re-ignited the Wars of Religion, which lasted until 1598. 

* N.B. The reference here is to the traditional belief that if it rains on St. Swithin's Day - 15 July - 40 more days of rain will follow. 

Brief documentary on the massacre:

** Here's the "blessed are the cheesemakers" clip from Monty Python's Life Of Brian:

The above is based on Ed's quotation of the day, only available via email. If you'd like to be added to his list, leave your email address in the comments.