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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday links

How Baby Flamingos Become Pink. Kind of related: Don Featherstone, creator of the plastic pink flamingo, and his wife wore matching outfits every day for 37 years.

The Great Lengths Taken to Make Abraham Lincoln Look Good in Photos.


It's the anniversary of the 20th of July plot, the unsuccessful bomb attempt to kill Hitler in 1944.



ICYMI, Monday's links are here. and include why ancient Roman concrete is better than modern mixes, a compilation of film of New York City circa 1900, the anniversary of the first nuclear test, and the history of condoms.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How Baby Flamingos Become Pink

Flamingo (wiki) chicks start out grayish-white, then are fed bright red milk, a sort of crop milk made from either parents’ upper digestive tracts. As the chicks grow, they develop their signature pink feathers, as well as adult bills that can filter mud and silt from their food.

This BBC clip from Animal Super Parents describes the process:



Here's an explanation from Live Science:
Flamingos live by lakes, swamps and wetlands, and so they eat mostly algae, insect larvae and small crustaceans, such as shrimp and mollusks.
The red and blue-green algae they consume is loaded with beta carotene, an organic chemical that contains a reddish-orange pigment. (Beta carotene is also present in many plants, but especially in tomatoes, spinach, pumpkins, sweet potato and, of course, carrots.) The mollusks and crustaceans flamingos snack on contain similar pigment-packing carotenoids.
The bird’s digestive system extracts pigment from carotenoid-containing food and it eventually dissolves in fats. The fats are then deposited in new feathers as they grow, and the flamingo’s color slowly shifts to pink.
Related: Don Featherstone, creator of the plastic pink flamingo, and his wife wore matching outfits every day for 37 years.

h/t The Kid Should See This.

Don Featherstone, creator of the plastic pink flamingo, and his wife wore matching outfits every day for 37 years

Don Featherstone was the creator of the plastic pink flamingo.

Don created the flamingo when he was freshly graduated from art school, and newly employed at a plastics factory. One of his first assignments was to create three-dimensional plastic lawn ornaments (up to that time, most plastic lawn ornaments were more or less flat). The flamingo was one of his earliest efforts for the factory.
Eventually he became president of the company. After Don retired, dire things were done, by his successor, to the flamingo, triggering a worldwide protest, which eventually led to a more or less happy rallying of the forces of Good, and a restoration of the plastic pink flamingo’s status. In 2011, the flamingo attained new heights, when the Disney movie Gnomeo and Juliet featured a plastic pink lawn ornament named “Featherstone”.  Don and Nancy were feted at the film’s premiere.
For 37 years, the Featherstones wore matching outfits every day. Nancy Featherstone told why, in an interview two years in The Guardian. That interview appeared under the headline “Experience: I’ve worn the same outfit as my husband for 35 years“.

Related posts and links:

Flamingos have erectile tissue in their mouths. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday links

On July 16, 1945 the atomic age began with the Trinity nuclear test.

The Medieval History of Stonehenge.

Why ancient Roman concrete is better than modern mixes

Old New York: film from the Library of Congress of New York City circa 1900.



ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include Bastille Day, the 47 names Disney considered for the 7 dwarfs, 1796 cases of Madeira found in a museum basement, and the stories behind iconic movie props.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Old New York: film from the Library of Congress of New York City around 1900

Per YouTube, the video features Enrico Caruso singing "La donna e Mobile"* (from Rigoletto (wiki)) circa 1908 and clips of films taken in New York City dating from 1898 to 1906 from the Library of Congress.



"La donna e Mobile" translates as "woman is fickle".

h/t Miss Cellania

On July 16, 1945 the atomic age began with the Trinity nuclear test

I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

~ J. Robert Oppenheimer* (wiki) (quoting from the Bhagavad-Gita** on witnessing the first atomic explosion, 16 July 1945)

The spherical symmetry about a point approximately
 100 feet above the ground is the height of the test tower
In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.

~ Oppenheimer ("Physics in the Contemporary World," lecture at M.I.T., 25 November 1947)

We have had our last chance. If we do not devise some greater and more equitable system, Armageddon will be at our door.

~ General Douglas MacArthur (wiki) (speech, 2 September 1945)

The assembled Gadget (what scientists were calling the bomb)
 atop the test tower
There are no accidents, only nature throwing her weight around. Even the bomb merely releases energy that nature has put there. Nuclear war would be just a spark in the grandeur of space. Nor can radiation "alter" nature; she will absorb it all. After the bomb, nature will pick up the cards we have spilled, shuffle them, and begin her game again.

~ Camille Paglia (b. 1947) (Sexual Personae, Ch. 1)

It was on this date in 1945 that, for good or ill, the "nuclear age" began, with the explosion of the first experimental atomic bomb, code-named Trinity (wiki), in the western desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Trinity, with a yield equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT, was the first spherical implosion bomb, developed at Los Alamos under the auspices of the Manhattan Project during World War II.

The weapon designers were so confident of the success of the simpler gun-barrel configuration that the device of that type dropped on Hiroshima only three weeks later had never been tested. The subsequent Nagasaki bomb (dropped on 9 August) was of the Trinity type. In light of today's on-going nuclear proliferation, American songwriter/satirist Tom Lehrer had already nailed it in his 1960s-era song, "Who's Next?":



Trinity, the first atomic explosion, 16 July 1945:


* N.B. Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer was the controversial New York-born physicist who directed the Manhattan Project laboratory in Los Alamos that ultimately designed the first atomic bombs. Later suspected of being a security risk, at least partly for his opposition to developing the hydrogen bomb, he was suspended from his position at the Atomic Energy Commission in 1953.

Trinitite, also known as Alamogordo glass, is the glassy
 residue left on the desert floor after the Trinity
 nuclear bomb test melted the sand into glass.
** The Bhagavad-Gita ("The Song of the Lord") is one of the great poems of Hindu scripture, composed in Sanskrit circa A.D. 100.

Related:


Fan of mushroom clouds? Dozens of nuclear test videos declassified, uploaded to YouTube.



The text above is adapted from Ed's Quotation of the Day, only available via email - leave your email address in the comments if you'd like to be added to his list. Ed is the author of Hunters and Killers: Volume 1: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1776 to 1943 and Hunters and Killers: Volume 2: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1943.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday links


Happy Bastille Day! Here's an old Jonah Goldberg article on the subject: The French are Revolting.

Museum discovers three cases of Madeira wine from 1796 in cellar. The wine was stocked in anticipation of John Adams’ presidential election.

The 100 Greatest Props in Movie History, and the Stories Behind Them.


ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include how barbed wire changed the West, Nikola Tesla's birthday, the Japanese soldier who refused to surrender for 29 years, the history of the equals sign, and correlation is not causation: charts of weird things that correlate with each other.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The parakeet has a goiter: the best standard publisher rejection letter ever

From the blog of the excellent Letters of Note

The dreaded rejection letter is, more often than not, an entirely miserable experience for all concerned. To receive one is to instantly and all at once have one’s hopes dashed, confidence thinned, and mood dampened; to send the same is to knowingly rain misery down upon a stranger whose happiness will soon melt away thanks to a decision you had no choice but to make. 

Even worse than the rejection letter is the standard form rejection letter, a lifeless kick to the guts aimed en masse at a pool of unsuitables who are, it would seem, undeserving of a personal shove--a pre-printed shake of the head for one’s troubles. To find a standard form rejection letter of note, then, is quite a task, but not impossible, and here is the finest of examples, written and sometimes sent by Brian Doyle, current editor of the University of Portland’s Portland Magazine

Letter taken from the More Letters of Note book:

Thank you for your lovely and thoughtful submission to the magazine, which we are afraid we are going to have to decline, for all sorts of reasons. The weather is dreary, our backs hurt, we have seen too many cats today and as you know cats are why God invented handguns, there is a sweet incoherence and self-absorption in your piece that we find alluring but we have published far too many of same in recent years mostly authored by the undersigned, did we mention the moist melancholy of the weather, our marriages are unkempt and disgruntled, our children surly and crammed to the gills with a sense of entitlement that you wonder how they will ever make their way in the world, we spent far too much money recently on silly graphic design and now must slash the storytelling budget, our insurance bills have gone up precipitously, the women’s basketball team has no rebounders, an aunt of ours needs a seventh new hip, the shimmer of hope that was the national zeitgeist looks to be nursing a whopper of a black eye, and someone left the toilet roll thing empty again, without the slightest consideration for who pays for things like that. And there were wet towels on the floor. And the parakeet has a goiter. And the dog barfed up crayons. Please feel free to send us anything you think would fit these pages, and thank you for considering our magazine for your work. It’s an honor.

--Editors

The 47 names Disney considered for the 7 dwarfs



In the 1930s, as Disney began work on the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (an adaptation of Snow White by the Brothers Grimm), the writing team compiled the following list of potential names for the seven dwarfs - characters who, in the original story, were unnamed.

As we now know, Bashful, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and Sneezy were picked. The name of their leader, Doc, was chosen at a later date.

By the way, in 1912 the story had been adapted for the Broadway stage, and the names chosen for the dwarfs were Blick, Flick, Glick, Snick, Plick, Whick, and Quee.

Here's the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Original Theatrical Trailer from 1937:



And here are the options they compiled (What the heck is Neurtsy? And why leave off Sleazy and Smutty?):
  1. Awful
  2. Baldy
  3. Bashful
  4. Biggo-Ego
  5. Burpy
  6. Daffy
  7. Deafy
  8. Dippy
  9. Dirty
  10. Dizzy
  11. Doleful
  12. Dopey
  13. Dumpy
  14. Flabby
  15. Gabby
  16. Grumpy
  17. Hickey
  18. Hoppy
  19. Hotsy
  20. Hungry
  21. Jaunty
  22. Jumpy
  23. Lazy
  24. Neurtsy
  25. Nifty
  26. Puffy
  27. Sappy
  28. Scrappy
  29. Shifty
  30. Shorty
  31. Silly
  32. Sleepy
  33. Snappy
  34. Sneezy
  35. Sneezy-Wheezy
  36. Sniffy
  37. Snoopy
  38. Soulful
  39. Strutty
  40. Stuffy
  41. Swift
  42. Tearful
  43. Thrifty
  44. Weepy
  45. Wheezy
  46. Wistful
  47. Woeful

Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday links

Yesterday was Nikola Tesla's birthday: bio, Tesla coil music, Tesla vs Edison rap battle

Brussels sprouts, English Muffins, French toast - How 9 Site-Specific Foods Got Their Names

The strange and righteous history of the equals sign.

Correlation is not causation: charts of weird things that correlate with each other.


The Japanese soldier who lived in the hills and refused to surrender for 29 years.

ICYMI, most recent links are here, and include Independence Day speeches from Lincoln (1858), Coolidge (1926) and Reagan (1986), how the first news reports of independence were disseminated, the science of fireworks and of barbecue, and Independence Days from science fiction.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Independence Day links

Want some inspiration? Read Lincoln's 1858 speech on the meaning of Independence Day: "Let us stick to it then. Let us stand firmly by it then." More excellent speeches from Coolidge (1926) and Reagan (1986). Video of the Reagan speech is here.


Journal of the American Revolutions' 10 Myths for the Fourth of July and Breaking News From 1776: First News Reports of Independence.

All about the Statue of Liberty.


Videos: The Science of Fireworks and of Barbecue

Kaboom! 10 Facts About Firecrackers That Will Blow You Away. Related: PBS's description of various fireworks effects, and a quiz.

America The Beautiful: the story of the song.


When in the course of human events... here's the full text of the Declaration of Independence.


Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Video: The Science of Fireworks, some 18th century fireworks illustrations, and photographic advice

Washington College professor John Conkling, who is the former director of the American Pyrotechnics Association and the co-author of Chemistry of Pyrotechnics, breaks down the science of fireworks and offers a laboratory demonstration of various color fuels in action.



Atlas Obscura has an excellent gallery of antique illustrations of fireworks. Here are a couple, but go to the link to see the whole set:

This hand-colored etching illustrates a 1749 show celebrating the Aix la Chapelle peace treaty, which also featured the first performance of George Fredric Handel's "Music for the Royal Fireworks." Sadly, three spectators were killed during the show when a lit rocket shot into a stack of reserve fireworks and blew up a pavilion. (Image: Public Domain/WikiCommons)
A”Grand Display” over New York’s Hudson River illuminated the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge on May 24th, 1883. This celebratory chromolithograph was published by Currier & Ives. (Image: Library of Congress)
And there's this:

Designs for "pyrotechny," engraved by Andrew Bell
for the 1797 edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica. 
Related, National Geographic has some pro tips on how to take good pictures of fireworks. 

Thermodynamics and chemistry: The Science Of Barbecue

Joe Hanson of It's OK To Be Smart (youtube channel) and Aaron Franklin, the owner of Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas discuss the thermodynamic and chemical science behind grilling meat.
In this week's video, I stop by the #1 BBQ joint in America (seriously, you can look it up) to learn about the science of BBQ!
By the way, here's Aaron Franklin brisket recipe and here's his series of video barbecue lessons. From his comments:
The science behind these things: how wood burns, how airflow works, if you start thinking of how fluid dynamics work inside the barbecue, science has a pretty huge part of it. I think good barbecue is a balance between science and gut instinct.


More on barbecue science here and here.

Previous posts with Joe Hanson components:

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

Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday links



June 30, 1934 was the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler's purge of those standing in his way.

Catherine the Great's Secret Cabinet of Erotic Curiosities

Inventor creates a hover craft by strapping 76 drones to a seat.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include weird historical baldness cures, Helen Keller's birthday (with a selection of non-PC jokes), animals with regional accents, and a set of awkward pregnancy photos.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1954 film: How a Clean, Tidy Home Can Help You Survive the Atomic Bomb

A gem from cold war history: "The lack of safe house keeping has doomed this house to destruction."



Atomic tests at the Nevada Proving Grounds (later the Nevada Test Site) show effects on well-kept homes, homes filled with trash and combustibles, and homes painted with reflective white paint. The makers of the film (which apparently include people selling home improvement products as well as the U. S. government) assert that cleanliness is an essential part of civil defense preparedness and that it increases survivability.

Related posts and links:

Fan of mushroom clouds? Dozens of nuclear test videos declassified, uploaded to YouTube.






Hard to tell if there's anything to this:  Nixon blocked Soviet nuclear attack on China in 1969.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

June 28 is the anniversary of both the event that started and the treaty that ended World War One

June 28 is the anniversary of two days that might be said to mark the beginning and end of the First World War. It's the centennial of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (wiki) of Austria and his wife - heirs to the Austrian throne - by Serbian radical Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914, the proximate cause of the beginning of the war. If you're interested in further information on the subject there are hundreds of books and films - the best books I know of (and I'm no expert) are Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August (this won a Pulitzer back when they meant something) and John Keegan's The First World War.

Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie at Sarajevo - The German caption
 says, "Leaving the town hall, 5 minutes before the assassination":
On the same date in 1919, five years later, the peace treaty that ended the war was signed in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. In the interim, ten million died, twice that number were wounded, and Europe's late-19th-century faith in the inevitability of progress and human betterment was destroyed. On hearing the terms of the Versailles Treaty, Germany's much-maligned Kaiser Wilhelm II noted from exile that, 

"The war to end war has resulted in a peace to end peace,"

and France's Marshall Ferdinand Foch observed,

"This is not peace; it is an armistice for twenty years." 

They were right.

God grant we may not have a European war thrust upon us, and for such a stupid reason too, no I don't mean stupid, but to have to go to war on account of tiresome Servia beggars belief. 

~ Mary, Queen-Consort of England's George V (letter to her aunt, Princess Augusta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, 28 July 1914) 

The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime. 

~ Sir Edward Grey (remark, 3 August 1914, on the eve of Britain's declaration of war) 

The War was decided in the first twenty days of fighting, and all that happened afterwards consisted of battles which, however formidable and devastating, were but desperate and vain appeals against the decision of Fate. 

~ Sir Winston Churchill (Preface to Spears, Liaison 1914) 

When every autumn people said it could not last through the winter, and when every spring there was still no end in sight, only the hope that out of it all some good would accrue to mankind kept men and nations fighting. When at last it was over, the war had many diverse results and one dominant one transcending all others: disillusion. 

~Barbara Tuchman (The Guns of August, "Afterward") 

This animated map reflects the daily changes over the course of the war:


Here's a 6 minute overview of World War I:


And the BBC’s Horrible Histories explanation of how the Brits got involved:

The Atlantic has a series of photoessays entitled World War I in Photos on various WWI topics.


An 8 minute video on The Treaty of Versailles and its consequences:


Previous posts: Wilfred Owen, the best of the WWI "War Poets", was born 121 years ago today

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...):

Saturday, June 17, 2017

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

WARNING - Not safe for work due to violence.

I suppose it's possible, if you're a Game of Thrones fan, that you enjoy these violent death scenes so much that you want to be able to see them all again. I barely made it through the first time.



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

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.