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Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Slingshot That Launches Swords

Slingshot guru Jorge Sprave of the Slingshot Channel:



Here's The Full Auto Pencil Shooter Ballistic Jelly Massacre:



And here's how to turn a drill into a monster shotgun:



h/t Dyspepsia Generation

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday links

Kids re-enact the first Black Friday.

Tomorrow, November 25 is "Evacuation Day (wiki), when the British ran 'way" from New York City at the end of the Revolutionary War. Here's the story of the young man who slithered up a greased flagpole to rip down the British flag.


Getting angry and flipping over a table: the supercut.

The Serial-Killer Detector - A former journalist, equipped with an algorithm and the largest collection of murder records in the country, finds patterns in crime.

Cat and Dog Research. Including two studies on how dogs affect their owner's urine.

ICYMI, Thursday's links consisted of a boatload of obscure Thanksgiving-related material.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Today is President James Garfield's birthday

For mere vengeance I would do nothing. This nation is too great to look for more revenge. But for security of the future, I would do everything. 

~ James A. Garfield (wiki) (speech, 15 April 1865, on the occasion of President Lincoln's assassination) 

Nobody but radicals have ever accomplished anything in a great crisis. Conservatives have their place in the piping times of peace, but in emergencies, only rugged issue men amount to much. 

~ Garfield (statement in his diary for 1876) 

I am trying to do two things: dare to be a radical and not be a fool, which, if I may judge by the exhibitions around me, is a matter of no small difficulty. 

~ Garfield (letter to Burke A. Hinsdale, 11 January 1867) 

The divorce between the church and the state ought to be absolute; It ought to be so absolute that no church anywhere in any State or in the nation should be exempt from equal taxation; for if you exempt the property of any church organization, to that extent you impose a church tax on the whole community.

~ Garfield (in the House of Representatives, 22 June 1874) 

Garfield died of a gunshot wound, from a disgruntled office-seeker, that today would probably not be life threatening. They just couldn't find the bullet and get it out. Alexander Graham Bell's attempt to locate it electronically, with the first metal-detector, failed, confused by the metal bed springs. Sadly, within ten years, the discovery of X-rays would provide a technology that could have made finding the bullet easy, even routine. With no antibiotics to control the infection, Garfield lingered painfully for more than two months.

~ Kelley L. Ross (b. 1949) (The Great Republic: Presidents and States of the United States) 

He did not flash forth as a meteor; he rose with measured and stately step over rough paths and through years of rugged work. He earned his passage to every preferment. He was tried and tested at every step in his pathway of progress. He produced his passport at every gateway to opportunity and glory. His broad and benevolent nature made him the friend of all mankind.

~ William McKinley (1843-1901)* (eulogy on the unveiling of a statue of President Garfield, 19 January 1896) 

Today is the anniversary of the birth of James A(bram) Garfield (1831-1881), 20th President of these United States, in Moreland Hills, Ohio. Born to a widowed farm wife, Garfield worked at a series of menial jobs but eventually attended Williams College, graduating in 1856. 

He entered politics as a Republican and served in the Ohio State Senate until the outbreak of the Civil War, in which he saw combat as a Union major general. In 1862 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served in that body until 1880, after 1876 as Republican Leader of the House. 

Noted as a skilled orator, Garfield supported the more radical aspects of Reconstruction, but later moderated his views and became known for his strong support in Congress for the gold standard and free trade. He narrowly escaped involvement in the Crédit Mobilier scandal of 1872, but his stature was such that the Republican party nominated him in 1880 as a compromise candidate for the Presidency, which he won handily. His four-month administration, characterized by party squabbles over federal jobs and political patronage, was cut short by his fatal wounding by a disappointed office-seeker in Washington in July 1881:

On July 2, 1881, at 9:20 a.m., James A. Garfield was shot in the back as he walked with Secretary of State Blaine in Washington's Baltimore and Potomac train station. The proud President was preparing to leave for Williams College—he planned to introduce his two sons to his alma mater. The shots came from a .44 British Bulldog, which the assassin, Charles J. Guiteau, had purchased specifically because he thought it would look impressive in a museum. Garfield's doctors were unable to remove the bullet, which was lodged in the President's pancreas. On September 19, 1881, the President died of blood poisoning and complications from the shooting in his hospital rooms at Elberon, a village on the New Jersey shore, where his wife lay ill with malaria.
The shot in the back was not fatal, not hitting any vital organs. The bullet lodged behind the pancreas.
"If they had just left him alone he almost certainly would have survived," Millard said. Within minutes, doctors converged on the fallen president, using their fingers to poke and prod his open wounds. "Twelve different doctors inserted unsterilized fingers and instruments in Garfield's back probing for this bullet," Millard recounted, "and the first examination took place on the train station floor. I mean, you can't imagine a more germ-infested environment." 
He died two and a half months later and was succeeded in office by Vice-President Chester A. Arthur. 

* N.B. Ironically, President McKinley was the next president to be assassinated - in September 1901. 

A brief documentary:

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.
Have an excellent Thanksgiving, and be good to all of those people you're thankful for!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Getting angry and flipping over a table: the supercut

Has film brought us a better short hand for "uncontrollable anger" than the table flip? Watch full screen!


Cinematic Table Flips from Roman Holiday on Vimeo.

The films used in this table flipping montage:

00:05 - Angel's In The Outfield (1994)
00:12 - A Clockwork Orange (1971)
00:13 - Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1984)
00:15 - Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
00:16 - Once Upon A Time In Mexico (2003)
00:17 - Taken (2008)
00:18 - Pulp Fiction (1994)
00:20 - Die Hard (1988)
00:21 - Citizen Kane (1941)
00:22 - Magnolia (1999)
00:24 - The King Of Kings (1927)
00:25 - Jesus Christ Superstar (1973)
00:31 - Jesus (1999)
00:38 - Happily Ever After (2007)
00:46 - Thor (2011)
00:51 - Moneyball (2011)
00:56 - Moonstruck (1987)
00:58 - The Sea Hawk (1940)
01:00 - The Gospel Of John (2003)
01:01 - Pollock (2000)
01:03 - Jesus Of Montreal (1989)
01:04 - P.S. Your Cat Is Dead! (2002)
01:06 - The Artist (2011)
01:07 - Raging Bull (1980)
01:08 - Son Of Frankenstein (1939)
01:10 - The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938)
01:11 - Peter Pan (1953)
01:13 - Titanic (1997)
01:14 - Splice (2009)
01:15 - The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
01:17 - Red Lights (2012)
01:18 - Being John Malkovich (1999)
01:21 - Scum (1979)
01:27 - Take Shelter (2011)

Music: Carmen Overture - Georges Bizet

via io9.

Tuesday links



A Thanksgiving miscellany: Mark Twain, science, WKRP, Cicero, the best turkey fryer PSA ever, more.


For those of us born between the 22nd and 28th and have always wondered, here's how it works: The Thanksgiving Birthday Pattern.

Advice from c. 1200: How to Survive the Winter.

This Celebrity Perv Apology Generator is my new favorite thing.

Recreating the diet of a 17th century sailor.

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include color photos of the 1939 NY World's Fair, the traditional drunken turkey recipe, enginneering the world's largest telescope, and President James Garfield's birthday (when he was shot, Alexander Graham Bell showed up with a metal detector to try to locate the bullet).

Monday, November 20, 2017

Roast Chestnut Soup

The directions below makes 6 to 8 servings - doubles well, and is better the next day.

1 pound chestnuts (we use these)

1/2 chopped medium onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/4 quarts low-sodium chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 cup half-and-half

Dash of freshly grated nutmeg

In a good-sized, heavy bottomed saucepan, over medium-high heat, saute onion and celery in butter until soft.

Add chestnuts, chicken broth and bay leaves and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until chestnuts are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

In a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, puree soup until smooth. If you have an immersion blender, use that. 

Return soup to pan; stir in half-and-half, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Heat through over low heat. Serve hot.

Round-up of Thanksgiving links

A Thanksgiving miscellany: Mark Twain, science, WKRP, Cicero and the best turkey fryer PSA ever.

10 Thanksgiving Words With Bizarre Origins.


A bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a bird in a pig: the TurBacon Epic.


This Man Made the First Canned Cranberry Sauce.




For those of us born between the 22nd and 28th and have always wondered, here's how it works:



Dave Barry Thanksgiving columns from 1996, 1998, 2004... feel free to add more in the comments.

Buffy Thanksgiving episode: "Ritual sacrifice, with pie."

Monday links

Yesterday was President James Garfield's birthday - when he was shot, Alexander Graham Bell showed up with a metal detector to try to locate the bullet.

The Astounding Engineering Behind the World's Largest Optical Telescope.


The traditional drunken turkey recipe.


Farmers urged to bury their underpants to improve quality of their beef.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include the anniversaries of the Gettysburg Address and the opening of the Suez Canal, 3 foot long crabs that hunt birds, the pigeon’s rump cure for childhood seizures, and what it's like to be an Amazon.com "fake" reviewer.