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Friday, May 24, 2019

Friday links

Fans of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: don't panic - May 25th is Towel Day!

Napoleon’s Looted Art: he and his troops pillaged art on a vast scale. What did they take and what happened to it?


The Tactical Order of Dressing: An Illustrated Guide (as taught to military and emergency personnel). Related: Because it's important to always be battle-ready: How to Poop Like a Samurai.



ICYMI, most recent links are here, and include turning everyday items into improvised weapons, treating depression by smoking psychedelic toad milk, and why car keys stopped working in one small Ohio town.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

For fans of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: don't panic - today is Towel Day!

It's Towel Day, a day to honor the late Douglas Adams (wiki) and the first book of his 5-book "trilogy", The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (trailer for the movie version is below). The quote regarding the importance of always carrying a towel (I keep one in the trunk of my car):
A towel, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you)*; you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might have accidentally "lost.". What the strag will think is that any man that can hitch the length and breadth of the Galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through and still know where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in "Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)
*Here's an animated version of "wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you)":



Here's the trailer for the 2005 movie:



BT.com has a a non-hitchhiker’s guide to Towel Day.

Via Lemonly.com:


If you're a real Adams fan, check out this Kinja post on adaptations of some of his other works.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Tactical Order of Dressing: An Illustrated Guide (as taught to military and emergency personnel)

“Place your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark.”

Robert A. Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long


Via the blog of Art of Manliness comes this useful post:
If you were suddenly awoken in the middle of the night and needed to go outside to fight off a threat or evacuate from your home, in what order would you don your clothes? Does it matter?
Military and emergency personnel are often taught a specific order in which to put on their clothes that is most efficient and effective. On ITS Tactical, Bryan Black shared the order of dressing he picked up in BUD/s: First you pull on your pants, because you’re going to need something to protect your lower body from brush, debris, hot shell casings, and what have you. Then you’ll put on your boots. If you’re not going far, you might be able to get by in bare feet, but you’ll need to be shod if you’ll be moving out over rough terrain. 
David Guttenfelder. AP
Whether you put on socks or not is dependent on how much time you have; if seconds matter, you can go without. In boots and pants you’re pretty well set. If you have time, you grab a shirt too.
Of course, if a threat is truly imminent, you may need to face it down in whatever it is you wore (or didn’t wear) to bed. Like this soldier in Afghanistan who was roused from sleep by enemy fire on his post in eastern Afghanistan, and took on the enemy in his pink “I Love New York” boxers.
More at the Art of Manliness blog.

Related posts:

Because it's important to always be battle-ready: How to Poop Like a Samurai.

Dave Barry's Manliness Manifesto is a hoot.

3 Ways to Escape Zip Ties: An Illustrated Guide.

Monday, May 20, 2019

In 2014 SCOTUS ruled that an Illinois law forcing home health-care workers—paid with Medicaid funds—to pay union dues was unconstitutional. In 2017, unions were still collecting $150M