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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Save healthcare dollars with do-it-yourself dentistry: The Ronco-esque DentiDrill

DIY Dentistry:

Here's their website. via Metafilter.

Wolverine is the greatest Disney princess of them all

Here's a collection of drawings of Wolverine in gowns worthy of a Disney princess.  More here, via io9.

Mark Steyn: Obamacare’s Magical Thinkers

Despite the best efforts of President Obama and doting tweeters in Jersey City, government isn’t groovy. The standard rap on Obamacare is that it’s turned America’s health system into the DMV. If only. I had cause to go to the DMV in Twin Mountain, N.H., the other day. In and out in ten minutes. Modest accommodations, a little down-at-heel, nothing cool about it at all. But it worked just fine. Friendly chap, no complaints. Government can do that at the town level, county level, even (more sparingly) at the state level.

But a national medical regime for 300 million people? Not in a First World country. And, when you’re mad enough to try it, the failure is not the insignificant enrollment numbers, but the vaporization of the existing health plans of 119,000 Pennsylvanians, 160,000 Californians, 300,000 Floridians, 800,000 in that tech tweeter’s New Jersey . . . That’s the magic that happens when you disdain the limits of prosaic, humdrum, just-about-functioning government. Perhaps things will get so bad the coolest president ever will no longer seem quite so hip. But, alas, you’ll have to wait three years for a hip replacement. That’s government health care for you.

Check out this led stick figure toddler costume

via Gizmodo

Daniel Hannan: Capitalism is saving the environment


Every generation is haunted by a sense of imminent catastrophe. Some part of us seems programmed to believe that, though life has been steadily getting better until now, the good times are about to end. And there are indeed intermittent reverses: wars, recessions, environmental disasters.

The general trend, though, is unmistakable. We are leading longer, fuller, healthier lives than our great-grandparents would have thought possible, and wealth is trickling across the planet. Why? Because the discovery of specialisation and trade has unlocked our species' almost limitless creativity. And, as we get richer, we take better care of our natural environment. Cheer up. Life keeps getting better.

Video: Hitler Finds Out About Obamacare Website

Friday, October 25, 2013

Robert DeNiro 1970 car commercial

Excellent robot dance

via Neatorama

Also, check out this Dubstep Dance

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Involved In A Sex Scandal

via ‏@GodwinTiger

Friday links

Moon-nuking and volcano-lancing update: Successful test of asteroid-blasting space cannon.

31 Levitating Vehicles From The Dawn Of The Hovercraft.

How Do Animals Sound In Different Languages?

X-Manatees: The X-Men as Manatees.

Barbers and Surgeons: The Bloody History of the Barber Pole.

Excellent Art History-Inspired Halloween Costumes.

ICYMI, links from Wednesday are here.

Hard-boiled 25 cent novel cover of the day - BiblioBimbo

When I was growing up my father had boxes of these lurid hard-boiled detective novels in the basement, and I read a lot of them.  Many of them were cheaper than 25 cents, which I guess makes them older than this one, and a lot of them had two novels in one book - if you flipped the book over the second novel would now be the front of the book.  Anyone else remember these?

Just because - Here's a Raquel Welch Space-Girl Dance from 1970

From her One Million Years B.C. period:

Man who invented Lorenzo's oil to save son dies

ROME (AP) — Augusto Odone, a former World Bank economist who defied scientists to invent a treatment to save his child's life, has died in his native Italy. He was 80.

His daughter Cristina Odone says her father died Thursday after suffering organ failure precipitated by a lung infection.

Odone's battle to help his son Lorenzo was depicted in a 1992 movie, "Lorenzo's Oil," with Nick Nolte playing the elder Odone.

Lorenzo was diagnosed with adrenoleukodystrophy, a neurological disease, when he was 6. Doctors predicted he would die in childhood. But Augusto and his wife Michaela relentlessly sought treatment.

Augusto Odone taught himself enough science to formulate a concoction derived from natural cooking oils for Lorenzo. Studies later suggested the oil appears to delay symptoms.

Lorenzo died in 2008 at age 30.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Moon-nuking and volcano-lancing update: Successful test of asteroid-blasting space cannon

Laser Weapon update: Japanese scientists have successfully tested a space cannon that will be used to blast a hole in an asteroid as part of an upcoming mission. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will use the weapon to gather extensive data about the composition of asteroid 1999JU3 that could not be obtained by simply scanning the undisturbed surface. This successful test sets up a launch for next year.

More at

Not The Onion: After Bradford injury, Rams’ call Brett Favre about returning to the NFL

The Rams called up Bus Cook, the agent for Brett Favre, ESPN reports. There was some speculation the Rams might contact ESPN darling and famous virgin Tim Tebow, but St. Louis decided to shoot for the moon instead. Favre hasn’t played since December 2010 and told radio show Sports Talk 570 that he has no intention of returning to the field.

“It’s flattering, but you know there’s no way I’m going to do that,” he said Thursday morning.

“I had a great career,” the 44-year-old grandfather explained.

The first trailer for Captain America 2!

Watch full screen!  A bit too much of Robert Redford as some mysterious military or political guy, but the last minute has lots of action.

Video: Naked Skiing Scene From 'Valhalla' NSFW

NSFW - nudity

Via HuffPo, which has lots more information.

Women have padded bras - here's a Muscle-Enhancing T-Shirt for men

Our muscle enhancing top is a high quality garment to accentuate the Pectorals, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. This gives the effect of an improved posture with a natural looking balance all-round. Worn as a normal undershirt garment, the Funkybod top is a great confidence booster for men in the same way a padded bra works for women. Available in Black, White and Grey.
via Geeks Are Sexy

Here you go - Prices for every insurance plan offered on

Check out this this spreadsheet at HHS - It's gigantic and if there's a way to replicate it in case it disappears, I don't know how. At least for Virginia, where I live, the prices vary, and are listed by, county or city.

I believe, although I'm not positive, that this is the set of premiums discussed last night on Mark Levin's show - the "age 50 or above" figures are based on age 50 and the "age 49 or below" premiums are based on age 37.  Therefore, since your premium will vary by age, if you are (for example) 45, the "49 and below number", which is really for 27 year olds, will be much lower than your actual premium.  Same thing if you're a 60 year old looking at the "50 and above" numbers.

The Bloody History of the Barber Pole

Red and white striped, sometimes with a bit of blue, a barber pole twisting next to a small storefront signifies a place where men can get a haircut, a shave and a bit of masculine bonhomie. But this was not always the case. Back in the day, the red and white we associate with good grooming used to represent blood, bandages, leeches and pain.

Because of papal prohibitions, barbers were also responsible for conducting surgeries.

Historically, the Roman Catholic Church believed that surgery violated the Holy Spirit’s temple (the human body). In line with this, several meetings of the church, including the Councils of Tours of 1163 and 1179 and the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215, decreed that priests and monks, who had a long history of medical and surgical scholarship, were forbidden from performing surgeries. Although priests continued to conduct research and serve as physicians for the wealthy, they relied on the barbers for surgical procedures and bloodlettings.

The procedure most commonly associated with barbers in the middle ages was bloodletting. Using a narrow blade, the barber would open a vein and allow the blood to pour down into a small brass bowl; by way of advertising, many barbers would display these bowls of blood in their shop windows so people would know they performed the service.

During the procedure, the patient would grip a white rod to encourage blood flow, and white strips of bandage would be used to clean the patient. Dirty bandages were washed and hung to dry on the grasping rod outside of the shop.

For those wounds too tender or hard to reach, rather than lancing and bloodletting, the barber would apply special leeches, known as Hirudo medicinals, which emitted a natural anesthetic and anti-coagulant while it sucked blood. These healthy, hungry leeches were typically kept on hand in a separate brass bowl.

The Pole

The famous pole is a study in semiotics. The white on the pole represents the bloodletting rod that was grasped by the patient during the procedure. The red stripes symbolize the bloodied bandages, often hung out to dry on the pole after they’d been cleaned as well as possible.

As for the rest, things get a little murkier. It’s is thought that the brass ball at the top may represent the bowl of leeches, while the brass at the bottom evokes the bowl that catches the blood. For those poles that have a blue stripe added, many believe this represents veins.

Of course, sometime in the middle ages, the profession of surgeon emerged, and afterward, surgeons and barbers competed for customers. To end the conflict, Parliament passed and King Henry VIII approved legislation that united both into the Barber-Surgeons’ Company in 1540.

Subsequent legislation was passed that further required barbers and surgeons to specialize and distinguish between the two groups by either having a red and white pole (surgeons) or one that was blue and white (barbers). So from this, perhaps the blue simply originally represented traditional grooming services.

Previous post: When and Why Women Started Shaving the Parts of the Body They Do

Read the whole thing at the always excellent Today I Found Out

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We Asked a Telekinetic Teenage Girl with a Crazy Mother to Fact-Check "Carrie"

Note: Our guest reviewer, 16-year-old Ashlei Mulligan of Fresno, Calif., is a junior in high school who has both telekinetic powers and an abusive, Bible-thumping mother. She has agreed to offer her expertise on the issues addressed in the film “Carrie.”)
When the people from asked me to fact-check this movie, at first I was like, “That sounds dumb.” I mean, movies are movies. Nobody expects them to be real. When me and my friends saw that “Thor” movie, we weren’t like, “How can he be the hero of the story when Norse gods are false and blasphemous?” Because it’s just a movie, you know? 
But then I saw “Carrie” and I was like, “No, THIS is dumb.” LOL. Even if something is fictitional, it should still make sense, right? This movie is chop-full of mistakes. You can tell the people who made it don’t even know anyone with telekinesis or an irrational fundamentalist mother, or else they would have been embarrassed to put this movie in movie screens.
Read the whole thing at


Apparently, you learn to spell the word "English" in year 13.

Wednesday links

Math Proves Bacon Is A Miracle Food.

Universal law of urination found in mammals.  Related: Does every species get around 1 billion heartbeats per lifetime?

How to make your own humble pie, plus some history.

Has anyone ever broken out of jail using a file baked in a cake?

The Science of Winning Leaps at the Calaveras County Frog Jumping Competition

Where Did the Fear of Poisoned Halloween Candy Come From?

ICYMI, links from Monday are here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How to Go Trick-or-Treating as an Adult

Just because you’re old, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve free candy from strangers! 

Interpol chief: Maybe we should let civilians arm themselves after Westgate terror attack

“Ask yourself: If that was Denver, Col., if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly?” 

Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said today the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world is at a security crossroads in the wake of last month’s deadly al-Shabab attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya – and suggested an answer could be in arming civilians.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Noble said there are really only two choices for protecting open societies from attacks like the one on Westgate mall where so-called “soft targets” are hit: either create secure perimeters around the locations or allow civilians to carry their own guns to protect themselves.

“Societies have to think about how they’re going to approach the problem,” Noble said. “One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you’re going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”

They say that the mammaries are the first thing to go: Women's breasts age faster than the rest of their body

Or is it the memory that's the first thing to go?  I forget.  From personal experience, it's all of the above, and then the knees.

Interesting study.  Read the whole thing at New Scientist:
Horvath says that, remarkably, their analysis shows that some parts of the body age at different rates. When they used their algorithm on healthy breast tissue from two groups of women of average age 55 and 60, for example, it churned out a result that was on average two to three years older than the woman's actual age. Whereas across both sexes, heart tissue appeared nine years younger than true age.
via HotAir.

It's Franz Liszt's birthday - 5 minutes listening to this piano solo will brighten your day

Liebesträume No. 3:

Today is the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Hungarian pianist and composer Franz (Ferencz) Liszt (1811-1886) in Raiding, Hungary. A child prodigy on the piano, Liszt studied in Vienna with Czerny and Salieri and made his Paris and London debuts in 1823 and 1824, respectively. His flamboyant virtuosity on the stage was reflected in his tempestuous personal life and his own music, by turns tender and bombastic. His oeuvre includes an enormous quantity of music for solo piano, two piano concertos, a dozen orchestral tone poems, six famous Hungarian Rhapsodies for orchestra, and several overlong and turgid organ pieces still heard occasionally today. Although Liszt traveled to Rome in 1861, joined the Franciscan order, and was known thereafter as the "Abbé Liszt," his new status caused little change in his notorious womanizing. 

As music critic Ernest Newman noted,

"He collected princesses and countesses as other men collected rare butterflies, or Japanese prints, or first editions."

Commentary taken from Ed's Quotation of the Day. only available via email. Leave your information in the comments if you want to be added to his distribution list.

Chicago Stealing from Poor, Giving to Rich

Read the whole thing, from Walter Russell Mead at ViaMeadia:

Chicago, like New York City, is becoming a microcosm of California, a two-tiered society where public policy props up and privileges the tastes of the rich while ignoring the needs of the poor. A new piece in City Journal explains that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ostensibly painful and difficult cuts to services like public safety and schools are actually more like a diversion of funds from blighted residents to wealthy ones. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been used to fund a bike share program, a “riverwalk”, a hiking trail, and (what else?) a sports arena, even as Chicago public education and law enforcement sectors are facing deep crises.

City Journal explains that Mayor Emanuel is relying on something called Tax Increment Financing (TIF) subsidies to fund upper-class projects at the expense of basic social services, in the hopes of luring in new wealthy residents and keeping the ones who are thinking about moving:
Chicago’s TIF program has long been criticized as a mayoral slush fund. Ostensibly a tool for redeveloping blighted neighborhoods, TIF enables any new tax dollars generated in a district—the so-called “increment”—to be fed back into a special fund that can only be spent in that district. This projected revenue stream can be used to back bonds to finance infrastructure and jump-start development. At least, that’s the theory. Many of Chicago’s most prosperous neighborhoods are located in TIF districts and have generated huge incremental revenues. The Central Loop TIF district took in nearly $1 billion over its lifetime. When the district was slated to expire due to a statutory sunset, the city created the giant LaSalle Central TIF—covering a booming part of the West Loop—to replace it. None of the taxes from new developments in these districts flows automatically to police, libraries, parks, or schools. The funds go into the city’s TIF account, and the mayor has discretion on how they’re spent. Some TIF funds have been used for construction of new schools, but more than half have been handed out as subsidies to private businesses. The true purpose of Chicago’s TIF districts—which now take in about $500 million per year—appears to be tending to high-end residents, businesses, and tourists, while insulating them from the poorer segments of the city.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Some Brutally Frank Relationship Advice from a 98-Year-Old Woman

The following is taken from writer (The Every Boy) and Oscar-nominated filmmaker (Murderball) Dana Adam Shapiro’s You Can Be Right (Or You Can Be Married), a by-turns funny, wise, harrowing, and heartbreaking collection of interviews with divorcees. Now out in paperback.

Interviewee: Pauline, 98, retired mother of two. Divorced. Lives in Florida; grew up in New York. Married in 1923, 1941, and 1959.

What made that marriage so good?

First of all, you have to be sexually compatible. That’s very important. If anyone tells you different, they’re nuts. And he was extravagant; he liked living the way I did. We used to dance, which I love to do. We used to drink, have a few cocktails. And he had a lot of friends. I met them all. They were all cheaters. Most men are cheaters—you know that, don’t you? I could meet a cheater tomorrow if I wanted to. But I’ve had enough men. I’m 98 years old, what the hell do I want a man for? What can I give him? What can he give me? Nothing.

More at Esquire.

Monday links

The painful story behind modern anesthesia.

Video: Top 10 Dragons from Movies and TV.

40 Candid Mugshots of Dapper Criminals from the 1920s.

Woman charged with reckless driving while a man was lying on the hood smoking a cigarette, dressed in a dinosaur onesie and wearing a snorkel.

Early haggis?  Neanderthals May Have Eaten Stomach Contents of Their Prey.

4000 Years of History Displayed in a 5-Foot-Long “Histomap” (Early Infographic) From 1931.

ICYMI, last Friday's links are here.

How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses

If you have kids (or grandkids) you really should read this whole thing at Wired.

Juárez Correa didn’t know it yet, but he had happened on an emerging educational philosophy, one that applies the logic of the digital age to the classroom. That logic is inexorable: Access to a world of infinite information has changed how we communicate, process information, and think. Decentralized systems have proven to be more productive and agile than rigid, top-down ones. Innovation, creativity, and independent thinking are increasingly crucial to the global economy.

And yet the dominant model of public education is still fundamentally rooted in the industrial revolution that spawned it, when workplaces valued punctuality, regularity, attention, and silence above all else. (In 1899, William T. Harris, the US commissioner of education, celebrated the fact that US schools had developed the “appearance of a machine,” one that teaches the student “to behave in an orderly manner, to stay in his own place, and not get in the way of others.”) We don’t openly profess those values nowadays, but our educational system—which routinely tests kids on their ability to recall information and demonstrate mastery of a narrow set of skills—doubles down on the view that students are material to be processed, programmed, and quality-tested.
That’s why a new breed of educators, inspired by everything from the Internet to evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and AI, are inventing radical new ways for children to learn, grow, and thrive. To them, knowledge isn’t a commodity that’s delivered from teacher to student but something that emerges from the students’ own curiosity-fueled exploration.

Worried about your chickens crossing the road on dark winter evenings? High visibility chicken jacket!

Metro UK: It won’t answer the age-old question of why the chicken crossed the road, but it might help explain how.

A new ’High-Vis Chicken Jacket’, as first mentioned in Metro’s tablet edition, has been developed by a company called Omlet and is designed to relieve the worry chicken owners face during these dark winter evenings.  It comes in yellow or pink.

Senior Citizen Tour Group To MetLife Stadium Beats Giants 34-6

She celebrated this touchdown run with a cup
of new “X-Treme Prune Juice Gatorade”
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – While enjoying a guided tour of New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, a visiting group of eleven senior citizens from the nearby Golden Meadows Retirement Community found themselves thrust into a full contact pickup game against the New York Giants earlier today, from which the elderly visitors emerged with a convincing 34-6 victory.

“Our tour guide brought us out to the field, where we saw those Giants young’uns scrimmaging with their foot-ball ,” said Ethel Rubenstein, 83. “They were practicing some of those new-fangled ‘forward pass’ plays, and my stars, they just looked awful. I know it was rude, but we were all chuckling a little, and when that quarter-back fellow of theirs saw us, he said, ‘Hey Grandma, think you could do any better?’ Well one thing led to another, and we played them in a real honest-to-goodness game!”

Added Rubenstein, who had 8 receptions for 130 yards and two TDs, “Suck on that, whippersnappers.”

“We just got outhustled out there,” admitted coach Tom Coughlin. “I have to give them credit. They’re clearly a veteran team, and they seemed to have better conditioning than our guys.”

“We shoved that ball right down their throat
like it was a Werther’s Original Candy.”
Continued Coughlin: “I thought we’d be able to get better presssure on their QB, seeing as how he was using a walker to drop back in the pocket. And we really should have blocked their LBs better, especially the ones carrying the colostomy bags. Overall, I’d say it was a disappointing afternoon.”

Next week, the elderly tour group will travel south to the Peach State for a tour of the Georgia Dome stadium, where Vegas oddsmakers have installed them as a 12.5 point favorite over the Atlanta Falcons.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Top 10 Dragons from Movies and TV

Top 10 Dragons from Movies and TV

For dragon lovers.

Here are the referenced movies/TV shows, in order:

10. Eragon

9. Mulan

8. Dragonheart

7. Game of Thrones

6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Hungarian Horntail)

5. Dragonball

4. Dragonslayer

3. Sleeping Beauty

2. How to Train Your Dragon

1. Hobbit (Smaug)

via Geeks are Sexy

Neanderthals May Have Eaten Stomach Contents of Their Prey

(Although Neanderthals evidently looked exactly like Chuck Norris  there is no indication that Chuck Norris eats the stomach contents of his prey.)

A 2012 study, published in the journal Naturwissenschaften, suggested that the presence of bitter and nutritionally-poor chamomile and yarrow residue on the plaque of 50,000-year-old Neanderthal teeth hints at plants being consumed for medicinal purposes.

But anthropologists reporting in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews have put forward a different theory. They suggest instead that the plant compounds could be from the part-digested stomach contents of hunted animals.

This is a practice still carried out by many cultures, including Australian Aborigines, who eat the stomach contents of kangaroo, and Greenland Inuit who consume the stomachs of reindeer as a delicacy.

Drawing parallels with these cultures, the team looked back at the original plaque research and determined that the plant material could well have come from eating animal stomachs.

Previous posts:

Bunnies implicated in the demise of Neanderthals

Neanderthal vs. Homo sapiens: Who would win in a fight?

Israeli soldiers not raping Arab women is racist

Read the whole post at Legal Insurrection.
The claims go beyond being absurd - in one case, a professor asked me if I knew how many Palestinians have been raped by IDF forces. I answered that as far as I knew, none. She triumphantly responded that I was right, because, she said, "You IDF soldiers don't rape Palestinians because Israelis are so racist and disgusted by them that you won't touch them."