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Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday links

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

Your Body Is Surrounded by Clouds of Skin and Fart Bacteria.                           .

Oldest Beer Recipe in History,  From Ancient Sumeria, 1800 B.C.

Supercuts Of Everyone Killed By Superman and Batman In The Movies.

The chicken that lived for 18 months without a head.

10 Offensive Collective Nouns

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include lots of autumnal equinox stuff, the biggest guns in history, a gallery of Soviet cigarettes, and a set of photos of Boston after the great fire of 1872.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

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

When one of my grandsons was six years old, he used to think that this cartoon was the funniest thing he ever saw. 

For some reason everyone he told about it looked at him kinda funny. And, yes, he's still a major geek.

Tyler Vigen's "Spurious Correlations" website has a ton of these examples of odd relationships, and he's published a book containing many of them.

If you want more, go to this page of charts, and keep clicking "next" at the bottom of each page to get through all 30,000.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Italian grandmothers getting magical Disney princess makeovers (NSFW language)

Remember the Italian grandmothers trying Olive Garden for the first time (see below)? Now they're getting Disney princess makeovers. Some NSFW language:


“Who the f*ck made this?” The Olive Garden tasting:

Watch The World's Largest Airliner Land In A Crosswind 

Dude. An 80 foot tall A380:

Per Jalopnik:
It is also worth noting how much runway the A380 needs to make a safe landing. Assuming it is fully loaded at its Maximum Landing Weight (MLW) of 434 tons (over 868,000 pounds!) and operating at sea level, the big Airbus needs at least 5,000 feet to safely halt. The shorter of the two runways at Düsseldorf is 8,859 feet in length, and the airport is situated just 147 feet above sea level. Given these constraints and the later-than-normal touchdown, this A380 appears to have used close to every foot of runway available to decelerate to a taxiing speed.

More crosswind landing videos: The Ten Scariest Aircraft Landings Caught On Video.

Tuesday links

First day of Fall (well, the middle of the night tonight, anyway): Autumnal equinox science, videos, quotes, poems, Vivaldi and Copernicus.

The Biggest Guns in Human History. Kind of related - Forgotten Weapons: The Burgess Folding Shotgun, a fascinating folding oddity from the 1890s.

"Fiddler On The Roof" opened on this date in 1964. Here's some history, the Chagall painting it was based on, Zero Mostel singing "If I Were A Rich Man" and a Lego version.

Gallery of Soviet cigarettes.

46 Vintage Photos Of Boston After The Great Fire Of 1872

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include Samuel Johnson insults, pulling a tooth with a drone, near-extinction events, and unusual travel warnings for visitors to the U.S.

"Fiddler On The Roof" opened on this date in 2014. Here's Zero Mostel singing "If I Were A Rich Man" and a Lego version

Being a Jew is like walking in the wind or swimming: you are touched at all points and conscious everywhere. 

~Lionel Trilling (1905-1975) (notebook entry, 1928) 

Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor. 

There are people who have never been taught anything, and know everything, have never been anywhere, and understand everything, have never given a moment's thought to anything, and comprehend everything. "Blessed hands" is the name bestowed on these fortunate beings. The world envies, honors, and respects them.

A bachelor is a man who comes to work from a different direction every morning. 

A real pleasure is a pleasure one enjoys by one's self, without a companion, and without a single argument. 

No matter how bad things get, you've got to go on living, even if it kills you. 

~Sholem Aleichem (wiki) (1859-1916) (a selection of his observations) 

A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little village of Anatevka, every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn't easy. You may ask, why do we stay here if it's so dangerous? We stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word:Tradition!

~Sheldon Harnick (b. 1924) (Fiddler on the Roof, opening lines) 

Playbill cover from the 1964 production
Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find, catch me a catch.
Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Look through your book
And make me a perfect match.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
I'll bring the veil,
You bring the groom,
Slender and pale,
Bring me a ring for I'm longing to be
The envy of all that I see.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find, catch me a catch.
Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Night after night in the dark I'm alone,
So find me a match of my own.

~Ibid., "Matchmaker, Matchmaker"

Today is the anniversary of the first performance at New York's Imperial Theater of that phenomenally successful - and perennially revived - Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof (wiki), on this date in 1964. With music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, the show was based roughly on Tevye and His Daughters and other stories by the popular Ukrainian-born Yiddish author Sholem Aleichem (Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, 1859-1916). Set in the Pale of Imperial Russia in 1905, the story centers on Tevye the dairyman, father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish traditions while outside influences (e.g., the pogroms) encroach on their lives. The original production starred the inimitable Zero Mostel (1915-1977) as Tevye, Maria Karnilova as his wife, and Beatrice Arthur as Yenta, the matchmaker. The first run scored 3,242 performances, won a Tony award in 1965, and was followed by a highly successful movie version in 1971. 

Marc Chagall's Fiddler On The Roof, which
may have been the inspiration for the play
Born to a Hasidic merchant family in the Kiev region, Rabinovich began writing at the age of 15 and soon adopted as his pseudonym a Yiddish variant of the Hebrew phrase, Shalom aleichem - "Peace be with you." He married a rich landowner's daughter, whom he had been tutoring, but lost her inherited fortune in unsuccessful stockmarket speculations, and - fearful of the growing threat of the pogroms - emigrated to New York City in 1906, where he became an ardent proponent of Yiddish as a literary language and emerged as the foremost writer of stories, novels, and plays in that medium. He died in New York of tuberculosis and diabetes in 1916, suggesting for his own epitaph, 

"Here lies a plain and simple Jew who wrote in plain and simple prose."  

Smithsonian has an article on the subject: Six Things You May Not Have Known About Fiddler on the Roof.

Here's Zero Mostel, the original Tevye, in his most famous song from Fiddler, performed at a Tony Awards entertainment in 1971:

And here's the opening scene recreated in Lego, over Zero Mostel soundtrack:

(Based on 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.)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Video: Watch this guy skip a stone a world record 88 times across a lake

Via Gizmodo:
That’s unfathomable. How is that physically possible? What type of rock is it? What’s the salinity of the water? Can this be considered a superpower? Is this legal? Is there a special grip involved? How long do you have to practice to do this?
The skipper's name is Kurt Steiner, and he made the throw in September 2013 in the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. 

The most consecutive skips of a stone on water is 88 and was achieved by Kurt Steiner (USA). The cast was achieved at Red Bridge, near Kane, Pennsylvania, USA on 6 September 2013.
Kurt, being the previous record holder for this category from 2002-2007, has been practicing for the past few years to improve his skills. He has collected more than 10,000 "quality rocks" and has sorted each according to its type, to prepare for the best possible throw. He looks for stones "that weigh between 3 - 8 ounces... that are very smooth (they don't have to be perfectly round), flat bottoms and are between 1/4 - 5/16th of an inch thick."

Here's a website dedicated to the championships.

The hormone released during nursing and orgasms also bonds humans to dogs

WSJFor all of you moms out there, oxytocin is one of the hormones released from 1. nursing and 2. orgasms. Kind of an I-feel-really-good-about-you hormone. 
The discovery concerns the mammalian hormone oxytocin, which evolved around 500 million years ago from an ancestral version still found in fish and amphibians. The hormone evolved to play a key role in what makes mammals mammalian.
Other newborn animals typically fend for themselves: Crocodiles, for example, are catching insects soon after birth. But mammals develop slowly, and mothers have to feed their newborns. Oxytocin evolved to make this possible, prompting mothers who are nursing to produce more milk as their babies demand it.
Evolving the means to nurse the young was only half the battle. You also have to want to take care of them and to invest zillions of calories in generating milk and fending off predators. And you need to be able to recognize your offspring in a crowd, so you don’t waste your energy helping others to leave behind copies of their genes.
Oxytocin helped to solve both problems. Around the time of birth, female mammals release oxytocin in some brain regions, and the hormone allows them to register and recall their offspring’s smell, appearance or voice. Oxytocin rewards such maternal behavior with feelings of well-being.
So, extend that to relationships with pets - apparently, although I've always read about it in the nursing/orgasm contexts, there's a male version, too, at least insofar as bonding with pets is concerned:
Reporting in the journal Science, Miho Nagasawa of Azabu University in Japan and colleagues observed that modern dogs and their owners secrete oxytocin when they interact with each other. Remarkably, dogs who gaze the most at their humans during interactions had the biggest oxytocin rise—as did their humans.
The scientists then spritzed oxytocin (or saline, as a control treatment) up the dogs’ noses. The oxytocin caused female dogs to gaze more at their humans…whose own oxytocin levels rose as a result. All of this only affected dogs and their owners. Hand-reared wolves and their owners didn’t react in the same way to the treatment, and dogs administered oxytocin didn’t gaze any longer at humans who weren’t familiar to them. In other words, dog and human brains seem to have evolved at lightning speed to co-opt oxytocin for bonding between our species.
This sure helps to explain people who use baby talk with their dogs.
Read the whole article in the WSJ. H/T GeekPress.