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Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday links

A collection of  rarely-used funny inventions from the past.

ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, and include Winston Churchill's "get out of prohibition free" doctor's note, the Floraphone (a WWI plan to turn trees into telephones), why we need a supervillain President, and  how monarch butterflies navigate.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wednesday links

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include inventions predicted by The Simpsons, weird epidemics that are still a mystery, the 100 year anniversary of Sykes-Picot, father builds robotic pancreas for his son, and what happens when you build a cube out of one way mirrors.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Winston Churchill's Doctor's Note Allowing Him to Drink "Unlimited" Alcohol in Prohibition America

Winston Churchill (wiki)  arrived in the United States for a long (40 stop) lecture tour in December of 1931, and shortly after his arrival was struck by a car while crossing the street. You can read the story here.

A cab carried him off to Lenox Hill Hospital where he was treated for a deep gash to the head, a fractured nose, fractured ribs, and severe shock. Churchill described how the accident came about:
In England we frequently cross roads along which fast traffic is moving in both directions. I did not think the task I set myself now either difficult or rash. But at this moment habit played me a deadly trick.
I no sooner got out of the cab somewhere about the middle of the road and told the driver to wait than I instinctively turned my eyes to the left. About 200 yards away were the yellow headlights of an approaching car. I thought I had just time to cross the road before it arrived; and I started to do so in the prepossession—wholly unwarranted— that my only dangers were from the left.
After two weeks in the hospital, where he managed to develop pleurisy in addition to his injuries, Churchill and his family headed to the Bahamas for some R&R. Six weeks after the accident, he resumed an reduced 14-stop version of the tour, despite his fears that he would prove unfit.

Dr. Otto Pickhardt, Lenox Hill’s admitting physician, came to the rescue by issuing Churchill the Get Out of Prohibition Free Pass, as pictured below. The text:
…the post-accident convalescence of the Hon. Winston S. Churchill necessitates the use of alcoholic spirits especially at meal times. The quantity is naturally indefinite but the minimum requirements would be 250 cubic centimeters.

Read Churchill’s “My New York Misadventure” in its entirety here.

Previous related posts and links:

Prohibition in the United States began on January 16, 1920 and ended on December 3, 1933.

March 5 is the anniversary of Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech.

Churchill on Islam, and his "We shall fight on the beaches" speech.

Churchill on governmental redistribution.

Before there was Laffer: Churchill on the fiscal cliff..

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday links

How consumption (aka tuberculosis) came to influence fashion and beauty of the Victorian era.

This is What Happens When You Build a Cube Out of One Way Mirrors.

May 16, 1916: The Sykes-Picot accord that shaped (distorted) the modern Middle East was signed. More here, and a brief video explanation here.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include why is Friday the 13th is considered unlucky, inventing of bikes after a volcano killed all the horses, a supercut of birds in movies, and, circa 1880, the restaurants along the railways in the western U.S. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ten Inventions Predicted By The Simpsons

Ned Flander's Left-handed store
AllTime10s describes ten examples of future technology (among other things) predicted by The Simpsons. From the YouTube description:
The world’s favorite yellow-skinned, four-fingered family has had a special place in our hearts ever since it leapt onto our screens in 1987. 
But could The Simpsons actually be way ahead of its time? Alltime10s brings you inventions - from smart-watches to sarcasm detectors - that The Simpsons called ahead of everyone. 

Previous related posts and links:

Compilation Of Every Video Game From The Simpsons

28 Funny Products Spotted on The Simpsons

16 Funny Stores and Businesses Spotted on The Simpsons

An archive of Bart's blackboard writing, and a 2012 infographic with most of them.

Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, in 1969 film with sisters Maggie and Lisa, made by his father Homer.

via LaughingSquid

5/31 walt whitman

Personal favorite:

There was a child went forth

Excerpt below, but read the whole thing:

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs, and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal, and the cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there--and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads--all became part of him.

The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of him;
Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and the esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple-trees cover'd with blossoms, and the fruit afterward,
and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;
And the old drunkard staggering home from the out-house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen,
And the school-mistress that pass'd on her way to the school,
And the friendly boys that pass'd--and the quarrelsome boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheek'd girls--and the barefoot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country, wherever he went.

His own parents,
He that had father'd him, and she that had conceiv'd him in her womb, and birth'd him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that;
They gave him afterward every day--they became part of him.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ecwhitman <>
To: Ecwhitman <>
Sent: Tue, May 31, 2011 7:25 am
Subject: Quotation of the Day

On the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef
of the universes and of the future.
A vast similitude interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,
All distances of place however wide,
All distances of time, all inanimate forms,
All souls, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe,
All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann'd,
And shall forever span them and compactly hold and enclose them.

- Walt Whitman
("On the Beach at Night Alone")*

A noiseless, patient spider,
I mark'd, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
Mark'd how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
Ever unreeling them - ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, - seeking the spheres, to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form'd - till the ductile anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.

- Whitman
("A Noiseless, Patient Spider")

Whitman was like a prophet straying in a fog and shouting half-truths with a voice of
great trumpets. He was seeking something, but he never knew quite what, and he never
found it.

- Amy Lowell (1874-1925)
(Walt Whitman and the New Poetry)

(Today is the 192nd anniversary of the birth of American poet Walt(er) Whitman (1819-1892).
Born in West Hills, New York, Whitman worked at first as a printer, teacher, newspaper edi-
tor, and carpenter before publishing in 1855 the book of verse that established his reputation -
Leaves of Grass. Later, during the Civil War, he served as a male nurse in Washington, D.C.
and wrote two volumes of war poetry - Drum Taps (1865) and a sequel (1866) - followed by
Democratic Vistas (1871). Invalided by a stroke in 1873, Whitman spent the rest of his life
in Camden, New Jersey, still celebrating in his verse individual freedom and dignity, demo-
cracy, and human brotherhood. In "Song of Myself," he wrote,

"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
I am large. I contain multitudes.")

* N.B. A Sea Symphony (1910) - for orchestra, vocal soloists, and mixed
chorus - by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) sets
several of Whitman's poems to music, including "On the Beach at Night
Alone" (but turn the gain up) :

Walt Whitman in old age: