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Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday links

Australian weird wildlife update: football-sized goldfish invading waterways (with bonus Aussie wildlife links)

François Bourassa printed $250 million in counterfeit twenties before he was was caught. But $50 million of it is still missing, and he only spent six weeks in jail.

The Life of a Phone Sex Operator.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include Genghis Khan the climate change hero, trees communicating with each other, why the driver  doesn't get carsick, and what happens when a fly lands on your food.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Australian wildlife update: football-sized goldfish invading waterways (with bonus Aussie wildlife links)

There's lots of over-the-top wildlife in Australia, in addition to the cane toad (wiki). 

Unwanted former pet goldfish that have grown to the size of footballs are travelling hundreds of kilometres through Western Australian waterways, new research has found.
Weighing up to 1.9kg, the goldfish enter river systems after being dumped from aquariums into catchment lakes.
Once established they are difficult to eradicate and damage Australian ecosystems, Murdoch University researchers have found.
Australia has way too much weird wildlife. Remember this?: Python Caught on Camera Eating a Crocodile After 5 Hour Battle:

 And this spider web forest:

Plus a spider big (and mean) enough to eat snakes:

And Feral Camels Plague Australian Outback:

The 1.5 billion poisonous cane toads (wiki) are the most famous of the outrageous Aussie wildlife:

Here's a brief (4 minute) BBC video on them:

And the snakes are adapting so that they can eat the poisonous cane toads:

As if all that wasn't enough, they also have firenados:

Feel free to provide your own favorite Aussie wildlife stories in the comments, and I'll update this post.

Thursday links

Today is the anniversary of the death of Genghis Khan: founder of Mongolian Empire, prolific spreader of DNA, and climate change hero.

Eric Clapton Goes Fishing and Lands the Biggest Salmon of the Summer.

Is it Better to Walk or Run in the Rain?

ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, and include what happens when your Roomba runs over dog poop, what happened in the seconds, hours and weeks after the dinosaur-killing asteroid, Schrödinger's cat explanation, jokes, and videos, and a brief history of athletes drinking their own urine. and a visual history of the human pyramid.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Davy Crockett, hero of the Alamo, was born on August 17

I would rather be beaten and be a man than to be elected and be a little puppy dog. I have always supported measures and principles and not men. I have acted fearless[ly] and independent and I never will regret my course. I would rather be politically buried than to be hypocritically immortalized. 

~ Davy Crockett (wiki) (letter, following his defeat in the 1830 elections)

A portrait from life of Davy Crockett as congressman
I know not whether, in the eyes of the world, a brilliant death is not preferred to an obscure life of rectitude. Most men are remembered as they died, and not as they lived. We gaze with admiration upon the glories of the setting sun, yet scarcely bestow a passing glance upon its noonday splendor. 

~ Crockett (quoted in Abbott: David Crockett: His Life and Adventures

I leave this rule for others when I'm dead
Be always sure you're right — THEN GO AHEAD! 

~ Crockett (A Narrative of the Life Of David Crockett, personal motto, on the title page) 

Pop, pop, pop! Bom, bom, bom! throughout the day. No time for memorandums now. Go ahead! Liberty and Independence forever. 

~ Crockett (last entry in his diary, 5 March 1836)

He is gone from among us, and is no more to be seen in the walks of men, but in his death like Sampson, he slew more of his enemies than in all his life. Even his most bitter enemies here, I believe, have buried all animosity, and join the general lamentation over his untimely end. 

- John Wesley Crockett (1807-1852) (Crockett's son, in a letter of 9 July 1836) 

August 17 is the anniversary of the birth of American folk hero David ("Davy") Crockett (wiki) (1786-1836) in Green County Tennessee.As a young frontiersman, Crockett joined the Tennessee militia and served under Andrew Jackson in the Creek War (1813-14). A popular figure in West Tennessee, he was known as a humorist and expert shot, and he served in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1827-31 and 1833-35. (His unpopular opposition to Jackson's Indian Removal Act caused him to fail election in 1830.) 

In 1835, having been defeated again for Congress, Crockett emigrated to Texas with the intention of settling there and soon joined the cause of Texas independence from Mexico. Thus, he was among the Texas patriots - William Travis, Jim Bowie and others - massacred by Santa Anna at the Alamo (wiki) on 6 March 1836 and immediately entered the annals of folk legendry. His latter-day fame as "King of the Wild Frontier" was rekindled by three episodes of a Walt Disney television series starring Fess Parker in the 1950s - later a full-length movie that made Crockett's life story - and the accompanying theme song - familiar to all, at the time*. 

* N.B. "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" in the classic version by Fess Parker:

and an alternative version: there was a Chinese restaurant that I used to frequent back in the 70s that had, apparently, one 45 minute cassette tape of "Chinese" music that it played on a loop, so that if you were there for longer than 45 minutes you would hear repeats. And, of course, you'd hear the same cassette every time you went back. One of the songs on that tape was a Chinese version of the Davy Crockett ballad, in which the only even remotely recognizable English was Crockett's name, although the pronunciation was more along the lines of Bwavy Cwockett. I found a youtube video of the song, although the performers are different.

When the Roomba runs over dog poop.

Little Rock, AR Facebook member Jesse Newton tells his disgusting story of the unfortunate intersection of puppy poop and a Roomba in a LOT of detail - excerpts below but read the whole thing.

Jesse's map of the Roomba track
Sometime between midnight and 1:30am, our puppy Evie pooped on our rug in the living room. This is the only time she's done this, so it's probably just because we forgot to let her out before we went to bed that night. Now, if you have a detective's mind, you may be wondering how we know the poop occurred between midnight and 1:30am. We were asleep, so how do I know that time frame?

Why, friends, that's because our Roomba runs at 1:30am every night, while we sleep. And it found the poop. And so begins the Pooptastrophe. The poohpocalypse. The pooppening.

Do not, under any circumstances, let your Roomba run over dog poop. If the unthinkable does happen, and your Roomba runs over dog poop, stop it immediately and do not let it continue the cleaning cycle. Because if that happens, it will spread the dog poop over every conceivable surface within its reach, resulting in a home that closely resembles a Jackson Pollock poop painting.

It will be on your floorboards. It will be on your furniture legs. It will be on your carpets. It will be on your rugs. It will be on your kids' toy boxes. If it's near the floor, it will have poop on it. Those awesome wheels, which have a checkered surface for better traction, left 25-foot poop trails all over the house. 

Then, when your four-year-old gets up at 3am to crawl into your bed, you'll wonder why he smells like dog poop. And you'll walk into the living room. And you'll wonder why the floor feels slightly gritty. And you'll see a brown-encrusted, vaguely Roomba-shaped thing sitting in the middle of the floor with a glowing green light, like everything's okay. Like it's proud of itself. You were still half-asleep until this point, but now you wake up pretty damn quickly.

And then the horror. Oh the horror.

So, first you clean the child. You scrub the poop off his feet and put him back in bed. But you don't bother cleaning your own feet, because you know what's coming.