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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Manliness lessons: how to undress in 20 seconds or less, plus the tactical art of (re)dressing

From the blog of the excellent Art of Manliness: If attempting to save someone from drowning, it’s best to disrobe before you jump in, especially if they’re in open water, and a ways away. Clothes and shoes will only weigh you down, and make a difficult task much more difficult. The weight of your soaked garments may end up sinking the both of you. Of course every second matters when you’re trying to save someone, so you have to be able to undress with lightning speed.

The 1952 edition of the Handbook for Boys (the Boy Scout manual), admonishes young men to be able to strip down to their underpants or swim trunks in 20 seconds or less, holding up 15 seconds as the ultimate goal. The manual includes a diagram of how this can be accomplished, recreated here:

The original illustration lacked captions, but the sequence seems to go like this:
  1. Remove coat while removing your shoes.
  2. Slip your shirt off your shoulders as you step out of your pants.
  3. Remove your arms from the sleeves of the shirt. (It’s hard to tell from the original illustration, but the figure may be re-buttoning one of the buttons on his shirt here, perhaps to turn it into a more effective towing device.)
  4. Peel off your socks as you clamp your shirt between your teeth.
  5. Jump into the water.
  6. Extend your shirt to the victim to hold onto. Even when you get into the water with the victim, it’s best to have them hold onto something and tow them ashore, rather than getting close enough to get clawed, grabbed, and/or kicked. If you don’t have something to extend to him or her, swim behind them, and wrap your arm around their chest, keeping their head above water. Swim ashore.
  7. Throughout every step, you should keep your eyes on the victim, so you don’t lose track of where they are, and know if they slip underwater.
Then there's the tactical order of dressing:

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?

David Guttenfelder. AP
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 barefeet, but you’ll need to be shod if you’ll be moving out over rough terrain. 

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.

Friday, May 4, 2018

How Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Are Made

This video is a donut commercial featuring lots of awesome food machines: watch how Krispy Kreme donuts are made at one of their factories. 

A secret flour recipe, a machine that makes torus-shaped dough, lots of donut-sized elevator shelves, flipping, frying, and glazing, and it’s all set to Swan Lake, Op. 20: IV. Allegro moderato

Friday links

In addition to International Respect for Chickens Day, May the Fourth (be with you) is also Star Wars Day. Here's a nice collection of Star Wars propaganda posters.

Strange cases of mass hysteria. The one that's always fascinated me is the mysterious dancing epidemic of 1518.

What Are The Odds Of Getting Bit By Both A Bear And A Shark? It happened to some guy, and a statistician explains how the odds are calculated. Kind of related: Defensive Gun Use and the Difficult Statistics of Rare Events.

Why would we evolve to poop in the same place as our friends?

The Turkish Roots of Swedish Meatballs.

The Longest Route You Can Sail in a Straight Line Without Hitting Land.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include the world's oldest crayon, a history of tug-of-war fatalities, the Duke of Wellington's birthday, and a WW1 plan to turn America's trees into telephones. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

May 4th is International Respect for Chickens day: some chicken-related links to help you celebrate

Whether you raise your own or not, you may be interested to know that May 4th is International Respect for Chickens Day.  In celebration, a few chicken related links:

Take a look at this, even if you don't read the whole thing: the famous (and definitive!) Chicken scientific study.

The KFC Prom Corsage:

Here's a "best of" FogHorn Leghorn video - "Any of this gettin' through to you, son?":

Glamour portraits of chickens from Chickens:

More at the artist's web site, and here's a mini documentary on the poultry portraiture project.

Chickens dressed as historical figures - here's Abe Lincoln, and there are more at the link:

Worried about your chickens crossing the road on dark winter evenings? This high visibility chicken jacket comes in yellow or pink:

I went looking for these chicken jackets on Amazon (they're not available) but they do have chicken saddles, which are, apparently, a real thing - I thought at first it was a a joke.  Here's the description:
Chicken saddles are made to protect your hen's back from a roosters nails and spurs. When a rooster overmates a hen this can lead to serious and sometimes life threatening damage. Backs can become bare in what seems like overnight. Often people think they need to trim the spurs or remove them entirely but that is not necessary with a chicken saddle. Why take away your rooster's best defense in protecting his flock when you can get a chicken saddle?
Plucking A Chicken In 14 Seconds With The Homemade Whizbang Chicken Plucker:

Epic Chick Fight: 2 women reenact Family Guy’s famed chicken fight:

And the original: 

Related posts and links:

Here's an excellent (and cheap!) chicken hat - I have one of these, and it actually quite warm!

This Chinese "Chick Chick" music video is the weirdest thing you'll watch all day.

500 lb chicken from hell: large feathered dinosaur species discovered in North America.

Scientists engineer flu-stopping superchicken.

The history of chickens and eggs: When and why did they get domesticated?

Got more? Leave them in the comments, and I'll update later.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Cake Server Rube Goldberg Machine

Joseph's Machines at YouTube:
I hate waiting for dessert, so here's a Rube Goldberg (wiki) machine to streamline dinnertime. It lets me keep eating, with no break before cake. It's my most complex yet and took 3 months to make so I hope you enjoy it!

Related posts:

New Guinness record-setting Rube Goldberg machine takes 412 steps to light a Christmas tree.

Rube Goldberg's Passover Seder.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Tuesday links

Archaeologists Discover What May Be the World’s Oldest Crayon.

The premier of Infinity War brings to mind another Captain America movie - the 1973 Turkish version in which he teams up with a Mexican wrestler and fights evil Spiderman.

Floraphone: The WWI Plan To Turn America's Trees Into Telephones.

A History of Tug-of-War Fatalities.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include Duke Ellington's birthday, all about hummingbird love charm trafficking, a clickable map of every street tree in New York City, and some advice from the 16th century on avoiding brain scorpions: Take heede therefore ye smellers of Basil.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The mysterious dancing epidemic of 1518

Engraving of Hendrik Hondius portrays three women
 affected by the plague. Work based on original 
drawing by Pieter Brueghel, who supposedly 
witnessed a subsequent outbreak in 1564 in Flanders
In their free time, some scientists and doctors like to try to figure out causes of medically-related historical events. For example, the authors of this study investigate what may have caused the crazy dancing “epidemic” of 1518 (wiki) in Strasbourg:
“Some time in mid-July 1518 a lone woman stepped into one of its narrow streets and began a dancing vigil that was to last four or even 6 days in succession. Within a week another 34 had joined the dance. And by the end of August, one chronicler asserts, 400 people had experienced the madness, dancing wildly, uncontrollably around the city."
This wasn’t a sedate affair; the dancers’ feet often ended up bruised and bloody. The authors were not able assign a biological cause to the epidemic (it seems unlikely that hallucinogenic compounds from the rye fungus ergot were involved), but they suggest that hunger and psychological stress were the likely culprit, with a healthy dose of religious belief thrown in: “In times of acute hardship, with physical and mental distress leaving people more than usually suggestible, a fear of St. Vitus could rapidly take hold. All it then took was for one or a few emotionally frail people, believing themselves to have been cursed by St. Vitus, to slip into a trance. Then they would unconsciously act out the part of those who had incurred his wrath: dancing wildly, uncontrollably for days on end.” 

Excerpts from the full text are below this BBC documentary:

In a spin: the mysterious dancing epidemic of 1518.
“In 1518, one of the strangest epidemics in recorded history struck the city of Strasbourg. Hundreds of people were seized by an irresistible urge to dance, hop and leap into the air. In houses, halls and public spaces, as fear paralyzed the city and the members of the elite despaired, the dancing continued with mindless intensity. Seldom pausing to eat, drink or rest, many of them danced for days or even weeks. And before long, the chronicles agree, dozens were dying from exhaustion. What was it that could have impelled as many as 400 people to dance, in some cases to death?”
Bonus quotes from the full text:
“As the dance turned epidemic, troubled nobles and burghers consulted local physicians. Having excluded astrological and supernatural causes, the members of the medical fraternity declared it to be a ‘natural disease’ caused by ‘hot blood’. This was orthodox physic, consistent with Galen’s view that bloody fluxes could overheat the brain, causing anger, rashness and madness. But the response of the authorities was neither to bleed nor to provide cooling diets. Instead they prescribed ‘more dancing’. To this end they cleared two guildhalls and the outdoor grain market and they even had a wooden stage constructed opposite the horse fair. To these locations the dancers were taken so they could dance freely and uninterrupted. The victims would only recover their minds, said the authorities, if they persisted both day and night with their frantic movements. And to facilitate this supposed cure, the authorities next paid for musicians and professional dancers to keep the afflicted moving.
 Half bird’s-eye view of Strasbourg in 1572.
Every time the sick flagged, fainted, stumbled or slowed, the musicians raised the tempo of their playing and hired dancers held them firm and quickened their pace (Figure 2). ‘They danced day and night with those poor people’, one eye-witness recalled 1, 2 and 4. In grain market and horse fair, the elites had created spectacles every bit as grotesque as a Hieronymous Bosch canvas portraying human folly or the torments of Hell.
Only after those with weak hearts or prone to strokes began to die did the governors rethink their strategy. Deciding that the dance had nothing to do with putrefying blood cooking normally moist and cool brains, they now saw it as a curse sent down by an angry saint. Hence, a period of organised contrition was instituted: gambling, gaming and prostitution were banned and the dissolute driven beyond the city gates. Soon after the dancers were despatched to a mountaintop shrine in the Vosges mountains to pray for divine intercession. There they were led around an altar, wearing red shoes provided for the ceremony, upon which stood a bas-relief carving of St. Vitus, the Virgin and Pope Marcellus. In the following weeks the epidemic abated. Most of the dancers, we are told, regained bodily control…”
Via Discover

Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington was born on May 1

My rule was to do the business of the day in the day. 

~ Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington (wiki) (The Earl of Stanhope, Notes of Conversations with the Duke of Wellington
The Duke of Wellington,
by Thomas Lawrence. Painted c. 1815–16
All the business of war, and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavor to find out what you don't know by what you do; that's what I called "guessing what was at  the other side of the hill.

~ Wellington (The Croker Papers, Vol. 3, Ch. 28) 

It has been a damned nice thing -- the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life, by God!

~ Wellington (commenting on the Battle of Waterloo (wiki)

In fact my trust is and has long been in that one man who possesses in a higher degree the gift of common sense than in anyone I have heard or read of.  

~ Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) (of Wellington, letter, February 1829)   

May 1st is the  anniversary of the birth of Britain's greatest general, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington (wiki) (1769-1852), in Dublin to a family of English gentry. Wellington entered the army as a young man and first made his military reputation in the colonial wars in India. 

Wellington at Waterloo by Robert Alexander Hillingford
After brilliantly directing the Peninsular War against the French in Spain (1809-1813), he achieved the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in June 1815.  Wellington later served as prime minister from 1828 to 1830 and during his tenure achieved the passage of the Catholic Emancipation Bill. Toward the end of his life, he was both foreign secretary (1834-1835) and minister without portfolio (1841-1846), living in London at Apsley House, still preserved as a museum today. A man of few words and imperious manner, Wellington is said to have remarked after his first cabinet meeting as prime minister,

"An extraordinary affair.  I gave them their orders, and they wanted to stay around and discuss them."

More on Waterloo in this related post: June 18 is the anniversary of the 1815 Battle of Waterloo: history, quotes and video (including a Lego re-enactment)