Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday Links!

If you didn't see this on Wednesday, here's another chance. It's delightful: Small Dogs Aim High When They Pee.

Golf Digest, P.I.: Golf Digest Helped Free An Innocent Man From Prison. Here's the original article, and the drawings are stunning: Drawings From Prison. Also, this is astonishing: Meet the Accidental Genius.

From Wally, a story about WWII's little-known bomber: Martin Baltimore. This is an absolutely fascinating story: Bones of Contention: A Florida man’s curious trade in Mongolian dinosaurs. I had no idea: How the Romans invented the Swiss Army Knife. This is amazing: The giant hangar built for an Arctic airship. This is quite incredible: Mind-Blowing LEGO Recreation of LOTR’s Helm’s Deep Battle.

From Brian Witte, and I'm linking to this as much for the headline as anything else: Texas grandma kills 12-foot gator, says she's finally avenged her miniature horse.

From DQ Reader My Wife, and this is not a good look: This hurricane weatherman was gloriously found out by the people walking behind him.

From Eric Higgins-Freese, and this is a fantastic story: Making $35,000 Bonsai Scissors.

From Dan Fitch, and while it isn't "Stairway to Heaven", it's pretty fantastic xylophone: Thunderstruck for Percussion Ensemble.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Get Down Here!

Eli 17.1 was doing homework at the dining room table, while Gloria and I were watching an episode of "Kidding" (not that good, Bill Hader should have had the lead instead of Jim Carey and it would have been terrific).


"What was that?" Eli asked.

"Your mom just saw a mosquito," I said.

"Indoors!" she said. "What are they doing indoors?"

"FINISH HIM!" Eli said.

"She did," I said. "Clean kill."


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

High A-pee-ers

There's a wonderful study out now that is entirely comprised of all the best things:
Small Dogs Aim High When They Pee.

If you ever see a small dog out on his walk, you'll notice that most of them are sassy. Ultra-high energy, ultra-excited, "Hey, everybody, here I am!"

They have status.

When they stop to pee, though, they want more status. They want to compete with the big boys. And they do so by increasing their leg angle so that they peed higher than their size.

That one fact makes me willing to fund all research forever.

I told Eli 17.1 about this, and he thought it was both hilarious and weirdly profound, but neither one of us could figure out how to use this knowledge properly.

Last night, he was talking about applying to colleges. "It's kind of odd," he said. "Some of my friends are super smart, but I'm the only one applying to Princeton and some of the other Ivy schools."

"Well, if you want to aim high, you have to pee up," I said.

"That's it!" he said, laughing. "That's perfect!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


In 1959 Russian geneticist Dmitri Belyaev began an experiment that attempted to domesticate foxes.

The experiment was simple. The breeding pairs from each generation were selected for one trait only: friendliness toward humans.

This has gone on for almost 60 years. Belyaev passed away in 1985, but colleagues continued his work.

Remarkably, the results have been dramatic. The foxes aren't tame to the degree of dogs--they're still foxes--but they're tame foxes. It's incredible that behavior could change so much in what is seemingly a short period of time.

There's video and more information here: These domesticated foxes were 60 years in the making.

It gets even more interesting, though. Anna Kukekova, a behavioral geneticist at the University of Illinois in Urbana, started looking for a genetic basis for the foxes' behavior.

After 16 years of research, she discovered a gene--SorCS1--which consistently explained the behavior of individual foxes.

Mind-blowing stuff, and here's the other article (with video, and the difference between the aggressive and friendly foxes is staggering): These docile foxes may hold some of the genetic keys to domestication.

Monday, September 17, 2018

More Than Five

I saw this and said to Eli 17.1, "Wait, are there five more?"

As it turns out: yes. Yes, there are five more. 

Here's the story. Jeongeun Lee #6 plays on the LPGA of Korea Tour, and when she arrived, there were already five other players on tour with the name "Jeongeun Lee." 

To keep things sorted, the KLPGA gave her a number. Her fan club in Korea is called "Lucky Number 6."

Fine swing, too. 

Thought Process

Cat playing on bongos=>animated cat playing on bongos meme=>sub keyboards for bongos=>cat playing pixel tune on keyboards=>sub "Africa" for chiptune=>hear xylophone in bridge=>what is the equivalent of "Stairway to Heaven" for xylophone?

Bringing the "A game" this week. Hard-hitting questions.

An Analysis: Is Eli Manning More Or Less Mobile Than A Sofa?

Does the sofa have wheels?

Answer "yes"
The sofa is more mobile.

Answer "no"
The sofa and Eli Manning are equally mobile.

There was a play in the third quarter last night where Manning ran past the line of scrimmage and got wrecked, and he looked exactly like the drunk guy who climbs out of the stands, runs across the field, and gets decked by a player. No difference.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday Links!

Here's a super creepy, evocative story to start us off: Sinister 'Hunger Stones' With Dire Warnings Have Been Surfacing in Europe.

Next, excellent links from C. Lee, as always. First, and this is thought-provoking, it's Why Technology Favors Tyranny. This is a magnificent and fascinating read: The Women Code Breakers Who Unmasked Soviet Spies. This is remarkable: Exploiting Decades-Old Telephone Tech to Break Into Android Devices.

From Wally, and this is a nifty bit of history: Rosie the Riveter isn’t who you think she is. McSweeney's is so damn funny: I AM PART OF THE RESISTANCE INSIDE NYARLATHOTEP’S DEATH CULT. Good freaking grief: The FBI’s Spying on Writers Was Literary Criticism at Its Worst. This is remarkable: This new blood test can figure out what time it is inside your cells. This is fantastic: Thailand's incredible Folding Umbrella Market.

From Brandon Reis, and I've linked to this before, but man, Florence looks amazing: A global map of wind.

From Paul Meyer, and this is thoughtful: Escape the echo chamber.

Thursday, September 13, 2018


I mowed the lawn today.

"We have a situation out there," I said, coming in after about fifteen minutes.

"What's that?" Gloria asked.

"Mosquitoes. Waves of mosquitoes. I could cut out a solid brick of them with the proper tools."

"We have repellent in the bathroom." She went down the hall and brought back a bottle.

I scanned the label.

"I don't see DEET or Picaridin," I said. "There's a picture of a baby turtle in sunglasses."

"It's eco-friendly," she said.

"The active ingredient appears to be unicorn dust mixed with mint," I said. "I'll be back."

I returned from the store with a can of DEET-based repellent and proceeded to douse my clothes, then doused them again. I finished the lawn.

"How was it out there?" Gloria asked as I walked in.

"The front lines held," I said. "Mutually assured destruction and all that."


A cheerio just fell out of my jacket. Clearly, a portent.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Maybe someone hit into his backyard:

Audrey's jersey doesn't have a number, it has a mission:

Also, I believe, from Audrey, although there is no "SWIM" above the fish (come on, Audrey, step your game up):

But who, pray tell, will think of the rural cats?

Lion's fans with Lost Season Face--in week one:

Here's something very nice from the Wayback Machine, of the boy who went 720+ on his SAT Subject Tests in both Math and Spanish:

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Fireworks Expert Needed

Please check in at the desk if you can answer a few questions. Thanks.


I'm going to make some chicken soup," I said. This is wholesome chicken noodle soup, out of a package.

"Okay, well just get a pan and boil water, then put in the package and simmer for five minutes or so," Gloria said.

"I see microwave instructions," I said. "I'm just going to use a big Pyrex container."

"Well, you'll want a bowl to serve it," she said.

"No bowl for me," I said. "Zero footprint. I'm all about the eco."

"I'm sure you are," she said.

Once it was done, I waited. And waited.

"That Pyrex is hot, isn't it?" Gloria said, laughing.

"Cooling slowly," I said.

"That's why you use a bowl to serve," she said.

"Sure, but I'm thinking outside the box," I said. "And I just thought of a way to cool it off."

"That's it," I said. "Cools burning muscles and burning soup."

"I better go," she said. "Your brilliance is overwhelming me."

"Yeah, it's probably safer to take off before you get a BRAIN BURN," I said.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Castle (F.O.B, Moat not Included)

This is an actual thing:

Not only is it an actual thing, it's an actual thing fifteen minutes from where I live. 

A monstrosity? Yes. An eyesore? Certainly. None of that matters, though, because it's a castle. An apartment complex that's a castle. Well, sort of an "inspired by castles" castle.

It gets better. 

A few details:
One fountain, near the building's entranceway, is expected to be topped with a large, glowing flame. 

The other fountain is expected to be 20-feet tall, carved from marble.

Work is underway on a library, complete with a two-sided staircase, which, according to developer Roger Lucas, is modeled after one found in the Walt Disney classic film Beauty and the Beast.

There are plans for an 8-foot digital cuckoo clock.

A life-size lion statue is expected to be mounted atop the peak of the castle, just shy of 200 feet. 

That all pales, though, in comparison to this bit of magnificence:
Lucas also wants to build a stable on the grounds that would house miniature horses.

Boom. My #1 Most Wanted Feature In An Apartment Complex.

"It sounds like a six-year-old inherited $100 million and decided to build a castle," Gloria said.

"I think you nailed it," I said. "I'm just waiting for the announcement of a roller coaster that will wind through the building at 60 MPH, because if that happens, we're moving."

If you're wondering about the target demographic of a castle builder, I've got you covered. Here's developer Roger Lucas:
I think there's a huge selling thing here, and the huge selling thing is that girls want to be a princess and guys, well - the power thing.

Greetings from the future, sir, as I assume you're writing us from 1955.

All is not well, though, which I'm sure will leave you stunned and disheartened:
Construction on the castle started in June 2016, with the initial opening date set for last summer. But that opening date has been pushed back multiple times, most recently to mid- to-late October.

The delays, in part, were caused by the expansion of the project. Initial plans called for 400 units but was later expanded to include 522 units, Lucas said.

"When you add 120 units, it takes a few minutes longer," he said.

I'll take your word for it, developer Roger Lucas, as I trust your particular form of madness. 

I will keep everyone updated on this delightful story.

Site Meter