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"Forward! Forward"... "Retreat! Retreat!"

Everyone probably has days like this...

Image via Nothing To Do With Arbroath.

Responses to the banning of burkinis

In the one televised interview I have seen with a French official, he did not cite security risks, but rather tried to justify the ordinance on the basis that "seeing those outfits on the beach makes people uncomfortable."  There are other "justifications" - For those on the right, including former president Nicolas Sarkozy, the burkini is a “provocation,” a symbol of radical Islam in a country still reeling from the terrorist attacks in Paris last fall and in Nice in July.

The myth of "equal opportunity" in colonial America

Here's an extended excerpt from an "The Original Underclass," an article in the September issue of The Atlantic: For England, the New World beckoned as more than a vast store of natural resources, Isenberg argues.

How "The Elephant Man" was exploited - updated

  Not by the sideshow, but by the medical establishment: There is another story that casts a different light on what happened.

Classic abuse of power

From a complaint filed in October 2014 on behalf of a woman who was harassed by a police officer during a traffic stop in Harris County, Texas.

The relevance of basketball to the Yup'ik community

YouTube link. I was surprised to learn that basketball was introduced to the Yukon about 70 years ago by a Jesuit priest.  If you like basketball and think that sports are more than just a game, you will want to see this video.  If not, skip it.

“To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: The Pitchforks Are Coming”

 Capitalism and the Reformer, by Art Young,  from The Best of Art Young © 1936 The Vanguard Press, Inc., New York City, via Harper's.

Offered without comment

Via Nothing To Do With Arbroath.

"Wing pollination" of azaleas by swallowtails

The most interesting thing I've read about butterflies this year was a study by Mary Jane Epps, an assistant professor of biology at Mary Baldwin College who examined the reproduction of flame azaleas, publishing her results last August in The American Naturalist.  Here's the abstract: Although many angiosperms are serviced by flying pollinators, reports of wings as pollen vectors are rare.

NPR is eliminating the "comment" feature from its websites

Good riddance to NPR’s comment section, which is shutting down Tuesday after eight years. There has to be a better way for news organizations to engage with the public.

Roombas can't detect dog poop

Details, if you want them, at Today.  I understand the Roomba also doesn't detect cat vomit.

The Trump campaign in Colorado

You can't make this up: Weston Imer, a 12-year-old living in Colorado, is running operations for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in one of the state’s most populous counties.

Here are two bar bets you can almost always win

You're out having drinks with friends after work.  They are intelligent, sophisticated people, and nobody wants to talk about Trump/Clinton.  So you offer this: "I'll bet you a (beer/bourbon/whatever) you can't guess how many time zones there are in Antarctica.  And I'll give you three guesses."With three guesses they'll probably go for it (or someone in the group will).  One guess will be "24" because the continent spans all of the lines of longitude.  That's wrong.

"Jet lightning"

While watching and photographing this year's Perseid Meteor Shower, something unexpected happened: a gigantic jet erupted from a nearby cloud.

World's oldest gold artifact

Archaeologists dug up the gold artifact, which is just an eight of an inch in diameter and dates from 4,500–4,600 B.C., at what was believed to be the first urban settlement in Europe. It’s just outside of the modern town of Pazardzhik [Bulgaria].


Stuart Dunbar removed the 1.5kg black truffle, which he described as a "beast", from the earth on his property in Yarra Valley, in the state of Victoria.

Highly improbable events are commonplace

In June 2001, on a small farm in Staffordshire, England, a 10-year-old girl named Laura Buxton was celebrating her grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary.

Res ipsa loquitur

The waitress who was stiffed on this tab was born in the United States to a bicultural family.  Details at the Washington Post.

"Bagpipe lung"

A newly-recognized occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis has been reported in Thorax: This is the first case report identifying fungal exposure, from a bagpipe player, as a potential trigger for the development of HP.