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Timelapse of Google Earth images

YouTube link. What I find most fascinating is not the spread of cities, the shrinking of glaciers, or the drying of lakes, but rather the braiding of rivers and the formation of oxbow lakes (in at least two different segments of the video, the first at about 1:03, the other at 1:23).

"The Lady in the Van"

YouTube link. I watched this movie last night.  Absolutely delightful.  A tour de force by Maggie Smith.

A brief story about Parkinson's disease

YouTube link. "When Emma Lawton was 29 she was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. As a graphic designer, drawing is a huge part of her life but over the past three years the tremor in her hands has grown more pronounced stopping her from writing and drawing straight lines.

Jupiter's aurorae

"Jupiter has aurorae. Like Earth, the magnetic field of the gas giant funnels charged particles released from the Sun onto the poles.

Gleanings from "The Road to Little Dribbling"

George Everest (for whom the mountain is named) didn't pronounce his name EV-erest, but as EVE-rest - just two syllables.

"There you have cricket"

Imagine a form of baseball in which the pitcher, after each delivery, collects the ball from the catcher and walks slowly with it out to center field; and that there, after a minute's pause to collect himself, he turns and runs full tilt toward the pitcher's mound before hurling the ball at the ankles of a man who stands before him wearing a riding hat, heavy gloves of the sort used to handle radioactive isotopes, and a mattress strapped to each leg.

Friendly fire deaths at Pearl Harbor

"Most of the civilians who died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor were killed by American antiaircraft shells.

Exercise Tiger at Slapton Sands

"To the north from here stretches a duney expanse called Slapton Sands, so similar to the beaches of Normandy that they used it for a dress rehearsal for D-Day in the spring of 1944.

One of Dogbert's better ideas

So sad

"Richard T. Ramsey and Sue Ramsey hold hands while looking at the skyline from the remains of their house of 41 years, Thursday, Dec.

Kleptocracy and kakistocracy explained

Kleptocracy (from Greek: κλεπτοκρατία, klépto- thieves + -kratos rule, literally "rule by thieves") is a government with corrupt rulers (kleptocrats) that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political power.

Did a Hugh Williams survive a wreck in Wales yesterday?

"On December 5, 1664, a ship sunk in the Menai Strait, a stretch of water with tremendous tidal swings off the coast of Wales.

Rose light bulb

This is a vintage Aerolux neon lightbulb, probably from the 1940s.  A video shows it to flicker at a frequency of 60 hz.  More information at Neatorama.

"We can't have 18-year-olds reading about masturbation..."

Resident Rick Ligthart read from a prepared statement the changes he wanted in the school district’s policy.


A kronkåsa (Swedish: crown cup, plural kronkåsor) is a drinking vessel where the handles are exaggeratedly long and elaborate, thus forming a kind of crown above the cup, hence the name.

Why you can't swim in molasses - updated

Most readers here are probably at least vaguely aware of Boston's Great Molasses Flood of 1919.  This week I found an article at Scientific American discussing the relevant physics: A wave of molasses does not behave like a wave of water.

Do you know someone with Parkinsons?

YouTube link. Or any other intention tremor or arm weakness?  Consider gifting them a "self-leveling spoon" for Christmas.

"Bycatch" explained

"Bycatch, in the fishing industry, is a fish or other marine species that is caught unintentionally while catching certain target species and target sizes of fish, crabs etc.

Chechen wedding

What a lovely photo.  Credit Valery Sharifulin/Tass, via a gallery at The Guardian.

"They" as a replacement for "he or she"

That's how today's headline in The Telegraph was phrased.  I know there are several copyeditors who follow this blog.  I'd appreciate your comments.