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During the Great Depression in the United States, and again during WWII, many families in the United States coped with shortages by making clothing out of used feedsacks.  Some of the feed companies responded by printing decorative patterns on the sacks.  The photos in today's divertimento come from a large gallery at imgur (but I've been unable to TinEye the original source and would appreciate any info in order to give proper credit).  There is a review of this subject at Etsy, Even Australians can't understand a strong Australian accent.

"I'll just put this back..."

From the inimitable xkcd.

People may sniff their hands for "chemosignals"

YouTube link. Why do people shake hands? A new Weizmann Institute study suggests one of the reasons for this ancient custom may be to check out each other’s odors.

"In the long run..."

Site-spoofing online reservation systems

As reported in the Washington Post: The hotel industry... recently asked the Department of Justice to investigate travel sites that are “trying to pass themselves off as the actual hotel.”..

The shortest scientific paper ever published

In keeping with the subject matter, I'll add no comments. Via Real Clear Science and the New Shelton 'wet/dry.

Argentinian public service announcement

YouTube link.

Claims for "the face of Shakespeare" in the frontspiece of a botany book

Excerpts from an interesting report in The Guardian: The botanist and historian Mark Griffiths on Tuesday claimed that he had discovered what he firmly believes is the only demonstrably authentic portrait of Shakespeare made in his lifetime.

Annoying magazine subscription renewal reminders

Although your subscription doesnt expire for another six months there are several benefits to renewing early: You wont receive another annoying renewal notice again this year.

Hog droving

Before motorized trucks became common, nearly all livestock went to market on foot: cattle, horses, mules, sheep, goats, turkeys, ducks, and geese...

How to make morphine at home

Scientists have figured out how to brew morphine using the same kit used to make beer at home. They have genetically modified yeast to perform the complicated chemistry needed to convert sugar to morphine.

"Master of the Universe" trailer

YouTube link.

The complex physics of flipping a phone

YouTube link.

NFL teams were paid to "salute our troops"

It's a familiar scene to most Americans. The poignant moment when a soldier is honored for his or her service before a cheering crowd during halftime of an NFL game.  It turns out, however, that at least some of these patriotic displays are not what they seem.

Data on National Football League players

More data and charts, including on race and salary (average over $2,000,000 per player per year) at BestTickets.

The bow for the Octobass needs "lots of horsehair"

YouTube link.


Slate has an article about the increasing length of the names of racehorses: I collected the names of every horse to ever compete in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, or Belmont Stakes between each race's inception and 2014.

Your tax money at work

YouTube link. A railgun is an electrically powered electromagnetic projectile launcher based on similar principles to the homopolar motor...

Europa has more water than the Earth

An old APOD from NASA. "...if all the water on [Jupiter's moon] Europa were gathered into a ball it would have a radius of 877 kilometers.

"Biker gang shootout" in Texas

As reported by the Washington Post: Police in Waco, Tex., announced Monday that they have arrested 192 people following a spasm of biker-gang violence that left nine people dead over the weekend...