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Gifs of children eating dark chocolate for the first time. Last year a Washington Post columnist wrote an article describing Red Lake County, Minnesota as the "worst place to live" in the United States.  Now he lives there.  Happily.  He explains why in this post.

Disclaimer - updated

"The information contained in this blog has been compiled from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made by TYWKIWDBI, its affiliates or any other person as to its accuracy, completeness or correctness.

Gleanings from The Pickwick Papers

I've recently returned from a four day trip, during which I had time finally to read the 900 pages of my paperback copy of Dickens' The Pickwick Papers.  I have kept that book on my shelf since the 1960s, primarily to be able to cite the many references to Joe ("the fat boy") as an example of obstructive sleep apnea.   It's quite a remarkable first novel, written at age only 24 (am I the only person who reflexly pictures Dickens as an old man, even though he didn't start out so?

The first known use of indigo dye

This square of striped cotton, and a few others like it, represents the first known instance of people using indigo to dye a textile blue.

Draft horse gear

Found at Modern Farmer.  Those interested should read Harness the Power of Draft Horses. Cheaper than tractors, draft horses will toil for 30 to 40 hours a week on a simple diet of grass and hay, then export fertile manure—instead of guzzling fossil fuels and belching diesel exhaust...

Kudos to this cafeteria worker

The Canon-McMillan school district in Pennsylvania does not allow students to have a hot meal if their families have a debt of more than $25, but that new policy caused lunchroom staffer Stacy Koltiska to quit last week.

Why planets go "retrograde"

YouTube link. Via Neatorama.

Anticipating the first debate

"These debates would be must-watch TV because they would be the most extreme contrast of personal, intellectual, and political styles in America’s democratic history.

Everything you need to know about the Brangelina divorce

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The mystery of the "cotton" in the window frame

The arrival of September at our latitude marks the time when windows closed all summer can be opened to admit cool night air.  As I opened the window on our guest room, I was startled to see a wad of cotton-like material tumble from the upper window frame (above, placed on the concrete driveway for imaging).

The "Pillars of Creation"

"The pillars are composed of cool molecular hydrogen and dust that are being eroded by photoevaporation from the ultraviolet light of relatively close and hot stars.

A history of playground equipment

Excerpts from a longread at Collectors Weekly: [R]emoving and replacing playground equipment takes money, so a certain amount of vintage playground equipment survived into the next millennium—but it’s vanishing fast.

The problem with cold-pressed juice

The real cost of the juicing fad? Food waste. Tons of it. Linked with fasting, “cleanses,” and the raw-food movement, these fruit and vegetable drinks continue to skyrocket in popularity, whether made-to-order like mine or bottled, pressure treated, and refrigerated for purchase within a few weeks.

A solid gold toilet

And fully functional. New York’s Guggenheim museum unveiled its latest installation on Friday – a solid gold toilet titled America.

Aquagenic urticaria

Before reading this, I would not have believed that it would be possible to be hypersensitive to water.

A visit to the art museum

From a collection of several hundred of humorous photos from LIFE magazine.

Lachryphagous lepidoptera and hymenoptera - updated

YouTube link.  The incomparable David Attenborough narrates the video. I've previously reported about lachryphagous moths, including this interesting cited observation: "The highly specialized Lobocraspis griseifusa does not wait for an animal’s eyes to moisten.

Mommy, what's a polyamorous Christian socialist utopia ?

Founded in 1848, and in operation for just over three decades, the Oneida Community was profoundly revolutionary for its time, paving the way for advances in women’s and workers’ rights.

The origin of the phrase "No soap"

Explained at World Wide Words: A speaker usually means by it that there’s no chance of something happening or no hope of some outcome, that the enquirer is out of luck or more generally that some request is being denied...