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Succulent cupcakes

This is just one of an abundance of culinary creations from the website of Alana Jones-Mann.  Details about how to craft these cupcakes in this tutorial.

"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"

YouTube link. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a 2011 animated short film... Described as an "allegory about the curative powers of story," the film centers around bibliophile Lessmore and his custodianship of a magical library of flying books.

The looting of Romania's Dacian gold

Sarmizegetusa, high in the central mountains, was once the capital and sacred center of the Dacians, a civilization crushed by the Roman Emperor Trajan in two bloody wars more than 1,900 years ago.

Child punished for being late to school

Photo taken by his mother, who was called to pick him up from school because he wouldn't stop crying.

Before the Golden Gate Bridge

A photo from 1935, found at Shorpy (click to embiggen).

An encounter with "birch water" (birch sap) - updated

One of my first garden chores this spring was to tidy up a flower bed near the front door.  Last year a birch tree cluster had begun to shadow the bed, so on Monday I pruned a few branches, then sat down to clear some of the detritus of dead material from the flowerbed.  Several minutes later, I noticed that a liquid was dripping down onto the area where I was working.  I looked up to see sap dripping from several of the pruned birch branches.

And now for something completely different...

YouTube link "The Lost Thing" won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

A Monsanto lobbyist defends herbicides - LOL

YouTube link. When asked about the toxicity of Roundup (glyphosate), he argues that it's "safe enough to drink."  Then...

Syrian child

Thinking the photographer's camera was a gun, the four-year-old child "surrendered." Details here, discussed at Reddit.

Dementia and identity

Excerpts from an essay at Aeon: Memory becomes like a flickering signal from a faraway shortwave radio station: people can do and say things, then promptly forget them, and then do and say them again.

The difference between red oak and white oak

YouTube link. Explained (in a little too much detail) by a shipwright in terms relevant to boat building, but the principles illustrated would be of interest to anyone who works with wood.

"Let's meet on the corner at 60th and 60th"

If you are in Queens, NY, you have a multitude of choices - 9 intersections and 28 corners by my count.

Paramilitary defender of African wildlife

The photo is of Kinessa Johnson, an "anti-poaching" advisor.  Here are the links to her Instagram posts and her Facebook page.

Factors influencing the size and shape of f-holes

The f-holes in the body of a violin have evolved to their current shape as the result of generations of trial and error by violin-makers, as reported in a study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society: Owing to its long-standing prominence in world culture, we find enough archaeological data exist for the violin and its ancestors to quantitatively trace design traits affecting radiated acoustic power at air cavity resonance across many centuries of previously unexplained change.

Fennec fox plays with two girls

YouTube link. Those who found the image of the captive fennec fox disturbing should enjoy this video of a fennec fox interacting with two little girls on his home turf, so to speak.  A hat tip to reader Ellen S.

Rich people complain that they are losing influence in national politics

To be more precise, the merely rich are losing influence to the super-rich. The Washington Post focuses on the lost influence of the "bundlers": Bundlers who used to carry platinum status have been downgraded, forced to temporarily watch the money race from the sidelines.

"Smooshing" cards is an efficient way to shuffle them

YouTube link. A Stanford University mathematician explains some of the nuances of shuffling playing cards.  Most of it is standard math (7 shuffles adequate, more superfluous), but the comment that "smushing" (1:00 in the video) works quickly and effectively was new to me.

Embrace your birthmarks

As a person born with a prominent birthmark, I've always been interested in how other people handle theirs.  This man accepted his ?

Shopped at Radio Shack? Your data is for sale.

As reported by PC World: For years, RadioShack made a habit of collecting customers’ contact information at checkout.

Illustrations from "The Red Tree"

I found this visually interesting book by Shaun Tan (Simply Read Books, 2002, ISBN 0968876838) in our library.  You can also view the contents at the equally-interesting Poemas del Rio Wang.