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This is NOT the skull of an extraterrestrial alien - updated


An archaeological discovery of 13 Conehead-shaped skulls in Mexico has people recalling the famed Saturday Night Live sketch. The bones, which are about 1,000 years old, dating back to 945 A.D.

Comparing butter and margarine

YouTube link. Via Neatorama.

The history of Half-Price Books

I believe I visited the flagship Half-Price Books store when it opened in Dallas in the 1970s, and I still shop at the local one here in Madison.  An article at Fortune describes the remarkable rise of this classic bootstrap business, and why it continues to thrive.

Pocket globes


Sotheby's currently has auctions for several beautiful pocket globes from the 1790s and early 1800s. If you have a few grand lying around, one of these 2.5-inch to 3.5-inch beauties could be yours.

A new gallery for New Mexico photography


"In an effort to bring more diversity to the artistic offerings in Carrizozo, Warren and Joan Malkerson, along with David Mandel, the past curator of the Hubbard Museum and all of its photographic shows, will host an open house celebrating the grand opening of the Tularosa Basin Gallery of Photography Saturday, Oct.

Patronize your local arboretum


Those of you who live in climate zones with deciduous trees have the privilege of enjoying a spectacular show of color each autumn.  Last month I visited the University of Minnesota's Landscape Arboretum.  This past week I walked the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Arboretum, where I took these ph

Why the Kansas City baseball team is the "Royals"

They are named after the American Royal, a livestock show. A 1968 contest to name the city’s new baseball franchise attracted proposals such as “Mules” and “Cowpokes.” A now-deceased Kansas City engineer named Sanford Porte proposed “Royals,” in honor of what he called “Missouri’s billion-dollar livestock income, Kansas City’s position as the nation’s leading stocker and feeder market and the nationally known American Royal parade and pageant.” Mr.

Astronaut uses candy corn in zero gravity to explain soap

YouTube link. Via Neatorama.

Large American cities ranked liberal to conservative


My current location, Madison, Wisconsin, at a population of 240,000 is not big enough to make this list (250K lower limit), but would presumably rank down there by Minneapolis and Seattle.

"Two trillion rotations per second"

That's the speed of a molecular gyroscope. Molecular gyroscopes are chemical compounds or supramolecular complexes containing a rotor that moves freely relative to a stator, and therefore act as gyroscopes.

"The Bricklayer's Lament"

YouTube link. The audio of "The Bricklayer's Lament," is from Gerard Hoffnung's 1958 speech to the Oxford Union.

Musing about the origin of WWI

From a "British History" column at the BBC: lt was an act of regicide that catapulted Europe into war - an act that not unexpectedly took place in the Balkans.

"All this happened, more or less."


"Cured salted pork crafted as a nasal tampon and packed within the nasal vaults successfully stopped nasal hemorrhage promptly, effectively, and without sequelae.

"One last time"


"My grandma wanted to see the ocean one last time before checking into hospice.  Her face says it all." It's hard to see in the embedded image (better in the original), but it looks like the wheelchair has large inflated wheels designed for beach transport.  I didn't know such modifications existed, but they certainly make sense for residents of coastal communities.

"Cross sea" and "cross swell" - updated re the Écluse à poissons


"In surface navigation, a cross sea is a sea state with two wave systems traveling at oblique angles.

uoıʇɐıɹɐʌ ןǝǝɥʍ ɹǝʇsɯɐɥ

The gif is here, from a Reddit thread with numerous hamster videos and gifs. (Title via Flip Text)

Ebola costumes for Halloween?


An AP article anticipates the new popular costumes: So what's the costume flap of the year? It might just be Ebola, as in Ebola zombies, bloody Ebola patients and faux protective gear.

This auroral "corona" is an optical illusion


  The aurora is real, but the illusion that the rays converge is an illusion, as demonstrated here. Photo credit Harald Albrigtsen, via APOD.

"Motor Vehicle Services" looks like a scam


I've received THREE notices of this sort recently.  The second was reportedly from a "Motor Vehicle Division" and the third from an unnamed entity with a callback number.


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