Saturday, April 29, 2017

"What historical fact blows your mind?"

Top voted Reddit comments...

Commodus, son of one of history's wisest, most revered leaders, gathered all of Rome's disabled people as emperor and had them fight to the death in the Colosseum. How did a man like Marcus Aurelius give birth to such an evil...

In the 1870 Paraguayan War, Paraguay's losses amounted to 70%... Of their entire male population (civilian AND military). Women weren't exempt either... They just fared slightly better. Overall population loss was about 60%.

It took several decades before they were considered to have "recovered."

That at the same time the U.S. Civil war was going on, which killed about 600,000 people and served as probably our greatest national tragedy, China was in the throes of the Taiping Rebellion. The Taiping Rebellion is the largest civil conflict in human history, and best estimates put the death toll somewhere north of 20,000,000. Really reminds you of just how many more people live in Asia.

The number of aircraft destroyed during WWII is greater than the number of aircraft that currently exist in the entire world today.

After being shot during a duel, Andrew Jackson lived with a bullet next to his heart for 39 years.

That the Romans and the Chinese knew about each other, and actually communicated semi-regularly.

"Elon Musk Slices the Idea of Flying Cars with a 'Guillotine' Insult"

Via RedditThe first-ever flying car conference got underway earlier this week in Dallas, a two-day affair put on by Uber called the “Uber Elevate Summit,” which was chock-full of panels and a big prediction: By 2020 Uber will be testing out its commuter aircraft. On Friday, Elon Musk seized another opportunity to shoot down the idea before it lifts off.
“I’m in favor of flying things,” Musk told interviewer Chris Anderson during his lengthy interview at the TED 2017 conference in Vancouver, before repeating a biting joke he first made in a February Bloomberg article.

“There is a challenge with flying cars in that they’ll be quite noisy, the wind-force generated will be very high,” Musk said. “Let’s just say that if something’s flying over your head, if there are a whole bunch of flying cars all over the place, that is not an anxiety-reducing situation.”

“You don’t think to yourself, ‘well, I feel better about today,’” Musk deadpanned to laughter in the audience. “You’re thinking, ‘did they service their hubcap? Or is it going to come off and guillotine me as they’re flying past?’” (Link to more)

"Political Media Earns Poor Marks From Americans"

Via Drudge:  As political journalists prepare to gather at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday to celebrate their work, a new Morning Consult poll is likely to make many of them cringe.

In the new poll, roughly half (51 percent) of Americans said the national political media “is out of touch with everyday Americans,” compared with 28 percent who said it “understand the issues everyday Americans are facing.”

President Donald Trump, a frequent public antagonist of the press and the first president in 36 years to skip the confab, is also slightly more trusted than the national political media. Thirty-seven percent of Americans said they trusted Trump’s White House to tell the truth, while 29 percent opted for the media.

(Link to more)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Art, If you had to pick one to hang which one would you choose?

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What is the worst part about wrecking a race car?

"THE NO QUESTION, hands-down worst part about breaking a race car is the bit where you sit there, strapped into the thing, waiting to be towed back to your trailer."
You think about a lot of things, stuck there on the side of a racetrack.

Mostly, you think about how you are an idiot.

Conventional wisdom holds that sometimes, machines just break. This truth lives in an entirely separate reality from the bubble around your average racetrack, where everyone knows that broken race cars are always the driver's fault. It doesn't matter if the guy behind the wheel actually did anything wrong; everyone in the paddock will see that busted or crashed-up heap and choose the simplest answer:

You dorked it.

But that's the sport. Racing is a responsibility sponge; it does nothing so well as produce cause for blame. Like any sport, the pastime also lends itself to examined choices—smart ones, dumb ones, and the space between, like that time your driver sat outside the trailer until well after midnight, singing Paul Simon's Graceland LP start to finish with a crew guy and a bottle of rye, when each of those individuals had a 6:00 wake-up call the next morning, for an early qualifying session. (For the record, this is not a hypothetical situation; I was there. I was also there when the driver in question woke up for said session with a blinding headache, then proceeded to set fasttest lap of the weekend for the whole class. Which, in turn, prompted obvious questions: Was it the Simon? The inherently mind-clearing nature of pain? The tone-deaf murder of "You Can Call Me Al"?)

Naturally, there are trends. In race cars, as in life, most people don't hyperanalyze good choices. It's the train wrecks that take root. Even if a given mess wasn't your fault, you will wait for that tow truck feeling like God's own moron. Wondering where it all went wrong.

There are so many ways for it to go wrong.

Sometimes, of course, you do something stupid.
Link to the rest of the article

"The Democrats’ First 100 Days"

Via InstapunditDemocrats feel betrayed. The Electoral College betrayed them by making Trump president. Hillary Clinton betrayed them by running an uninspiring campaign. James Comey betrayed them by reopening the investigation into Clinton’s server 11 days before the election. Facebook betrayed them by circulating fake news. This sense of resentment isn’t so different than the sort Democrats attribute to Trump supporters: irritation at a loss of status, vexation at changed circumstances. The despondence of a liberal is alleviated when he sees throngs of protesters, hears Samantha Bee, scrolls through Louise Mensch’s tweets.

Makes him feel better. But his party is in tatters, reduced to 16 governors, 30 state legislative chambers, a historically low number of state legislative seats, 193 members of the House, 46 senators. The Democrats are leaderless, rudderless, held together only by opposition to Trump. The most popular figure on the left refuses to call himself a Democrat while sitting alongside the newly elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee. That chairman, dirty-talking Tom Perez, represents a professional, technocratic class that supports Wall Street and globalization as long as there is room for multiculturalism and social liberalism. That is a different strategy from both the 50-state approach of Howard Dean, Rahm Emanuel, and Schumer that brought Democrats control of Congress in 2006, and the anti-Wall Street, protectionist, single-payer left of Bernie Sanders. Perez fights with Bernie Sanders and Nancy Pelosi over whether there is room for pro-lifers in the party—Perez thinks not. Pelosi enjoys the distinction of being an American political figure less popular than Donald Trump.

What is the Democratic agenda?

(Link to the whole thing)

"Female dragonflies fake sudden death to avoid male advances"

Via TwitterFemale dragonflies use an extreme tactic to get rid of unwanted suitors: they drop out the sky and then pretend to be dead.

Rassim Khelifa from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, witnessed the behaviour for the first time in the moorland hawker dragonfly (Aeshna juncea). While collecting their larvae in the Swiss Alps, he watched a female crash-dive to the ground while being pursued by a male.

The female then lay motionless on her back. Her suitor soon flew away, and the female took off once the coast was clear.

“I was surprised,” says Khelifa, who had never previously seen this in 10 years of studying dragonflies.

Female moorland hawkers are vulnerable to harassment when they lay their eggs since, unlike some other dragonflies, they aren’t guarded by their male mates. A single sexual encounter with another male is enough to fertilise all eggs and copulating again could damage their reproductive tract.

Khelifa found that the females often retreat to dense vegetation near ponds at this time, probably to hide. And they often act dramatically when they emerge.

(Link to more)

"Yale Grad Students Go on ‘Symbolic’ Hunger Strike Where They’re Allowed to Eat"

Via InstapunditA group of Yale University graduate students announced Tuesday evening that they would be undertaking a hunger strike to pressure the administration into granting them better union benefits. The strike is taking place in front of University President Peter Salovey’s home.

"Yale wants to make us wait and wait and wait … until we give up and go away," the eight members of the graduate student union Local 33 announced. "We have committed ourselves to waiting without eating."

Yale doctoral students currently earn a stipend $30,000 a year, receive free health care, and have their $40,000 tuition paid in full, according

As it turns out, the hunger strike might not put anyone's health in peril. According to a pamphlet posted on Twitter by a former Yale student, the hunger strike is "symbolic" and protesters can leave and get food when they can no longer go on.

(Link to more)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Trump says 'major, major' conflict with North Korea possible"

Via Drudge: U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday a major conflict with North Korea is possible in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programs, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute.

"There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely," Trump told Reuters in an Oval Office interview ahead of his 100th day in office on Saturday.

Nonetheless, Trump said he wanted to peacefully resolve a crisis that has bedeviled multiple U.S. presidents, a path that he and his administration are emphasizing by preparing a variety of new economic sanctions while not taking the military option off the table.

"We'd love to solve things diplomatically but it's very difficult," he said.

(Link to more)

Ireland and Switzerland

Limerick, Ireland (Link to source)
Blausee, Switzerland (Link to source)

WKRLEM: Lie to me.

"New website offers US women help to perform their own abortions"

"Fearful that Donald Trump’s presidency poses a once-in-a-generation threat to US reproductive rights, an international advocacy group this week is unveiling what is sure to be a controversial response: a web portal dedicated to helping US women terminate their own pregnancies with abortion-inducing drugs they have obtained outside of a medical setting."
The project, launched by Women Help Women, is a nod to the fact that many US women may already be taking matters into their own hands as abortion options in this country contract.

Women in the US have been and are using the pills without good guidance,” said Susan Yanow, the US spokeswoman for the group, Women Help Women. “If a woman is anxious and has the pills in her hand, and doesn’t know what to do … we can help her understand what to do. We can help her understand what signs to look for, and what’s going on.”

Several studies have shown that many of these women, particularly those living along the US-Mexico border, are using misoprostol, a miscarriage-causing drug that can be legally purchased over the counter in many Central American pharmacies. In the US, it is illegal to administer the drug outside of certain medical clinics.

Rules for taking misoprostol are easy to find online. What Women Help Women has done differently is connect US women with counselors who can provide step-by-step instructions, and answer questions, in real time.
What could go wrong? (Link to more)