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Some old books had feet


Erik Kwakkel explains: When medieval binders knew that the object they were processing would be placed on a lectern, for example in a chained library, they often added tiny feet like the ones seen here.

What was in Edgar Allan Poe's head?

Many years ago I spent a lot of time studying the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe (see this manuscript), but do not remember previously having read this account of his exhumation: When Poe died, he was buried, rather unceremoniously, in an unmarked grave in a Baltimore graveyard.

"Fear not for the future..."


Via imgur.

"Fearbola"


As reported in The Huffington Post: In Maine, an elementary school teacher was recently put on paid leave for up to three weeks after parents complained that the teacher had traveled to Dallas, where there have been a few Ebola cases.

Interesting demographics

Fewer babies born in Wisconsin.  For six years in a row. Claire Smith, spokesperson from the Department of Health Services said the number of babies born in Wisconsin declined for the sixth year in a row last year.

The University of North Carolina "student-athlete" academic scandal - updated


This week the U.S. is in the throes of its annual "March Madness" collegiate basketball mania, so it seems to be an appropriate time to provide some links about the recent scandal at the University of North Carolina.

Two more weeks of this...


The "caller ID" no longer works on my office phone, so yesterday when I answered it, I heard "Hi !! This is [politician].  I know everybody hates robocalls, but..." [click] I have grown not to just despise the politicians, but to hate the process.

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.


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