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Divertimento #124

For less than $20 you can buy a fiberoptic endoscope that attaches to your smart phone and potentially check yourself for polyps in the nose, larynx, and maybe elsewhere.

Light. Action. Camera.

"Shot this 3 second "selfie" tonight at Coronado Beach, CA. This is me swinging a string of glow sticks with burning steel wool at the end.

"Structural color" in butterfly wings

YouTube link. Scientists study the process in vitro in order to document the development of nanostructures that give the appearance of color without having pigment themselves.  Interesting.

Schwartzenegger shuts down a troll

Arnold Schwartzenegger posted a video congratulating the winners of the Special Olympics World Games.

Gaiman: "our future depends on libraries and reading"

Excerpts from a superb extended interview in The Guardian: I’m going to tell you that libraries are important.

This is a greenhouse

Specifically it's a structural component of the Bombay Sapphire Distillery in the United Kingdom. ...they use the excess heat from inside the distillery to be able to create a greenhouse environment outside and allow the distillery to grow tropical and Mediterranean herbs and spices directly on site.

A football game has only 11 minutes of action

From a 2010 article in the WSJ (the numbers might have changed a bit since then): According to a Wall Street Journal study of four recent broadcasts, and similar estimates by researchers, the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL game is about 11 minutes...

Is it OK to put dog poop in a neighbor's garbage can?

There are some dilemmas of modern life that our grandparents could never have imagined.  In various locations around this country there is an ongoing public debate about the disposal of dog poop.  Everyone agrees that the dog's owner should pick it up - but there is disagreement about the proper disposal.

Prophetic words from Rod Serling

This Twilight Zone closing summary has been widely cited in recent months: The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout.

Is there an error in this Constable painting?

The painting is "Wivenhoe Park" by John Constable, currently in the collections of the National Gallery of Art.

"Protruding iris collarette"

The iris collarette is a landmark that separates the central pupillary zone from the peripheral ciliary zone.

"Climate security"

Memo to self: use the phrase "climate security" when discussing climate change with skeptics. 2016 saw a "dramatic" decline in the number of coal-fired power stations in pre-construction globally.

Can't tolerate punches from cartoon kittens

A 17-year-old girl in California created a website "where users click on Donald Trump’s face to punch him with tiny kitten paws." But what was meant as nothing more than a jokey website for coding practice has turned into a legal nightmare.

When shall we meet?

From the archives of The New Yorker.

Another type of chess "problem"

Broadcast media (movies, television) have persistent difficulties incorporating chess into their storylines without introducing errors: “There are a ton of chess mistakes in TV and in film,” says Mike Klein, a writer and videographer for

Not untrue

From the archives of The New Yorker.

Compare and contrast

For your essay today, class, you will compare and contrast two of the leaders of major countries in terms of their knowledge about nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.

The ancient Greeks had no word for "blue"

Homer’s descriptions of color in The Iliad and The Odyssey, taken literally, paint an almost psychedelic landscape: in addition to the sea, sheep were also the color of wine; honey was green, as were the fear-filled faces of men; and the sky is often described as bronze.

"A Man Called Ove"

YouTube link. I watched this movie earlier this week and can unreservedly recommend it. A Man Called Ove (Swedish: En man som heter Ove, pronounced [ˈuːvɛ]) is a Swedish comedy-drama film...