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Pearls Before Swine

Freshwater pearl

Found in the Mississippi River, and "distinguished by a recognizable, soft luster which is not seen in saltwater pearls." Via Minerals, Minerals, Minerals!

"It's raining worms." Again.

[From 2011] It's the sort of event one would expect to read about in Fortean Times (which is online, BTW, but hasn't found the story yet).  I read about it at a Scottish TV station's website (via Arbroath, of course): Pupils at a Scots school had to run for cover when it started raining worms during their PE lesson.

The "Hardy Tree"

This gravestone-encircled tree is located in the churchyard of London's St Pancras Old Church, and named because of the involvement of novelist Thomas Hardy in its creation.  Details at Kuriositas.

"Do not go gentle into that good night"

YouTube link.

Autogyro lands at White House; pilot receives award (1931)

YouTube link. "Pilot Jim Ray, flying the Pitcairn PCA-2 autogyro plane, is first aviator to descent in front of White House.

Test your schadenfreude

"A young bull elephant killed professional hunter Ian Gibson early on Wednesday as he tracked a lion for an American client in a rugged part of north-east Zimbabwe.

Gary Cooper (1930)

Radiologists viewing this photo will wonder whether Cooper is exhibiting a positive or a negative Throckmorton sign (or John Thomas sign).

This is NOT dew

Guttation is the exudation of drops of xylem sap on the tips or edges of leaves of some vascular plants, such as grasses.

The dangerous childhoods of today's "baby boomers"

From an only-slightly-tongue-in-cheek op-ed piece in the StarTribune: We defied danger on a daily basis.

Point of view

It's so seldom that we get to post anything cheerful about a rhinoceros... Found at Big Binho (a reader's blog).

The engineering of an aluminum can

YouTube link. It's more complicated (and more elegant, and more interesting) than you may realize.

The hexagon at Saturn's north pole

"Geometric whirlpools" are discussed in a Nature article: Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark in Lyngby have created similar geometric shapes (holes in the form of stars, squares, pentagons and hexagons) in whirlpools of water in a cylindrical bucket.

American hero fears for his life

It shouldn't be this way - From Saturday until the video surfaced Tuesday, Scott’s killing was being portrayed by city officials as simply what Slager said it was: a case of an officer facing down a violent black man, afraid for his life.

What's going on here?

It's clearly the head, spine, and forelimb of a lizard.  But what's the white part that looks like a spiderweb?

"American Pie" lyrics explained

About five years ago when I blogged an explanation of Paul McCartney's phrase "Mother Mary comes to me", reader Binho suggested that I write about Don McLean's "American Pie," and offered a link to an extensive analysis of those lyrics.

Stop drowning tortoises

People in the US are accidentally drowning baby tortoises by mistaking them for turtle hatchlings and "releasing" them into the water.

Why you should poke holes in veggies before baking them

Spaghetti squash. 

The yacht tax deduction

A WaPo op-ed piece offers reminders that government handouts are not limited to poor people.  Consider, for example, the yacht tax deduction: If you’ve got a boat and you’re paying interest on it, that interest is tax-deductible – provided your boat is really, really big.

Seaweed collecting - a Victorian hobby

From Collector's Weekly: Seaweed collecting embodied a cross-section of Victorian-era pursuits, allowing people to explore nature, improve their scientific knowledge, and create an attractive memento to decorate their homes.