17 October 2017

Divertimento #137

Another gifdump, because readers like them, it's quick, and I have yard chores to do.

Girl opens can of beer; frat boys approve.

A hideaway bunk bed.

A shrew leads her babies.


Fore-edge painting on book pages.

Football fans at University of Iowa wave at the children in the hospital.

I normally don't post "fail gifs," but I'll make an exception for this one.

A man and his hummingbird.  And a frustrated hummingbird.

Temporary tattoo printer (with discussion thread re possible problems).

"Halo" for a blind dog.

Apparently normal behavior for an ostrich.

Oiling a hardwood floor.

At a concert in the Netherlands.

Blowing a compact disc bubble.

Heimlich maneuver Halloween costume.

How rainfall generates aerosols (i.e. why you can smell a dusty road when it starts to sprinkle).

How firemen wind up hoses.

Smart bird.

Gas station manager explains that you shouldn't smoke while filling your gas tank.

Japanese soap dispenser.

Using acid to remove rust from a bolt.

Making a wooden bowl on a lathe.

Watch that first step...

How a cheetah runs.  Impressive.

Train crossing barrier apparently not calibrated for high-speed train.

Bar trick with a cloth napkin.

Sphalerite cut as a gemstone.

Frosting a cake.

Peacock display.

"Dad marking out on a small football pitch with his blind son's hands what's going on down on the actual pitch."

Beware of the dog.

"Look at me!  I'm a goat!"

And the best dog gif of the day: "When I say 'go' you can have the treat."

Photos from a gallery of images from the 2017 Westminster Dog Show.  More images (and photo credits) at the link.

The President is a great office, not a great man

"Calvin Coolidge never made any pretensions to greatness. "It is a great advantage to a President and a major source of safety to the country, for him to know that he is not a great man," he recorded in his Autobiography."
More about Coolidge at the United States Senate webpage.

Flying robots


When I take an airline flight, I never tire of looking at meanders and oxbow lakes.
The term derives from the Meander River located in present-day Turkey and known to the Ancient Greeks as Μαίανδρος Maiandros (Latin: Maeander), characterised by a very convoluted path along the lower reach. As such, even in Classical Greece (and in later Greek thought) the name of the river had become a common noun meaning anything convoluted and winding, such as decorative patterns or speech and ideas, as well as the geomorphological feature. Strabo said: ‘…its course is so exceedingly winding that everything winding is called meandering.’

The Meander River is located south of Izmir, east of the ancient Greek town of Miletus, now Milet, Turkey. It flows through a graben in the Menderes Massif, but has a flood plain much wider than the meander zone in its lower reach. Its modern Turkish name is the Büyük Menderes River.
Photo via Viewfind, where purchase information for the image is available.

"I Stand For The National Anthem"

"There is a huge tv screen by the food carts right inside the stadium where people gather to watch. We went over there to check it out and we saw him spread the flag out and sit down."
Some additional details at Deadspin.

16 October 2017

High school pep rally


When I was in high school, a pep rally consisted of two or three girls waving pom-poms and trying unsuccessfully to get a small crowd to yell "Win team win."  Times have changed.

Some serious planning, choreography and hundreds of hours of practice must have gone into this routine at Walden Grove High School, Sahuarita Arizona.  Worth a few minutes of your time unless you are a complete grouch.  And probably worth clicking the full-screen icon.

Via Boing Boing.

15 October 2017

Why is this image distorted?

This is the greenside area of the third hole at Tianna Country Club in Walker, Minnesota.  The ripples from my failed approach shot have faded away.  What interests me is the birch trees and their reflection in the pond.  In real life they were perfectly upright.

I photographed the scene with my iPhone SE, which has a fairly wide-angle built-in lens (29mm I think), but I don't remember encountering this much distortion using wide-angle lenses on my old film and digital cameras.

I've encountered obvious distortion with this phone taking panorama images, but this was a conventional one.  I need some education on the "why" and any coping techniques, and I figure asking the readership here will be faster than searching the 'net.  Thanks in advance.


Found crawling on my jeans in the woods of northern Minnesota.  I should have placed him on my walking stick for the photo.

Fascinating creatures; I'm recurrently amazed that they are capable of flying.

"Please excuse Gene"

Photographed at the museum of the Pine County (MN) Historical Society.  Highly recommended for a day trip with lunch in their cafe.

Vintage horsefly blanket

To anyone who has been around horses (or horseflies), the image speaks for itself.

Modern versions seem to be made of plastic or fabric.  I found a vintage one for sale on eBay made of leather.  This one appeared to be made of coarse string or yarn.  In the pre-plastic era this would probably be cooler than a fabric blanket.

Photographed at the museum of the Pine County (MN) Historical Society.  Highly recommended for a day trip with lunch in their cafe.

This is a "fire grenade"

"We found several of these old fire grenades in the attic of a large, old house in Edina [a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota]. It's a glass bulb filled with carbon tetrachloride, and was supposed to be thrown at the base of a fire to help put it out.

They were withdrawn in the 1950s because the chemical is toxic, and heat from fires can apparently turn the chemical into phosgene gas.
Found among the Fun home inspection photos from 2016.

Addendum:  Similar (but safer) products are still being manufactured and used.

Video of fire grenades being used.  The explanations I've seen about these tend to explain their efficacy as being a result of the gases produced, but I think not enough emphasis is given to the effects of the concussive explosion along as a fire-suppressant.

Reposted to add this photo I took at the Pine County Historical Society museum in Askov, Minnesota:

 Excellent museum, BTW...

07 October 2017


'Tis the season to start putting the gardens to bed for the winter, watch football games, play some last golf, and do some leafpeeping. 

Back in about a week.

06 October 2017

"Steve" is a new type of Northern Lights

You might wonder what Steve means. At first it didn't mean anything. It was just a name. Steve comes from the animated movie Over The Hedge. In the movie, the main characters were watching bushes rustle. Out came an animal that they didn't know. So they named it Steve.

That's how Steve, the new type of northern lights, got its name. Citizen scientists took a few photos of Steve and showed the photos to NASA scientists. NASA scientists initially couldn't explain the newly discovered aurora type, so they all decided on naming it Steve for now.
NASA scientists have now created a "backronym" - Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement.
NASA has set up a project called Aurorasaurus. At Aurorasaurus, you can see where the northern lights are predicted to be located in the near future, and actual reports of the northern lights from people around the world.

"Crazy Hair Day" at school

Found in the Funny subreddit.

See also Not a Dress Code Violation (2015)

Also this one.

Peacock spiders dance

From Live Science:
They're peacock spiders, a group of tiny arachnids that are small in stature but giants in the charisma department, best known for their brilliant colors and energetic courtship "dances" — much like the showy, fan-tailed peacocks that inspired the spiders' name.

And scientists recently described seven new peacock spider species — so let the spider dance party commence! [In Photos: 7 New Species of Peacock Spider]

Researchers found the newly described species — all of which were in the genus Maratus — in Western Australia and South Australia, bringing the total number of known Maratus species to 48. The spiders in this genus measure on average about 0.16 to 0.20 inches (4 to 5 millimeters) in length, with females a bit larger than the males.

Females that belong to this genus tend to be dappled in different shades of brown. But it's the males' dramatic coloration that catches the eye and prompts biologists to assign them whimsical nicknames like "Sparklemuffin," which was bestowed upon a peacock spider species described in 2015. Colors and patterns are displayed on the males' abdomens, frequently on a "fan" — a flat structure that is lifted up toward the female during the male's courtship performance.
More information at the Live Science link and in the video at the next post.
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