Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Coffee and Provocation

Therapy Dog or Disease Vector?
It turns out that therapy dogs can spread superbugs to kids. Kids with cancer, and compromised immunity systems are most at risk.

Beaver Dams Can Last Centuries
A 150-year old map of beaver dams and ponds near Ishpeming, Michigan shows many beaver dams and ponds still exist.

When This Rome Fell, It Was Not a Tragedy
The historian Procopius tell us that when Emperor Honorius was told about the fall of Rome, he cried out thinking his pet chicken had died, since it was named after the city. Once he learned it was only the city that had fallen, Honorius breathed a sigh of relief.

A Beautiful Monkey
Neanderthals shared their viruses with Homo sapiens, but also passed on their genes for coping with their pathogens. In short, modern humans are not only a hybrid animal, we are also a hybrid immune system.

Garbage In, Garbage Out
In its first eruption in nine decades, Ear Spring geyser in Yellowstone National Park shot out a massive amount of trash tossed in by decades of tourists.

No More Plagues?
From polio to tuberculosis, infectious diseases are no longer the leading cause of death in any region. Somehow, we are still supposed to still feel bad about this news.

It's Raining Kangaroos
Thanks to a few years of rain, there are now twice as many kangaroos in Australia as people (50 million to 25 million). Thee result:  Australians are being encouraged to eat more kangaroo as a way of controlling their numbers, but demand remains low.

Peace Dividend
Now that peace has broken out in Columbia, FARC guerillas are showing scientists new species in the jungle.

Pride Cometh Before the Fall
The quest for selfies killed at least 259 people between 2011 and 2017.

The Paleontology of Charles Dickens
Charles Dicken's Bleak House was the first English novel to mention a dinosaur. The first paragraph of the first chapter starts: "Michaelmas Term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another’s umbrellas in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing their foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest."

The Best Nobel Prize
After winning the Nobel Prize in 1922, the Carlsberg brewery gave physicist Niels Bohr a free house next to the brewery with a tapline straight into the house so Bohr could have free beer for the rest of his life.

1 comment:

LRM said...

The Morgan map story is really fantastic. Kind of cancels out the disappointment one feels from that Yellowstone piece.