MetaFilter posts by caddis.
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Tomatoes were nicknamed "the “poison apple” because it was thought that aristocrats got sick and died after eating them, but the truth of the matter was that wealthy Europeans used pewter plates, which were high in lead content. Because tomatoes are so high in acidity, when placed on this particular tableware, the fruit would leach lead from the plate, resulting in many deaths from lead poisoning. No one made this connection between plate and poison at the time; the tomato was picked as the culprit. " [I]t was an astonishing event when, in 1806, Jefferson served them to guests at the President’s House.
posted on Apr-18-17 at 8:52 AM

The occupiers from Mordor and their sad little horse - I mean Russians from the Russian Federation and their Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov - such is Google translate. Probably not an intentional Google bomb, but just how the Ukrainians have actually been describing their occupiers in online documents which feed Google's translation algorithm.
posted on Jan-7-16 at 8:25 AM

The Code of Honor; or Rules for the Government of Principals and Seconds in Duelling by John Lyde Wilson 1858. (via Chief Justice John Roberts)
posted on Jan-5-16 at 7:11 AM

Why are autumn leaves mostly yellow in Europe and red in North America? The colour of a British wood in autumn is predominantly yellow. There are relatively few European trees which have red leaves in the autumn....Autumn is much redder in North America and east Asia than it is in northern Europe, and this can’t be explained by temperature differences alone.
posted on Dec-1-15 at 6:47 AM

A New Whitney It has been interesting to watch the High Line progress from nothing more than a dream to its current wonderful reality mixing green, gleam and grit. Jason's early unauthorized foray introduced many around these parts to the High Line. Now the Whitney moves in.
posted on Apr-19-15 at 6:17 AM

The Battle of Bouvines was fought 800 years ago on July 27, 1214 and its outcome directly led to the Magna Carta and also to the national identities of both England and France. Some historians claim this date should be remembered after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 as one of the defining moments in English history. King John attempted to retake lands in Normandy employing an alliance army including Otto of Germany. John attacked from the south, but more importantly Otto was decisively defeated at Bouvines. Humiliated in defeat John was forced to consent to the Magna Carta, and the Anglo-Norman realm came to a final end allowing both England and France to develop their separate national identities. More background.
posted on Jul-26-14 at 7:54 PM

Iron, Steam and Coal. Photographer Matthew Malkiewicz captures the timeless beauty of the steam locomotive and steam trains - the steam, the tracks, the folks who run them and just the folks who love them. (Via Petapixel)
posted on Jul-22-14 at 8:13 AM

Breaking Bad - the alternative ending. The Bob Newhart ending - Breaking Bad / Malcom in the Middle version.
posted on Nov-17-13 at 9:08 AM

Stop calling the DA "the Government!" it hurts her feelings or something. The defense responds..'Should this Court disagree, and feel inclined to let the parties basically pick their own designations and ban words, then the defense has a few additional suggestions....defense counsel does not wish to be referred to as a "lawyer," or a "defense attorney." Those terms are substantially more prejudicial than probative. See Tenn. R. Evid. 403. Rather, counsel for the Citizen Accused should be referred to primarily as the "Defender of the Innocent." This title seems particularly appropriate, because every Citizen Accused is presumed innocent. Alternatively, counsel would also accept the designation "Guardian of the Realm."'
posted on Nov-3-13 at 10:06 AM

Someone appears to have an answer to why warm water appears to freeze more quickly than cool water, a phenomenon known as the Mpemba effect after Erasto Mpemba who noticed the effect in freezing ice cream. The reasons why have eluded scientists and prizes have been offered for a solution. Now a group headed by Prof. Xi Zhang out of Singapore has proposed a promising theory. The answer as they see it lies in energy stored in the covalent bonds within the water molecules which are affected by the temperature of the water. (via the Presurfer)
posted on Nov-1-13 at 2:24 PM

What Each Country Leads the World In
posted on Oct-20-13 at 4:44 PM

Even Hemingway, so easily spoofed, raved about the oysters. But he knew something of himself, and something of this extraordinary city, and what it gave to him. “There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other,” he wrote. “Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it.” Yet then he added, with just the right soupçon of sadness: “But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.”
posted on Oct-19-13 at 1:32 PM

Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead? [Adam] Grant, 31, is the youngest-tenured and highest-rated professor at Wharton.... Grant might not seem so different from any number of accessible and devoted professors on any number of campuses, and yet when you witness over time the sheer volume of Grant’s commitments, and the way in which he is able to follow through on all of them, you start to sense that something profoundly different is at work. Helpfulness is Grant’s credo.... For Grant, helping is not the enemy of productivity, a time-sapping diversion from the actual work at hand; it is the mother lode, the motivator that spurs increased productivity and creativity. In some sense, he has built a career in professional motivation by trying to unpack the puzzle of his own success. He has always helped; he has always been productive. How, he has wondered for most of his professional life, does the interplay of those two factors work for everyone else?
posted on Mar-28-13 at 7:32 AM

Backyard Solar Death Ray. Melt pennies in seconds with a fresnel lens repurposed from an old large screen television. Grant Thompson has other fun and liability lawyer unapproved projects such as melting metal, making solid rocket fuel and making a compressed air rocket launcher. (via homunculus and his post on Monkeyfilter)
posted on Mar-24-13 at 8:56 AM

“Solid Wood: All About Chopping, Drying and Stacking Wood — and the Soul of Wood-Burning” This best selling book by Lars Mytting highlights a passion for firewood and inspired a TV program in Norway about cutting, stacking and burning firewood. The TV program, on the topic of firewood, consisted mostly of people in parkas chatting and chopping in the woods and then eight hours of a fire burning in a fireplace. Yet no sooner had it begun, on prime time on Friday night, than the angry responses came pouring in. “We received about 60 text messages from people complaining about the stacking in the program,” said [Mr.] Mytting .... “Fifty percent complained that the bark was facing up, and the rest complained that the bark was facing down."
posted on Feb-20-13 at 4:36 AM

The Charles Addams Mother Goose
Three blind mice, see how they run!
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife.
Did you ever see such a sight in your life
As three blind mice?
Charles Addams, longtime New Yorker cartoonist illustrates the nursery rhymes of Mother Goose.
posted on Jan-8-13 at 11:54 AM

Baseball or Football? How Your Sports Choices ... Reveal your Politics. StubHub crunched their ticket data and found that baseball states tend to vote blue and football states tend to vote red. [via PostRoad's very excellent linkblog (nsfw)]
posted on Oct-12-12 at 10:31 PM

"[T]he corrupting influence of money is the first problem facing this nation. That unless we solve this problem, we won’t solve anything else... The Framers, Lessig says, had just one kind of dependence in mind for members of Congress: a dependence on the people. He quotes The Federalist (the then-anonymous essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay that are often used as a contemporary account of the Framers’ intentions) to make this point: number 52 describes the House of Representatives as that “branch of the federal government which ought to be dependent on the people alone” (emphasis added). But in the last two decades, Lessig writes, members of Congress have developed a fearsome dependency: campaign cash. The total amount spent on campaigns by all candidates for Congress in 2010 was $1.8 billion. Fundraising has become a way of life..." (via 3 Quarks Daily)
posted on Aug-1-12 at 11:57 AM

It all comes down to race. Michael Tesler, expanding upon the research of his mentor David Sears, has found racial bias to be a strong indicator of people's opinions on a myriad of political and other issues. The effect extended even to issues that normally would be the most stable and to opinions that would seem divorced from politics.
posted on Jun-2-12 at 4:58 AM

Most of what we think about Mexican immigration is wrong. If Congress had done nothing to secure the border over the last two decades — if it had just left the border alone — there might be as many as 2 million fewer Mexicans living in the United States today, Massey believes....

“Not only was the militarization of the border not a success,” Massey argues, “it backfired in the sense that it transformed what had been a circular migration of male workers to three states [California, Texas, and Illinois] into a much larger, settled population of families living in 50 states.”

posted on Apr-25-12 at 8:24 AM

Snowball! Friday afternoon has arrived and what better way to celebrate that on a Spring day than with a snowy flash pinball game...
posted on Apr-20-12 at 10:42 AM

"Lavatory Lovestory" Something light and warm for holiday enjoyment. A short animated film from Russia about a middle aged woman and her secret admirer. (via that most wonderful of linkblogs: The Presurfer)
posted on Dec-30-11 at 12:29 PM

The year in pictures - 2011
posted on Dec-5-11 at 6:43 AM

The Aeronautical Pentathlon Has Six Events—and Flying Doesn't Count. Aeronautical pentathlon—which inexplicably has six events—is a riff on the modern pentathlon at the Olympics. Created 63 years ago, the military pilots' version has pretty much flown under the radar. And though the sport is based on flying, the nonflying parts of the competition determine the winner. While it is exclusively practiced by air forces, it was always excluded from the military Olympics—called the World Military Games—until last month's event in Rio de Janeiro. ... and the home team wins.
posted on Aug-18-11 at 12:59 PM

How Slavery Really Ended in America On May 23, 1861, little more than a month into the Civil War, three young black men rowed across the James River in Virginia and claimed asylum in a Union-held citadel.... [T]the laws of the United States were clear: all fugitives must be returned to their masters. The founding fathers enshrined this in the Constitution; Congress reinforced it in 1850 with the Fugitive Slave Act; and it was still the law of the land — including, as far as the federal government was concerned, within the so-called Confederate states. The war had done nothing to change it. Most important, noninterference with slavery was the very cornerstone of the Union’s war policy. President Abraham Lincoln had begun his inaugural address by making this clear, pointedly and repeatedly. “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists,” the president said. “I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”
posted on Apr-2-11 at 2:23 PM

“To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life.” Craig Venter created synthetic life and inscribed this quote from James Joyce into its genome. Now he has been threatened with a suit for copyright infringement by the very litigious James Joyce estate.
posted on Mar-20-11 at 6:43 PM

Stop and smell the roses. In this time of hectic preparation for year's end, last minute Christmas shopping, wrapping, baking etc. let us not forget the gift of idleness and its endearing virtue. Some may disagree, but what is the use of progress if it fails to offer time for relaxation and contemplation? Sit back, relax and enjoy your time off from the daily toil. Christmas is upon us with the message of peace on Earth and goodwill toward men. (thanks be unto the Presurfer for this Christmas gift)
posted on Dec-24-10 at 8:29 AM

Misinformation and the 2010 Election - A Study of the US Electorate. The key findings of the study are:

1. Perceptions of Misleading and False Information An overwhelming majority of voters said that they encountered misleading or false information in the last election, with a majority saying that this occurred frequently and occurred more frequently than usual.

2. Evidence of Misinformation Among Voters The poll found strong evidence that voters were substantially misinformed on many of the issues prominent in the election campaign, including the stimulus legislation, the healthcare reform law, TARP, the state of the economy, climate change, campaign contributions by the US Chamber of Commerce and President Obama’s birthplace. In particular, voters had perceptions about the expert opinion of economists and other scientists that were quite different from actual expert opinion.

posted on Dec-19-10 at 1:54 PM

Why Are There No Great Women Chefs? In 2007 Michelin awarded French chef Anne-Sophie Pic three stars, making her only the fourth woman in her country’s history to receive that honor (fifty years had passed since the last of her sex had garnered that third sparkler).2 The following year, in the United Kingdom, it was considered breaking news when ten female chefs won any Michelin stars at all...[For] the 2009 James Beard Awards gala... “Women in Food” was the chosen motif, but since only sixteen of the evening’s ninety-six nominees were, in fact, women, it seemed like a cruel joke. In the end, only two of those sixteen went home victorious, out of nineteen winners total...[I]n Bravo tv’s Top Chef Masters competition, a paltry three out of twenty-four American “Masters” were women. [via 3 Quarks Daily]
posted on Dec-6-10 at 12:27 PM

The English language, which arose from humble Anglo-Saxon roots to become the lingua franca of 600 million people worldwide and the dominant lexicon of international discourse, is dead. It succumbed last month at the age of 1,617 after a long illness. It is survived by an ignominiously diminished form of itself.
posted on Sep-24-10 at 7:15 AM

A story of moose snouts, tenement animal husbandry and Crisco - the Lower East Side.
RAZ: Now, you describe the markets in this part of the Lower East Side, around the Bowery that Mr. Glockner's wife would often go to to find fresh produce, I was amazed to read about what you could get in New York City in the 1860s. I mean, there were a lot of choices.
Ms. ZIEGELMAN: You could buy bear. You could buy moose. And not only moose, you could buy moose snout. This was considered a particular delicacy.
RAZ: By whom?
Ms. ZIEGELMAN: That I don't know.

posted on Jun-9-10 at 2:14 PM

“Let us acknowledge the measure of their sacrifice by honoring them as brave women, and by honoring them as women who served without thought of glory which we accord to heroes of battle. The service pilot faces the risk of death without the emotional inspiration of combat. Men who battle in the sky have the grim, triumphant knowledge that their bombs and bullets are destroying the enemy, and their courage is sustained by the emotions of conflict. These women have given their lives in the performance of arduous and exacting duties without being able to see and feel the final results of their work under the quickening influence of aerial action. They have demonstrated a courage which is sustained not by the fevers of combat, but the steady heartbeat of faith—a faith in the rightness of our cause, and a faith in the importance of their work to the men who do go into combat. Let us pay tribute to these women by honoring their memory . . . Let us treasure their memory as women whose sacrifice has brought honor not only to their country, but also to their organization. We shall not forget the accomplishments of our women fliers and their contributions to the fulfillment of our mission. And we shall always keep and remember the brave heritage of the women who gave their lives. It is the heritage of faith in victory and faith in the ultimate freedom of humanity.”
posted on May-31-10 at 8:17 AM

Are teacher's unions the enemy of reform? DISCUSS The Teacher's Union's Last Stand. How President Obama’s Race to the Top could revolutionize public education.
posted on May-22-10 at 1:12 PM

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, Oh yeah
[another great find at Postroad's blog (NSFW)]
posted on May-19-10 at 3:20 PM

Plummeting Marijuana prices cause panic in CA. In 1983, the Reagan administration launched a massive air and ground campaign to eradicate pot and lock up growers in northern California. Charley Custer, a writer and community activist, had just arrived to Humboldt County from Chicago. With the Reagan crackdown, Custer recalls, wholesale prices shot up — to as high as $5,000 a pound. That sudden and ironic windfall for those growers willing to risk prison time transformed the community.... Prices are now much less than $2,000 a pound, according to interviews with more than a dozen growers and dealers. Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman says some growers can't get rid of their processed pot at any price.
posted on May-17-10 at 1:56 PM

A botnet with 6 to 12 million computers, employing the world's most sophisticated encryption and peer to peer communication lies waiting, but for what? When the Conficker computer “worm” was unleashed on the world in November 2008, cyber-security experts didn’t know what to make of it. It infiltrated millions of computers around the globe. It constantly checks in with its unknown creators. It uses an encryption code so sophisticated that only a very few people could have deployed it. For the first time ever, the cyber-security elites of the world have joined forces in a high-tech game of cops and robbers, trying to find Conficker’s creators and defeat them. The cops are failing. And now the worm lies there, waiting … [via Postroad's rich linkdump: Goodsh*t (nsfw)]
posted on May-15-10 at 7:10 AM

Free speech radio. Forty years ago today the KKK bombed KPFT a Pacifica radio station a mere two months after they went on the air. They rebuilt and were bombed again during a rendition of Alice's Restaurant. The hatred of speech continues, but then so does the station and the network.
posted on May-12-10 at 7:12 PM

Nothing succeeds like failure. [H]istory shows that breakthroughs often spring not from carefully laid plans, but from mischance or even sheer, ridiculous accidents. A stovetop spill heralded vulcanized rubber; the potency of uranium was revealed when a rock was left in a drawer among photographic plates. And great research seldom follows an unswerving path. At RCA in Princeton in the 1950s, David Sarnoff exhorted his team to invent a flat television that could hang on a wall. “There were an enormous number of failures,” says Princeton historian of science Michael Gordin — and instead of TVs, the world got the Seiko digital watch in 1973.
posted on Apr-9-10 at 9:15 PM

Invisible people. A multi-link Vimeo post. Mark Horvath gives homeless people a forum, removes their invisibility. (Via NPR's Weekend Edition)
posted on Mar-6-10 at 8:37 AM

Fifty years ago today four black students, Joseph A. McNeil, Franklin E. McCain, David L. Richmond and Ezell A. Blair Jr., asked to be served lunch at the Woolworth lunch counter and so began an extended nonviolent sit-in which energized the civil rights movement. Monday the International Civil Rights Center and Museum will open in that loacation.
posted on Feb-1-10 at 11:30 AM

The threat of a mild punishment imposed reliably and immediately has a much greater deterrent effect than the threat of a severe punishment that is delayed and uncertain. A state trial judge in Hawaii, was frustrated with the cases on his docket. Nearly half of the people appearing before him were convicted offenders with drug problems who had been sentenced to probation rather than prison and then repeatedly violated the terms of that probation by missing appointments or testing positive for drugs. Whether out of neglect or leniency, probation officers would tend to overlook a probationer’s first 5 or 10 violations, giving the offender the impression that he could ignore the rules. But eventually, the officers would get fed up and recommend that Alm revoke probation and send the offender to jail to serve out his sentence. That struck Alm as too harsh, but the alternative — winking at probation violations — struck him as too soft. “I thought, This is crazy, this is a crazy way to change people’s behavior,” he told me recently. So Alm decided to try something different.
posted on Jan-10-10 at 6:54 PM

Blow the whistle on the rich and powerful, go to jail, while they avoid jail. Tax Notes, the weekly publication on federal taxation, announced its "2009 Tax Person of the Year" - a whistleblower from Swiss banking giant UBS whom it called "the Benedict Arnold of the private banking industry." Bradley Birkenfeld came forward and exposed the tax fraud dealings of UBS which led thousands of millionaire tax cheats to come forward and pay billions in back taxes. His reward? Tomorrow he goes to jail. The Government Accountability Project (GAP), a Washington watchdog organization that has extensive whistle-blower experience, says a chilling effect is already apparent: a senior executive at a European bank that offers similar U.S. tax shelters is having second thoughts about going public because of the Birkenfeld case.
posted on Jan-7-10 at 10:28 AM

If there's one genre you have to read before you die it's the travel book
Standard guidebook: "Should you be caught up in a frenzied riot during your time in Jakarta, make your way immediately to your country's embassy. Once inside, relax with one of the native beverages, and think about what a great story you'll have to tell Andy and Rhona on your return."
Hip guidebook:"Should you be caught up in a frenzied riot during your time in Jakarta, consider yourself fortunate to witness the valid cultural expression of a wonderfully passionate race. Feel free to hurl a Molotov cocktail at the riot squad."
(via Jorn>
posted on Dec-11-09 at 12:21 AM

Dave Lamoureux’s kayak, named Fortitude, must be the only one in Massachusetts registered as a motor vessel. That’s because a powerboat registration is required to get a permit to fish for tuna here.... His most recent catch, on Nov. 5, was a 157-pound bluefin, a record tuna for an unassisted kayak fisherman, and a near record over all, topped only by a 183-pound halibut caught by Howard McKim, an Alaskan, in 2004.
posted on Nov-23-09 at 8:11 AM

Pootwattle the Virtual Academic(TM) says: The conceptual logic of millennial hedonism is often found in juxtaposition with, if not in direct opposition to, the sublimation of difference.
posted on Nov-20-09 at 8:27 AM

Your cafefully separated recycling heads to the dump. Reporters in D.C. follow some of the trucks around town and watch them dump the trash and the recycling together into the same truck. (previously)
posted on Nov-9-09 at 8:57 AM

Leeches, horror film staples, medicinal wonders, and now crime fighters. Police cracked the case of a home invasion and safe robbery when they found one of the suspects' blood inside a leech on the floor and matched his dna.
posted on Oct-20-09 at 7:59 AM

R.I.P. Mr. Magic. Mr. Magic's Rap Attack on WBLS was the first and for some time the only commercial radio outlet for hip hop. On October 2 Mr. Magic, John Rivas, passed from a heart attack. Previously 1 2 3.
posted on Oct-7-09 at 7:05 AM

Insect Sushi Shoichi Uchiyama makes sushi of a different kind. Academic studies have shown insects are rich in nutrition and many are even more nutritionally balanced than meat or fish... In addition, they grow much faster and require less feed than animals and fish, and leftover vegetables are enough to farm many kinds of bugs. They grow in small spaces and don't compete with human beings over food... Recipes inside. (via Scribal Terror)
posted on Sep-29-09 at 7:06 AM

Running is actually good for your knees, if you haven't suffered knee injuries in the past. [D]espite entrenched mythology to the contrary, runners don’t seem prone to degenerating knees. An important 2008 study, this one from Stanford University, followed middle-aged, longtime distance runners (not necessarily marathoners) for nearly 20 years, beginning in 1984, when most were in their 50s or 60s. At that time, 6.7 percent of the runners had creaky, mildly arthritic knees, while none of an age-matched control group did. After 20 years, however, the runners’ knees were healthier; only 20 percent showed arthritic changes, versus 32 percent of the control group’s knees. Barely 2 percent of the runners’ knees were severely arthritic, while almost 10 percent of the control group’s were.
posted on Aug-18-09 at 8:03 AM

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