rickets is becoming more common in middle-class children. "It is thought extensive use of sunscreen, children playing more time on computer games and TV rather than playing outside, and a poor diet are to blame."
When President Obama admitted in November that the "had taken a shellacking last night" (in the mid-term elections), he was using a term that used to refer to getting drunk. World Wide Words explains the etymology and current usage of the word.
There is an interesting argument in a Reddit discussion thread re agribusinesses patenting crops after manipulating their genes: "I guess I fail to understand how the removal of genes and the placement of them in other organisms counts as an invention or anything new. It's like saying you've made a totally new brand of car by replacing the alternator with a different one from a different car. 'Isn't that really just a Toyota?' 'No way - the alternator is from an Audi.'" Probably invalid argument, but thought-provoking...
During the midterm elections, a political consultant had a computer robocall thousands of homes in Maryland "suggesting that they "relax" because the race was over, even though polls were still open." Details here and here.
111,111,111 X 111,111,111 = 12345678987654321. Mathematically trivial, but interesting for children and others.
Scientists are offering an explanation for a "gigantic plague of rats" that happens on a cyclical basis in India. It's caused by a 50-year cycle of the programmed death of bamboo forests...
A doctor in Miami is suing a restaurant for not explaining to him the proper method of eating an artichoke. He ate the entire thing, and developed bowel obstruction from the indigestible leaves. The restaurant asks "Are we going to have to post warnings on our menu they shouldn't eat the bones in our barbecue ribs?"
Techdirt reports that members of Congress are exempt from naked scans and intimate patdowns when they fly on commercial airlines. " The NY Times notes that Speaker of the House John Boehner (who does regularly fly commercial) got to walk right by security and go directly to the gate. In defending this, Michael Steel, head of the Republican party pointed out that this is true of all Congressional leaders."
Another item re the TSA body scans: "Michael Chertoff, while he was the Head of Homeland Security under Bush, advocated and pushed for installation and implementation of these new full-body scanners at our airports. Once he was out of "public service", Chertoff's consulting company (Read: Lobbying Company) landed as a client (Surprise!), Rapiscan, the company that makes the scanners."
Want more? "The CEO of one of the two companies licensed to sell full body scanners to the TSA accompanied President Barack Obama to India earlier this month..."
The Skidmore-Southern Vermont basketball set a bunch of NCAA records last week when the game went into seven overtimes. The teams scored 133 points just in the overtimes. More stats at the link.
Mathematician/poet J. J. Sylvester wrote “Rosalind,” a poem of 400 lines "all of which rhyme with the title character’s name. [He] recited “Rosalind” at Baltimore’s Peabody Institute. He began by reading all the explanatory footnotes, so as not to interrupt the poem, and realized too late that this had taken an hour and a half. “Then he read the poem itself to the remnant of his audience.”
WTF screencaps from daytime television.
Kuriositas posts lots of interesting photo-rich articles. Here's one about the Cave City of Vardzia.
The arsenic-based microbe in the news this week is called GFAJ-1. The letters stand for "Give Felisa a Job." The rest of the story is at The Wall Street Journal link.
Ron Paul's response to the Wikileaks Cablegate releases: "In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble."
The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist.
Photo found at Sweet Additions.