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Interesting


InterestingJeff Soyer on 05 Mar 2014 05:45 am

Actually, this guy is living his dream life. I’m jealous!


InterestingJeff Soyer on 17 Feb 2014 06:47 am

You’d think that southern states, what with more warm weather days, would represent the highest motorcycle ownership rates. Wrong! From the Motley Fool:

As of the most recent report by the Department of Transportation, there were 8,410,255 motorcycles registered in the United States by private citizens and commercial organizations in 2011. To put this staggering number into perceptive, out of every 36 people you meet in the U.S., one of them probably has a motorcycle. For ranking purposes, we won’t be looking at total bikes in a state, but rather people per motorcycle (the lower the number, the more common bikes are). So what states in America have the most die-hard moto-enthusiasts?


Rank State # Bikes Population People per bike
1 South Dakota 69,284 816,598 12
2 New Hampshire 79,266 1,316,807 17
3 Iowa 173,929 3,050,202 18
4 Wisconsin 317,276 5,691,659 18
5 Wyoming 30,351 564,554 19
6 North Dakota 32,654 674,629 21
7 Vermont 30,070 625,909 21
8 Montana 46,996 990,958 21
9 Minnesota 240,288 5,310,658 22
10 Alaska 30,983 714,146 23

See all 50 states’ data at the link.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 20 Dec 2013 06:20 am

Please don’t tell PETA or we won’t be able to eat anything! From Quanta Magazine:

It’s now well established that when bugs chew leaves, plants respond by releasing volatile organic compounds into the air. By Karban’s last count, 40 out of 48 studies of plant communication confirm that other plants detect these airborne signals and ramp up their production of chemical weapons or other defense mechanisms in response. “The evidence that plants release volatiles when damaged by herbivores is as sure as something in science can be,” said Martin Heil, an ecologist at the Mexican research institute Cinvestav Irapuato. “The evidence that plants can somehow perceive these volatiles and respond with a defense response is also very good.”

[ . . . ]

Scientists are also exploring how the messages from these signals might spread. Just a few months ago, the plant signaling pioneer Ted Farmer of the University of Lausanne discovered an almost entirely unrecognized way that plants transmit information — with electrical pulses and a system of voltage-based signaling that is eerily reminiscent of the animal nervous system. “It’s pretty spectacular what plants do,” said Farmer. “The more I work on them, the more I’m amazed.”

Much more at the link. Day of the Triffids was just a movie, right?

InterestingJeff Soyer on 19 Dec 2013 04:11 am

Over at io9: Science fiction themed postage stamps.





Many more examples at the link.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 06 Dec 2013 03:39 am

Wondering what to get your wife or girlfriend for Christmas? How about Gunpowder Rose Fragrance? From the description:

The English Rose, celebrated in art and literature for centuries, has finally been captured in this hymn to high summer. Rose oils and extracts from Lincolnshire and the Stour Valley distil the scented velvet-softness of the petals and zesty-green stems of this romantic and exalted bloom. In a dramatic twist, the delicate flowers dance over spicy embers of charcoal and the piquant fizz of sulfur - the thunderstorm notes of gunpowder! The approaching torrent is tempered by a heart of Lovage, harvested in Hampshire, Meadowsweet and Violet Leaf from Herefordshire and juicy Blackcurrant from Kent, which balance fresh summer greenness with energizing bite. Finally, Union’s own Oak Moss from Dorset and Oak Bark from Nottinghamshire provide the earthy forest floor on which this highly charged fragrance rests. Explosive.

*Whew* Some copywriter certainly earned his pay that day. Anyway, a shot of the stuff (100ml) will set you back $185. Or, you could just take your lady to the range for some plinking and then ask her not to shower for the rest of the day.

For more over-the-top hyperbole, you can read about the perfume here.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 05 Dec 2013 05:42 am

BTW, this is another case of “amateurs” leading the “professionals” in discovering and correctly identifying a new invasive species. If you live in Texas, my sympathies. Lengthy but interesting article here.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 09 Oct 2013 04:40 am

Guns and Vodka; two things I greatly enjoy, though never at the same time. A couple of entrepreneurs are seeking crowd-sourced funding to launch a distinctive brand of vodka:

9mm Vodka is a new, ultra-premium vodka packaged in a submachinegun bottle, menacingly presented in an aluminium flight-case with 4 shot glasses. It is a product designed without compromise in the face of the non-descript vodka industry.



The included magazine-shaped shot-glasses are a nice touch. This would be a spiffy addition and conversation starter for any firearms enthusiast. For details on how you can help the company get going, follow this link.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 02 Oct 2013 07:13 am

There’s a lake here on Earth that can “petrify” an animal in minutes:

There’s a deceptively still body of water in Tanzania with a deadly secret—it turns any animal it touches to stone. The rare phenomenon is caused by the chemical makeup of the lake, but the petrified creatures it leaves behind are straight out of a horror film.

Photographed by Nick Brandt in his new book, Across the Ravaged Land, petrified creatures pepper the area around the lake due to its constant pH of 9 to 10.5—an extremely basic alkalinity that preserves these creatures for eternity.

Very creepy photos at the link, and it’s not a slideshow.

No word on if Medusa is the lifeguard-on-duty.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 24 Sep 2013 04:51 pm

No video but enough pictures to make this an amazing story.

Well, they are descended from the dinosaurs.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 21 Sep 2013 07:05 am

I have to admit that while I first liked Noorey, he’s no Art Bell. In fact, Coast-to-Coast AM is awful, these days.

Anyway, here’s the good news if you’re into that sort of thing:

More than a decade after he retired as the full-time Coast host, and after several false starts, Bell [is] returning to radio. His new show, Art Bell’s Dark Matter, premieres Monday night at 10 p.m. Eastern on Sirius XM’s Indie Talk channel. (The toll-free call-in line? 1-855-REAL-UFO.)

Looks like I’ll have to subscribe. That link has a short interview with Bell and, yes, he still packs heat, a GLOCK 22 these days.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 21 Jul 2013 04:06 am

From the NY Post:

Brooklyn residents are experiencing a horror straight out of a Hitchcock movie.

Aggressive mockingbirds are attacking people in a Greenpoint park — dive-bombing their heads and yanking out hair with their beaks.

Though I wouldn’t want one hanging outside my window during mating season — that’s when they do their endless Memorex routine of every sound they’ve ever heard — I do find them more interesting than most birds. And, they are fearless, chasing off whole flocks of crows (who are twice their size).

InterestingJeff Soyer on 06 Apr 2013 06:18 am

Could you outrun a Tyrannosaurus Rex?

Remember, no time travelers to the Jurassic era have ever returned.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 13 Feb 2013 03:06 am

Okay, there’s definitely one place you shouldn’t carry a weapon. From the Police Oracle:

The bizarre incident, which wouldn’t go amiss in a Hollywood spoof movie, occurred at a local doctor’s office in Chicago after the authorities were called out to reports of a burglary.

When an investigating officer stepped into an MRI room at the medical centre in East St. Charles Road, the powerful scanning machine pulled his gun away and fixed it on to the medical device.

Because the machine couldn’t be turned off (?) they had to call the manufacturer for assistance.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 07 Jan 2013 10:42 am

Nope. On board the International Space Station, Commander Chris Hadfield is taking some remarkable photos of the Earth.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 12 Dec 2012 02:34 am

From io9, What does space travel do to your mind?

InterestingJeff Soyer on 12 Dec 2012 02:19 am

Soul Coughing musician Mike Doughty is offering personalized recordings to individuals of one of his songs. From TechDirt:

He’s written a song called “Dogs/Demons” which is not being released on any album or online in any manner. The only way to get it is to pay $543.09 and he’ll record you an entirely personalized performance directly into a voice recorder and send it to you. You can pick which of 3 different keys he’ll record it in, there’s an optional bridge for an additional $267.18 (you know you want it), and at the beginning of the song, he’ll state the date, time, location, the recording number and “the full first, middle, and last name of the person who orders it.” The voice recorder itself will also be signed and numbered.

More at the link including a sort of FAQ.

Personalized children’s books have been around for a long time. I sort of wonder, could -say- an established sci-fi or mystery author offer a personalized edition of one of their stories? The search and replace function of word processors and print on demand publishing would make such a thing easy. You could be the main character in some epic novel of galactic intrigue. Probably this has already been done. As I’ve said in the past, I’m a little slow on the uptake.

Or, just as Hollywood special effects wizards have used a technique to put dead movie stars into movies and TV commercials, the estate of John Wayne could offer a personalized Happy Birthday greeting to someone on DVD, to folks with enough money.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 10 Dec 2012 07:56 am

General Sherman might not approve but after a trip to the junkyard, and utilizing some Play Station parts (maybe for controlling the machine gun?) some Syrian rebels cobbled together this homemade tank:



InterestingJeff Soyer on 26 Nov 2012 12:54 am

From Life’s Little Mysteries:

The results of a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) show that not only does an appreciable blood-alcohol level seem to increase a trauma victim’s chances of survival after being admitted to a hospital, but that the drunker a victim is, the more likely he or she is to survive.

Of course it’s a given that being drunk often led to the injury in the first place.

Radio talk show host Lionel once quipped, “I used to have a problem with alcohol, but now I really like the stuff.”

InterestingJeff Soyer on 21 Nov 2012 05:49 pm

Not really a topic to read about before tomorrow’s feast but I can’t help what I’m attracted to when surfing the net. There are instances where some brave folks decide to doctor - or rather, surgeon - themselves. The web site io9 profiles eight of them. There is an example of someone, a woman in the colonial days, fighting for our future nation’s freedom, digging bullets out of herself:

Deborah Sampson is one of the people all the Americans should be grateful to (and the British should be, I suppose, cursing bitterly) on the Fourth of July. She served in the Continental Army, fighting for Massachusetts. Some people reading this will be shocked that Massachusetts was liberal enough to have women fighting on the front lines in the 1700s. The rest will understand why Deborah had to perform surgery on herself. She was shot in the thigh, but worried that the doctors would notice that she was a woman, and thus keep her away from a godawful war. So she escaped from the hospital and dug out the bullets with a pen knife before giving colonial gender roles the finger and going back to the battlefield.

I don’t think that they had ‘the finger’ insult back then but there’s a bit more to her story and the other seven ones are as interesting as well.

InterestingJeff Soyer on 29 Oct 2012 05:25 am

Some stunning photos for your enjoyment and it’s NOT a slideshow. Clicking the pictures enlarges them. Included is one hunter’s trophy room that would make many of you jealous.

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