01 March 2009
An early contender for the Darwin Awards has been reported. A 23-year-old Texas wanted to show his friends how long he could hold his breath underwater. He never came up. He probably hyperventilated before submerging to decrease his ventilatory drive; that maneuver, however, does not increase oxygen reserves, so he likely became hypoxic before having an urge to breathe.
Governor Sarah Palin wants to sue the Federal government for protecting beluga whales in Alaskan waters. In that regard she appears to be in line with governments around the world that are preparing to breach the longstanding ban on whale hunting, led by the Japanese, who are already harvesting whales for "scientific" purposes.
A widow in Houston received a check for $1.6 million from an insurance company after the death of her husband. By mistake. It had been taken out by her husband's company for their own benefit - not for hers - after they learned he had terminal brain cancer. He wasn't a key executive employee; this is something called "dead peasant" insurance, explained at the link.
The BBC reports that long working hours correlate with an increased risk of mental decline and possibly dementia. "Those working more than 55 hours a week had poorer mental skills than those who worked a standard working week." I don't remember ever having a work week of less than 55 hours. I'm doomed.
Lew Rockwell has an essay at his website arguing that the government's "War on Recession" is as doomed as all of their previous wars against drugs, poverty, terror, and illiteracy. The stimulus package is not "wealth creation" - it's wealth transfer.
The BBC news magazine has a good article on the Death of Handwriting.
Slate is printing a series of pieces on why Al-Qaida has not attacked the U.S. since 9/11. The current essay presents the "near enemy" theory that it is more profitable for those opposed to the U.S. to concentrate their efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan than to pursue assaults on the U.S. mainland.
Ryanair has proposed placing pay toilets on airplanes.
Police, medical examiners, and a paramedic thought a man in Kansas City died of natural causes. Funeral home employees found three bullet holes in the man's head when they started embalming him. The "natural causes" theory has some holes in it...
The world's largest salt flat is the Salar de Uyuni, high in the Andes of southwestern Bolivia. Two brief tourist videos at the link.
Mugshots from the "Faces of Meth" program have been assembled at Dilidoo.
What would you expect to find if you went to a website called therapistfinder.com?
TackyWeddings.com has pictures of... you guessed it.
A "hidden, taboo" subject in the music world is that of alcoholism among orchestral musicians. It reportedly starts as a defense against performance anxiety, but frequently spirals out of control, so that even premier orchestras may have performers playing while drunk.
There is a strong correlation of the use of online pornography with political conservatism and religiosity. Eight of the top ten porn-consuming states voted for McCain. States banning gay marriage used more porn than those who didn't. Etc., etc. (Correlations, of course, do not prove causality.) (Via The Daily Dish)
A young man in Johnson City, TN was arrested after he tried to use counterfeit money to purchase fake OxyContin tablets. The counterfeit bills were so badly created that some of them were printed only on one side.
Have you ever wondered why sharks have two rows of teeth, but people have only one? If you view it as "God's will," that's fine for an easy answer. Recent studies suggest an alternative explanation involving selective gene expression. Deleting one gene stimulated extra tooth formation in mice. This has implications for cleft palate research as well as for tooth replacement. If you are distressed that your children are going Goth, imagine thirty years from now when your grandchildren start growing a second row of teeth...
Sex in the Bible. Collected in this online compendium, as far as I can tell at a brief glance done with objectivity and no "agenda."
Traffic wardens ticketed a parked BMW seven times before noticing that the owner was dead inside. Tinted windows apparently blocked their view, but after his body had been there for two weeks in the Florida heat, something tipped them off.
Paul Harvey has died at age 91. There are probably few Americans with radios who have not heard his voice.
E.ggtimer is a website you can use as a timer. Just add a time to the url, and your screen will count down that amount. There's an alarm at the end. Might be a useful supplement to whatever calendar function you already have.
(photo credit here)