I hope these riders have some kind of health insurance.
Dozens of what have been tentatively identified as baby Huntsman spiders scurried around the walls as Demrose shot video of the terrifying sight. Since this was in Australia, where some of the most disturbing wildlife encounters have occurred, the woman seemed unimpressed by the startling sight and quips “they’re so cute!” as the arachnids scuttle around the room.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation says that a heatwave followed by heavy rains likely brought the spiders inside, as other Sydney residents have also reported similar experiences. Dr. Robert Raven of the Queensland Museum said that the creatures pose little threat to humans and will “happily eat each other” as they grow.
As a further testament to the Australian spirit of living in harmony with crawly neighbors, Demrose said that her daughter actually went to sleep in the room that night, with the spiders still lurking about.
Aussies seem to just live with this kind of craziness. I saw a reality show about people that catch snakes in Adelaide, Australia. A woman discovered a brown snake in her pantry (extremely venomous snake that is 6-7 feet long) and just called the snake catchers while sitting on the island in the kitchen. No panic whatsoever. Unbelievable.
The dancing plague (or dance epidemic) of 1518 was a case of dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace (now modern-day France), in the Holy Roman Empire in July 1518. Somewhere between 50 and 400 people took to dancing for days.
The outbreak began in July 1518 when a woman began to dance fervently in a street in Strasbourg.
Historical documents, including “physician notes, cathedral sermons, local and regional chronicles, and even notes issued by the Strasbourg city council” are clear that the victims danced. It is not known why.
Historical sources agree that there was an outbreak of dancing after a single woman started dancing, a group of mostly young women joined in, and the dancing did not seem to die down. It lasted for such a long time that it attracted the attention of the Strasbourg magistrate and bishop, and some number of doctors ultimately intervened, putting the afflicted in a hospital.
Controversy exists over whether people ultimately danced to their deaths.
Some sources claim that, for a period, the plague killed around fifteen people per day; however, the sources of the city of Strasbourg at the time of the events did not mention the number of deaths, or even if there were fatalities. There do not appear to be any sources contemporaneous to the events that make note of any fatalities.
The main source for this claim comes from John Waller, who has written several journal articles on the subject and the book A Time to Dance, a Time to Die: The Extraordinary Story of the Dancing Plague of 1518. The sources cited by Waller that mention deaths were all from later retellings of the events. There is also uncertainty around the identity of the initial dancer (either an unnamed woman or “Frau Troffea”) and the number of dancers involved (somewhere between 50 and 400).
Some believe the dancing could have been brought on by food poisoning caused by the toxic and psychoactive chemical products of ergot fungi, which grows commonly on grains (such as rye) used for baking bread. Ergotamine is the main psychoactive product of ergot fungi; it is structurally related to the drug lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25) and is the substance from which LSD-25 was originally synthesized. The same fungus has also been implicated in other major historical anomalies, including the Salem witch trials, although ergot alone would not cause unusual behavior or hallucinations except when combined with opiates.
However, John Waller in The Lancet argues that “this theory does not seem tenable, since it is unlikely that those poisoned by ergot could have danced for days at a time. Nor would so many people have reacted to its psychotropic chemicals in the same way. The ergotism theory also fails to explain why virtually every outbreak occurred somewhere along the Rhine and Moselle rivers, areas linked by water but with quite different climates and crops”.
Stress-induced mass hysteria
This could have been a florid example of psychogenic movement disorder happening in mass hysteria or mass psychogenic illness, which involves many individuals suddenly exhibiting the same bizarre behavior. The behavior spreads rapidly and broadly in an epidemic pattern. This kind of comportment could have been caused by elevated levels of psychological stress, caused by the ruthless years (even by the rough standards of the early modern period) the people of Alsace were suffering.
Waller speculates that the dancing was “stress-induced psychosis” on a mass level, since the region where the people danced was riddled with starvation and disease, and the inhabitants tended to be superstitious. Seven other cases of dancing plague were reported in the same region during the medieval era.
This psychogenic illness could have created a chorea (from the Greek khoreia meaning “to dance”), a situation comprising random and intricate unintentional movements that flit from body part to body part. Diverse choreas (St. Vitus’ dance, St. John’s dance, tarantism) were labeled in the Middle Ages referring to the independent epidemics of “dancing mania” that happened in central Europe, particularly at the time of the plague.
Assiniboine River skating trail Winnipeg.
Photographer and scientist Nathan Myhrvold has developed a camera that captures snowflakes at a microscopic level never seen before
The first chill of a winter storm is enough to send most people indoors, but not Nathan Myhrvold. The colder the weather, the better his chances are of capturing a microscopic photograph of a snowflake. Now, nearly two years in the making, Myhrvold has developed what he bills as the “highest resolution snowflake camera in the world.” Recently, he released a series of images taken using his creation, a prototype that captures snowflakes at a microscopic level never seen before.
Myhrvold, who holds a PhD in theoretical mathematics and physics from Princeton University and served as the Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft for 14 years, leaned on his background as a scientist to create the camera. He also tapped into his experience as a photographer, most notably as the founder of Modernist Cuisine, a food innovation lab known for its high-resolution photographs of various food stuffs published into a five-volume book of photography of the same name that focuses on the art and science of cooking. Myhrvold first got the idea to photograph snowflakes 15 years ago after meeting Kenneth Libbrecht, a California Institute of Technology professor who happened to be studying the physics of snowflakes.
“In the back of my mind, I thought I’d really like to take snowflake pictures,” Myhrvold says. “About two years ago, I thought it was a good time and decided to put together a state-of-the-art snowflake photography system…but it was a lot harder than I thought.”
Photographing snowflakes is nothing new. In the late 1880s, a Vermont farmer by the name of Wilson Bentley began shooting snowflakes at a microscopic level on his farm. Today he’s considered a pioneer for his work, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution Archives. His photography is considered the inspiration for the common wisdom that “no two snowflakes are alike.”
More than a century later, the field of snowflake photography has continued to evolve by leaps and bounds, which is evident in the high-res images that Myhrvold has produced with his own camera.
In simple terms, the system Myhrvold developed is comprised of one part microscope and one part camera, but with a number of parts that work in tandem to complete the arduous task of capturing an image of a snowflake, a subject that’s not only miniscule (most snowflakes measure less than a half-inch in diameter) but also quick to melt. In fact, a snowflake’s tendency to disintegrate was one of the biggest challenges Myhrvold had to overcome with this project. His solution: equipping his 50-pound camera system with a thermoelectric cooling system, a carbon fiber frame and LED lights, which give off less heat than standard lights. Every single part of his Frankenstein-esque device, which stands at about five feet in height off the ground when placed on a table, was built using materials that are less likely to cause melting or sublimation of the subject matter.
Obviously, some locales are better suited for snowflake photography than others. For example, snowflakes in the Pacific Northwest, where Myhrvold is based, aren’t nearly cold enough and either melt or sublimate (when ice turns to gas) too quickly, while on the East Coast, they’re too wet due to the humidity in the air, which can cause snowflakes to stick together. So, he ventured to an even higher latitude with perfect conditions—Timmins, a town in northeastern Ontario, Canada.
“Somewhere between negative 15 degrees and negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit is the snowflake-shooting sweet spot,” he says.
Myhrvold also had to figure out how to physically capture a snowflake. (It’s not quite as simple as hoping that the perfect snowflake just so happens to fall into your mittened hand.) He quickly learned that catching them on a glass microscope slide wouldn’t work; glass is a known insulator. But an artificial sapphire slide, made of the same crystal material as one would find in a high-end watch, had a lower thermal conductivity ratio than glass, making it the perfect material to gather specimens.
Myhrvold adds that it’s taken a lot of “trial and error” to get his project to the point where it is now. And even now, he’s still tinkering with different elements to add to his snowflake photography system.
In what may be disappointing news to those who advocate for a more exotic explanation, an intriguing new scientific examination of the infamous Dyatlov Pass incident supports the theory that the tragic event was the result of an avalanche. The 1959 case which saw nine hikers die under mysterious circumstances in Russia’s Ural Mountains has been the subject of considerable speculation and debate for decades with all manner of possibilities for what could have caused their demise being put forward by researchers. The latest look at the Dyaltov Pass incident comes by way of a pair of highly qualified experts who wound up coming to a rather familiar conclusion.
Learning about the curious case for the first time back in October of 2019, professor Johan Gaume, who heads the Snow and Avalanche Simulation Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, became fascinated by the mysterious event and enlisted Alexander Puzrin, chair of Geotechnical Engineering at ETH Zurich, to see if their considerable expertise could be used to solve the mystery once and for all. In a newly published paper authored by the two experts, they argue that the tragedy was, indeed, the result of an avalanche and, remarkably, that the unexpected torrent of snow was actually inadvertently caused by the hikers themselves.
Specifically, they theorize, the nightmarish chain of events began when the hikers cut into a snow slab on the side of the mountain in order to set up their tent and be protected by winds. “If they hadn’t made a cut in the slope, nothing would have happened,” mused Guame in a press release detailing the duo’s findings, “that was the initial trigger, but that alone wouldn’t have been enough.” As such, the two scientists propose that a downward airflow, known as a katabatic wind, likely caused an additional layer of snow to accumulate on the slope over the next several hours until the pressure became too much and the slab finally gave way in the form of an avalanche.
The researchers say that this scenario, which they explored using computer simulations and scientific modeling, answers the question of how such an event could have occurred if there had been no snowfall the night of the incident and also explains the injuries sustained by the hikers. “The truth, of course, is that no one really knows what happened that night,” conceded Guame, who nevertheless noted that their study produced “strong quantitative evidence that the avalanche theory is plausible,” which is far more than proponents of the more fantastic ideas such as a Yeti attack or UFO event have managed to accomplish.
Beware: strong language
I just noticed Trailer Park Boys reruns are back on the tube after a little hiatus. Amazing how you don’t realize how much you miss something until it is gone. But the boys are back.
The first thing that struck me was Jim Lahey’s shittaphors.Lahey is the old warped drunkard who from time to time manages the trailer park. The man loves the word shit. He adds the word to almost everything he has to say. And sometimes it comes across as quite funny.
So I wasted my time compiling the list below.
Lahey taking a small swig
You know what you get when two shit-tectonic plates collide? Shitquakes, Julian. Shitquakes.
Shit-apples never fall far from the shit-tree
Yes I used to drink Randy but I got the shitmonkey off my back for good
The shit pool’s gettin full Randy, time to strain the shit before it overflows. I will not have a Pompeiian shit catastrophe on my hands
Your shit-goose is cooked, Ricky
I’m watching you, like a shithawk
The ole shit liner is coming to port, and I’ll be there to tie her up.
He’s about to enter the shit tornado to Oz.
Do you feel that Randy, the way the shit clings to the air? Shit Blizzard
Did you see that Randy, Goddamn shitapple driving the shitmobile. No body else in this park gives a fuck why should I?
Birds of a shitfeather flock together, Randy.
We’re in the eye of a shiticane here Julian, and Ricky’s a low shit system!
Never Cry Shitwolf
When you plant shit seeds, you get shit weeds.
Lahey and his sidekick Randy in the drunk tank. Notice Lahey has wet himself.
you boys have loaded up a hair-trigger, double barrelled shitmachinegun, and the barrel’s pointing right at your own heads
How dare you involve my daughter in your hemisphere of shit
We’re sailing into a shit typhoon Randy, we’d better haul in the jib before it gets covered in shit
“You started this shitstorm, limpy.”
Ricky: “Why bother with a couple of shit sticks when you can have the whole shit trolley?” Lahey: “Nice shit analogy, Rick.”
“When you keep getting pelted by shit balls, Deputy, you gotta get a shit bat.”
“We gotta nail those shitiots.”
“Well, Ricky, it looks like you cooked your shit goose this time.”
(Erica:) “Ricky is a shit leopard that can’t change his spots.”
“Those two shit rats just pissed on forty dollars worth of eclairs at the bake sale.”
“It’s some kind of distraction from those shitniks.”
“He grew up as a little shit spark from the old shit flint hen he turned into a shit bonfire and then, driven by the winds of his monumental ignorance, he turned into a raging shit firestorm. If I get to be married to Barb, I’ll have total control of Sunnyvale and then I can unleash a shitnami tidal wave that will engulf Ricky and extinguish his shit flames forever. And, with any luck, he’ll drown in the undershit of that wave….shit waves.”
“You just opened Pandora’s shit box, Ray.”
“Shit moths, Randy. They started out as little tiny shit larvae, and then they turned into shitapillars, a pandemic of shitapillars. Everywhere you look, Randy, shitapillars. I tried to put an end to the shitapillars life cycle, but I failed. And now? Shit moths.”
“I sense a shit derailment coming.”
“Listen, we don’t want to cause any shit talk here, boys. Matter of fact, I’ve been thinking about shit a lot less these days. Seeing as how I stepped in so much over the last few years, I’m sick of shit. Sick of shit.”