Friday, May 29, 2015

Scratching an Itch

Thought for the day:  The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.  [Dorothy Parker]

photo by Oren Jack Tume [wikipedia]
No offense to Ms. Parker, but of course there's a cure for curiosity. A temporary one, anyway, and that's research. Whenever that wondering itch pops up, we can scratch it to our heart's content by looking for and finding the answers, and thanks to the wonders of the Internet, it's never ever been easier.

You know, it sure was reassuring to learn I have something in common with the amazing Albert Einstein. I mean, except for the hair, we're practically kindred spirits! See, he was an extremely curious dude, and championed the merits of the inquisitive mind. He said cool stuff like, I have no special talents. I am passionately curious. and The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

YES! So now we have it on good authority that curiosity does have a reason for existing, and a darned good one. Life is kinda like a crazy quilt, and the more things we explore, the more things we learn, the more people we meet, the more beautiful and colorful our quilts become. And for right now, curiosity... and good ol' Google... served to provide some interesting (to me!) fodder for this post. So three cheers for curiosity! (Which by the way, is not the same thing as nosiness...) You know how, when a mother is chilly, her kid has to put on a sweater? Well, in this case, I was curious, so you guys are gonna learn some interesting (to me!)  stuff you probably don't give a crap about. Ready? Okay, put your sweater on, and let's go...


[wikipedia]
***  An article titled Cancer by the Carton, published in Reader's Digest in 1952 alerted consumers to the dangers of smoking unfiltered cigarettes, so naturally, manufacturers sought to allay consumer concerns by developing filtered cigarettes. At least, they started out with good intentions, but from 1952 until 1956, Kent's micronite filters, marketed as the greatest health protector in cigarette history, were made with... blue asbestos. (Oopsie.)

[wikipedia]



***  Would you believe the state of Kentucky has more barrels of bourbon than it has people? The most recent accounting shows 4.9 million barrels of bourbon, and 4.4 million people. Upon birth, every new baby in Kentucky is awarded a barrel of bourbon. Typically,  by the time that child is seven or eight, they've drank their barrel of bourbon and have begun to show signs of kicking ass. By the age of twelve, they've become full-on kick ass Kentuckians. [from www.KentuckyforKentucky.com]



[wikipedia- credit: Sgt. James Harbour]

*** Many people are aware of  American Sniper Chris KyleFewer are aware of the Vietnam War's most famous sniper, Carlos Hathcock. That's him in the picture at left, which was taken in 1996, just a few years before he died. Whatever you think about war in general, or about snipers in particular, I can't imagine anyone not being astounded by this story of one of his missions. He had to crawl for three days across 2000 meters of an open field, which contained an enemy headquarters. To avoid detection, he could only move the tiniest bit at a time, and only when the wind moved the grass around him. He stayed motionless for such long periods of time, he actually developed bed sores. Enemy patrols came so close, they stepped on his knuckles, and they stood around smoking cigarettes mere feet from his position. After he accomplished his mission, he then had to backtrack the same way across the field... while enemy soldiers were actively looking for him. He could only move inches at a time... but he made it back to safety without being spotted. Talk about nerves of steel.

[wikipedia]
*** In 1628, Swedish warship Vasa traveled less than a mile, and sank just twenty minutes into its maiden voyage. Its largely intact hull, shown at right, was recovered in 1961, and is now in the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. Wanta know what sunk this magnificent ship? It was assymetrical, and the reason for that? Archeologist discovered two kinds of rulers in the wreckage: the Swedish ruler, which has twelve inches to the foot, and the Amsterdam, which only has eleven. (BIG oopsie.)

[wikipedia]


***  Everybody's heard of black holes, but did you know we kinda have black holes inside us? Okay, so that's an exaggeration. What we actually have is biological black matter, which is located in our GI tracts. From forty to fifty percent of the DNA information is made of this stuff, which doesn't match anything scientists have classified to date. It isn't plant... it isn't animal... it isn't fungus... or virus... or bacteria. What it is is a mystery.

Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why.  [Bernard Baruch]


[wikipedia]

***  In 1929, by a vote of eight to one, the United States Supreme Court upheld the legality of existing eugenics programs, which required the forced sterilization of citizens deemed not smart enough to reproduce. A total of thirty-three states had a program, but North Carolina alone sterilized approximately 7600 people between 1929 and 1974. In 2013, it also became the first state to offer monetary compensation to survivors of this heinous program.

Curiosity kills prejudice.  [Bruce Frederick Cummings]

[circa 1937]
***  It's hard to believe now, but when Emma Read invented the baby cage in 1922, it served a need for city folks who lived in high rise buildings, where living space was cramped, and parents didn't know where to put their pesky kid. But of course! Why not take advantage of all that open space and fresh air free for the taking right outside their windows? Oh, and lest you be concerned about the little tykes, the deluxe models had a sloped roof... to protect the little angels from rain and snow.  (One can only assume they were allowed inside during thunderstorms.)

*** As you can see, the cages weren't only used in high rise situations. But, ya know, the baby looks perfectly happy out there, doesn't he? Maybe it wasn't much worse than... a play pen?








[circa 1922]

*** I've heard guys smart mouth about how they'd like to have the job of bikini inspector. Well, there actually used to be such a thing... only it wasn't exactly bikinis that were being inspected. In the '20s, there were some very strict laws regarding women's bathing suits. For one thing, they couldn't be more than six inches above the knee, so police officers, or inspectors, regularly visited the beach with their tape measures in hand. Violators (the floozies!) got hauled off to jail.

Okay, so that's enough random stuff you didn't give a crap about. At least for now. Because, as you know, curiosity is a lifetime condition. If we're very very lucky.

                      They say curiosity killed the cat. I say at least the cat died knowing.


                                                           Smile! Things are looking up.

                                         Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

69 comments:

  1. And why would anyone want a cure for curiosity?

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  2. biological black matter?????

    Wow!!!! As someone who prides himself on keeping up science I had never heard or read anything about that subject! That was fascinating.

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    1. I think it's fascinating, too. I've heard snide jokes about some people with nothing but empty space between their ears, but in the GUT? Wild!

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    2. Told this to my son, who said "that's where the farts are made". I said "what?" he said, "you know, non productive bowel motions.."(*~*)

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    3. HA! I think your son and I would get along just dandy.

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  3. Love your new header and the crazy patchwork.
    Curiosity is an itch which I can never scratch sufficiently. For which I am very, very grateful. As I am for this fascinating, fact filled post.
    Mind you I am pretty certain I have a black hole in my brain to go with the one in my GI tract.

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    1. Isn't that quilt gorgeous? It's one of the ones on display at the Atlanta Historical Museum. More than a hundred years old, and the colors and stitching are still beautiful.

      I knew you were a curious kinda gal, but I'm glad you enjoyed the post, because the things I find fascinating don't always transfer well to other people. :)

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  4. Vasa, an asymmetrical ship because of irregular sized rulers. would this be the first known instance of problems caused by outsourcing?
    I think those baby cages were a great idea, as long as they were firmly attached and no one forgot to check on the baby.

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    1. Good question! Could be.

      I'm not sure about those baby cages, especially the ones set way up high on a high rise building. I probably wouldn't have used them for the first child, anyway. By the fifth or sixth kid, I have a feeling the cages would suddenly look a lot "safer"...

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  5. Amazed by unknown biomatter in our guts --50% is a lot! You set me to reading, found 20% of the genetic material in a typical human nasal swab is biological dark matter too. Snot as much but still impressive.

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    1. HA! "Snot as much"... LOVE your sense of humor, dude!

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  6. Excuse me while I go try and kill that dark matter in me, God knows what that really is lol thanks for stirring up my ocd haha can find anything with the internet now a days. Curiosity may have killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back

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    1. HA! Better not kill it until we know what it IS!

      Yep, and satisfying my curiosity definitely does the trick for me, too.

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  7. Oh my gosh Susan... I laughed...the play pen hanging out the window is CRAZY... be still my heart. How nice that they may bring the baby in when there thunder and lighteng. I never knew this crazy idea exisited ...xox ♡

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    1. Yeah, it was a crazy idea, but it was also a very popular one for a number of years, too. And not just in the U.S.

      Happy weekend!

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  8. I love the baby outside the high rise window. That's greatness. I have seen the Vasa - I was a summer exchange student to Sweden at age 15. It was very cool and so freakin' old. Google has made the cure for being curious a lot easier. And IMBD app is genius for entertainment info. Have a great weekend and thanks for digging up weird stuff. Let's meet in Kentucky and get our barrel.

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    1. Oh, how very COOL that you saw the Vasa in person. Take any pictures?

      Yes, Google is awesome. It's amazing how much info is there for the searching. (It's a wonder I EVER get anything else done!)

      Okeydoke! I happen to be a fan of sipping a little bourbon now and then. :)

      Happy weekend!

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  9. Curiosity is the reason Google is a blessing.

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    1. Absolutely! Sure is a lot easier than all those hours I used to spend scribbling notes in the library. NOW I can spend all those hours in the comfort of my own home. :)

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  10. I didn't know ANY of this stuff. I'm now thinking that being born in Kentucky... not a bad deal. Maybe if we drink enough of that bourbon it'll do something about that black matter inside us. Yikes to that, btw.

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    1. Cool. I mean, you can never tell when some of this stuff might come up in a trivia game, right? Now you're ready to kick butt, but then again, as a native Kentuckian, I guess you already were a butt-kicker... even without the bourbon.

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  11. My mum always used to say that 'curiousity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back'.
    I don't know which one is scarier, the Kent's micronite filters, baby cage or the fact that I have a swirling vortex within my gut. (I knew I shouldn't have eaten that whole bag of m&ms)

    Fantastic post as always.

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    1. My mom used to say that, too. Only she had some concerns that curiosity would be the death of ME. :) (So far, so good.)

      Thanks. Glad ya liked it.

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  12. Curiosity might be one of the reasons why immortality or amortality (not the same but similar) will never happen amongst humans. Curiosity is the motor, an engine that enable us to seek more, to find out more to dig deeper. Lovely post. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Yes, curiosity definitely has a way of driving us to seek and learn more. It may not ever lead to immortality, but at least it keeps our brains in shape. (Too bad it doesn't do anything for our waistlines.)

      Greetings back atcha.

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  13. This was all pretty interesting stuff! I've always been an intensely curious person too. When I was young my parents had the World Book Encyclopedias and I'd go look up things I wondered about. Unfortunately, there was never enough information to suit me. Needless to say, I LOVE Google and all the search engines that are like having the most complex encyclopedia at our fingertips.

    That baby playpen hanging out the window gives me the willies. It'd scare me to put a child in one of those cages way above the ground.

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    1. I'm glad you found it to be interesting, Karen. We still have a couple different sets of encyclopedias, but the information found in them is so limited compared to what we can find online nowadays.

      I know what you mean about those cages. Kinda creepy.

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  14. Super post today.
    Oh to be born in Kentucky ! What a hoot.
    As usual informative and super fun, except for the cage for the baby.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you liked it. :)

      Cheers, and a happy weekend to you.

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  15. Interesting stuff! I definitely knew about the black hole inside me - usually it's begging to be filled with food.

    And it seems mankind didn't learn much from Vasa...didn't the first Mars rover crash because European measurement were incorrectly converted into American measurements...or something like that?

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    1. HA! Yeah, that black hole inside of me is pretty darned demanding, too. Speaks in a rumbling bass voice: FEED ME. (No manner at all.)

      Yeah, now that you mention it, one of the rovers did have some kind of mis-measurement issue along those lines. (Guess I'll have to check it out now...)

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  16. Now I know everything I need to know - until your next post.

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  17. Oh, what has Google done to us?! Do you remember the good old days when we wondered stuff and couldn't find the answer on our phones? I can't believe we have now far outpaced the science fiction of our youth! Poor old Captain Kirk with his flip phone. LOL!

    I have seen those baby cages before. Unbelievable, huh? But the babies do look happy ... sorta ...

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    1. Um, yeah, I STILL can't "find anything" on my rotary dial landline. :)

      Our kids weren't keen on being in a playpen, so I can't imagine ever stuffing them in a cage... especially one that's hanging way above the ground. Just because they sometimes "acted" like little animals...

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  18. Interesting stuff! I read random tidbits voraciously. When I research, I go on all sorts of tangents.

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    1. Thanks! Those tangents, like detours, often lead to much more interesting stuff than we ever expected to find.

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  19. I'm late, but just wanted you to know I was here - and thoroughly enjoyed the visit.
    Filtered cigarettes made with asbestos? "The greatest health protector in cigarette history" Wow - could it get more ironic than that?

    I've previously seen that photo of the baby in the window cage - - and it still shocks me now as much as it did the first time. I sure hope the kid survived.

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    1. Hey, there's no such thing as "late" in the blogosphere. Whenever you can stop by is exactly the right time. :)

      Yeah, that filter made from asbestos was really something. I wonder how many doctors "recommended" that brand to their patients who smoked, because doctors did that back then.

      If that kid didn't survive, I don't think it was because of the cage. They were pretty popular, and I didn't find any reports about any child being injured or worse. Now, those kids might have gotten a slight aversion to birds, however. HA!

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  20. Great information. Baby cages - wonder if that's where my fear of heights comes from. :) Speaking of snipers, we watched Quigley Down Under today, that title is probably spelled wrong, but you get the gist. Good movie. I can't imagin the patience it would take to do what Hathcock did, amazing. Explains a lot about Kentucky! LOL Cute little kittens!

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    1. HA! You're too young to have been put into one of those cages. (Heck, I'm even too young!)

      We saw Quigley Down Under a bunch of years ago, and I can't remember anything about it now, other than that we liked it. I'm not even sure who starred in it... Tom Selleck, maybe? Might be time to watch it again.

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  21. A Dorothy Parker quote! She's one of my faves. Love her sarcastic wit.

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  22. Carlos Hathcock - wow, what a badass.

    Also, look at that guy measuring that woman's leg, thinking "you hussy." Meanwhile, swimsuits nowadays are nothing more than dental floss. If only he could see how far we've come. :)

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    1. Hathcock was amazing. He must have had ice water in his veins.

      Oh yeah, we've really come... far. Or something.:)

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  23. My reaction to the cage is opposite of Yolanda’s: if I’d had one of those when I was a kid, would I be so terrified of heights?

    I’m insatiably curious. That jag of satisfaction when I find the answer to some burning query is like a drug. Just yesterday I learned why they put expiration dates on rubbing alcohol. *tiny thrill*

    What I’m most curious about at the moment is how much my addiction to Google has contributed to my ever-shortening attention span.

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Hmmm, interesting point about how being put in one of those cages as a baby might actually prevent a fear of heights. I guess it could go either way.

      I already knew you were a fellow research junkie, but I don't see how googling could shorten anyone's attention span. It sure doesn't work that way for me. When I get deep into any subject, I wallow in it for hours, and it's difficult to climb back out again.

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  24. Hi, Susan,

    Fun post. I totally enjoy reading about interesting facts. You picked a few good ones here. And, curiosity is a good think. How else would we learn if we weren't curious. The internet is an amazing source of information. When I was a kid, we had to YANK out the old World book encyclopedias to get our information and our curiosity satisfied... Now we just flip on google. Ah, modern times....lol

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    1. Hi-ya, Michael.

      Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. Heck, back in the Dark Ages when I was a kid, we had to walk fifty miles (each way!) (in the snow!) to spend hours and hours at the library to research and take copious notes. Or we could use our handy dandy home encyclopedias, if our families were fortunate enough to have one. (Or we could make it up...) :)

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  25. It was an interesting post. And I look forward to your header change each visit!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.It's kinda fun to try to find a header picture to go with each week's blog.

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  26. Oh my, the part about the sniper--yikes! I can't imagine being in his place and having to do that.

    Those baby cages would scare me. I'd be afraid they would come lose from the window, and down would come cage, baby, and all. Interesting post! :)

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    1. I know! And since the sniper was in Vietnam, you KNOW it was bloody hot and buggy... so mosquitoes were biting the daylights out of him, and he couldn't react, couldn't slap at them, couldn't scratch...

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  27. It's amazing how the sniper survived. I can't believe what went on in North Carolina. I know a few people I'd like to stick inside those baby cages! Your curiosity keeps you young, Susan and I know that will never change. Oh, and I wish those stunning bathing suits would come back in style.

    Julie

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    1. I know. It's hard to even comprehend what that mission must have been like for that sniper.

      Wasn't just North Carolina... eugenics was practiced all over the country. Scary, isn't it?

      HA! I don't think "stunning" is quite the word for those suits.:) (But I might actually wear one of THEM! Alas, my bikini years are long gone...)

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  28. I have a crap about all of it! So many interesting tidbits. Although the black hole in our bodies totally creeped me out. I've never heard of that before. Seems like something out of Star Trek. Yikes!
    I love the Kentuckians and their bourbon LOL.

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  29. Great minds thing... and wonder... alike. :) I'm glad you find this kinda stuff interesting, too.

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  30. You made a great point about research being the cure for curiosity. I never thought of that. Clever!

    Kentucky had more barrels of bourbon than people? That's...that's crazy! Who needs that much bourbon? lol

    I love the kitty video/pic at the end. Cute!

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    1. I dunno if anyone ever NEEDS that much bourbon, but I don't think Kentucky has too much trouble SELLING it. :)

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  31. Excellent. Without curiosity there would be no civilisation as we know it. I don't like the look of that baby cage though!

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it. And you're right about civilization. If nobody ever questioned anything, nothing would ever get accomplished, and progress would go down the drain.

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  32. Another interesting post full of insightful comments. Thanks for sharing.

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  33. Hi Susan - I'm sort of catching up and reading all your interesting crazy facts and fiction ... life is a strange beast.

    I love I'm curious ... way too much for my brain - but keeps me alive and perhaps interesting at times! If I don't talk too much...?! Cheers Hilary

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