On this date in 1888, a 76-pound Newfoundland was electrocuted before a crowd in a lecture hall at the Columbia College School of Mines…

via » 1888: One Newfoundland, for Thomas Alva Edison.



On Boswell.


So that people would recognize him as the author of the book about Corsica, he carried a sign on his hat, on which he had written “Corsica’s Boswell”…

via A Lecture on Johnson and Boswell by Jorge Luis Borges | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books.


The best advertisement for fart spray you will ever read.


…medical units were dispatched to treat more than 12 patients at the camp suffering from similar symptoms, according to county government. The Hazmat team determined two products—a deer spray and a product labeled “Liquid Ass”—were sprayed in two different cabins…

via Fart Spray, Deer Repellant Draw Hazmat Team To Camp Wo-Me-To – Top News – Fallston, MD Patch.


You’re doing it wrong.


…coverage in 2012 53.8% was similar to 2011. If HPV vaccine had been administered during health-care visits when another vaccine was administered, vaccination coverage for ≥1 dose could have reached 92.6%.

via Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Coverage Among Adolescent Girls, 2007–2012, and Postlicensure Vaccine Safety Monitoring, 2006–2013 — United States.

Teamwork, teamwork, that’s what counts.


…these flexible links and tubes could allow bacterial cells to move as a web, communicating and hunting as a superorganism.

via These Bacteria Are Wired to Hunt Like a Tiny Wolf Pack – Wired Science.


‘Paulie, Pull Over, I Gotta Take a Leak’

Rodriguez, according to an associate, is eager to begin playing and does not understand why the Yankees have shelved him…

via Rodriguez Angers Yankees –

Like a man who knows his days are numbered, the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez trudged to Tampa from Scranton to begin “rest and treatment” for a leg injury he says he doesn’t have.

This is what baseball gives us in July: Ryan Braun’s urine and Mr. Rodriguez’s Sad Sack Road Show.

It’s so sad that Mr. Rodriguez was compared to a child who is left behind at recess. The Yankees’ Curtis Granderson, in Tampa recovering from a broken finger, himself another member of the club’s well-heeled disabled list, said Mr. Rodriguez had wanted to hit baseballs with the rest of the kids in Tampa. He added ominously, according to The Associated Press, “They had to stop him.”

7:11 PM John
…So, really, do you think A-Rod “doesn’t understand” why the Yankees are holding him over the hamper like a pair of stinky socks?
7:18 PM Samantha
Well, with a-rod it’s tough to know

The Yankees have their reasons. You see, Mr. Rodriguez is on baseball’s magic list of players who have engorged themselves with the help of a now-disgraced Florida doctor.

Mr. Rodriguez had hip surgery in January, and a few days ago completed a longish stint in the minors honing his now-mediocre timing — he had eight hits in 13 games. Had the Yankees wanted him back, they could be penciling him in the lineup right now.

Instead, team officials announced he had a strained quadriceps and needed “rest and treatment.” Which, if it weren’t in the cold, clinical language of American sportswriting, would sound like a line from “The Godfather.” As in, “I’m putting you on a plane to Vegas;” “…the boss says he’ll come in a separate car;” or, you know, “Paulie, pull over, I gotta take a leak.”

The Yankees, already vexed with their three-time M.V.P. for bleating on Twitter without permission last month, were further provoked on Wednesday when one of Mr. Rodriguez’s cronies, a New Jersey doctor, told a New York radio station that “I don’t see any injury there.” Oddly, the doctor was reprimanded Thursday by the state for allowing an employee of his clinic to peddle steroids. Is there anyone in Mr. Rodriguez’s entourage who is taking this seriously?

The Yankees certainly are. For all the world, they are acting like Don Corleone himself, sitting in a dark, smoky room, waiting to hear back from baseball’s Luca Brasi. Some wags believe Mr. Rodriguez is in for a lifetime suspension.

To reporters who tried to corner him Wednesday at the Yankees’ complex, Mr. Rodriguez said, “I feel great.” He added, a bit dishonestly, if you ask us, “That’s all I’ve got to say.”

Mr. Rodriguez is acting like nothing is going to happen, calmly stepping into the fishing boat with a sullen figure he hardly knows.

Which I suppose is all you can do.

[Not] bully!


…an almost unbelievable explosion of industrial activity driven by the newest oilfield technology, fracking, is moving dangerously close to the Elkhorn…

via Threats To The Elkhorn Ranch: A Primer | The Prairie Blog.


The dead end of science.


…they kill up to half of all patients who contract them. In the United States, these bacteria have been found in 4% of all hospitals and 18% of those that offer long-term critical care.

via Antibiotic resistance: The last resort : Nature News & Comment.


Enough About Your Urine Already

The latest baseball star-turned-culprit: Ryan Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers slugger and winner of the National League’s Most Valuable Player award in 2011. Baseball announced Monday that he had been suspended for the remainder of the season…

via Doping Tarnishes Baseball Again as Brewers’ Braun Is Suspended –

Mr. Braun accepted his punishment without reservation; some people would call that taking it “like a man.” Certainly, men have a long record of cheating in all endeavors, so I have no quibble with that. What was galling about Mr. Braun’s reaction was that he totally skated around the question of whether he was, in fact, cheating last year when he dodged a similar suspension. That is taking it “like a coward.”

“I am not perfect,” he clucked. Of course, we knew that: Mr. Braun, who was the M.V.P. in 2011, has only nine homers this season.

The question now is not, How many more players? Though, to be sure, there will be more. Baseball is said to have 20 names on knows-they’ve-been-naughty list, mostly stemming from the investigation of a so-called anti-aging clinic in Florida. The questions now is, How many more clinics are there? How many more doctors are peddling a brand of sports medicine that for whatever reason doesn’t measure up?

And how do you tell when your strange, unnatural therapy of blended protein drinks, injections and swabbings cross the line?

Better to test sparingly, and expose from time to time what is apparently the odd bad apple, rather than do the job thoroughly and find the whole barrel is spoiled and your sport has suddenly vanished in a hailstorm of disqualifications.

via Doping in sport: Athlete’s dilemma | The Economist.

Even more galling than Mr. Braun Bill-Clinton-esque response was the innocent reaction of so-called baseball guys.

“For these guys still to be involved with this stuff just baffles me,” Mike Redmond, the Miami Marlins manager, said.

Surely, he is the only one baffled by Mr. Braun’s decision-making. If cheating has benefits (fame and money), cheating will happen.

“Baseball’s done a great job of cleaning up the game,” Mr. Redmond added, apparently without irony.

Except that players still break the rules, and when they do most of the details remain a secret. Baseball’s drug policy spells it out; players don’t have to admit to anything. That is not doing a great job of cleaning anything. Who turns the lights off before they mop?

It’s silly, and Mr. Redmond seemed to know it, even if he claimed not to.

“We’ll go through a lull and then, bam,” he said, “here comes another guy that gets suspended.”

What baseball needs is something sensible. A drug policy that does not need to be updated every time a better centrifuge is built. A correspondent to The Economist (see above) proposed regularly testing all players. And regularly publishing all the results. (I pictured uniform numbers being changed to match test results.)

Leave it to a Brit to suggest something fussy like that. I say, liberalize the whole thing. Allow players to consult any doctor, and indulge in any therapy — no matter how long it was steeped in horse testicles. Let them do whatever they want, and then we can read about how they sprouted a tail (and went broke) when they were 50. Let’s have a baseball season pass in spectacular, outfield-wall-smashing fashion without having to think about anyone’s urine test.