Things I Learned 2012-07
- Starting in the 1930s, in regions of Spain captured by the anti-communist Nationalists during the war, doctors and nuns abducted over 300,000 newborn babies from “red parents” and gave them to families that would raise them in accordance with Nationalist and Catholic beliefs. [via]
- Martha Gellhorn had one helluva life: considered one of the greatest war correspondents ever, covering every major world conflict from 1930 to 1990; married Earnest Hemingway (third wife), divorced him when he kept trying to block her from battlefield assignments; cancer stricken and blind at age 89, committed suicide by drug overdose. [wikipedia] [via no idea, I think I was reading about Earnest Hemingway’s family tree. His granddaughters are runway models]
- “six of one, half a dozen of another” – idiom. two things are almost the same or equal [via]
- The modern Olympic pentathlon seems like a random hodgepodge of events (épée fencing, pistol shooting, 200 metre freestyle swimming, show jumping on horseback, and 3 km cross country running), but its origins are based on simulating the experience of a 19th century cavalry soldier behind enemy lines: he/she must ride an unfamiliar horse, fight with pistol and sword, swim, and run. [more info]
- There is a species of termite that produces and stores toxic blue crystals in an external pouch on their abdomen. When enemy termites attack the nest, older worker bugs are sent to the front lines along with soldier bugs (the younger bugs’ toxins are less potent). The poisonous blue crystals they have amassed react with salivary gland secretions to create a type of “toxic goo.” When an enemy takes a bite, the explosive backpack ruptures, covering nearby foes in a deadly, paralyzing venom that also kills the worker in the process. Fucking suicide bomber termites. [via] [actual video of this]
- Journalism sentence of the week:
“Every now and again Isis disengages Deen’s cruller so that the camera can get a load of Proxy’s keister, which footage you should track down if you happen to adore the sight of a yawning, defanged lamprey with strep throat.”
[via GQ: “The Well-Hung Boy Next Door,” a lengthy profile of male adult actor James Deen. The article is a masterpiece of euphemism, and also almost entirely gratuitous.
- Any human friendship can be sundered.