From The Atlantic, an interesting article by no less an authority than Giorgio Milos, chief barista for Italy’s world-famous illycafe company. We know that coffee is great. We know it is the indispensable nectar of life, in fact, and that it came from Ethiopia. What else do we know? (Except that I need to move to Brazil, now home to more than 10 billion coffee plants, at least some of which must be unguarded at least some of the time…)
Google “Origins of Coffee” and you get more than 8 million results. More noteworthy than sheer numbers are the differing schools of thought that click-throughs reveal, right on page one. Depending on whom you trust, coffee was discovered around the 13th century. Or the fifth century.
Coffee’s history comprises yet another great debate, like preparation method and bean source; one more example of deeply felt passion for coffee on display. Such intellectual debate is entirely fitting for a beverage known to stir provocative thought. The coffeehouse’s roots as a place for free idea exchange and political conversation in the 16th century Ottoman Empire are historically well established…
Australian scientists say they’ve solved the longstanding mystery.
Huge bubbles of natural gas erupting from the seafloor are very likely the cause of unexplained disappearances in the famously sinister Bermuda Triangle and a few other areas like it, new research suggests. The Salem News reports:
Step aside outer space aliens, time anomalies, submerged giant Atlantean pyramids and bizarre meteorological phenomena … the “Triangle” simply suffers from an acute case of gas.
Natural gas—the kind that heats ovens and boils water—specifically methane, is the culprit behind the mysterious disappearances and loss of water and air craft.
The evidence for this astounding new insight into a mystery that’s bedeviled the world is laid out in a research paper published in the American Journal of Physics.
Professor Joseph Monaghan researched the hypothesis with honor student David May at the Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
Colossal upwelling of methane in the form of a gas bubble would immediately collapse a sea vessel’s buoyancy, the scientists say, and could even knock airplanes out of the sky in an instant. The Sea of Japan and the North Sea contain similarly volatile geological features, and, like the Bermuda Triangle, have been the site of anomalous happenings often attributed to aliens or ghost realms in the popular imagination.
Huntsville, Alabama media is on a roll this summer…
It’s starting to feel funny living here. Antoine Dodson, brother of a Huntsville, AL attempted rape victim, has gone positively viral. Videos of his interview with local news media—”They rapin’ everybody” is the tag line—as well as numerous auto-tuned musical mashups have soared to the top of the Youtube charts. Here, in an interview with the local TV reporter who broke the original story, Dodson speaks about his sudden celebrity status: Continue reading
How soon is too soon? Not soon enough. Laboratory tests over the last few years have proven that babies who start drinking soda during that early formative period have a much higher chance of gaining acceptance and “fitting in” during those awkward pre-teen and teen years . . .
[EDIT: Note that this image is probably only parody---I can find no Soda Pop Board of America on record (which almost makes me sad, really), and Chicago holds no such address as 1515 West Hart. Still, it's a neat piece.]
Lookie this gem of a tale I mined from right here in my home state: Frank Boren, a local minister, has proven victorious in his unlikely one-man crusade across the men’s underwear section of a Cullman, Alabama Walmart, as the Cullman Times reports:
Frank Boren, pastor of New Hope Christian Center Church of God in the Springhill community, said he noticed the questionable underwear package while shopping at the store in May.
“I was in there shopping for some underwear one day, and looked at the men’s pictures on the packaging,” he said. “On a few of the packages they were very pornographic in the way they were dressed, in skimpy underwear, so I went to the manager and asked her if she thought it was inappropriate to be displayed.”
After filing a few more complaints in the following weeks, Boren said the questionable packaging eventually disappeared from the store’s shelves.
Okay, sure, reverend. You got me—some of those pictures of underwear models might pass for softcore in some circles. Might this possibly be because they are…well…pictures of underwear models??? Fancy that.
Besides, sir, those briefs ain’t bulgin’ if you ain’t lookin’.
- CURTIS LINDSAY
Two summers ago I was searching Youtube for clips from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland when I came across a music video by Pogo, a young computer graphics artist and musical masher-up from Western Australia:
Pogo (real name Nick Bertke) specializes in tracks in which he intricately mixes samples from popular films, usually children’s movies, with original drum-and-bass beats. His work has seen a considerable surge in popularity over the past few years; though it’s not for everyone, it has certainly held my interest, and I’m not easily won over by electronica. Continue reading
Defence Department computers in Ottawa have been used to vandalize information on a Wikipedia site critical of the Conservative government’s decision to spend billions on a new stealth fighter.
Nine attempts have been made to alter the online encyclopedia’s entry on the Joint Strike Fighter, including the removal of any information critical of the Harper government’s plan to spend at least $16 billion on the new fighter aircraft.
Defence Department computers were also used to insert insults, aimed at Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, into the Wikipedia Joint Strike Fighter page. Ignatieff has questioned the proposed purchase.
Quotes from news articles outlining opposition to the arms sale by University of British Columbia professor Michael Byers, a former NDP candidate, were also removed.
The edits in question were made between July 20-21. Wikipedia has marked them as vandalism. Continue reading
OK. Not really. But when the Portland Mercury decided to realize its readers’ wildest dreams by smacking Betty White in a metal bikini riding a John Ritter centaur on the cover of a recent issue, well . . . my imagination was “fired” up. You can click for a close-up, if you dare…
The US government has decried as “irresponsible” the leak of something like 90,000 classified documents on the war in Afghanistan, which analysts say paints an unflattering picture of a confused operation. BBC News reports:
The documents released by the Wikileaks website include details of killings of Afghan civilians unreported until now.
The records also show Nato concerns that Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency is helping the Taliban in Afghanistan, an accusation Islamabad has denied…
…Calling their release a “criminal act”, spokesman Col Dave Lapan said officials were reviewing the documents to determine “whether they reveal sources and methods” and might endanger US and coalition personnel.
On Wednesday a federal district judge blocked some parts of Arizona’s new, more stringent immigration laws. According to Reuters:
A U.S. judge on Wednesday blocked key parts of Arizona’s tough new immigration law hours before it was to take effect, handing a victory to the Obama administration as it tries to take control of the issue.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said she would file an appeal to reinstate the provisions, which had popular support but were opposed by President Barack Obama and immigration and human rights groups.
“This fight is far from over,” Brewer said, adding that “at the end of what is certain to be a long legal struggle, Arizona will prevail in its right to protect our citizens.”
The Republican-controlled state legislature passed the law three months ago to try to drive nearly half a million illegal immigrants out of Arizona and stem the flow of human and drug smugglers over the border from Mexico. Continue reading