Monthly Archives: September 2012

This house’s landmark status gave McDonald’s no choice but to build its most beautiful restaurant.

The Denton House of New Hyde Park, NY, was built in 1795. In 1860, it was made over as a mansion. In 1986, it was bought by McDonald’s, and in 1987, local residents secured its status as a landmark. McDonald’s was not allowed to tear it down, so it had to renovate it, making it McDonalds #12000, the loveliest of all.

 This houses landmark status gave McDonalds no choice but to build its most beautiful restaurant.

From Scouting NY, via Kottke. Also, Waymarking.

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Some wild snakes can reproduce asexually. We don’t know why.

Rare virgin births have been documented in some snake, shark, lizard, and bird species, but until now scientists have never found members of a normally sexual species reproducing asexually in the wild.

They captured pregnant copperhead and cottonmouth female pit-vipers from the field, where males were present.

The snakes gave birth, allowing the scientists to study the physical and genetic characteristics of the litters.

Of the 22 copperheads, the scientists found one female that must have had a virgin birth.

Another single virgin birth occurred within the 37 cottonmouth litters.

“I think the frequency is what really shocked us,” said Prof Booth.

From BBC Nature, via the Morning News.

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We study Ayn Rand for the same reason we study Creationism

Alan Wolfe on Ayn Rand:

In the academy, she is a nonperson. Her theories are works of fiction. Her works of fiction are theories, and bad ones at that. Should the Republicans actually win in 2012, we might need to study her in the academic world. It would be for the same reason we sometimes need to study creationism.

Via the Dish.

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Phoenix is Arizona’s capital because a prostitute named Kissin’ Jenny swallowed a glass eye.

In 1889, Arizona’s territorial legislature was taking a vote on whether to keep the capital in Prescott or to move it to Phoenix. The vote was going to be close, so the delegates from Phoenix’s Maricopa county made a deal with a prostitute to delay one of the Yavapai county delegates, who would be voting for Prescott.

The delegate was one of Jenny’s regular customers and vain, and he wore a glass eye. So after the man put his glass eye in a glass of water and went to sleep, Jenny drank the contents of the glass, eye and all. In the morning, he refused to go out without his glass eye, and Jenny couldn’t give it back him, and he missed the vote. Phoenix won the vote by one.

Read the whole story from Jim Peipert. Also, Wikipedia. Via OMG Facts.

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George Washington didn’t have wooden teeth, but probably had some of his slaves’ teeth.

Contrary to legend, none of George Washington’s dentures were made from wood. They were mostly made from ivory, but he had at least one set made with human teeth. It used to be that poor people and slaves would sell their teeth to be used as transplants. Some of Washington’s slaves sold their teeth, and it seems likely that they sold them for their master’s use. From Frontline:

The following year, in May of 1784, Washington paid several unnamed “Negroes,” presumably Mount Vernon slaves, 122 shillings for nine teeth, slightly less than one-third the going rate advertised in the papers, “on acct. of the French Dentis [sic] Doctr. Lemay [sic],” almost certainly Le Moyer. Over the next four years, the dentist was a frequent and apparently favorite guest on the plantation. Whether the Mount Vernon slaves sold their teeth to the dentist for any patient who needed them or specifically for George Washington is unknown, although Washington’s payment suggests that they were for his own use. Washington probably underwent the transplant procedure–“I confess I have been staggered in my belief in the efficacy of transplantion,” he told Richard Varick, his friend and wartime clerk, in 1784–and thus it may well be that some of the human teeth implanted to improve his appearance, or used to manufacture his dentures, came from his own slaves.

Sounds pretty gruesome to me. In the president’s defense, his poor teeth were a constant source of pain for him. He brushed daily but still lost all his teeth. From Barbara Glover:

Toothaches followed by extraction would be a yearly occurrence for Washington. There were frequent episodes of infected and abscessed teeth, inflamed gums, and finally ill-fitting dentures. One can imagine that his reputed “hair-trigger temper” might have been the result of a constant battle with pain. He was continually corresponding with noted dentists of the day asking for a file to repair a denture, a scraper to clean his teeth or pincers to fasten wires on his teeth. He inquired about a dentist of “whose skill much has been said.” He requested material to make a model of his teeth so a dentist could make new dentures.

Via Freedom Rider and Reddit.

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Reverend Moon tells us that human sexual organs are concave and convex and that free sex should be eliminated.

The Reverend Sun Myung Moon, founder of the comically conservative Washington Times, has died. From David Weigel, here’s a video of him at the 15th anniversary of the paper, lecturing party-goers about sex.

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Infinitely-long poles rest in mid-air.

Infinity is weird. Imagine an infinitely large, flat plane. Now imagine a pole of some height that holds up one end of another pole — one that stretches infinitely far.

 Infinitely long poles rest in mid air.

If you were to let this infinitely long pole fall against the the ground, it would rest at precisely 90 degrees. That’s because if it were angle at all towards the ground, there would be a point some ways down the infinite pole that it would hit the infinite plane. Of course, you would never be able to see where it’s resting because of infinity and all, so instead, it would appear to float in mid-air.

From Futility Closet.

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