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Fast Food

What do you get when you weld together 848 forks, knives, and spoons? That depends on your point of view:

That’s “Lunch With a Helmet On,” by Japanese artist Shigeo Fukuda. As a followup he obtained the rigging plan of the M.S. Shin-Nippon Maru and assembled a shadow sculpture from 2,084 pairs of metal scissors:

shigeo fukuda - one cannot cut the sea

Unbelievably, he completed this in a single week. More from Fukuda.

Community Spirit

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Basel_2012-10-05_Batch_2_%2819%29.JPG

Considerable amusement was excited, a few years ago, by the announcement that a society for mutual autopsy had been formed among the savants of Paris, with a view to advancing knowledge of the structure and physiology of the brain by a correlation of intellectual characteristics with post mortem appearances. The whole thing was generally regarded as a scientific joke of more than ordinary magnitude. But the society appears to have been a genuine fact, and one of its members, M. Asseline, having recently deceased, his brain was carefully examined by his surviving associates, who made a full report of the result to the Anthropological Society of Paris. The following account of the matter is found in Nature, Aug. 14, 1879, p. 377:

‘M. Asseline died in 1878, at the age of 49. He was a republican and a materialist; was possessed of enormous capacity for work, great faculty of mental assimilation, and an extraordinarily retentive memory; and had a gentle, benevolent disposition, keen susceptibilities, refined taste and subtle wit. As a writer he had always displayed great learning, unusual force of style and elegance of diction, and in his intercourse with others he had been unassuming, sensitive and even timid. Yet the autopsy showed such coarseness and thickness of the convolutions that M. Broca pronounced them to be characteristic of an inferior brain. The fossa or depressions, regarded by Gratiolet as a simian character, and as a sign of cerebral inferiority which are often found in women, and in some men of undoubted intellectual inferiority, were very much marked, especially on the left parietooccipital. But the cranial bones were at some points so thin as to be translucent; the cerebral depressions were deeply marked, the frontal suture was not wholly ossified, a decided degree of asymmetry was manifested in the greater prominence of the right frontal, while, moreover, the brain weighed 1,468 grams, i.e., about 60 grains above the average given by M. Broca for M. Asseline’s age. The apparent contradictions between the weight of the brain and the marked character of the parieto-occipital depressions, attracted much attention, and the members of the Société d’Anthropologie have been earnestly invited by M. Hovelacque, in furtherance of science, to join the Société d’Autopsie, to which anthropology is already indebted for many highly important observations. This society is forming a collection of photographs of its members, which are taken in accordance with certain fixed rules.’

Chicago Medical Journal and Examiner, quoted in New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, January 1880

Bow Tie

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jascha_Heifetz_-_Carnegie_Hall_1947_%2805%29_wmplayer_2013-04-16.jpg

On Oct. 27, 1917, violinist Mischa Elman and pianist Leopold Godowsky attended the first U.S. performance of 16-year-old violin prodigy Jascha Heifetz at Carnegie Hall.

At the intermission, Elman wiped his brow and said, “It’s awfully hot in here.” Godowsky said, “Not for pianists!”

Black and White

shinkman chess problem

By William Anthony Shinkman. White to mate in two moves.

Click for Answer

All Greek

Eugene Ulrich offered this paragraph in Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics. What’s unusual about it?

The problem with antisocial sorority girls is men and pals. Such girls may wish for neurotic men to go with them for laughs. But male pals lend ornament, worn for handy visual flair. So the pals it is; they form an authentic proxy when visible, and prudish girls may also dispel their own rigid neuroticism with such chaps.

Click for Answer

Resolution

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carl_Sandburg.jpg

In November 1921 Carl Sandburg’s 10-year-old daughter Margaret fell asleep in class and was diagnosed with nocturnal epilepsy. Her mother rushed her to Battle Creek Sanitarium, where her condition would be treated with fasting. Sandburg wrote to her:

Dear Margaret,

This is only a little letter from your daddy to say he thinks about you hours and hours and he knows that there was never a princess or a fairy worth so much love. We are starting on a long journey and hard fight — you and mother and daddy — and we are going to go on slowly, quietly, hand in hand, the three of us, never giving up. And so we are going to win. Slowly, quietly, never giving up, we are going to win.

Daddy

They did. Margaret’s weight plummeted, but she recovered and went on to edit many of her father’s works. In 1953 Sandburg wrote to a friend, “Margaret has become widely read, a scholar who often surprises me with her erudition, knows the Bible and Shakespeare better than I do.”

In a Word

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WLA_metmuseum_Red_Sunset_on_the_Dnieper_Arkhip_Ivanovich_Kuindzhi.jpg

exulant
adj. living in exile

Homeless, exiled, I climb Sin-Ping tower.
It is late on in the dying year,
The sun is declining in the sky
And the dark river runs gloomy and slow.

A cloud moves across the forests on the mountain;
Wild geese fly off down the river.
Up here I can see for ten thousand miles,
But I do not see the end of my sorrows.

– Li Po, banished from the Chinese capital, circa 757

Admittance

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/380514

After observing security measures at a number of organizations, University of California psychologist Robert Sommer reflected that a person’s status seems to be tied to his keyring:

key status formula

S is a person’s status within the organization, D is the number of doors he must open to perform his job, and K is the number of keys he carries. A janitor who can open 20 doors but must carry 20 keys has a status of 1; he’s outranked by a secretary who can open only two doors but can do it with a single key. A staff scientist who can open six doors or cupboards using two keys has status 3, and the lab director might open 15 doors with three keys, giving him a status score of 5.

They’re all outranked by the president of the company, who never has to carry keys at all, since there’s always someone around to open doors for him. “With a K of zero and a high D,” Sommer concluded wryly, “his status rank in the company reaches infinity.”

(“Keys, Kings and Kompanies,” from The Worm Runner’s Digest 3:1 [March 1961], 52-54)

Lightning Tourism

It’s possible to visit all six New England states in a single afternoon. The Big E, the region’s annual exposition, features an Avenue of States that includes a replica of each state’s original statehouse. Like an embassy, each building and the land on which it stands is owned by the state it represents, so Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont are all present on the same street.

This arrangement permits each house to sell lottery tickets, so it’s possible to enter six state lotteries at the same time.

Inconspicuous

http://www.google.com/patents/US5197216

Patented in 1993, Raymond Norris’ “combined camouflage and decoy device” is pretty straightforward: You wear a cap that supports an artificial head (to attract birds) and a cape (to hide you from them).

Just hope it doesn’t attract giant geese.

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