“Strength and Sagacity of a Fox”

In 1815, a fox was caught in a trap, at Bourne, Cambridgeshire, with which he made off. He was traced in the snow the following morning, by the Earl of De La Warr’s gamekeeper, upwards of ten miles, and was taken out of the earth alive and strong. His pad was then in the trap, which, with three feet of chain at the end of it, is supposed to have weighed fourteen pounds. Another fox accompanied him the whole of the way, seldom being distant from him more than four or five yards.

The Cabinet of Curiosities, 1824

Fleeting Beauty


“All Is Vanity” (1892), by the American illustrator C. Allan Gilbert.

Back up to get the full effect.


“Adults are only obsolete children.” — Dr. Seuss

Recursive Gratitude

Mathematician J.E. Littlewood once wrote a paper for the French journal Comptes Rendus. A Prof. M. Riesz did the translation, and at the end Littlewood found three footnotes:

I am greatly indebted to Prof. Riesz for translating the present paper.

I am indebted to Prof. Riesz for translating the preceding footnote.

I am indebted to Prof. Riesz for translating the preceding footnote.

Littlewood notes that this could have gone on indefinitely but “I stop legitimately at number 3: however little French I know I am capable of copying a French sentence.”

Math Notes

73 × 9 × 42 = 7 × 3942

The Long View

Henry Ford believed in reincarnation. He thought he had lived most recently as a soldier killed at the battle of Gettysburg. Here’s a quote from the San Francisco Examiner, Aug. 26, 1928:

I adopted the theory of Reincarnation when I was twenty-six. Religion offered nothing to the point. Even work could not give me complete satisfaction. Work is futile if we cannot utilize the experience we collect in one life in the next. When I discovered Reincarnation it was as if I had found a universal plan. I realized that there was a chance to work out my ideas. Time was no longer limited. I was no longer a slave to the hands of the clock. Genius is experience. Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives. Some are older souls than others, and so they know more. The discovery of Reincarnation put my mind at ease. If you preserve a record of this conversation, write it so that it puts men’s minds at ease. I would like to communicate to others the calmness that the long view of life gives to us.

See also Bright Idea.



Fat content, in grams, of Big Macs around the world:

  • United Kingdom: 22.9
  • Malaysia: 23
  • Denmark: 24.1
  • Australia: 24.9
  • Italy: 25
  • Russia: 25
  • Germany: 25
  • New Zealand: 25.4
  • France: 25.8
  • Japan: 25.8
  • Brazil: 27
  • Canada: 29
  • South Korea: 29
  • United States: 29
  • Mexico: 33

In a Word

n. a fanatical idiot

“Toad Embedded in a Tree”

A few days ago, as two sawyers were employed in cutting up an oak tree about thirteen inches in diameter, for the use of the Earl of Derby’s colliery, at Rainsford, in Lancashire, the man in the pit perceived something to move in the part they were then cutting, which, on examination, proved to be a full-grown toad. The animal was quite alive, when taken up, notwithstanding one of the legs had been cut off by the saw; the cavity in which it was found was exactly in the centre of the tree, just large enough to contain the body, and measured three and a half yards from the root or bottom. The tree was perfectly sound in every part, and not the least crack or aperture could be discovered that had a communication with the atmosphere.

La Belle Assemblée, January 1810

All Art Is Theft


Irish astronomer William Parsons might have been surprised to see van Gogh’s The Starry Night appear in 1889.

He had drawn this sketch of the Whirlpool Galaxy 44 years earlier: