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Malfunctioning Speed Camera Tracks a Ford Focus at 437 MPH

A speed camera in Italy awarded a driver with a $960 prize for taking her Ford Focus up to 437 miles per hour, or approximately 10 times the maximum speed of that vehicle. Alas, she was to be disappointed, as it was a computer glitch which caused the reading. Fox News reports:

The Autoappassionati report said local police failed to double-check the camera’s findings before mailing the woman a ticket – which placed 10 points on her license and carried a fine of 850 euros, or just under $1,000.
Giovanni Strologo, a transportation spokesman for the community of Offagna, in Ancona province, where the incident happened, advised the driver to appeal to the local government for compensation, according to the report.
In a Facebook post, he noted that police should have checked the details before sending the driver a ticket and joked that “even with a missile” the car could not possibly reach speeds that high.

-via Dave Barry | Unrelated photo: TuRbO_J


The Dr. Strange of the American Revolution

Dr. Benjamin Rush was an intellectual who influenced George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Paine, among others. He was one of the youngest men to sign the Declaration of Independence, and became the young country's most famous doctor afterward. Rush was an advocate for many social causes, including humane treatment of the mentally ill.

Rush was a founder of American psychiatry. As a scientist, he was fascinated by mental illness; as a doctor, he was horrified by its treatment. Where most saw the workings of God or demons in the manners of the mentally ill, Rush saw malfunctioning parts. It was no sin to be deranged. The mentally afflicted deserved sympathy and sophisticated care. They had “diseases of the brain,” he said, not character flaws of failures of will. Rush was a pioneer in removing psychiatric patients from prison conditions. He unchained them, gave them proper lighting, and had them exercise in the hospital gardens.

While he was a brilliant thinker, he wasn't right about everything. Read about Rush and his views on all sorts of subjects at Nautilus. -via Strange Company


Two Cats and 500 Balls

YouTuber walter santi (previously at Neatorama) surprised his two cats with a ball pits and 500 plastic balls! Santi and Indy had a ball, so to speak, playing in it. However, Indy kept losing his favorite ball amongst all the new ones. -via Metafilter


Falling in Love Again with the Haunting Sounds of Interwar Polish Tango

Journalist Juliette Bretan is not musically-inclined, but as she was researching her roots, particularly the lives of her Eastern European grandparents, she was captured by the sounds of an obscure musical genre. Interwar Polish tango combined Argentine tango, Jewish klezmer, and Polish folk music to produce sad, sentimental, and strangely patriotic songs. The heyday of Polish tango was 1918 to 1939, so it was both birthed and killed by war. You can hear some examples here, here, and here.   

Bretan fell hard for Polish tango, which, in an article for culture.pl, she described as “merging pinches of the age-old Polish romantic and sentimental melodies with Jewish inflections and a more modern, brassy sound, dripping in glissandos and vibrato.”

The Jewishness of Polish tango is essential to understanding the source of these sounds, which means it’s important for those of us in 2020 to understand what it must have been like to be Jewish in Poland during the interwar years. Briefly put, it was no picnic, in particular because of the overt antisemitism of the popular National Democratic Party, which organized successful boycotts against Jewish-owned businesses. For the fascists and racists who waved the banner of the NDP, antisemitism was nothing less than a prerequisite to Polish patriotism.

Even so, being a Jewish composer, musician, or performer in Warsaw, whose population between the wars was roughly one-third Jewish, offered Jews a rare measure of personal and professional freedom. That’s because many interwar Poles, whose country’s borders had been erased from maps by Russia, Germany, and Austria in the late 18th century, were ready to celebrate their nation’s newfound independence. Thus, for large swaths of the Polish population, especially those in Warsaw, Jewish composers, musicians, and performers were tolerated, and even welcomed, to the extent, that is, that they were entertaining.

Read about the rise and fall of the unique interwar Polish tango at Collectors Weekly.


Photographer Places the Descendants of Famous People into Their Portraits

Irina Guicciardini Strozzi is the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great granddaughter of Lisa de Giocondo, the original model for Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Here, photographer Drew Gardner has photographed her posed and framed like her famous ancestor.

This is part of Gardner's project titled The Descendants. It shows the descendants of famous people in the style and costume of iconic portraits of their ancestors. Gardner's subjects include the descendants of Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, Horatio Nelson, Oliver Cromwell, and Napoleon Bonaparte.

You can read more about Gardner's project at Colossal.


Jack Daniel's Whiskey Fountain

ViralHog introduces us to one gentlemen's beautiful quarantine crafting project: a completely functional and smooth-sipping fountain made of whiskey bottles. He writes:

In the video, I am videoing a Jack Daniels waterfall feature that I made from scratch with everything recycled apart from the pump inside! It's amazing what you can do when stuck in lockdown.

It's beautiful and, when fully filled, helpful at parties.

-via Born in Space


82-year-old Maps Entire Community from Driveway During Quarantine

2 days left to vote

While most people restlessly sheltered in place this summer, one senior citizen found a way to self-isolate and earn himself $1,000 by mapping his entire neighborhood with his new DJI drone.

Bill Cook from Winchester, Virginia, flew around 50 flights, most of which were from the safety of his driveway. Check out the full story.


The World's Strangest Borders

Did you know that Spain has land borders with Morocco? Learn about all the strange borders of Spain in this video, and much more at the RealLifeLore YouTube channel.

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