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Why Halifax Sends A Christmas Tree to Boston Every Year

Every year, the people of Halifax, Nova Scotia, send a grand tree to be erected in Boston Common. Why? It's an annual act of gratitude for disaster relief provided to the Canadian city of Halifax over a century ago.

It's December 6, 1917. Canada has been at war for three and a half years. The United States has been an ally in that war for several months. There is a feeling of fraternity between the two nations. That feeling would be strengthened that day and soon afterward.

A French ship packed with explosives blew up in the city's harbor. It was a catastrophic explosion that killed 1,963 people, injured 9,000, and destroyed much of the city. Then a blizzard struck the beleaguered city.

As the Twitter feed for Canadian armed forces in the US describes, the outpouring of help from Americans was huge and immediately. A US warship, the USS Tacoma, immediately steamed to Halifax. The people of Massachusetts raised nearly $2 million in relief funding within an hour and sent a train with doctors and nurses twelve hours after the blast. In a single day, the Maine National Guard established a hospital in Halifax. This American help continued for several months.

Halifax was and remains grateful for what Americans did during the disaster. And so, every year, they cut down a good tree and send it to Boston as an ongoing way to say "Thank you, America."

-via Nag on the Lake | Photo: Canadian Forces in the US


Mysterious Monolith in the Desert Vanishes

Last week, a strange metal object reminiscent of the monoliths from the book and movie 2001 appeared in a Utah desert. Its origin and purpose were unknown to local humans who investigated.

The state Bureau of Land Management now reports that the monolith has inexplicably vanished without a trace. In a Facebook post, the BLM makes it clear that it wants nothing to do with the possibly alien object:

The BLM did not remove the structure which is considered private property. We do not investigate crimes involving private property which are handled by the local sheriff’s office.

-via Instapundit | Photo: Utah Bureau of Land Management


Pac-Man Art from a Nintendo Controller

Redditor jonny00490 heated, shaped, and then glued the cable of a Nintendo controller into the shape of Pac-Man and his nemesis Blinky. It looks like a simple craft, but took a long time to perfect:

I did it in lots of small stages. Warm the cable a bit so it can more easily be bent into a rough shape and let cool, then I glued it down in prob 2 inch sections.. glue takes 24hrs to harden fully so I'd weigh that section down then come back for the next bit. That's why it took so long.


Little Kid Turns Cabinet into Home Office

Like many of us, preschooler Noah is working from home. He's had to set up a home office that allows him to work without being disturbed by noisy family members. His mom, Blair Monique Walker, found that office inside a cabinet. It becomes necessary for him to be firm about his work time and shoo her out.

-via Born in Space


The Challurkey

Get it? It's a challah loaf shaped like a turkey.

Twitter user Joshua H. Pollack, if I understand him correctly, makes a challurkey every year, gradually improving his craft.

Professionally, Pollack is "a leading expert on nuclear and missile proliferation, focusing on Northeast Asia." So it follows that baking is his side gig.

-via Super Punch


Hats for Sea Urchins

In the front is an urchin with a fedora at a rakish tilt. Bringing up the rear is a friend wearing a pork pie hat. It's trendy among aquarists (people who maintain aquaria) to dress up sea urchins as fashionable dandies. All that's necessary to look right is a 3D printed hat (although you may need additional clothing before going outside). Sea urchins habitually cover themselves with objects to protect themselves from predators and excess light, so they'll gladly take the hats.

One hobbyist named riosouza describes his own 3D printed urchin hats:

After seen my sea urchins carrying snail shells, rocks on their back I decide to read more about it.
Studies reviewed the possible reasons would be to protect themselves against predators and/or full-spectrum light source, mainly against UV rays.
Then I decided to do a quick design for a 3d printed hat, and for my surprise they absolutely love it.
Since I replace the rocks and shells from their back with the hats, they never let it go, and I was astonished to see they moving the hats towards the light source. Which leads me to the conclusion they certainly use it against excessive UV rays.

-via My Modern Met | Photo: /u/VanillaBean5813


Amazing Loaves by Joy Huang

Joy Huang is a master of every tool in the kitchen, but she specializes in breads. Her sourdough loaves can be particularly inventive, such as this Thanksgiving-appropriate loaf shaped like a turkey.

Continue reading


The Great Bed of Ware--A Enormous Bed from Elizabethan England

In Act 3, Scene 2 of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, the amusing but vile Sir Toby Belch refers to a sheet of paper that "were big enough for the bed of Ware in England . . . ." This is a reference to the Bed of Ware, an enormous bed that was a tourist attraction in England during Shakespeare's day and remains so today.

Ware is a village north of London. An inn there commissioned the construction of and housed this enormous bed. It's now housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where it continues to attract visitors, although you're no longer allowed to sleep in it. Amusing Planet describes the bed:

One of the most famous piece of furniture in history, this spectacular four-poster bed measures ten feet by eleven feet, and is reportedly large enough for four couples to lie side by side without touching each other. [...]
Unfortunately, the bed has been greatly vandalized and defaced by guests, possibly by amorous couples who had spent a night on the bed and found obliged to carve their initials into the wood with a penknife or another sharp object. Some applied red wax seals to mark their night on the bed.
The bed stayed in Ware for nearly three centuries, passing around several inns before it moved to Hoddesdon in 1870 and became a bank holiday attraction during the boom in rail travel.

| Photo: veronikab


19 Dogs Standing on Polypores

Sad and Useless calls its gallery the World's Greatest Gallery of Dogs Standing on Mushrooms, but I think that Laesa Baby and the other puppies are actually standing on polypores. They're remarkably sturdy and cute (the shelf fungi and the dogs, respectively).

-via Design You Trust | Photo: unknown


Humans Discover Monolith in Utah

CORRECTION 11/25/20: Arthur C. Clarke wrote the screenplay and the novel more or less simultaneously.


The Stanley Kubrick film 2001 (and the Arthur C. Clark novels on which it was based) has a scene in which early hominids encounter an alien artifact dubbed a monolith. This encounter induces a leap forward in human evolution.

We are now at the cusp of a similar revolution. The crew of a helicopter for the Utah Department of Public Safety spotted a metallic monolith in a rural area. They landed to investigate. KSL TV News reports:

“One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” said pilot Bret Hutchings. “He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘what.’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there – we’ve got to go look at it!’” [...]
“I’d say it’s probably between 10 and 12 feet-high,” Hutchings said. “We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it.”
Hutchings said it didn’t look like it was dropped into the ground from above. It was firmly planted there.

The DPS employees took several photos and videos of this haunting encounter.

-via Gizmodo


The Batmanorah

Every year, redditor lockstocks85 makes a custom menorah in preparation for Hanukkah. This year, a Batman action figure serves as the base. He jokes that he should make a dreidel out of Clayface.

Making a new and pun-inspired menorah is a tradition for lockstocks85. Last year, his project was the Menorcah in which, presumably, the whale oil lasts eight days.


Chả Rươi -- A Dish Made of Worms

Oddity Central introduces us to chả rươi, a popular street food in Vietnam. This omelet dish is high in protein because the principle ingredient is palolo sand worms (a species distinct from the sandworms of Arrakis). These marine segmented worms can be caught at sea or raised on farms. Then they are prepared into spicy dishes:

Before being added to the chả rươi omelet, the sand worms have to be boiled to remove their tentacles and fishy smell. The latter is also combatted by the zesty tangerine peel and all the herbs. Still, the taste of sand worm can be too much for some people, so over time a less hardcore version of chả rươi emerged, one which contains more pork than worms. But for true chả rươi fans, the original, more expensive version is the only real option.

In this video, the food vlogger Sonny Side travels to Hanoi and helps prepare a worm pancake. It looks good, but I prefer my gagh to still be wiggling.

Photo: Viethavvh


Adorable Baby Elephant Tries to Hide Behind Light Pole

The Indian Express reports that this baby elephant in Chang Mai, Thailand snuck out of bed during the night to snack on sugarcane. When caught by humans passing by, he tried his best to conceal himself. The only concealment he could find was a light pole. It failed to hide him from millions of charmed humans on the internet.

-via The Mary Sue | Photo: วีรวัฒน์ พรหมเมือง


Humans Exist to Serve

(They Can Talk/Jimmy Craig)

Fluffy has forgotten why he and Charlie got a human in the first place: to work for them. The human should not be engaging in personal business while on the clock. If she is venturing into the kitchen to do something other than feed the cats, it should be addressed during the next performance review.


A Booming Industry During the Pandemic: Pet Delivery Services

Pictured above is a Bernadoodle: a cross between a female Bernese Mountain Dog and a male Miniature Poodle. Sue Murphy recently delivered one from Colorado to a happy family in Boston. She's a professional pet deliverer. Murphy has been very busy during the pandemic at the behest people who want puppies, but don't want to risk traveling for them. For a price, Murphy takes the COVID-19 risks for them. The Wall Street Journal (sorry, it's a paywalled article) describes the work of these pet deliverers, including one named Lori Sheder:

"People were like contacting me almost every day," says Ms. Sheder. "I felt bad because I couldn't accommodate them."
She restarted service again this month, delivering a tea-cup Yorkshire terrier to LaGuardia. She works for the school board during the week and escorts puppies on the weekends.
Some flight nannies are former airline employees, who still get discounted airfares that help make the margins work out, according to Shane Hallman of Samantha, Ala.
Mr. Hallman, 44, got into the business after a battle with cancer, a truck accident that left him with 23 fractures and a divorce. Now he owns an 11-person operation delivering puppies–some by air, most by ground–for Crockett Doodles, a large breeder based in Greenville, S.C.

Although some pet deliveries come by air, others operate by ground. They often travel continuously from dog site to dog site:

Troy Nichols, co-owner of pet-delivery company in Micanopy, Fla., set out on a Saturday this month with an Italian greyhound in the back of his Dodge Grand Caravan, drove to Norman, Okla., and picked up an English bulldog puppy.
Then Mr. Nichols, 53, and his back-up driver shot south to Orange Grove, Texas, where he collected four Great Dane puppies before dropping the bulldog off with an excited family in Corpus Christi. A couple of Rottweiler pups were ready for him in Houston, as was a customer in Winnsboro, Texas, waiting on one of the Great Danes.
From there it was north to Kenefic, Okla., to get five mini Australian shepherds–four of them puppies–and to Elmore City, Okla., where a man surprised his kids with the Rottweiler babies.

-via Marginal Revolution | Photo: Pixabay

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