November 12, 2017 – Stuff I Found Interesting


Cool Iceland Crosswalk – It’s a crosswalk painted with an optical illusion. I’d love to see more stuff like this here.

How to Hire Fake Friends and Family – No, this is not about Facebook. It’s about a Japanese company that rents out actors to pretend to be family members or friends. It’s a really strange article and seems very Japanese. Highly recommended.

L.A. family disappears after pirate raid in Amazon rainforest, then re-emerges on a surfboard – This family – mother, father, two young daughters (none of whom appear to be rented) – decided to take a long family vacation together. In fact, they decided to drive down to South America (presumably taking a boat around the Darien Gap). The got kidnapped by pirates in the Amazon area and fled in the middle of the night, paddling across a river on their trusty surfboard.

You Can Rent a (Grounded) Private Jet Just to Take Instagram Photos In – Want to show off your private jetting ways to your friends but you don’t actually have a private jet? Why not rent one for a photo shoot?

Why you should give money directly and unconditionally to homeless people – I can’t say that I agree, but it is an interesting perspective.

The Three Students Who Uncovered ‘Dieselgate’ – Two guys from India and a third guy from Switzerland were studying at West Virginia University when they caught a German car company cheating on emissions tests. Their work cost Volkswagon tens of billions of dollars and may lead to saving many thousands of lives. It’s strange how the world works.

Health – Physical and Mental

Risks of a Gluten-Free Diet – Let’s just say it one more time. If you aren’t a celiac, going gluten-free isn’t doing yourself any favors. It’s like going peanut-free because some other people are allergic to them.

SHOULD EXERCISE BE WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERS FOR DEPRESSION? – This seems counterintuitive. If someone is already depressed, isn’t telling them that they need to exercise going to just make things worse? These people claim that regular exercise actually makes people less depressed. That seems like a stretch.

Cancer Doctors Cite Risks of Drinking Alcohol – “Heavy drinkers face much higher risks of mouth and throat cancer, cancer of the voice box, liver cancer and, to a lesser extent, colorectal cancers, the group cautions. Light drinking can slightly raise a woman’s risk of breast cancer and increase a common type of esophageal cancer.” They aren’t telling people not to drink. They’re just suggesting that people do it less. It should also be noted that some studies have shown that light drinking correlates with increased overall life expectancy.

Vegetarian Men Are More Depressed – Are Steaks A Treatment? – Isn’t the reason obvious? It’s not steak. It’s the lack of bacon. That would make anyone depressed or angry. Why do you think there are so many violent Islamic terrorists?

So That’s Why Some People Are Night Owls And Others Are Up At The Crack Of Dawn – This article claims that people have different sleep cycles so that someone in the tribe is always awake to be on guard.

Art and Culture

A Hard Day’s Night: Solving a Beatles mystery with mathematics – How did they create the opening cord of A Hard Day’s Night? This article claims to have solved the problem using math.

You Won’t Believe the Insane Detail In These Incredible Movie Maps – This guy creates huge maps showing all of the locations in a movie. The link is to an article about it. His site is, but it isn’t working this morning.

The Secret Jews of The Hobbit – According to this article, the Dwarves in Tolkien’s Middle Earth were inspired by Jews.

Prop Town: The Fake Rooftop Suburb that Hid a Whole WWII Airplane Factory – How do you hide a huge plane factory? You create a fake suburb on its roof.

Louis C.K. Is Accused by 5 Women of Sexual Misconduct – I’m shocked! Another male celebrity accused of sexual misconduct. It’s getting to be quite a list. I’m still baffled by how Woody Allen (married his step daughter) and Roman Polanksi (admitted to raping a child) are above all this. Is it something like the Clinton exception?

The History Of Breasts In Comic Books – I love studying history.


A Zombie Gene Protects Elephants From Cancer – Bigger animals have more cells, so they should be more likely to get cancer. But that isn’t the case. This article tries to explain why.

Most scientists now reject the idea that the first Americans came by land – Thousands of years before the Clovis people wandered over here, people traveled along what the article calls the “kelp highway”, boating and hiking along the coasts. Maybe they should have built a wall.

See What’s Controlling These Zombie Ants – There is a fungus that turns ants into zombies, but it does it by controlling their bodies rather than their brains. How long before it makes the jump into humans? Be very afraid.

Science explains why highly intelligent people prefer to be alone – My guess is that it is the same reason why we prefer not to be around stupid people.


How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met – How is it that Facebook finds “People you may know”? According to this article, one of the main techniques is using the contact lists that people upload. So if someone you know uploads their contact list, FB can now associate your contact info with everyone else in their contact list – even if you’ve never been on Facebook. This can end up revealing relationships people would prefer not to have made public.

US Air Force Wants to Put Lasers on Fighter Jets By 2021 – I have a hard time seeing this work. Given the huge cost in weight for an effective system and given the short range, this seems like a fantasy.

Politics and Policy

How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right – Everyone should try to understand different viewpoints. The anger and polarization that seems so prevalent in politics today would be lessened if people did this. People generally aren’t evil. That’s not saying that you need to agree with everyone, but take time to try to understand their perspective.

Things that go bump in the night in Riyadh – Strange stuff is going on in Saudi Arabia. Multi-billionaires are being arrested and having their money taken. The prime minister of Lebanon traveled to Saudi Arabia and, while there, announced that he was stepping down. These are interesting times.

Is Saudi Arabia Pushing Israel Into War With Hezbollah and Iran? – Maybe they are trying to destabilize Lebanon (not that hard to do) in order to create more trouble for both Israel and Iran.

The Middle East Is Nearing an Explosion – I have no idea where this is all heading. I just hope that it drives up oil prices.

Dan Rather Laments That Americans Think the Media ‘Make Up Stories’ – I thought this was very amusing. Dan Rather telling people not to make things up is like Harvey Weinstein lecturing people on how to treat women with respect.

The State of Free Speech and Tolerance in America – This article is woven around a bunch of survey data on people’s views about freedom of speech. Support for free speech isn’t all that strong. Maybe we should ban criticism of the first amendment.

Some Conservatives Have Been Against Capitalism for Centuries – It’s not something new with Trump. The conservative movement has always had its share of big government, anti-capitalists.

Get Rid of Capitalism? Millennials Are Ready to Talk About It – It’s not just free speech that is declining in popularity. Despite the incredible historic success of capitalism and failure of state run economies, young people today increasingly want state run economies. Perhaps they realize that it is a stupid idea and they want to restrict free speech because they don’t want to have to defend their views on it.

NAFTA negotiators should respect domestic labor rules – Canada is complaining about having to compete with Right-To-Work states and wants NAFTA changed to strip workers of their right not to be unionized against their will. Oh, Canada.

Why I’m Uneasy With the #MeToo Movement – Interesting thoughts. I’m still baffled by why, in a gender-equality focused society, it is assumed that when a man and woman too drunk to consent have sexual relations, the man is presumed to be the aggressor and the woman is the victim.

Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32 – I find Roy Moore, who was removed from the bench as a judge for refusing to follow the law, disgusting enough without reading about how he liked to date children, but given all the references to the allegations of misbehavior of celebrities, I thought I would be remiss if I left this off today’s list.

Economics, Business, and Money

Republicans are right to limit mortgage deduction – Why have a huge tax break for the well off? Getting rid of the deduction and lowering rates makes sense.

This 28-year-old’s company makes millions buying from Walmart and selling on Amazon – This guy buys clearance stuff at Walmart and sells it on Amazon.