A Better Brick 

Monday, August 23rd, 2021

After years of research, Lego is finally close to dramatically reducing their impact on the environment, by making a major shift to recycled plastic.

This Clutter Paid for by Amazon 

Friday, August 20th, 2021

It’s not great that the parks department of Chicago is insufficiently funded, and thus has turned to renting space to Amazon, who is placing pickup lockers in dozens of city parks. But it’s particularly bad that someone thought this was an acceptable locker installation:

A very large Amazon locker, blocking much of a sidewalk.

Wheelchairs and strollers aren’t exactly a new concept.

The Place for Adults to Marry Kids 

Thursday, August 19th, 2021

Speaking of states with bad reputations:

Known for its coastlines, mountains and the state that was “first in flight,” North Carolina has also developed a more dubious reputation recently: as a regional destination for adults who want to marry children.

That’s not great. The state is now looking to increase the minimum marriage age from 14 to 16.

“We will have moved the needle and made North Carolina no longer at the very bottom of the barrel of states,” said Drew Reisinger, the register of deeds in Buncombe County. But, he said, “we’re still going to be putting a lot of children in harm’s way.”

Ah, yes, it’s like the classic saying goes: “Aim for not being the very bottom of the barrel. Even if you miss, you’ll maybe be slightly less terrible than you are now”.

A hat tip to the anonymous reader who pointed me to this story. When passing the link along, they stated “[D]on’t, uh, don’t worry about crediting me or anything”.

A Stain on Our Identity 

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021

Civil forfeiture allows police to seize property and money they claim is related to a crime. In addition to the ludicrous nature of the state prosecuting money itself (as in the case of “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Twenty Eight Thousand Three Hundred Fifty Six Dollars Fifty Cents ($28,356.50) in United States Currency”), these seizures often benefit police departments and prosecutor’s offices directly. That creates a system that’s ripe for abuse, and one that’s often nigh impossible for citizens to navigate in attempting to get back what was improperly seized.

“It’s exactly what the framers of the Constitution were concerned about…a state coming in, depriving someone of their property and, really, you can’t do anything about it,” said Nora Demleitner, a professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law. “It’s very hard, procedurally, the way this is set up, to act against [the state].”

This a nationwide problem, but one that many state legislatures have slowly been working to improve. Sadly, my own state of Massachusetts currently has some of the worst laws in the nation, as WBUR ably covered.

The Secret Life of Bee Rustlers 

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021

I’m familiar with cattle rustling, the act of stealing cattle. However, I can’t say I ever considered that bee rustling would be a real thing.

Striped Hyena Are Avid Collectors 

Monday, August 16th, 2021

In the Umm Jirsan lava tube in northwestern Saudi Arabia, striped hyenas have been stockpiling bones for thousands of years. In that time, they’ve amassed a disturbingly large collection.

A big old pile of bones in a cave.
Gross.

Fighting for the Free Speech Rights of Scabby the Labor Rat 

Friday, August 13th, 2021

Should unions be allowed to put up hideous inflatable rats anywhere they like? The National Labor Relations Board recently said yes.

Previously in inflatable rat news: That Poor Widow Veazie

Communication Is Key 

Thursday, August 12th, 2021

When attempting to rob a bank, it’s crucial that your message is understood.

The Brockstar Continues to Set Records 

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021

When Brock Holt (BROCK HOLT!) played with the Red Sox, he was a super-utility player who played a part in two World Series championships in 2013 and 2018. In the run up to that second title, he set a record as the only player to hit for the cycle in a postseason game.

Last week, he set a record of a different sort:

According to MLB.com’s Sarah Langs, Holt’s opening 31.3 mph called strike was the slowest pitch to be called a strike since MLB started pitch [tracking] in 2008. The previous slowest pitch had been a 41.3 mph beauty from Willians Astudillo in June earlier this year.

It’s really something to see.1 And now, almost everyone can say they can throw faster than a Major League pitcher.


Footnotes:

  1. The video is archived here, ↩︎

Fecal Transplants for Brain Health 

Tuesday, August 10th, 2021

In recent years, science has uncovered all sorts of things about our “gut microbiome”, and we’ve learned that Intestinal bacteria has surprising influence on our health and moods. Now, it appears that fecal transplants from young mice can reverse many age-related declines in old mice. Improvements were seen in immune function, cognition, and memory.

So the question is, where can I find a slurry of young mice feces to eat?