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A Thing I Learned
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Gilbert wrote the lyrics (and the rest of the dialog).

Sullivan wrote the music.

That's all I wanted to say, really. I could never keep them straight--hopefully writing it down like this will help.
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I always assumed that Sheetrock was just there to give you something to paint/keep insulation from falling into your soup/keep out bears/whatever, but apparently, it actually serves a structural purpose. It's even load-bearing, although a bit indirectly. By attaching the Sheetrock (or other panelling) to the vertical struts in the wall, you're providing additional anchor points connecting them to each other, and an additional medium through which load can be distributed. If one strut weakened for some reason (rot, an unbalanced load, etc.), and was only connected at the top and bottom, it would eventually buckle and collapse under the strain*. But with Sheetrock there, the transverse stress is transmitted to the other struts along the face. Naturally, the Sheetrock can't handle huge amounts of stress, but it only has to convey relatively small amounts in order to help keep the struts perfectly aligned, in which position they are properly disposed to carry the main vertical load.

*Tall narrow beams do not resist stress along their length terribly well-- try pushing inward on the ends of a piece of spaghetti and you'll get the idea. 2x4s are a bit better than that, but the same physical property still applies.

Source: Cat's Paws and Catapults, by Steven Vogel
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Librarians, brace yourselves.

The other day, I had a memory. I wasn't really sure how it went. There was a book, you see. I found it in the public library of my home town, oh, probably 30 years ago, when I was but a wee snapper of whips.

This is the sum total of what I remember of it (besides that I enjoyed it).
1. It was kind of like Mary Poppins, only the Magical Caretaker was a man instead of a woman.
2. There was something about soda (or possibly pop) coming out of the taps.
3. And a bathtub. Something about a bathtub. Possibly the pop was coming out of the bathtub taps.
4. The title was possibly the name of the caretaker character, akin to Mary Poppins.

So, you know, even the things I remembered I didn't really remember. But I went to Google with various relevant keywords and -phrases ("like Mary Poppins," "magic soda bathtub," etc.) expecting that I would be frustrated and eventually have to ask my Local Librarian (or the several librarian and librarian-adjacent friends I know on FB), set to make the necessary apologies ("No, I don't know what color the cover is. Sorry."). And sure enough, I saw lots of articles about Mary Poppins, ads for "Magic Soda Dispensers" and the like. But I persevered, trying various combinations. And sure enough-- "bathtub taps soda" (you gotta be specific) showed me (in second place after "9 Bathroom Cleaning Problems Solved | Reader's Digest")...

Mr. Pudgins, by Ruth Christoffer Carlsen. Not only that, but my local library system even has a copy, and it is winging its nostalgic way to me as we speak. I retire, victorious.
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Today I learned that those little prongs on the sides of the Kitchen-Aid paddles (that slide in and then turn to lock) are officially called "bayonet fittings" or "bayonet mounts." And that some electrical devices (fuses, light bulbs) are made with them. They're called that, straightforwardly enough, because that's how you used to attach a bayonet to your rifle. Not a mount shaped like a bayonet (my first thought), but a mount for a bayonet.

Let me see if I can find a picture. Oh, never mind, just go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayonet_mount. They've got some good examples.
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In 2009*, the Dallas Cowboys put up in AT&T Stadium some videoscreens that measured 160 feet across and 72 feet high. Converting that to inches and applying Pythagorean methodology, we find that this yields a diagonal size of... 2,105 inches. Not yet available for home consumers, but still. Frank would be pleased.

Also note that there are several stadium screens even larger in scope-- The Safeco Field screen is 2,500 inches, and the brand new (more or less) Reliant Stadium screen is a whopping 3,382 inches diagonally (a bit shorter but a lot longer. Widescreen, donchaknow.). There's also a race track in Dubai and a speedway in N. Carolina, but I don't have exact confirmed numbers for those, and I don't think it matters enough to track them down. I'm sure in a couple of years there'll be another bigger one somewhere else anyway.

*"Frank's 2000 Inch TV" was released by Weird Al et. al. in 1993. 16 years ain't too bad to make something this hyperbolic happen.

Partial source: http://stadiumblog.dallasnews.com/tag/guinness-world-records
Other figures from "Bigger in Texas", Caleb Hannan, Wired, October 2013.
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Another post for the annals of Obvious In Hindsight.

Having recently (last weekend) upgraded from my first ever smartphone to my second ever smartphone, I discovered that the old model (which they let me keep, to my vague surprise-- I guess I assumed they'd claim it as part of the trade-in) is still completely functional in every way except for its ability to make phone calls (arguably one of the least important of its functions as far as I was concerned). So I can still use it as a music player, or game device, or Facebook check-in-er, or video watcher, or TV remote, or whatever just so long as I'm in range of the WiFi. Which is good news!

The bad news is that it is also just as good an alarm clock as it ever was. Which meant an unexpected blaring noise at 5:45 this morning coming from the other room because it never occurred to me to turn off the alarm when I switched the phones.
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Mole fur has no nap. This means that it does not lie in any preferred direction against the skin. Presumably, this is useful if the mole has to reverse direction within a narrow tunnel, an act which would otherwise lead to a very bad hair day indeed. Moles have proverbially poor eyesight, so at least they wouldn't laugh at each other. It still wouldn't be very comfortable, though.

Fortunately, due to the naplessness, the above scenario never takes place-- moles are immune to this particular social embarrassment, and secure in the fact that it is, as the source article puts it, "...literally impossible for a mole to be rubbed the wrong way."

Source : Discover Magazine; http://discovermagazine.com/2013/september/15-the-urban-bestiary#.Uk7BUNJzHVo
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