Awww, frustrated magnets

Stress me, test me, vex me ... boffins seek Hall Effect in frustrated magnets • The Register

"They contain magnetic moments that, at very low temperatures near absolute zero, should line up in an orderly manner so that all of their 'spins,' a quantum-mechanical property, point in the same direction. Instead, experiments have found that the spins point in random directions. These frustrated materials are also referred to as 'quantum spin ice.'"

Also, frustrated me.

Always. The. Same.

I go to the drugstore—the CVS in this case—for anything and get a pocketful of coupons with it. Most of them are for hair products of various kinds, which I ignore because I like my hair exactly the way it is: Gone.I throw them away.

A few of them I save and stack neatly in that little pile right there, on my desk, whereupon I forget all about them until 1) they expire, or 2) I just bought some yesterday. And then they expire.

So, I tell myself, I ought to just ignore the freaking coupons, toss them out, forget about the whole stupid thing. But that makes me feel guilty. I just now cut out another one (razor blades) and added it to the stack. There.

Wait! This is getting out of control!

Meet the Goats of Amazon's New Goat Rental Service

"Amazon has been pro-goat since last year, when Amazon Japan formed its own ‘weeding corps’ of 30 to 40 goats, each with its own personal Amazon employee ID to work on the lawn outside the company’s distribution center. Goats and Amazon are a natural pairing because the company is based in Seattle, a city known for its state department-funded goat browsing on public underbrush."

Did you ever live across the street from a goat? It’s noisy.

Of course, the chickens next door can be pretty noisy too. And pretty soon there’ll be all kinds of birds making enough noise to wake you up in the morning, when you want to sleep.* Maybe it’s just nature that’s noisy. Why can’t it just shut up?

*Dorothy Parker: "Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants." 

What is this magical place called Indiana?


 H/T Barnes & Noble and Greenfield Public Library

There's a truck stuck in the muck…

…in the lot across the street. It's one of those big flat-bed tow trucks they use to haul cars, the kind the bed extends and tips down and the car is winched aboard. The idea, I guess, is to haul away an old junk car that's behind the house over there. Fat chance.

For an hour or so, the driver’s been trying to lever the truck out of the mud by shoving it along with the extended, tilted ramp. But no joy. Now, apparently, he's decided persistence is not always the best solution. So he's got himself a shovel. And he's digging.

We’ll see how that works.

If all else fails, that mud over there will probably be dried out by July or maybe August, and he can just drive himself away.


Not just books

25+ Of The Most Majestic Libraries In The World | Bored Panda

"Because of their critical importance, libraries were often built to be beautiful and built to last. Combined with the sometimes priceless treasures that they hold, their simultaneously enormous and intimate spaces possess a charm that no other type of building can command."

How long until Opening Day?

Mud Hens bring zest to menu - Toledo Blade

"There’s a fried green tomato burger. And a bunch of grilled cheese melted between two doughnuts. And for dessert? Don’t rule out a good ol’ Red Velvet Cake."

Ever wondered why college basketball players can't wear numbers 6, 7, 8 or 9? | Sun Times National

What do they have against us?

Wait, what?

Iran nuclear deal would be centerpiece of Obama foreign policy legacy | Chicago

"‘I’m very worried that we’re repeating the mistakes of the late 1930s when the United States was very weak and unable to confront Hitler, and especially Mussolini, and we gave a signal to the dictators to just go as far as possible. That laid the groundwork,’ Kirk said."

But now there's a truck in the parlor

Police: Man who drank 36 beers crashes into Utah house - Chicago Tribune

"No one was hurt in the early morning crash at a house on Salt Lake City's west side…"

Block that apostrophe!

College cancel’s pumpkin fest after last year’s violence | New York Post

"The City Council in Keene, New Hampshire, overwhelmingly rejected a permit for the annual Pumpkin Festival Thursday night after alcohol-fueled violence last year led to injuries, property damage and more than 100 arrests. The council voted 13-1 not to grant the license."

And “college,” now that you mention it.

But here’s a whole new thing: Cop apps.

"Police said social media helped draw a large number of outsiders to the festival and contributed to the mayhem but also helped make arrests. Keene police used a new application where people could send images and video directly to police from their smartphones. By searching the images, police identified several suspects."

Yeah, well, there's that

Warren: U.S.-Iran nuclear deal fuzzy on cheating accusations - NY Daily News

"A final written accord by mid-June will be dizzyingly intricate and ultimately land in the hands of a group not big on complexity: Congress."

Yes, Bunky, there is a Mystic Pizza

It’s in Mystic, CT, and the pizza’s OK but not the best ever. Julia Roberts doesn’t work there anymore and, apparently, it has other problems as well.

Mystic Pizza owner guilty of federal tax charges - NY Daily News


Looking a little bedraggled out back

IMG 1902

Some beautiful, if sad, photos from the Southwest

The American West Dries Up - The Atlantic

And what if you don't want to pay anything for broccoli?

So what's with the distracting tweet?

I suppose it's too late to believe this is just another April Fools Day stunt

TwentySixteen - NationalJournal.com

"As part of National Journal’s editorial coverage of the 2016 presidential contest, TwentySixteen is for those who want to stay ahead…"

We’re not much more than 25% through 2015 yet. Have a heart.

For Mad Men fans, here's how it really was

Life, Look, and the Saturday Evening Post were the three big, weekly, general-interest magazines of the day and many ads—including, no doubt, these—ran simultaneously in all three. These are from Life.

For the first time ever (or at least this year)…

…we might break 60º today. But, just to be on the safe side, there is a little snow in the forecast for next week. No worries about having to put the boots away just yet. 


Try landing on a blimp

Airships U.S.S. Akron and U.S.S. Macon | Flying Aircraft Carriers of the US Navy

"Often referred to as flying aircraft carriers, each of the helium-inflated airships carried F9C-2 Curtiss Sparrowhawk biplanes which could be launched and recovered in flight, greatly extending the range over which the Akron and Macon could scout the open ocean for enemy vessels."

Or in a blimp. Or under a blimp. Whatever. Sounds a little tricky to me.

Imagine our relief

Coast Guard rescues replica pirate ship Liana's Ransom crew - NY Daily News

"These pirates and their ship are arrright."

(Although the helicopter is historically suspicious.)

File under Spoilsports

PETA investigating man filmed biting head off of hamster - NY Daily News

How long has it been since you've seen a blue jello mold?

Chocolate Chip Mint: Science is Fun!


And the bartender goes unpunished, no doubt

Police: Idaho man calls 911 a dozen times about bar bill - Yahoo News

"POST FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Police say a northern Idaho man called 911 a dozen times to report being overcharged at a bar and now faces a $1,000 fine and a year in jail."

Could have had!

How Many Americans Could Get Ebola? Study Provides Estimates - Yahoo News

"The United States could have had more than a dozen Ebola cases monthly during the height of the epidemic in West Africa last year, and a half dozen cases in treatment simultaneously, according to a new study."

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting back under my bed.

The real story comes last

The new Nixon | New York Post

"At least Richard Nixon never burned the White House tapes.

"Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, wiped clean the private e-mail server at the heart of her current scandal.… "

Nope, not that.

"Clinton had a private intelligence operation running under longtime family hatchetman Sidney Blumenthal — whom the Obama White House had blocked from working at State."

Or that either.

"That information only came to light because Blumenthal’s e-mail got hacked."


The machines are taking over

And maybe it’s about time.

GPS directed driver off closed bridge, killing wife: cops - NY Daily News

"Iftikhar Hussain, 64, drove the couple’s 2014 Nissan Sentra off East Chicago’s Cline Avenue bridge — which closed in 2009 and is barricaded with bright orange barrels and cones."


Colo. bank robbers caught after Googling how not to: cops - NY Daily News

"The suspects fled in a gold PT Cruiser."

The Cruiser is a nice touch, but maybe skip the Google next time.


Handcrafted ice cream

No kidding. I bought some ice cream at the grocery store today and on the carton it said "handcrafted." I think that's better than artisanal, even. It's like artisanal plus. Extra-artisanal. I can't wait to eat some (it's vanilla).

Have you ever tried making ice cream in one of those old-fashioned buckets where you have to turn the crank until the stuff freezes? It takes forever. If you're planning to have some for dessert this evening, start yesterday.

But it is pretty good. I'd call it hand cranked.

As usual, DC comes up a week or so late

Good plan

Seattle mayor to ban city-funded travel to Indiana

"SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is banning city-funded travel to Indiana. He plans to sign an executive order this week.…

"San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is making a similar move."

I lived in Indiana twice, once for six weeks and the second for about twelve. That was enough.

Two Big Ten teams in the final four

If Kentucky wants to win they have to beat at least one, and possibly two of them.

I am partial to Big Ten teams for ancient, historical reasons. 

On, Wisconsin—and you too, Michigan State.


Whatever it is, we're against it

Northeast, despite highest gas costs, resists more pipelines

"And these are folks who pay a lot to stay warm in the winter and keep the lights on in summer. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, New Englanders paid $14.52 per thousand cubic feet of gas in 2014, compared to $10.94 for the rest of the nation. ISO-New England, which operates the region's power grid, said in its 2015 Regional Electricity Outlook that natural gas availability is 'one of the most serious challenges' the region faces as more coal and oil units go offline."

We understand

The secret history of caffeine: Starbucks science and the back story of everyone’s favorite morning habit - Salon.com

"If I can’t drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment I will shrivel up like a piece of roasted goat! — Johann Sebastian Bach and Christian Friedrich Henrici, Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht, aka the Coffee Cantata (c. 1734)"

But which gets more votes?

Republicans debate whether to cut or borrow to boost military spending - LA Times

"Even though military spending has gone down a bit in recent years, it still takes up more than half of the discretionary spending in the federal budget. By contrast, the much maligned food stamp program gets just a sliver of the 1% of discretionary spending that goes for agriculture and food programs."

Publicly owned electric utility powers Nebraska (wait, what?)

Who We Are

"NPA members help improve Nebraska’s quality of life by keeping electricity prices as low as possible. We budget conservatively and manage our expenses carefully. Because Nebraska’s publicly owned utilities don’t include a profit margin in their electricity prices, their prices are lower than utilities that are not publicly owned. That helps families and businesses stretch their dollars. All Nebraskans benefit from Nebraska being a public power state! …

"Nebraska’s utilities also contribute to the good life in our state by paying in-lieu-of taxes and other fees exceeding $30 million per year. These funds support Nebraska’s schools, roads, parks and community needs."