Hair-raising?

This is more than a little gross.  The Telegraph reports: Doctors treating a teenage girl who had become unable to drink water without being sick were shocked to excavate a gigantic nine-pound hairball from inside her stomach. Ayperi Alekseeva, 18, from Kyrgyzstan, suffered months of dehydration and malnourishment because she couldn’t eat or drink, and came close to death. But when doctors in the capital city of Bishkek cut open her stomach, they found a giant mass formed from years of eating her own hair and hair picked up from the floor. Ms Alekseeva will be go home with her

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This is an economic must-read

I know many of my readers aren’t economists, and don’t like to wade through turgid reams of economic documentation.  Nevertheless, I want to highlight the importance of the 16th Geneva Report, titled ‘Deleveraging? What Deleveraging?‘ (link is to an Adobe Acrobat document in .PDF format), produced by the International Center for Monetary and Banking Studies. I mentioned it on Sunday, and I’ve been going through the 125-page report since then.  It makes truly appalling reading.  I don’t propose to quote from it at length.  It really needs to be read in full and in context to make sense.  However, I

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The ‘death’ of shop class?

I wasn’t raised in the USA’s educational system, so many aspects of it seem strange to me – getting academic credit for learning to drive, civics classes, stuff like that.  Nevertheless, one thing I’ve often heard mentioned by my local contemporaries-in-age is the fun they had in ‘shop class‘ – a catch-all phrase covering vehicle maintenance, welding, woodwork, simple home and farm repairs, and anything else covered in a practical, ‘this-is-how-you-do-it’ manner using tools and basic materials.  It sounded similar to (although more comprehensive than) the woodwork classes I took in the equivalent of the eighth, ninth and tenth grade,

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A fascinating musical rediscovery

I’m really excited to learn that a music text dating back to the boundary between the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance has been revived, and is about to be issued as a CD.  The Telegraph reports: Choral music not heard since the time of Henry VIII has been brought to life for the first time in 500 years, as an academic unearths an untouched manuscript and shows it to a modern choir. The manuscript, a book of 34 religious songs, was given to Henry VIII as a lavish gift from a French diplomat in his early reign. Containing songs

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I wouldn’t have believed it possible

I was astonished to read that experiments were conducted with a Convair B-36 strategic bomber landing and taking off on a tracked undercarriage.  This was tried because the very heavy bomber broke through several concrete runways with its original single-wheel main undercarriage, which concentrated its massive weight (for the day) on a single point per side.  As the National Museum of the USAF reports: When the XB-36 was designed during World War II, specifications called for two main landing gear wheels to be equipped with the largest aircraft tires produced in the United States to that time. Manufactured by Goodyear,

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“Never Trust Anyone Who Hasn’t Been Punched in the Face”

I was intrigued to read an article with this title in Taki’s Magazine.  Here’s an excerpt. The cause of civilizational decline is dirt-simple: lack of contact with objective reality. The great banker-journalist (and founder of the original National Review) Walter Bagehot said it well almost 150 years ago: History is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it. Every great civilization reaches a point of prosperity

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I guess ‘Industrial Disease’ is now an official diagnosis

The International Centre for Monetary and Banking Studies isn’t pulling any punches in its latest annual Geneva Report.  The Financial Times reports: The 16th annual Geneva Report … predicts interest rates across the world will have to stay low for a “very, very long” time to enable households, companies and governments to service their debts and avoid another crash. The warning, before the International Monetary Fund’s annual meeting in Washington next week, comes amid growing concern that a weakening global recovery is coinciding with the possibility that the US Federal Reserve will begin to raise interest rates within a year.

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In memoriam: Werner Franz of the Hindenburg

I note in the Telegraph’s obituary column that Werner Franz, the last survivor of the crew of the Hindenburg airship, died recently. As a 14-year-old cabin boy, Werner Franz was the youngest member of the Hindenburg’s 60-strong crew when the hydrogen-filled Zeppelin caught fire and crashed at Lakehurst, New Jersey, on May 6 1937. Of the 97 people on board, 36 passengers and crew and one person on the ground were killed when the airship crashed in an enormous fireball. . . . He had been clearing the dinner dishes in the officer’s mess when, at 7.25pm, he heard a

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General Motors: 29 million reasons not to buy their vehicles

Ever since the politically manipulated, ethically flawed and legally dubious bailout of the US motor vehicle industry, I’ve said flatly that I’ll never buy another new GM or Chrysler vehicle.  That hasn’t changed.  However, there also appear to be other reasons not to buy GM vehicles. Last week an acquaintance took delivery of a new pickup from one of General Motors’ brands.  Two days later it died during his morning commute, coasting to a halt in the middle of rush-hour traffic.  Fortunately he was able to signal his need to get off the road, and other drivers made an opening

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It’s hard to keep a good man down . . .

. . . or should that be “good to keep a hard man down” – or up, as the case may be? Readers will recall that a few days ago, I mentioned an Australian ‘brothel investigator’ whose job was to visit suspected illegal brothels, partake of their sexual services, then file a report to the authorities.  It seems that the news report generated more than a little interest.  The Sydney Morning Herald reports: In the past three years a 60-year-old man from Lyonswood Investigations was hired by 10 Sydney councils to have sex with sex workers and help strengthen their

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