Rodentiferous!

Orkin’s annual survey of the “rattiest” US cities was released a few days ago.  It makes interesting reading. Orkin released its Top 50 Rattiest Cities list today, and for the fifth consecutive time, Chicago takes the top spot. New to the Top 10 cities this year are Minneapolis and Atlanta, holding the eighth and tenth spots, respectively. Orkin ranked metro regions by the number of new rodent treatments performed from September 15, 2018 – September 15, 2019. This ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments. 1. Chicago 2. Los Angeles 3. New York 4. Washington, DC (Hagerstown) 5. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose 6.

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Doofus Of The Day #1,057

Here’s a graphic illustration of why you shouldn’t use gasoline in combination with matches to clear an ant or termite nest out of your back yard. Must have been fun explaining that to his wife! A common practice in many parts of Africa was to soak the offending nest with a couple of gallons of gasoline, but then leave it alone for the gas to penetrate fully and kill off the ants or termites by poisoning them.  We didn’t toss lighted matches at the gas-soaked ground, for obvious reasons, as illustrated above. I can still recall (with some glee) the

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That must have been… interesting!

When is a “controlled” explosion not a “controlled” explosion?  When it does this! Breitbart reports: A Swedish police warehouse building in Linköping was destroyed after the bomb squad detonated a motorbike filled with explosives. The moped containing what has been described as some form of plastic explosive covered with nails was discovered on Monday afternoon by officers in a stolen property room, and led to the evacuation of around 170 personnel from the area, Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Radio reports. Following the evacuation, the Swedish bomb squad was called in to make a controlled detonation of the explosives but, according to Sveriges Radio,

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Well, son of a beach!

A pristine seafront near Sydney, Australia isn’t so pristine any longer, after a barge carrying a sewage truck passed… er, didn’t pass by. They’re going to have fun salvaging that sewage truck, I don’t think! A tip o’ the hat to reader Snoggeramus for sending me a link to the story. Peter

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I’ll see your backed-up toilet, and raise you

an exploding maritime convenience! Paul, Dammit!, who blogs over at Hawsepiper, tells the gruelling tale of cleaning up after the ship’s head (or toilet, for those who don’t speak nautical) exploded over the weekend.  Go read all the gory details for yourself. When cleanup involves a Tyvek isolation suit, a respirator, a hose, and bleach by the gallon, I think we can safely say it’s rather worse than the average backed-up domestic toilet! Peter

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There’s no fuel like an oil fuel

. . or so the petroleum industry used to say, back in the 1970’s.  That’s proving true in the maritime shipping industry right now, as major change looms next year.  We don’t think much about an industry that’s “out of sight, out of mind” for most of us, but it has a huge impact on global pollution, and changing that is going to require major changes to the way we fuel the ships that fuel the world’s economy.  Forbes reports: A United Nations mandate on the shipping industry to remove up to 85% of the sulfur content from its fuel to cut 3%

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An old weed becomes a modern problem

The so-called “Sargasso Sea” in the North Atlantic Ocean is a time-honored name, dating back to well before Christopher Columbus’ day.  It may have been known as early as the sixth century BC, according to one ancient navigator‘s oral history.  The map below is courtesy of Wikipedia. Its name was derived from the sargassum seaweed that proliferates there.  In more recent times, the Sargasso Sea has become the heart of the so-called North Atlantic Garbage Patch. Now it looks as if sargassum is spreading south, into equatorial regions, and posing a new and highly unwelcome threat to the tourist industry in South America, the Caribbean,

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A voyage in a vacuum produces a different sort of vacuum

I didn’t know that the Dustbuster was the fruit of the Apollo moon landing program, but it seems it is, along with several other iconic products. The Dustbuster was only made possible thanks to Black & Decker’s work with NASA on developing a lightweight and power-efficient tool for the Apollo Lunar Surface Drill. The same motor design used on the 1969 moon landing was then used to create the Dustbuster. There’s more at the link. There’s a certain wacky circular logic to that.  Design a motor that will work in a vacuum – then use the same motor to power a vacuum-cleaner in atmosphere. 

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A marketing stroke of genius

I wasn’t in the USA at the time that Softsoap was developed, so I didn’t know its commercial and industrial background.  A recent article was very informative. SoftSoap … was essentially the first mass-produced liquid hand soap ever sold to the public, all packaged in a convenient bottle featuring a pump. Of course, a key problem with this idea is that, while it was revolutionary in some ways, no part of it was original enough to patent. From his previous experience having bigger companies copy his ideas not long after he made them successful and then taking over the market, Taylor knew that if

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We need a season to dry out from summer!

It’s been far wetter and stormier than usual in northern Texas during spring, and that looks set to continue into early summer.  Miss D. and I have only lived here for three and a half years, but people who’ve been here all their lives are also complaining.  The ground is sodden – it has almost no capacity to absorb new moisture, so any fresh rain that falls simply runs off into creeks and rivers.  This is the result (clickit to biggit): That’s the Red River, on the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma, where it’s crossed by Interstate 44.  It’s been about ten

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