Sunday, January 22, 2012

Five More Things I Learned From "Random Article"

Awhile back, last year in fact, I decided to click the "Random Article" button on to see what useless information I might be able to learn. The result? I actually learned quite a bit. Have I used any of this "knowledge" since then? Maybe not. But who's to say what's "useless" and what's not?

So here I am, going to that same well again, seeking nuggets of knowledge to file away in my brain -- and yours too. Lucky you.

1)  The Dusky Grass-skipper, or Thyrrus Skipper (fancy-schmancy Latin name: Toridia thyrrhus) is a pretty weird-looking butterfly, part of the Hesperiidae family -- whatever that means. You won't find them around here. In fact, unless you find yourself in Queensland, Australia, you might never see one at all. So, here's a picture so you can say that you've seen one. Your life is now complete.

2)  Wranglers Roost is a ghost town located in Maricopa County, Arizone, ear the town of New River.  Wranglers Roost was once a stagecoach. Some of the original buildings used by the stagecoach drivers are still standing, including a jail cell where prisoners were boarded while the stagecoach drivers rested. Sounds like the perfect setting for an old Clint Eastwood or John Wayne movie. Here's a picture of the "town" these days. Doesn't look like much to me.

3)  Franz Anton Mesmer (May 23, 1734 – March 5, 1815), was a German physician with an interest in astronomy, who theorized that there was a natural energetic transference that occurred between all animated and inanimate objects that he called magnĂ©tisme animal  (animal magnetism) and other spiritual forces often grouped together as mesmerism. The degeneration of Mesmer's ideas and practices led Scottish surgeon James Braid to develop hypnosis in 1842. Mesmer's name is the root of the English verb "mesmerize". Well, that's interesting. Truly. Here's a portrait of Ol' Franzie -- ugly sucker, wasn't he?

4) The reverse-process indoor wood burning stove is a non-catalytic airtight heater. Employing a unique reverse process whereby it not only draws exterior air in to the wood stove for combustion, thus eliminating interior drafts, it also releases fresh outside air into the room through a rear-mounted plenum, where it is heated before entering the premises. This initiates a healthy fresh air exchange system, by introducing oxygen-rich air in to the building. The innovation by Jan Steen started as the Chinook, but later became known as the Sunrise wood stove. What have we learned? Well, I don't know what you got out of that, but I was completely lost. Good for Mr. Steen, though, he got his name in the history books. Well, at least he got mentioned on a Wikipedia page.

5)  Kong Bukseløs  (English translation: His New Grey Trousers) is a 1915 Danish silent film directed by Lau Lauritzen Sr. The film stars Oscar Stribolt as Paludan Plum; Carl Schenstrom as Adam Brink; Agnes Andersen as Bella; and Frederik Buch as En Skomagerdreng. I didn't even know Denmark made any silent movies. Random question: why do the characters in silent movies even need names? Isn't it mostly all driven by what we see anyway. Who cares what their names are? I know there's title cards that help tell the story, but I mean really -- who cares? Here's a still shot of a scene from the film:

There you have it. I encourage you to take your own trip through the wacky world of "Random Article" sometime. You never know what you'll find.

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