Category Archives: ephemera

Rumpology

Rumpology can be performed either by sight, touch or by using buttock prints. In addition to live readings, Jackie Stallone will perform buttock readings using e-mailed digital photographs, and has claimed to predict the outcome of Presidential elections and Oscar awards by reading the bottoms of her two pet Doberman Pinschers.

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Surreal Number

In mathematics, the surreal number system is a totally ordered class containing the real numbers as well as infinite and infinitesimal numbers, respectively larger or smaller in absolute value than any positive real number.

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Damnatio Memoriae

Damnatio memoriae is a modern Latin phrase literally meaning “condemnation of memory,” meaning that a person must not be remembered.

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Drapetomania

Drapetomania was a conjectural mental illness that, in 1851, American physician Samuel A. Cartwright hypothesized to cause Black slaves to flee captivity.

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Electroreception

Weakly electric fish can also communicate by modulating the electrical waveform they generate, an ability known as electrocommunication.

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Scaramouche

Scaramuccia is a stock clown character of the Italian commedia dell’arte (comic theatrical arts). The role combined characteristics of the zanni (servant) and the Capitano (masked henchman).

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Dexter and Sinister

Dexter and sinister are terms used in heraldry to refer to specific locations in an escutcheon bearing a coat of arms, and to the other elements of an achievement.

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Rumination Syndrome

Rumination syndrome is an under-diagnosed chronic motility disorder characterized by effortless regurgitation of most meals following consumption, due to the involuntary contraction of the muscles around the abdomen.

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Inosculation

Inosculation is a natural phenomenon in which trunks, branches or roots of two trees grow together.

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Gombe Chimpanzee War

The Gombe Chimpanzee War, lasting from 1974 to 1978, was a violent conflict between two communities of chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania.

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Pannage

Pannage is the practice of releasing domestic pigs in a forest, so that they can feed on fallen acorns, beechmast, chestnuts or other nuts. Historically, it was a right or privilege granted to local people on common land or in royal forests.

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Lead Masks Case

When a small team of police and firefighters arrived, they encountered an odd scene: the bodies rested next to each other, partly covered by grass. Each one wore a formal suit, a lead eye mask, and a waterproof coat. There were no signs of trauma or any evidence of a struggle. Next to the corpses, police found an empty water bottle and a packet containing two wet towels. A small notebook was also identified, on which were written cryptic instructions.

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Tyranny of Small Decisions

The article describes a situation in which a number of decisions, individually small in size and time perspective, cumulatively result in an outcome which is not optimal nor desired.

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Thieves’ Cant

Thieves’ cant was a secret language (a cant or cryptolect) which was formerly used by thieves, beggars and hustlers of various kinds.

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John Horse

John Horse’s men had only single load rifles, mostly of vintage type, and when they had discharged their first volley it failed to turn the Indians who just kept coming at them. As the men scrambled to reload their weapons, John Horse stepped out in front of his men and levelled his own empty weapon at the oncoming chief, taking deliberate and careful aim.

He had always been a crack shot and the Indians knew it. When the chief saw John’s rifle directed straight at him he lost his nerve and swerved his horse, all those behind following him, thus breaking the charge and giving John Horse’s men and boys time to complete their reload.

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General Motors Streetcar Conspiracy

The General Motors streetcar conspiracy was part of a deliberate plot to purchase and dismantle streetcar systems in many cities in the United States as an attempt to monopolize surface transportation.

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Quantum Suicide and Immortality

Everett firmly believed that his many-worlds theory guaranteed him immortality: his consciousness, he argued, is bound at each branching to follow whatever path does not lead to death.

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Freight Train Riders of America

The Freight Train Riders of America (FTRA) are an American gang of transients who move about by freight hopping in railroad cars, and are linked to many violent crimes.

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Apophenia

Apophenia is the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data.

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Liver-Eating Johnson

He supposedly killed and scalped more than 300 Crow Indians and then devoured their livers to avenge the death of his wife.

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