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Art and literature / Re: Did Shakespeare have Syphilis?
« Last post by P-Kasso2 on 09 May, 2020, 04:14:06 PM »
I was wondering how many other great public figures were struck down by syph.

After a quick meander round the internet I found that Syphilis is far from being just the disease of the common man or woman.  Quite the opposite.  Now read on...

Famous painters Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gaugin and Edouard Manet are known to have died from syphilis.
Joining the list are classic authors Oscar Wilde and Guy de Maupassant.
Lower down the class system are the infamous gangster Al Capone who eventually succumbed to syphilis as well.
Even Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln are theorised to have had the disease.

Digging into Wiki, we can add the composer Frederick Delius and Karen Blixen who wrote  Out of Africa and was also a Danish Baroness.
Idi Amin also got wiped out by a dose of syph.
And Charles Baudelaire died a less than poetic death with syphilis.
Suspected but not proven to have popped their clogs because of syphilis, we have Leo Tolstoy.
And the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche as well as politicos Vladimir Lenin along with Herr Adolf Hitler.

And I expect the list is much much longer because syhilis isn't exactly something people brag about having, is it?

Sources: https://blog.ochsner.org/articles/what-std-killed-these-historic-figures


Tecspec wins!

I remember something off the TV saying you can walk from Alaska to Russia when it's all frozen.
But the shortest distance is about 2 and half miles between Big Diomede and little Diomede.

Well done, Tec!    OK everyone you can all go back into lock down now.
I remember something off the TV saying you can walk from Alaska to Russia when it's all frozen.
But the shortest distance is about 2 and half miles between Big Diomede and little Diomede.
Geography / Heres' a little something to keep your brains active in lockdown...
« Last post by P-Kasso2 on 06 May, 2020, 03:32:36 PM »
How far is the USA from the Soviet Union at its nearest point?
I first asked this Q back on Boxing Day 2017 (!), since when it has flummoxed IAers to such an extent you've all been rendered speechless!  No answers at at all since 2017 so I thought "Bugger it. I'll see if I can find out myself".

And what I found out is very surprising (and more than a bit disgusting)...

This synthetic vanilla can come from ... wood pulp waste (though that's recently fallen out of favour) or coal tar, cow poop, secretions from a beaver's castor glands (located conveniently near its anus), clove oil, pine bark, or fermented bran.

Cow poop!?!  Secretions from a beaver's castor glands located conveniently near its anus!?!  Can this be true?  Are we actually eating this stuff?

Yep. We are.  That's what the respectable website called MyRecipes says at https://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/heres-whats-in-imitation-vanilla

It makes me wish I hadn't asked my original question!  But maybe it ain't all that bad, folks!  Because all these grotty ingredients in fake vanilla are all approved by the FDA (that's America's Food and Drug Administration) which is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that oversees the manufacturing and distribution of food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, tobacco and other consumer products and veterinary medicine.  So that's OK then, unless you wisely don't rate the FDA very highly.

Anyway, back on track...now for the second part of ny original question:  Why do chefs sneer at artificial vanilla?

Well, the same MyRecipes website implies (heavily) that these chefs are being unnecessarily hoity toity about artificial vanilla. MyRecipes says...

"In 2009, Cook's Illustrated conducted an intensive taste test to see if subjects could tell the difference between pure vanilla extract and imitation vanilla.
The results varied, depending on how the vanilla was deployed—in a cake, pudding, cold dessert, or solo—but the upshot was that while pure vanilla extract is ideal, there's not a huge drop-off in quality if you opt for a well-made imitation.

So there you have it.  Forget what all these poncey telly chefs say.  Artificial vanilla is fine, that is if you don't mind a gobful of coal tar, cow poop, secretions from a beaver's bum glands, pine bark, or fermented bran.


Hehe, PK, your eyes must be failing you in this one - Beep answered it almost immediately!  ;D
Miscellaneous / Re: Is it true the Queen owns a McDonald's franchise?
« Last post by P-Kasso2 on 03 April, 2020, 01:02:40 PM »
Well well well.  One does own a McDonald's!   I found this article (surprisingly) on The New York Post's website when I was spending some good self-isolation time this morning tangoing round the internet...

"Fast food isn’t usually fit for a queen, but this McDonald’s outlet in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom is – because it’s owned by one.

That’s right: in addition to her vast collection of jewels and gold bullion, Queen Elizabeth II also owns her very own McDonald’s.

The restaurant is located in the Banbury Gateway Shopping Park, 60 miles west of London, and boasts a level of fanciness thoroughly befitting its royal owner, according to Business Insider.

Diners can choose between plush leather couches or sleek designer replica chairs, wirelessly charge their phones while they eat and even browse the internet on complimentary tablets while they wait for their meals to be delivered to their tables. Yep, it has table service.

Proper English breakfast

Even the menu is a cut above, featuring British classics including porridge, English Breakfast tea and bacon butties (that’s a bacon sandwich to you and me) alongside the more traditional burgers and fries.

As the British Head of State, Queen Elizabeth’s property holdings are vast – she owns everything from race courses, hotels, historic castles – even an offshore wind farm. Among the more mundane things in her portfolio are thousands of retail properties, including the Banbury shopping precinct. Her holdings are worth an estimated $20 billion and net millions of pounds in rent and profits every year which is all reinvested in the Treasury."

There's quite a bit more on https://nypost.com/2017/11/06/queen-elizabeth-owns-her-own-mcdonalds-and-its-fittingly-regal/

And what did they do when in lockdown during the Black Death?

They didn't have the internet or video games to keep them sane.  So what did they do to pass the time of curfew and false imprisonment?

Can we learn anything from them?  Any ideas?
This burningly interesting question has lain in IA's vaults, sadly unanswered (but with over 2,200 inquisitive IAers looking in on it) since 2010!

So to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its life in solitary confinement, I hereby confer a long-awaited answer...

Tardis (or T.A.R.D.I.S) stands for Time And Relative Dimension in Space.  Clever acronym, eh?

A bit of a mouthful I think you'll agree, but very appropriate for a time-travelling machine with a relative dimension shift ie far bigger on the inside than the outside - and much more fitting than calling it Space Ship Police Phone Box.

Much more info on https://thedoctorwhosite.co.uk/tardis/
I knew that Geckos arboreal ability came from the hair on their feet but not the mechanics of the action.
the question suggested to me that a secretion was thought to be involved such as slug/snail slime.

Hence the statement, cheers for the heads up though; most informative.

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