90 Miles From Tyranny : 10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (7/27/19)

Saturday, July 27, 2019

10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (7/27/19)

Now that the weekend is here, why not sit down, relax, and catch up on the stranger stories that hit the news cycle this week? If you missed the last offbeat list, you can read it here.We look at a couple of interesting rivalries this week, one over which state has more lakes and the other over research rights at Pompeii. We also answer a few lingering questions, such as “What happened to the submarine Minerve?” and “Where are all the paintings by Bob Ross?” There is also talk of an 800-year-old tradition and the most expensive sneakers in the world.

10Asterix In Britain

Photo credit: PA
After a decade of study, the artifacts belonging to an ancient warrior dubbed a “real-life Asterix” are ready to go on display for the first time.English archaeologists announced the discovery made in West Sussex as being “the most elaborately equipped warrior grave ever found in England.”[1] Although we don’t know his name, the Iron Age soldier fought with the Gauls against Caesar, just like his comic book counterpart. He was either a Gaul himself who later fled to Britain or, alternatively, someone born in Eastern England who crossed the channel to help the Gauls in their fight against the Romans.His grave was first located in 2008 during excavations for a new housing project. However, it took scholars all this time to carefully conserve and analyze everything that was inside. Highlights include a bent sword, most of an intricate, ornate headdress, and a helmet with Celtic openwork crests that is “absolutely unique.” They will go on display at the Novium Museum in Chichester in January 2020.

9Where Are All The Happy Little Accidents?

Photo credit: PBS
Bob Ross might be one of the most prolific American painters of all time. He was responsible for an estimated 30,000 paintings during his lifetime, 1,143 of which he did for his PBS show The Joy of Painting. And yet you almost never see one. That led The New York Times to wonder where exactly all these artworks are, so they launched an investigation to find out. The answer is Herndon, Virginia.[2]This is because Herndon is the home of Bob Ross Inc., still run by his longtime business partner Annette Kowalski. Almost all of his paintings are stored carefully in a warehouse, but they are not for sale. In fact, the idea never even occurred to the Kowalskis because it would defeat the purpose that Bob Ross had as an artist. Instead of selling himself, he sold the idea that anybody could be an artist with a little practice and the willingness to make some happy little accidents.That being said, the company recently donated some paintings to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. There were four of them, including three versions of the same painting titled On A Clear Day. Bob Ross actually made three renditions of a painting for each episode of his television show. The first served as an initial reference, the second was the one you saw on TV, and the third was a more in-depth version he included in his books.

8Glow-In-The-Dark Shark

Photo credit: Michael Doosey
Researchers from Tulane University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have identified a new species of shark with an interesting characteristic: It glows in the dark.The diminutive shark is only 14 centimeters (5.5 in) long and comes from the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists initially spotted it in 2010 during an unrelated study on sperm whales. It remained a mystery until 2013, when it was again discovered by a NOAA researcher. Now, the animal has been described as an entirely new species called the American pocket shark. Its name is derived from the fact that it has a pocket gland near its front fins which secrets a bioluminescent fluid.[3]This is only the second specimen of pocket shark ever captured or recorded. The first one was found in the Pacific Ocean in 1979. They are different species that live in different oceans and, evidently, are incredibly rare. Scientists speculate that the shark uses its bioluminescent ability to attract prey, but we simply don’t know enough about this abstruse species to say anything with certainty.

7Minerve Located

Photo credit: Learning History

On January 27, 1968, the French submarine Minerve disappeared while on its way to the naval base at Toulon, taking with it its entire crew of 52. Its fate remained a mystery for over five decades, until the wreck was finally found last week.When Minerve vanished, French authorities launched several search and rescue missions, including one supervised by explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau. Alas, no trace of the vessel was found, and the search was called off in February.This July, the government renewed its efforts to find the submarine, following added pressure from the families of the crew members. This time, it had the advantage of modern technology and high-tech equipment, and the search paid off. First located by private US company Ocean Infinity, Minerve was discovered 45 kilometers (27 mi) from Toulon, at a depth of 2,370 meters (7,775 ft).[4] Underwater drones first spotted the wreck in low sedimentation and observed the first three letters of the vessel’s name to confirm its identity.Examining the submarine might tell us why it sank in the first place. The captain of the boat, Lieutenant Andre Fauve, had thousands of hours experience on similar vessels, so human error was never considered a likely possibility. Some believe that extremely bad weather was to blame, while others opine that rudder problems caused the sub to sink and implode.

6Getting Rich Off Snail Mucus

There is a new booming industry in Thailand: “milking” snails. The secretion of these mollusks has become a must-have ingredient in cosmetics, particularly in Korea and the United States. As just one face cream can cost hundreds of dollars, in just three years, the Thai snail “milking” industry has become worth an estimated $314 million.To call the process “milking” is a delicate and positive misnomer. The substance is a slime called mucin, and there is no milking involved. The procedure is actually safe for the mollusks. It simply requires dripping some water over them, which encourages their glands to produce mucin. Not only that, but to keep them in good health and maintain the quality of the secretion, the snails are fed on grains and vegetables and only “milked” once every three weeks.[5]The Thai farmers benefit from the industry, as well. Before, they saw the snails as pests who damaged their crops. They would collect them and throw them in rivers. Now, they sell them for a profit.

5Wisconsin vs. Minnesota

Over the past few months, there has been an ongoing rivalry between frenemy states Wisconsin and Minnesota over who has more lakes.Minnesota prides itself as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” However, in May, new Wisconsin...


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