Monday, May 21, 2018

How Did She Get There...?

This story from Listverse raises many questions yet to be answered. Even given the amount of time that has passed since the incident took place, to the best of my knowledge the question has never been answered as to how she managed to travel 30 miles to the point where she was found.

The Devil’s Den

Photo credit:

In 1946, Katherine Van Alst, an eight-year-old girl who was with her family at Devil’s Den State Park, disappeared from their camp and got lost. Six days later, she was found sitting in a cave approximately 48 kilometers (30 mi) away and 183 meters (600 ft) higher than the spot from which she had disappeared.

The thing that perplexed the search party was Katherine’s remarkable calmness when they found her. She was reported to have walked peacefully out of the cave and announced, “Here I am.”

How an eight-year-old girl wearing only a bathing suit managed to travel such a distance and show no signs of harm is still a mystery. Many suggest that something chased Katherine, which was why she strayed so far from the camp. While it likely wasn’t a lumbering, radioactive Bigfoot, it cannot be denied that it was indeed mysterious and that something sinister could be lurking in the Devil’s Den park.

The natural world around us is filled with many mysteries, many that we will never have an answer to. That is a sobering thought.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Very Close Call...!

Normally we could expect some type of warning if a foreign object came too close to the Earth for comfort. Guess what...the warning never came. Not only that, but this asteroid wasn't even seen until the last day!

A Surprisingly Close Asteroid

Photo credit:

Over a century ago, an asteroid exploded over Tunguska and razed 500,000 acres of trees. In April 2018, out of nowhere, another space rock hurled past Earth. Called 2018 GE3, it was only spotted a day before its surprise flyby.

It was so hair-raising because it could have been bigger than the Siberian asteroid of 1908. 2018 GE3 measured between 48–110 meters (157–360 ft) wide. At the extreme, it was almost four times bigger than its Tunguska cousin.

Buzzing Earth on April 15, the asteroid chose an uncomfortably close lane at about 192,000 kilometers (119,400 mi) from Earth. The Moon was nearly double that distance from the Earth.

Although an impact would not have caused global damage, 2018 GE3 is nothing to laugh at. It was up to six times larger than another rock that burst over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. That event caused property damage up to 93 kilometers (58 mi) away and injured over 1,000 people.

Most sobering was 2018 GE3’s stealthy approach that avoided detection until the last day.

I don't know about you, but I would prefer to have more than a few hours notice about something coming this close to us. With all that fancy equipment, both in space and on Earth, I feel the PTB should be able to handle that. I found this article over on Listverse.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

George Orwell WAS "Big Brother"...!

I found a surprising bit of information over on Listverse that I figured you might like. It caught me totally off guard when I read it.

George Orwell Sold His Friends Out To The Secret Service

Photo credit: Branch of the National Union of Journalists

The man who warned us about a grim future in which spies and secret police drag people away for having dangerous thoughts wasn’t exactly as staunch of a freedom-lover as he might seem. In real life, he was more of a part of Big Brother than he was against it.

Orwell kept a secret list of people he’d met who he thought were secret communist sympathizers. Anyone he met who seemed a little too favorable to the idea of social welfare got their name jotted down on Orwell’s blacklist. And when he had enough names, he sent to the British Secret Service with a little note telling them: Never trust these people.

Orson Welles, Katherine Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin, and dozens of other major names showed up on Orwell’s list. As it turns out, Orwell might not have liked communism, but he wasn’t above a little thought-policing.

Well, I don't know what to think about this information. Maybe the reason his vision of Big Brother was so vivid because he actually was living it, ya think?

Coffee inside the kitchen this morning. I had the AC fixed, so it's comfortable.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Dangerous Obsession...!

We have all seen cases where an obsession has caused terrible and sometimes deadly results.

Although we often don't understand what led to the obsession, this particular case is one that we know the cause.

An Obsession Turned Dangerous

Photo credit: Harris & Ewing

Stalkers and deranged fans are another concern that celebrities have to deal with. John Lennon, Selena, and Dimebag Darrell are just a few entertainers who were killed by people obsessed with them. Many others were put in physical danger. And, as it turns out, this happened in the Golden Age of Hollywood as well.

We go back to Shirley Temple, who had a very close call when she was just ten years old. It was 1939, and Shirley was performing Silent Night on a live radio show when a woman tried to assassinate her. Fortunately, the would-be assassin was subdued in time.
Tragically, the woman’s daughter had passed away on the same day (allegedly the same hour) that Shirley Temple was born. Since then, she became obsessed with the idea that her daughter’s soul was trapped in the child star’s body and that she would be setting it free by killing the actress.

As far as Temple was concerned, she sympathized with her would-be killer. In her autobiography, she said that “the tale seemed understandable to me.”

We too often think that mental illness can affect the young and old, rich or poor, famous and not-so-famous equally. I feel that we often don't do enough, but what do I know?

Coffee inside today. Just too hot do do the patio thing.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

It Is Your Choice...!

Now this is something I didn't know, but I figured I should share it with you.

You might find this handy when trying to convince someone to do something they don't want to do...who knows?

When you want someone to agree to your request, using the phrase ‘but you are free to refuse’ can double your chances. While studies show it works equally well no matter the type of request, how or why it works remains unclear – but there are theories that it puts people at ease, because it shows respect and makes them feel like their freedom to say no isn’t being violated.

Interesting how the human mind works, isn't it?

Coffee out on the patio this morning...but feel free to refuse if you wish.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Dick Fellows For Western Wednesday...!

Ever hear of an outlaw that was not good with horses? Meet Dick Fellows...not a good horseman or robber, it would seem.


Outlaw Dick Fellows is released

Dick Fellows, an inept horseman but persistent outlaw, becomes a free man after spending five years in the San Quentin prison.

Like many western bandits, Fellows drifted into life of crime when his efforts to make an honest living failed or provided only a poor income. Born George Lyttle in Kentucky in 1846, he came from an upstanding family and planned to become a lawyer. The outbreak of the Civil War put his ambitions on hold, though. While still in his teens, he fought with the Confederate Army until he was captured in 1863 and spent the rest of the war in a northern prison camp. After his release, he returned home and attempted to obtain a license to practice law, but his fondness for hard drinking apparently interfered.

With few opportunities available to him in Kentucky, Fellows headed West. He traveled to California in 1867, but failed to prosper there either. Low on funds, he began robbing stagecoaches near Los Angeles and adopted the alias Dick Fellows. Fellows found that robbing stages provided a reasonably good income, but he fled when lawmen began to close in on him. In an effort to go straight, he and a partner bought 600 hogs, but a fire burned the operation to the ground.

Fellows again turned to robbing stages, concocting a plan to hold up a coach carrying Wells Fargo’s chief detective, James B. Hume. A man of such importance, Fellows reasoned, must be escorting a major shipment of gold or money. In fact, Fellows was right–the coach was carrying $240,000. However, he missed his chance to rob the stage when the horse he had stolen threw him, knocking him cold for several hours. Refusing to walk away with nothing, Fellows stole a second horse and held up a different stage. He succeeded in taking the heavy treasure box, but only then realized he had forgotten to bring the tools he needed to break it open. When he tried to lift the box up on his horse’s saddle, he startled his mount and it, too, raced off, leaving him alone in the wilds with night falling.

Fellows had little choice but to lug the heavy box by hand. In the darkness, he fell over a high bluff, knocking himself unconscious for the second time that day. When he came to, he discovered that his left leg was broken and the treasure box had crushed his left foot. He managed to limp to a nearby construction camp, where he fashioned a crude pair of crutches and used a stolen axe to break open the box. The $1800 he found inside was trivial compared to the $240,000 he had missed, but it was better than nothing.

Unfortunately, the luckless Fellows never had a chance to spend his ill-gotten gains. The Wells Fargo detectives soon tracked him down, and he was sentenced to eight years in the San Quentin prison. Pardoned and released on this day in 1881, Fellows made yet another stab at earning an honest living, working briefly for a newspaper and even teaching Spanish for a time. Again, the money was inadequate to Fellow’s tastes, and he returned to robbing stages. By the time he was recaptured in February 1882, Fellows had become a celebrity. While in jail in San Jose, he received more than 700 visitors.

Sentenced to life in Folsom Prison, Fellows devoted part of his time there to teaching a course in moral philosophy to his fellow inmates. Pardoned in 1908 at the age of 62, he returned to his home in Kentucky and faded from the historical record. It is tempting to lampoon Fellows for his inept horsemanship and astonishingly bad luck, but as one biographer noted, “For daring, he is the equal of any outlaws with whom I ever had dealings.”

Sounds to me like Fellows wasn't the sharpest tool in the toolbox, ya know? Still, he seemed to be popular enough.

Coffee out on the patio where the temps are going to be about 97.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The First Known Hacker...!

When we think of the term "hacker", most of us imagine a shadowy computer nerd type...or at least I do.

Surprisingly, the first known "hacker" showed up a very long time ago. This story from Listverse will tell you a little history of the man and of his famous hack.

Nevil Maskelyne Hacked A Wireless Telegraph Demonstration: 1903

Photo credit: Perpetual Efforts in Futility

The second it became physically possible to hack into something, somebody did it. That somebody’s name was Nevil Maskleyne, history’s first hacker, and he was around a lot earlier than you might expect. He hacked into a live telegraph demonstration in 1903.

Maskleyne didn’t even wait for wireless telegraphs to go on the market; he hacked into one of the first demonstrations. Its creator, Guglielmo Marconi, was putting on a presentation to show how it worked. Marconi wanted to prove to the public that his wireless telegraphs were secure and that anything they sent would be completely private.

As the presentation began, though, his telegraph started tapping out a strange message. First, it just beeped out the word “Rats” over and over again. Then it started punching out a limerick. “There was a young fellow of Italy,” it said, poking fun at Marconi, “who diddled the public quite prettily.”

Marconi was publicly humiliated. He didn’t have to wait long, though, to find out who was behind it. Maskleyne wrote papers bragging about what he’d done. He’d done it, he insisted, for the public good. They needed to know that if they were going to start sending messages without wires, their information wouldn’t stay private.

Well, now we know a bit more about the man and the door he opened to the rest of his kind. Funny how things like this always seem to get started as "for the public good", isn't it?

Coffee out on the patio this mornng.