Yearly Archives: 2019

The week that was (01-11-19)

Norway, a country that plans to ban sales of all gasoline-powered cars by 2025, is well on its way with 50% of cars sold last year being either hybrid or electric.

In North Carolina, a man tried to kidnap a woman. She fled and ran into a nearby karate studio. It did not end well for the man.  In Rio, a man tried to rob a woman waiting for her Uber and he found out the hard way that she was a professional UFC fighter.

Someone bought a fish for $3.1 million in Japan.A 612-pound bluefin tuna.

At Costco, you can now buy Nutella in bulk. $22 will get you a 6.6 pound bucket. If you’re still feeling peckish after that, they also have on offer a 27-pound bucket of Mac & Cheese. Both items are available in the store’s emergency foods section.

Traffic ground to a halt when an 18-wheeler crashed on an Alabama highway spilling its load of chicken tenders and drivers stopped to pick up the food.

At the CES tech conference, Kohler announced an intelligent toilet, “fully immersive,” with ambient lighting, surround sound speakers and built-in Alexa (so you have someone to talk to?).

A Florida man arrested for drugs was accused of trying to smuggle contraband into jail after three syringes were found in his rectum. The man insists they don’t belong to him.

Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto, a San Francisco institution for over 125 years, recently closed its doors. When they put up their eclectic decor for auction, they discovered that the 8-foot vase that has been gracing the central dinning room since as long as anyone remembers was in fact a rare Japanese art piece had been missing since it was shown at the California Mid-Winter Fair in 1894.

The “sonic attack” noise which caused diplomats visiting Cuba to complain of headaches and nausea could just be the mating song of Indies short-tailed cricket.

A Virginia home was overrun with baby praying mantises after eggs hidden in the branches of a Christmas tree hatched. When asked whether the homeowner had seen any insects in the bedroom, she said, “I don’t want to think about that. It’s possible, but I don’t want to know.”

Amazon Alexa fact-checked a Qualcomm executive giving a presentation at the CES trade show. During an on stage demo of Amazon’s voice service, Alexa interrupted up saying, “No. That’s not true.”

Photo credit: Reddit user dvne3K

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US Immigration, visualized

In celebration of the diversity of the 116th congress, I’m sharing this beautiful visualization illustrating the diverse origin of immigrants to the United States over the years.


Data visualization with a poetic take on the data — historical immigration to the U.S. is shown as a set of tree rings (1830-2015). As time advances, the tree grows, forming rings of immigration. Each ring corresponds to a decade. Cells are deposited in layers, and each cell corresponds to 100 immigrants that arrived in that decade from a specific region outside the U.S.

Pedro Cruz is an Assistant Professor in information visualization at Northeastern University and his work above was one of the winners in the Kantar Information is Beautiful awards. If you like this kind of stuff, you really should check out the other winners.

Related:

The week that was (01-04-19)

The Chinese cellphone maker Huawei was the source of much ridicule when they used an iPhone to tweet to the world Happy New Year, this only a few weeks after the company famously banned all employees from using Apple products. The reason for the blunder? The PR company could not use Twitter from behind China’s firewall and thus had to use the iPhone which did work.

Another Chinese company has fully embraced the government’s initiative of, “adding technology into campus” and is marketing school uniforms embedded with GPS chips along with an app that will alert teachers when students leave campus.

In what some saw as a bad omen for 2019, a Rose Bowl parade train float caught fire and literally became a train wreck.

Monks in Japan are protesting one monk’s traffic ticket for “driving in a kimono that could affect safety” by posting videos showing off amazing feats of agility all while dressed in ceremonial robes.

A man shot out the drive-thru window at an Oklahoma City Taco Bell because he didn’t get enough hot sauce.

A town in Finland claims it is the happiest on earth. When asked, one resident claimed their secret was, “not being miserable.”

Scientists discovered that household plants spiked with “synthetic rabbit DNA” form a powerful new compound that can filter potentially cancer-causing organic compounds from the air.

A mugger in West Palm Beach picked the wrong mark when he went after 68-year old Steve Shepherd who is a five-time, world-champion kickboxer.

Photo credit: at least this guy got something out of the year’s first presidential press briefing.

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