Link Dumpage for 2011-03-23

Notable links enjoyed today:

  • "The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel (in French, La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel) is a connected series of five novels written in the 16th century by François Rabelais. It is the story of two giants, a father (Gargantua) and his son (Pantagruel) and their adventures, written in an amusing, extravagant, satirical vein. The text features much crudity, scatological humor, and violence. Lists of explicit or vulgar insults fill several chapters. The censors of the Sorbonne stigmatized it as obscene, and in a social climate of increasing religious oppression, it was dealt with suspicion, and contemporaries avoided mentioning it. According to Rabelais, the philosophy of his giant Pantagruel, "Pantagruelism", is rooted in "a certain gaiety of mind pickled in the scorn of fortuitous things" (French: "une certaine gaîté d'esprit confite dans le mépris des choses fortuites")."
  • Delicious tags: biology science nature death ants
    "This is one of my favorite things about ants -- the ant death spiral. Actually, it's a circular mill, first described in army ants by Schneirla (1944). A circle of army ants, each one following the ant in front, becomes locked into a circular mill. They will continue to circle each other until they all die. How crazy is that? Sometimes they escape, though. Beebe (1921) described a circular mill he witnessed in Guyana. It measured 1200 feet in circumference and had a 2.5 hour circuit time per ant. The mill persisted for two days, "with ever increasing numbers of dead bodies littering the route as exhaustion took its toll, but eventually a few workers straggled from the trail thus breaking the cycle, and the raid marched off into the forest."
  • Delicious tags: wikipedia games
    "These are games where the rules are intentionally concealed from new players, either because their discovery is part of the game itself, or because the game is a hoax and the rules do not exist. In fiction, the counterpart of the first category are games that supposedly do have a rule set, but that rule set is not disclosed." Includes discovery games, hoax or joke games, and games in works of fiction.
  • Delicious tags: zombies culture science
    "Let's pretend for a moment that zombies are real (as if half of you weren't already daydreaming about that very thing). Have you noticed how most zombie movies take place only after the apocalypse is in full-swing? By the time we join our survivors, the military and government are already wiped out, and none of the streets are safe. There's a reason the movie starts there, and not earlier. It's because the early part, where we go from one zombie to millions, doesn't make any sense. If you let the creeping buzzkill of logic into the zombie party, you realize the zombies would all be re-dead long before you even got a chance to fire up that chainsaw motorcycle you've been working on. Why?"
  • Delicious tags: nature wikipedia india rats
    Mautam (Mizo, ’bamboo death’; also spelt mautaam) is a cyclic ecological phenomenon that occurs every 48 years in the northeastern Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, which are thirty percent covered by wild bamboo forests, as well as Chin State in Burma, particularly Hakha, Thantlang, Falam, Paletwa and Matupi Townships, creating a widespread famine in those areas … This event is followed invariably by a plague of Black Rats in what is called a rat flood. This occurs as the rats multiply in response to the temporary windfall of seeds and leave the forests to forage on stored grain when the bamboo seeds are exhausted, which in turn causes devastating famine."