Friday, September 2, 2011

Things I learned this week

I learned that:
• On August 28, 1964, Bob Dylan introduced The Beatles to marijuana.

• German scientist Hennig Brand stored 50 buckets of urine in his cellar for months in 1675, hoping that it would turn into gold. Instead, an obscure mix of alchemy and chemistry yielded a waxy, glowing goo that spontaneously burst into flame. It was the element now known as phosphorus.

• Panda poop may help to save the planet. A study has identified it as a source of enzyme-producing bacteria that break down plant materials in a way that is useful for biofuel production.

• The U.S. government is seizing guitars from owners who can't prove they are made from wood that is legal. Some musicians are no longer taking their guitars with them when they travel outside the country, fearing that the instruments will be confiscated by U.S. Customs upon re-entry. The feds also raided Gibson Guitars, and grabbed $1 million worth of wood.

• Tropical storm Irene ripped off a hollowed-out branch of an enormous tree in a Brooklyn park, exposing a hive of 30,000 to 40,000 honeybees. Word spread quickly on Facebook and Twitter that a feral hive was up for grabs, setting off a feud between two beekeeping groups.

• At least 25 American CEOs earned more than their companies paid in income taxes in 2010, according to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies.
How about that?

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