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November 24, 2020

Talk to the Hand


[Three marble fingers and a portion of an elbow of the lost statue of Hercules, at an estimated 40 feet high among the largest marble statues ever to have existed.]

From Atlas Obscura:

Towering over Amman, Jordan's modern skyline is the Temple of Hercules, located at the peak of a hillside in one of the ancient city's oldest quadrants. 

Constructed between 162-166 CE during Marcus Aurelius's Roman occupation of Amman's Citadel, the great temple is larger than any in Rome itself.

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[Ruins of the Temple of Hercules]

Its portico faces east and is surrounded by six 33-foot tall columns.

Measuring 100 feet long by 85 feet wide, with an outer sanctum of 400 by 236 feet, the fact that the rest of the temple remained unadorned by columns suggests to scholars that the structure was never completed, for reasons history has yet to reveal. 


[Archaeologists' and historians' reimagining of the Temple of Hercules.]

But the ones that did exist were huge — albeit ambiguous.
From just three gigantic fingers, one elbow, and a scattering of coins, archaeologists have agreed these marble body parts likely belonged to a massive statue of Hercules himself.
Therefore, the theory goes, the temple also must have been dedicated to the half-god known for his feats of strength and far-ranging adventures. 

Likely toppled during one of the area's periodic catastrophic earthquakes, the statue fell to bits, but unlike the temple, all except the hand and elbow disappeared.

As one guide put it, "The rest of Hercules became Amman’s countertops." 

Experts' best guess is that, in its original state, the statue would have measured upwards of 40 feet high, which would have placed it among the largest known marble statues to have ever existed.

November 24, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Helpful Hints from joeeze: Free Showtime

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Not just Showtime, but also HBO Max, AMC, Sundance, and a zillion other paid subscription channels.

They all offer an introductory free window, ranging from a week to a month, before the monthly billing starts.

Sign up, watch what you want, then unsubscribe before your free window expires.

Two easy peasy ways to remember to unsubscribe, which these premium channels are counting on you forgetting to do, especially after a month:

1) As soon as you've subscribed, unsubscribe before you leave the website.

2) Upon concluding watching the final episode of whatever it is you subscribed for, cancel your subscription right then and there.

FunFact: Your free window lasts for the entire week or month you signed up for, even if you unsubscribe before then.

Study the pic up top: see what I did there?

November 24, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

BehindTheMedspeak: A White-Collar Worker With a Hole in his Brain


[Above and below, massive ventricular enlargement in a patient with normal social functioning. A: top view; B: front view; C: side view.]

From Nature:

Scans reveal a fluid-filled cavity in the brain of a normal man.

In 2004, a 44-year-old man was admitted to hospital in Marseille, France, complaining of weakness in his left leg.

He had no idea what doctors would find to be the source of the problem: a huge pocket of fluid where most of his brain ought to be.

Normally, fluid continuously circulates throughout the brain and is drained away into the circulatory system.

But in this case, the man's drainage tubes had narrowed, resulting in an accumulation of fluid in the ventricles and an enlargement of the skull due to the great volume of fluid pressing against it.


This had squeezed his brain into a narrow layer around the outside of the fluid, doctors reported in the Lancet.

"We were very surprised when we looked for the first time at the CT scan," says Lionel Feuillet, a neurologist at the Mediterranean University, Marseille. "The brain was very, very much smaller than normal."

Nevertheless, subsequent tests showed the man to have an IQ of 75 — his verbal IQ was 84, and his performance IQ 70 — at the lower end of the "normal range."

The patient was a married father with two children and a job as a civil servant.

His problems with his left leg were a neurological symptom of the condition, says Feuillet.

Water on the brain

The general condition caused by a buildup of fluid in the brain's ventricles — called hydrocephalus or "water on the brain" — is relatively common, affecting about one in 1,000 people.

It is most common in children but can affect adults too.

To release the trapped fluid, doctors insert a tube called a "shunt," allowing it to drain into the peritoneal cavity.

With this treatment most patients lead a fairly normal life.


But neurological problems and other complications, such as brain infection and problems related to the shunt, are not uncommon.

Left untreated, the condition is often fatal.

It's likely that the man in this case had hydrocephalus from birth, says Feuillet.

His medical records show that he was treated with a shunt at the age of 6 months, and again at 14 years old.

But without further neurological problems the extent of his condition went unnoticed for decades.

The fact that his medical record shows normal neurological development is remarkable, says Feuillet. "This case is unique to our knowledge. We have never encountered such severe hydrocephalus before."

Many other medical conditions lead to brain shrinkage, including brain atrophy from Alzheimer's disease, explains Feuillet. "But in these cases, mental abilities are usually affected."

For example, people with microcephaly — a condition in which the size of the head and brain is reduced (but the structure of the brain is normal) — can suffer from cerebral palsy, epilepsy, impaired vision and hearing, and autism.

Happily, this patient has made a complete recovery following his treatment, reports Feuillet, although a subsequent scan showed no change in his brain size.

So the man with the tiny brain lives on.

November 24, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

One man's trash is another man's deleted messages


How else to explain why Google calls it "trash" 

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while Apple prefers the more genteel "Deleted Messages?"

November 24, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Cinco de Mayo Bottle Poncho


From websites:

Make sure your cerveza is as cool and colorful as you.

Keep your bottles looking great as it they help you cool down on a hot day in May or any day.

This bottle cover poncho comes in a striped fiesta-rrific colorful fabric with an undeniably crazy fringed bottom.

Grab one and dress up any standard 12 ounce bottle.


November 24, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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