Monday, August 16, 2021




A brief look at some items of interest on various websites, click on the source to access those sites. Most of today’s items are from Amusing Planet . . .


Whiffling: The Art of Flying Upside Down –

This image of a goose flying upside down captured by photographer Vincent Cornelissen has created a buzz online. In the viral photo, the goose is seen with its body upside down, with its neck twisted so that the head is the right way up. Many people are wondering if such a thing is even possible.

While it looks painful, such a maneuver is indeed possible and is a tried and tested way of braking, called whiffling. By turning the body upside down, the aerodynamics which usually give a bird lift during flying are inverted causing the bird to plummet towards the ground. Whiffling allows the bird to rapidly lose speed and height either for a fast landing or to throw off avian predators.

The behaviour is seen in several species aside from geese including lesser yellowlegs, the black-tailed godwit, the northern lapwing, three species of scoter, and other members of the family Anatidae.

Amusing Planet
August 6, 2021

By the way . . . 
This is no relation to the Oozlum bird which, when startled, takes off and flies around in ever-decreasing circles until it disappears up its own backside, disappearing completely, which adds to its rarity.


Bobbie, The Wonder Dog Who Walked 2,500 Miles to Home –

In August 1923, Bobbie—an average-looking collie puppy—accompanied his owners, the Braizer family, on a cross-country summer road trip from their home in Silverton, Oregon, to Wolcott, Indiana, where they were visiting some relatives. While filling up gas at a station in Wolcott, Bobbie was chased away by some street dogs. The family waited for Bobbie to return, but he did not. They placed ads on newspapers and after a week of intense searching, the Brazier family gave up hope. Heartbroken, they continued their trip before returning home to Oregon, expecting never to see their dog again.

A statue of Bobbie the Wonder Dog at Silverton.

To everyone’s surprise, Bobbie did return, six months after he had disappeared. He hobbled back into Silverton one February day in 1924, ragged, dirty and scrawny with his toenails worn down to nothing. Unbelievable as it may seem, the two-year old puppy had walked 2,550 miles all by himself to get home.

The news of Bobbie’s incredible feat soon spread across the nation, and the Braizer family was flooded with fan mail, some addressed to Bobbie himself. Some people claimed they had seen Bobbie at various places and were able to identify him by his distinguishing features.

Officials from the Oregon Humane Society was skeptical at first, and launched an investigation into the Braziers' claims. By talking with people who claimed to have fed and sheltered Bobbie on his journey, the Humane Society was able to confirm that Bobbie had indeed travelled 2,550 miles, and perhaps more, in the dead of winter swimming across rivers and walking through deserts to return home. The society was even able to assemble a relatively precise description of the route Bobbie took.

Bobbie’s journey.

Offbeat Oregon reports:
After coming back to Wolcott and finding the Braziers gone, Bobbie first followed them northeast, farther into Indiana. Then he started striking out on what must have been exploratory journeys in various directions — perhaps trying to pick up a familiar scent to give him a sense of the direction to take.

Eventually, he found what he was looking for, and struck out for the West Coast.

On their trip, the Braziers had left their car in service stations each night. Bobbie visited each of these on the way, along with a number of private homes. He also spent some time in a hobo camp. In Portland, he stayed for some time with an Irish woman, who nursed him back to health after some sort of accident left his legs and paws gashed up.

About two weeks later, Bobbie was back in Silverton.

Bobbie the Wonder Dog perches on the trunk of the Braziers' touring car in Silverton.

Amusing Planet
August 4, 2021


An Ancient Snack Bar Lined with Elaborate Frescoes Opens in Pompeii –

The ancient thermopolium (aka hot food stand) that archaeologists unearthed in Pompeii late last year opens to the public this week. Showing the extent of the snack bar’s impeccable preservation—much of its structure, equipment, and vibrant decorations remain intact—new photos from the Regio V site offer a rare glimpse into life in the Italian city that was buried by volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

Elaborate, colourful frescoes depicting on-menu fare like chickens and hanging mallards line the L-shaped bar, with an array of large, earthenware vessels scattered around the space. Embedded within the counter are storage wells called dolia that would have held warm dishes and drinks like wine, duck, fava beans, a paella-style dish of pork, goat, bird, fish, and snail, remnants of which were found last year. According to a release from the site, middle- and lower-class residents rarely cooked at home and were the likely patrons of this small spot, which was one of nearly 80 around the city.

Although this thermopolium originally was discovered back in 2019, archaeologists didn’t return to resume excavation until 2020. Starting August 12, visitors are welcome to stop by every day between noon and 7 p.m.

August 11, 2021

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