Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Link List: Why cockroaches? What does a poison ring look like? Who makes toys? & Other questions and conundrums from around the web.

1) Ever wonder what a poison ring looks like? Wonder no more! There's a nice, clear picture in this io9 article on a medieval poison ring from Bulgaria. It's full of cheerful information like the fact that,

according to Bonnie Petrunova, head of the dig and deputy director of the National Archaeology Institute and Museum in Sofia, that piece of jewelry has no comparison in the whole of Bulgaria.

“It’s a unique ring,” Petrunova said. “I have no doubts that the hole is there on purpose and the ring was worn on the right hand, because the hole was made in such a way so as to be covered by a finger, thus the poison could be dropped at a moment’s notice.”

She adds reassuringly that it was probably not worn at all times.

I wonder, did the wearer have a non-poison-carrying look-alike for those occasions when he wasn't planning on killing anyone? Or did medieval men of status change their rings often enough that no one would notice? Anyone out there know?

2) Hm. Another Io9 link, this time to pictures of naturally-occurring ice sculptures. They're both stunning and odd.

3) Ever wonder why we need cockroaches? In brief: They feed rats, mice, and parasitic wasps which in turn feed other, cuter animals like cats, eagles, and coyotes. Oh, and we "we really, really need cockroach poop" for plant fertilization purposes. Remember that the next time you say "Eeew!"

And once you've said "eew," gather the squished parts of your cockroach, pop it into a mailing envelope, and send it off to the National Cockroach Project for genetic testing. The Rockefeller University has high school students (and others) making genetic bar codes of cockroach DNA. More on that here, in the livescience.com article that started this whole cockroach hunt.

4) On a peppier note, take a look at this short on toy making The Secret Story of Toys by filmmaker Anthony Ladesich and/or read the accompanying Wired article by Liz Stinson.

5) North Brother Island, New York City, once a hospital for smallpox sufferers, then a rehab clinic, is now a bird sanctuary. The buildings stand abandoned and forlorn, both beautiful and eerie.

I'm a little sad about all those left-behind books.

From: So Bad, So Good

Trailers and Entertainment News

6) And Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps on teasing us. This Level 7, focusing on Coulson, has maybe six seconds of footage we haven't seen before, but they're six good seconds!

I spotted this almost on time for last week's link list on The Mary Sue, but it was only *almost* on time; there needs to be some kind of cutoff point (except for TARDIS tours; those are special). Anyway, I also wanted to embed the trailer myself.

Got a wonderful link I missed? Contact me or leave a note in the comments to let me know.

Until next week!


  1. Interesting stuff. Roaches- ugh. Hate those things. Of course they have a place in nature, though! The toy-making film was fascinating. And I find empty, decaying buildings so creepy. The abandoned books scattered all over the floor made me sad, too. I wonder who read them last, if they were good books or not...?

    1. The books make me wonder if they really intended to abandon the place.

      Of course, I suppose it's possible that these were all the rejects and someone carefully sorted them first, but it does not really seem likely.

  2. I totally have a poison ring! It doesn't look like that because it is not old, but you can put powder inside of it and be suuuuuuper casual about it. I used to keep salt or Tony Chachere's seasoning in there.

    I will feel no qualms about squishing cockroaches going forward. I support cats, coyotes (mostly), and eagles, but I don't think they have any place in my current ecosystem. And I greatly fear a return of the Minor Mouse Infestation we had at my apartment last year. It was probably a cockroach's fault. Those bastards.

    1. Invite a coyote to stay for a bit?

      Or maybe just get a cat ;)