Friday Randomness

– Work on the Ashes to Ashes recaps continues. I’m about 10 minutes in to the recap for episode 4, so I’m almost caught up… until tonight, when episode 5 airs.

– For the handful of people who follow this blog via Twitter, I finally got Bit.ly set up to shorten the URLs in the tweets. For some reason, it wouldn’t take my API key before, but now all is well.

– Lead from an ancient Roman shipwreck is being used for a unique purpose. As this article notes, “once destined to become water pipes, coins or ammunition for Roman soldiers’ slingshots, the metal will instead form part of a cutting-edge experiment to nail down the mass of neutrinos”. Why this lead in particular? In the past 2000 years the lead has been sitting on the ocean floor, it has has lost almost all of its natural radioactivity, making it perfect for insulating machines that will attempt to detect rare particles.

– Ever heard of Margaret Corbin? Her husband, John Corbin, was an American soldier in the Revolutionary War. Margaret was a typical soldier’s wife, handling the cooking and cleaning chores at camp. That is, until they were attacked by 4,000 Hessian soldiers. Her husband had been tasked with manning one of the two remaining cannon at Fort Washington, on the upper side of Manhattan. When her husband was killed by a German bullet, Margaret shoved his body aside and manned the cannon herself – until she finally gave up after being shot in the arm, chest and jaw. She was the first woman given a war pension by Congress, and is the only Revolutionary War soldier of any gender to be buried at West Point. That’s pretty badass!

– Police in Hungary stopped a rag-tag band of Afghans… who claimed to have left their country three years ago in an attempt to walk to Britain.

– Then again, had they known about these two news stories from the UK, they might have stayed in Afghanistan: first, here’s the story of a disabled elderly man who kept a Swiss Army knife in his RV to cut up fruit at picnics, and was charged with possessing a dangerous weapon. Secondly we have this story about the love between Pearl Carter and Phil Bailey. The two claim to be desperately in love with each other, which would be fine, were it not for the fact that Pearl is 72 and Phil is 26. Oh, and they’re also grandmother and grandson… and they’ve hired a surrogate to have their baby. If it’s actually true, that is.

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