In the Middle Ages, books were so valuable that monks would often inscribe curses against people who would steal or damage them. Not a bad idea, really. Here’s a great example:
This book belongs to S. Maximin at his monastery of Micy, which abbat Peter caused to be written, and with his own labour corrected and punctuated, and on Holy Thursday dedicated to God and S. Maximin on the altar of S. Stephen, with this imprecation that he who should take it away from thence by what device soever, with the intention of not restoring it, should incur damnation with the traitor Judas, with Annas, Caiaphas, and Pilate. Amen.
Or this one:
May whoever destroys this title, or by gift or sale or loan or exchange or theft or by any other device knowingly alienates this book from the aforesaid Christ Church, incur in this life the malediction of Jesus Christ and of the most glorious Virgin His Mother, and of Blessed Thomas, Martyr. Should however it please Christ, who is patron of Christ Church, may his soul be saved in the Day of Judgment.
In 1212, it was decreed that curses inscribed in books were not valid, and monks were forbidden from the practice, since “to lend is enumerated among the principal works of mercy”.
Text Hexes [Futility Closet]
An interesting photo set on The Atlantic showing the homemade weapons of the Syrian rebels. Pictured below,
A Syrian rebel walks past Sham 2, a homemade armoured vehicle, in Bishqatin, Syria, on December 8, 2012. From a distance it looks rather like a big rusty metal box but closer inspection reveals a homemade armoured vehicle waiting to be deployed. Sham II, named after ancient Syria, is built from the chassis of a car and touted by rebels as “100 percent made in Syria.”
DIY Weapons of the Syrian Rebels [The Atlantic]
Interesting photograph by Johannes Bojesen, in National Geographic:
The sheep had drowned while trying to cross a small canal in the meadow-swamp ‘Tøndermasken’ in southern Jylland in Denmark. Birds had eaten every part above the surface and everything under was left totally untouched.
The latest PSA from Melbourne’s Metro Trains hypothesizes about some of the dumbest ways one could meet their end. (The song is by Tangerine Kitty).
Very creepy video (especially if you don’t like stinging insects). Since they evolved in separate locations, European honey bees have no defence against the giant Japanese hornets. Japanese bees, on the other hand:
The Japanese honey bee, on the other hand, has a defense against attacks of this manner. When a hornet approaches the hive to release pheromones, the bee workers emerge from their hive in an angry cloud-formation with some 500 individuals. As they form a tight ball around the hornet, the ball increases in heat to 47 °C (117 °F) from their vibrating wings, forming a convection oven as the heat released by the bees’ bodies is spread over the hornets. Because bees can survive higher temperatures (48 to 50 °C (118 to 122 °F)) than the hornet (44 to 46 °C (111 to 115 °F)), the latter dies.
An angry snake-charmer in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has released dozens of snakes – some of them poisonous – in a local government office:
Mr Hakkul is usually called in whenever a snake is spotted in the area and he has saved many lives over the years, local journalist Mazhar Azad told the BBC.
Mr Hakkul has petitioned various government offices over the years demanding a plot of land where he can “conserve” his snakes.
Mr Azad said Mr Hakkul had even petitioned the president.
Mr Hakkul says his request has been cleared by senior authorities, but the local officials keep delaying it.
On Tuesday, Mr Hakkul went to the Tehsil [revenue] office with a group of supporters and emptied out his bags containing venomous snakes.
“Snakes were climbing up the tables and chairs. The office was full, there were nearly 100 officials and clerks and many more visitors,” Mr Azad said.
Angry India Charmer Lets Loose Snakes in Office [BBCNews]
Known locally as, ‘The Drunk Bridge’, Storseisundet Bridge in Norway is designed to look like it isn’t connected to anything as you drive towards it. The bridge connects the mainland Romsdal peninsula to the island of Averøya in Møre og Romsdal and, yes, it goes all the way across.
More pictures here.