Mail Me A Baby

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The inauguration of a domestic parcel post service by Postmaster General Frank H. Hitchcock in 1913, greatly increased the volume of mail shipped nationwide, and motivated the development of more efficient postal transportation systems. (Wikipedia).

Many rural customers took advantage of inexpensive Parcel Post rates to order goods and products — food, clothing, grain, tobacco, medicines — from businesses located hundreds of miles away in distant cities for delivery by mail. Many college students and others used parcel post to mail home dirty laundry, as doing so was less expensive than washing the clothes themselves.  Image result for old pictures of postman

Mail was obliged to deliver not only fragile items, such as eggs, but livestock weighing up to 50 pounds. Under this category, the mailing of  baby chickens delighted the farmers and consumers across the land.chicks.PNGBut as it turned out, not only chickens fit this category, but little kids, weighing under 50 pound, too.

In January 1913, Mrs. and Mr. Jesse Beauge of Glen Este, Ohio, sent a parcel to Vernon Little, to be delivered to Mrs. Louis Beague, using the services of Rural Free Delivery.

The shipment cost them 15 cents paid for the postage stamp, while the content was insured for $50. The content of a parcel was the grandson of Mrs. Louis Beague. The kid’s parents figured out that sending a child by mail would be cheaper than taking him to his grandmother by any other means.

It was the first, but not the last child thus mailed.
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On January 27, 1913, Mrs. and Mr J.W. Savis from Pine Hollow, Pennsylvania, “packed up” and mailed their daughter to James Beyrle of Sharpsville, Pennsylvania. The girl was safely delivered to the recipient on the same day. The shipment cost the parents 45 cents.

On February 19, 1914, three months before her sixth birthday, May Pierstorff was mailed by her parents from Grangeville, Idaho, to her grandmother who lived 73 miles away. The cost of this “parcel” was 53 cents. May’s weight was 48.5 pounds — less than the maximum permissible 50 pounds.

After this incident, parcel post regulations were changed to prohibit the shipment of humans.

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This photo was published as an illustration to the USPS announcement that the mail will no longer accept humans for shipment.

But, as they say, the laws exist to be broken. A couple of months after the decree, a certain B.H. Knepper from Maryland mailed a 14 lb child to his grandmother in Clear Spring, some 12 miles away. Local newspapers claimed that the baby was sleeping peacefully throughout the entire trip.

In the same year, postal workers of Stillwell, Indiana, accepted a parcel marked “live baby”. The parcel — baby unharmed —  has changed hands through the post office window in South Bend, Indiana, baby’s divorced father on the receiving end. The shipment cost 17 cents.

And yet again, a year later, six-year-old Edna Neff  has been mailed by her mother from Pensacola, Florida, to her divorced father in Christiansburg, Virginia. The family fell on hard times with no money for travel. The shipment cost 15 cents. Edna’s weight was approaching the 50-pound mark. This was, distance wise, the longest registered transport of a child by parcel service.

1915 was a record year for mailing children. In September, three-year-old Mod Smith has been mailed by her grandparents to her mother, Ms. Selina Smith of Jackson, Kentucky. This case has been investigated by postal authority, and, apparently, was the last recorded instance of mailing children by USPS.

I didn’t know, did you?

 

 

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Aliens Downstairs

This story is from the very recent archives of St. Petersburg’s agency of Russian EMERCOM (the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergency Situations and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters), one of the Russian Federation’s emergency services.

Image result for emercom of russiaThe EMERCOM agents respond to the unusual complain from a citizen residing in the second floor apartment of an upscale St. Petersburg’s building.

The agents ring the doorbell. A man wearing an aluminum foil cap opens the door just a crack. When the agents announce themselves and enter the apartment, they can hardly contain their bewilderment. Every surface  in the entire flat — walls, floors, ceiling and every piece of furniture — is covered with aluminum foil. The owner, still wearing the foil cap, explains the reason for his obsession with foil covering as an attempt to protect himself from the deadly radiation emanating from upstairs.  “You see,” he laments, “My neighbor from the apartment directly above mine constantly, day and night, irradiates me. Do something. Help!”alumium.PNGThe agents gently reassure the “victim of irradiation” and, on his insistence, head upstairs to visit the villainous neighbor. They don’t mind, really. As a matter of protocol, they have to make sure that the paranoiac foil-capped man doesn’t bother the inhabitants of the upstairs apartment.

Another doorbell, and the neighbor — bespectacled, bearded, looking, incongruously, like a mad scientist from a bad movie — opens the door. EMERCOM agents walk in and… encounter yet another curious setup. The entire apartment is filled with… microwave ovens. microwave.PNG

Dozens of them. All turned on and facing down. The “mad scientist” explains that this is how he fights against an alien living downstairs who wants to enslave the world!

Funny or not, this is a real and fairly recent story from Russia. I would’ve forgotten about it, if not for this article in Daily Mail: Billionaire Bigelow space mogul says he is ‘absolutely convinced’ there are aliens on Earth.

A billionaire aerospace entrepreneur who has recently worked with Nasa has said he is 'absolutely convinced' that there are alien visitors living on Earth. Robert Bigelow (pictured), speaking in an interview with 60 minutes, said he has spent 'millions' on alien research

A billionaire aerospace entrepreneur Robrt Bigelow has said he is ‘absolutely convinced’ that there are alien visitors living on Earth. 


Robert Bigelow, aforementioned billionaire space mogul, runs Bigelow Aerospace, a private space technology company, often partnering with NASA.

Speaking in an interview with 60 minutes, asked if he believed in aliens, Mr Bigelow responded: ‘I’m absolutely convinced. That’s all there is to it.’

Mr Bigelow made a number of other statements about his belief in aliens among us:

‘There has been and is an existing presence, an ET presence [on Earth].

‘I spent millions and millions and millions – I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject [aliens].’

Mr Bigelow did not specify exactly how much he has spent on this research, and declined to comment on any personal UFO encounters.

Correspondent Lara Logan, who was leading the interview, then asked Mr Bigelow whether he felt it was risky for him to say in public that he believes in aliens.

She asked him whether he worried that people might think he was ‘crazy’.

Mr Bigelow responded: ‘I don’t give a damn. I don’t care.’ (–Excerpt from the article.)

Sick Genius

  • CRISPR-Cas9 is a unique technology that enables geneticists and medical researchers to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA sequence.
  • It is currently the simplest, most versatile and precise method of genetic manipulation and is therefore causing a buzz in the science world.

How does it work? That’s how. Amazing stuff, really. However… Editing genes to eliminate cancer or Schizophrenia could stop the rise of geniuses, scientist warns.

 If you haven’t followed the link, the article sums up the following: Dr. James Kozubek, the author of ‘Modern Prometheus: Editing the Human Genome with Crispr-Cas9’ suggests that the gene-editing technology Crispr-Cas9 — which is being tested in the US and China to curb the spread of cancer — is not completely a positive.

In 'Modern Prometheus,' Kozubek says the gene-editing technology Crispr-Cas9 ¿ which is being tested in the US and China to curb the spread of cancer ¿ is not  completely a positive thing‘Before we begin modifying our genes with gene editing tools such as Crispr-Cas9, we’d be smart to recall that genetic variants that contribute to psychiatric conditions may even be beneficial depending on the environment or genetic background.’

In a word, while gene modification technique is being tested in the US and China to curb the spread of cancer and it may also erase depression or Schizophrenia, it could eliminate geniuses — as high intelligence are often associated with such disorders.

  • Writers are 10 times more likely to have Bipolar Disorder.
  • Poets are diagnosed with it 40 times more often than the general population.
  • Thomas Edison was ‘addled’ and kicked out of school.
  • Tennessee Williams, as a teenager on the boulevards of Paris felt afraid of the process of thought and came within a hairsbreadth of going quite mad.
  • Scientists tend to think of variations in life as problems to be solved, deviations and abnormalities outside of a normal curve.
  • In reality, Darwin showed us that evolution does not progress toward an ideal concept or model, but rather is a work of tinkering toward adaptation in local niches.

Go and figure…

Rooms With A View

 

Banksy.jpgBETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — A Palestinian guest house packed with artwork by the elusive British graffiti artist Banksy unveiled itself Friday in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, with a sneak peek of what the owner called the “hotel with the worst view in the world.”

Banksy has made previous forays into the Palestinian territories. In one secret visit, he drew a painting of a girl pulled upward by balloons on the barrier facing his current project. Last year, he is believed to have sneaked into Gaza to draw four street murals, including one on a metal door that depicted the Greek goddess Niobe cowering against the rubble of a destroyed house. The painting, titled “Bomb Damage,” was drawn on the last remaining part of a two-story house that was destroyed in the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

banksy1Wisam Salsaa, 42, said the nine-room Walled Off Hotel will officially open on Mar. 11, but he offered a handful of reporters a tour. The hotel looks directly out at the West Bank separation barrier erected by Israel to ward off potential Palestinian attackers. The barrier, which Palestinians consider to be a land grab that stifles their movement, is heavily decorated by artists, and Banksy has previously painted several murals on a walled segment of it.banksy2The hotel  has the markings of a gentleman’s club from the English colonial period. One small niche accommodates a life-size figure of Arthur James Balfour signing the 1917 letter that came to be known as the Balfour declaration — the basis for the international push for the creation of Israel. banksyThe cheapest room, $30 a night, is a dormitory-style room with bunkbeds.

The whole project took 14 months to complete and was kept under complete secrecy, in accordance with Banksy’s request to protect his anonymity. 

 An Israeli security watch tower is seen from one of the roomsSalsaa said the entire interior was personally overseen by Banksy, to the very last details. The hotel is the largest new body of the artist’s work in years, according to a press release distributed by representatives who attended Friday’s tour.The hotel, several of whose rooms look onto an Israeli security watchtower, is awash in the trademark satirical work of the mysterious artist. The highlight is Room 3, where guests sleep in a king-size bed underneath Banksy’s artwork showing a Palestinian and an Israeli in a pillow fight.

The artist’s satirical stencils — rats, kissing policemen, riot police with yellow smiley faces — first appeared on walls in Bristol before spreading to London and then around the world. His artwork comments on war, child poverty and the environment. His identity remains a mystery, but his works have fetched as much as $1.8 million at auctions. (From the article by NEBI QENA, AP News).

Articles on Banksy’s newest endeavor appeared in The Telegraph (The Walled Off Hotel: Banksy opens dystopian tourist attraction in Bethlehem) and many other publications and internet sources.

Cheating Beautiful Bastards

DSC_8768Regal and beautiful birds, swans are admired by all. And how could it be otherwise? After all swan is symbol of  everlasting love, purity and fidelity. But it so?

Not according to the results of the recent study conducted by Australian ornithologists. Love and fidelity of swans, as it happens, is a myth now dispelled by scientists.DSC_8742“Swans have long been renowned as symbols of lifelong fidelity and devotion, but our recent work has shown that infidelity is rife among black swans,” said Raoul Mulder from the University of Melbourne’s zoology department.

He and colleagues tested the DNA of many cygnets and found that one in six (17%) is the product of an illicit encounter. (The Myth of Monogamous Swans.)DSC_8787Interesting that about a quarter of “married” black swan couples are formed by homosexual males. Often a couple of males temporarily teams up with a female and, after she lays eggs, they cruelly expel her from the nest.

In fairness it should be noted that while scientists have traced only for a type of black swans, so it is hoped that the white swans behaved more decently.

Congratulations, Rest In Peace!

Since times immemorial Chinese believed that man can be happy only in marriage, and unmarried people are socially handicapped and greatly disadvantaged. In earthly life (so short!) everyone aspires to find a mate. After death, in the endless afterlife, every person meets his/her dead friends and relatives. Afterlife is good for those who were righteous in their earthly life for there is no divorce in thereafter. If couples shared a happy married life, they are destined to stay together forever after.

Bachelors, however, are in a great disadvantage because they can never find a mate in the after-world. Chinese people care for their dead a great deal. They simply cannot let their unmarried deceased loved one to be unhappy in the afterlife for eternity. Thus living relatives look for a “dead bride” for the dead bachelor. When found, the “newlyweds” are buried together, to start married life in the “other world.” And this marriage is considered perfectly legal!

The history of a ghost marriage (Chinese: 冥婚; pinyin: mínghūn; literally: “spirit marriage” goes back to antiquity. In those years, the infant mortality was very high, so many had no time to get married before succumbing to death. Hence the tradition of afterlife weddings. Archaeologists often find ancient tombs of opposite sex children buried together. Inscriptions on the graves say that these kids are married.Ghost marriages were officially banned by the communist government after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. As the nation began experiencing increased wealth over the last few years though, the ghoulish practice has reemerged, particularly in the northern provinces of Shanxi, Henan, and Shaanxi.

There are varying levels of ghost marriages. The more basic ones involve molds of dough or clay with black beans for eyes, or silver statuettes, being buried next to the deceased male. However, the ‘best’ ghost weddings involve corpse brides, dug up from another grave, reinforced with wire, dressed in new clothing, and reburied next to the deceased single man. The problem is that these corpses are stolen from unsuspecting families who in turn are unable to perform appropriate levels of ancestor worship, such as burning fake money at the annual Tomb Sweeping Festival held every April.

The tradition has gained so much traction in recent years that entire matchmaking agencies of the dead have been established to connect the families of deceased, single males with the families of women who have recently died. The government allows these agencies to function, in part because it recognizes that such activities are a result of the One Child Policy imposed on the nation for over thirty years. However, these agencies are unable to keep up with demand, leading others to steal bodies. The incentives are high for the thieves, with fresh corpse brides fetching over $15,600. In 2011, a man was arrested for killing his wife and then trying to sell her body as a corpse bride. Three years ago, four men were arrested after selling ten bodies for nearly $40,000. Even old, decomposed bodies can be sold for over $760. The thieves are emboldened by the relatively minor punishment for stealing corpses, which is up to three years in prison.Ghost Marriage

With authorities unable to curb the problem, Chinese families have adopted a number of ways to protect their deceased loved ones. Rather than burying the female members of their families on distant mountainsides, families are constructing tombs next to their homes. Others have encased the tombs in concrete. Affluent families have begun building fences around tombs, installing CCTV cameras, and hiring security guards to conduct daily patrols to ensure their dead family members stay buried.

‘Ghost marriages’ on the rise in China as people steal ‘corpse brides’ to marry dead single men.

Mammoth Hunters

1-Бивень мамонта торчит из земли Photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva‘ s project Mammoth Hunters is a set of fascinating images of the indigenous peoples of Siberia searching for, finding and excavating tonnes of mammoth tusks. I read a Russian article featuring these photographs and was about to retell the story for this post, but found an article in English that pretty much word for word repears the content — Extraction of Mammoth tusks in Siberia.

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Spam. 1864

dentist.PNGPresumably, the first spam message by telegraph was recorded in 1864.

spamTO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES

Sir,

 On my arrival home late yesterday evening a “telegram,”
by “London District Telegraph,” addressed in full to me, was
put in my hands. It was as follows: —

“Messrs. Gabriel, dentists, 27, Harley-street, Cavendish-square.
Until October Messrs. Gabriel’s professional attendance at 27,
Harley-street, will be 10 till 5.”

I have never had any dealings with Messrs. Gabriel, and beg to
ask by what right do they disturb me by a telegram which is
evidently simply the medium of advertisement? A word from you
would, I feel sure, put a stop to this intolerable nuisance. I
enclose the telegram, and am,

Your faithful servant,

Upper Grosvenor-street, May 30. M. P.

Yes, it has been dentist’s advertising services.

Ice Cream And You

Alan R. Hirsch MD, the head of SMELL & TASTE TREATMENT AND RESEARCH FOUNDATION, LTD in Chicago, Illinois, argues that our choice of ice cream can tell a lot about our personalities.
icecream.PNG Study participants were asked to choose a favorite variety of ice cream, after which they were given a whole battery of psychological tests designed to assess people’s personality. Although this study was sponsored by ice cream manufacturers (Baskin Robbins, Dreyer’s/Edy’s), the methodology of the research is quite sound and unbiased.

Those who chooses vanilla ice cream over all other flavors are idealistic, impulsive, ready to take risks, rely more on intuition than on logic.

Strawberry ice cream tempts most introverts, people who are generally calm, reliable and thoughtful.

Those who love chocolate ice cream also love flirting and seduction, they are fun, charming, though sometimes dramatic.ice-cream-series-by-jonathon-kambouris1

Mint ice cream is chosen by people who love to argue. In a dispute, they will definitely find a fly in the ointment. They are ambitious, confident and sure in their righteousness.

Multi-colored popsicles, rather unexpectedly, attract pessimistic people. This flavor’s bright colors and fruity taste is no match for the downbeat attitude of those who choose it as their favorite. “We found that people who prefer rainbow sherbet are more pessimistic than you would think,” says Hirsch, who also found they’re analytic and decisive.

Ice cream with cocoa, biscuits, walnuts and marshmallow is often the choice of aggressive, successful in business people. These people often are very good listeners.

Coffee ice cream is liked by people who approach life with gusto, living big. They are energetic and often fall into histrionics. They live in the present and need constant revival of romantic relationships.

Generous, competent go-getters prefer chocolate chip vanilla ice cream.

Ice cream with walnuts or pecans is a preference of loyal, respectful and honest people. They hold high standards for right and wrong and are afraid of hurting people’s feelings.

Dr Hirsch also says that the preference of a certain type of ice cream might give us an idea about comparability — if people like ice cream of the same flavor, especially the ice cream with complex flavor, such as vanilla ice cream with chocolate ships and strawberries.

Thus tell me what kind of ice cream you like and I’ll tell you who you are. On the other hand, if I like several flavors equally then what am I?

Justice For Jesus

christ.jpgJesus was condemned by the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of Israel (an assembly of twenty-three to seventy-one men appointed in every city in the Land of Israel) for proclaiming himself the Son of God, the Messiah. Since, according to Sanhedrin and the Romans,  Jesus was not the Son of God, the ruling and the sentence was fair — perfectly in keeping with the times. However, the verdict handed down by the Sanhedrin and executed by the Romans wasn’t without a number of procedural errors.

  • The hearing took place at night, although the law explicitly forbade the convocation of the Sanhedrin after dark.
  • Jesus was condemned during the Easter holidays, while during the Passover every official activities were strictly forbidden. 

Interesting that in 1948, an appeal to overturn Jesus Christ’s conviction was filed with the newly created Supreme Court of the State of Israel. The Court, however, declared itself incompetent to rule on appeal.christ.PNGMore recently, in August of 2013, the Kenyan lawyer Dola Indidis attempted to get justice for Jesus yet again. He urged the International Court of Justice at Hague to hear the 2000 year old case of the founder of Christianity and  completely exonerate Jesus Christ.

Is the “justice for Jesus” quest has merit?

“In this case, it is not clear what international law might have been violated and, even if there was such a violation, it is not clear that the relevant states have consented to the ICJ (the International Court of Justice) having jurisdiction over the dispute.” (Columbia law professor Anthea Roberts.)