Episode 21: Everything About GRAB BAG! Surprise!

Episode 21: Everything About GRAB BAG! Surprise!

Southern Grasshopper Mouse

BBC Grasshopper Mouse

  • Only carnivorous mouse in North America
  • native to the Sonoran Desert (Arizona, California, Northwestern Mexico)
  • Super agile bug killers
  • Meat based diet, grasshoppers, spiders scorpions, even other mice.
  • immune to scorpion venom,(which causes muscle contractions and respiratory failure in humans) converts the venom’s neurotoxins into a painkiller
  • Proclaims it’s territory by howling. Stands on two legs, throws back it’s head and howls
  • nicknamed werewolf mouse

Tomoe Gozen: Female Warrior of 12th century Japan


Female samurai that collected heads like picking flowers

  • Found this on CulturaColectiva.com
  • Tomoe Gone
    • Life became legend. Only female warrior to be described in detail in ancient Japanese war tales.
    • Multiple versions of her life twelfth century Japan During the Genpei War (1180-1185)
    • This war started the era of the Shogunate under the rule of the samurai
  • Instead of being trained to be a onna bugeisha, female warriors trained to protect their communities
  • Tomoe was an onna musha. Trained for offensive battle.
  • Hardly any women fought alongside the samurai in the army. Tomoe Gozen did.
  • While men used swords, women were trained to use the naginata, a pole with a curved metal blade that let them fight from a distance. While she did know how to use it, she preferred the long sword and a bow and arrow
  • What is fact and what is legend?
  • We know she was appointed as a leading commander by her Lord, Kiso no Yoshinaka
    • Many accounts focus on her decapitation skills In one battle she collected 7 heads (this is a time of trophies)
    • said to have lead 300 samurai against 2,000-6,000 and was one of only 5 to survive
    • No one really knows what became of her. Concubine to a great Lord, Buddhist monk.

Where do Ouija boards come from and how do they work

Ouija board

  • image: Flickr by Dave Winer
  • Nineteenth century invention created by a group of businessmen who didn’t believe in spirits but were taking advantage of the rise of Spiritualism in the US.
  • Spiritualism first became popular in Europe during the 1840s grew in popularity with Americans after the Civil War with people claiming they could contact dead loved ones.
  • First Ouija Bord was produced by Charles Kennard in 1890
    • People didn’t want to pay a medium and they wanted privacy
      • They saw the Ouija board like a telegram with the dead.
      • In less than a year, The Kennard Novelty Company opened seven factories. Six in the US and one in London
      • Waxed and waned in popularity upsurging after WWI and WWII
  • After 1973 and the movie The Exorcist – Ouija boards took on a sinister feel. Gone were the days of communicating with lost loved ones – the movie portrayed the board as communicating with the devil. People were freaked out
  • Ideomotor phenomenon and the use of the Ouija board
    • William Benjamin Carter discussed this effect in 1852
    • Scientific tests by the English Scientist, Michael Faraday and collaborators determined that “Honest, intelligent people can unconsciously engage in muscular activity that is consistent with their expectations” and that suggestions can guide behavior given by subtle clues.
    • Psychological phenomenon where a subject makes motions unconsciously
    • Thinking about something can create minuscule movements, often outside of the awareness of the subject.
    • The first Ouija boards were thin paper and so it was easy for these movements to guide a person’s hand.

Ideomotor Phenomenon from Wikipedia

BBC Ouija Boards


Coober Pedy, Underground City

Population in 2016: 1762

Coober Pedy Map

Map & all kinds of interesting details courtesy Outback Australia Travel Secrets

Australian Geographic Opal

Unique conditions formed opals here and almost nowhere else.

  • 100-97 million years ago a lake covered 60% of Australia but began drying out.
  • Drying out of Australia’s centre increased the acidity levels at shallow depth,
  • released silica through the weathering of sandstone.
  • Further weathering then lowered the acidity to a level at which precious opal can form in the silica-rich gel.
  • Interestingly, similar conditions have been observed on Mars.
  • It’s not the only opal mining town in Australia, but it is by far the biggest and produces more opal than any other place in the world.

Noodling: Digging through mine cast offs for stray opals.

Name means

  • White man’s hole (in the ground)
  • Boy’s waterhole
  • Whitefella hole

Wikipedia Coober Pedy

Opals discovered 1915

Miners moved in 1916.

Miners began living in dugouts bored into the hillsides-at first re-purposing and then actively digging out homes.

An average two bedroom one bath home underground now costs about the same as an above ground.

Above ground temperatures can be as high as 113-120 degrees depending on who you ask.

Dugout homes remain at 75 degrees.

They make sure people know the deal.

Photo Courtesy:

Business Insider Coober Pedy


Coober Pedy Water Desalination

Low rainfall, no permanent water source.

1922: built 500,000gallon underground water tank.

1967: First solar desalination plant-pumped water from 100 meters below surface

not enough water produced, also easily damaged by wind.

1985: Moder desalination plant established 23 K away from town.

200mm pipeline runs alongside road into town, fills water tanks.

Bore water pumps operate automatically via radio signals transmitted from the town Treatment Plant.


Underground in Coober Pedy:

Pool hall





Virtual Tour


Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Club: 18-hole, 72 par grass-less golf course appears in various list of the top 10 most unusual golf courses in the world. Golfers use a piece of artificial grass to tee off. The putting greens, called scrapes, are oiled down sand which is raked smooth.



Chuck Norris

You’ll have to listen to the episode for the awesome jokes.

Has a Chuck Norris meme feed at the bottom. Stop now and go look. https://chucknorris.com

Birthday March 10, 1940

Norris has received many black belts. These include a

10th degree black belt in Chun Kuk Do, (Chuck Norris System of Martial Arts)

9th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do

8th degree black belt in Taekwondo, a

5th degree black belt in Karate, a

3rd degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from the Machado family, and a

black belt in Judo.[94


Beaded Lace Wing

Wired.com Beaded Lacewing

he beautiful animal in the photo above is a Beaded Lacewing. While the adults are delicate and lovely, they begin life as ferocious tiny predators lurking in the nests of termites. These larvae live unmolested in their nest, silently striking down termites from behind—and for one species, with their behind.

When a baby Lomamyia latipennis gets hungry, it stuns a termite with a “vapor-phase toxicant” released from its anus. That’s a fancy way of saying it farts on it. In fact, their farts are powerful enough to immobilize six termites with one blow.

This is how you wield a Death Fart, if you are a small predatory neuropteran:

“A larva repeatedly approached and retreated until the tip of its abdomen was directed at the termite’s head. The apex of the abdomen was lifted and waved past the termite’s face, without contact. The termite… was not repelled, as it made no obvious effort to escape. One to three minutes later it was incapacitated, lying supine, with its legs moving irregularly.”

Once the larva delivers its toxic toot, it can leisurely scuttle over and chow down. If a few extra termites are caught in the backdraft, that’s just extra food.

In laboratory tests, experimenters determined the fecal fume-induced paralysis lasted for three hours, and if not eaten, the termites eventually died. Even more astonishing is that early stage L. latipennis are tiny, about 0.07 mg in size. The average size of their termite prey was 2.5mg. That

is some seriously potent flatulence. Called a “vapor phase toxicant”.

The experimenters coaxed the larvae into farting on other insects commonly found in termite nests—fruit flies, two kinds of small wasp, and book lice—but they were unaffected. The spectacular sphincter specificity of the species seemed only affected by size; very large termites (>5mg) were slightly stunned.

How Do You Weaponize a Fart?

Beaded lacewings have been described as “unaccountably neglected… Generally speaking, very little is known about Berothidae at present.” There aren’t any good photos of this species, other than some older black and white blurry


Unfortunately, just what chemicals create air biscuit asphyxiation were never identified by the researchers in the original study. There is a fairly deep literature on insect farting; a survey of more then 110 species found many of them were significant methane producers, especially roaches and termites.