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Reblogged:Serendipitous Gleanings

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A Friday Hodgepodge

1. I like railroads and was a model railroader as a teen. Moving around a lot and other priorities have kept me from resuming the hobby for a long time. But I do enjoy a good article on railroads from time to time, and a post from Alpha Rail about railroad ballast fits the bill, explaining why tracks "have crushed stones alongside them."
The sharp edges of the stones make it very difficult for them to move -- they essentially lock into place as the sharp edges cut into each other, helping to create an extremely stable base for the railway sleepers and track to be laid.
While I had a general guess about the purpose of ballast, it had never occurred to me that there might be good reason to have never seen smooth stones used for the purpose.

2. From a thread grousing about corporate euphemism comes the following internal Google humor: "[A]ny announcement starting with 'An update on X' == we are killing X." And yes, it extends to passing word that a colleague has resigned.

3. An article titled "Own-Goal Football" describes a curiousity of soccer history.

A collision of odd tournament rules, for tie-breaking in individual games and for deciding round-robin standings, resulted in an interesting type of mayhem at the end of a match:
For the final five minutes of regular time, fans were treated to a truly bizarre sight. Grenada was trying to score a goal in both directions: if they won or lost by one point, they would have the greater victory. And to stop them, Barbados was defending both goals at the same time -- blocking both attempts at their goal, but also attempts by Grenada to score an own goal.
The piece includes very short clip from the game.

4. If you're American and have traveled abroad for any length of time (or vice versa), you may have wondered why Americans refrigerate eggs and everyone else keep theirs at room temperature.

If so, the Los Angeles Times has you covered:
Image by Raiyan Zakaria, via Unsplash, license.
American egg producers focus on preventing [salmonella] contamination from the outside, so they are required by the USDA to thoroughly wash the eggs before they go to market. They're rinsed in hot water, dried and sprayed with a chlorine mist almost as soon as they're laid.

Europeans take a different approach. In the United Kingdom, for example, producers instead vaccinate laying hens to prevent the transmission of salmonella. They then rely on a thin, naturally occurring coating called the cuticle, to prevent any contamination from the outside of the shell penetrating to the egg.
This isn't just a neat factoid, either, but a case of it being good to "do as the Romans do."

The piece goes on to explain why it's a bad idea to refrigerate eggs bought at room temperature or vice versa.

-- CAV

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