Archive for the ‘Russ Miller’s Oddly Enough’ Category

  • Oddly Enough: April 2017

    Mar 31, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Bell Rock Lighthouse was built off the Scotland coast, near Dundee, in 1811 by Robert Stevenson. It’s 11 miles from land and was built cement-free out of one-ton interlocking blocks of granite. In almost 200 years, this 100-foot tower has never needed repairs to its stone surface. Built on a submerged reef, workers had to use hand tools while standing in freezing water, taking advantage of the two hours a day the low tide provided. They worked only in the summer since the weather of the North Sea was too violent. It took over four years to build and is still working today. It was the first lighthouse built by Stevenson who went on to build 23 more. ODDLY ENOUGH … Robert Stevenson died in 1850, the very same year his sickly grandson was born – writer Robert Louis Stevenson who gave the world such books as “Treasure Island,” “Kidnapped,” and “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” ***** Sunset Crater is a 900-year-old cinder cone volcano, rising 1,000 feet from its 7,000 foot elevation base. Located in Northern Arizona, this volcano produced an ash field of over 800 square miles, killing many indigenous people who lived in the area. Though inactive now, it remained active from 1065 to 1250 A.D. Sunset Crater is now a state park and considered a sacred place by many

  • Oddly Enough: March 2017

    Feb 27, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller This bright red creature called a Ctenophore, or Red Tortuga, lives at ocean depths of over 3,000 feet. It’s a type of comb jelly and has a black pigmented gut which it uses like a blackout curtain to hide the flashing bio-luminescent lights of the prey it consumes. ODDLY ENOUGH … When this animal is disturbed, it showers out a confusing and dazzling array of sparkling lights that appear to swarm. It gives the immediate appearance of many animals, and lets this slow moving food bag drift away. ***** The Neoceratias Spinifer is a type of Angler fish, but it has no luminous lure to dangle near its mouth to entice prey. Like most Angler-fish, the male is much smaller than the female and will attach himself to the female, eventually becoming fused to her body. At this point, the parasitic male acts as a living, on going sperm supply to fertilize the eggs inside the female’s body. It’s believed that the males, utilizing an extremely good sense of smell, find the females in total darkness and the crushing depths were they live. ODDLY ENOUGH … Many of the teeth of the female fish are located on the outside of her mouth and can be moved independently. Some of these teeth have tiny hooks on the end of them. This fish is like a swimming trap with

  • Oddly Enough: February 2017

    Jan 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller For those of us who enjoy the pleasure of central heating, we can thank an ingenious Roman by the name of Gaius Sergius Orata. Approximately 80 B.C., Gaius was developing a series of ceramic flues that would pipe warmed water and warmed air into air pockets under Roman floors and later on, even through tiled walls. His furnaces were used to heat the water for public baths and warm the homes of private well-to-do villas. ODDLY ENOUGH … Gaius wasn’t seeking to invent human comfort when he began his hypocaust systems. He was attempting to produce a year-round source of warmed sea water in hopes of harvesting farm-raised oysters. ***** During the Middle Ages, most types of textiles from wool to linen were produced, spun, and woven by women. Women were so connected to this craft that some bits of clothing were given by women to women exclusively as charms for those who were pregnant, or were facing a difficult labor. ODDLY ENOUGH … According to a bulletin produced in 1010, churchmen were warned that some clothing produced by women who uttered incantations while they worked — had the ability to bewitch or even kill its owner. Hence, to be sure the apparel was rendered “safe,” counter-incantations were often performed before the clothing was worn. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and

  • Oddly Enough: January 2017

    Dec 30, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Carrying coal at sea could be a risky business. Often, if the coal got wet, it would begin to smolder deep in the hull of the ship. This could lead to fires or explosions. If the coal could not be cooled off by unloading and drying it on the decks, a captain would abandon ship rather than risk a deadly explosion. Interestingly, after the age of steam, most masted sailing vessels were used primarily for coal transport. ODDLY ENOUGH … Abandoned smoldering coal ships, including a few that were on fire, have been commandeered, salvaged, and put back to sea because the captain and crew abandoned them too soon. ***** In 1929, a new highway was opened between Bremen and Bremerhaven, Germany. Within a year, more than a hundred autos had mysteriously crashed — all at kilometer stone 239. It is an unobstructed, perfectly straight stretch of road. ODDLY ENOUGH … A water diviner named Carl Wehrs, believing the accidents were caused by a strong magnetic force due to an underground stream, buried a copper box filled with copper bits at the base of the highway marker. There have been no further accidents. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King

  • Oddly Enough: December 2016

    Dec 2, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller The common cod is a very adaptable fish. By eating nearly anything, they’ve been able to survive in a wide variety of waters throughout the worlds oceans and have been a rich human food source for centuries. Cod are also particularly resistant to parasites and diseases. Some have reached more than 200 pounds. The actual size, not age, of the female animal determines the fecundity of its egg production. Laying 3 million to 9 million eggs at one spawning isn’t uncommon. ODDLY ENOUGH … The Pilgrims of the U.S. were starving in the early 1600s even though, just off shore, fishing vessels were harvesting record numbers of cod and had been for dozens of years. ***** The Arkansas was a Confederate ironclad ship that experienced a stellar career during the American Civil War while fighting on the Mississippi River. She was cobbled together with scraps and hastily painted brown to cover the rust on her uneven sheet metal paneling. Even her 10 salvaged guns were comprised of four different calibers. Amazingly, the Arkansas disabled Union ironclads, crippled and destroyed at least nine Union vessels, and did most of it with one engine room completely out of commission. Even after enduring a constant two-day pounding by the Mississippi Union fleet, the Arkansas continued to remain afloat and fight. ODDLY ENOUGH … The entire length of time the Arkansas

  • Oddly Enough: November 2016

    Nov 4, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller The octopus is a remarkable creature with a highly developed brain, extremely good eyesight, and a vast array of survival tricks. They can change color, skin texture and even body shape — quickly. They are known for squirting clouds of ink into the water which confuses predators visually, but also the smell of the ink resembles the octopus itself. This helps to cover its tracks. And, if the unfortunate octopus is damaged in the attack, it can regrow its tentacles. Octopuses can grow to the length of 30 feet from arm tip to arm tip, and it has recently been discovered that all octopuses are venomous. The tiny blue ringed octopus, though small, packs a particularly potent venom, making it one of the deadliest animals in the ocean. It can inject large doses of a neurotoxin called TXX. This animal’s venom has enough wallop to kill 26 grown adults in a matter of minutes. There is no antidote. ODDLY ENOUGH … The blue ring octopus is so poisonous that it can kill without even biting its victim. It can merely release its toxin into the water near its prey and the victim will die after pumping the poisoned water through its gills. ***** Salmon belong to their own biological family, however, they are closely related to trout and char. Most salmon are anadromous, meaning they can survive

  • Oddly Enough: October 2016

    Sep 30, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller This odd looking vessel is called a “cigar ship” and was the brain child of an American named Ross Winans, an inventor and railroad engineer. At least four of these ships were built, the first one completed in 1858. Putting the paddle wheel in the center of this ship produced so much spray that the decks were decorative at best, and it was necessary to go outside in order to move from one half of the ship to the other. Though 16 feet in diameter, and over 180 feet long, there was little usable space inside. ODDLY ENOUGH … Although it was intended for sea travel, it was discovered that one heavy wave could roll it over. ***** Moles, which feed on earthworms, can transmit a paralyzing drug into the worm and thus prevent it from escaping. ODDLY ENOUGH … Moles often tie the worms into knots, forming balls. These knots of worms are then stacked and stored as fresh, living meat. As many as 470 such stored worms have been found in just one mole larder. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King

  • Oddly Enough: September 2016

    Aug 26, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller This strange looking pistol is called a Dardick Model 1500. It was invented by a man named David Dardick and was revolutionary in its design. It’s a firearm that incorporates an internal revolver action, fed by a magazine loaded into the grip. ODDLY ENOUGH …This weapon utilized another surprise for the owner, it fired triangular shaped cartridges called “trounds.” ***** This weird looking little semi-automatic pistol was designed in 1894 by Theodore Bergmann and Louis Schmeisser. Firing a bullet similar to a .25 caliber, this handgun utilized a five shot clip that fit into a completely housed magazine, forward of the trigger. The spent cartridges were ejected without an extractor by the residual gas pressure left in the barrel after the gun was fired. ODDLY ENOUGH … Although many features incorporated into this pistol were ahead of their time and many of its functions are still used today in modern weaponry, this German-made pistol never seemed to catch on. Regardless, the 1896 model did receive some mild interest by the military at the time. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King

  • Oddly Enough: August 2016

    Aug 5, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Known as the Bathytyphlops Marionae, this bizarre little fish lives at depths well over a mile deep. It has tiny teeth which is unusual for a deep water predator since running into a meal is chancy at best. The gill-rakers are also very small and ineffectual, which rules out the possibility of its being a filter feeder. ODDLY ENOUGH … Its head is completely covered with scales, and it has no eyes at all. This makes most observers wonder how this fish survives at all. ***** For more than 100 years, cats have been a part of the hired staff at the British Post Office! During the mid-1800s rodents so badly chewed up the mail — as well as lunches left around these public buildings — that cats were actually hired and paid to police the mice population. ODDLY ENOUGH … Measures were taken in 1953 to guarantee that female felines received the same pay as male felines and were provided adequate maternity benefit. ***** Russell Miller is an illustrator, cartoonist, writer, bagpiper, motorcycle enthusiast, and reference librarian. Currently, he illustrates books for Cody Lundin and Bart King

  • Oddly Enough: July 2016

    Jul 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, Russ Miller's Oddly EnoughNo CommentsRead More »

    By Russell Miller Generally circuses are considered jolly places bearing witness to feats of human strength and precision, daredevil acts, raucous clowns, and exotic animals performing tricks. Such was the case on Sept. 11, 1916 during a parade advertising the “Sparks World Famous Shows,” when newly hired hobo Red Eldridge, riding atop Mary the elephant, poked her behind the ear when she stopped to nibble some watermelon. Enraged, Mary grabbed Red in her trunk, slammed him onto the ground and stomped on his head. The horrified witnesses, the citizens of Kingsport, Tennessee, immediately called for the death of this rogue pachyderm. ODDLY ENOUGH … Mary was lynched from a rail-car crane in front of a crowd of 2,500 to 5,000 people (mostly children) the next day. The first chain snapped, dropping Mary and breaking her hip. The next hoist proved fatal. The elephant was buried alongside the railroad tracks. ***** Lady Betty was a single mother whose son, Padraic, fleeing the crushing poverty of Ireland and his mother’s often violent tendencies, found passage to America where he joined the Continental Army in New York. Years later, he returned, well dressed, bearded, and unrecognized. She invited him into her hovel and knifed him to death as he slept in order to steal his belongings. Those ill-gotten possessions  contained some of her letters. Betty went nuts! Being sentenced to hang along with

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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