Well don’t feel bad, baby …

The fact is that people are violent. Sometimes that violence unimaginably spills into the world of our children’s schools. That is horrible, and makes my eyes well up with sorrow. But this story didn’t turn out as badly as it might have, mostly because of the incredible heroism of a bookkeeper named Antoinette Tuff. She kept communications going with the gunman de jour, until, mercifully, he gave up without harming anyone.

Ms. Tuff’s collected demeanor and cool head is remarkable in its own right. But she reaches further into herself to meet the gunman where he is, in a scared, lonely place. In a stark moment of commiseration about the trials of life (minute 14:46), Ms. Tuff tells him:

Well don’t feel bad, baby, my husband just left me after 33 years

There are long, drawn out periods of silence in the video. Stunning, really. Each time the line goes down, I was afraid of what was happening there in the school office. But each time, Ms. Tuff’s reassuring voice returns, letting the gunman and us, know that it’s going to be OK.

Physics of Guns Underwater

I enjoyed watching this guy explain the physics of a rifle shot occurring underwater. He brings in a slow-motion video capture team. We get to see a bunch of video from various angles underwater as the rifle fires. There are some (over my head?) explanations about what is going on with the physics. It is reminiscent of the explanations I have heard of the universes’ Big Bang, expansion, collapse, and expansion. Also, I had no idea how far a round from a rifle would travel underwater. Not to far, apparently.

Coolest part? The potential sonoluminescence. Never heard of it before, but it is pretty sweet. Even if it isn’t occurring here, as the host notes, the concept is interesting.

Thanks to the Smarter Every Day team. Great video. You earned my subscription!

The Signal and the Noise

Nate Silver chopping it up with the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

Nate explains why most predictions fail. Truth is, the world is a complex place with unknown numbers of variables at play. Folks who approach that environment with a set worldview – they already know what they are going to find – do not do so well at predictions. They avoid critical information that could influence an outcome simply because it differs from their worldview.

“We should be humble about our own ability to perceive the world”
– Nate Silver

The Mansion “Pic-Nic”, An Old Pittsburgh Mansion, and Mary Schenley

Mary Schenley, of Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park and my very own Schenley High School fame, was married away at age 14 to a 47 year old sea captain!

Today I got a tweet from the District 7 Council Seat of Pittsburgh:

I did a little reading of my own and came up with the article in PDF from JSTOR. Here it is:

You can click the “View PDF” link on the right to download and read the full PDF. It helps to use the magnifying glass to make the text larger.

Anyway, Mary Schenley has always been a big part of the history of Pittsburgh, in my mind. It is amazing to read how she was (what today would be) stolen away at such a young age and taken away by sea!

Her father, William Croghan from Kentucky, built Pic-Nic, a mansion that Mary and her husband later occupied. He called it “Pic-Nic” because he enjoyed eating outside, according to The Art Union.

It is amazing to read the stories from the mid 1800’s of what were old mansions then. Imagine if that house had survived to today? It would truly be a gem.

Have you got a sort about an old Mansion to share? Are you stolen away to sea and married to an old sea captain when you were a teen?