Today, they royal we are going to try something new in our Friday accumulation of the best recent articles across the interwebs. Rather than tell why each was so intriguing on a personal level, now you’ll simply see a teaser from the linked piece. If it piques your interest, I’m delighted! 


The Loneliest Whale in the World

To make matters worse, the high-pitched whale “does not follow the known migration route of any extant baleen whale species.” The result, according to Dr. Kate Stafford, a researcher at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, is that the lonely whale keeps “saying ‘Hey, I’m out here,’” but “nobody is phoning home.”

Anesthesia in the Civil War, from the Civil War Medicine (and Writing) blog

Dr. Albin quotes Confederate surgeon Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire in his account of the amputation of “Stonewall” Jackson’s arm: “Chloroform was then administered, and as he began to feel its effects, and its relief to the pain he was suffering, he exclaimed, ‘What an infinite blessing,’ and continued to repeat the word ‘blessing,’ until he became insensible.”


New Words: Mutation, by Bozo Sapiens

It appears as “dord (dôrd), n. Physics & Chem. Density.” Ye-e-es… “density” doesn’t sound quite right, does it? It’s not a dordish concept; it lacks essential dordacity (or would, if “dord” were not already a qualitative noun). One can’t imagine, say, Captain Picard barking; “computer – dord of that planetary mass – on screen,” or a solemn surgeon murmuring, “Mr. Kaplan, we need to discuss your bone dord.”

Origins of Jewish Humor

A rabbi asked his colleagues, what about the badkhn? He’s not really funny, the rabbi said. In fact, he’s abusive. The elders agreed, and the badkhn was exempted from the ban – he wasn’t a merrymaker and wasn’t encouraging levity. And that’s how the badkhn became the only Jewish comic permitted in the shtetls…


The Lost Diary of Queen Victoria’s Final Companion

Her relationship with Karim was one that sent shockwaves through the royal court – and ended up being one of the most scandalous periods of her 64-year reign. Indeed, such was the ill-feeling that when Victoria died, her son King Edward ordered all records of their relationship, including correspondence and photographs, to be destroyed.

Contents of Kafka Safety Deposit Boxes Finally Revealed

The most important Kafka manuscript noted in the report is that of his story “Wedding Preparations in the Country.” There are also aphorisms, a Hebrew exercise notebook in Kafka’s handwriting, letters exchanged between Kafka and Brod, and letters from Kafka’s father and mother.


Frank Buckles, Last Known WWI, Veteran Dies at 110

“I knew there’d be only one some day,” he said a few years back. “I didn’t think it would be me.”