TIL: You can buy bottles of fake bubbly for boat christenings that are designed to break

For more than 15 years I've lived in Alameda, a lovely island city in San Francisco's Bay Area. Because we're surrounded by water, there's a boating community. Thus, we have marine stores. I am not part of the boating community, so I had never gone into any of these stores. That is, until today. Our local West Marine store is moving to another part of town, so they're having a big sale. I decided it was time to check it out.

It was nicer than I expected. They're set to close at the end of March, so a lot of the shelves were barren. But there were still some neat nautical products left like international code flags, personal locator beacons, and boat beanbag chairs.

Though, what really caught my eye were these bottles of fake champagne. They're for when you christen a boat. You just take the bottle and smash it against the vessel. They don't contain alcohol (one reviewer says it contains a "soapy liquid") and are scored to break easily.

Read for yourself. Here's the product's description:

Save the real champagne for guests and break this special christening bottle on your vessel’s prow. The bottle is scored around the middle and housed in a net to ensure that your first swing is a smashing hit. The result: cheers from the crowd when an impressive-yet safe-spray of imitation bubbly celebrates your boat’s dent-free debut.

Watch and learn:

photo by Rusty Blazenhoff Read the rest

What do you call a baby porcupine?

You will never believe this. It's just too damn cute. They're porcupettes, people. Baby porcupines are porcupettes. Read the rest

The oldest Confederate volcano tells all

TIL: There is an extinct volcano sitting directly beneath the city of Jackson, Mississippi. Specifically, it is approximately a half mile below the Mississippi Colosseum and state fairgrounds. In the late Cretaceous period — about 100 million years ago — this part of North America was under water. In fact, "North America" back then was actually more like a couple of mini-continents surrounded by ocean. The Jackson Volcano was the heart of a 400-square-mile island in that sea. It hasn't erupted in 65 million years, but the ground is still hot enough that some local wells pump up 102°F water. [Edited to add that the relationship between groundwater temp and the Jackson Volcano may not be accurate. Eric Klemetti — geoscientist and Wired blogger — told me he would be surprised if an extinct volcano was the source of that heat.] Read the rest

Spam email reveals the existence of ancient, giant furry armadillo things

Furry, shelled mammals the size of VW Beetles once roamed the Americas.