Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Friday, August 17, 2007

Jeanne Louise Calment (February 21, 1875 – August 4, 1997) reached the longest confirmed lifespan in history at 122 years and 164 days. Her husband died in 1942, after he ate a dessert prepared with spoiled cherries.

In 1965, aged 90, with no living heirs, Jeanne Calment signed a deal, common in France, to sell her condominium apartment en viager to lawyer Fran├žois Raffray. Raffray, then aged 47, agreed to pay a monthly sum until she died, an agreement sometimes called a "reverse mortgage". At the time of the deal the value of the apartment was equal to ten years of payments. Unfortunately for Raffray, not only did Calment survive more than thirty years, but Raffray died of cancer in December 1995, at the age of 77, leaving his widow to continue the payments.

She said that at age 14, she met Vincent van Gogh in her father's shop, later describing him as "dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable." She also reported attending the 1885 funeral of Victor Hugo.

Jeanne Calment's remarkable health presaged her later record. At age 85, she took up fencing. At 100, she was still riding a bicycle.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm trying my hand at a wikipedia videoblog.

(Or here , if it doesn't show in the feed.)

The sailing stones are a geological phenomenon found in Racetrack Playa, Death Valley. The stones slowly move across the surface of the playa, leaving a track as they go, without human or animal intervention.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wikipedia Scanner "offers users a searchable database that ties millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits to organizations where those edits apparently originated, by cross-referencing the edits with data on who owns the associated block of internet IP addresses." (Of course, it only shows edits by users without accounts.)

Via Wired, who also have a page where you can vote on the most egregious wikipedia spin/fraud.