She jumped from a plane and then her parachute failed

She jumped from a plane and then her parachute failed

From The Guardian: "Jordan Hatmaker knew something was wrong as soon as she tried to open her parachute. “You’re meant to look up to check: is it there? Is it square? And is it stable?” she says. It was none of those things. This was the second time that day that she and her skydiving coach had leapt from an aircraft 13,500ft above the fields of Suffolk, Virginia. Hatmaker was 35, and 10 jumps away from securing her skydiving licence. She and her coach had agreed to freefall to 4,000ft; as her training progressed, she was able to deploy her parachute at increasingly lower altitudes, and this was the lowest she had ever gone. Hatmaker activated her pilot chute and immediately knew something was wrong. The force of the inflation is designed to trigger the release of the main canopy, but instead, the pilot chute became wrapped around her leg in a malfunction known as a horseshoe. “I thought to myself: ‘This is going to hurt.’”

There's a song written on a sinner’s buttock in Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights

From Open Culture: "An enterprising blogger named Amelia transcribed, recorded, and uploaded a musical score straight out of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, painted between 1490 and 1510. The kicker? Amelia found the score written on a suffering sinner’s butt. The poor, musically-branded soul can be seen in the bottom left-hand corner of the painting’s third and final panel, wherein Bosch depicts the various torture methods of hell. The unfortunate hell-dweller lies prostrate atop an open music book, crushed by a gigantic lute, while a toad-like demon stretches his tongue towards his tuneful buttocks. Another inhabitant is strung up on a harp above the scene. Although we can’t ascertain why Bosch decided to write out this particular melody, since scant biographical information about the painter survives, it’s possible that he decided to include music because it was viewed as a sign of sinful pleasure."

Identity thieves tried to scam their way into selling Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion

From the New York Times: "The writer said he was an identity thief — a ring leader on the dark web, with a network of “worms” placed throughout the United States. In an email to The New York Times, he said his ring preyed on the dead, the unsuspecting and the elderly, especially those from Florida and California, using birth certificates and other documents to discover personal information that aided in their schemes. Recently, the writer suggested, the group had turned its attention to a major target: the estate of Lisa Marie Presley, which last week faced a threat that Graceland was about to be foreclosed on and sold by a mysterious company, Naussany Investments & Private Lending LLC. This email arrived in response to one sent by The Times to an email address that Naussany listed in a legal filing sent to a Tennessee court reviewing the foreclosure case."

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Eleutheria was an attempt to create a utopia in the Caribbean in the 1600s

Map of the Bahamas, 1680

From JSTOR Daily: "Around 1647, an English Puritan named William Sayle led a group of prospective colonists from Bermuda to the Bahamas, the islands they would name Eleutheria, from the Greek word for “liberty.” England was in turmoil as the civil war raged under Charles I. As the war’s impact reverberated, religious fault lines were also shattering communities in England’s colonies in the Americas. Sayle, twice governor of Bermuda, had another vision: a permanent settlement that could be enjoyed without the religious “embitterment” shaping other colonies. On July 9, 1647, the would-be colony’s Articles and Orders were written and agreed to by “a Company of Adventurers for the Plantation of the Islands of Eleutheria, formerly called Buhamal in America, and the Adjacent Island. This declaration, which provided the governing framework for the colony, predated the United Kingdom’s 1688 Bill of Rights by twenty years."

She played a key role in the development of Miss Piggy and the Philly Phanatic

From The Cut: "Erickson, curly-haired and quick-witted, lives in Brooklyn Heights, where evidence of the 82-year-old’s influence can be seen in every corner of the apartment she shares with her husband and business partner of nearly 50 years, Wayde Harrison. There are signed sketches from Maurice Sendak, sent as thanks for Erickson’s design of Where the Wild Things Are toys. There are reminders of Erickson’s work as design consultant on the original Fraggle Rock (she oversaw the build of the characters). As a consultant to the Children’s Television Workshop, which still produces Sesame Street and now goes by Sesame Workshop, she also oversaw the design and development of Tickle Me Elmo, possibly the first must-have, fighting-in-the-aisles-of-Toys R Us Christmas toy. And then there’s the Phanatic bobblehead, complete with matching piggy bank."

If you are lost in the Arctic, here's why you should avoid eating polar bear liver

Walking With Wild Polar Bears: How A Dramatic, Arctic Safari Will Change  Your Life Forever

From the BBC: "Polar bears are top carnivores that bioaccumulate the vitamin A produced by marine algae lower down the food chain. Because vitamin A isn’t water-soluble, it can’t be easily flushed from the body and is stored in the liver instead. Bears and seals have generally high levels of vitamin A in their livers but polar bears have the most of any animal. Like virtually any substance, vitamin A can be toxic in high doses, but polar bears have evolved to be unaffected by the higher doses of vitamin A. So a blood level of vitamin A that does not bother a polar bear can kill a human, and it has: Arctic explorers have died when due to a scarcity of food they had to resort to eating polar bears. The recommended daily allowance for vitamin A in humans is 0.9mg, and you can get that from eating just one-tenth of a gram of the liver from a well-fed polar bear. The entire liver contains enough vitamin A to kill 52 adults. If you spread it out and ate just enough to get your RDA every day, that liver would last you 143 years."

Olympic medallist Kathy Ledecky swims with a glass of chocolate milk on her head

Acknowledgements: I find a lot of these links myself, but I also get some from other newsletters that I rely on as "serendipity engines," such as The Morning News from Rosecrans Baldwin and Andrew Womack, Jodi Ettenberg's Curious About Everything, Dan Lewis's Now I Know, Robert Cottrell and Caroline Crampton's The Browser, Clive Thompson's Linkfest, Noah Brier and Colin Nagy's Why Is This Interesting, Maria Popova's The Marginalian, Sheehan Quirke AKA The Cultural Tutor, the Smithsonian magazine, and JSTOR Daily. If you come across something interesting that you think should be included here, please feel free to email me at mathew @ mathewingram dot com