The hidden treasure of 1930's gangster Dutch Schultz

The hidden treasure of 1930's gangster Dutch Schultz

From Mental Floss: "Dutch Schultz was about to die. But he wasn’t about to go quietly. It was October 23, 1935, and Schultz’s career of criminal activity had caught up to him. Earlier that evening, he had been shot by rivals in the restroom of a restaurant in Newark, New Jersey. Now, the gangster was lingering on a hospital gurney, local police officers standing by to record his final thoughts. Most of them were incomprehensible. “Oh, oh, dog biscuit, and when he is happy, he doesn’t get snappy,” Schultz moaned. Finally, he succumbed to his injuries. And while police tracked his killers, they were also hot on the trail of another mystery: A stash of millions in cash and jewels that Schultz had purportedly hidden somewhere in the New York Catskills. To the ears of some treasure seekers, a dying Schultz hadn’t merely been babbling: He had, consciously or not, been dropping clues as to the whereabouts of a $100 million fortune."

An octegenarian slingshot shooter is finally arrested after a decade of mischief

Survival Slingshot Review | RECOIL OFFGRID

From the New York Times: "It had been happening for a decade. Residents of North Enid Avenue in Azusa, Calif., would find a broken window in their house or car and a telltale ball bearing nearby. Neighbors reported hundreds of dollars of damage. Sometimes, more alarmingly, a pellet would whiz by someone outside, nearly striking them. It turns out the mayhem was the work of a “serial slingshot shooter,” according to the police. And now, they say, they have finally captured him. He is 81 years old. The suspect, Prince Raymond King, was arrested Thursday morning. A slingshot and ball bearings were found on his property, which is on the block where the crimes were carried out, the police said. Mr. King appeared in court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty. He faces felony and misdemeanor vandalism charges. Police told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune they were "not aware of any kind of motive other than just malicious mischief."

Some of the earliest attempts to create robots took place in the 1700s

An illustration of a man on his knees reaching out to another man holding a curtain aside to reveal a seated figure playing the flute.

From Public Domain Review: "The first actual android of the new, experimental-philosphical variety for which the historical record contains rich information — “android” in Naudé’s root sense, a working human-shaped assemblage of “necessary parts” and instruments — went on display on February 3, 1738. The venue was the opening of the annual Saint-Germain fair on Paris’ Left Bank. This android differed crucially from earlier musical automata, the figures on hydraulic organs and musical clocks, in that it really performed the complex task it appeared to perform, in this case, playing a flute, rather than merely making some suggestive motions. The device was, in this sense, a novelty, but it must have looked familiar to many of the fairgoers, being modeled on a well-known statue that stood in the entrance to the Tuileries Gardens and that is now at the Louvre Museum: Antoine Coysevox’s Shepherd Playing the Flute."

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The Pen Hospital in Kolkata will nurse your broken fountain pen back to full health

From Vogue India: "“You’ve not been taking proper care of your pen,” Muhammad Imtiaz grumbles while treating his latest patient—and the victim of my negligence—a Gold Leaf Jinhao fountain pen. As much as I would like to claim that I purchased this pen in pursuit of finer calligraphy, the truth is that an attractive discount online made me snap it up. After two months of blotting through numerous notebooks and sporting ink-stained hands, I had severely damaged the ink socket. Not wanting to lay it to rest yet, I took my ailing pen to the only place in the city where I knew it could be nursed back to health—the Pen Hospital. Situated in the heart of central Kolkata and hidden amongst vintage bars, ramshackle buildings and the famous Metro cinema of Chowringhee, the 77-year-old Pen Hospital is a relic of the past. It was established in the late ’50s by Imtiaz’s grandfather, Muhammad Samsuddin, along with a few other technicians, all skilled in the mechanics of fountain pens."

There are two versions of Joan of Arc: One for right-wing fascists and one for feminists

Joan of Arc

From JSTOR Daily: "A minor irony of 1920 was that the Roman Catholic church canonized a teenage peasant girl it had burned back in 1431. This was the short-haired, armor-plated, sword-wielding, horse-riding, saint-voice-hearing, to-victory-leading Joan of Arc, French heroine of the Hundred Years War. The church deemed her a heretic, so the martyring proceeded. (She was posthumously declared innocent in 1456.) Today, Joan of Arc is one of the patron saints of France, but that’s not all. Within France, she is also a symbol of reactionary nationalism, venerated by the Far Right long before she was canonized. Outside France, though, Joan has been more of a heroine of feminism and androgyny, especially in Britain and the United States. So how did the late-medieval heretic turn into two very different symbols in modern times?"

Hobbyist archaeologists identify thousands of ancient sites in England

From The Guardian: "Bronze age burial mounds, Roman roads and deserted medieval villages are among almost 13,000 previously-unknown ancient sites and monuments that have been discovered by members of the public in recent months. Truck drivers and doctors are among more than 1,000 people who participated in Deep Time, a “citizen science project” which has harnessed the power of hobbyists to scour 512 sq km (200 sq miles) of Earth Observation data, including high-resolution satellite and lidar – laser technology – imagery. Participants were searching for ancient features across three distinct landscapes: an area of the Peak District spanning Derbyshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire; Wallington in Northumberland; and Purbeck and Studland in Dorset. They have found 262 possible Bronze age barrows and three Roman roads."

Cooking show host finds a colourful way to suggest his co-host is insane

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