Strangers sharing a table, sharing a meal…

❝ Jamario Howard was sitting with his friends Jamychol and Tae at a barbecue joint in Oxford, Alabama, waiting for food, when he noticed an elderly woman sitting alone.

“My first thought was ‘dang I’d hate to have to eat alone,'” he told CNN. So he went over and asked her if he could sit with her.

❝ The woman said yes, and after they talked for a while Howard found out she had lost her husband and the day after would have been their 60th anniversary.

“I instantly gave my condolences and asked her to come eat with us,” Howard said. “She was excited to do so.”

❝ Howard shared a picture of the heartwarming moment, which happened April 18, on Facebook. It went viral with more than 44,000 shares.

RTFA for details and commentary. I imagine, I hope, my reaction isn’t out of the ordinary. The spirit of good will is still alive and well among ordinary folks in this land. Regardless of what we feel about the corrupt and self-serving example set by our fake president and the political class he represents.

Give spiders nanotubes to eat — get carbon-reinforced silk

Spider silk is one of the more extraordinary materials known to science. The protein fiber, spun by spiders to make webs, is stronger than almost anything that humans can make.

The dragline silk spiders use to make a web’s outer rim and spokes is amazing stuff. It matches high-grade alloy steel for tensile strength but is about a sixth as dense. It is also highly ductile, sometimes capable of stretching to five times its length.

This combination of strength and ductility makes spider silk extremely tough, matching the toughness of state-of-the-art carbon fibers such as Kevlar.

So it goes without saying that the ability to make spider silk even stronger and tougher would be a significant scientific coup. Which is why the work of Nicola Pugno at the University of Trento in Italy and a few pals is something of a jaw-dropper.

These guys have found a way to incorporate carbon nanotubes and graphene into spider silk and increase its strength and toughness beyond anything that has been possible before. The resulting material has properties such as fracture strength, Young’s modulus, and toughness modulus higher than anything ever measured.

The team’s approach is relatively straightforward. They started with 15 Pholcidae spiders, collected from the Italian countryside, which they kept in controlled conditions in their lab. They collected samples of dragline silk produced by these spiders as a reference.

The team then used a neat trick to introduce carbon nanotubes and graphene flakes into the spider silk. They simply sprayed the spiders with water containing the nanotubes or flakes and then measured the mechanical properties of the silk that the spiders produced…

In other words, giving spiders water that is infused with carbon nanotubes makes them weave silk stronger than any known fiber.

Woo-hoo. We have some fierce spider-critters here in New Mexico we should try this out on!

Pakistani brothers arrested for necro-cannibalism

A court in eastern Pakistan has extended the police custody of two brothers charged with cannibalism, officials say.

Arif Ali and Farman Ali were arrested earlier in the week. Police say they caught them making a meal of a corpse they had recently stolen from a grave.

The brothers’ alleged cannibalism was discovered after the body of a newly deceased woman was found to be missing from her grave in the city of Sargodha. Her family then alerted the police.

“We have charged them under the anti-terrorism act,” Inspector Abdur Rahman of Darya Khan police told the BBC…

The family of the woman said to have been eaten became suspicious when they visited her grave a few days after she had been buried to find that it had been disturbed.

After digging to check the body was still there, they found it to be missing. A police complaint was lodged – and the subsequent investigation led to the house of the brothers.

They had cut a part of the corpse and were cooking it when we appeared on the scene,” a police official said.

The other remains of the 24-year-old, who died of cancer, were recovered from the brothers’ residence.

Police have not revealed any clear reason as to why the men are said to have resorted to cannibalism.

They say the pair appear to be in sound physical and mental condition and were living in seclusion with their sister, whose mental condition is said to be unstable.

Neighbours have expressed shock at the discovery, saying they never suspected that the two men could be involved in such acts.

I had to include that last sentence to keep the attention of a whole class of our readers. I’m certain a number of you have been conducting a lifelong study on the trite things people say when they discover a friend, neighbor or family member is a ghoul.

Funeral home stops the “grim eater”

A New Zealand funeral home has stepped in to stop a fake mourner who was attending up to four funerals a week to stock up on food, even filling up tupperware containers to take home…

Harbour City Funeral Home director Danny Langstraat told local newspaper The Dominion Post that the “grim eater” appeared at up to four funerals a week in March and April to enjoy the finger food but clearly did not know the deceased.

The funeral company grew so concerned that it took a photograph of the man, thought to be aged in his 40s, and distributed the picture to its branches.

“Certainly he had a backpack with some tupperware containers so when people weren’t looking, he was stocking up,” Langstraat told the newspaper.

He said the man was “always very quiet and polite, and did as the rest of the mourners did in paying his respects.”

Langstraat said the man stopped coming after one staff member took him aside and told him he could come to funerals but could not take food home with him.

Har. Having spent a few portions of my life poor enough to steal peanut butter, I can appreciate the ingenuity.

I wonder what the funeral director normally does with any excess food remaining after the sad gathering?