Mailable Animals

USPS Allowed Mailable Live Animals

Mailable Animals

While pursuing Hackernews, I stumbled across a particularly interesting section of “Publication 52 – Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail” of the United States Postal Service’s Domestic Mail Manual which discusses the legality of mailing live animals. The document can basically be distilled down to this:

Mailable Live Animals

General
Some animals are mailable under proper conditions. See the specific instructions as noted for the following kinds of animals:
Live bees
Honeybees and queen honeybees are acceptable for shipping within the continental U.S. and must be free of disease, as required under federal and state regulations.
Live, day–old poultry
The following live, day–old animals are acceptable for mailing when properly packaged:

  • Chickens
  • Ducks
  • Emus
  • Geese
  • Guinea birds
  • Partridges
  • Pheasants (only during April through August)
  • Quail
  • Turkeys

All other types of live, day–old poultry are nonmailable.

Live adult birds
Disease-free adult birds may be mailed domestically when shipped under all applicable governmental laws and regulations
Live scorpions (only under limited circumstances)
Scorpions are mailable only when sent for the purposes of medical research use or the manufacture of antivenom. Scorpions are nonmailable under any other circumstances.
Other small, harmless, cold–blooded animals
Small, harmless, cold–blooded animals, except for snakes, turtles, and turtle eggs, are mailable only when they meet certain requirements.

Nonmailable Live Animals

Live Birds
Day-old poultry vaccinated with Newcastle disease (live virus) is nonmailable. Day-old birds, except those specifically permitted, are nonmailable
Live, Warm–Blooded Animals
Warm-blooded animals, except for adult birds and specified day-old birds under specific conditions, are not mailable. This includes: cats, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rabbits, rats and squirrels.
Reptiles/dt>

All snakes, turtles, and poisonous reptiles are nonmailable.
Poisonous Insects and Spiders
All poisonous insects and all spiders, except scorpions under limited circumstances, are nonmailable. Other nonpoisonous and non-disease-conveying insects are permitted.
I thought this tied in well with a post I did about five years ago called An Inventory Of Live Animals Being Sold On Amazon.com

Top 10 Most Banned Books: 2016

Well, here we are again, folks. It’s banned books week. Once again I’m here with a new post listing the top 10 most challenged books during the previous year. During 2016 there were 323 recorded challenges by the ALA and they have brought us a new crop of frequently challenged books. The The Holy Bible had been removed from the list this year. However, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a book or series of books being challenged because of the “criminal sexual allegations against the author“. I think it is also worth noting that half of the list are illustrated.

2016

  1. This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: Includes LGBT characters, drug use, profanity, sexually explicit with mature themes.
  2. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: Includes LGBT characters, sexually explicit, offensive political viewpoint.
  3. George, by Alex Gino
    Reasons: Includes a transgender child, “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”.
  4. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: Portrays a transgender child, language, sex education, offensive viewpoints.
  5. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Cover has an image of two boys kissing, sexually explicit LGBT content.
  6. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”.
  7. Big Hard Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
    Reasons: Sexually explicit.
  8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread, by Chuck Palahniuk
    Reasons: Profanity, sexual explicitness, being “disgusting and all around offensive”.
  9. Little Bill (series), by Bill Cosby and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
    Reasons: Criminal sexual allegations against the author.
  10. Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
    Reasons: Offensive language.

Read More

Inside The Stearn Pinball Factory

Manufacturing as a whole in America has been suffering. Add to that the fact that video game consoles have entered millions of homes since the early 90s and you have a perfect storm that has resulted in the shuttered and faltering sales of major pinball manufacturers for decades. A great pinball machine requires a vast amount of craftsmanship, and one of largest producing places you’ll find that kind of work happening today is at Stern Pinball. Last month Popular Mechanics went inside of Stearn Pinball manufacturing facility to see how a 21st-century pinball machine comes together. It examines the process by dividing it into four main sections:

  • Finding a license
  • Designing the game
  • Sub-Assembly
  • Assembly and testing
  • While there won’t be anything new in the article for enthusiasts, it is an excellent primer on pinball manufacturing in America. What pinball machines and manufacturers has sold the most over the years? The table below could give some insight.

    The Highest Selling Pinball Machines Of All Time

    A list of all pinball machines that have sold 10,000 or more units, Source: IPDB
    YearName  (Click to display that game)MFGProd.Rating
    1932BallyhooBally50,000*8.8
    1990FunhouseWilliams10,750*8.1
    1976FireballBally10,000*6.3
    1992The Addams FamilyMidway20,2708.2
    1977Eight BallBally20,2307.1
    1979FlashWilliams19,5057.6
    1978PlayboyBally18,2507.4
    1980FirepowerWilliams17,4107.8
    1986High SpeedWilliams17,0807.9
    1979KissBally17,0006.9
    1979Star TrekBally16,8427.1
    1978Mata HariBally16,2607.8
    1976Capt. Fantastic and The Brown Dirt CowboyBally16,1557.8
    1993Twilight ZoneMidway15,2358.4
    1991Terminator 2: Judgment DayWilliams15,2028.0
    1979Harlem Globetrotters On TourBally14,5507.5
    1987F-14 TomcatWilliams14,5027.7
    1979GorgarWilliams14,0007.5
    1977Evel KnievelBally14,0007.5
    1978Power PlayBally13,7507.4
    1992Fish TalesWilliams13,6408.0
    1992The Getaway: High Speed IIWilliams13,2598.0
    1980Black KnightWilliams13,0757.9
    1978Strikes and SparesBally12,8207.6
    1993Indiana Jones: The Pinball AdventureWilliams12,7168.3
    1976Royal FlushGottlieb12,2507.9
    1986PIN·BOTWilliams12,0017.9
    1978SinbadGottlieb12,0007.6
    1993Star Trek: The Next GenerationWilliams11,7288.3
    1976Space MissionWilliams11,6527.8
    1980Space InvadersBally11,4007.7
    1980XenonBally11,0007.8
    1982Mrs. Pac-Man PinballBally10,6007.1
    1976Grand PrixWilliams10,5547.5
    1992Star WarsData East10,4008.0
    1992Lethal Weapon 3Data East10,3507.5
    1980Silverball ManiaBally10,3507.4
    1979SupersonicBally10,3407.0
    1978Lost WorldBally10,3307.0
    1978The Six Million Dollar ManBally10,3207.2
    1975Spirit of 76Gottlieb10,3007.6
    1976AztecWilliams10,1507.7
    1976Surf ChampGottlieb10,0707.7
    1975Wizard!Bally10,0057.9
    1981Flash GordonBally10,0007.9
    Click To Enter

    GifCities: Over 4.5 Million Searchable, Old-School, Animated Gifs

    Click To Enter

    In celebration of its 20th anniversary of archiving the web, the Internet Archive has released GifCities. It’s an animated GIF search engine that has indexed millions of animated GIFs from the obsolete GeoCities websites.

    Geocities was an early web hosting service, started in 1994 and acquired by Yahoo in 1999, with which users could create their own custom websites. The platform hosted over 38 million user-built pages and was at one time the third most visited site on the web. In 2009, Yahoo announced it was closing down the service, at which point the Internet Archive attempted to archive as much of the content as possible.

    Mining this collection, we extracted over 4,500,000 animated GIFs (1,600,000 unique images) and then used the filenames and directory path text to build a best-effort “full text” search engine. Each GIF also links back to the original Geocities page on which it was embedded (and some of these pages are even more awesome than the GIFs).

    Head over there to relive a classic era of the World Wide Web. And please, go notify all your readers that your site is still under construction.

    Top 10 Most Banned Books: 2015

    For many, many years I have put together a list of the top ten most banned books from the previous year, during Banned Books Weak. This year the Office for Intellectual Freedom, did not report the number of challenges (not without buying their official list anyway) so I’m unsure if it has decreased or increased year-over-year. However, this year has brought along a whole new crop of books. This is the first time I recall seeing The Holy Bible being on the list. Anyway here are the top ten:

    2015

    1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
      Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
    2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
      Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
    3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
      Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
    4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
      Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
    5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
      Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
    6. The Holy Bible
      Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
    7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
      Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
    8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
      Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
    9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
      Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
    10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
      Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

    Click these links if you are looking for the top 10 lists for previous years with easy links to Amazon: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001.

    Additionally, in 2010, I put together a list of the 100 Most Banned & Challenged Books Of The Decade by aggregating several lists from the American Library Association.

    Project Apollo Archive 41

    The Moon 1968–1972

    Project Apollo Archive 41

    During all six of NASA’s manned lunar landings, astronauts were armed and trained to use modified Hasselblads. During the Apollo missions, NASA’s astronauts took photos of moon landings, moon walks, the lunar surface, the horizon, and the Earth with these cameras. The results included over 20,000 photographs by 13 astronauts over six lunar landing missions. This huge trove of photographs are cataloged at The Project Apollo Archive. NASA also released a large number of these photos on Flickr back in 2015. The photo above is one of my favorites from this collection.

    Though shot originally for scientific purposes, many of the photos have an extraordinary aesthetic value that encompasses an inadvertently artful composition. The fine folks at T. Alder Books have sorted through the nearly 15,000 of these photos and came up with 45 images that consist of “unintended artful compositions” and a “beautiful, deft outtake quality,”. The collection will be released in a book entitled The Moon 1968–1972 that will be released later this month.

    At a time when archival images are often hastily assembled into digital galleries that get passed around briefly on social media, it’s especially satisfying to sit with an affordable ($18), carefully edited, designed and printed archive of photographs of historical significance and esthetic value. Texts include excerpts from a speech President John F. Kennedy made about the Apollo program, and from an E.B. White story for The New Yorker recalling the first moon landing.

    Chance The Rapper

    A Collection Of Thousands Of Hip Hop Mixtapes

    Chance The Rapper

    Jason Scott has uploaded thousands and thousands of hip-hop mixtapes to the Internet Archive (almost 6,000 to date). He says he has access to over 17,000 tapes and somewhere close to that number might end up on the Archive over the next few months. There is obviously a ton of hip-hop culture to dig through here. Jason notes:

    There’s a lot coded into the covers of these mixtapes (not to even mention the stuff coded into the lyrics themselves) – there’s stressing of riches, drug use, sexual drive, and oppression. I’m personally fascinated at the amount of reference to codeine and the purple color of “Purple Drank”, which, if you’ve missed that subject matter up to now… good for you.

    If you’re new to the world of hip-hop mixtapes (as I am) the links below should get your discovery started

    This is a great time to point out that the Internet Archive is an invaluable resource. In these times of link rot and the haphazard closing of essential web services (we miss you Google Reader) the Internet Archive is, well, archiving the web. The Wayback Machine now indexes over 435 billion webpages going back nearly 20 years.

    The end goal here, like all the things I do in this realm, is simple: Providing free access to huge amounts of culture, so people can reference, contextualize, enjoy and delight over material in an easy-to-reach, linkable, usable manner. Apparently it’s already taken off, but here you go too.

    Five Web Based Analytical Tools That Will Improve your Writing

    Over the last couple of months I have stumbled across a slew of new writing tools. Below is a collection of ones I determined to be helpful or interesting.

    Sharethrough Headline Analyzer: Helps you craft successful headlines that engage the brain, communicate an idea at the moment of impression while still enticing readers to click through to a full content experience. The analyzer will help you analyze and improve the quality of your headlines, optimizing for both impression and engagement. More here.

    Expresso: A practical tool to analyze, edit and compare text styles. Enter your text into the web app, hit analyze, and you’ll get a breakdown of filler words, weak verbs, modals, clustered nouns, and more. The tool relies on metrics that are broken down into two groups: metrics for editing and general metrics. As the names suggest, the first group has useful tools for editing your texts and improving writing style while the second one contains other interesting metrics to explore.

    Cleartext: A Mac text editor that only allows the 1,000 most common words in English. It is based on Randall Monroe’s Simple Writer, a web app that does the same thing. Don’t miss out on trying out the Trump Mode.

    Proselint: This tool calls itself a linter for prose and is currently only available as a command line utility or a plugin for Sublime Text. Its focus is on detecting redundancy, jargon, clichés, sexism, misuse of symbols, malapropisms, oxymorons, hedging, apologizing, pretension, and more.

    Hemingway App: This web app puts an emphasis concision and brevity and not general style. Its goal to help your reader will focus on your message, not your prose. There is also a recently released desktop app called Hemingway Editor 2 for Mac and Windows.