No more Bank Holidays until August, but you don't have to do anything useful when you have the Internet at your disposal

  • The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob - "He wore a Western hat, never spoke a word, and robbed bank after bank. When the feds finally arrested him, they discovered that their suspect was actually a soft-spoken woman. They thought they’d never hear from her again— but she had other plans." The remarkable story of Peggy Jo Tallas, who quietly robbed numerous banks wearing a false beard and a cowboy hat, making her getaways in her own car.

  • Something Weird Happened to Men 7,000 Years Ago, And We Finally Know Why - "Around 7,000 years ago - all the way back in the Neolithic - something really peculiar happened to human genetic diversity. Over the next 2,000 years, and seen across Africa, Europe and Asia, the genetic diversity of the Y chromosome collapsed, becoming as though there was only one man for every 17 women."

  • Secret Life of a Search and Rescue Volunteer - "When someone goes missing on a frozen mountaintop or in a wildfire, my team heads out to help when no one else can — even if all we can do is bring back their bodies." Chris Muldoon, emergency room physician and mountain rescue volunteer, recounts the story of a search in the Oregon mountains.

  • Shot through with microbes: How our bodies adapt to a hidden world of bacteria - "Heredity cannot always be explained by the 23 chromosomes of DNA in our cells. Our cells are also home to ancient lodgers — bacteria that invaded the cells of our ancestors 1.8 billion years ago, with DNA of their own. These microbial residents, known as mitochondria, have become essential parts of our own biology. But even today, they play by their own hereditary rules." Carl Zimmer on the genetic hitchhikers without whom we would not exist.

  • Codex Mellon - "This sketchbook of architectural drawings is one of the most significant documents of the appearance and structure of antique and contemporary buildings in early sixteenth-century Rome. Containing interior and exterior views, elevations, and ground plans of Roman buildings, as well as a variety of decorative details, it is of great importance as an example of an architect’s model book of the early sixteenth century. The draftsman’s numerous notations of measurements and his various inscriptions in a precise and meticulous hand provide valuable information on individual projects but also demonstrate the diverse sources from which a Renaissance architect drew his inspiration."

  • Synanon's Sober Utopia: How a Drug Rehab Program Became a Violent Cult - The strange tale of Charles E. Dederich's self-help group: "In 1970, George Lucas needed dozens of actors with shaved heads for his sci-fi dystopian movie THX 1138. He had trouble filling the roles at first, since so few actresses wanted to cut their locks, but Lucas eventually found the extras he needed in a strange utopian community where everyone worshipped sobriety and expressed solidarity by shaving their heads. It was called Synanon, and over the course of three decades it would become one of the weirdest and most vindictive cults of the 20th century."

  • Two planets discovered: One by gravity, one by accident [Part 1], [Part 2] - "Astronomers recently found two new exoplanets — worlds orbiting other stars — and to be honest, while the planets themselves are interesting, what's also interesting is the way they were found. One was found using a weird property of gravity, and the other was found by accident!"

  • When Milky Got His Money - "You overdraw from your savings account. The bank doesn’t notice. You do it again. Same. And again. Same. What do you do? (A) Stop doing it. (B) Tell the bank about the glitch. (C) Live the life you’ve always dreamed of." Luke “Milky” Moore didn’t really hesitate

  • Recursive Recipes - "A recursive recipe is one where ingredients in the recipe can be replaced by another recipe. The more ingredients you replace, the more that the recipe is made truly from scratch." This site lets you take things to their logical conclusion: for example, the pancake recipe will, if you have no time, tell you to go to the shop and buy them. But tell it you have six months and it starts with “Plant winter wheat in fall to allow for six to eight weeks of growth before the soil freezes. This allows time for good root development.”

  • Scenes from an abandoned village in the Japanese mountains - "Finding abandoned buildings outside Tokyo isn’t difficult… Every now and again, however, it’s possible to stumble upon something very different. Like the abandoned village below. Some of its structures have been demolished. Others have simply collapsed. But those it was possible to enter offer up a fascinating, and at the same time rather sad look at the lives of those who once lived there.” It’s strange that some of the people of this former mining village left so much behind; presumably those are the homes of people who died, and whose scattered relatives saw no reason to come and retrieve anything.

Happy invoicing!