Here are some one liners...
Speak of the Devil: Moby Dick and the Wrath of Khan -- The novel "Moby Dick" is based on a real-life event. I discuss a famous quote from the novel and point out that Star Trek used the same quote in the movie.
Support Your Australian Gold Rush -- Gold is discovered yet again, but this time it takes.
Record Rain in Iowa -- I give advice on sandbags.
In Other News -- Singer sewing machine, assembly line cheese and the New York Times.
Speak of the Devil: Moby Dick and the Wrath of KhanIn the 1820s, two sailors were found adrift in a small whaler. They were delirious with thirst, covered in salt, sores and blood as they gnawed on the bones of their dead. They told a story of the sinking of the Essex after it was attacked by a mighty sperm whale. From this tragedy comes Herman Melville's magnificent novel: Moby Dick. Captain Ahab has lost his leg to the white whale, Moby Dick. He sets out with his crew from Nantucket to seek out sperm whales to produce clean-burning lamp oil world-wide. (Kerosene is not yet practical.) However, Ahab has an additional purpose. He promises a gold piece to the first man to put three harpoons into the white whale that took his leg. The crew cheers but Mr. Starbuck is worried. This is more than simple revenge. It has become a religious obsession. Ahab shall smite the devil and seek out Satan in his lair. If his chest was a cannon he would have fired the shell of his heart against the white whale. I am paraphrasing a line out of the novel, but here is a direct quote that will be familiar...
- ...to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.
- -- Captain Ahab as he confronts Moby Dick. 
Support Your Australian Gold RushThe United Kingdom has been using Australia as a dumping ground for criminals and ne'er-do-wells. Gold has been discovered in Australia before but the information has been suppressed out of fear that the criminal element would be difficult to control. To quote the governor, "We shall have our throats cut". (Well... yeah!) But the California Gold Rush has sparked a get-rich-quick interest in any gold find, so when Edward Hargraves finds a few grains of gold in Lewis Ponds Creek he writes to the Sydney Morning Herald. The secret is out, and frankly everyone is ready for the Australian Gold Rush. 
Record Rain in Iowa74.5 inches of rain has fallen in Iowa and produces a flood that practically wipes out Des Moines. There are no levees. This flood marks the unbroken record for rainfall in Iowa. Just about everything else in Iowa is broken this year. The flooding is followed by mud and outbreaks of disease.
- Roads were rendered impassable-bridges swept away-the mails stopped, and traveling by land to any distance utterly vetoed. Houses were carried away, mills damaged, timber floated off, and all manner of mischief done by the flood.
- -- J. M. Dixon.