At 91, Irv Koch keeps Maryland’s last basement bar going


By Zoë Read (Baltimore Sun, 11/19/2014)

If someone wants to grab a drink at Club Sunset Knoll for the first time, they better find someone who knows Irv.

For 51 years, the little establishment tucked into the basement of a secluded Pasadena house has been almost impossible to find without help.

When guests arrive, they knock on the front door and ask a cheerful old man to meet them at the bottom of his basement steps. Wait a bit, and he will open the heavy door and pour beer, wine and liquor from behind his exclusive bar.

At 91, Irv Koch runs his small business by himself. It may be the only licensed bar of its kind in Maryland.

Continue reading at The Baltimore Sun.

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Essex Voters at Indoor Shuffleboard Court, 2014



Voters cast their ballots alongside an indoor shuffleboard court at a Knights of Columbus hall, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Essex, Md. Maryland voters will choose a successor Tuesday to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is term-limited. PATRICK SEMANSKY — AP Photo


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Baltimore’s Poop Plant is Engulfed by 4-Acre Spider Web

How many spiders does it take to creep you out? 10? 100? How many spiders make an “extreme spider situation”?

The Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant put out a call for “extreme spider” help in 2009, when a giant spiderweb covered almost 4 acres of their facility. Scientists eventually estimated over 107 million spiders were living in the structure, with densities of 35,176 spiders per m³ in spots.


Greene, A et al. (2010). An Immense Concentration of Orb-Weaving Spiders With Communal Webbing in a Man-Made Structural Habitat (Arachnida: Araneae: Tetragnathidae, Araneidae). American Entomologist, 56 (3), 146-156.

 The “immense” in their title doesn’t really begin to cover it. From the paper:

“We were unprepared for the sheer scale of the spider population and the extraordinary masses of both three dimensional and sheet-like webbing that blanketed much of the facility’s cavernous interior. Far greater in magnitude than any previously recorded aggregation of orb-weavers, the visual impact of the spectacle was was nothing less than astonishing.

In places where the plant workers had swept aside the webbing to access equipment, the silk lay piled on the floor in rope-like clumps as thick as a fire hose.”

Remember, that paragraph was written by 5 mid-career professional entomologists and arachnologists. If they were a bit startled by the size of the web….it was a big freakin’ web.

light fixture

In some areas of the plant over 95% of space was filled with spider web. The webbing was so dense that it pulled 8-foot long fluorescent light fixtures out of place.

Continue reading at Wired.

Scared of spiders? Look away now! Terrifying photos reveal FOUR-ACRE web teeming with 107 MILLION arachnids

  • The web was discovered at the Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • It covered four acres and was said to have 107 million spiders living in it
  • This was the equivalent to 35,176 spiders per cubic square metre of space
  • Web was made by a species of orb-weavers known as Tetragnathidae
  • Researchers predicted that 95% of the plant was covered in webbing 


Read more at The Daily Mail.

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