They look so cute that I could just gobble them up! Panda bear cookies are a rolled cookie. Making them looks like a complex task, but you can find detailed instructions with photos at the link.
(Photo: Theresa Helmer)
If your mom can't teach you to be nice ... maybe science can!
Researchers at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are setting up an experiment to see if they can "train" people to be nicer to each other:
First, the team had the group try the Buddhist technique of compassion meditation: thinking about a time someone was suffering, then chanting, "May you be free from suffering. May you have joy and ease." The people focused on a loved one, like a friend or family member, then themselves, then a stranger, and finally a "difficult person" in their lives. (If only they had an estranged family member they strongly disliked; they could knock out three at a time.) A control group, meanwhile, got cognitive reappraisal training, a technique for turning negative thoughts positive. Both the groups were trained for 30 minutes a day over the internet for two weeks.
So how do you measure compassion?
The researchers here used a game. Two anonymous players--one the "Dictator" and one the "Victim"--shared a pool of $10. The dictator decided how much money the victim got. As dictators are wont to do, the victim didn't get much: only $1 out of the $10. The person playing then had to decide how much of his or her $5 to give to the victim. The Buddhist-meditators were more likely to share more of the dough.
The researchers started the study with fMRI scans and performed them again on both groups after the training. The groups were shown images of suffering while in the machine, like a crying child or a burn victim. They found that the people with meditation training had increased activity in the inferior parietal cortex (that's not necessarily a perfect indicator of empathy, but it suggests something's going on, at least).
As if locusts weren't tasty enough already, the Café & Bar Ristorante Absente in Tokyo now serves them on spaghetti. Rocket News 24 reports:
In their press release, restaurant owner Pasta Dio would like to remind everyone that locusts are an excellent source of calcium, protein, and vitamin A and were used in Japan during times of war to fight malnutrition and save lives. They even claim that once you get past the initial heebie-jeebies, locusts actually have an addictive texture that makes you come back for more.
Image: NASA, ESA, C.R. Robert O'Dell, G.J. Ferland, W.J. Henney and M. Peimbert
I've always said that if you want to get people more excited about astronomy, name the stars after snacks (case in point). It seems like NASA has finally heeded this sound advice, and announced that the Ring Nebula is actually more like a jelly donut:
The Ring Nebula, whose iconic shape and large size make it a favorite of amateur astronomers, can now be seen in new detail, after NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured a sharp image of the nebula. Researchers say the new clarity reveals details that were previously unseen, and a structure that's more complex than scientists had believed.
"The nebula is not like a bagel, but rather, it's like a jelly doughnut, because it's filled with material in the middle," says C. Robert O'Dell of Vanderbilt University, who leads a team of researchers studying the Ring Nebula. They combined Hubble's visible-light images with infrared data from telescopes on Earth.
Now doesn't that just make you yearn for more confectionery, ... er, astronomy? NPR's Bill Chapell has the scoop: Link
Michal Krasnopolski's minimalist movie posters takes minimalism to another level. Each title is represented by a very simple shape that makes sense if you've seen the film, or sometimes it's a take on the title (such as North by Northwest).
The designs rigorously adhere to the same mold: a circle overlaid by two diagonals, all inscribed in a square. The structure seems stringent, but, as Krasnopolski found out, it could actually yield “plenty of possibilities.” His poster for the original Star Wars, for example, consists of a grey circle diametrically bisected by a single line and set on a black background. (Hint: it’s the Death Star.) A diagonal red line, partially dissolved at the bottom end, signifies the Man of Steel’s fiery takeoff into the sky in Superman. A dial of red tick marks, each more faded than the last, references the submarine radar screen from The Hunt for Red October.
Of course, you can take minimalism a little too far. I still don't "get" the posters for Pulp Fiction or Raiders of the Lost Ark. You can see all 22 of them at Fast Co. Design. Link
Madonna of the Microscope (2013) by Chris Shaw
Madonna of the Particle (2013)
I’m not sure exactly where my fascination with Madonnas was born, but I’ve loved Icons of all kinds for a very long time.
As an artist I’m intrigued with the the way icons present their ideas — an easily understood, blunt central image juxtaposed with deep symbolism and cryptic geometric foundations. Icons also have a reason for existing, they are conveyers of information.
The modern icons I create also convey information, it could be a scientific concept, a political statement, or a pop-culture reference. Regardless, each icon has a story and a reason for existing.
In this body of work I use the Madonna as the vehicle to literally carry the ideas I’ve chosen to portray. The titles are straight forward. However, underlying and obfuscated by the image is a rigid geometric base, over which the Madonna icon is constructed. The geometry within this base is a riddle to decipher as are many of the symbols within.
I’ve mainly learned about hidden geometry and symbolism in art by deconstructing an artworks composition, then researching what I find, something I like to do for fun. Golden ratios, spirals, and fibonacci sequences are easily found in many types of art, but especially deeply woven into icons. How and why this geometric language was used fascinates me, it ultimately led to creating my own icons with their own meanings.
View more of Chris' Madonnas of Science (and other pop culture Madonnas) over at his website and blog: Link
Madonna of the Dark Matter (2013)
You're a Zombie, Chuck - by Warbucks Design
Good grief! Fight the undead with this awesome t-shirt by Warbucks Design. View plenty of neat designs over at Warbucks' Facebook page, then head on over to his NeatoShop page to grab some neat T-shirts: Link
Christi of the food blog Love from the Oven has designed the perfect breakfast food. She's embedded cookies and cream candy bars and Oreo cookies inside her brownies. Then she slathered on cookies and cream frosting with crushed Oreos and topped the whole magnificent creation with a final Oreo.
Today, and every May 25th, is known as Towel Day. It's a geeky holiday set aside to celebrate the life and works of Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The main thing is to take your towel with you. Oh, any towel will do, but if you want to have special towels for next year's Towel Day, you can get these embroidered hand towels from Etsy seller Heritage Embroidery. It's just one of the items from a long list of Towel Day products, memes, and art you'll see at The Daily Dot. Link
Men mean well, but they usually say "good".— Jaydi Samuels (@JessCallMeJaydi) May 13, 2013
Vivid Sydney is an annual festival going on now through June 10th, featuring light shows, music, drama, and other performances in Sydney, Australia. This video show parts of a light show called PLAY by Spinifex Group projected on the Sydney Opera House. The full 14-minute Spinifex show is also available to watch. You can see more video clips of the opening night of the festival at vimeo. -via reddit
Don't let Father's Day sneak up on you. Get your favorite grill master the Ninja BBQ Set from the NeatoShop. This dangerously fun set includes a stainless steel fork and spatula with sword shaped handles. The set comes housed in a black carrying case that converts into a heavy duty pocketed apron. It is the perfect gift for Dad's who love to do battle with the grill.
Be sure to check out the NeatoShop for more great Kitchen Stuff.
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer, since many schools are out, pools are opening, employers are juggling everyone's vacations, and the weather is nice enough for a cookout. I hear there's a big car race Sunday as well. But let's not forget the original meaning of Memorial Day -to remember those who gave the last full measure in service to their country. If you're not familiar with the poppy symbol here, check out the story from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. But the world being the way it is (meaning "we love holidays") you don't have to wait until Monday for a holiday. Today is Towel Day! Don't forget to take your towel with you. And since you have a three-day weekend, why not catch up on everything that's been happening this week at Neatorama!
In the second installment of a continuing series that may be the end of John Farrier -or at least his digestive system- we witnessed Don't Eat That, John! -- The Taco Bell Doritos Taco Smoothie.
Eddie Deezen wrote The Flintstones: A Modern Stone Age Family.
Kibble Me This: The History of Dog Food was a contribution from Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.
The Annals of Improbable Research gave us The Science Behind Luwak Coffee.
Embarrassing Moments in Engineering (and What They've Taught Us) came from mental_floss magazine.
Over at the Spotlight blog, Alex posted Illustrated Recipe: Artwork Inspired by Marie-Antoine Careme's Extravagant Food.
David Israel got some audience participation going with a personal post called The Toy You Can't Throw Out. You can add your favorites to the conversation anytime.
Our featured pet this week at the pet blog Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly was Steve the cat, sent in by Neatoramanaut Kate Nelson. Your cat or dog or other animal can be a featured pet on Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly, too! All you need to do is send us a picture.
We also one brainteaser from Uncle John's Bathroom Reader this week: Fun With Words. As ususal, the answers y'all came up with were more entertaining than the actual answer!
In the What Is It? game, we had an object that is an unknown. Rob at the What Is It? blog researched every guess and found no definitive answer. So we decided to select two winning funny answers! Pismonque said it is "an ingenious device to mechanically reproduce the sound of one hand clapping." That's good enough to win a t-shirt from the NeatoShop! And Joseph Francis said "You cast it like a fishing rod and it scratches the back of someone on the other side of the gymnasium. I forget what it's called." But he didn't specify a t-shirt. Check out the answers to the other mystery items of the week at the What Is It? blog.
The post that drew the most comments (besides the contest) was The Toy You Can't Throw Out, followed by a tie between Don't Eat That, John! -- The Taco Bell Doritos Taco Smoothie and Americans, What Surprised You the Most When Visiting Europe?
The comments of the week are polar opposites. ChrisW responded to the headline Tourist Rescued After Dining on Iceberg by saying, "I had no idea dining on iceberg was dangerous. Perhaps romaine would be better." Ha! Then in the post about precious toys, ladybugs told a great story: "I have a Hawaiian rag doll that I've had since I was 2 months old. My mom & I flew to Oahu to meet up with dad while he was on R&R from the Vietnam war. It's where he got to meet me for the first time. I've had it 43 years and will never get rid of it. I keep the doll in my cedar chest." Thanks for sharing that with us!
The post with the most ♥s was Fennec Fox Walking Against the Wind, followed by Helen Mirren Fulfills Sick Little Boy's Dream of Tea with the Queen and Tree Got Its Bark Blown Off by Lightning. If you skipped any of these, you might want to take a second look!
Three weeks from tomorrow is Fathers Day. Don't wait until the last minute to find something really meaningful for your Dad (or other father figure)! Check out the selection of gifts at the NeatoShop, including the newest t-shirt designs so you'll have something surprising and unique to give.
And be sure to join us for extra content every day at the Neatoramanauts Facebook page. Tell your friends to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, too! And mobile users: Flipboard makes it easy to keep up with Neatorama.
Be extra careful if you're traveling this holiday weekend. My family is headed out on a road trip, and we have a daughter with a brand new learner's permit. Buckle your seatbelt and keep a safe distance!
Om nom! Cassius the Croc, the world's largest crocodile in captivity, turned 110 this week. Just be thankful that you are not the cake:
Far North Queensland keepers of the world's largest saltwater crocodile in captivity sang the old croc Happy Birthday before giving him the 20kg meat cake topped with candles.
"He destroyed it in about 30 seconds," Marineland Melanesia croc wrangler Billy Craig said. "It's one of the biggest meals he's had - we decided to spoil him."
Cleo Fraser of NT News has the story: Link
Sugar isn't always sweet, especially when Darwin's involved. Entomologists at North Carolina State University showed that when glucose is used in roach-bait poison, cockroaches evolve to dislike sweets:
Glucose sets off bitter receptors in roach taste buds, causing roaches to avoid foods that bring on this taste-bud reaction. This aversion has a genetic basis and it eventually spreads to offspring, resulting in increasingly large groups of cockroaches that reject glucose and any baits made with it.
In normal German cockroaches, glucose elicits activity in sugar gustatory receptor neurons, which react when exposed to sugars like glucose and fructose – components of corn syrup, a common roach-bait ingredient. Generally, roaches have a sweet tooth for these sugars. [...]
Glucose-averse roaches that were forced to taste glucose refused to ingest the sugar, akin to a child who spits out her bitter-tasting food.
A hedgehog in Bude, Cornwall, England, was taken to the vet because he was so big and round that he couldn't walk or curl up. Veterinary staff were puzzled, because the huge hedgehog was of normal weight. An x-ray revealed that the animal was, indeed, inflated. Veterinary surgeon Adam Revitt said he had never seen a case of "balloon syndrome" before.
Balloon syndrome occurs when bacteria gets into a wound and gives off gas that becomes trapped under the skin, Mr Revitt explained.
He added: "This is the first case I had ever seen. It is uncommon. There are very few things published about it.
"Without the treatment it couldn’t breathe and would probably have died."
Revitt used a syringe to slowly deflate the hedgehog over about five minutes. The animal is now on antibiotics and is recovering nicely. Link -via Arbroath
Previously at Neatorama: A similar case from 2007.
A single surface model made by Alan Bennett in Bedford, United Kingdom. It consists of three Klein bottles set inside each other to produce, when cut, three pairs of single-twist Mobius strips. A Klein bottle has no edges, no outside or inside and cannot be properly constructed in three dimensions. (Source)
A single surface model made by Alan Bennett in Bedford, 1995. It consists of a sphere with three interlinked loops the equivalent of three interconnected Klein bottles. (Source)
A single surface glass vessel made by Alan Bennett in Bedford, United Kingdom. It consists of a triple loop Klein bottle which when cut gives a pair of five-twist Mobius strips. (Source)
View those and many more neat Klein bottle images over at this Dark Roasted Blend post aptly titled Topological Marvel: The Klein Bottle in Art - Thanks Avi!
Erin Bradley's Park Slope Family Circus imagines Bil, Thelma, Billy, Dolly, Jeffy and P.J. not in Scottsdale, Arizona, but a wealthy neighborhood of Brooklyn. They're rich enough to afford absurdities.
Father's Day is right around the corner. Are you looking for the perfect gift for your Star Trek loving Dad? Get Dad the Live Long and Prosper Star Trek Photo Frame from the NeatoShop. This fantastic frame features Spock and the U.S.S. Enterprise. The opening is in the shape of the Sarfleet insignia. The frame holds a 4 x 6 photo.
Be sure to check out the NeatoShop for more great Star Trek items.
Eventually, someone will break your heart. Don't wait until s/he has ripped it out of your chest and stomped on it before developing a contingency plan. Be prepared with Melanie Chernock's first aid kit. It contains chocolate, vodka, tissues, bubble bath, a candle and a music CD with appropriate songs.