Quick, what does the word "Vespa" bring to mind? If you say "cute lil' scooter," you probably haven't seen this image above of the Vespa 150 TAP (for Troupes Aéro Portées), a Vespa scooter modified for use with the French paratroopers in 1956.
It's probably safe to say that this is the deadliest Vespa in the world. The military scooter is powered by a single-cylinder 146 cc two-stroke engine. It sports a M20 75 mm recoilless rifle, US-made light anti-armor cannon, and storage for some ammos. The scooter would be parachute-dropped from airplanes, accompanied by a two-man team who'd scoot along in absolutely menacing style.
He's Spider-Man. Did you think that was just a costume? Nah, man. He was bitten by an actual spider. If you want to survive, you should have gotten caught by Charles Xavier. And you really don't want to get caught by Assassin Bug Man.
Highpointing is a sport, or hobby, in which people aim to climb the highest point in different geographical areas, like the highest point in all 50 states, or the highest points in one’s home country or continent, or even the world. There’s even a club for highpointers where they can share adventures and advice. But for American highpointers who wish to scale the highest peaks of all 50 states, be aware that some are higher than others. Thomas Harper explored some of those peaks and reported his experiences at Atlas Obscura.
To take part in the journey, one does not have to be an expert mountain climber or outdoorsman. Of the 50 state highpoints, 30 are simple drive-ups and/or require a hike of less than two miles. However, since most of the points are “off the beaten path,” a guidebook or article and a good sense of direction are necessary.
Reaching the loftier and more remote highpoints, though, requires longer hikes. However, most of them can be done in one day by someone in good shape. For people getting fit, these hikes make great goals to measure one’s progress. While climbing Mount Marcy in New York’s Adirondacks, I nearly gave up at mile 6 of the 7.2 mile hike, but I saw the summit just one mile away and 500 feet up. I did say to myself, “You should have eaten more vegetables.” Now 30 pounds lighter from that day, I wish to conquer even more challenging peaks.
Mount Marcy is 5,343 feet above sea level. In contrast, it’s not so hard to visit Mount Sunflower, which is the highest point in Kansas. We all know that Kansas is flatter than a pancake, and Mount Sunflower, on the western edge of the state, is close to the lowest point in Colorado.
See more state highpoints, and read about the people who do this, at Atlas Obscura. The sidebar has individual articles about many of the peaks.
People have been using common substances like citrus juices, oils and vinegars for cooking, as household cleaners and personal grooming products, for centuries, and many of the store bought products we buy everyday use these items as their core ingredients.
However, these store bought products also contain chemicals and toxins we’re better off leaving on the store shelves, and using core ingredients also means saving money.
This simple yet informative chart takes household products back to the old school, showing dozens of great uses for everyday products like baking soda, white vinegar and coconut oil.
The chart is missing amount recommendations for each use, but they're pretty easy to figure out with a little help from the all-knowing Google.
Malaysian artist Monica Lee may spend up to a month on a single drawing until she decides it is complete, but the result is photorealist nirvana.
“I like to challenge myself with complex portraits, especially people with freckles or beards,” says the artist. Lee gives her father credit for her love of the realism genre, as he was a photographer by trade.
Ed Yong tells of a case in which a species leapfrogs thousands of years of evolution by getting microbes to do it for them. A certain population of the desert woodrat eats the creosote bush, which contains a deadly toxin, and thrives on it. The woodrats themselves did not develop immunity to the poison, but have gut microbes that break down the creosote. Microbiologist Kevin Kohl ascertained this by comparing desert woodrats who live where the creosote bush grows and woodrats who live where there are no such plants.
To confirm that these microbes are important, Kohl killed them with antibiotics. Afterwards, the woodrats could all still eat normal laboratory chow. But when they were fed with creosote, they couldn’t tolerate the resin and lost a lot of weight. Within two weeks, all of them had lost 10 percent of their weight and were removed from the experiment. When Kohl removed their microbes, the experienced woodrats couldn’t even handle the tiny levels of creosote that their naive cousins can. “[It] effectively removed 17,000 years of ecological and evolutionary experience with creosote compounds,” he wrote.
Conversely, Kohl managed to transform naive woodrats into creosote-busters by infusing them with the microbes of their more experienced cousins. He did this by grinding up the faeces of the experienced individuals and feeding it to the naive ones, mimicking what the rodents naturally do in the wild.
The beauty of this discovery is how one can instantly turn a woodrat into a poison-eating machine just by introducing the right microbe. There are other cases where gut microbes allow an animal to eat something they normally shouldn’t be able to, including commercial livestock. How long will it be before we begin farming all sorts of designer microbes for our own biomes, for purposes we can’t even conceive now? Read more about this research at Not Exactly Rocket Science.
The wise philosopher Bill Cosby once said, "Parents are not interested in justice. They want quiet." This was funny before I had children. Then it became funny and painful.
One of the characters in "Harrison Bergeron," a short story by Kurt Vonnegut, is handicapped with a device that shatters his attention every 20 seconds:
It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.
George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel's cheeks, but she'd forgotten for the moment what they were about.
On the television screen were ballerinas.
A buzzer sounded in George's head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and if you play them a happy tune they might forgive you for throwing them around all these years! Link has mastered the art of chicken whispering with a jaunty tune, and when he's playing those sweet ocarina tunes the chickens march in time and help Link become a legend. Too bad Zelda's not around to watch all the fun!
This lighthearted Cucco March t-shirt by Miski is the fun way to show your love of classic video games, and no chickens were harmed in the making of this shirt so it's cruelty free!
Owen Mundy of Florida State University created the website I Know Where Your Cat Lives, which is a lot like Cat Map, a now-defunct site that proved popular last year. You can look at a random cat and see where it’s from, or scan the map for cats near you. The cats on the map were found on the internet. And that’s the lesson behind the project. The cat’s location were found using the photograph’s metadata embedded at Flickr or Instagram.
“I was using Instagram to photograph my 3-year-old and one day I realized that the app had been recording and embedding the geographic coordinates in my backyard,” he says. “I thought to myself, ‘I don't recall being asked by the app if I wanted to share this data.’ It was a creepy experience that I wanted to translate in a way that was equal parts scary and fun, but technically harmless.”
And since cats absolutely don’t understand the concept of privacy, this makes I Know Where Your Cat Lives an interesting test case for other areas of data analysis and visualization.
See, it’s a slightly less creepy way of letting you know how easy it is to track people from their online information. To that end, Mundy has made it very easy to remove your cat if you like, but he has also received submissions from people who want to add their cats. Read more about Mundy and his map at the daily Dot.
Vancouver-based artist Fiona Tang uses charcoal, chalk pastel and acrylics as her media to create these virbant murals that appear to be three dimensional at certain viewing angles. Tang achieves this effect using the ages-old artistic technique called trompe-l'œil (French for "deceive the eye"), which produces the optical illusion of third dimensionality.
Reinesha and Devan must feel this way about each other because they had a superhero-themed wedding with Reinesha as the Princess of Themyscira and Devan as the Man of Steel. The entire wedding party was dressed appropriately for the event, including Wonder Woman eye makeup, Superman socks, and wedding rings for both of those characters. Reinesha and Devan are clearly DC superfans and deeply in love.
There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues quite like taking a dip in the pool, and when the doggy paddling grows tiresome folks head to a good old fashioned water park for some water based thrills and spills.
Those who brave the waterslides normally don’t care much about commemorating their experience with a photo, but maybe they would if those souvenir shots looked like the delightful pics in Krista Long's series “I Love Summer”.
Each high speed shot depicts a slider emerging from the slide in their own unique way- some shoot out like old pros, while others flail their way back into the pool, looking like they barely escaped the slide with their lives.
The final of the eight music videos released in eight days from Weird Al Yankovic’s Mandatory Fun album is here. “Mission Statement” is every business meeting you’ve ever attended, full of gobbledygook that means nothing you can’t say in less than a minute. It’s all set to music reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s “Carry On” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” Yes, yesterday was the eighth day for the eighth video, but the Wall Street Journal had an exclusive and embargoed it for 24 hours. You can read about the making of the video there.
Oh, while, we’re at it, let’s go back and see the one that Pop Crush debuted and embargoed for a couple of days. Here’s “First World Problems.”
Doghouse Diaries has some excellent ideas. A beard really is just chest hair that overflows your chest as a result of your excessive manliness. And when it's early in the morning and the dog wants a walk, you can just use curtains for body coverage, right?
Reader challenge: in the comments, construct a grammatically correct sentence that uses all six of these terms.
Currently I am in the middle stages of researching a project I'm calling Nostril Noster: Inside the Modern Nose. While scholars-Sander Gilman most significantly-have unraveled a complex history of medical formation of the outside of the nose (rhinoplasty etc.), the inside is terra incognita and for good reason, since the nostril plays such an ambiguous role in the history of the modern body. It is both an entry way and a barrier, an invitation for passage and a delicate mechanism for excluding entry. Because of this double nature, however, the nostril has attracted attention from fetishists, novelists, painters, as well as scientists and doctors.
We can date the beginning of the "medicalization" of the nostril rather precisely. While nasal prosthesis was not uncommon in earlier periods, Thomas Buchanan's 1823 invention of a working nasal catheter (key for drainage in cases of syphilis and extreme sinus infection) was, to my knowledge, the first successful medical intervention into the interior of the nose. Catheterization became common medical practice in physician's offices and sanitoria alike, and the nostril became a symbol of repellency in the human form. In the twentieth century, however, the nostril made a comeback. In particular, with Joseph Heitger's discovery of the hygienic function of the interior hairs, it became an emblem of artistic modernism, a site for renewed medical investigation, and, especially, an object for technological innovation.
It's summertime, which means a lot of people will be grillin’ and chillin’, and whether you’re a grill master or you’re still too scared to light your own coals you’re bound to find something useful on this Lifehacker list Top 10 Ways To Hack Your Grill.
The mostly simple yet always informative articles that make up this top ten list will help you step up your barbecuing game, and may inspire you to host a BBQ of your own so you can share some great grilled grub!
If you happen to be at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe and choose this elephant as your method of transportation, have no fear if you happen to drop any personal items during your ride. Trunk pickup service is included! Now that's customer service! Via 22 Words.
You never know who you'll run into while you're waiting for the bus, you might run into a friendly neighbor, a giant grinning cat or one of those wild things that live next door. Where are you headed on this stormy night Max? Why, to take in a parade, of course!
Take your geeky wardrobe for a walk on the wild side with this My Neighbor the Wild Thing t-shirt by Jalop, it's the perfect shirt to sport while you're taking part in a wild rumpus or simply lounging around with a good book.
The sport of Lacrosse is of Native American origin. The Iroquois (or Haudenosaunee), a collection of six Native American nations in the United States and Canada, claim to have invented it. They maintain their own national team known as the Iroquois Nationals. They are very good, especially considering that they're working from a small population base: about 120,000 people. In fact, they missed the 2010 World Championships only because they insisted on travelling under their own national passports, which are not internationally recognized.
For these men the game is not always about winning. It’s very much rooted in culture and tradition. It is also referred to as the Creator’s Game, Hill said. “I’ve been raised to play with a clear mind and to respect my opponents. We play for the Creator’s enjoyment because he gave it to us.”
“It’s a spiritual game and a medicine game first,” said Ward. “When you pick up your stick it’s got to be an extension of you.”
And those traditional sticks became a point of contention in Sunday’s game. In front of a sold-out crowd, Team Canada nosed the Nationals out by a goal scored with 19 seconds left in the game.
The Nationals use the traditional hickory sticks, which are heavier than the contemporary plastic and titanium sticks used by Team Canada. Following penalty calls against the Nationals during the game, the ESPN announcer contended that the wooden stick should be illegal in international competition, adding that it should never be used as a weapon.
Those hickory lacrosse sticks are controversial. Each one is four times heavier than a plastic and aluminum stick:
It’s “like a friggin' weapon. It nearly kills you,” a former Iroquois national player told Sports Illustrated in 2010. “I feel I'm more of a threat with a wooden stick. You can just see it in the other team,” Iroquois defenseman Kevin Bucktooth said. “When the ball swings around to your man, they never come in one-on-one.”
World Science Festival published a two-part article about the Manhattan Project. The first part talked about the science of the atom bomb. Today, they look at the ethics of the Manhattan Project, nuclear weapons, and the nuclear power industry that grew out of it. In the 1940s, those who worked to develop the bomb had few, if any, qualms about what they were doing. After all, they were in a World War that dragged on for years, and their aim was to end it.
Was dropping atomic bombs on Japan really necessary to end the war? The debate may never end. The earliest version of the story told in the West was that the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were the final straws for Japan, and averted what would have been a costly ground invasion by the Allies. In the 1960s, another group of historians began arguing that Japan was already about to surrender before the bombs were dropped, and the mushroom clouds were instead meant by U.S. President Harry S. Truman to intimidate America’s friends of convenience in the U.S.S.R. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, a University of California, Santa Barbara historian, offers a third explanation: It was the Soviets’ declaration of war that prompted Japan to bend, and surrendering to America was the best way for the nation to hold onto its lands and maintain the position of the Imperial family.
Whether or not the bomb was a deciding factor in the end of World War II, the sheer unprecedented power of the bomb planted doubts in minds at the highest levels of the Manhattan Project. J. Robert Oppenheimer, for one, said that Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not weigh on his conscience personally, but that he did sense a sea change in science, and the world at large. “In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatements can quite extinguish,” Oppenheimer said in a 1947 lecture, “the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.”
He may need canes to walk, but not to dance! Watch this old man put the younger folks to shame with his mastery of the dance floor. You can join him, but I doubt you can keep up with his moves and speed.
DeviantART member jablechien marked a sword with the cutie mark and traditional icon of Princess Luna, a character on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. He did so by applying acrylic paint with a toothpick.
(Image: Hasbro Studios)
Jablechien writes that he did this "for the glory of the New Lunar Republic!" This is a reference to a major body of fan fiction which places Luna (pictured above) and her sister Princess Celestia at war with each other.
My position on this as a brony: in keeping with the 34th Rule of Acquisition, stay neutral in this conflict and sell weapons to both sides.
Chris Grava did a semester abroad at Cape Town University in South Africa. When his term was almost up, his brother Nick went there to spend two weeks. Nick ended up staying permanently to work at the Home of Safety in Khayelitsha, a foster home for orphans and vulnerable children, where he is now managing director. Chris and his parents visit when they can, and when Chris recently went for a visit, he was wearing his GoPro camera. The joy on the kids’ faces at seeing their old friend is a treat, and pretty soon the youngsters had to try out the camera for themselves. Learn more about Nick Grava’s work in South Africa at Intsikelelo. -via reddit
These gorgeous captures were shot by nature and wildlife photographer Martin Bailey for his Antarctica photography series.
Born and raised in England, the photographer is now a Japanese national based in Tokyo. As one might imagine, a nature and wildlife photographer is driven by a passion for travel and the beauty of the natural world. His passion is evident in this series, which features ice structures, some of which are 1,000 years old.
Martin Bailey sells prints, which can be perused and purchased at his website; he also does private portrait and commercial works on commission. Visit Bailey's site to see more of this stunning series. Via Trend Hunter.
Gavin Aung Than of Zen Pencils began a series of comics over a year ago that addresses the nature of love based on quotes from not-so-ancient philosophers such as C.S. Lewis, Albert Camus, and William Shakespeare. This is an excerpt from part one, which actually gets better as it goes along. Part two continues the relationship, and part three was supposed to be hopeful, but upset many loyal readers. Particularly Mrs. Zen Pencils. So eight months later, part four was published today as a gift to Than’s wife, and is a delight to those who have been wondering what happened to the characters. Each comic can stand alone. Will there be more installments? I hope so!
Navigating the internet without being exposed to spoilers can sometimes seem like an impossible mission, especially if you’re a passionate fan who genuinely hates to have your favorite media ruined for you by uncaring users/article writers.
So what actually constitutes a spoiler? Are some people being a bit too touchy about spoilers, or do they have a valid argument?
Nathan Yau at Flowing Data takes a turn to the weird side for a list of 19 maps. I love this one.
4. Changes over time and space
Several mini-explosions are going off in your head at this very moment, so brace yourself for what comes next. The most telling of maps is the one that ebbs and flows with the people who reside in the area. The data flows like water in a bendy river with a lot of rocks. This is a picture of life as we know it — random, unorganized, and unpredictable. When life gives you lemons, you make a map of those lemons, because the result blows your mind every single time.
The animated map above is only a snapshot of the millions of lives that the lines and shapes represent. The animation likely shows something interesting. Sometimes a state turns orange, others turn black, and the rest turn white. What will happen in the next frame? It is hard to say. Just like tomorrow.
Other maps detail which states end with the letter “a” and what letter each state’s name uses the most (in which Kentucky is the most interesting). They are all U.S. maps, for simplicity, I guess.
Knowing a little something about what I would see at this link, I thought for sure it would be at Clickhole. But Clickhole’s humor was spawned from the recent prevalence of overhype in the desperate scramble for clicks and pageviews illustrated by sites like Upworthy, and that backlash can be grounds for brilliance in other corners of the internet. -via Metafilter
There’s a lot more to San Diego than Comic-Con, surfing and a world famous Zoo- S.D. is a town with a long military history, a rich cultural history that we share with Mexico, and plenty of Old West flavor around every corner.
Whether you’re curious about the home of Comic-Con, thinking about taking a sunny beachside vacation, or want to know more about the city that made Ron Burgundy a top rated newsman you should read this highly informative article entitled 37 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About San Diego.
A few facts they left off the list- Dennis Hopper lived in San Diego as a teenager, attending Grossmont and Helix high school from 1950-54, and our very own mascot The San Diego Chicken made The Sporting News list of the Top 100 Most Powerful People in Sports of the 20th Century, alongside Muhammed Ali and Babe Ruth. Not bad for a giant chicken!