You care about the environment, you say. You compost your organic wastes and recycle the rest. But what about your pee? Do you peecycle? No? What kind of a treehugger are you?
Everybody pees. In fact, Americans produce about 30 billion gallons of urine every year. That, according to Kim Nace of Rich Earth Institute, represents a valuable resource that most of us just flush away. Instead, Nace proposed that we recycle our urine and use it as fertilizer as it is a "local, accessible, free, sanitary source of nitrogen and phosphorus."
In other words, if you need a natural fertilizer, urine luck!
But how good is urine as fertilizer anyways? Last year, the Institute carried out an experiment to test it.
Photo: Betty Jenewin/Rich Earth Institute
As reported by National Geographic, that thanks to sixty enthusiastic community members, the Institute collected 600 gallons of urine to fertilize a field of hay in a Brattleboro, Vermont, farm. A 50/50 mix of urine and water was applied to a test strip of land. The result was impressive:
Photo: Abe Noe-Hays/Rich Earth Institute
Rich Earth Institute co-founder and Research Director Abe Noe-Hays said in an interview in the Bennington Banner, "the amount of nutrients in a year's worth of urine from one person is almost all the fertilizer needed to grow food for that person in that span."
Remember the Magic Eye books from the 90s? If you've been waiting for someone to make it in video form, your wait is over.
The Young Rival has released the music video to its song Black is Good completely in autostereogram. The random dot autostereogram music video is best viewed in HD (this one is meant for the "parallel-eye" method - if you have trouble seeing it, you can view it in the cross-eyed version).
Jared Raab and Tomasz Dysinski who created the video explained how it's made:
BUT WAIT, THIS IS A VIDEO. HOW DID YOU MAKE IT?
This is where it gets technical. To make your own autostereogram, one must first create a thing called a "depth map" which is a 2D representation of 3D depth information. We collected real-time depth data of Young Rival performing the song using an X-Box Kinect hooked up to a computer. The computer was running software called RGBD toolkit, designed for capturing the depth information from the Kinect using its built-in infrared system. Once we had our depth information, we unpacked it into image sequences and edited these sequences as if they were regular video. The only difference in the editing process was that depth was represented by luminosity. For fun, you can view the black and white depth-map version HERE (password required - hint: what type of animal appears at 2:30?). With much trial and error, we then ran the data through an algorithm which took each frame of depth information, converted it into a random dot stereogram image, and repacked it into the final video. Lastly, there was one more colour pass at the end, and voila.
Staples has created a pretty nifty online test where you can compare your reading speed to the national average. The test times you while you read a few passages, then asks you some questions to gauge your comprehension level.
I scored 993 words per minute, which made me almost three times faster than the national average. But that's still much slower than most speed readers who can read at about 1,500 words per minute at 50% comprehension (the world speed reading champion, Anne Jones, can read at an astounding 4,700 words per minute at 67% comprehension).
The site told me that if I maintained this reading speed, I could read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy in a mere 9 hours and 51 minutes and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien in 8 hours and 2 minutes.
Over seventy years ago, my family and I were forced from our home in Los Angeles at gunpoint by U.S. soldiers and sent to Rohwer, all because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. I was just five years old, and would spend much of my childhood behind barbed wire in that camp and, later, another in California called Tule Lake. One hundred twenty thousand other Japanese Americans from the West Coast suffered a similar fate.
I was the keynote speaker at the dedication ceremony of the museum. [...] After the dedication ceremony, we moved on to the actual Rohwer camp site about 20 minutes away.
One of the audio kiosks is placed just about at the site of the crude barrack that housed my family and me -- block 6, barrack 2, unit F. We were little more than numbers to our jailers, each of us given a tag to wear to camp like a piece of luggage. My tag was 12832-C.
It's important to start your married life on the right hoof.
The humor site Sad and Useless has posted a pic dump with dozens of photos of "traditional" Russian weddings, and I dare say that every single one of them is epic. But don't take my word for it, take a look:
First, you have to carefully broach the topic of love with a potential mate as the encounter could turn deadly. Here's where NeatoShop artist Matt Wiley's cheeky Klingon Valentines come in handy.
The Valentine's Day Card features Klingon-worthy aphorisms, including "Love is a battlefield / And We will love victoriously," "You stole my heart / I would have given you mine. I have two" and "The empire doesn't seem as mighty without you / Will you fight by my side?"
With these Klingon Valentine's Day Cards in hand, pretty soon, you'll be ducking heavy objects.
Ready for the next step? As the romantic Worf once said, be prepared to duck a lot:
Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. And while you're at it, burn down Boardwalk. AP Designs subverted the world's most famous board game in this Anarchy parody T-Shirt, available from the NeatoShop at price that even those who aren't the once-percenters can afford!
Just seconds after leaping from the plane during a skydiving event, James Lee, 25, was accidentally hit on the back of the head by another skydiver. The blow knocked Lee unconscious and sent him hurtling 12,500 feet down towards the ground.
Two skydivers noticed that something was wrong and chased Lee down, reported The Telegraph. Realizing that he was unconscious, the two men managed to stabilize his position and deployed his parachute. Lee landed safely on the ground but didn't realize what had happened until he saw the amazing footage of the dramatic mid-air rescue that was captured by his helmet cam. Watch:
Looking at the footage, Lee said:
"At first the other skydivers give basic hand signals that we teach our students with to correct their body position and find I am still not responding.
"They manage to get hold of me to try and stop my body tumbling again as we get closer to the altitude where, as a group we separate to deploy our parachutes.
"They signal to the other jumpers to get away as they were unaware of what was happening. They then deploy my main parachute. Once I was clear they deployed their own."
Lee, a veteran skydiver, said that he has no plans to give up skydiving despite his near-death experience.
Who says Costco doesn't have child care for when you shop? This clever photo, purportedly from a Costco in South Korea, shows everything that you need to make your very own Costco child care: Make a comfy seat using a shopping cart packed with cartoon character pillows, then park them in front of the multiplex of large screen TVs! Voila!
Image: NASA/ESA/A. Sarajedini (University of Florida)/Judy Schmidt
The Hubble Space Telescope got lost the other day, but that's okay, because we get something quite beautiful out of it. The photo above looks like a piece of modern art, but it's actually star trails when Hubble accidentally locked onto a bad guide star.
Hubble uses a Fine Guidance System (FGS) in order to maintain stability whilst performing observations. A set of gyroscopes measures the attitude of the telescope, which is then corrected by a set of reaction wheels. In order to compensate for gyroscopic drift, the FGS locks onto a fixed point in space, which is referred to as a guide star.
It is suspected that in this case, Hubble had locked onto a bad guide star, potentially a double star or binary. This caused an error in the tracking system, resulting in this remarkable picture of brightly coloured stellar streaks. The prominent red streaks are from stars in the globular cluster NGC 288. It seems that even when Hubble makes a mistake, it can still kick-start our imagination.
Quite gorgeous! Maybe Hubble should get lost more often ...
On Tuesday evening, January 21, 2014, the life of Trebo Herbert and his family was rocked when giant boulders crashed into their house in Tramin, northern Italy.
A landslide dislodged the boulders and sent them hurtling down the hillside, straight at the Herbert's home. Two boulders hit and flattened a 300-year-old stone barn and destroyed farming equipments. Another one stopped just inches short of hitting the main house, and thus miraculously spared the family's life.
Herbert, an owner of a local farm, told journalist that the rockfall "sounded as if a train had thundered through the living room."
The three boulders left huge gashes in the vineyard that the family had spent years planting, as can be seen in the areal photography and video taken by Markus Hell of Tareom using a drone.
You have probably heard of a movie that's been called the Bible of science fiction, Blade Runner.
Set in a dystopian Los Angeles of 2019, the movie centered on cops, known as Blade Runners, that specialize in tracking down replicants or genetically engineered organic robots made by powerful mega corporations. These replicants are used for dangerous, menial, or leisure work on off-world colonies, but are banned on Earth. Those that defy the ban are "retired" or hunted down.
The film became a cult hit when it was released over thirty years ago and continues to gain fans of all ages even to this day. Critics and fans alike have described it as a philosophical manifesto. Despite the popularity of the film, however, there are many facts about Blade Runner that remained unknown to most fans.
For example, did you know that Ridley Scott's inspiration for making Blade Runner was a novel that he never even finished reading? The novel was, of course, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.
Or did you know that Dick never actualy watched Blade Runner, yet predicted with creepy accuracy that it would have a huge impact on future generations?
“The impact of Blade Runner is simply going to be overwhelming, both on the public and on creative people — and, I believe, on science fiction as a field. [ ... ] Nothing that we have done, individually or collectively, matches BLADE RUNNER. [ ... ] My life and creative work are justified and completed by BLADE RUNNER. Thank you...and it is going to be one hell of a commercial success. It will prove invincible.”
Five months after he wrote the letter, Philip K. Dick suffered a stroke and died without ever watching the movie. Blade Runner was released nearly three months after his death.
We do know that Dick saw a special effect test reel of the movie, and liked it instantly. "It was my own interior world. They caught it perfectly," he said.
Despite his prediction, Blade Runner wasn't a commerical success, but there's no denying that it has become an iconic science fiction masterpiece. Perhaps Philip K. Dick could really see the future after all.
It's a tough economy out there, so it's understandable that the parents of forty kids at the Uintah Elementary School got behind paying the lunch balance at school. The school district decided to turn this into a teachable moment unlike any other. Apparently, the lesson was that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch, so the school seized the meals and threw them away.
"It was pretty traumatic and humiliating," mother Erica Lukes told The Salt Lake Tribune. Lukes' 11-year-old daughter had her lunch taken away from her as she stood in line at the school's cafeteria. "I think it's despicable. These are young children that shouldn't be punished or humiliated for something the parents obviously need to clear up."
Jason Olsen, spokesman for the Salt Lake City school district, tried to explain the situation:
... the district’s child-nutrition department became aware that Uintah had a large number of students who owed money for lunches. As a result, the child-nutrition manager visited the school and decided to withhold lunches to deal with the issue, he said.
But cafeteria workers weren’t able to see which children owed money until they had already received lunches, Olsen explained.
The workers then took those lunches from the students and threw them away, he said, because once food is served to one student it can’t be served to another.
No apologies though, as Olsen added "If the students were humiliated and upset, that's very unfortunate and not what we wanted to happen." He refused to call the tactic a mistake, though after a firestorm of criticism erupted, the district posted an online apology.
Bowery men in a bread line in New York City, Bain Collection (Wikimedia Commons)
A wise man once told me that half of life is showing up. The other half is waiting in line.
The economic crisis in Italy has created two big problems, massive level of unemployment and long lines at the government offices. Well, one Italian man decided to kill two birds with one stone by coming up with a solution for both problems at once: becoming a professional queuer.
When he lost his job, Giovanni Cafaro, 40, sent out some 500 resumes but couldn't get a job, so he decided to create his own occupation. "Bureaucracy in Italy is deadly," the self-described patient man told Italian newspaper La Stampa, "I am the person who will wait in line for those who don't have the time or desire."
Cafaro is charging 10 euros per hour to stand in line for other people - seven days a week and even during the evenings - and so far, business is booming. "The queues to pay [an unpopular property tax] are my daily bread," he said in The Guardian. "I've had calls from Rimini, La Spezia, Naples ... if all goes well I'll expand and set up an agency."
When coffee doesn't work anymore, but you've got to stay up late studying for that exam, then it's time for extreme measures. That's what students at the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University did when they tied their hair up to the ceiling with clothespins. Every time they nod off, the pins will pull on their hair and wake them up.
Chen Tang, 20, and her roommate Huang Lu, 21, tried coffee, exercise, and even cranking up the air conditioning in their room to stay awake studying, but when those regular methods no longer worked, they researched ways to stay awake. The duo came up with this hair-raising method after learning of an ancient Chinese scholar who tied his hair to a beam in the ceiling (there was another method listed in the history books: stabbing oneself in the leg with needles, but the girls thought that the hair method would be the saner option).
Huang posted their unusual studying method on China's social media Weibo, and the photos (and method) went viral. "Chen is so keen to succeed that she decided to give the hair trick a try, as you can see her hair is more than long enough," Huang wrote. "As we didn't have a beam in our dorm, she used the clothes dryer and claims it worked really well."
Chen claimed that despite the long preparation it required, the hair trick worked well. "The preparation is boring, but the hanging hair practice makes it interesting and I really feel much more energetic by studying this way."
The thousand years or raindrops summoned by my song are my tears. NeatoShop artist Retro Review explains how to play the song and save the princess, so save your rupees to get the T-shirt, wontcha?
Visit Retro Review's website and official Facebook page (tons of neat gaming-related posts there), then check out his NeatoShop for more gaming-inspired T-shirt designs. Your purchase helps support indie artists as well as this blog, so buy something, mmkay?
Isn't this a plot in many an apocalypse Hollywood movie?
Scientists have succeeded in reconstructing the genetic code of a deadly strain of bacteria that killed nearly a quarter of the human population during the Justinian Plague, back in the days of the Roman Empire. The plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, made another appearance in Europe several centuries later - and that time, it got a moniker you're probably familiar with: the Black Death, which killed nearly half of the entire human population.
So, what could go wrong?
Anyways, back to the story: When housing developers were digging up a farmland outside Munich, Germany, they found skeletons in a mass grave of people who died from the plague, including a tooth which dental pulp still contained traces of blood. And in that blood was DNA of the plague bacteria.
They think the strain of bacteria that caused the Justinian plague jumped from rodents into humans and then died out, the team wrote Tuesday in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The later emergence of the Black Death seems to have been caused by a separate event.
The DNA also suggests that, like the Black Death, the original source of the plague was in China, says microbiologist Paul Keim, another member of the research team at Northern Arizona University. "So the ecological reservoir for plague, the historical reservoir, is in China," Keim says. "And it's this emergence, this pattern over and over again, with people moving commodities, rats and fleas around the world that we're able to document."
Overall, this ancient strain is not that different from modern ones that still circulate in places like Arizona, says Keim.
So, could Black Death strike again? Well, consider this: currently, every year, about a dozen people in the United States catch the disease. They're treated with antibiotics, but there's a concern that the plague bacterium could develop drug-resistance through the overuse of antibiotics and become a major threat once again.
Yeah, we meant you. (Though to be honest, I've long suspected that some people are actually fully Neanderthals from the way they act.)
DNA analysis studies published in Nature and Science showed that humans are part Neanderthals.
When modern humans move out of Africa into Eurasia about 100,000 years ago, they found Neanderthals already living there. They've probably made war with each other, but it's now certain that they made love: their offspring, the people of Europe and Asia, have 1 to 4 percent Neanderthal DNA.
Despite using different methodologies, both two studies pointed to part of the human genome that affect skin and hair as being part Neanderthal. "The idea is that maybe Neanderthals carried versions of alleles [genetic variants] for these genes that were well-adapted to their environment," Harvard Medical School's Sriram Sankararaman, told NBC News.
Geneticist Joshua Akey of University of Washington added, "It's a pretty fascinating way of adapting to an environment. Instead of resting on your laurels, waiting for an adaptation to appear, you just pick one up from the local population."
But not all of the Neanderthal DNA is actually good for humans: National Geographic reported that Neanderthal genetic variants have been linked to various diseases including lupus, biliary cirrhosis, Crohn's disease and type 2 diabetes. Indeed, both teams found that there are long stretches of human DNA that's completely devoid of Neanderthal sequences, suggesting that some Neanderthal genes were actually bad and therefore got purged out of the human genome over hundreds of generations.
Nothing can stop the giant from getting his cookies! Sure, go ahead and laugh but watch out when the wall falls. NeatoShop artist Olipop illustrates what happens next.
Visit Olipop at his official Facebook page (give 'im a like, wontcha?) then check out his NeatoShop for more funny and geeky T-shirts. Your purchase helps support indie artists and this blog, so buy something, mmkay?
I think this is how M.C. Escher played tennis! Imgur user cynicalnihilisticromantist submitted this photo of an optical illusion tennis match - or is it just a regular tennis match being played down under in Australia?
Ask a dozen married couples the secret to their marriage and you'll likely get a dozen different answers. Speak your mind. Let it go. Accept your partner for who he or she is. Encourage them to change for the better. Don't be a doormat. Compromise.
Stephanie Theodore (@TheodoreArt) snapped a pic of a kid playing on a $10 million sculpture by Donald Judd at London's Tate Modern museum. When she confronted the parents, the mom told her that she obviously didn't know anything about kids.
I don't know what's more shocking: that those parents let their kid crawl all over a multi-million sculpture, or that the artwork, Judd's minimalist Stacks made from metal and plexiglass - is valued at $10 million. What do you think?
If you've got a suspicious charge of $9.84 on your credit card, be wary: it's probably a scam.
In this consumer forum post, dozens of Amazon customers are reporting fraudulent charges of $9.84 from a EETsac.com, which has been linked to various online education websites. The incident, however, doesn't seem to be limited to Amazon as there's a report from another source describing the same charges being made elsewhere.
The Better Business Bureau reported that scammers are charging small amounts of money on stolen credit cards, believing that many cardholders probably won't scrutinize their bill and notice such a small charge:
The source listed on your bill is an unfamiliar website. You check out the web address, and it's not the business website. It's a generic landing page that claims to offer "Customer Support." The text promises to "refund 100% of your last payment" and provides a phone number and email address.
Victims that called the number reported that they received verbal confirmation that their credit card charges would be reversed. But affected cardholders are advised to report the charges to their banks and cancel the card. "It's likely the scammers will be back for more," the BBB warned (and it's likely that they'll change the charge from $9.84 to some other small amount).
In his blog Krebs on Security, Brian Krebs tracked down the companies associated with the $9.84 credit card scam to various entities registered in the United Kingdom, India, and Cyprus.
The scam doesn't appear to be related to the recent hacking incident that hit retail giant Target. Krebs wrote:
If I had to hazard a charitable guess about what is going on here, I would say some ambitious “affiliates” associated with these moneymaking schemes were abusing the system and pushing through charges on stolen credit cards. But it is difficult to escape the conclusion that this is little more than an elaborate (and probably successful) scam set up to steal little bits of money from lots and lots of people.
By the way, this is not a new type of fraud, nor is this particular fraud a recent occurrence — although the bogus $9.84 charges do appear to have spiked around the holidays. Most of the domains involved in this scheme were registered a year ago or more, and a quick search on the amount $9.84 shows that the fraudsters responsible for this scheme have been at it since at least the first half of 2013.
Moral of the story: read your credit card statement carefully.
We all know that what's inside the book can often be very illuminating, but little did we know that the physical book itself can brighten up our life until we see these wonderful book lamps by ReTech.
Asher of ReTech specializes in creating lamps out of hollowed out books, as well as various machine parts found in a local salvage yard. Take a look at his work over at Homes and Hues: ReTech Steampunk Lamps