Andrew McConnell's fresh staircase design was inspired by the backbone of a whale:
[...] the Vertebrae Staircase is not simply mimicry of organic form but an exploration in shaping structure. Much of the design work went into refining the single component, or vertebra, that mate with each other creating a unified spine running from floor plate to floor plate.
Waffles? Not enough. Churro waffles? Still not enough. We live life on the edge. We go to extremes. We're like the Spartans of the breakfast buffet. That's why we're glad that Chica Chocolatina took her churro waffles beyond the limits of normal human endurance. You can find her recipe at the link.
Look at who's come to say hello! It's our dear friend, Cymothoa exigua.
Are you facing a lonely Valentine's Day? You'll never be alone again once Cymothoa exigua crawls into your mouth. This parasite will eat and replace your tongue:
When one of these crustaceans encounters a rose snapper, it enters the fish's mouth and steadily devours the fish's tongue. Once it has done this, the crustacean uses hooks on its underside to attach itself to the floor of the fish's mouth and thereafter serves as a replacement tongue (Figure 2.8).
Move over, Laina. You've got competition.
Kenneth Aleksander Robertsen asks:
How much of a language is silent? What does it look like when you take the silence out?
His project, entitled "silenc", is an attempt to answer those questions. He chose a selection of Hans Christian Andersen stories in Danish, as well as French and English translations. He printed editions in which all of the silent letters were marked in red. These become invisible when viewed through a filter.
Sir, it would be imprudent for you to obstruct my possession of my Eggo waffle ice cream sandwiches. Leela of She Simmers made them with delicious mint chocolate chip ice cream. I shall not yield them without satisfaction on the field of honor.
Redditor moonchild_empress spotted this scene in Montpellier, France.
My four-year old daughter likes to pretend that she's a cat. She meows a lot. So I taught her (by example) how to meow the Imperial March. Now she does it without promting.
You can't start a good education too early.
David S. Kime Jr., 88, liked to eat Whopper Juniors from Burger King. He loved fast food and especially loved that burger. On the way to the funeral, the hearse that carried him stopped by the drive-through window for one last burger:
"He always lived by his own rules," said Linda Phiel, one of Kime's three daughters. "His version of eating healthy was the lettuce on the WHOPPER JR."
As a tribute to a man who loved fast food, Phiel's family stopped for some burgers on the way to the cemetery. Mourners followed the hearse carrying Kime's flag-draped casket through the drive-thru. Each got a WHOPPER JR.
The sandwich was among Kime's favorites.
"He liked his WHOPPER JRs.," said Margaret Hess, head manager of the Manchester Township Burger King. She and her staff prepared 40 of the sandwiches for the funeral procession.
"They also wanted one for the deceased," Hess said.
Phiel said the display wasn't a joke, rather a happy way of honoring her father and the things that brought him joy.
Want to immigrate to the UK? If you live in Romania or Bulgaria, the British government would like for you to know that it's pretty much awful there:
Please don't come to Britain – it rains and the jobs are scarce and low-paid. Ministers are considering launching a negative advertising campaign in Bulgaria and Romania to persuade potential immigrants to stay away from the UK.
The plan, which would focus on the downsides of British life, is one of a range of potential measures to stem immigration to Britain next year when curbs imposed on both country's citizens living and working in the UK will expire. [...]
There are precedents. In 2007, Eurostar ran adverts in Belgium for its trains to London depicting a tattooed skinhead urinating into a china teacup. It remains unknown if any discussions have taken place over personalities who could carry off a similar exercise in anti-nation branding.
If there's one thing that bothers me about fortune cookies, it's that they're so hard to relate to. It's like they're written by someone with very different values or priorities. Thankfully, Jeff Wysaski has fixed that. At the link, you can read 13 other fortunes that he wrote.
The dragon jackalope, depicted here by Hontor, is about ten times larger than a regular jackalope. It can fly, has an armored skin and is noted for a tendency to collect treasure that it cannot use. But the dragon jackalope does not breathe fire. That's just a silly old myth.
When I was a sophomore in college, I was brilliant. Perhaps, in my final years, I will be again. Zach Weinersmith of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal charts epistemic humility over time.
It's all-purpose! If someone's giving you trouble--at home, at work, anywhere--just follow Emil Johansson's handy chart to put them out of your misery.
When you watch a President of the United States give a formal speech, you'll probably see a plaque bearing the Presidential seal on the podium. This was not always so. In 1850, President Millard Fillmore thought that the office of the President should have its own seal, so he sketched out this design and sent it to Edward Stabler, a sealmaker:
The heavy lifting was definitely done by Stabler. Born in Maryland in 1794, Edward Stabler was self-taught and began his career engraving jewelry at the age of 16. By the time he retired in 1863, Stabler had designed seals for nearly every department in the Federal Government, several states, cities, and many businesses.
Read more about the history of the Presidential seal at the link.
I love this idea! To promote reading, some public libraries wrap up novels. The librarians write tantalizing clues about what's inside and stick on barcodes for checkout purposes. Librarian Mollie Kay shares her experience with this marketing ploy:
I picked out teen books that I knew were good, but for some reason or another had been collecting dust. Each book's bar code was scanned and another was made. I then wrapped each book in brown paper, placed the bar code and instruction label on it. Some libraries chose to keep the genre a secret, but I wrote it on the label to ensure a better match-up. [...]
Within an hour of the display going up, more than half of the books were checked out. I hadn't anticipated such an occurrence, so I happily scrambled around for more books to wrap up and display. I now have a stack ready to go, just in case.
Jennifer Crupi's Empathy Table doesn't have any legs. It rests on the laps of its two users and remains stable so as long as both people maintain a welcoming posture:
In this work, I seek to point out how one can show agreement with another by assuming the same posture. As a result of interacting with this table, the two users are forced to be in "empathy" with one another, a comfortable conversing distance apart.
It was once common for educated people in the West to memorize large bodies of poetry. Memorization of literature was normal and expected. It has, however, fallen out of fashion. Brad Leithauser, a poet and professor of writing, thinks that this departure was a great loss:
My late colleague Joseph Brodsky, who died in 1996, used to appall his students by requiring them to memorize something like a thousand lines each semester. He felt he was preparing them for the future; they might need such verses later in life. His own biography provided a stirring example of the virtues of mental husbandry. He’d been grateful for every scrap of poetry he had in his head during his enforced exile in the Arctic, banished there by a Soviet government that did not know what to do with his genius and that, in a symbolic embrace of a national policy of brain drain, expelled him from the country in 1972.
Brodsky was a nonpareil in various ways, not least in being the only teacher I knew who continued to smoke during class as the air-purifying nineties rolled around. He loved to recite poetry. The words emerged through smoke, and a thick Russian accent, but the conviction and import were unmistakable: to take a poem to heart was to know it by heart. [...]
The best argument for verse memorization may be that it provides us with knowledge of a qualitatively and physiologically different variety: you take the poem inside you, into your brain chemistry if not your blood, and you know it at a deeper, bodily level than if you simply read it off a screen. Robson puts the point succinctly: “If we do not learn by heart, the heart does not feel the rhythms of poetry as echoes or variations of its own insistent beat.”
Should the toilet seat be left up or down? Which is a more costly choice? Hammad Siddiqi, an enonomist, found the extant scholarly literature on the subject inadequate. In a math-heavy article, he explored additional issues that game theorists should address. In the introduction to this article, Siddiqi wrote:
However, both papers fail to address an important concern: If a female finds the toilet seat in a wrong position then she will most probably yell at the male involved. This yelling inflicts a cost on the male. Based on this omission, women may argue that the analysis in these papers is suspect.
In this paper, we internalize the cost of yelling and model the conflict as a non-cooperative game between two species, males and females.We find that the social norm of leaving the toilet seat down is inefficient. However, to our dismay, we also find that the social norm of always leaving the toilet seat down after use is not only a Nash equilibrium in pure strategies but is also trembling-hand perfect. So, we can complain all we like, but this norm is not likely to go away.
All hope is not lost though. An important issue regarding social norms is whether they are created to increase welfare. Are they society’s response to market failures? One such norm is tipping for service quality. Azar (2003) has shown that the norm of tipping increases social welfare. In this paper, we show conclusively that the social norm of leaving the toilet seat down after use decreases welfare and by doing that we hope to convince the reader that social norms are not always welfare enhancing. Hence, there is a case for scientifically examining social norms and educating the masses about the fallacy of following social norms blindly.
Rising high above Lucca, Italy stands the Torre Guinigi -- the Guinigi Tower. It was built in the Fourteenth Century by a wealthy family as a demonstration of power. Oak trees planted in the garden on the top provide a shaded view of the city. Read all about it and view more photos at Kuriositas.
Yoshis are actually pretty good, but you have to cook them a long time before they're tender. I suggest using a crockpot, but Nathan Shields's pancake versions of him and other classic Nintendo characters also look tasty.
Atop the 95-storey skyscraper known as The Shard, Will Pearson captured an amazing photo of all of London at dusk. At the link, you can manipulate the image by zooming and panning. Pearson writes:
Technically this was a very difficult shoot, I was on the crane at the top of the Shard, and I had to wave at Andy the crane driver so he knew when he could rotate 45 degrees between the exposures. The temperatures were well below freezing and if you look in the distance behind Canary Wharf you will see the snow on the hills.
A boy in Spain was dreading a planned parent-teacher conference. He had not done well in school, so he anticipated a bad outcome to the meeting. Fortunately, he came up with a brilliant solution:
Early on Monday afternoon the unnamed 11-year-old son of a Spanish police officer stationed in the north-western town of Xinzo de Limia sent a text message from his mobile phone to tell his father he had been kidnapped.
When his father phoned back, the boy confirmed the worst. He had been snatched off the street as he was putting out the rubbish, he said, and was locked in the boot of a car. He had no idea where his kidnappers were taking him, but knew that the car he was in was a blue Seat. [...]
It was only two hours later that the boy's father noticed the keys to a spare flat owned by the family were missing.
The child was soon discovered there and reportedly explained that he had been terrified by the prospect of his parents going to school to speak to his teachers.
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