A rowing crew from Washington University in St. Louis was practicing in Creve Coeur Lake when they rowed through a school of Asian carp. The invasive species didn’t like the disturbance from the nearby motorboat, and jumped into the air to show their feelings. One of the seats was lost in the attack, but I believe the students are okay. There’s no mention of whether any fish were left in the boat- I hear they are pretty good eatin’. -via Arbroath
A study a few years back told us that money doesn’t buy happiness, except for people earning under $75,000 a year. The conclusion of the research was that money only contributes to emotional well-being up to the point of not having to stress about money. Above that point, more makes no difference. Dan Price is the owner of Gravity Payments, a credit-card processing firm. He took that study to heart in a concrete way. Yesterday, he announced to his staff of 120 people that he will be giving raises over the next three years to bring them all up to $70,000 a year.
If it’s a publicity stunt, it’s a costly one. Mr. Price, who started the Seattle-based credit-card payment processing firm in 2004 at the age of 19, said he would pay for the wage increases by cutting his own salary from nearly $1 million to $70,000 and using 75 to 80 percent of the company’s anticipated $2.2 million in profit this year.
The paychecks of about 70 employees will grow, with 30 ultimately doubling their salaries, according to Ryan Pirkle, a company spokesman. The average salary at Gravity is $48,000 year.
Price hopes to raise his own salary again when the business becomes more profitable. But he still benefits from company profits, and presumably doesn’t have to make monthly car payments. And with employees who should be near the peak of emotional well-being, at least financially, Gravity Payments will most likely continue to do well. Read the entire story at the New York Times. -via Metafilter
(Image credit: Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times)
The show Jimmy Kimmel Live! staged a celebrity version of The Family Feud starring the actors who portray the Avengers in Marvel’s movie series. Watch Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, and Chris Hemsworth square off against Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, and Jeremy Renner. Yes, they split into the teams of “stars I recognize” and “stars I don’t recognize.” The actors weren’t very good at the game, but that doesn’t matter because they don’t need the prize money -as if there were any. -via Tastefully Offensive
No, you shouldn’t be suspicious of this neighborhood -it is suspicious of you! This is a picture of Liar's Bridge in Sibiu, Romania. The legend is that if you tell a lie while standing on it, the bridge will collapse. And with the houses watching you, I wouldn't chance it. The somewhat unsettling windows in the roofs are called eyebrow dormers. I don’t know who took this picture, but a search leads me to believe they may be Russian. -via reddit
It’s an art installation that is a science museum within a historical museum. Greg Cowper is a curatorial assistant in the department of entomology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. He also has a cell at Eastern State Penitentiary, which was abandoned for decades and then opened to the public as a historical site. The exhibited called Greg Cowper: Specimen is a showcase of insects caught on the prison grounds over the past few years, displayed in objects that real prisoners used, on furniture made from parts of the prison. The overall effect is that of a hundred-year-old display of an inmate’s hobby, and in fact was inspired by such a collection. At the same time, Cowper is learning about the types of insects that take over when an institution is left to nature.
“In my thinking about this penitentiary, it’s almost like an island,” he said, noting that it’s surrounded by a wall that stretches 30 feet up and 10 feet into the ground. “Here’s an island in urban Philadelphia that continually has new species in it, and I also find stuff that I know absolutely is new for that year.”
After Eastern State was abandoned in 1971, nature took over, the trees growing as high as the cell blocks. After reopening to the public in the 1990s, it was maintained in a deteriorated state, with Cowper describing it as a “disturbed environment.” Curiously, rather than Pennsylvanian fauna, most of the 600 specimens he’s trapped and caught in his butterfly net are invasive species that arrived in the United States in the past decades.
(Image credit: Greg Cowper)
The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.
A closer look at a medical research report
by Bertha Vanatian, AIR staff
Do shoes cause schizophrenia? Jarl Flensmark of Malmo wants to know, and in a recent paper in the journal Medical Hypotheses, he explains why.
“Heeled footwear,” he writes,” began to be used more than a 1000 years ago, and led to the occurrence of the first cases of schizophrenia. ... Industrialization of shoe production increased schizophrenia prevalence. Mechanization of the production started in Massachusetts, spread from there to England and Germany, and then to the rest of Western Europe. A remarkable increase in schizophrenia prevalence followed the same pattern.”
The story, if accurate and true, is disturbing. Flensmark sketches the details:
“The oldest depiction of a heeled shoe comes from Mesopotamia, and in this part of the world we also find the first institutions making provisions for mental disorders. ... In the beginning schizophrenia appears to be more common in the upper classes. Possible early victims were King Richard II and Henry VI of England, his grandfather Charles VI of France, his mother Jeanne de Bourbon, and his uncle Louis II de Bourbon, Erik XIV of Sweden, Juana of Castile [and] her grandmother Isabella of Portugal.” All of these individuals are either known or suspected of wearing heeled shoes.
He cites evidence from other parts of the world, too -- Turkey, Taiwan, the Balkans, Ireland, Italy, Ghana, Greenland, the Caribbean, and elsewhere.
“Probably the upper classes began using heeled footwear earlier than the lower classes,” Flensmark points out. He then cites studies from India and elsewhere, which seem to confirm that “schizophrenia first affects the upper classes.”
Jake is a 10-week-old puppy who’s already got a job! He’s in training to become a Vail Ski Patrol dog. Like humans, puppies learn best when they are young, but Jake gets his share of affection and playtime, too. This video is from his first trip up the slopes. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Has this ever happened to you? Some bosses demand 21st century output while adhering to 20th century workplace customs. That’s not the way to keep your best workers around. While CommitStrip is a webcomic about working in tech and IT, this happens in many other industries. -via Geeks Are Sexy
The lip-sync dash cam video Mime Through Time by Australian comedy trio SketchSHE became quite an internet hit. The Russian comedy duo Bonya and Kuzmich took that idea and ran with it. And since there are only two of them, they enlisted a good-natured grandpa to ride in the back. They might not be as smooth as SketchSHE, but the extra goofiness they slather on top makes up for it.
Because Bonya and Kuzmich used songs popular in Russia, you won’t recognize or understand all of them. That only makes the video more interesting. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
If you recall the 1983 film Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, you’ll recognize “Galaxy Song.” That was far from the only incarnation of the tune.
“Galaxy Song” was previously included on the 1989 album “Monty Python Sings”, and included in the 2014 reissue of the album, “Monty Python Sings (again)”, in its original form - sung by Eric Idle - to coincide with Monty Python’s record breaking “Monty Python Live (mostly) – One Down Five to Go” run of 10 live shows at The O2, London. On film during the live shows, Professor Brian Cox berated the scientific inaccuracy of the “Galaxy Song » lyrics before Professor Stephen Hawking knocked him to the ground. Hawking then began reciting the “Galaxy Song” lyrics as he lifted off to journey through outer space. It is this unique rendition of “Galaxy Song” which is now available as a single.
And of course, available as a new video that includes scenes from Monty Python's live shows (on and off stage) and footage of Hawking in action. There’s a video game to accompany the song, in which you play Asteroids as Hawking and shoot at members of Monty Python.
You have to sign in with social media to play. -via Boing Boing
This tale of theft reads like a comedy of errors. A homeowner caught Damien Lewis and an unnamed teenage accomplice red-handed as they stole pork from a neighbor’s shed in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia. They fled before police arrived, but it was fairly easy to find them. Officers followed their footprints to Lewis’ home, where the aroma of frying bacon added to the evidence. Lewis’ sentencing argument is priceless.
While he insisted he "wasn't actually the one taking the food", Lewis admitted to being in the man's yard when the bacon was stolen and that he should have known better.
He pleaded for another chance on the grounds his dog was waiting at home to be fed and he needed to clean his home so he didn't fail an upcoming rental inspection.
He also told the court he had previously completed more than 100 hours community service and was so popular he had been asked to return as a volunteer.
(Image credit: Kevin Payravi, Wikimedia Commons)
Australian musician Daniel Buccheri was asked to serve as best man at his brother Adrian’s wedding. Instead of an everyday best man’s speech, Buccheri wrote personal lyrics and set them to a medley of pop songs to perform at the reception. He starts off making jokes about Adrien’s childhood, but the song eventually turns into a loving tribute that may have you reaching for your hankie. It turned out quite well, don’t you think? What a wedding gift! -via Viral Viral Videos
We’ve posted a few times about the creepy Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic, the Paris Catacombs, and the Capuchin monastery in Sicily, among other tombs. Now here’s another reliquary overflowing with the bones of hundreds of people.
The church that was later named San Bernardino alle Ossa in Milan, Italy, was built in the year 1269 near a hospital and an overflowing cemetery. The structure was just a regular church until it was damaged in 1642. As it was reconstructed, renowned sculptor Giovanni Andrea Biffi decorated it with the material at hand: deceased parishioner’s bones from the basement ossuary. San Bernardino alle Ossa has walls completely covered in skulls and bones, including one wall reportedly covered with only the remains of executed criminals. Read the story of this macabre chapel and see lots of photographs at Scribol.
(Image credit: Pullus In Fabula)
Sixty years ago today, April 12, 1955, Dr. Thomas Francis of the University of Michigan made the announcement that a polio vaccine had been created. The nation immediately celebrated the life-changing news.
If it is difficult now to understand why that was so momentous, credit the vaccine announced that day, and another one revealed soon after. In the United States, polio killed or paralyzed thousands of children every summer. In 1952, the worst year on record, it attacked 58,000 American kids, closing pools and movie theaters, turning streets into ghost towns as families fled crowded cities for sparsely settled summer colonies where they imagined they would be more safe. Around the world, hundreds of thousands more every year were mowed down by it; in societies with few resources to treat the illness or support the disability that followed, they faced a lifetime of mistreatment and poverty.
Scientists had been working on the problem of polio for years, and while millions of vaccinations ended the terror of the disease in the U.S., it took decades to do so. Polio still exists in some parts of the world, and the battle to eradicate it continues. Mary McKenna of the science blog Germination talked to one of the pioneering “polio warriors,” Dr. John Sever. Sever knew both Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. Albert Sabin, the inventors of two polio vaccines, and was the founder of Rotary International’s campaign against polio.
John Sever: I was working on a PhD in microbiology and an MD at Northwestern Medical School in the 1950s, so I was aware, of course, of polio. My father had been a practicing physician in the Chicago area, and I had a cousin who had polio paralysis of her legs, so it was very much a personal experience as well as professional. I remember that parents with newborns could buy “polio insurance” against the possibility their child would develop polio, so they could pay for the cost of care. It was on everyone’s mind, that children would be paralyzed and have to be in “iron lungs,” or die.
In the interview, he tells what those early days of polio vaccination were like and how it grew from an emergency measure to a global eradication project. Read the story of the polio breakthrough, and then take a minute to be thankful for the miracle of modern science.
(Image credit: CDC)
A couple of years ago, Metro Trains Melbourne released a safety PSA called Dumb Ways to Die, featuring a song by Tangerine Kitty that got stuck in our heads. Now that same song has a new animation by Egor Zhgun illustrating the many ways characters on the TV show Game of Thrones have died.
Although the Game of Thrones deaths are overwhelmingly murder, the accidents in the song fit some of them ridiculously well. Oh, yeah, this contains spoilers if you’re not current on the series. That’s why I used the screenshot above instead of a group picture. However, not all the characters in the group picture on the video are dead going into the fifth season of the series. -via Viral Viral Videos
Most of us simply keep on driving when we see a splattered ’possum on the side of the highway, but a peculiar few ask, “Why let all that free meat go to waste?”
CLEAR AND PHEASANT DANGER
One day in the 1950s, a 15-year-old British kid named Arthur Boyt found a dead pheasant on the ground while bicycling through a park near Windsor Castle. The creature piqued his curiosity, and he brought it home to show his mother. Mrs. Boyt responded in a way that might prompt a visit from a social worker today: She cooked the bird and told Arthur to eat it— not to teach him a lesson about the dangers of bringing home dead things, but because pheasants are game birds and good to eat.
Young Arthur happily ate the bird. Now in his seventies, he remembers the experience fondly. Boyt never lost his sense of wonder regarding the natural world: He became an entomologist, someone who studies bugs. And he never lost his taste for eating dead critters hit by cars, either. As he grew older and became philosophically opposed to hunting (cruel) and farm-raised meats (cruel and unhealthy), he obtained more and more of his meat on the road. The last time he purchased a piece of store-bought meat: 1976. All the creatures he’s eaten since then— more than 5,000 animals in all— have been roadkill. Roast deer, spaghetti in hedgehog sauce, breast of barn owl, pheasant stew, pigeon pot pie, badger sandwiches (his favorite), you name it— if a car can hit it, Boyt has probably eaten it. He even eats rats, which he insists are delicious stewed. “People say rats carry disease, but I’d sooner eat a country rat than any raw meat you get served in restaurants,” he told The Times of London in 2003.
IN THE STATES
Boyt isn’t alone. In the United States, more than a dozen states allow the collecting of roadkill for food, and the number is growing. In 2011, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn vetoed a bill legalizing the collecting of roadkill from the state’s highways, fearing that people might themselves become roadkill while trying to drag critters off the asphalt. But the bill was so popular that the state legislature voted 87– 28 to override the veto, and the bill is now law.
The rules regarding collecting roadkill vary. In some states, a permit is required; in others, carcasses may be collected only during hunting season. Reason: Officials want to discourage “bumper hunting”— deliberately running down game animals at times of the year when shooting them would be illegal. In Alaska, food banks, homeless shelters, and other charities get first dibs on meat from the more than 800 moose killed by cars and trains each year. (One adult moose yields as much as 700 pounds of meat.)
KIDS, DON’T FRY THIS AT HOME
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge, it’s important to know that handling and eating roadkill can kill you if you don’t know what you’re doing. Just because that tasty-looking raccoon died when it was hit by a car doesn’t mean it didn’t have rabies. If you’re not experienced at handling wild game meat, it’s not worth the risk. That being said, here are some safety tips from the pros:
The song is “Vendetta” by Warren “Wawa” Snipe and DJ Nicar. Both are included in in the article Deaf Rappers Fight to be Heard in a Field Dominated by Sound. Wawa is deaf, and has been rapping since the late ‘80s. Rap producer Nicar is a hearing graduate of Gallaudet University who works with deaf rappers and DJs. The article also profiles rappers Prinz-D and Polar Bear, and tells of the impact deaf performers are making on the music scene. -via Metafilter
As it has been done many times for more innocuous TV shows, George R.R. Martin was easily convinced to take his very adult stories from Game of Thrones and spin them off into an animated version aimed at children. Luckily, it will most likely only be one episode, as it was produced by Team Coco. Contains adult subject matter and mild spoilers if you know the characters. Honestly, this is not for children. -via Uproxx
The biggest volcanic eruption in 10,000 years happened when Mount Tambora exploded on April 10, 1815. The eruption killed thousands of Indonesian villagers immediately, and the effects of disaster went global and lasted for years. Some 36 cubic miles of ash and rock were flung into the air, and a lot of remained there as particles that encircled the earth.
Tambora was “a tragedy of nations masquerading as a spectacular sunset,” Gillen D’Arcy Wood of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, writes in Tambora: The Eruption That Changed the World. Those aerosol particles stayed in the stratosphere for two years, blocking sunlight and causing havoc on Earth’s climate. The year 1816 was so cold that it snowed in New England in June, and the period became known as “the year without a summer.” Grain shortages and famine occurred across the globe, and Tambora’s far-reaching death toll would eventually claim more than 100,000 according to some estimates.
Our world would be different today if the Tambora disaster had never happened. Smithsonian has a list of seven of the effects Tambora had on history, including weather patterns, disease, human migration, food, and even art and literature.
(Image credit: Jialiang Gao)
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
- Popular Mechanics (1949)
Computers have been around a long time: exactly how long depends on how you define “computer.” However, the development of computers took off big time in the past 100 years. Before transistors, they were incredibly massive, and before microchips they were too big for home use. Now just about everyone carries one around in their pocket. We’ve come a long way, baby. Dark Roasted Blend takes a look back at some of the famous early supercomputers -at least the ones that were photographed. Shown above is an IBM model from the 1960s that stored data on reels of tape. Yes, all that is one computer.
Do you love retro video games, but find them too easy to play after all these years? Maybe if you played them all at the same time, it would be more challenging. That’s what Pacapong does: it combines Pac-Man, Pong, and Space Invaders into one game that will put your concentration and dexterity to the test.
To increase your score-bar in Pacapong you simply collect as many pills as possible within the time limit. Once fired your Pacman can be controlled to a small degree, but will always be inclined to heading towards your opponents side. To make things a little trickier (and more awesome) you also have to contend with ghosts, hit them and you’ll lose a chunk of your score bar (unless you pick up a power pill). To make things yet even more trickier (and indeed more awesome), you also have to contend with Space Invaders who descend your side of the screen whenever your opponent collects them – with some careful manoeuvring you can even shoot them with the pills you collect with Pacman.
In the 12th century. a strange pair of children appeared in the village of Woolpit, England. They were unaccompanied, spoke a language no one in the village knew, and strangest of all, they were green.
The green children’s story began when they emerged from one of the wolf-trapping pits for which the town is named. The pits—designed to lure and ensnare dangerous wolves—were likely at least twice as tall as the children and a couple hundred square feet in area. A reaper discovered the pair and took them into town, where Sir Richard de Calne gave them a home. In time, they lost their viridescent pallor and diversified their diets, though the boy became increasingly depressed and sickly before succumbing to illness and dying.
The girl eventually learned English and told her caretakers that the boy was her brother. She related the tale of how they wandered into the pit, but could not explain where they came from. The story survives thanks to two different accounts, although neither writer actually met the children. We don’t know where the children originated, or what made them appear to be green, but mental_floss offers several possible explanations. None involve aliens from another planet.
(Image credit: Rod Bacon)
In 2008, we saw how it would look if the Imperial Fleet from Star Wars invaded San Francisco. Now Kaipotainment shows us what it would look like in Los Angeles. Did you catch all the easter eggs? There are more than 25, which possibly means 26, and are mostly Disney-related. You can find clues in another video. -Thanks, Kaipo!
You might have actually asked yourself this question before, especially after seeing Sandra Bullock propelling herself through space with a fire extinguisher in the movie Gravity. PBS Space Time attacks the problem from a science viewpoint. We have to change reality a little, by bypassing the spacesuit that keeps bodily gasses from meeting the vacuum of space. Then it gets really technical, both about farts and space travel. Yeah, he eventually has an answer. They also talk about the rocket effects of urination and sneezing. -via Boing Boing
Coleg Cambria’s Northop campus in Wales has a policy to turn off lights to save energy. But the lights were reported on after hours frequently at the goat barn. The staff all swore that they turn the lights off every evening, but the lights continued to be turned back on. Manager Wendy Gacem thought it could possibly be intruders, or even a ghost turning the lights on. But the real perpetrator turned out to be a Bagot billy goat named Jake.
Staff were working in the barn when the lights came on and turned around to see Jake had climbed on his hayrack and pushed the switch with his horns!
Wendy said: “It is a relief that we do not have intruders or a ghost, and animal care staff are relieved that they are no longer being grilled about leaving lights on.
“Jake has been a cheeky character since he arrived and will often jump on to a wheelbarrow to be pushed around.”
Walnut is a white-naped crane, a highly endangered species. She is part of a “security population” of breeding cranes in captivity to keep crane genetics in existence if the wild population fails. But Walnut doesn’t want to mate with another crane- she has imprinted on humans, and even killed two potential mates.
Following the incidents, Walnut was transferred to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, where she met Chris. Her new keepers were eager to see her mate with somebody. Anybody. So when she lifted her wings in a mating dance and let fly the sensual woo-wooooo that can only mean one thing, her keepers were inclined to give her what she wanted. Namely, Chris. And because cranes can live up to 60 years in captivity, Chris isn’t getting out of this anytime soon.
Walnut could have chosen worse: her guy has always had a soft spot for animals, particularly endangered species. In the past, his conservation work sent him into the field, where he worked with California condors, red wolves, and black-footed ferrets. Now, he cares for 24 cranes. "I like getting to know these animals individually and giving them the best captive life they can have," he says.
Since Walnut was willing to mate with Chris Crowe and no one else, he became responsible for getting her pregnant …by artificial insemination, of course. An article at the Verge explains how he managed to do that. It may seem a bit creepy, but you do what you gotta do in the world of wildlife conservation. -via reddit
(Image credit: Warren Lynch/SCBI)
A New York woman was caught marrying ten different husbands in eleven years without divorcing any of them. Liana Barrientos began her serial wedding spree in 1999, when she married for the first time. After that, the marriages came thick and fast, all registered in different counties.
Barrientos married Mohamed Gerbil in November 1999, Ahmed Allam in November 2001, Habibur Rahman also in November 2001, Davit Koridze in February 2002, Duran Goktepe in March 2002, Aliaksandr Paharelau also in March 2002, Vakhtang Dzneladze in May 2002, Rashid Rajput in July 2002, Kakhaber Khorbaladze in August 2002, and Salle Keita in March 2010, prosecutors alleged.
Although the case was exposed in 2010, it has still not been adjudicated. Barrientos is due in court today in the Bronx for an arraignment on charges of false instrument for filing. -via Uproxx
(Image credit: CBS New York)
When you think of an animal advocacy group trying to eliminate factory farming practices, you probably think of PETA. While the radical group gets more press, and has had some successes over time, the Humane Society of the United States has been actively working behind the scenes to get large corporations to switch to using cage-free methods of producing livestock.
For the past 10 years, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has focused on bringing an end to the confinement of farm animals, mainly pigs and young cows (future veal) who are kept in crates without room to turn around, and the egg-laying hens kept in cages too small to spread their wings. “[It’s] one of if not the worst forms of animal cruelty within industrial animal production,” says Josh Balk, senior director of food policy at HSUS.
To achieve its goal, HSUS has worked with nearly 100 corporations, including Starbucks, Marriott, and Aramark, and major restaurant chains like Burger King and Panera Bread. In the last few months, for example, the country’s three largest food service providers—Aramark, Sodexo and Compass Group—have committed to switch their collective 1-billion-plus eggs to cage-free. And in late March, Dunkin’ Donuts announced a plan to up their current domestic commitment — 5% cage-free eggs — to 10% by 2016, and to consider the feasibility of eventually going to a full 100%.
How did they do that? By recognizing that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. The Humane Society reached out to corporate heads and met them as equals, then helped them to see the advantages of cage-free farming practices. They focused less on "us vs. them," and more on the third party that would benefit: the customers. An article at Fortune magazine goes through the Humane Society’s negotiation strategy step-by-step to see how it achieved such breakthrough success. -via Digg
(Image credit: Evelyn Simak)
Eric Mccowan’s teenage daughter thinks she knows it all, as teenagers do. She even claimed to have watched every video on the internet. Dad thinks she may have missed a few old tricks that parents have up their sleeve, as you’ll see when she falls for this magic trick. -via Viral Viral Videos
When you are preparing your wedding, it’s nice to know exactly how many people will show up, because a lot of your expenses and plans depend on the guest count. That’s why a guest must let the couple know whether they will attend, and why many invitations contain a card to make that easy. But brides would also like to know what kind of nightmares you're going to bring with you. Bob Powers posted this modern version of the wedding RSVP card at Someecards. It contains the most common obnoxious behavior among wedding guests, and it should have a second page for warnings of any disasters not specified on the first page. -via Laughing Squid
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