The spot where three continents converge is the most-disputed (and some say most valuable) real estate on Earth. Nine Paley is working on a full project (called Seder-Masochism) on the history of the Holy Land (Israel/Canaan/Palestine/the Levant), and this clip is envisioned as the final scene. See a list of who kills who at her website. Link -via Boing Boing
Previously: Sita Sings the Blues by Nina Paley
This dinosaur looks like some taxidermist is trying to pull a fast one, but it's a model of what scientists think Pegomastax africanus may have looked like. And it's tiny -only about two feet long. You'd hate to get nipped with those teeth!
Covered in porcupine-like quills and sporting a blunt, parrot-like beak, P. africanus would've looked like a "strange little bird," said Sereno, a paleontologist with the University of Chicago.
But its fangs, Sereno argues, were more like those of the piglike peccary (picture) or fanged deer, or water chevrotain (video)—modern-day, plant-eating mammals that use their teeth for self-defense and foraging.
The species, he added, would have lived along forested rivers in southern Africa around the time the supercontinent Pangaea had just begun to split into the northern and southern landmasses.
Read more about P. africanus at National Geographic News. Link
(Image credit: Tyler Keillor)
The new movie Looper stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an assassin who confronts his own much-older self, played by Bruce Willis. Screen Junkies found that this same scenario can be recreated starring much younger actors with footage from Angels in the Outfield (starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and The Kid (starring Bruce Willis). And of course, this version is a family comedy! -via Flavorwire
An unnamed bride sent a group email to her best friends, laying out the requirements for those who decide they want to be one of her bridesmaids. It's quite extensive. You get the feeling that she's already put way more thought and effort into the perfect wedding day than she's put into the marriage itself -and the wedding isn't until August of 2013! Here's an excerpt:
A few girls live out of town so if there is going to be a problem with coming to either one then I need to know now because after this week I don’t want to be surprised. I would like everyone to send me any dates they are going away or planning to go away after February so if your going away in January I don’t care. I want any dates from February to the day of our wedding in August, that way we know not to plan something when your away. But after this week the dates are set in stone. Also if money is tight and you cant afford to contribute to say the bachelorette party or wont be able to afford a dress etc then L— and Myself don’t have time to deal with that, I’m sorry. This includes flights as well, everyone knows the states where the parties are going to be held so if you wont be able to afford a flight then that means you cant make a party which ultimately means I cant have you as a bridesmaid. Obviously we’ll get the best deals and were not gonna books flights for $1000 and shit that’s why were doing this in advance, that goes for bridesmaids dresses as well everything will be affordable but if you think by affordable its going to be a $25 forever 21 dress then your going to the wrong wedding.
Humphrey Bogart appeared in some 75 movies during his legendary career from 1930 to 1957. He is, in my own opinion, the greatest actor in motion picture history. His performances in Casablanca, Beat the Devil, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and dozens of others are brilliant, unique, and unsurpassed. My favorite Bogart film is definitely Key Largo (1948).
Today, I think only the great Jack Nicholson and maybe Robert De Niro can ever approach Bogart's greatness as a film actor. One of the many things that made Bogart so great was his incredible ability to play both a very ethical, upright, honest "good guy" and a craven, unethical, immoral "bad guy."
Probably the single most asked question regarding Humphrey Bogart is "Why did he talk that way?" Bogart had a trademark lisping way of speaking, caused by a scarred-up area of his mouth.
The stories of just how Bogart got his trademark lisp number about a half-dozen. The first is that he got the lip scars from a beating his father, the very strict Belmont Bogart, gave him as a child. Supposedly this walloping occurred when he was a young boy. "Because his dad beat him" is the explanation Darwin Porter uses in his excellent biography The Secret Life of Humphrey Bogart.
Later, Bogart told his friend David Niven that his lip scars were caused by "a childhood accident." Was Bogart trying to cover up for his father when he gave this obtuse explanation? Another version of the lisp cause is that Bogart caught a large wooden splinter in his lip at the age of 12.
Astronomers have discovered a new comet that should be visible from Earth in 2013, and shine even brighter than a full moon at its peak!
The new comet, named C/2012 S1 (ISON) was found by the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) in Russia on 21 September when astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok captured it on CCD images taken through a 0.4-metre reflector. Its near-parabolic orbit suggests that it has arrived fresh from the Oort Cloud, a vast zone of icy objects orbiting the Sun, pristine remnants of the formation of the Solar System.
C/2012 S1 currently resides in the northwestern corner of Cancer. At magnitude +18 it is too dim to be seen visually but it will be within the reach of experienced amateur astronomers with CCD equipment in the coming months as it brightens. It is expected to reach binocular visibility by late summer 2013 and a naked eye object in early November of that year. Northern hemisphere observers are highly favoured. Following its peak brightness in late November it will remain visible without optical aid until mid-January 2014.
Better write those dates down when you get your new calendars for 2013. Read more about the comet at Astronomy Now. Link -via Metafilter
(Unrelated image credit: Flickr user NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center)
The stacking properties of toroids that reflect radiation in the 1.8 to 2.8 eV energy range is investigated. Preliminary results indicate that in the optimal configuration the toroids are oriented vertically with those reflecting lower energy photons having larger gravitational potential energies for toroids of equal mass. The ambiguousness of this solution is tested by experiments performed by a relatively inexperienced researcher (t= 0.9167 yr). These experiments indicate that alternate solutions can be found.
The significance of toroidal stacking properties in the present society should not be underestimated. A plurality of localities in which dwell immature Homo sapiens contain educational implements consisting of conic surfaces that can be combined with multiple toroids to produce coherent structures. The number of toroids per conic surface is usually five, and there is often an anticorrelation between toroidal radius and the mean energy of photons reflected by each torus.
In this paper, we report on the results of a study of toroidal stacking properties by independent groups. Two of us (ERS and CVC) are experienced researchers, while one of us (EAS) is a relatively inexperienced researcher, having an age of 0.9167 yr at the time the study was performed.
2. Description of Experimental Apparatus
The experimental apparatus consists of six components: A solid with a circular base and a plane curve tapering uniformly towards a vertex, which has a mean reflected photon energy of 2.18 eV, and five toroids of different radii having mean reflected photon energies of 2.76, 2.43, 2.18, 1.97, and 1.80 eV. The experimental aparatus is shown in Figure 1 :
3. Description of Experiment 1
In the first experiment, two of us (ERS and CVC) together attempted to determine the optimal toroidal stacking configuration. It was found that in the most advantageous mode the toroids are arranged in a vertical orientation with those reflecting lower energy photons having larger gravitational potential energies for toroids of equal mass. This solution is listed in column 2 of Table 1.
Pharmaceutical companies often have difficulty enrolling enough volunteers for drug trials in the U.S. and in Europe, but there's a place where volunteers are plentiful: Russia. It's a move of convenience, as authorities see the shortage of health care providers in that country, doctors are stretched thin, and patients cannot afford treatment any other way.
In fact, under a law passed in 2010, ostensibly on health grounds, foreign drug companies must test medicine on Russians for it to be marketed in Russia.
The law has the effect of compelling investment in clinical testing on Russians, trade groups say. And it is working. The number of drugs tested on Russians has shot up over the last year. Russian regulators approved 448 clinical trials in the first six months of 2012, compared to 201 in the same period a year earlier — an increase of 96 percent.
Russia is not alone in opening the doors of hospitals in the national health system to drug companies looking for test subjects, in a quid pro quo with the international industry that conducts tests globally for a better demographic representation.
Testing in Russia is a net benefit to public health, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into diagnostic work and doctor care that would not have been here otherwise. Much of the business swirls around lower-risk testing of generic replacements for brand-name drugs.
In the U.S., the line between "experiment" and "treatment" is much more broadly drawn. But the Russians seem to be resigned to the way things are. One volunteer gave the article a punch line:
“Why not? I take risks every day,” Mr. Maksimov said, noting that he recently flew on a Russian-made airplane.
(Image credit: Olga Kravets for The New York Times)
When you glance out the window and see a piece of heavy equipment perched at such an odd angle, of course you're going to whip out your phone and record what might happen. This took place in Stockholm, Sweden. In case you don't want to wait, the operator was seen moving toward the end, so he must be okay. -via Daily PIcks and Flicks
Two baby gorillas were rescued from poachers in separate incidents in September in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and are being cared for at a shelter in Virunga National Park. Isangi is about nine months old, and Baraka is around five months old. The gorillas are being fed human formula, and steps are taken to ensure they don't catch any human diseases.
"Gorilla mothers are very attentive toward their babies," Eddy Kambale said. "The mothers feed them, sleep with them, carry them on their chest or back, groom and clean them, watch them, and protect them against predators, and even rain, at all times."
In the sanctuary, the orphans spend time outside in the forest yard, but mostly their caretakers carry them, as their mothers would. The caretakers use gorilla vocalizations to calm the infants.
"If no one will try to imitate their mothers' behaviors, the infant gorillas can shortly die from stress, as they are very fragile," Kambale said.
When they are deemed healthy enough, the gorillas will be taken to the sanctuary GRACE (Gorilla Conservation and Rehabilitation Education Center), which is operated by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. There, they will be integrated into a gorilla family in preparation for eventual release. See lots more pictures at National Geographic News. Link -Thanks, Marilyn Terrell!
(Image credit: LuAnne Cadd, Virunga National Park)
W00t! It's time for another collaboration with the always-excellent What Is It? Blog. Can you guess what this strange object is used for?
Place your guess in the comment section. One guess per comment, though you can enter as many guesses as you'd like. Please do not post any web link or URL - doing so will void your entry. You have until the answer is revealed on the What Is It? Blog tomorrow.
Two prizes: the first correct guess and the funniest yet wrong one will win a T-Shirt from the NeatoShop.
IMPORTANT: Please write your prize selection alongside your guess, so visit the NeatoShop and take a look around. If you don't write your prize selection, then you don't get the prize. I think you'll like the selection of funny t-shirts and science t-shirts -or even t-shirts of your favorite blogs and websites.
For more clues, go to What Is It? Blog. Good luck!
Update: the pictured object is an exact replica demonstration model of the original Telstar satellite, launched in 1962. The real satellite was only about twice as big. Craig Clayton knew that, and wins a t-shirt from the NeatoShop! The funniest answer came from The Professor, who won a t-shirt when he said, "This is the Death Star's lesser known cousin, the Mildly-Irritating Toothache Star." There were a lot of other great guesses; you should read them all. See the answers to all this week's mystery items at the What Is It? blog. And thanks for playing along!
The first presidential debate is tonight at 9PM Eastern (6PM Pacific). If you'll be watching for fun, you might want to keep an eye out for cues to take another drink. Watch out if you're playing for real, because the items on the list might make you totally unable to work tomorrow!
6. A Candidate Thanks Someone Not in the Studio
7. This Moment Will Be a Meme Tomorrow
9. Inappropriate or Politically Incorrect Cutaway to Audience Member
13. A Candidate Cites a Statistic That Sounds Made-Up
20. Wardrobe Malfunction
I propose a bonus for anyone who actually spots (and writes down) the moment that will be a meme tomorrow. See all 20 rules at Ranker. Link
They Might Be Giants collected photographs from fans to illustrate their video for "The Alphabet of Nations." The band is partnering with the Global Fund For Children, and poster and t-shirt sales will benefit the organization. Personally, I'm looking forward to a vacation in West Xylophone. -via Laughing Squid
Ian Williams of the Rhode Island School of Design, has been named Hasbro's “Official Play-Doh Artist of the Year.” Williams won the competition by sculpting likenesses of President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney completely of Play-Doh!
He wins a $5,000 tuition prize for his efforts, and will provide more artwork to be showcased by the Play-Doh folks. You'll be able to see William's future creations at the company's Facebook page.
On a list of the 15 heaviest coffee-drinking professions, mine only came in fourth. Scientists and lab technicians are at the top, drinking more coffee than writers, doctors, teachers, and everyone else.
Among those polled, scientists and lab techs were found to be the heaviest coffee drinkers in the country. Anyone who works, or has worked, in science will likely find this result unsurprising. Science, after all, is a 24-hour job. Experiments often run on timelines that are in every way at odds with the circadian rhythms of a normal human being — or any other creature, for that matter. Many scientists work under crushing pressure to publish results before competing labs or research groups. Limited funding requires researchers to put in countless hours writing grant proposals when they could be doing science. (It's not that they're writing grants instead of doing science, by the way. They're writing grants and doing science.)
Not only do scientists do research, but they also research how much research is being done, how much coffee they drink doing it, and how to drink coffee more efficiency. See the rest of the list at io9. Link
(Image credit: The NeatoShop)
There's something about typing your thoughts on the internet that makes some perfectly nice people act like jerks. It's not just the anonymity, because even on social networking sites where our identities are displayed to our contacts, arguments often devolve into name calling and bullying.
According to soon-to-be-published research from professors at Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh, browsing Facebook lowers our self control. The effect is most pronounced with people whose Facebook networks were made up of close friends, the researchers say.
Most of us present an enhanced image of ourselves on Facebook. This positive image—and the encouragement we get, in the form of "likes"—boosts our self-esteem. And when we have an inflated sense of self, we tend to exhibit poor self-control.
"Think of it as a licensing effect: You feel good about yourself so you feel a sense of entitlement," says Keith Wilcox, assistant professor of marketing at Columbia Business School and co-author of the study. "And you want to protect that enhanced view, which might be why people are lashing out so strongly at others who don't share their opinions." These types of behavior—poor self control, inflated sense of self—"are often displayed by people impaired by alcohol," he adds.
MIT professor Sherry Turkle says we often forget that when we comment online we don't feel as if we are talking to real people, but when we receive such thoughtless comments, we take it doubly hard.
And for Facebook, its very name is part of the problem. "It promises us a face and a place where we are going to have friends," says Dr. Turkle, author of the book "Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other." "If you get something hurtful there, you're not prepared. You feel doubly affronted, so you strike back."
Why should hurricanes get all the love? The Weather Channel has decided that notable winter storms will be named, and they've already posted a list of those names. This will at least make t-shirt vendors happy, as they will be able to come up with unique designs for "I survived Draco 2012" or "Minnesota Gandolf Survivor." Link
(Isn't Gandalf spelled with an 'a'?)
Miss Insomnia Tulip made cake pops that look like the female lead characters from Carrie, Misery, The Exorcist, and The Blair Witch Project. Awesome! This one is, of course, Carrie. See the rest at Eat Your Heart Out 2012. Link -via Boing Boing
The first real debate of this presidential election year is coming up tomorrow. But the debates held over the years on SNL are a lot more fun! Can you recall who played the candidates in those comedy debates? Test yourself with today's Lunchtime Quiz at mental_floss. I scored 50%, because I knew the really old ones, but not the more recent casts. Link
Did you read Jill Harness' list 12 Gross Candies Perfect For Trick or Treaters? Since that was written, candy manufacturers have been busy trying to out-gross themselves again, with new and disgusting ways to fashion and package Halloween candy. See the latest imaginative versions in Jill's new article at Inventor Spot. Link
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