They may not call each other "Flipper," but dolphins do have names. A new study by biologist Stephanie King of Scotland's University of St. Andrews and colleagues revealed that dolphins call each other by their names:
... King and Janik’s team analyzed recordings made over several decades by the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, a Florida-based monitoring project in which pairs of dolphins are captured and held in separate nets for a few hours as researchers photograph and study them.
During the captures, the dolphins can’t see each other, but can hear each other and continue to communicate. In their analysis, King and Janik showed that some of the communications are copies of captured compatriots’ signature whistles — and, crucially, that the dolphins most likely to make these were mothers and calves or closely allied males.
They seemed to be using the whistles to keep in touch with the dolphins they knew best, just as two friends might if suddenly and unexpectedly separated while walking down a street. Moreover, copying wasn’t exact, but involved modulations at the beginning and end of each call, perhaps allowing dolphins to communicate additional information, such as the copier’s own identity.
Brandon Keim of Wired has the story: Link
You've probably seen the Verizon ad of a guy riding his bike in San Francisco along a route that looks like a big heart. The guy was actually real and he did actually ride his bike all over the city like that.
Robert Krulwich of NPR tells the story of Payam Rajabi and how he landed a spot in the ad:
Last year, Payam Rajabi got a new job and had to leave Toronto and his girlfriend Clare and move to San Francisco. All that left him feeling a little down — until he came up with his upsy, downsy Valentine idea.
He jumped on his bike, opened his iPhone to a map of San Francisco, and tracking himself with a GPS, he rode 27 miles around the city, taking two and a half hours, burning 1,135 calories and carefully etching a heart shape onto a city map ...
[...] Payam's map got picked up by Cyclelicious, a geeky bike equipment site, by Uptown Almanac, a local blog, by Health 2.0, a health news site, by Iranian.com, a Persian-American site. Payam was named "Iranian of the Day," and within the year, ka-ching! An ad agency called.
It was Verizon. They asked Payam if he would get back on the bike and do the whole thing over again, this time tracked by a rigged out truck with a giraffe-like hi-cam
But there's a twist at the end ... Read the rest over at Krulwich Wonders: Link
Kelli Higgins and her husband have eight children, including 13-year-old Latrell and his younger sister, who were adopted from foster care at age 10 and 5.
The family was sitting around the dinner table last month, when Higgins – a professional photographer – mentioned that she was preparing for an upcoming baby photo session. Latrell mentioned that he wished he had baby photos of himself.
Higgins’ 12-year-old daughter asked, why not “recreate” a newborn photo shoot just for Latrell? The family had a good laugh thinking about him in all the newborn poses.
“I thought it was funny and that it would be a good idea,” Latrell told TODAY.com. His mom found the notion bittersweet.
“I was very sad too because I didn’t have any photos of him either," Higgins said. "I think it’s really hard to have children and not know what they looked like when they were younger.”
Higgins and Latrell went into her studio the next day, both laughing hysterically the whole time, she recalled.
Latrell's photo shoot created a sensation when she posted it on her Facebook page. Latrell is cool with it, and the photos have brought attention to the many older children available for adoption. Link -via Metafilter
(Image credit: Kelli Higgins Photography)
In a real-life version of the movie Speed, Frank Lecerf was forced to drive at top speed when his Renault Laguna, which was adapted for disabled drivers, went out of control. While running an errand in his home town of Pont-de-Metz, France, Lecerf found that any tap on his brakes made the car speed up -up to 125 mph!
While uncontrollably speeding through the fast lane as other cars swerved out of his way, he managed to call emergency services who immediately dispatched a platoon of police cars.
Realising Lecerf had no choice but to keep racing along until his petrol ran out, they escorted him at high speed across almost 125 miles of French motorway, past Calais and Dunkirk, and over the Belgian border.
Puzzled motorists gave way as the high-speed convoy approached. Three toll stations were warned to raise their barriers as Lecerf ploughed through. After about an hour, his petrol tank spluttered empty and he managed to swerve into a ditch in Alveringem in Belgium, about 125 miles from his home, in Pont-de-Metz, near the northern French city of Amiens.
"My life flashed before me," he told Le Courrier picard. "I just wanted it to stop." He was unhurt but had two epileptic seizures.
Lecerf was connected to a Renault engineer during the ordeal, but nothing they tried slowed the vehicle. There is no word yet on why the car accelerated out of control. Link
This may be the weirdest story of British bureaucracy gone wild yet. Occasionally, disabled people must go to court to prove their disabilities or face losing benefits. However, someone decided to put the disability tribunal on the fourth floor of the Acorn House building in Basildon, England. Therefore, health and safety officials barred people in wheelchairs from attending because exit would be difficult in the event of a fire.
Sylvia Middleton, from Wickford Place in Pitsea, was turned away last Wednesday.
She said: “They said they couldn’t guarantee my safety and they didn’t let wheelchairs upstairs.
“Why are they holding disability tribunals in a building disabled people aren’t allowed in?”
The 65-year-old has been told she has to wait two months for a new hearing 12 miles away at Southend.
Officials had originally ordered she attend the court or risk losing her disability benefits.
Quick: what's the larest prime number that you know? Well, computer science professor Curtis Cooper (that's him on the left) of the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg has just found one that has 17,425,170 digits.
All he had to do was run 1,000 computers non-stop for 39 days:
On January 25th at 23:30:26 UTC, the largest known prime number, 257,885,161-1, was discovered on Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) volunteer Curtis Cooper's computer. The new prime number, 2 multiplied by itself 57,885,161 times, less one, has 17,425,170 digits. With 360,000 CPUs peaking at 150 trillion calculations per second, 17th-year GIMPS is the longest continuously-running global "grassroots supercomputing" project in Internet history.
Aviceramics's shark sushi plate looks cute, but use it with care. Watch your fingers while dipping pieces in the soy sauce cup.
Talk about living off the grid! In 1936, Karp Lykov, a Russian of the Old Believers sect, escaped Soviet religious persecution by moving his family deep into the rugged Siberian taiga, near the border of Mongolia. They settled in a spot 150 miles from the nearest village and lived alone, cut off from the outside world until 1978. That's when a group of geologists, looking for a spot to land their helicopter, noticed what they believed to be a farm. Curious, they went to the cabin and found Lykov and his four adult children. The youngest two had never seen any person outside their own family. Over time, the geologists learned how the Lykov family survived all those years.
Isolation made survival in the wilderness close to impossible. Dependent solely on their own resources, the Lykovs struggled to replace the few things they had brought into the taiga with them. They fashioned birch-bark galoshes in place of shoes. Clothes were patched and repatched until they fell apart, then replaced with hemp cloth grown from seed.
The Lykovs had carried a crude spinning wheel and, incredibly, the components of a loom into the taiga with them—moving these from place to place as they gradually went further into the wilderness must have required many long and arduous journeys—but they had no technology for replacing metal. A couple of kettles served them well for many years, but when rust finally overcame them, the only replacements they could fashion came from birch bark. Since these could not be placed in a fire, it became far harder to cook. By the time the Lykovs were discovered, their staple diet was potato patties mixed with ground rye and hemp seeds.
Karp Lykov, then in his 80s, knew nothing of World War II or the moon landing. But he believed the news of satellites, because he had noticed that in the 1950s, “the stars began to go quickly across the sky.” The family was amazed by television, but tried to adhere to their religious beliefs about living simply. They were very grateful for salt, however, as they had none for decades. Read the astonishing tale of the Lykov family at Past Imperfect. Link -via Metafilter
A postscript to the story appeared in the news just last week. Link
The first photographic portraits were taken in 1839, but it took decades for the custom to become common. This is a portrait of Conrad Heyer, taken around 1852. Heyer may be earliest-born person ever photographed, as he was born in 1749!
He was approximately 103 when photographed, having been born in 1749. He was reportedly the first white child born in Waldoboro, Maine, then a German immigrant community. He served in the Continental Army under George Washington during the Revolutionary War, crossing the Delaware with him and fighting in other major battles. He eventually bought a farm and retired to Waldoboro, where he happily regaled visitors with tales of his Revolutionary War exploits until his dying day.
More than a century before Indiana Jones first cracked his whip, Sir Richard Francis Burton had already mastered the daring art of scholarly adventure.
Richard Francis Burton was a hard-living combination of Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt. By 1853, he'd already swashbuckled his way through enough adventures for several lifetimes. The British explorer, writer, ethnologist, polyglot, and spy had spent his youth traveling Europe and drinking in its culture, learning as much about history and poetry as he did about sword fighting and bordellos. He'd worked undercover investigating his fellow English officers' behavior in Indian brothels. And he'd penned travelogues and anthropological studies detailing his adventures.
But Burton craved more. During an extended leave from the military, he began devising one of the greatest adventures of the Victorian era. Burton wanted to be the first Englishman to walk into the forbidden city of Mecca.
Other Englishmen had caught glimpses of Mecca, but only as prisoners. Burton wanted to waltz in on his own. Only then would he be able to see the holy city as Muslims saw it during the hajj, the sacred pilgrimage Islam requires of every adult. The stakes were high. Any infidel caught sneaking in faced immediate execution. "A blunder, a hasty action, a misjudged word, a prayer or bow, not strictly the right shibboleth, and my bones would have whitened the desert sand," Burton later wrote.
Burton had a few aces up his sleeve. Although his father was Irish, Burton's dark hair and complexion helped him pass as a Muslim. His linguistic wizardry was unrivaled -he'd mastered at least five languages before turning 18 and added many more throughout his life. His obsessive reading and previous travels had taught him the Islamic customs he would need to avoid critical errors.
Even with these gifts, the Royal Geographical Society was skeptical about funding Burton's expedition. But a glimpse inside the forbidden city was too tantalizing for geographers to refuse. They agreed to bankroll the journey, with a catch: Burton had to survive the trip before he received the funds.
Provisional cash in hand, Burton began preparing for his hajj. Even if he played his assumed character -an Indian-born Afghan named Abdullah- flawlessly, a glimpse of his uncircumcised penis during a roadside pit stop would have blown his cover. So Burton took method acting to a whole new level; at the age of 32, he was circumcised.
INTO THE BLACK CUBE
Japanese photographer Nobukuni Enami took stereoscopic photographs of 19th-century Geisha, which were hand-colored and shown by viewing a different photo with the left and right eye.
Because it’s unlikely that you’ve got your own vintage stereoscopic viewer lying around, many of these images are animated GIFS that photographer Guy Thiophene has created to give you an idea of what they would have looked like in 3D. Thiophene converted the images into GIFS from stereo images found in the extensive collection of Rob Oechsle (known on Flickr as Okinawa Soba), who has been collecting the photographs since 1973.
One of my all-time favorite films is Tombstone (1993), the greatest Western ever made -in my opinion (and with all due respect to the great John Wayne, who I love and am a major fan of). Tombstone being my favorite Western, I developed an interest in the film's central character, Wyatt Earp. I have recently read my first proper biographies of Earp, and man, this guy just blows my socks off! What a fascinating, bigger-than-life character, right out of a great Western novel. I have read hundreds and hundreds of biographies and autobiographies of men and women of every possible stripe, but this guy is, without a doubt, one of the most incredible characters I have ever read about.
Okay, let me tell you twelve things you may not have known about that legendary lawman from the Old West, Mr. Wyatt Earp.
1. Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (yep, that's his full name) ran away from home several times and tried to enlist in the Union Army in the Civil War. He was unsuccessful and was sent back home every time, as he was only 13 years old.
2. He loved ice cream. He wasn't a hard drinker. In fact, he wasn't a drinker at all. No, the great Wyatt Earp, as macho as they come, never let liquor touch his lips. But he did have a vice: his love of ice cream. Every day in Tombstone, he would stop into the local ice cream parlor and indulge in a scoop.
3. He was arrested for horse theft along with two other men. Wyatt and the other men were accused of stealing two horses (each worth $100) and jailed. Instead of waiting for his trial, Wyatt broke out of jail and escaped through the jail roof.
4. He never was hit or injured during a gun fight. No, not in any gunfight he was ever involved in, which contributed to his legend.
Capitán was adopted as a puppy by Miguel Guzmán of Villa Carlos Paz Cordoba, Argentina, in 2005. He got the German Shepherd for his son Damien, but the puppy loved Miguel. Then in March of 2006, Miguel died. The dog disappeared for a while, and the family thought he'd gone to live with someone else. But when they visited Miguel Guzmán's grave, there was Capitán. The dog refuses to leave the cemetery, even six years later.
Hector Baccega, the administrator of the Villa Carlos Paz Cordoba cemetery, told the press that Capitán has won the affection and respect of all the cemetery caretakers, who always make sure he’s properly fed and up-to-date with his immunizations. At one point they even brought in a vet, after Capitán showed up with a broken leg. Baccega says Capitán walks with him through the cemetery every day, but as night approaches, he always returns to Miguel’s graveside and lays his head down next to the headstone. He feels this amazing dog is teaching humans a valuable lesson about cherishing the memory of their loved ones.
Text from the poster above:
We Should Ban Life Jackets & Other Flotation Devices
They only encourage risky behavior. The only 100% effective way to prevent drowning is total abstinence from going in the water. And if you do, by chance, find yourself struggling with drowning, then no life-saving or otherwise procedure or act should be allowed to be administered. You got yourself into this mess, you have to live with the consequences.
You should see drowning as a gift.
Also, if you were forcibly pushed into the water, don't worry. If it was a legitimate pushing, your body will find a way to shut out all the water and survive the drowning.
Via Accordion Guy
To circumcise or not to circumcise, that is the question that many parents of newborn baby boys have to ponder. Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics have released a new policy endorsing circumcision:
"There is clear evidence that supports the health benefits of circumcision," said Susan Blank, who led the 14-member task force that formulated the new policy being published in the journal Pediatrics.
The statement, and accompanying technical report, marks the first revision of the organization's position since 1999, when the academy backed away from circumcision. At that time, the group, which represents about 60,000 pediatricians nationwide, concluded that there was no clear evidence for or against circumcising newborns. The group affirmed that position in 2005.
Since then, the popularity of circumcision in the United States has declined. Only about 56 percent of newborn males are circumcised.
The academy's task force spent seven years combing through the latest research, analyzing more than a thousand studies. Their conclusion?
For starters, Blank says, circumcision helps baby boys pretty much immediately.
"The health benefits of male circumcision include a drop in the risk of urinary tract infection in the first year of life by up to 90 percent," she says.
But there's a much bigger reason to do it, Blank said. Circumcised males are far less likely to get infected with a long list of sexually transmitted diseases.
"It drops the risk of heterosexual HIV acquisition by about 60 percent. It drops the risk of human papillomavirus [HPV], herpes virus and other infectious genital ulcers," she says.
Email This Post to a Friend
Success! Your email has been sent!