National Geographic has announced the winners in their 2018 photo contest. The Grand Prize went to Jassen Todorov for an aerial image of thousands of recalled Volkswagens and Audis retired to the Mojave desert after the company was caught cheating on emissions tests.
It was early morning when I saw the wildebeests crossing Tanzania’s Mara River. The layering of dust, shade, and sun over the chaos of wildebeests kicking up water gives this picture a sense of mystique and allure. It’s almost like an old painting—I’m still compelled to search the detail of the image to absorb the unreal scene.
Franklin’s fascination with electricity spilled over to more elaborate parlor tricks. In the summer of 1749 he hosted an electrical feast, which began with Franklin electrocuting a turkey and then roasting it on a spit that was turned by an electrically powered jack.
Franklin’s experiments occasionally went awry. In some of his first attempts at turkey electrocution, the birds were merely stunned, arising a few minutes later after regaining consciousness.
On one memorable occasion, he electrocuted himself instead of the bird.
Despite the mishaps he faced while experimenting with electricity, Franklin never gave up.
Despite this blunder, Franklin continued his explorations in pursuit of a practical use for electricity. In particular, he theorized that electricity could be used to tenderize meat. By 1773 Franklin had not only a hypothesis but specific instructions.
The theremin was the first all-electronic musical instrument, played by moving one's hand through the electromagnetic field generated by two oscillators. It was invented by Leon Theremin (Lev Sergeyevich Termen) in 1920. That "accidental" invention set Theremin on a profoundly peculiar life journey.
Leon was a young physicist under the Soviet regime when he accidentally invented his instrument while working on government-sponsored research into proximity sensors. As a Bolshevik, he was honoured when he discovered that Lenin was impressed by the instrument. The Soviet leader actually took lessons from him, and is believed to have had quite a knack for it. Leon was thus sent around the world to showcase the finest of Soviet technology.
Theremin settled in the US, where he patented his theremin, married a prima ballerina from the American Negro Ballet Company, and was suspected of sending American scientific intelligence back to Russia. But Theremin suddenly and mysteriously disappeared in 1938. Read what happened to Theremin and the impact of his later inventions at Messy Messy Chic.
For his Christmas greeting, The Flippist (previously at Neatorama) made a flip book of all the booby traps that Kevin sprung on the home invaders in the movie Home Alone. It will remind you of how ridiculously violent that film was- like the Three Stooges on steroids.
The booby trap scene from Home Alone already feels like a cartoon, so turning it into a flipbook was natural! It especially works great with the amazing sound effects. This took over a month to draw/color, but has always been one of my favorite movies so I had a lot of fun making it. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all! Thanks for watching :)
What caused the global panic at the turn of the new millennia turned out to be a false alarm. No, computers didn't malfunction as a result of changing the year from 1999 to 2000. But there is an important lesson that the world probably missed in the wake of the misunderstanding.
The two narratives explaining the Y2K incident are somewhat in contrast with one another. Either it was simply a non-issue, that we had nothing to worry about with the machines that we built or it was because of the skilled programmers who averted the problem.
The two, combined, narratives of what transpired on Y2K — that it was strictly a non-event, or, that it was a non-event because of programmers were skilled enough to predict and avert it — actually bred something else: confidence.
Armed with this confidence, in the years since Y2K, we have created more and more complex networks and systems to enhance, guide, or even take over many facets of our daily lives.
Now, we’re discovering what a false sense of security we’ve created. Along with it should come the realization of just how little we understand about the programs that permeate our lives and the networks that link them. Unlike 20 years ago, we appear less and less capable of predicting what will go wrong, or of stopping it before it does.
Finding life on other planets or celestial bodies may be a little bit far off but recently, a NASA probe has detected evidence that water was on a distant asteroid. One might think asteroids are just hunks of rock floating in space so this new discovery would come as a surprise to many.
In a conference today, scientists announced that OSIRIS-REx has found evidence of hydrated minerals on the surface of Bennu using its on-board spectrometers — tools used to determine the exact chemical composition of a specific spot. That means “evidence of liquid water” in Bennu’s past, according to Amy Simon, the scientist overseeing OSIRIS-REx’s spectral analysis.
“To get hydrated minerals in the first place, to get clays, you have to have water interacting with regular minerals,” says Simon. “This is a great surprise.”
Women have always been left out of history, not because they didn't have anything to say, do, or contribute but mostly because they are being pushed into the traditional role of being a domestic shut-in.
But no more. The women's movement and all other efforts being made to ensure that women are able to contribute and be credited in their chosen fields have been gaining a lot of attention in recent times. Though there is still a long way to go.
At the very least, we could recognize the women who have made big contributions in the field of science in history. Other than Marie Curie and Ada Lovelace, other female scientists like Caroline Herschel, Lisa Meitner, and Hertha Ayrton deserve the commendation for their works.
Kids can be cold and calculating. Most children who are disappointed in not getting a pony just stop believing in Santa. One kid not only got revenge, but he's on to extortion now. Jim Benton drew this comic some time ago. This year, he pulled it out, added more color, and printed it on his Christmas cards. -via reddit
As with most headlines that pose a question, the answer is "no." The story of the African princess refers to Sarah Forbes Bonetta, who was brought to England from the kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin) by Captain Frederick E. Forbes. King Ghezo welcomed Forbes as a diplomat in 1850, and they exchanged gifts as was the custom. One of the gifts was a seven-year-old girl.
Forbes was part of the Royal Navy's antislavery squadron that patrolled and captured slave ships off West Africa. Though Great Britain had been a prominent force in the transatlantic slave trade, by 1838, under Queen Victoria, parliament had abolished slavery throughout the empire.
It may seem ironic that a man opposed to slavery would accept a human as a gift, which Walter Dean Myers, in his young reader book At Her Majesty's Request: An African Princess in Victorian England, calls “a present from the King of the blacks to the Queen of the whites.” But as Forbes wrote in his journals, to refuse her would be to sign "her death-warrant.” He believed that, "in consideration of the nature of the service I had performed, the government would consider her as the property of the Crown," so the government would take responsibility for her care. And, he was immediately impressed by her brightness and charm, calling her "a perfect genius.” He renamed and baptized the young girl after himself and his ship, the HMS Bonetta. From that moment forward, she was known as Sarah Forbes Bonetta.
Sarah was not a princess, and she was not raised by Queen Victoria. But she was the property of the Queen, who felt a special fondness for the girl. Read about the unique life of Sarah Forbes Bonetta at Mental Floss.
Screen Junkies takes a left turn back to Japan of the 1970s, when Spider-Man was on television. The bargain basement production values, the practical effects, the overacting, and the recurring tropes all make this a delightful romp into unintentional comedy. My favorite part is the montage of dummies being thrown off cliffs. -via Geeks Are Sexy
The 2018 movie mashup that you've been waiting for is here! Sleepy Skunk has been working all year to produce a seamless music video made of clips from the biggest films of 2018. It starts out as a thrill ride, morphs into an ethereal dream, then into action sequences, and ends with uplifting dramatic clips. Contains NSFW language at 2:50 only. You'll find a list of the movies used, with timestamps and quotes, here. -Thanks, Louis!
Made by Jacob O'Neal, Animagraffs is an informative website that shows you how most things work. You can see in detail how a jet engine works, or a car engine, how speakers make sound, how to do the moonwalk, or the technology behind a LED flat screen display.
Although 'lost' films (films for which no known copy exists, e.g., London After Midnight) are numerous, they are usually not a complete loss since still photographs may yet exist, and often some sequenced continuities survive as well. Not so for lost film sequences, however, as many have been lost forever.
The most famous of all lost film sequences is that of the Spider Pit (or Bug Pit) of 1933's King Kong. As stated in the IMDb: It was a graphic scene following Kong shaking four sailors off the log bridge, causing them to fall into a ravine where they were eaten alive by giant spiders. At the preview screening, audience members screamed, and either left the theater or talked about the grisly sequence throughout the subsequent scenes, disrupting the film. Merian C. Cooper said, "It stopped the picture cold, so the next day back at the studio, I took it out myself." What wasn't stated is that Merian Cooper apparently tossed the cut sequence in the trash since it has not been seen since.
Fortunately, still photographs survived, as did the original script. Filmmaker Peter Jackson, having made his own version of the film in 2005, went so far as to use these surviving materials as guides to recreate what the lost sequence might have been.
Following are YouTube videos of the Spider/Bug Pit sequence, the first being as seen in the 1933 theatrical release, the second being the corresponding sequence from the 2005 remake, and the third being Peter Jackson's imagined recreation. All I can say is that film audiences of 1933 would have keeled over dead had they seen the 2005 version. What do you think?
The Bug Pit Scene (w/o the bugs) from King Kong, 1933.
The Bug Pit Sequence from Peter Jackson's 2005 remake of King Kong. (Graphic)
The Lost Spider Pit Sequence, as recreated by Peter Jackson in the style of the original 1933 film.
Matt Daniels presents a heat map of population density around New York. But as you scroll down, it changes to a different angle and shows you what the population of the cities look like stacked as a 3D graph. That's a population mountain. Every city has a differently-shaped "mountain" that gives you a feel for how dense it is. Daniels goes on to compare some of the mega-cities around the world. Above you see London, England, on the left. It is an old city with nine million people, surrounded by suburbs and other nearby cities. On the right is Kinshasa, DRC, with 13.1 million people. It is a fast-growing city surrounded by empty space and few suburbs. Both are impressive, but do not compare at all with the mega-cities of Asia. Read about Daniels' population mountains around the world, and then you can explore on your own with his interactive world map. -via Metafilter
Everyone is familiar with the many voices of Mel Blanc (seen above with Director Chuck Jones (left) and fellow voice actress June Foray), who gave life to most of the Warner Brothers cartoon characters, and you may be familiar with other voice actors such as Dan Castellaneta and those found on The Simpsons. Many prolific voice actors such as Don Messick and Bill Thompson lived and died in obscurity, but their ranks are swelling with the infusion of A-list actors such as Cameron Diaz, whom producers seem to think are worth paying $5 million for two weeks' work, and many B- and C-list actors such as Mark Hamill, who now cannot get any type of acting work other than voice.
Typically, voice actors record their lines without other voice actors present, as they are often coached one-on-one by the director as to the specific pronunciation, nuance, emotion, and emphasis desired. But, if the voice actors have worked together before and know each others' characters well, they often record together, playing off of each other to maximum effect. A good example of this is the combination of John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman in Wreck-it Ralph 2.
There's a lot more to voice acting than meets the eye, and, if a voice actor is established, he or she often is allowed to contribute to the scripting ("my character wouldn't say that") or even ad-lib, as Robin Williams often did in the Disney animated film Aladdin. Voice actors can have amazing longevity compared to screen actors; Mae Questal voiced Betty Boop from 1930 to 1989, and Mel Blanc voiced Bugs Bunny and others during the same extended time frame.
Following are some select voice acting videos found on YouTube, to give one a better flavor of what voice acting is all about. These are just samples; dozens are available, so why not look for your own favorites?
In the 1800s, the rise of mass print was both blamed for an increase in eye problems and was responsible for dramatising the fallibility of vision too. As the amount of known eye problems increased, the Victorians predicted that without appropriate care and attention Britain’s population would become blind.
Now, that's a curious thought to ponder. Sure, the effects of modern technology goes both ways but being able to identify the negatives would surely help us find ways to minimize the impact.
Well, no matter what the issues may be, humans will continue to progress into further improvements in living conditions to make life more convenient. Perhaps, we can just keep in mind these concerns and try to live in a way that is sustainable and beneficial even to future generations.
If you are looking to visit South America any time soon, there must be a few places in your itinerary that you would want to visit. Apart from famous tourist sites in Brazil or Peru, perhaps you should check out the other "Easter Island" of South America.
South America’s largest trove of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures isn’t on Easter Island, nor even in Peru or Chile, as most travellers might assume. It’s Tierradentro’s 162 underground tombs carved into solid volcanic bedrock, and the more than 500 monolithic stone statues and tumuli (ancient burial mounds) surrounding the nearby town of San Agustín, sprinkled throughout 2,000 sq km of the serried mountains and highland plateaus of the Upper Magdalena Valley in southern Colombia.
This video from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory featuring the sound of Martian wind captured by the InSight lander, and it's pretty amazing - even if it sounds a lot like the wind here on earth.
The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory included the following information to explain what you're hearing, & how to listen to the sounds best as the are extremely low frequency.
Listen to Martian wind blow across NASA’s InSight lander. The spacecraft’s seismometer and air pressure sensor picked up vibrations from 10-15 mph (16-24 kph) winds as they blew across Mars’ Elysium Planitia on Dec. 1, 2018.
The seismometer readings are in the range of human hearing, but are nearly all bass and difficult to hear on laptop speakers and mobile devices. We provide the original audio and a version pitched up by two octaves to make them audible on mobile devices. Playback is suggested on a sound system with a subwoofer or through headphones. Readings from the air pressure sensor have been sped up by a factor of 100 times to make them audible. For full-length uncompressed .wav files, visit NASA.gov/sounds.
As an enthusiast of languages, I find it fascinating to learn a new language but even more interesting is the process of decoding an old language and understanding how they communicated back in their time.
Broken and scorched black by fire, the dense, wedge-shaped marks etched into the ancient clay tablets are only just visible under the soft light at the British Museum. These tiny signs are the remains of the world’s oldest writing system: cuneiform.
Developed more than 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where modern-day Iraq now lies, cuneiform captured life in a complex and fascinating civilisation for some three millennia. From furious letters between warring royal siblings to rituals for soothing a fractious baby, the tablets offer a unique insight into a society at the dawn of history.
‘Inspired by videogames’, A Profound Waste of Time (APWOT) is editorially discerning and beautifully designed and plays host to a rich variety of voices from inside and outside the games industry, interwoven with stunning imagery from leading illustrators and artists. The magazine, edited by Caspian Whistler, doesn’t aim to compete with online game review websites and communities, instead it serves to celebrate gaming culture and discussion. The magazine was recently shortlisted for two Stack Awards and was commended in the ‘Use of Illustration’ category.
Illustrators in issue 1 include cover artist Dan Mumford, whose clients range from Disney to Iron Maiden; Kyle Smart who has created work for The Wall Street Journal, DC Comics and independent publishers NoBrow Press; book and comic illustrator Emmeline Pidgen, who has created work for the BBC, the NHS and Tescos; typographer Jamie Clarke, who was previously Head of Design at Microsoft; and award-winning motion design studio Mr Kaplin.
Features include an essay by editor and writer Susan Arendt considering how her increased life experience has changed her perspective on games and how the industry is now accommodating wider age demographics; writer and game developer Hannah Nicklin’s piece in which she and three life-long swimmers compare the game Abzu with their own experiences of swimming; and Rami Ismail’s exploration of the language of videogames and cultural differences after observing his Dutch mother playing her first videogame. There are also glimpses inside the gaming industry, such as a feature about licenced games by Adam Tierney, Game Director and Business Development Manager at WayForward, one of the biggest independent games development companies.
The magazine began as a project that Caspian undertook during his time at University of the Arts London. He was inspired by the diverse variety of independent arts and culture magazines available – and he felt there was a gap in the market: an opportunity to create a design-led publication that reflected games through curated content and craftsmanship, rather than keeping people up to date with the latest goings on and reviews.
Caspian says, ‘It seems to me that the more games move towards being digital-only, the more important it is to have a physical means to talk about them. We all want to preserve the games we care about, but we increasingly run the risk of losing them to dead servers and defunct operating systems. If we can’t preserve games, the preserving how we feel about them is maybe the next best thing.
‘The great thing about a physical publication is that it can be a bridge between interests. You don’t have to enjoy games to enjoy this mag, you just need to be able to enjoy words and illustration. The truth is that there are things you can do in print that you just can’t replicate with pixels, and I hope APWOT puts a good cause forward for that and justifies its existence in ink and paper.’
APWOT was initially funded through a successful Kickstarter Campaign, and the first print run sold out extremely quickly. The second print run is now available. It has been stocked in the V&A and the second print run will be available to purchase in the Tate Modern Bookshop and at MoMA, New York. The magazine is currently available to order direct from APWOT.COM
Mike Wallace had been a well-known figure in the Arkansas Delta farming community. He owned large farming lands which, during harvest season, would be filled with rows of soybeans, cotton, and corn.
However, the yield on his soybean crop for 2016 had fallen below his expectations and he blamed the farmhand next door for illegally spraying dicamba. What ensued was tragic.
So when Wallace was hit again the next season, he decided he’d had enough. He called Jones and proposed that they meet to settle things in person. Wallace threatened to “whip [my] ass,” Jones later said.
Moments after Wallace sent his last text message, Jones arrived in his own pickup. As soon as he stepped out of the truck, Jones later told police, Wallace charged at him, arms flailing. He was on Jones within seconds, pinning him against the rear driver’s side door.
As they scuffled, Jones pulled a .32 caliber semiautomatic pistol from his back pocket and began to fire. The bullets hit Wallace in his right shoulder and arm, his chest, and abdomen. Jones continued firing until the clip was empty—seven shots in all.
One bullet entered Wallace’s back, above his left buttocks. Just 91 seconds after Wallace’s last text message, Jones was on the phone with police to report that he’d shot a man. Wallace lay in the dirt, bleeding to death.
That was the beginning of how this controversy about Monsanto's herbicide exploded.
Ancient peoples weren't simply concerned about how to survive but evidences have shown that they had various ways of passing their time, including having fun with some board games.
A pattern of small holes cut into the floor of an ancient rock shelter in Azerbaijan shows that one of the world's most ancient board games was played there by nomadic herders around 4,000 years ago, according to an archaeologist who has investigated the find.
The game was called "58 Holes", which was also known by the name "Hounds and Jackals".
At that time, the game was widespread across the ancient Middle East, including Egypt, Mesopotamia and Anatolia, he said.
Though the rules of 58 Holes are unknown, many think it was played a bit like modern backgammon, with counters, such as seeds or stones, moved around the board until they reached a goal.
(Image credit: Walter Crist/Gobustan National Park)
For 70 years, Faith Lutheran Church in Forest Lake, Minnesota, served an annual lutefisk dinner on the second Tuesday in December. The community was settled by Scandinavian immigrants, and the church served a traditional dinner of lutefisk, lefse, boiled potatoes, meatballs, and other traditional dishes. The church has decided to discontinue the feast this year, and to get the community's attention, pastor John Klawiter wrote an obituary for the dinner, published in the Forest Lake Times. I guess it's true that more people read the obituaries than any other section of the newspaper. People outside of Forest Lake might think that the cause of death would be lack of participation due to a waning taste for lutefisk (a gelatinous dish made by reconstituting dried whitefish with lye), but that wasn't the case. Five hundred people came to eat last year. Go figure.
Ultimately, it was the aging of the volunteers that helped contribute to the decision to finally pull the plug on the 70-year tradition.
“We gathered earlier this fall,” Zarembinski said. “The process begins with a head count. Who is still able to stand to help in the kitchen? Who is no longer able to drive and will need a ride or isn’t able to come at all? Who is in a nursing home and isn’t able to help as they have in the past? Who has passed away in the last year? Who has moved south away from the cold already?” There’s a theme here.
“The average age of the most recent core group of volunteers chairpersons is approximately 75 years old,” she said. “Not only is nobody getting any younger, but it has become more and more difficult to find volunteers that would have an impact on lowering that average age significantly.”
Arguing about whether a hot dog is a sandwich makes as much sense as arguing whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable. The answer always depends on the larger context. Classifying food combinations may be a fool's errand in the long run, as dishes from around the world exist along an amazing spectrum, but we still try. The question that rules over food classification is, do we define food by its structure, or its ingredients?
The reality is, a vanilla soy latte is a type of three-bean soup.
Er, maybe ingredients don't work so well. Enter the Cube Rule of Food, which classifies combination foods by the location of the starch. The classifications are toast, sandwich, taco, sushi, quiche, and calzone. Most of what we eat regularly belongs in one of those categories. Since structure matters and ingredients don't in this system, you find that Pop Tarts are calzones, pigs in a blanket are sushi, and a hot dog is a taco. It makes perfect sense. Pie? Pie can exist in several categories, depending on how it is made and how it is sliced. There is an extra category for foods with no starch, meaning that steak is classified as salad. That's just the beginning of the weirdness you'll find in the Cube Rule. -via Metafilter
We've discovered what Henry Hill's problem was: the mobster-turned-informant was suffering from nicotine withdrawal! You've seen the Ray Liotta Chantix ad; it's all over YouTube. Joseph Lindquist re-edited it with footage from the 1990 movie Goodfellas that illustrates all the legally-required warnings in the ad. -via Laughing Squid
Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who was murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul; the staff of the Capital Gazette newspaper, who kept working after their Annapolis headquarters were targeted by a mass shooter; Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone, Reuters reporters jailed in Myanmar after their reporting on the Rohingya atrocities; and Maria Ressa, whose news site Rappler has reported on the Philippines' brutal drug war President Rodrigo Duterte and now faces tax evasion charges from his administration
When you get confined in the hospital due to a surgery or to recover from a serious illness or injury, you would expect to get better after your stay.
However, there may be some cases in which patients experience feeling worse than when they were checked in the hospital. This is post-hospital syndrome.
If part of a hospital stay is to recover from a procedure or illness, why is it so hard to get any rest?
There is more noise and light than is conducive for sleep. And nurses and others visit frequently to give medications, take vitals, draw blood or perform tests and checkups — in many cases waking patients to do so.
Some monitoring is necessary, of course. Medication must be given; some vital signs do need to be checked. And frequent monitoring is warranted for some patients — such as those in intensive care units. But others are best left mostly alone.
Well, maybe this is the reason why some people don't feel comfortable around hospitals.
You can try this experiment with your kid, because it's so easy, interesting and beautiful.
For this experiment you are going to need one glass (or bottle, vase), vegetable oil, water, food coloring and Alka Seltzer (or effervescent vitamins).
First you pour water in the glass and then pour vegetable oil. Try to pour oil on the side of the glass, so you don't make too many bubbles.
Anyway, if you make a lot of bubbles, let it rest for a while.
When water and oil separate and majority of bubbles are gone, add few drops of food dye. Food coloring won't dissolve in oil, but instead it will submerge until it reaches water. In some cases it will dissolve in water right away and in other cases it will stay between oil and water as bubbles. This is because there is thin film of oil outside the bubble which prevents it from mixing with water.
After that, you just drop one Alka Seltzer into the whole thing, relax and enjoy the view. I used effervescent vitamin C. I think this way reaction is more bubbly then with Alka Seltzer.
When lava lamp uses all the "power" of tablet, just add another one. I added five or six in a row and it was working like a charm.
On November 23, the 47-year-old from Crested Butte, Colorado, set out from the Hercules Inlet on the edge of the continent and began to ski more or less in the same direction, solo, unsupported (no outside resupplies), and unassisted (no aid from sled dogs or a kite), for 700 miles.
This isn't his first time skiing in Antarctica, he has done it several times before. So what motivated him to do it again and to make it more challenging? Why is he at it again?
On a personal level, his expeditions are about being creative and unique, he says—a way to push our boundaries of knowledge.