Antarctica Post Office Jobs Are Filled

Remember the job openings for workers at Port Lockroy in Antarctica? Running a post office and gift shop and counting penguins for the Antarctic Heritage Trust sounds like a great position until you read there is no running water or internet and you'd have to sleep with your co-workers. But 6,000 people applied for those jobs anyway. Sorry, you were not selected. The slots have been filled by four women ready for adventure.

Lucy Bruzzone earned the position of Base Leader. She is a scientist who already spent three months in the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.

Mairi Hilton is a conservation biologist from Scotland, and will be monitoring the gentoo penguin colony.

Clare Ballantyne recently earned her master's degree in earth science at Oxford University. She will be in charge of the post office, which sends out around 80,000 cards a year from tourists who visit Port Lockroy on Goudier Island.

Natalie Corbett will run the gift shop and museum and count penguins. She's an experienced retail worker who just got married in June. Her new husband George is supportive of her leaving for five months.

The four are looking forward to subzero temperatures and constant daylight for their five-month contract in Antarctica.

Our Perspective Would Change at the Extreme Limits of Scale

Sometimes we ponder the infinite size of the cosmos and think about how insignificant we and all our problems are. Will we ever travel beyond our physical limits? But that's all relative. If we were to shrink down to an exponentially smaller size, we would be in a whole different universe, where we will never move beyond our physical limits even if they are the size of a small patch of lawn. We might escape human world problems, but we would encounter other problems dealing with physics and the influence of the wider world that microscopic life can never even perceive. As mind-blowing as that is, this video from Kurzgesagt takes us down to exponentially smaller sizes to see what those worlds are like.

While we are sure to learn something new about the physics of the tiny worlds around us, it also might remind you of the kinds of things you ponder during a psychedelic experience (or is that just me?). Once we are back to our normal scale, you can't help but think about the parts of our universe that are so large we cannot imagine them while we inhabit the world we know. What if some intelligent life form were experimenting with us right now, but we could never detect it because they are  bigger than our known universe? In other words, size matters.

The main video is only a little over ten minutes long, the rest an ad, although an interesting one.

Let's Visit the Anvil Museum

The Fisher & Norris Factory Museum in Tinton Falls, New Jersey is a private museum devoted to one subject: the anvil. This humble tool used by blacksmiths and best known for falling on top of coyotes is an object of fascination to Joshua Kavett, the founder of the museum.

A company named Fisher & Norris manufactured anvils until 1979. Kavett toured its defunct factory shortly before it was demolished and rescued many anvils from it. He became fascinated with anvils and this particular company and wrote the definitive history of it before opening his museum.

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A Surprisingly Practical Monorail System

Tom Scott never liked monorails and didn't mind to tell us why. Then he heard from the German engineering company that builds the Doppelmayr Garaventa Monorack. It's a monorail system that addresses the problems Tom found with other monorails, and it is particularly suited for traveling up and down the Alps without wearing yourself out. I don'tknow all that much about engineering, but I hear that Germany is good at it.

Punch Bowls and Their Epic Stories

Once a staple of everyday party-hosting, the punch bowl is rarely considered these days. You wouldn't buy one unless you were outfitting a restaurant or catering service, but I can guarantee if you live long enough, you will inherit one. Now, anything that is large enough to serve drinks to an entire party can be a punch bowl, and bowls made to serve parties can also be used for other things. Some of the world's most famous punch bowls (and there are some) have been used for other purposes, like to cool wine bottles, feed the dog, row a boat in, or baptize a baby, and they have served as swimming pools, sports trophies, and grave makers.

What makes a punch bowl famous? Using a punch bowl for a dog dish isn't enough, because anyone can do that. But some punch bowls are works of art, while others get their gleam from the celebrities who used them. Most notable are the epic parties they have served. Read the stories of four punchbowls that went down in history at Atlas Obscura.

The Sea Monster That Attacked a US Navy Ship

When we read about incidences of sea monsters attacking ships, we think of the Age of Exploration, when sailing ships traveled oceans the sailors knew little about, and brought back amazing stories months later. But a US Navy ship was attacked by an unknown kraken in 1978! The USS Stein, being large and metal as modern destroyers are, suffered a mysterious technical breakdown that turned out to be an attack that no one witnessed. The sonar system went down, and the Stein returned to port to assess the damage. Upon examining the huge dome on the front of the ship that housed the sonar unit, they found scratches up to four feet long in its rubber coating. They also recovered several claws from underneath the rubber.

The most likely suspect is a colossal squid, the only known squid to have these kinds of claws on their tentacles. It's possible the squid identified the ship's dome as a sperm whale, its natural enemy. However, the size of the claws were big enough to indicate that the squid would have been larger than any colossal squid observed yet. And colossal squid are thought to inhabit the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. It seems that either colossal squid are larger and more free-ranging than previously thought, or else the creature that attacked the Stein is something else that we don't yet know.  Read the tale of the USS Stein attack at IFL Science.  -via Nag on the Lake

(Image credit: Gibson, J.)

This Horrifying Demon Spontaneously Emerged and Showed Up Again and Again in AI-Generated Images

👹 You've undoubtedly heard of AI-generated images, where surprisingly life-like images are generated from text descriptions by AI tools. Well, it didn't take long for the ghost (demon?) in the machine to start showing its face. Meet Loab, an AI-generated demon that spontaneously emerged and now shows up again and again in many of the generated images.

🏠 It looks like any normal house in the suburb, but that's before you take a look at its floorplan. Then the craziness starts.

🌀 When a category 4 hurricane comes barreling in, a sane person would evacuate the area, but Florida Man gonna Florida Man by swimming in the ocean (with video evidence 😱)

🎬 If you love Quentin Tarantino's movies, you'll have seen Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2. But did you know how Tarantino made Bill seem so terrifying as a villain?

🪓 That escalated quickly! In Cårven Der Pümpkîn, the Swedish Chef used ever-increasingly violent weapons to carve two Jack-O-Lanterns. LOL! Now I want to carve a pumpkin with a Viking battle axe!

Love cute animals? We've got them over at Supa Fluffy:

🦝 This raccoon channeled his inner Winnie-the-Pooh and got his head stuck in a peanut butter jar. Thankfully there were some really nice humans that got him out of that sticky situation!

👮 Tired of life on the lam, Shoebert the gray seal turned himself in by waddling up to the police station.

😹 Family cat decided to crash photo day at school. The pic doesn't disappoint!

Images: Supercomposite and Cape Wildlife Center

👕 Neat T-shirt of the day: Horrific Kart by indie artist Prime Premne.

👻 It's Oktober! So don't miss: Halloween T-Shirts and Horror T-Shirts

Don't forget to check out our new sites: Pop CulturistaPictojamHomes & HuesInfinite 1UPSupa FluffyLaughosaurus and Spooky Daily. Thank you!

50 Very Public Accounts of Karma Served

I know you wouldn't want to take revenge on people for their rude, thoughtless, or even evil deeds, but the arc of justice will sometimes do it for you. The rest of us can sit back from a distance and enjoy the satisfaction in comeuppance for a slight we had nothing to do with. Redditor Veriera, who posted the picture above, said he was glad to have a dirty car when another driver rear-ended his son, and then left without identifying himself.

Some of these cases of eventual justice are even self-reported. This woman just had to take her lumps and chalk it up to experience.

An alcohol-free weekend was probably good for her. See 50 ranked examples of karma that caught up with perpetrators in one way or another at Bored Panda. Be aware that some of these stories may be downright horrifying.  

The Fenland Black Oak Table, Made from 5,000-year-old Wood

Look at this beautiful oak table. Each wooden plank in the tabletop is 44 feet long! Vladimir Putin would be so envious.

This is a table like no other in the world. We know that Britain's peat bogs are full of prehistoric treasures preserved underneath. In 2012, a preserved oak tree trunk was discovered in a peat bog in Cambridgeshire. At 44 feet long, it is the longest oak trunk ever retrieved from such bogs, and it is only a portion of the original tree! Unearthed after 5,000 years, what would they do with this tree? The Fenland Black Oak Project was launched, with a goal that a massive table would be made from the bog oak's beautiful wood, blackened by thousands of years soaking in peat. The planks were carefully cut, then dried in a kiln that had to be specially built for the project. It took nine months to extract 1.8 tons of water from the planks. The estimated 2013 completion date for the project had to be abandoned, but earlier this year, ‘A Table for the Nation’ was installed in Ely Cathedral so people can see it. Read the story of the magnificent Fenland bog oak table at The History Blog. -via Strange Company

This is What Freedom Looks Like

There are a lot of reasons wild animals are kept away from their natural habitat. Some undergo medical treatment for illness or injury. Some lived in inhumane institutions for breeding, entertainment, or labor purposes. Some are in abusive homes. Some were bred in captivity for the purpose of later being freed. Some were destined to be eaten. Some are in scientific studies, either long-term or just to be examined or tagged. And some were trapped by manmade structures they don't understand. The one thing all the animals in this compilation have in common was that they were eventually freed to return to the wild, and someone was there to record the moment. What do these animals feel at the moment? You can imagine joy or relief, or possibly they feel they are making their adrenaline-fueled great escape, and will process the experience later. Maybe they are surprised or even confused. For some, it may be a first time discovery of a strange new place where they sense they belong. We can't know, but we can be happy they are free. -via Nag on the Lake

5-25-77, A Project Long in the Making

What was notable about the date 5-25-77? Oh yeah, that was the day the original Star Wars was released! Of course, back then, movies didn't open in every theater nationwide at once, so many of us had to wait until later in the summer to see it. Patrick Read Johnson actually got to see some of it even earlier. As a 15-year-old aspiring filmmaker, he was treated to a trip to Industrial Light & Magic, among other places, courtesy of American Cinematographer magazine. While at ILM, effects artist John Dykstra screened some footage of the upcoming Star Wars for the magazine editor, and Johnson watched in fascination.

You may have heard about the movie called 5/25/77, which Johnson, now an experienced filmmaker, shot mostly in 2004. While the unfinished film has been shown in some theaters and notably at Star Wars Celebration IV in 2007, the project languished because of budget problems and because the Star Wars prequels turned off many of the franchise's original fans. But it is now finished, and is playing in a few select theaters, soon to be released digitally in November. Read the story that inspired the movie, and the story of the long process of getting it completed, at Mental Floss.

The Magician Who Was Shot on Stage

Chung Ling Soo was a magician at the turn of the 20th century who had all the skills and none of the authenticity. Billed as a Chinese magician, Chung Ling Soo's real name was William Ellsworth Robinson and he was a white American. Robinson has been performing magic tricks since he was a teenager, and had some success in vaudeville and tours, but a chance to go to Paris was too tempting. The ad was for a Chinese magician, so Robinson became Chinese. The name Chung Ling Soo was chosen because it resembled Ching Ling Foo, an accomplished magician from China who Robinson had encountered. Not only did Robinson almost copy his name, but also copied his act, including tricks Ching Ling Foo originated. The real Chinese magician was furious, and tried to call Robinson out, but audiences really didn't care as long as they were entertained. Robinson certainly put on a good show. His most spectacular trick was catching a bullet in his teeth. The bullet was marked by an audience member to show that it was the same one shot from a gun on stage. About that gun...

The gun was also specially built to have two chambers, one that was loaded and the empty chamber below, which was ignited.

What could possibly go wrong? Something finally went horribly wrong on March 23, 1918. When Robinson was shot during a show, he was so shocked that he spoke English in public for the first time in years. Read about the life and death of Chung Ling Soo at Amusing Planet. -via Strange Company

Batman: The Silent Motion Picture

Filmmaker Ben Crew re-edited TimBurton's 1989 Batman into a silent film! He refers to it as a "creative exercise," but he's also sharing it with the rest of us. The movie is shown in monochrome, although the single color changes with the scenes. Any necessary dialogue is shown in intertitle cards. That just illustrates how few lines are really needed, because we all know the story so well. It also highlights Burton's visual storytelling skills.   

Although this is a "silent film," because no actors talk, it is not at all silent. This version has plenty of music, both from the Batman soundtrack and vintage songs slipped into some surprising but appropriate places.

You can see Batman: The Silent Motion Picture in its two-hour entirety at at Archive, or select your favorite scenes in a collection of 60 clips at the movie's Twitter account. -via Metafilter

The Distorted Perceptions of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

In the first half of the 20th century, medical doctors and neurologists wrote up case histories of people who experienced mysterious hallucinations in which they felt their bodies were very small or very large, or as if a part of them was out of proportion. One patient felt she was low to the ground and her body became very wide. Another felt as if one ear had protruded out away from her head. One man felt his limbs were becoming unattached to his body. Several saw everything in their view becoming much bigger, implying they were shrinking. It might be a stretch to call these hallucinations; patients who looked in the mirror could see their bodies were normal, but they still has those feelings. These reports most often came from people who suffered hemicrania, or “one-sided headache,” which we now call migraines. They were also reported in patients who suffered from epilepsy or brain tumors.

American neurologist Caro Lippman couldn't help but think of how similar these symptoms were to the changes that Alice went through in Lewis Carroll's 1866 book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In 1955, the English psychiatrist John Todd dubbed the experience Alice in Wonderland syndrome. Lewis Carroll himself suffered from migraine headaches, so he might have been inspired by first-hand experience. Rather than hallucinations, these are distortions of body perception that might have an organic cause. However, there is some speculation that some conditions may be caused by Alice in Wonderland syndrome, such as anorexia nervosa. Read about this strange condition at MIT. -via Damn Interesting

Treatment for the Spanish Flu Could Be Worse Than the Disease

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 killed 25–50 million people worldwide, sickened at least ten times that many, and made everyone panic. Medical professionals couldn't even agree that it was a flu virus, but those who did know it was flu also knew the only treatment would be life support and symptom relief until the body could fight it off (or not). They didn't have great tools to do those things, anyway, but they did the best they knew with what they had. What they had was pretty horrifying.

Aspirin was a relatively new miracle drug, so patients were given possibly lethal doses for pain relief. Strychnine was also sometimes administered. A bit less lethal were the prescriptions for hot coffee with brandy. That doesn't sound so bad, but it was given as an enema that the patient had to hold for 20 minutes! But there was an even more effective drug for pain relief, suppressing a cough, and helping the patient to get sleep. That was heroin, the drug developed specifically to be less addictive than morphine, and it was prescribed like candy to Spanish flu patients. Read about the treatments that could have caused many of the deaths ascribed to the Spanish flu at Dirty, Sexy History. -via Strange Company

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