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7

Rare Gemstone Found in an Ancient Tooth Leads to Rethinking of the History of Book Production

Historians used to believe that only men wrote manuscripts in the medieval times, but evidence has proved them wrong. Scientists have identified traces of a rare gemstone called lapis lazuli in an ancient female tooth. This is direct evidence that shows that the lady was a paintbrush-licking painter. The ultramarine gemstone was reserved for only the most exceptional of scribes to use.

Who would have thought that medieval women participated in the production of religious manuscripts too?

Because female names are especially scarce among the surviving texts from this period, historians have long assumed that male monks were the primary producers of these intricately illustrated manuscripts.
Only recently has this belief been re-examined. Along with a growing body of research, a new discovery adds even more evidence that female monastics were not only literate, but were also prolific producers and consumers of books during the Middle Ages.
Hidden within the dental plaque of a middle-aged woman buried at an all-female

monastery in Germany sometime around 1000-1200 CE, researchers have now found a clue that speaks volumes: a hint of ultramarine ink.

Read more about how the rare gemstone was found.

(Image: Christina Warinner/Max Planck Institute)


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10

Before There Was Mulder and Scully, There Was....

Although the 1960's saw the advent of many a great television series, the 1970's was just as competitive and one of the best of the TV programs of the 70's was Kolchak: the Night Stalker, which has a cult following even today.

In this TV series, the late and great Darren McGavin portrayed Carl Kolchak, a rumpled, misanthropic reporter who has often been fired due to his abrasive attitude and insubordination. As such, he can't be any too choosy when it comes to assignments, and he thus gets assigned to cover weird events that no one else wants to cover. Strangely enough, these all invariably seemed to be supernatural events.

It all began in 1972 with a TV movie, The Night Stalker, which, as per the IMDb, concerned an abrasive Las Vegas newspaper reporter investigating a series of murders purportedly committed by a vampire. Response was positive enough that a second TV film was made in 1973, The Night Strangler, which concerned Kolchak hunting down a 144-year old alchemist who is killing women for their blood. It too was a tremendous success and so the stage was set for the launch of the TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker in 1974.

The early episodes were tremendous and often genuinely frightening. One of these is embedded below and is probably the scariest thing I have ever seen on commercial television. The scene where a trembling Kolchak attempts to nullify a zombie, which reanimates during the process, will make you jump out of your seat. At least it did me in 1974.

Although the two TV movies were great successes, and the early TV episodes were excellent, the TV series itself soon flopped due to formulaic repetition and it lasted just the one season for only 20 episodes. I think it was all my fault, since so many TV series that I have liked in the past were doomed to a short life. The second video below contains a fan's comments on what made the show so great. I have to concur.

Darren McGavin went on to other things, among which was his portrayal of the foul-mouthed father (The Old Man Parker) in the 1983 film A Christmas Story. Just as he made the role of The Old Man his own, so did he make the role of Carl Kolchak. A subsequent attempt at rebooting the TV series years later was unsuccessful, mainly because the actor portraying Carl Kolchak was really not up to the task. Ironically, near the end of his career, Darren McGavin appeared on The X-Files in a couple of episodes as Agent Arthur Dales. I have to wonder if Mulder knew who he was dealing with.

Happily, and surprisingly, the two TV films and all 20 TV episodes are available in full-format on YouTube. I can recommend them unreservedly. If you have never seen these, give them a try; they're well worth the watching.

Continue reading

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9

Office Cats



If you have one of those jobs where you sit at a desk (or even worse, in a cubicle) and do things that are hard to describe to people outside the business, then you need something to cheer you up. Prince Michael works in an office full of cats. Bored cats. So bored that they resort to making music with office supplies.  -via Tastefully Offensive


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9

Herding Ducks



Working dogs Roy, Lass, and Celt show off their teamwork in getting their ducks in a row. Or, rather, getting their ducks to go exactly where the dogs want -and you might be surprised where they take those ducks. The little girl's acrobatics are pretty good, too! This happened in Livingston, Tennessee. Those are good dogs. -Thanks, xoxoxoBruce!


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9

Massive Ice Disc Forms in River

We've seen ice carousels, spinning disks of ice that were cut with chainsaws and set in motion with rotary tools or outboard motors. This is different. A giant spinning disc of ice appeared on its own in the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine. Is it an artifact of an alien landing? No, just a rare phenomenon that's been seen before.

Curiosity about giant, rotating ice disks dates to at least the late 1800s. Research on prior instances of the phenomenon, published in Physical Review E in 2016, found that as melting ice sinks off disks it “goes downwards and also rotates horizontally, so that a vertical vortex is generated under the ice disk.” Speaking with the the Press Herald, Bowdoin College in Brunswick associate physics professor Mark Battle suggested the Westbrook ice disk’s rotation could also be the result of thick ice moving with the river current, getting trapped, and grinding against the shoreline.

However, this disc is particularly large, estimated at 100 yards across. So far, the only ones brave enough to ride on it are some ducks. Read more about the disc and see a video at Earther.

(Image credit: Tina Radel/City of Westbrook)


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6

Blood Lore and the Origins of Life

Our blood is the most important part in our body that gives us life. Without it, our body will not receive the nutrients it needs to function properly. The importance of blood in our lives cannot be overstated and in her new book, Nine Pints, Rose George examines the history of blood and its connections to the origins of the earth and of life itself.

“The iron in our blood comes from the death of supernovas, like all iron on our planet,” she writes. “This bright red liquid ... contains salt and water, like the sea we possibly came from.” George charts the distance that our blood (as her title suggests, we contain, on average, between nine and eleven pints of it) travels in the body every day: some twelve thousand miles, “three times the distance from my front door to Novosibirsk.” Our network of veins, arteries, and capillaries is about sixty thousand miles long—“twice the circumference of the earth and more.”
Ancient peoples knew none of this biology, but they were certain of blood’s importance and fascinated by its mystery. For them, blood was something hidden—visible only when flowing from a wound, or during childbirth, miscarriage, and menstruation—so it became a symbol both of life and of death.

(Image credit: Max Guther/The New Yorker)


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7

A Tale of Three Giants: The Unlikely WWII Alliance

Churchill. Roosevelt. Stalin. Three names etched in the history books and some of the most famous names that came out of the WWII era. They were the leaders of three nations under the Allied Powers yet their relationship as allies is more suspect than anything.

National Geographic gets an inside scoop with Winston Groom who studied and wrote about the history between these three unlikely allies in his new book, The Allies.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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6

Odd Worms Bunch Up Together Like Blobs

Looking at these worms is oddly satisfying in a way. They are called Lumbriculus variegatus, a black aquatic worm just half the size of a cigarette. And actually, they act in such an odd way as a defense mechanism, to adapt to their environment.

Tangled up in squishy masses that can be the size of a basketball or bigger, the worms are transformed into a pulsating ball versatile enough to squeeze through tubes, hold together and bounce off surfaces, or spread out or shrink depending on the conditions.

(Video credit: Science Mag)


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7

Supernova Mutations Leading to Mass Extinctions: Theories of Radiation-Induced Extinction

With all that's happening on the earth, we already have enough to deal with but if we consider how interactions and phenomena that occur in space, then it might just dawn on us how inevitable the end of the world would be.

The topic of mass extinction through a supernova explosion has been explored for decades and a recent study suggests how it might have caused the extinction of large-bodied organisms.

The idea is that radiation from the distant cosmic explosions caused an epidemic of mutations and cancer in these huge organisms. It might sound far-fetched, but the idea of supernovas as a driver of extinctions is actually not new.
The idea of extinction by supernova-induced mutation was introduced by paleontologist Otto Schindewolf in the 1950s. Schindewolf believed that supernova radiation would bathe organisms and cause a lethal spike in mutations.
Various authors have explored extinction by radiation since then, but, as Steven D’Hondt points out in a comprehensive review of extraterrestrial extinction theories, few studies propose the same mechanism twice.

(Image credit: NASA)


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6

Beauty's Role in Evolution

When we think about evolution, the phrase that comes to mind is always "the survival of the fittest." Only the strong can thrive and live on, produce offspring and pass on their lineage and genetics to the next generation.

So function is the key concept that surpasses all objectives. Other things like aesthetics are not necessary for survival. But recently, scientists are shifting their view of beauty toward having a more functional aspect rather than simply an aesthetic.

Numerous species have conspicuous, metabolically costly and physically burdensome sexual ornaments, as biologists call them. Think of the bright elastic throats of anole lizards, the Fabergé abdomens of peacock spiders and the curling, iridescent, ludicrously long feathers of birds-of-paradise.
To reconcile such splendor with a utilitarian view of evolution, biologists have favored the idea that beauty in the animal kingdom is not mere decoration — it’s a code.
According to this theory, ornaments evolved as indicators of a potential mate’s advantageous qualities: its overall health, intelligence and survival skills, plus the fact that it will pass down the genes underlying these traits to its children.

Read more on The New York Times.

(Image credit: Michael Hacker/Unsplash)


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6

Dark Matter Under A Rock

The quest for dark matter has been long and arduous, trying to find a shred of its faint traces anywhere they think it could have been which led scientists to look for the elusive evidence under the earth's crust.

For many decades, the favored candidates for dark matter particles have been hypothetical shy things called weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs. Many experiments search for them by looking for evidence that a WIMP has come by and knocked regular matter around. In this scenario, a WIMP would tap an atomic nucleus via the weak force.
After searching for these faint pings for decades, scientists have little hard evidence to show for it. Now a team of physicists in Poland, Sweden and the U.S. has another idea.
Look not to the germanium and the xenon and the scintillators in detectors buried beneath the earth’s crust, they argue: Look to the planet’s crust itself. In the rock record, where stories of our solar system’s past lay buried, we might find the fossilized recoil of startled atomic nuclei, the frozen footprints of a WIMP.

(Image credit: Shmahalo/Quanta Magazine)


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6

Eight Details We Missed in Masterpieces

If we try to fathom works of art, we might place different meanings to the elements on the canvas - the colors, the shapes, the brush strokes, the image created from the conglomeration of these - and in so doing, we might even read too much into it.

But in this collection of masterpieces, which include famous works like The Scream shown above and The Girl with the Pearl Earring, we will look closely to find some odd details that we may not have taken notice before.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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6

Plants Can Hear using Flowers as "Ears"

The latest experiments conducted at Tel Aviv University have uncovered an interesting fact about plants. Plants can hear and respond to animals in their natural environments. The way these beautiful creations interact and behave is fascinating. Isn’t it?

But if plants can hear, what are their ears? The team’s answer is surprising, yet tidy: It’s the flowers themselves. They used lasers to show that the primrose’s petals vibrate when hit by the sounds of a bee’s wingbeats. If they covered the blooms with glass jars, those vibrations never happened, and the nectar never sweetened. The flower, then, could act like the fleshy folds of our outer ears, channeling sound further into the plant. (Where? No one knows yet!) “The results are amazing,” says Karban. “They’re the most convincing data on this subject to date. They’re important in forcing the scientific community to confront its skepticism.”

Plants can hear, and they use their flowers to do so. Read more to learn about how flowers communicate with animals.

Image: Unsplash


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8

How Motown Shaped American Music

America has a rich history of music. One of the most influential genres that came out during mid-20th century was Motown music which would create such great classics from artists like The Jackson 5, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. Here is its history.

On 12 January 1959, the music sensation that changed America – and the world beyond it – was set in motion. Detroit-born 29-year-old Berry Gordy founded Tamla Records with an $800 loan from his family’s collective savings.
By the following year, he’d merge this into the Motown Record Corporation: an independent empire that would seal its genuinely iconic status, introducing legends including The Jackson 5; Diana Ross and The Supremes; Stevie Wonder; Smokey Robinson; Marvin Gaye; Martha and The Vandellas; The Commodores and many others among its hundreds of signings.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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9

Mutiny on the Sex Raft



Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genovés wanted to study human sex and violence up close, so he conceived of an experiment that may remind you of modern-day reality TV shows. In 1973, he gathered ten young and attractive volunteers to make an ocean voyage on a raft together with no chance to escape. Genovés expected alliances and conflicts to develop, which he could study in detail.

Genovés had even grander motives in planning his voyage: he sought to diagnose and cure world violence. To that end, he placed ads in international newspapers and made his selection from respondents, choosing a crew of strangers from different races and religions so that he could create a microcosm of the world. Among the five women and five men were a Japanese photographer, an Angolan priest, a French scuba diver, a Swedish ship’s captain, an Israeli doctor and an Alaskan waitress who was fleeing an abusive husband. Genovés called his boat the Peace Project, but it rapidly became known in the world’s press as the Sex Raft.

However, Genovés' assumptions about the crew's interactions were turned upside down over the three-month voyage. The experiment is the subject of a new documentary, The Raft, but you can read a short version of how the experiment proceeded at The Guardian.


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11

Katelyn Ohashi Flips Out



UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, a two-time All American and former member of USA Gymnastics' Junior National Team, scored a perfect 10.0 at the 2019 Collegiate Challenge on Saturday with this awesome routine. Besides her incredible sequences of flips, she exudes a contagious joy in what she does. It was the 6th perfect 10 of her career. -via Digg


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10

Why The Moai Statues Are There

The Moai statues of Easter Island tell a tragic tale that caused the destruction of the peoples living in the island. But before they inevitably fell to ruin, why did the Rapa Nui people build these statues in the first place? Researchers may have an answer.

Researchers say they have analysed the locations of the megalithic platforms, or ahu, on which many of the statues known as moai sit, as well as scrutinising sites of the island’s resources, and have discovered the structures are typically found close to sources of fresh water.
“What is important about it is that it demonstrates the statue locations themselves are not a weird ritual place – [the ahu and moai] represent ritual in a sense of there is symbolic meaning to them, but they are integrated into the lives of the community,” said Prof Carl Lipo from Binghamton University in New York, who was co-author of the research.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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9

Squad Leader TD-73028 Soliloquy



A stormtrooper has suffered a battle loss and is contemplating what it all means in this award-winning Shakespearean Star Wars fan film from Maxime-Claude L'Écuyer. Be warned, the disturbing content prompted io9 to post the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (800-273-8255) with this video.


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9

Meet the Lady Behind the Origins of Search Engines

The reason why we have the convenience of searching anything that we can possible think of online is due to the work of the Cambridge professor of computers and information, Karen Sparck Jones, who basically taught computers how to understand human language.

A self-taught programmer with a focus on natural language processing, and an advocate for women in the field, Sparck Jones also foreshadowed by decades Silicon Valley’s current reckoning, warning about the risks of technology being led by computer scientists who were not attuned to its social implications.
Sparck Jones’s seminal 1972 paper in the Journal of Documentation laid the groundwork for the modern search engine. In it, she combined statistics with linguistics — an unusual approach at the time — to establish formulas that embodied principles for how computers could interpret relationships between words.

Know more about her extraordinary life and work on the New York Times.

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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10

Dronestagram's 2018 International Drone Photography Contest Winners



Dronestagram has announced the winners of their annual drone photography competition. Of thousands of entries, the three winning photographs are announced here. The top prize goes to zekedrone for the above image called Hungry Hippos taken in Tanzania. The other finalists are well worth a look, too.  



Bored Panda has a ranked gallery of the 68 finalists in the Dronestagram contest.


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9

Lucky Cats Live as Tenants in a Studio Apartment!

Image credit: Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group

A studio apartment in Silicon Valley has two unusual tenants: two cats! They enjoy this swanky lifestyle thanks to their owner, Troy Good, who pays the rent. The cats, known as Tina and Louise, belong to Good’s daughter.

After Good’s daughter left for college, he was finding it hard to keep the cats in his apartment, so he found this solution to keep the cats out of his home but off the street. The apartment owner, David Callisch, also thinks he has found the perfect tenants.

Tina and Louise are Maine Coon and Bombay mixes, and they weigh about 20 pounds. Amith, Good’s daughter, is still very much attached with her cats and hopes to send for them as soon as she moves out of the dorm.

See why a philanthropic organization finds this situation ironic.


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9

Battle of the Ax Men: Who Really Built the First Electric Rock 'n' Roll Guitar?

If you want to know who built the first rock 'n' roll guitar, you first must define what a rock 'n' roll guitar really is. If we mean solid-body electric guitars, they evolved in increments from the classic acoustic, or "Spanish" guitar. Those developments are attributed mainly to two men: Leo Fender and Les Paul. They were friends, competitors, and rivals of guitar craft in Southern California in the 1940s and '50s. Ian Port wrote the book The Birth of Loud about how the rock guitar came about.    

Port’s passion for his subject grew from his love of music and, in particular, guitars. “I’ve been a guitar player pretty much my whole life,” Port told me when we spoke over the phone recently. “I think I got my first electric guitar, a Peavey Predator, when I was 10 years old. It was a beginner model, a Strat copy, but a really nice guitar. I still pick it up and play it sometimes.”

“Strat,” as in “Stratocaster,” a model introduced by the Fender Electric Instrument Company in 1954. “Strat,” as in the guitar Buddy Holly purchased in Lubbock, Texas, in the spring of 1955, and subsequently took with him when he conquered the UK in 1958. On that tour, Holly’s trio, the Crickets, were booked on a television variety show called “Val Parnell’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium,” which Port describes in The Birth of Loud as “the British equivalent of Ed Sullivan, but with even worse sound.” Watching the live telecast on the evening of March 2 were a couple of teenagers from Liverpool named John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who, Port writes, were “mesmerized by the curves of Buddy’s guitar.” The two were also impressed enough by Holly’s music and style that they changed the name of their incubating band from the Quarrymen to the Beetles, before changing it once more—Lennon, a pathological punster, thought the word “beat” was a better allusion to the music of the day than the name of a bug.

The Strat, therefore, was a guitar that the Peavey Electronics Corporation of Meridian, Mississippi, would have wanted to copy. But Leo Fender’s first guitar, the Esquire? Not so much. As Port describes it, when the Esquire was introduced in the summer of 1950 at the National Association of Music Merchants convention in Chicago, the instrument was derided by competitors as a “toilet seat with strings.” In fact, the Esquire did have a lot in common with crap...

Leo Fender and Les Paul were only the most famous of the luthiers who developed rock 'n' roll guitars. Paul Bigsby, Adolph Rickenbacker, Ted McCarty, and George Fullerton all had a hand in making the instrument that changed music forever. Read the history of the rock 'n' roll guitar at Collectors Weekly.


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10

The Disturbing Case of The Russian Doll Maker

Anatoly Yurevych Moskvin lived in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, where he was a professor of Celtic history and linguistics. He also collected dolls and was an expert on cemeteries, which only branded him as an eccentric academic, a designation which drew little notice. Because of his knowledge of cemeteries, Moskvin was commissioned to do a "census" of sorts of those buried in the cemeteries of the area. It was a job he took seriously, often camping out in the graveyards while he took notes.

It might seem odd that this man was out in the elements sleeping amongst gravestones and generally lurking about the shadows very much as a ghost or specter might, but this was his job, and no one really thought much of it at the time. This would change in 2011, when it was discovered that there had been a series of desecrated graves around the same cemeteries where Moskvin was known to frequent, although at the time there was no connection made between the two, with the academic questioned but never considered a person of interest. After all, he was a well-respected, highly regarded professor and academic out doing what he was commissioned to do, there was no reason at all to seriously think he was up to anything too nefarious out there in the dark left to his own obsession with death and his own devices. Indeed, the police ended up approaching him to actually help them find out who might be doing it.

Over the course of their conversations, police got steadily more suspicious of Moskvin, as his apartment was not only full of often life-sized, meticulously brightly dressed dolls, but also toys, books, and clothing that were meant for children, even though the man had no kids, and there was an undefinable, yet unpleasant smell permeating the air of the abode. This all seemed rather odd to the authorities, and they proceeded to do a cursory search of the place just to see what was going on. They no doubt were not expecting the show of horrors they would uncover there, and here unfurls one of the most demented cases in Russian history.

I'm sure you can see where this is going, but the details are quite gruesome. Read the story of Moskvin and his dolls at Mysterious Universe. -via Strange Company


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9

The Spinning Black Hole

Black holes suck everything that draws near its gravitational pull and in it, the environment feels like a vacuum. But what happens when a huge black hole spins at half the speed of light?

The crumbs left over from a supermassive black hole's recent meal have allowed scientists to calculate the monster's rotation rate, and the results are mind-boggling. The huge black hole, known as ASASSN-14li, is spinning at least 50 percent the speed of light, research team members said.
"This black hole’s event horizon is about 300 times bigger than the Earth," study co-author Ron Remillard, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said in a statement. (The event horizon is the limit beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape a black hole's gravitational clutches.)
"Yet the black hole is spinning so fast it completes one rotation in about two minutes, compared to the 24 hours it takes our planet to rotate," Remillard added.
ASASSN-14li was discovered in November 2014, after it tore apart a star that strayed too close. This dramatic event caused a flash of bright light, which was spotted by a system of optical telescopes called the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (hence the black hole's name).

(Image credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss; X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/D. Pasham et al: Optical: HST/STScI/I. Arcavi via Space)


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10

The Time Tunnel

As stated in previous Neatorama articles, the 1960's was the decade of many notable cultural things but one that has escaped the net until now was the Master of Disaster - Irwin Allen.

Irwin Allen, later known for his 'disaster' films such as The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, was responsible for several television series during that decade - Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, and - The Time Tunnel.

They all made for great watching but The Time Tunnel was an especial favorite of mine, and, as usual per my favorite TV programs of that era (like Thriller), it was canceled after just one season, for 30 episodes.

In a nutshell, the series concerned a top-secret government project to develop a method for time and space travel. But the program is in jeopardy due to its cost, and a Senator visits the secret facility in the first episode to demand an accounting. When one of the time scientists realizes that his project will be shut down unless progress is made, and fast, he takes it upon himself to prove out the time travel device, prematurely, it seems. He becomes lost in time and one of his friends and colleagues goes after him and is also lost. Now the government couldn't very well shut down the project and doom the two men, and so began a weekly series of time travel adventures. The two men could be tracked but not rescued for some technical reason, and each attempt at rescue merely launched the two men to a different time, space, and new adventure.

It was a costly program to produce, which is eventually what killed it, but Irwin Allen did the best he could - just look at those sets! Below is a short documentary about the series, with commentary by the starring actors, and below that is the first episode, wherein we see that our two lost time travelers find themselves aboard the Titanic on April 14, 1912. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

This and other episodes are available on YouTube, but in the 'miniature' format often employed to evade copyright claims. DVD's are also available and it should surprise no one that I own the complete set. The series was remade in 2002 so be sure to look for those from 1966-1967.

Short documentary about The Time Tunnel.

Season 1, Episode 1 (small format due to copyright)


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10

Was Jane Jetson a Child Bride?

The Jetsons was an animated prime-time series that debuted in 1962, about a nuclear family living in the distant future where everything was high-tech. Despite the fact that the show is more than 50 years gone, people on the internet are arguing about the family's backstory. George Jetson was supposedly 40 years old, and Jane was 33. And they had a teenage daughter.

If we do the math on the admittedly fictional relationship between George and Jane—specifically, when their daughter Judy was born—then Jane was just a teenager when Judy was conceived. And the seven-year age difference between George and Jane doesn’t help matters. But marrying young was less abnormal when the show premiered in 1962. In fact, the median age for marriage was at its lowest in the 1950s.

Paleofuture goes through the evidence of each character's age in the show's premier season, particularly the conflicting evidence of Judy Jetson's age, and lays out the argument that George and Jane Jetson's marriage was not particularly odd in context. If the planned live-action remake of the show ever gets off the ground, the characters' ages will no doubt be different.


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9

Space Tourism: Will It Ever Happen?

With talk of NASA sending tourists to space, will the idea of sending ordinary, untrained civilians who would likely spend millions of dollars just to see a glimpse of space and what it feels like to be surrounded by the stars? The experience would be out of this world. But before all this hype came about, a man had already thought of the idea.

Twenty years ago, one man got a crazy idea: what if he started a loyalty program ... for space travel? But it turns out that space tourism is an industry perpetually on the brink of actually happening.

Read further to know about his story.

(Image credit: David Alabo for Topic)


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9

The Grand Canyon as a Mountain

How grand is the Grand Canyon, anyway? Data visualization geek John Nelson got the idea to turn the canyon into something more familiar to us: mountains. That meant inverting a topographical map.

Some of my earliest memories of the place had to do with the trippy feeling of my eyes and mind trying to make sense of the scale. I had seen many mountain ranges and vistas, including some on the way, but the vast negative space played havoc with my perception of magnitude. I’ve felt it a few times since, but never like that first Grand Canyon overlook.

I wondered, then, if flipping the Grand Canyon into a Grand Mountain might in some way help me make sense of its scale. I’m much more accustomed to seeing the mass of something rather than the massive void of something. So, here’s what that looks like.

While it's true we are more used to seeing mountains, this Grand Mountain is smaller than the Rockies, and oddly-shaped. Mountains generally form a line where they were pushed up by collisions of the earth's crust. This one has branches, so it has a huge mass in a relatively cramped space. See the Grand Canyon inverted from several angles, and find out how Nelson made it, at Adventures in Mapping.  -via Kottke


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8

How Swedish Teens Caused The Hotline Riot

In September 1982, thousands of teenagers filled the Stockholm park for no other reason other than to meet each other in person. How did this happen? They used a glitch in the Swedish national telephone system to connect with each other like we do today through the Internet. It didn't sit well with the police.

Since it all began with a group of ingenious teenagers who took advantage of a flaw in the design of the Swedish national telephone system in order to create an unofficial hotline, the chaos at the park became known as the heta linjen-upploppet: the hotline riot.
Decades before the popularization of the internet as a decentralized place for people to connect and ideas to proliferate, the Swedish hotline did the same, and in so doing marked a change in the country’s direction.
For the teens involved in this forgotten slice of history, it was just a small rebellion. But today it’s early proof that the seams of the public square were ready to burst, even in 1982, as soon as young people figured out that technology would allow it.

(Image credit: Nicole Xu/Medium)


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10

Is Organic Really Better? Healthy Food or Trendy Scam?

What's the real difference between organic produce and fruits and vegetables without the organic label? Kurzgesagt takes us through the ins and outs of how organic produce compares, in nutrition, in how natural it is, and how organic farming affects the environment. One thing that surprised me is that organic foods can be produced using pesticides -as long as the pesticide itself is organic. Of course, all this only makes a difference if you eat a decent amount of fruits and vegetables, which most of us don't.


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