If you've ever studied the saga of the Russian Revolution in the early 20th century, you know how important it was globally. But... actually reading the convoluted story of war and politics will make your eyes glaze over. The one character that stood out to make it downright entertaining was Rasputin, the "mad monk" who was plucked from central casting to play both the wizard and the villain. He was mysterious, outrageous, and polarizing, and his story had supernatural overtones that make him a fascinating study even today. You have to train your eye to recognize Tsar Nicholas II and his family in photographs, but Rasputin stood out as an archetype. YouTuber Antimatter tells the story of Rasputin, accompanied by hundreds of still images of Rasputin himself, the artworks he inspired, and the many movies that featured him.
In 1950, the new Northgate Mall in Seattle wanted a tall Christmas tree. At the time, public Christmas trees could get a community or company a lot of publicity by setting records at the tallest ever. The administrators of Northgate Mall decided theirs would be so tall that no one would even try to top it, ever. And they got their wish.
The tree selected was a 212-foot Douglas fir, weighing about 50,000 pounds. It was cut 70 miles from the mall, and that delivery was anything but easy. A crane accompanied the split truck that carried it, to help in the spots it became stuck. In fact, they shaved off the tree's branches to move it! The branches were re-attached at the mall, which made it look downright artificial. The project ran up ten times its allotted budget.
Read about the world record Christmas tree and see more pictures at Vintage Everyday. Read more details on the transport and erection of the tree here. -via Nag on the Lake
We make decisions every day, but we don't often think about the toll those decisions have on us. Deciding between too many options will drain our mental capacity, as will making momentous decisions that we might regret, or making too many small decisions. For people who make decisions for a living, this stress can cause problems for everyone. But we can do things to reduce that cognitive load, like recognizing the triviality of small decisions and not stressing about a decision after the fact.
A household disaster led to the loss of my bedroom wallpaper. Just thinking about the difficulty of deciding on the perfect wallpaper to replace it, and the hassle of looking for it, made me decide to paint the walls instead, therefore simplifying everything. I can always paper later if I want.
This TED-Ed lesson on decision fatigue explains the concept and gives us more advice on how to reduce the stress of making decisions in our everyday lives.
The Antarctic Peninsula is the part of the continent that juts out the furthest to the north, toward Argentina. It is almost midsummer there now, and the snow is beginning to bloom a festive red and green. But those colors aren't for Christmas, and they aren't good news. The colors indicate the presence of a type of green algae that sometimes contains a red pigment. In order for the algae to thrive, temperatures have to be slightly above freezing, so that snow and ice is a watery slush. The algae bloom is occurring over a wider area every year, and affecting areas further south. meaning inland.
By some measures, average annual temperatures in Antarctica have risen by almost 3°C (5.4°F) since 1800, making it one of the areas most affected by climate change. While rising temperatures contribute to conditions that lead to algae bloom, the bloom itself is contributing to warmer temperatures. While the red and green snow may be pretty, it signals changes in the ecosystem that we may not be prepared for. Read about Antarctica's red and green snow at Atlas Obscura.
(Image credit: Jerzy Strzelecki)
A crew from the BBC TV series Planet Earth III went to Ellesmere Island, the northernmost part of Canada, to find Arctic wolves and film their everyday lives. The island is almost as large as Great Britain, though, so finding any wolves at all was not going to be easy- particularly if the wolves did not want to be found. That apparently was not the case, because suddenly, there were wolves, a whole family of them approaching curiously, wanting to make friends and then stealing the crew's supplies. It's hard to imagine wild creatures that are so unfamiliar with humans that they would approach like there's no danger. Once the wolf pack was found, filming could commence, but the crew learned how many ways life can be harsh in the Arctic. Enjoy this behind-the-scenes glimpse, but be aware that the wolves hunt for their food, which can be grisly. -via Digg
After working our whole lives, we hope to retire somewhere nice and comfortable until the end of our days, but cost of living these days, especially in some of the most affluent cities in the world are unbearably high. Still, where exactly are the best places to retire? And how much would you need to have to live out your years in retirement there?
To make things easier for the rest of us, the team at Net Credit has done the grunt work of tallying up the different retirement costs all around the world as well as for each state in the US. They have also created several charts that summarize all that information for us. The one above shows costs of retirement for different countries.
Their research highlights the most expensive country to retire requires you to have at least $1 million over 15 years. If you think that place may be somewhere in Europe or one of the states, then you're wrong. It's actually found in Asia, and the second smallest country in Asia to boot.
The cheapest place to retire in is also in Asia, although I doubt you would want to retire there as it might be quite risky. On average, the cost of retirement in the US was around $700,000. Now, looking at the data for the US states, you can guess which one is the most expensive to retire in, and it's not on the East Coast or the West Coast. Meanwhile, the cheapest state is Mississippi. -via Digg
(Image credit: Net Credit)
On average, dogs live between 10 to 13 years, but it is said that smaller dogs can live longer than larger breeds, with some living for up to 20 years. For many people who own dogs, that's certainly a shorter span of time than what we'd hope, but that's just how nature runs its course.
Now, there might be a glimmer of hope as a biotech company has been working on a drug that extends the lives of dogs, and the FDA has found it to have a reasonable expectation of effectiveness, and is close to approving it. It might be the first anti-aging drug for dogs.
The biotech company Loyal produced LOY-001, which is a drug that targets IGF-1, a growth hormone in dogs, which they believe is responsible for the shorter lifespans of larger dogs. Not only does it lengthen the dogs' lives but the drug is also designed to increase their healthspan, the number of healthy years that a dog lives.
Although this drug is designed for dogs, Loyal hopes that the insights they gain from their studies into lifespan extension for dogs can carry over to humans as well. Currently, they have other drugs under development which could target human lifespans. For now, we can be satisfied with longer lives for dogs, once the drug gets approved.
(Image credit: FLOUFFY/Unsplash)
Apparently, an average annual income of $230,000, based on a survey conducted by researchers from Princeton University and the University of Barcelona. What the researchers wanted to find out was whether citizens from three countries - the US, France, and Brazil - would be willing to give up free elections for a price. To do so, they presented pairs of hypothetical societies and let the participants choose which society they preferred.
Apart from the fact that one society in each pair will have no free elections, they also differed in other factors such as personal monthly income, collective wealth, income inequality, and the presence of public health insurance.
They found that majority of the participants highly valued democracy, however, if they were to become part of an authoritarian society, they wanted a very high price in exchange. It should be noted that the distribution of personal incomes was randomized, so that not all authoritarian or democratic societies would have very high incomes.
The right to choose who will lead a country is fundamental to any democratic nation. No matter how much one earns, the policies and laws in a country will affect the way people live their lives, so it is understandable why it is so steep a price.
(Image credit: Element5 Digital/Unsplash)
Depending on a country's estate laws, a person who dies intestate will usually have their properties inherited by the closest of kin. So, someone who dies without children will have their property given to the spouse, parents, or the nearest relative. However, the intestacy rules in England and Wales are different due to the rules set out in the Administration of Estates Act 1925 and the legal principle of bona vacantia.
Bona vacantia simply means "ownerless goods", which is what happens to a person's estate if they die without a will, and without any close kin. Relatives who are further away than first cousins cannot be considered heirs. So, in England and Wales, the law states that the bona vacantia part of an intestate person's estate will go to the crown.
Now, here's where things are a bit more interesting with King Charles III. Usually, the Treasury solicitor handles the collection of these estates. However, there is a stipulation under the Administration of Estates Act 1925 that states that the estates of residents of County Palatine in Lancaster, which includes part of northern England, shall be inherited by the Duke of Lancaster, who is currently King Charles III.
The same thing is true for the county of Cornwall, the estates of which pass on to the Duke of Cornwall, who is coincidentally also the Prince of Wales, Prince William.
Generally, the heirless estates of Lancashire and Cornwall would go to charity, but some are questioning whether this rule is fair in the first place. While the majority of England's heirless estates goes to the state, those in the two duchies above go directly to King Charles and Prince William. So, in the public's best interest, it would be best to write a will while they're ahead.
(Image credit: Dan/Unsplash)
We are often amazed when we watch people achieve extraordinary feats on television, particularly those who win large prizes on game shows by exhibiting unbelievable breadth of knowledge or skill. However, it is equally heartbreaking to find out that some of those shows are actually rigged.
In the back of our minds, we sometimes wonder whether reality shows are candid or scripted. Oftentimes, we exercise a healthy dose of skepticism toward these shows as we know how studios and networks need good ratings to get sponsorships and advertising revenues.
But for brief moments, there's a suspension of disbelief that occurs as we watch these reality shows, and we think maybe these are real. There has been a history of cheating or rigging in game shows, starting with the scandals around Charles van Doren and the game show Twenty One.
This prompted an intervention by the FCC and the passing of a law by Congress that prohibited networks from fixing outcomes on game shows. That resulted in ratings plummeting and the general public distrust of game shows, until a renaissance brought about by shows like Survivor in the 2000s. But even then, game shows seemed to have reverted to their old rigging ways.
Now, although allegations had surfaced about how Survivor producers had interfered in the first season of the show, and that they approached contestants about whom to vote, no investigations had been made by the FCC as the charges were dropped and the two parties involved reached a private settlement.
Meanwhile, another show, Our Little Genius, has been alleged of rigging as well, but producers seem to be preempting any investigation from being done by simply not airing episodes. Will the FCC once again intervene?
(Video credit: Vox)
At some point in human history, clothes began to become layered, with undergarments as the base covering and other types of clothes on top of them. Depending on the era, societies and cultures had their own conventions and fashion trends when it came to the style and design of their underwear.
The earliest evidence that people had worn underwear seem to be that of the Badarian culture who had lived from around 5000 to 4000 BC. They had used linen and leather as materials, with linen being typically used in daily life, and leather being used by women during their period.
Ancient Romans also used underwear, and what type of underwear they wore seemed to indicate their social status. Loincloths were either made of wool or silk, depending on a person's class. Romans would wear what is called a subligaculum, like a pair of shorts, underneath their togas, while women would also wear a strophium, the ancient Roman equivalent of a bra.
In the Middle Ages, those loincloths evolved into a pair of pants called braies, which had a flap called a codpiece, which is like a zipper during those days. Apart from that, they would wear a chemise, an undershirt worn by both men and women, and tucked either into the men's braies or the women's petticoats.
From the 19th century on, underwear designs had begun to veer toward what we have today, as the availability of cotton made mass production much easier. In 1913, the first modern bra was invented by Mary Phelps Jacob and in 1935, the first jockey briefs were sold by Coopers Inc.
(Image credit: Esteban Bernal/Unsplash)
What do you call someone from Wyoming? I mean, just for the fact that they are from Wyoming? They are a Wyomingite, which is new to me. The term that we give to people from a certain place is called a demonym. It has nothing to do with demons, but is a combination of deme, the root of demographic, and nym, meaning name. Massachusettsan and Connecticuter were new to me also, possibly because I've never been to those states. See the map larger here. Can you spot the one state whose demonym has nothing to do with the name of the state? The demonyms are taken from Wikipedia's List of demonyms for US states and territories. Aside from the official demonyms, the list also has common nicknames for those people, and some interesting information. For example, we often say Hawaiian when we mean someone from Hawaii, but that word is reserved for people of Native Hawaiian descent, while the official demonym for someone from Hawaii is Hawaii Resident. -via TYWKIWDBI
(Image credit: HMElza)
I honestly thought we'd settled this two years ago, but apparently people are still arguing about whether Die Hard should be classified as a Christmas movie. I mean really, if Miracle on 34th Street can be a Thanksgiving movie, a Christmas movie, and a courtroom drama all at once, why can't Die Hard be a Christmas film and an action movie? Sure, it's a matter of opinion, but those who think it's not a Christmas movie are wrong.
Disney+ UK recruited Alfie Boe and The Kingdom Choir to sing an anthem explaining all the reasons why Die Hard should be part of our Christmas movie marathons from now until the end of time. It is set to the tune of "Ode to Joy" from Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. -via Geeks Are Sexy
If you were in the Netherlands two days ago, you may have noticed that some people wore pancakes on their heads, but you sensibly decided not to get involved and instead that nothing was out of the ordinary.
Now, back in the safety of Not the Netherlands, you can find out why the Dutch were engaging in this practice. The Independent explains that November 29 is Saint Pancake (Sint Pannekoek) Day.
This is a fairly recent tradition that dates back to only 1986, when cartoonist Jan Kruis published a comic of a character described as a Twelfth Century monk who came to be known as Saint Pancake. On his feast day, celebrants wear pancakes on their heads.
Since that time, Dutch fans of the comic have worn pancakes on their heads on November 29, and the practice has become a tradition across the country.
-via Dave Barry
illusory yellow pic.twitter.com/xIxX6eHMcq— Akiyoshi Kitaoka (@AkiyoshiKitaoka) November 30, 2023
Japanese experimental psychologist Akiyoshi Kitaoka (previously at Neatorama) consistently fools our eyes with his optical illusions. In this graphic, you see three circles: cyan, magenta, and yellow. But there is no yellow. You can zoom in or use an eyedropper tool to check, but Nicolas Jacob already did that for us.
What we perceive as a yellow circle are white stripes, the same as in the background of the graphic. What's different is that the yellow circle area is made up of black stripes instead of the blue stripes that the rest of the graphic has. In subtractive color mixing, the perception of color is produced by the absorption of light by other colors. Yellow is produced by the absence of blue, so the black and white stripes on a field that is otherwise blue-striped produces the illusion of yellow. Notice the green area of overlap is made of cyan and black. Color is in the eye of the beholder. Or is it? -via Boing Boing