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Freaks of Nurture

A woman goes to her mother for a little help with her job. Turns out that Mom is a bit over-extended herself. Sometimes you have to consider how much is too much and how good is good enough. -via Laughing Squid


The Curious Cons of the Man Who Wouldn’t Die

In the early 1980s, the gay community was learning about the horror of AIDS. There was no treatment, nor even a test to determine if you were infected with HIV. It took years to know if you had it, and years to die of it. Mark Olmsted watched his brother Luke get sick and fade away for years before he died. Luke used those years to become a doctor, treat HIV patients, and experiment with a cure. Mark had the virus, too, but he wanted to spend what time he had left enjoying himself. And he did, first by cashing Luke's disability checks, then by credit card fraud, and eventually by selling drugs. However, the more crimes he committed, the more HIV research was advancing. Antiretroviral drugs were developed. And although Mark got sick off and on, he kept on living. Eventually he even tried to fake his own death -several times. Read the story of Mark Olmsted and the death sentence that never came. -via Digg

(Image credit: NIAID)


60 Game of Thrones Deaths re-enacted with food in 60 seconds


Is the World Really Overpopulated?

Two hundred years ago, Thomas Malthus worried about overpopulation, when the world had a billion people. A hundred years ago, that had doubled to two billion people. Now we have seven billion. Is the world overpopulated? That question was posed to a variety of scientists, economists, and ethnographers. Each one had to clarify the meaning of the question, and explained how societies and technology have managed to expand our available resources to accommodate more people than Malthius could imagine. Raywat Deonandan, a Health Sciences professor at the University of Ottawa, says, in part.

When we talk about “overpopulation” we’re really talking mostly about food, since that’s the rate-limiting step. Insufficient food would be a crisis clearly noticeable well before ecological collapse manifests, I would think. When fears of global overpopulation were at a fevered pitch back in the 1970s, the prediction was that we would be beset by constant famines by now. Instead, even in the poorest areas of the planet, the food supply typically exceeds the recommended 2000 calories per day. This is mostly due to improvements in food production practices and technology. In fact, the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN) estimates that 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced for human consumption goes wasted each year. This is approximately 1/3 of all food produced. Most of the loss is caused by improper storage and transportation. This means that we actually have a huge calorie buffer for greater population growth, assuming that food management can be made more efficient.

However, many of them mentioned the human impact on the environment. Read what the experts say about overpopulation at Gizmodo.

(Image credit: Monocletophat123)


Loudest Possible Sound Created Underwater

Researchers have generated what could most likely be the loudest possible sound that can be created. Registering at 270 decibels, the sound was created by firing tiny jets of water through an x-ray laser.

Now, this is an interesting feat as we may not actually hear such a sound within normal circumstances. The only reason why it hit 270 dB was because they blasted the jets in water.

Oddly enough, in air, a sound can't get any higher than about 194 decibels and in water it's around 270. This is because sound is an example of something where the measurements break down at either end of the scale.

There is an upper limit to the sound that can be created through any medium. The reason is that, as sound travels, it breaks down the medium until the medium has reached its threshold and it can no longer produce a louder or more intense sound.

This is what happened when the researchers zapped micro-jets of water (between 14 and 30 micrometres in diameter) with an X-ray laser. When the short X-ray pulses hit the water it vaporized and generated a shockwave. This shockwave then traveled through the jet and formed copies of itself in a "shockwave train" made of alternating high and low pressure zones. In other words, a very loud underwater sound.

(Image credit: Linus Nylund/Unsplash)


Chinese Lunar Lander Touched Down on the Far Side of the Moon And Discovered New Secrets

Named after the Chinese goddess of the moon, China’s lunar lander Chang’E 4 landed on the far side of the moon and was the first to do so. This historic event went a long way in probing the mystery of the far side of the moon, and might help clarify how the moon evolved.

A theory emerged in the 1970s that in the moon's infancy, an ocean made of magma covered its surface. As the molten ocean began to calm and cool, lighter minerals floated to the top, while heavier components sank. The top crusted over in a sheet of mare basalt, encasing a mantle of dense minerals, such as olivine and pyroxene.
As asteroids and space junk crashed into the surface of the moon, they cracked through the crust and kicked up pieces of the lunar mantel.
"Understanding the composition of the lunar mantel is critical for testing whether a magma ocean ever existed, as postulated," said corresponding author Li Chunlai, a professor of the National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC). "It also helps advance our understanding of the thermal and magmatic evolution of the moon."
The evolution of the moon may provide a window into the evolution of Earth and other terrestrial planets, according to Li, because its surface is relatively untouched compared to, say, the early planetary surface of Earth.
Li and his team landed CE-4 in the moon's South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin, which stretches about 2,500 kilometers—about half the width of China. CE-4 collected spectral data samples from the flat stretches of the basin, as well as from other smaller but deeper impact craters within the basin.

Find out more on

(Image Credit: NAOC/ CNSA)


Study Confirms Dogs Can Smell Fear

And it's not just fear. Dogs can sense or read different kinds of human emotions and moods through smell. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Naples and the results were published in the journal Animal Cognition.

They found that when owners smelled happy and fresh, their dogs were happy and inquisitive, and much more amenable to strangers. However, when they were afraid, the opposite was true. The dogs could smell their owners fear, and they were generally much more guarded and afraid themselves, sticking close to their owners, and not interacting with humans.
Even more studies were carried out, using samples from the movies The Jungle Book and The Shining. Owners were placed in a room, with their dogs and a stranger, after having watched each of the movies. Then sweat samples were included from the owners from each of the movies when the owner was feeling either fear or joy. It turned out that the behavior of the dogs actually mirrored that of their owners.

(Image credit: Eric Ward/Unsplash)


When San Francisco’s Chinatown Was Quarantined for Plague

When the first suspected victim of bubonic plague died in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1900, the whole 12-block neighborhood was quarantined even before the tests came back. While outsiders were angry when their servants did not show up for work, Chinatown residents had more urgent problems, like getting needed supplies and health care. One young girl risked running a police barricade to seek help for her sister dying of appendicitis. Agents from the Board of Health entered to vaccinate residents against plague, using a killed bacteria formula that was known for severe side effects. Residents also feared the fate of Honolulu's Chinatown, which was burned to the ground when plague was found a few months earlier. Ng Poon Chew, who founded one of the early Chinese language newspapers in San Francisco, reported the news from inside the quarantined zone.

The city’s English-language papers expressed skepticism that the plague was real (their businessmen owners and advertisers, after all, stood to lose tourism dollars if news of a plague outbreak in San Francisco became known) and criticized the Board of Health for overreacting.

By contrast, Chew’s urgent articles reflect the unnerving experience of working in an area ringed by police. The rumors of controversial mass inoculations had “plunged the town into disorder,” reported Chung Sai Yat Po. From the start, the paper questioned the quarantine itself: “According to the epidemic prevention laws a yellow Flag should be planted in front of an epidemic-afflicted house, or a house should be encircled by tapes to warn people off. But never have we heard of blockading a whole town.” (Chew surely knew of the quarantine of Honolulu’s Chinatown before its devastating fire, so perhaps he ignored that recent incident to make his point.)

Read about that scary episode in California's history at Lithub. -via Nag on the Lake


Life with ADHD

The more we become aware about something that we had no previous knowledge or proper understanding about, the more we begin to empathize with what people deal with.

For many people, ADHD probably seems like an excuse. That those who suffer from it are annoying and a drag to deal with. But they don't see what kind of struggle people with ADHD actually go through. They simply dismiss and label them as "problem children" or "difficult people".

To give a little bit of clarity to what people with ADHD actually feel and go through in their mind and with their emotions, read the story of Andrew Askins who has had ADHD and only knew about it at 20. And the illustrations by Dani Donovan can also help explain the thought process of a person with ADHD.

-via Book of Joe

(Image credit: Dani Donovan/Twitter)


Draco's Pillow

This cute little pit bull loves his pillow. Wherever Draco goes, his pillow follows. However, one cannot avoid incidents from happening to such a delicate plaything and when one thing led to another, the pillow got ripped.

Luckily, Draco’s grandmother saw what was happening and leaped into action. “We think [the pillow] was so worn out it just easily ripped,” O’Cain said. “My mom freaked out and grabbed it and yelled, ‘I’ll fix it, Draco!’”

Once the pillow was fixed, little Draco rushed to cuddle his favorite pillow and all was well again. Despite the possibility of such incidents happening again, the O'Cain family says they will continue putting the pillow back together until Draco moves on.

(Image credit: Allie O'Cain)


The Origins of Tweety Bird

Anyone who has ever watched the original Warner Brothers cartoons will recognize the image above. It's Tweety, the avian equivalent of Bugs Bunny, created in 1942 by cartoon director and animation genius Robert Clampett, whom we last saw in here as the creator of Beany and Cecil.

Seldom has a more appealing and beloved cartoon character ever been created. Tweety was my mother's and sister's favorite, and I have to admit that Tweety kind of grew on me too, even though I was a Yosemite Sam man myself. Maybe it was because Tweety was such a badass bird - just ask Sylvester the cat.

A larger version of the above image is available here. See the nude baby in the lower left corner? That's Robert Clampett, and it was his gazing at this, his own baby picture, that inspired him to create Tweety, an original character if ever there was one. Robert Clampett at the time of Tweety's creation is seen in the upper right corner.

Tweety's debut is available on YouTube and is embedded below. In case the young'uns here don't know, the two cats are caricatures of Abbott and Costello, comic actors that were popular about the time your great-grandfathers were in short pants. And the bit at the very end is a wartime Air Raid Warden reference - it was 1942.


Bodexpress Finishes 2019 Preakness Sans Jockey

The 2019 Preakness was the first since 1996 in which the winner of the Kentucky Derby did not run, and the first since 1951 in which none of the horses that finished "in the money" at the Derby competed. However, it was memorable for a very different reason- Bodexpress ran the entire course without his jockey.


Remembering IM Pei: His Legacy in Modernist Architecture

The legendary architect of several famous edifices, including the Mesa Lab in Colorado and the Louvre Pyramid standing at the entrance of the Louvre, has passed away a few days ago at the age of 102.

His career spans over 60 years and his name has already been etched in the annals of modern architectural history. Much of his work was mostly likely influenced by his mentors, the two Bauhaus masters Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. In a way, his death marks the end of an era.

Though he has made much success in most of the projects he has done, there were a few failed projects as well including Boston's John Hancock Tower and New York's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Despite that, the legacy he left will live on for generations to come. To see a list of his most notable works, check here.

(Image credit: EdiNugraha/Pixabay)


What Happens When You Accidentally Leave Your Manuscript in a 3-Year Old's Room

Presumably Dr. Rafal Klajn, a chemist and biological engineer at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, will not make this mistake again. As fellow scientist Rob Martin quipped, the loss was catastrophic to scientific research:

The whole Twitter thread is filled with great jokes by scientists (or jokes by great scientists--one of the two) about the research, publication, and tenure processes.

-via Marilyn Terrell


Fan Petition to Remake Game of Thrones Season 8 Gets 1 Million Signatures

For those who have watched the penultimate episode of the critically acclaimed series Game of Thrones can understand the ire over the final season and its latter half. 

After eight seasons, we have reached the climax of the almost decade-long series and we all want a satisfying end to this political, fantastical saga. And a lot of people feel that the latest episodes have not been on a par with the rest of the series.

A petition started last week titled "Remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with competent writers," has surpassed one million signatures from fans who feel that "This series deserves a final season that makes sense."
The petition was first posted on Reddit's r/freefolk page, following the airing of episode 4 of Game of Thrones of the show's last season, with an impressive audience of 17.2 million viewers.
A week later, and after the airing of the penultimate episode which drew harsh criticism, the petition had already been signed by over one million of the show's fans.

Of course, it took two years from the previous season to produce the final season. To be fair, the writers did not have any source material to adapt from. But then again, the producers have also deviated on several plot points from the book so there's no surprise that we got what we got.

The petitioner for the show's final season remake also concedes that they don't expect HBO to cave in to the fans' demands but they simply wanted to send a message about their dissatisfaction. On Monday, we get to see the finale of the whole series. Hopefully, the final episode gets to redeem the rest.

(Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO; IMDb)

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