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The Forgotten Trans History of the Wild West

The American West during the 19th century attracted investors, adventurers, criminals, ambitious settlers, and oppressed people yearning to breathe free in those wide open spaces. It's no wonder that transgender people took advantage of the opportunity to live life the way they wanted to. Historian Peter Boag of Washington State University was researching the history of gender-nonconformity in Portland, Oregon, but stories from the American frontier intrigued him until he expanded his studies into the entire country west of the Mississippi. The freedom that came with those wide-open spaces appealed to trans people who had to hide their true selves in the crowded East. Newspapers covered the outrageous stories from the West, including many of men who made a name for themselves, only to be found having female anatomy at their deaths, and others whose secrets were discovered when they committed crimes- crimes that included cross-dressing.     

It was easy for tabloids and historians of the time to explain away trans men as a quirk of the frontier. It was, after all, a land dominated by men: violent, physically demanding, and steeped in the oppression of women. It seemed logical that certain women might choose to disguise themselves as men for safety, or to gain access to power and agency—with no queer motive. “If people thought you were a man, you wouldn’t be bothered or molested, there’s good evidence that some women dressed as men to get better paying employment,” Boag says. The best job most women could hope for in the Old West was cooking or housekeeping. On the other hand, someone assigned female at birth who passed for a man could earn real wages.

They could get into real trouble, too, as the newspapers of the era loved to exploit lurid tales of gender nonconformity. Trans women, on the other hand, kept a much lower profile, since choosing to live openly as a woman was dangerous, hard to explain, and was a step down in status. But there are stories that survive of trans women as well as trans men from the Old West that you can read about at Atlas Obscura.

(Image source: Minnesota Historical Society)


Lieutenant Dan Goes to the Beach

Lieutenant Dan is a one-year-old hound who lives in Pensacola, Florida. He was born with nonfunctional back legs, which were eventually amputated. By the time he was eight weeks old, he had learned to walk on his two front legs! Like his namesake, Dan has wheels for everyday getting around, but dispenses with them just fine when he goes swimming. -via Digg


"Wacky Pack" Shoes Update Shoe-Tying Technology

Tying shoes is sooo last century. We can do better. Thanks to shoe designer Jeff Shen, we have. His Wacky Pack line explores novel if not revolutionary ways of attaching shoes to your feet, including drawstrings, zippers, and top straps that snap on and off.

A suggestion for Mr. Shen: make shoes that attach with proprietary screws, like a slightly off-size Torx. Include a single matching wrench with each pair of shoes.


The “KonMari” Method: Does it Really Spark Joy?

Marie Kondo is known for her helpful tips in cleaning and organizing things. Her mindset in cleaning is simple: keep the things that spark joy, and throw away those that don’t. (In other words, decluttering). These things that can be either kept or thrown away can be anything found in your home. After applying her mindset into your cleaning process, most likely you’ll end up having more things to throw away than to be kept. Materialistic people would most likely have a painful experience in discarding things.

“For hoarders, objects can represent comfort and security,” says James Gregory, a clinical psychologist and expert on hoarding at the University of Bath. In the most extreme cases, hoarding is recognised as a medical disorder that can rob people of their quality of life. One study by researchers at Yale University used brain scans to show that for people with the disorder, throwing out objects activates a part of the brain that’s also responsible for processing pain.
Most of us may not feel so strongly about our possessions, but things that are tied to emotionally significant memories can nevertheless represent a piece of your identity that is difficult to discard. When you struggle to part with that jersey you wore on the junior varsity basketball team, for example, you are not really clinging to the shirt itself. Instead, you’re hanging onto the memories represented by that now-tattered item of clothing you probably won’t wear again. Its sentimental value may make giving the jersey away feel like giving up a piece of your own identity, says Gregory.

But can throwing away things “that no longer spark joy” really lead to a better and happier life? This is what science has to say.

Scientific research suggests Kondo is on to something and the effects of tidying can leave us feeling invigorated and satisfied.
“One of the obvious advantages to a tidy house is that being able to easily locate things will cause you less stress,” says Chris Stiff, a lecturer in psychology at Keele University. There is evidence that tidy environments help us think more clearly. For example, researchers at the University of Navarra found volunteers made more mistakes inputting data in a messy environment, than in a neat one.

Know more details about the study over at BBC.

(Image Credit: Free-Photos/ Pixabay)


The Gorilla Crow

If this were just a still picture, you might think it was an illusion or a Photoshop job. But this is a crow, standing funny. Very funny. People likened it to a gorilla posing on all fours, showing off his muscular arms. Dubbed "Crowilla," this bird sparked a series of fan art and funny memes. Then Dr. Kaeli Swift, a corvid expert, gave us the lowdown.

Swift has more to tell us about this unusual crow, which you can read along with the crowilla art, at Bored Panda.


These Wind Turbines Float On Sea To Produce Energy

There have been ideas of floating solar panel islands in order to produce energy without having to take up too much land space. Now, we hear of another alternative energy solution, the floating wind turbines. These turbines have been operated by Scotland's Hywind since 2017.

Proving out the business case had until now deterred most companies. “The time needed to attain profitability is long, and the sums of money required are large, considering the uncertainty in the eventual market,” states the International Renewable Energy Agency. But Hywind Scotland, located 15 miles (24 km) from shore in 345 ft (105 m) of water, appears to have proven out the case.
Over a stormy three-month period from November 2018 to January 2019, the turbines survived extreme conditions while churning out 65% of their maximum capacity as a North Atlantic hurricane sent swells topping 27 ft.

This project which has become a business started 15 years ago. Today, they are the first floating wind farm in the world.

(Image credit: Joshua Bauer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory/US Department of Energy)


This 70-Year Old Woman Is A Barista at a Hip Coffee Shop

If you think old people are just good at sitting down and reading and then falling asleep, then this woman will prove you wrong. Meet Auntie Pim, the 70-year old barista behind the counter of Mother Roaster, one of Bangkok’s new hipster coffee shops.

At Mother Roaster, every bean of coffee is ground and pressed by Pa Pim’s withered but energetic hands. Fittingly, her chatter with regulars is sprinkled with young’un jargon and trendy English vocab.

Not only does Pa Pim brew coffee; she also gives people some advice in life.

“When you really love something, you can do it every day. You know the word, ‘passion’?”

She also talks about the benefits of running the coffee shop.

“I wanted to get out of the house,” Pa Pim said, when asked why she took up the grind. “I make my own coffee at home every day anyway. This is just changing the place I make it, while making money doing something I love. I also get to socialize.”

Pa Pim usually runs the shop alone, but sometimes her son shows up to help her.

Know more about Pa Pim and her shop over at Khaosod English.

(Image Credit: Mother Roaster/ Facebook)


Daughter Surprises Stepdad with a Tear-jerker Father's Day Gift

Sophia's stepdad, Brian would leave her a note to inspire her every day when she was going to during middle school to inspire her every day. Now, Sophia who is 20 and in college, decided it's finally time to return the favour (or gift) for Father’s Day.

The Father’s Day gift is in the form of a framed collection of all the notes Brian had left for her. Watch his reaction to the gift below:


Now if you excuse me, I'm going to get some tissues to wipe my tears away.

via Popsugar


Me At The Summit

It was four years ago that we published 7 Reasons Not to Climb Mt. Everest. Since then, things have only gotten worse. Eleven people have died making the attempt so far in 2019, and who can forget the image of a crowded single-file line waiting to make the summit?   

After a show about the dangerous business of tourists climbing an ever-more-crowded Mt. Everest, John Oliver and his show Last Week Tonight launched a website that lets you take a shortcut to that photograph you could have spent many thousands of dollars and risked your life getting. The Top of Mount Everest is a generator in which you upload your face from the comfort of your chair and bam! You can tell everyone you climbed the highest mountain in the world. Not that anyone would believe it. You can take a friend, a spouse, or a pet if you like.  


KFC to Release Cheetos Chicken Sandwich on July 1

KFC will be releasing a limited edition KFC Cheetos Chicken Sandwich on July 1. It is a fried chicken sandwich with mayo and Cheetos sauce, with crunchy Cheetos at the bottom. Does it taste good? I guess we’ll just have to find out along the way. For now, we’ll have to patiently wait for the first day of July.

Chester Cheetah, the official mascot of Cheetos, promoted the product via his tweet. The replies on his tweet were divided. One stated that she loves Chester, but the said sandwich “was unholy”, and that the “sandwich gods are weeping”. Another stated that he’s “sickened but curious.”

What are your thoughts on this one?

(Image Credit: Chester Cheetah/ Twitter)


Egyptian Fruit Bats and Mice Can “Sync” Their Brainwaves in Social Situations

Two papers, one for each respective animal, were published on June 20. The papers show that Egyptian fruit bats and mice, respectively, can “sync” brain waves” in social situations. Two years ago, there was a previous study that showed that the “rhythms of brainwaves between two people taking part in a conversation begin to match each other”. But why was this current study on the Egyptian fruit bats and mice important?

"Animal models are really important for being able to study brain phenomena at levels that we can't normally access in humans," says Michael Yartsev of the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and senior author of one of the papers. "Because bats are extremely social and naturally live in highly complex social environments, they are a great model for tackling important scientific questions about social behavior and the neural mechanisms underlying it."
"If you think of the brain like a black box that receives input and gives some kind of output in response, studying social interactions is like trying to understand how the output of one box provides input to another, and how those two boxes work together and create a loop," says Weizhe Hong of the Departments of Biological Chemistry and Neurobiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and senior author of the other paper. "Our research in mice allows us to peer inside these black boxes and get a better look at the internal machinery."
Previous studies showing how neural activity in humans becomes synchronized during social interactions have used technologies like fMRI and EEG, which look at brain activity with relatively coarse spatial and temporal resolutions. These studies found that when two people interact, structures in their brain simultaneously decode and respond to signals from the other person.
Because the new studies looked at neural activity at a level of detail that is difficult to obtain in humans, they could explore the detailed neural mechanism underlying this phenomenon.

Learn more about this brain synchronization study over at Science Daily.

(Image Credit: Dawson/ Wikimedia Commons)


27 Neat Conveniences of Japan

Juliane Loeffler of BuzzFeed visited Japan and saw clever inventions, gadgets, and amenities that she encountered. Some of them you probably already know about, such as Japan's futuristic toilets. Others are simpler, such as this baby seat inside a toilet stall. Where are you going to put your baby while using the toilet? There's a better place than the floor in this stall.

Of all the countries in the world, Japan is number one on my wish list to visit. It seems almost like a fabled wonderland. Even if the reality differs greatly from the photos and stories, I'd love to see what is there.


A Slug Disables 26 Trains in Kyushu for About an Hour

May 30. Kitakyushu City. At about 9:40 in the morning a power failure occurred on the JR Kagoshima Line between Moji Station and Space World Station. This also happened at the Nippo Line running between Kokura and Jono Stations.

In total, 26 train routes were affected running in all directions and approximately 12,000 people were affected by delays that lasted about an hour.

The source of the blackout was found out to be a disconnector switch. It is a switching device used to isolate an element of the electrical network so that the network operators can proceed to repairs safely.

...because their purpose is safety, they must be guarded from people and the elements. In this case, the switch was housed in a box with all its openings sealed with glue to prevent insects or small animals from wandering inside.
However, when rail crews opened a disconnector switch on the Kagoshima Line between Moji and Kokura Stations, they found the body of a slug that appeared to have been electrocuted. More impressive than the JR workers’ ability to determine the slug’s cause of death is the fact that it got in the highly-sealed container to begin with.

(Image Credit: Michel_van_der_Vegt/ Pixabay)


The Smart Light Bulb Is Apparently Real and Hilariously Preposterous

I've dug around and determined that the C by GE Smart Light Bulb is not an elaborate hoax. This video is apparently real. If it isn't, then GE is playing a long con.

How many early adopters does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but it takes a long, long time to do it and requires a complex procedure that must be conducted precisely.

C by GE Smart Light Bulbs are a General Electric product that, unlike conventional light bulbs that normal and sane people would use, can be controlled by smartphones, Bluetooth, and Alexa. My lamps have switches on them that permit me to turn them on and off, but that's apparently insufficient in modern times.

Would you like to reset your smart bulbs? Then follow these instructions. You will need a timer and more patience than I have.

Ready? Okay. First update your firmware (light bulbs now come with firmware) to version 2.7. Then:

OFF (minimum 5 seconds)
ON (8 secs)
OFF (2 secs)
ON (2 secs) – yes, two seconds, not eight
OFF (2 secs)
ON (2 secs)
OFF (2 secs)
ON (2 secs)
OFF (2 secs)
OFF (2 secs)
ON (8 secs) – again
OFF (2 secs)
Wait for the three flashes

-via Dave Barry


'Lorax' Tree Dies, Dr. Seuss Fans Mourn

The tree that people say inspired one of Dr. Seuss's classic tales 'The Lorax' has died and a lot of Dr. Seuss fans are mourning over its death.

According to the story, the Lorax was supposed to be the voice of the trees because the trees can't speak for themselves. But, as with all things, we cannot avoid the natural course of life, and the Monterey Cypress standing on La Jolla California has gone the way of the world. However, the city of San Diego will still investigate on the possible causes of the tree's untimely death.

"The city is still trying to determine the cause and the Monterrey Cypress was estimated to be between 80 and 100 years old," Graham said. The city hopes to plant a replacement tree nearby, he said.
Seuss fans far and wide are devastated to hear the news not only because of the connection to their childhoods, but because the themes of The Lorax still ring so true. With shows like Netflix’s Our Planet being produced left and right, it’s clear that the battle for environmental protection is on, and at higher stakes than ever.

(Image credit: City of San Diego)

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