<![CDATA[Neatorama]]>https://www.neatorama.com/vosa/theme/neato2/media/logo.gifNeatoramahttps://www.neatorama.com/<![CDATA[Where Did the Idea for That Song Come From?]]>

One of the funnier lines in the 1974 movie Young Frankenstein was when Igor (Marty Feldman) told Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) to "Walk this way." He didn't mean the direction, he meant the style. "No, walk THIS way!" A few months later, the song "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith was a hit. My friends and I would dance to it, and walk like Igor during the chorus. Yeah, it was funny. It turns out the song was actually named after that line in that movie! The music came first, then guitarist Brad Whitford saw Young Frankenstein and found the line so funny he insisted on using it for the song. Steven Tyler wrote the rest of the lyrics around the phrase. If that's not wild enough, wait until you find out exactly who inspired the song "Dude Looks Like a Lady."

Mental Floss takes a deep dive into the origins and meanings of 25 hit songs that you never really thought about, many of which changed considerably between the inspiration and the finished product. You can also listen to the list in the form of a video at the same link.  

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One of the funnier lines in the 1974 movie Young Frankenstein was when Igor (Marty Feldman) told Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) to "Walk this way." He didn't mean the direction, he meant the style. "No, walk THIS way!" A few months later, the song "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith was a hit. My friends and I would dance to it, and walk like Igor during the chorus. Yeah, it was funny. It turns out the song was actually named after that line in that movie! The music came first, then guitarist Brad Whitford saw Young Frankenstein and found the line so funny he insisted on using it for the song. Steven Tyler wrote the rest of the lyrics around the phrase. If that's not wild enough, wait until you find out exactly who inspired the song "Dude Looks Like a Lady."

Mental Floss takes a deep dive into the origins and meanings of 25 hit songs that you never really thought about, many of which changed considerably between the inspiration and the finished product. You can also listen to the list in the form of a video at the same link.  

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<![CDATA[Six Amazing Stories About America's Toughest President]]>

Theodore Roosevelt was America's 26th president, after raising cattle in North Dakota, fighting in the Spanish-American War, and serving as governor of New York, among other adventures. Many legendary but true tales are told about Teddy, including the one in which the Teddy bear was named for him. But there are always more. I have written about Roosevelt several times, and one even I hadn't heard of happened sometime around 1884.

Roosevelt entered a bar in Montana and saw that one guy was so drunk he had already shot the clock on the wall three times. Holding two guns, he mocked Roosevelt for wearing glasses and ordered him to fix drinks. Roosevelt managed to convince the drunk fellow that he was no danger, then punched him good, knocking the guy unconscious to the cheers of everyone in the saloon. The drunk left town and never came back. When Roosevelt told the story in his autobiography, he included a lot more details. You can read that one and five other true stories that show just how fearless Roosevelt was, at Cracked.

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Theodore Roosevelt was America's 26th president, after raising cattle in North Dakota, fighting in the Spanish-American War, and serving as governor of New York, among other adventures. Many legendary but true tales are told about Teddy, including the one in which the Teddy bear was named for him. But there are always more. I have written about Roosevelt several times, and one even I hadn't heard of happened sometime around 1884.

Roosevelt entered a bar in Montana and saw that one guy was so drunk he had already shot the clock on the wall three times. Holding two guns, he mocked Roosevelt for wearing glasses and ordered him to fix drinks. Roosevelt managed to convince the drunk fellow that he was no danger, then punched him good, knocking the guy unconscious to the cheers of everyone in the saloon. The drunk left town and never came back. When Roosevelt told the story in his autobiography, he included a lot more details. You can read that one and five other true stories that show just how fearless Roosevelt was, at Cracked.

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<![CDATA[Behold the Unkillable Gus Fring]]>

Drug lord Gustavo Fring (played by Giancarlo Esposito) made quite an impression as the toughest of tough guys on Breaking Bad. He managed to bluff his way through and survive many attempts on his life during the series with style and menace, so (spoiler coming) when he was eventually assassinated by a nonverbal colleague in a wheelchair, we were doubly shocked. What kept him alive through so much mayhem? Plot armor, produced by the character's popularity. By the time Fring actually died, we were all convinced he would be around forever. YouTuber Alternative Cuts (previously at Neatorama) spent two months editing together a video illustration of how bulletproof Fring really was. He confidently steps into danger, brought by all the badasses from Breaking Bad, then by other movie characters who shoot to kill. The walk gets longer and longer as every cinematic killer, no matter how ridiculous, is thrown at him. That's one tough character. -via Geeks Are Sexy

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Drug lord Gustavo Fring (played by Giancarlo Esposito) made quite an impression as the toughest of tough guys on Breaking Bad. He managed to bluff his way through and survive many attempts on his life during the series with style and menace, so (spoiler coming) when he was eventually assassinated by a nonverbal colleague in a wheelchair, we were doubly shocked. What kept him alive through so much mayhem? Plot armor, produced by the character's popularity. By the time Fring actually died, we were all convinced he would be around forever. YouTuber Alternative Cuts (previously at Neatorama) spent two months editing together a video illustration of how bulletproof Fring really was. He confidently steps into danger, brought by all the badasses from Breaking Bad, then by other movie characters who shoot to kill. The walk gets longer and longer as every cinematic killer, no matter how ridiculous, is thrown at him. That's one tough character. -via Geeks Are Sexy

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<![CDATA[The Day Bar Code Scanning Changed Shopping Forever]]>

June 26, 1974 - This was the fateful day when the whole process of grocery shopping was revolutionized forever. It was on this day when Sharon Buchanan, an employee at Marsh Supermarket in Troy, rang up a seemingly insignificant pack of chewing gum for Clyde Dawson, Marsh's head of development and research.

The whole event seems to be utterly normal, mundane, and unamusing to many of us today, but that's only because the supermarket scanner has been a part of our daily lives, and for many of us, we don't remember a time when we went grocery shopping without it waiting for us at the counter.

If we had lived before that time, then not only did we have to wait for the cashier to ring up our groceries, but we even had to check whether the tally was accurate at the end of it all, since store clerks manually entered the price of each item on the cash register, instead of just swiping them on that red laser which automatically identifies the item and how much it costs.

But it was thanks to the invention of Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard "Bob" Silver, who created the bar code system which enabled data to be stored in that rectangular label with lines of varying thickness and numbers written on top, that we are able to enjoy the speed and convenience of grocery shopping today.

Their invention was a remarkable step toward the ease of scanning grocery items. It wasn't until the National Cash Register Company and Spectra-Physics collaborated on developing the Spectra-Physics Model A, or the ancestor of the modern-day supermarket scanner, that the whole landscape of grocery shopping experienced a game-changing breakthrough.

With the new machines, it only took minutes to get through a whole bag of groceries as the device can easily detect loads of information and display them for verification, and it also reduced the number of mistakes that could have been committed with a manual system of input.

The original Spectra-Physics Model A currently sits at the National Museum of American History's electronic collection. Though it was a big, bulky steel-encased machine, much of the magic happened inside, out of sight from people who could care less what was going on. But that was the wonder of "frictionless" technology, something designed to be an "invisible" technology.

Today, we often take it for granted especially with the advent of the self-checkout register. But let's just take a moment to remember that on June 26th, 50 years ago, our lives would forever change.

(Image credit: National Museum of American History)

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June 26, 1974 - This was the fateful day when the whole process of grocery shopping was revolutionized forever. It was on this day when Sharon Buchanan, an employee at Marsh Supermarket in Troy, rang up a seemingly insignificant pack of chewing gum for Clyde Dawson, Marsh's head of development and research.

The whole event seems to be utterly normal, mundane, and unamusing to many of us today, but that's only because the supermarket scanner has been a part of our daily lives, and for many of us, we don't remember a time when we went grocery shopping without it waiting for us at the counter.

If we had lived before that time, then not only did we have to wait for the cashier to ring up our groceries, but we even had to check whether the tally was accurate at the end of it all, since store clerks manually entered the price of each item on the cash register, instead of just swiping them on that red laser which automatically identifies the item and how much it costs.

But it was thanks to the invention of Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard "Bob" Silver, who created the bar code system which enabled data to be stored in that rectangular label with lines of varying thickness and numbers written on top, that we are able to enjoy the speed and convenience of grocery shopping today.

Their invention was a remarkable step toward the ease of scanning grocery items. It wasn't until the National Cash Register Company and Spectra-Physics collaborated on developing the Spectra-Physics Model A, or the ancestor of the modern-day supermarket scanner, that the whole landscape of grocery shopping experienced a game-changing breakthrough.

With the new machines, it only took minutes to get through a whole bag of groceries as the device can easily detect loads of information and display them for verification, and it also reduced the number of mistakes that could have been committed with a manual system of input.

The original Spectra-Physics Model A currently sits at the National Museum of American History's electronic collection. Though it was a big, bulky steel-encased machine, much of the magic happened inside, out of sight from people who could care less what was going on. But that was the wonder of "frictionless" technology, something designed to be an "invisible" technology.

Today, we often take it for granted especially with the advent of the self-checkout register. But let's just take a moment to remember that on June 26th, 50 years ago, our lives would forever change.

(Image credit: National Museum of American History)

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<![CDATA[The Importance of Boredom in Our Fast-Paced Lives]]>

We no longer have the problem of 'being bored' these days because there's always so much that we can do. Smartphones, high-speed internet, and a smorgasbord of content online has afforded us all with so much to do that we often find ourselves not having enough time to actually consume all the media that we want to consume or do every task on our to-do list.

We are constantly on the go, always striving for a certain future goal, or always making sure that we spend every minute of every day efficiently in order for us to be as productive as we can be. And as a result, we're doing more over a shorter period of time, but at the same time, there are record levels of stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, and other mental health issues stemming from this evolved culture of productivity and the need to do more, and to get to our destination as quickly as we can.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with striving to achieve our goals. But, as Megan Feldman Bettencourt writes on Deseret, it appears that the casualties of this fast-paced mindset and lifestyle in the modern age have been rest, relaxation, hobbies, unstructured time, in-person social connection and even boredom itself.

Pushing ourselves and taking on challenges is a noble thing to do. It helps us discover the limits of our stamina, strength, abilities, and capabilities. But sometimes, we forget the other side of the coin which requires our bodies to recharge and replenish the energy that it spent. Overstimulation and the bombardment of information on our brains have us gasping for air to breathe, mentally and emotionally.

Honing in on boredom, Bettencourt asserts that boredom is just as important to children's development as all the other structured activities we plan for them. Just as much as we are engaged in the activities that we do in order for us to maximize the output and benefit we get from them, we also need to take time to disengage ourselves from the things that occupy us physically, mentally, and emotionally.

As an example, Albert Einstein often spent time away from friends, family, and work simply to do nothing but think. Boredom, or this act of being present in the moment, allows our minds to run free. It gives our imagination time to be creative and to resolve that itching feeling of "wanting to do something". It's that nagging deep inside us that will cause us to create "play" for ourselves.

This type of "play" is defined by child development experts as an activity a child chooses to do, rather than is obliged to do. It's basically those moments when we were kids and we created our own games from nothing, making our own rules, and enforcing those rules among the participants. It's those times when we as children built forts, told stories among ourselves which transported us to a world of fantasy built by our own imagination.

Nowadays, we merely consume what others have already built for us, and we wonder why we get so easily bogged down and stressed. We have no time to chill, although it is understandable that working adults find themselves in situations like these more often than not, but perhaps, this is the time that society experiences a paradigm shift. Workplace burnout has risen to alarming levels, with at least 55% of people saying they can't find work-life balance.

Perhaps this is the negative side effect of having technology and information at the tips of our fingers and in the palms of our hands. And perhaps culture has nudged us to such a point where it's horrendous to be doing nothing. But we need to recognize that human beings need time to flourish and to just be.

So, maybe as working adults, the best thing we can do is to simply find those moments of "just being, and doing nothing". To find rest for our minds, even as we simply space out while at work, or as we find ourselves sitting outside a cafe, looking into the horizon, and just wondering how wonderful life really is at that moment in time.

(Image credit: Katie Moum/Unsplash)

]]>

We no longer have the problem of 'being bored' these days because there's always so much that we can do. Smartphones, high-speed internet, and a smorgasbord of content online has afforded us all with so much to do that we often find ourselves not having enough time to actually consume all the media that we want to consume or do every task on our to-do list.

We are constantly on the go, always striving for a certain future goal, or always making sure that we spend every minute of every day efficiently in order for us to be as productive as we can be. And as a result, we're doing more over a shorter period of time, but at the same time, there are record levels of stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, and other mental health issues stemming from this evolved culture of productivity and the need to do more, and to get to our destination as quickly as we can.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with striving to achieve our goals. But, as Megan Feldman Bettencourt writes on Deseret, it appears that the casualties of this fast-paced mindset and lifestyle in the modern age have been rest, relaxation, hobbies, unstructured time, in-person social connection and even boredom itself.

Pushing ourselves and taking on challenges is a noble thing to do. It helps us discover the limits of our stamina, strength, abilities, and capabilities. But sometimes, we forget the other side of the coin which requires our bodies to recharge and replenish the energy that it spent. Overstimulation and the bombardment of information on our brains have us gasping for air to breathe, mentally and emotionally.

Honing in on boredom, Bettencourt asserts that boredom is just as important to children's development as all the other structured activities we plan for them. Just as much as we are engaged in the activities that we do in order for us to maximize the output and benefit we get from them, we also need to take time to disengage ourselves from the things that occupy us physically, mentally, and emotionally.

As an example, Albert Einstein often spent time away from friends, family, and work simply to do nothing but think. Boredom, or this act of being present in the moment, allows our minds to run free. It gives our imagination time to be creative and to resolve that itching feeling of "wanting to do something". It's that nagging deep inside us that will cause us to create "play" for ourselves.

This type of "play" is defined by child development experts as an activity a child chooses to do, rather than is obliged to do. It's basically those moments when we were kids and we created our own games from nothing, making our own rules, and enforcing those rules among the participants. It's those times when we as children built forts, told stories among ourselves which transported us to a world of fantasy built by our own imagination.

Nowadays, we merely consume what others have already built for us, and we wonder why we get so easily bogged down and stressed. We have no time to chill, although it is understandable that working adults find themselves in situations like these more often than not, but perhaps, this is the time that society experiences a paradigm shift. Workplace burnout has risen to alarming levels, with at least 55% of people saying they can't find work-life balance.

Perhaps this is the negative side effect of having technology and information at the tips of our fingers and in the palms of our hands. And perhaps culture has nudged us to such a point where it's horrendous to be doing nothing. But we need to recognize that human beings need time to flourish and to just be.

So, maybe as working adults, the best thing we can do is to simply find those moments of "just being, and doing nothing". To find rest for our minds, even as we simply space out while at work, or as we find ourselves sitting outside a cafe, looking into the horizon, and just wondering how wonderful life really is at that moment in time.

(Image credit: Katie Moum/Unsplash)

]]>
<![CDATA[What Was Plato Doing in His Final Hours?]]>

Apparently, he was listening to a Thracian slave girl playing the flute, and he was even lucid enough to critique the girl's lack of rhythm despite being in the throes of a fever. That's according to some newly deciphered passages from a papyrus scroll which had been buried after Mount Vesuvius' eruption in AD 79.

Plato is said to have died around 348 BC at the age of 80 or 81. He was said to have been buried within the Academy of Athens, the world's first university. The specific location was not known until new research about the papyrus has revealed that his burial site was in the garden of the Academy of Athens.

The team of Prof. Graziano Ranocchia, a senior researcher and Italian papyrologist at the University of Pisa, has recently uncovered these details with the use of the most advanced imaging diagnostic techniques which enabled them to reconstruct the layers of text within the papyrus which is stuck to each other.

Other information recovered from the papyrus included the fact that Plato was sold into slavery in the 4th century BC, either at the time when the Spartans invaded the island of Aegina or shortly after Socrates' passing in 399 BC. Before, it was believed that Plato had been sold into slavery in 387 BC, but once the team unfolded the papyrus and found sequences of hidden letters, the details of these events in Plato's life became clearer.

Currently, the technique that they are using is still in its early stages but it may prove very useful for other papyri that may have sequences in them which cannot easily be read without unfurling it, realigning the fragments of text, and virtually putting them back to their original positions, so as to restore the flow of thought and context of the passages.

Thankfully, the scroll had been preserved at the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, which was discovered in 1750. Scholars have been attempting to decipher the scrolls for years, but due to the condition that the scrolls are in, only the most identifiable parts could be read and translated.

According to archaeologist Domenico Camardo, the impact of the Vesuvius eruption could be compared to the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima during the second world war, because the heat of the pyroclastic surge led to the instantaneous death of many in Pompeii.

(Image credit: GeArtAp/Wikimedia Commons)

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Apparently, he was listening to a Thracian slave girl playing the flute, and he was even lucid enough to critique the girl's lack of rhythm despite being in the throes of a fever. That's according to some newly deciphered passages from a papyrus scroll which had been buried after Mount Vesuvius' eruption in AD 79.

Plato is said to have died around 348 BC at the age of 80 or 81. He was said to have been buried within the Academy of Athens, the world's first university. The specific location was not known until new research about the papyrus has revealed that his burial site was in the garden of the Academy of Athens.

The team of Prof. Graziano Ranocchia, a senior researcher and Italian papyrologist at the University of Pisa, has recently uncovered these details with the use of the most advanced imaging diagnostic techniques which enabled them to reconstruct the layers of text within the papyrus which is stuck to each other.

Other information recovered from the papyrus included the fact that Plato was sold into slavery in the 4th century BC, either at the time when the Spartans invaded the island of Aegina or shortly after Socrates' passing in 399 BC. Before, it was believed that Plato had been sold into slavery in 387 BC, but once the team unfolded the papyrus and found sequences of hidden letters, the details of these events in Plato's life became clearer.

Currently, the technique that they are using is still in its early stages but it may prove very useful for other papyri that may have sequences in them which cannot easily be read without unfurling it, realigning the fragments of text, and virtually putting them back to their original positions, so as to restore the flow of thought and context of the passages.

Thankfully, the scroll had been preserved at the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, which was discovered in 1750. Scholars have been attempting to decipher the scrolls for years, but due to the condition that the scrolls are in, only the most identifiable parts could be read and translated.

According to archaeologist Domenico Camardo, the impact of the Vesuvius eruption could be compared to the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima during the second world war, because the heat of the pyroclastic surge led to the instantaneous death of many in Pompeii.

(Image credit: GeArtAp/Wikimedia Commons)

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<![CDATA[Photo of Alleged <i>Titanic</i> Iceberg Auctioned Off]]>

It has been 112 years since RMS Titanic sank several miles off the coast of Canada, and the photo above is said to have been taken two days after the event, and it apparently shows the iceberg that sank the ship. It was taken by the chief embalmer, John Snow Jr., who was on the Cable Ship Mackay-Bennett to help recover some of the bodies for burial.

Since more than 1,500 passengers died, the crew who were tasked to search for the bodies and collect them had to choose which ones will be taken back home and which ones will be laid to rest on the waters. They were able to recover 306 bodies, and they used the class system in the Titanic as reference to determine who needed to be brought back and who could be buried at sea.

The reason behind this was that passengers who had first-class tickets were more than likely to require the body to be identified so that their bereaved family may be paid from their life insurance. One such example would be Isidor Straus, the owner of Macy's department store, who was embalmed on the ship and placed in a coffin.

Second-class passengers were also embalmed and wrapped in a canvas, meanwhile, the 116 third-class passengers recovered by the crew had unfortunately been laid to rest at sea.

As for the photo, it has never been officially verified that it was the actual iceberg that sunk the Titanic, however, given the timing of the events, it is probable that the photo taken by John Snow Jr. aboard the Mackay-Bennett was the iceberg.

It went up for auction on April 27th, and originally, it was estimated to sell for £4,000 - 7,000 (around $5,000 - 8,700). Henry Aldridge auction house was able to sell it for £17,500 or about $22,000, as part of their Auction of Titanic, White Star and Transport Memorabilia sale.

Other items that went up for sale during the auction included John Jacob Astor IV's gold pocket watch engraved with his initials, and it sold for £1.175 million (around $1.4 million), as well as the violin case of the ship's bandleader Wallace Hartley which sold for £360,000 (around $450,000). Hartley's violin had already been sold in 2013 for £1.1 million (around $1.7 million).

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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It has been 112 years since RMS Titanic sank several miles off the coast of Canada, and the photo above is said to have been taken two days after the event, and it apparently shows the iceberg that sank the ship. It was taken by the chief embalmer, John Snow Jr., who was on the Cable Ship Mackay-Bennett to help recover some of the bodies for burial.

Since more than 1,500 passengers died, the crew who were tasked to search for the bodies and collect them had to choose which ones will be taken back home and which ones will be laid to rest on the waters. They were able to recover 306 bodies, and they used the class system in the Titanic as reference to determine who needed to be brought back and who could be buried at sea.

The reason behind this was that passengers who had first-class tickets were more than likely to require the body to be identified so that their bereaved family may be paid from their life insurance. One such example would be Isidor Straus, the owner of Macy's department store, who was embalmed on the ship and placed in a coffin.

Second-class passengers were also embalmed and wrapped in a canvas, meanwhile, the 116 third-class passengers recovered by the crew had unfortunately been laid to rest at sea.

As for the photo, it has never been officially verified that it was the actual iceberg that sunk the Titanic, however, given the timing of the events, it is probable that the photo taken by John Snow Jr. aboard the Mackay-Bennett was the iceberg.

It went up for auction on April 27th, and originally, it was estimated to sell for £4,000 - 7,000 (around $5,000 - 8,700). Henry Aldridge auction house was able to sell it for £17,500 or about $22,000, as part of their Auction of Titanic, White Star and Transport Memorabilia sale.

Other items that went up for sale during the auction included John Jacob Astor IV's gold pocket watch engraved with his initials, and it sold for £1.175 million (around $1.4 million), as well as the violin case of the ship's bandleader Wallace Hartley which sold for £360,000 (around $450,000). Hartley's violin had already been sold in 2013 for £1.1 million (around $1.7 million).

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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<![CDATA[BARK Air's First Flight Has Taken Off]]>

Remember that airline for dogs we shared with you last time? Well, BARK Air has finally got off the ground on Wednesday afternoon, carrying with it six dogs of varying breeds along with 11 humans, which included both passengers and crew, on a flight from New York to Los Angeles.

The idea was given birth with dogs in mind first, and their human companions second. For those who have taken their dogs along traveling, it might have been quite a hassle to figure out the best logistics to get your dog comfortable on the flight, since air travel was never designed to consider our pets as travel companions.

But with BARK Air, the primary focus of the experience are the dogs, and they intend to ensure a first-class experience for dogs in every step of the process from booking to arrival. Matt Meeker, the CEO and co-founder of the airline's parent, BARK, has shared that he had been working on the idea for over a decade.

Inspired by his late Great Dane Hugo, Meeker wanted to cater to other pet owners who wanted to bring their dogs along with them but have had to leave them in the cargo area as there would normally not be enough space for large dogs in the cabin. Furthermore, airlines have also become more strict with regard to emotional support animals, so BARK Air may just be a timely response to the current climate of air travel with pets.

Of course, because BARK Air does not own any planes themselves, they have partnered with Talon Air, which will provide the plane along with the crew and pilots, so it stands to reason that a one-way ticket will cost a hefty amount, specifically, $6,000 from New York to LA, and $8,000 from New York to London. This is inclusive of one human and one dog (or two dogs as long as they weigh under 50 lbs) and Meeker hopes that as the idea takes off, figuratively and literally, that these costs can be lowered over time.

It's basically a dog paradise in the air, as BARK is dedicated to pampering their passengers' pooches throughout the whole journey. Currently, the planes can accommodate as many as 18 human passengers, but BARK has limited that number to 10 to give way for more space for the dogs to play around. Human passengers are advised however, to keep their dogs on a leash, and out of courtesy, ask others for permission before approaching, so that order can be maintained on the flight.

Although it's a comfort for dog owners, there are concerns that dogs may misbehave despite all the precautions taken. However, on the most recent test flights that Meeker conducted, the dogs did not become unruly at all. Instead, they were all calm as a cucumber, which surprised the people on the experimental flights.

BARK has received an overwhelmingly positive response. They are getting tons of requests to add more destinations, like Chicago, on their schedule, which they have already published through the end of the year to accommodate people who buy their tickets in advance. At the moment, they have four round-trip cross-country flights a month, and they are thinking of opening a new route from New York to Paris in the fall.

(Image credit: BARK Air/Instagram)

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Remember that airline for dogs we shared with you last time? Well, BARK Air has finally got off the ground on Wednesday afternoon, carrying with it six dogs of varying breeds along with 11 humans, which included both passengers and crew, on a flight from New York to Los Angeles.

The idea was given birth with dogs in mind first, and their human companions second. For those who have taken their dogs along traveling, it might have been quite a hassle to figure out the best logistics to get your dog comfortable on the flight, since air travel was never designed to consider our pets as travel companions.

But with BARK Air, the primary focus of the experience are the dogs, and they intend to ensure a first-class experience for dogs in every step of the process from booking to arrival. Matt Meeker, the CEO and co-founder of the airline's parent, BARK, has shared that he had been working on the idea for over a decade.

Inspired by his late Great Dane Hugo, Meeker wanted to cater to other pet owners who wanted to bring their dogs along with them but have had to leave them in the cargo area as there would normally not be enough space for large dogs in the cabin. Furthermore, airlines have also become more strict with regard to emotional support animals, so BARK Air may just be a timely response to the current climate of air travel with pets.

Of course, because BARK Air does not own any planes themselves, they have partnered with Talon Air, which will provide the plane along with the crew and pilots, so it stands to reason that a one-way ticket will cost a hefty amount, specifically, $6,000 from New York to LA, and $8,000 from New York to London. This is inclusive of one human and one dog (or two dogs as long as they weigh under 50 lbs) and Meeker hopes that as the idea takes off, figuratively and literally, that these costs can be lowered over time.

It's basically a dog paradise in the air, as BARK is dedicated to pampering their passengers' pooches throughout the whole journey. Currently, the planes can accommodate as many as 18 human passengers, but BARK has limited that number to 10 to give way for more space for the dogs to play around. Human passengers are advised however, to keep their dogs on a leash, and out of courtesy, ask others for permission before approaching, so that order can be maintained on the flight.

Although it's a comfort for dog owners, there are concerns that dogs may misbehave despite all the precautions taken. However, on the most recent test flights that Meeker conducted, the dogs did not become unruly at all. Instead, they were all calm as a cucumber, which surprised the people on the experimental flights.

BARK has received an overwhelmingly positive response. They are getting tons of requests to add more destinations, like Chicago, on their schedule, which they have already published through the end of the year to accommodate people who buy their tickets in advance. At the moment, they have four round-trip cross-country flights a month, and they are thinking of opening a new route from New York to Paris in the fall.

(Image credit: BARK Air/Instagram)

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<![CDATA[How Ancient Romans Viewed Corruption]]>

I'm pretty sure many of us criticize our public officials and leaders whenever we hear of them being involved in corruption scandals, malversation of funds, or other cases of graft and fraud. It's nothing new to us that such incidents happen on a regular basis in government and politics.

We'd prefer to do away with it, but such activities have become embedded in the political arena, especially in large governments. And it's not limited to democratic nations either, as even authoritarian or socialist regimes have their own systems which give leeway to such activities. All that is to say that it seems corruption is a given in any government, and even ancient Athens and Rome saw rampant political corruption. But what did they think about it?

According to political scientist Lisa Hill, the ancient Athenians and Romans considered it a big issue in society, one that could cause the collapse of social cohesion, because it was seen as a ticket for the rich as a "free" get-out-of-jail card, or simply to skirt the law for their own personal interests. Much like what we modern-day civilians think of corrupt practices like bribery, ancient Romans were incredibly concerned about the widespread bribery going on back then.

Even Plato went so far as to accuse officials of being "bribe-takers and money-lovers". His student, Aristotle, proposed a system of transparency that made sure that "magistrates cannot possibly make money", perhaps by having fiscal measures for checks and balances, to monitor where the money is coming from, and where it's going.

The situation even became desperate as people were taking large loans to be used for bribing officials which apparently caused such a financial crisis that it led to a civil war in 49-45 BCE. And the resolution for this whole political and economic catastrophe was a law that allowed for the prosecution of bribery clubs and individual members. Furthermore, the elimination of elections drastically reduced the frequency of bribery as Senate hopefuls could no longer buy their way into getting seats in the theater.

These days, cases of bribery and extortion are no longer so direct and easily uncovered, which makes it difficult for the public to hold their officials to account. This greatly increases the need for people like whistleblowers or upstanding political figures and common individuals to ensure that such practices can be contained.

Although such social norms as "quid pro quo" are a means of maintaining good relations among people, as it was back in ancient Athens where people thought the act of giving and receiving gifts was a crucial part of a civilized society, it can be taken to extreme levels in which this practice is used to gain power for personal enrichment to the detriment of the public.

Political corruption is a tale as old as time. And just as we are concerned about it today, the ancient Romans and Athenians were equally troubled by the deleterious effects it brought into their society.

(Image credit: Cesare Maccari/Wikimedia Commons)

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I'm pretty sure many of us criticize our public officials and leaders whenever we hear of them being involved in corruption scandals, malversation of funds, or other cases of graft and fraud. It's nothing new to us that such incidents happen on a regular basis in government and politics.

We'd prefer to do away with it, but such activities have become embedded in the political arena, especially in large governments. And it's not limited to democratic nations either, as even authoritarian or socialist regimes have their own systems which give leeway to such activities. All that is to say that it seems corruption is a given in any government, and even ancient Athens and Rome saw rampant political corruption. But what did they think about it?

According to political scientist Lisa Hill, the ancient Athenians and Romans considered it a big issue in society, one that could cause the collapse of social cohesion, because it was seen as a ticket for the rich as a "free" get-out-of-jail card, or simply to skirt the law for their own personal interests. Much like what we modern-day civilians think of corrupt practices like bribery, ancient Romans were incredibly concerned about the widespread bribery going on back then.

Even Plato went so far as to accuse officials of being "bribe-takers and money-lovers". His student, Aristotle, proposed a system of transparency that made sure that "magistrates cannot possibly make money", perhaps by having fiscal measures for checks and balances, to monitor where the money is coming from, and where it's going.

The situation even became desperate as people were taking large loans to be used for bribing officials which apparently caused such a financial crisis that it led to a civil war in 49-45 BCE. And the resolution for this whole political and economic catastrophe was a law that allowed for the prosecution of bribery clubs and individual members. Furthermore, the elimination of elections drastically reduced the frequency of bribery as Senate hopefuls could no longer buy their way into getting seats in the theater.

These days, cases of bribery and extortion are no longer so direct and easily uncovered, which makes it difficult for the public to hold their officials to account. This greatly increases the need for people like whistleblowers or upstanding political figures and common individuals to ensure that such practices can be contained.

Although such social norms as "quid pro quo" are a means of maintaining good relations among people, as it was back in ancient Athens where people thought the act of giving and receiving gifts was a crucial part of a civilized society, it can be taken to extreme levels in which this practice is used to gain power for personal enrichment to the detriment of the public.

Political corruption is a tale as old as time. And just as we are concerned about it today, the ancient Romans and Athenians were equally troubled by the deleterious effects it brought into their society.

(Image credit: Cesare Maccari/Wikimedia Commons)

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<![CDATA[How Did English Spelling Get So Weird?]]>

We all know about the ridiculous varying pronunciations of cough, tough, bough, through, and though, which are all spelled alike but cannot be made to rhyme successfully. It's just one of the many ways that English is thoroughly weird, and very hard to master if it's not a language you learned in early childhood. How did English spelling get this way? To begin with, English is a mishmash of other languages, constantly changing over the centuries. Ever tried to read something in Old English? When the spoken language began to be a printed language, there was no authority over spelling, like a bureau of language standards. Words were spelled whatever way the printer wanted, usually to give some idea of how they were pronounced. But pronunciation changes over time and place, and the printed word, for the most part, stays the same. That's why we can still read Shakespeare, but we are probably not using the same word pronunciation. -via Laughing Squid

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We all know about the ridiculous varying pronunciations of cough, tough, bough, through, and though, which are all spelled alike but cannot be made to rhyme successfully. It's just one of the many ways that English is thoroughly weird, and very hard to master if it's not a language you learned in early childhood. How did English spelling get this way? To begin with, English is a mishmash of other languages, constantly changing over the centuries. Ever tried to read something in Old English? When the spoken language began to be a printed language, there was no authority over spelling, like a bureau of language standards. Words were spelled whatever way the printer wanted, usually to give some idea of how they were pronounced. But pronunciation changes over time and place, and the printed word, for the most part, stays the same. That's why we can still read Shakespeare, but we are probably not using the same word pronunciation. -via Laughing Squid

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<![CDATA[Medieval Memes with Meme Master Medievalist Matt]]>

What period of history is most like the early internet? It had to be the medieval era, when the only books were hand-copied by bored monks and no one knew how to read anyway. No one knew what an elephant looked like, either, but you only needed paint to give it a try. There were so many jokes illustrated in pictures that you have to wonder about the ones they told.

No one appreciates those things more than Matt Ponesse, history professor at Ohio Dominican University. At Instagram, he's medievalistmatt, who gives us a glimpse into the way things were back then with a dose of laughs.

Looking through his gallery of memes can suck up the rest of your day. And always check the captions for more pithy remarks and the source of each image, which sometimes even includes the year. I may have learned a little about medieval history along the way. I bet Ponesse's classes are a blast. -via Boing Boing

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What period of history is most like the early internet? It had to be the medieval era, when the only books were hand-copied by bored monks and no one knew how to read anyway. No one knew what an elephant looked like, either, but you only needed paint to give it a try. There were so many jokes illustrated in pictures that you have to wonder about the ones they told.

No one appreciates those things more than Matt Ponesse, history professor at Ohio Dominican University. At Instagram, he's medievalistmatt, who gives us a glimpse into the way things were back then with a dose of laughs.

Looking through his gallery of memes can suck up the rest of your day. And always check the captions for more pithy remarks and the source of each image, which sometimes even includes the year. I may have learned a little about medieval history along the way. I bet Ponesse's classes are a blast. -via Boing Boing

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<![CDATA[Sorting Hat Cookies]]>

あなたはどの寮に入りたい?🦁🦡🦅🐍
おみくじみたいな『組み分け帽子』のアイシングクッキー作りました🧙‍♂️🪄

Hogwarts House Reveal Cookies!🦁🦡🦅🐍
Which house would you want to be in?🏰#ハリーポッター#sortinghatpic.twitter.com/3s7lBbBOZF

— アイシングクッキー作家Fiocco (@Fiocco_cookies) July 28, 2023

Shiori, a Japanese chef who goes by the online name of Fiocco Cookies, makes extraordinary confections that look like perfectly-decorated sweets. And if you break them open, you'll also find even more sweets inside!

These cookies that serve in place of the Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter franchise is an especially ingenious application of the cookie design. I hope that you pick the right cookie lest you end up in the wrong house!

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あなたはどの寮に入りたい?🦁🦡🦅🐍
おみくじみたいな『組み分け帽子』のアイシングクッキー作りました🧙‍♂️🪄

Hogwarts House Reveal Cookies!🦁🦡🦅🐍
Which house would you want to be in?🏰#ハリーポッター#sortinghatpic.twitter.com/3s7lBbBOZF

— アイシングクッキー作家Fiocco (@Fiocco_cookies) July 28, 2023

Shiori, a Japanese chef who goes by the online name of Fiocco Cookies, makes extraordinary confections that look like perfectly-decorated sweets. And if you break them open, you'll also find even more sweets inside!

These cookies that serve in place of the Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter franchise is an especially ingenious application of the cookie design. I hope that you pick the right cookie lest you end up in the wrong house!

Be sure to check out Shiori's YouTube channel, which illustrates the creation of entire cookie dioramas.

-via Massimo

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<![CDATA[The Last Chance Lagoon: Managing Human Nature and the Ecosystem]]>

The Great Lakes of the US and Canada are the world's largest freshwater ecosystem in the world, and those who manage it have been battling invasive Asian carp for 50 years, to the point that migrating fish must go through gates and be sorted or rejected by species. But as conservationists are starting to win the battle against carp, they are confronted with a growing number of goldfish in the lakes. They started out as discarded pets, but in the wild, they grow to enormous size and reproduce like no one's business. They displace native species and wreck the ecosystem.  

Goldfish are commonly a beloved family pet, but when they outgrow their tank or otherwise must be discarded, people understandably don't want to take the easy way out, like, say, feeding it to the cat. Flushing a goldfish seems cruel, and does not guarantee their death. To solve this dilemma, the Erie Zoo launched the Last Chance Lagoon, a place to "retire" pet goldfish without releasing them into the wild. The zoo has taken in 52 pet goldfish. That doesn't seem like much, but it may inspire other communities to launch similar programs to keep goldfish out of public waterways.   

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The Great Lakes of the US and Canada are the world's largest freshwater ecosystem in the world, and those who manage it have been battling invasive Asian carp for 50 years, to the point that migrating fish must go through gates and be sorted or rejected by species. But as conservationists are starting to win the battle against carp, they are confronted with a growing number of goldfish in the lakes. They started out as discarded pets, but in the wild, they grow to enormous size and reproduce like no one's business. They displace native species and wreck the ecosystem.  

Goldfish are commonly a beloved family pet, but when they outgrow their tank or otherwise must be discarded, people understandably don't want to take the easy way out, like, say, feeding it to the cat. Flushing a goldfish seems cruel, and does not guarantee their death. To solve this dilemma, the Erie Zoo launched the Last Chance Lagoon, a place to "retire" pet goldfish without releasing them into the wild. The zoo has taken in 52 pet goldfish. That doesn't seem like much, but it may inspire other communities to launch similar programs to keep goldfish out of public waterways.   

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<![CDATA[How the Golden Theorem Led to the Commercial Gambling Industry]]>

People have always gambled because the rush of winning is perceived to be worth the risk of losing. In the 1600s, enterprising folks figured out that the real money is in hosting other people's gambling addictions, and they were right, but they didn't understand the odds even then. Meanwhile, mathematicians began studying the science of probability.

The owners of gambling houses sought to increase their profits by guiding patrons to games with long odds, which works because those patrons didn't understand probability, either. But the brothers Johann and Jacob Bernoulli came up with the law of large number or long averages in 1713 (the Golden Theorem), which proved that even with only a very small advantage, the house will always win if people play the games long enough. Abraham De Moivre tried to explain the concept to gambling parlor owners, but they and the gambling public were mostly illiterate and understood numbers in only the simplest terms. It took a long time for operators to realize that they could make plenty of dough even without cheating, and fair games would draw more participants.

History professor John Eglin explains this small advantage using roulette, in which the house has a small chance of winning without risking any money. That small chance will eventually make a casino tons of money, but it took hundreds of years for people to understand that. Read how mathematical laws make money for casinos at The Conversation.  -via Damn Interesting
 
(Image credit: Thomas Rowlandson)

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People have always gambled because the rush of winning is perceived to be worth the risk of losing. In the 1600s, enterprising folks figured out that the real money is in hosting other people's gambling addictions, and they were right, but they didn't understand the odds even then. Meanwhile, mathematicians began studying the science of probability.

The owners of gambling houses sought to increase their profits by guiding patrons to games with long odds, which works because those patrons didn't understand probability, either. But the brothers Johann and Jacob Bernoulli came up with the law of large number or long averages in 1713 (the Golden Theorem), which proved that even with only a very small advantage, the house will always win if people play the games long enough. Abraham De Moivre tried to explain the concept to gambling parlor owners, but they and the gambling public were mostly illiterate and understood numbers in only the simplest terms. It took a long time for operators to realize that they could make plenty of dough even without cheating, and fair games would draw more participants.

History professor John Eglin explains this small advantage using roulette, in which the house has a small chance of winning without risking any money. That small chance will eventually make a casino tons of money, but it took hundreds of years for people to understand that. Read how mathematical laws make money for casinos at The Conversation.  -via Damn Interesting
 
(Image credit: Thomas Rowlandson)

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<![CDATA[Ancient Greek Armor Tested in Battle]]>

In 1960, an ancient suit of armor was discovered in the Greek village of Dendra. It has been dated to around 1,500 BC, making it a part of the Mycenaean civilization, which ruled Greece at the time. The armor is made of plates of copper alloy, held together by leather strips, and would cover a soldier from face to knees, supplemented with arm and leg pieces and a helmet decorated with pieces of boar tusks. The Dendra specimen was in strangely good shape, and might never have been used in battle. That brought up a question- was this armor designed to be used during warfare, or was it ceremonial? It seemed to be too hot and heavy to be worn by actual warriors.  

To see if this armor could be used in battle, 13 exact replicas were made of the armor, and actual Greek soldiers from the 32nd Marines Brigade of the Hellenic Army were recruited to fight while wearing those replicas. To recreate battle conditions from 3,500 years ago, the soldiers ate a meal typical for the military of that time and were put in a temperature-controlled environment. Fight choreography was taken from Homer's Iliad. They fought for 11 hours with replicas of Mycenaean weaponry. You can see a video from the experiment here. Read about this re-enactment, er, experiment, and what we've learned about the Dendra armor at Smithsonian.

(Image credit: Zde)

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In 1960, an ancient suit of armor was discovered in the Greek village of Dendra. It has been dated to around 1,500 BC, making it a part of the Mycenaean civilization, which ruled Greece at the time. The armor is made of plates of copper alloy, held together by leather strips, and would cover a soldier from face to knees, supplemented with arm and leg pieces and a helmet decorated with pieces of boar tusks. The Dendra specimen was in strangely good shape, and might never have been used in battle. That brought up a question- was this armor designed to be used during warfare, or was it ceremonial? It seemed to be too hot and heavy to be worn by actual warriors.  

To see if this armor could be used in battle, 13 exact replicas were made of the armor, and actual Greek soldiers from the 32nd Marines Brigade of the Hellenic Army were recruited to fight while wearing those replicas. To recreate battle conditions from 3,500 years ago, the soldiers ate a meal typical for the military of that time and were put in a temperature-controlled environment. Fight choreography was taken from Homer's Iliad. They fought for 11 hours with replicas of Mycenaean weaponry. You can see a video from the experiment here. Read about this re-enactment, er, experiment, and what we've learned about the Dendra armor at Smithsonian.

(Image credit: Zde)

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