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The Biggest Planes on the Shortest Runway

Saba Juancho E Yrausquin Airport on the Caribbean island Saba has the world's shortest commercial runway, only 400 meters (1,312 ft). Only small prop planes are allowed to land there -no jets. So what's the worst that could happen? Swiss001 used a flight simulator to make some test runs on Saba, with results that range from surprisingly okay to disastrous, made quite amusing from his commentary and the fact that no one dies in a flight simulator. -via Digg


This Place is Not a Place of Honor

Many homes have some kind of work of art that consists of only a piece of pleasant text, like "Live, Laugh, Love." But look closer... this is not that at all.

When burying nuclear waste, scientists must consider the possibility that future civilizations may uncover it. A lot of thought went into how to warn those future people about the dangers, which you can read about in the previous Neatorama post Ray Cats, Artificial Moons and the Atomic Priesthood. For civilizations still able to read English, a report from Sandia Laboratories offered this suggestion:

   This place is a message... and part of a system of messages... pay attention to it!

    Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.

    This place is not a place of honor... no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here... nothing valued is here.

    What is here was dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.

    The danger is in a particular location... it increases towards a center... the center of danger is here... of a particular size and shape, and below us.

    The danger is still present, in your time, as it was in ours.

    The danger is to the body, and it can kill.

    The form of the danger is an emanation of energy.

    The danger is unleashed only if you substantially disturb this place physically. This place is best shunned and left uninhabited.

Is that ominous or what? Boy Toy Wonder made this decorative sign, or at least found it. Nuclear engineer Katie Mummah was excited to find it, since she thought she'd have to make her own. There are others almost like it, some you can even buy.  -via Boing Boing


13 Leap Day Traditions

February 29th only comes around once every four years, so it's a pretty special day for some people. Those would be the people who were born on February 29th, and only have a real birthday date four times by the time they get their driver's license. But there are traditions celebrated the world over for this rare date. The most common is that February 29 is the one day that women can propose marriage to men.

Where did the tradition begin? Supposedly Ireland in the 5th century. Saint Brigid of Kildare, arguing that women were languishing away waiting for their shy beaux to pluck up the nerve to pop the question, asked Saint Patrick to give a day they might do the deed themselves. A little haggling was involved, with Saint Patrick first suggesting every seven years, but eventually the Leap Year was settled on. According to folklore, Saint Brigid then immediately proposed marriage to the Irish saint.

As the Irish nun would have been around nine or ten years old when St. Patrick died in 461 A.D, this story is a little dubious, but no less charming for it.

Yes, it's an outdated concept, but there are specific traditions centered around the idea, including fines levied against men who turned down such a proposal in various European countries. Read about those traditions, plus what they eat in Taiwan, what they drink in London, and what they publish in France on February 29, at Buzzfeed.


When Your Choices Don’t Matter In Video Games

“Build your own story!” “Create your own path!” “Your choices matter!” These are the usual promotional words that you’ll see in video games which have multiple endings. But at some point in that game, there will come a time that, no matter what you do, the outcome will be the same. Your choices make no difference.

In this funny skit by Viva La Dirt League, the player tries his best to save the man about to be beheaded, to no avail.

(Video Credit: Viva La Dirt League/ YouTube)


Can You Lose Weight By Shivering?

In order to help our bodies generate heat when we’re cold, we involuntarily shiver. Surprisingly, shivering also has a secondary good effect on our bodies — it burns calories, and potentially fat. With that in mind, a question emerges: can we lose weight by shivering?

It almost sounds like a pitch from an informercial, but it's true: one study from 2014 found that just 15 minutes of shivering might provide similar fat-burning benefits as a full hour of moderate exercise. Our instinctive response to the cold helps stimulate a key hormone called irisin that helps the body produce a specific type of fat conducive to weight loss.

However, being cold does not necessarily translate to losing weight, and if you’re thinking of just shivering your way to weight loss instead of working out, it won’t have the same long-lasting effects on your metabolism compared to “regular trips to the gym”.

More details about this over at Discover.

(Image Credit: JillWellington/ Pixabay)


Amid Coronavirus Outbreak, Japan Prime Minister Asks Schools Nationwide To Close

Across Japan, the number of people confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus have kept surging, exceeding over 200, with some students included. This is aside from the over 700 people infected in the cruise ship Diamond Princess.

In an effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus among children in every region in Japan…

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday asked all elementary, junior high and high schools nationwide to close from Monday through the students’ spring break, which typically ends in early April.
“The government attaches the top priority to the health and safety of children, among others,” he said.
Later Thursday, the health and welfare ministry said Abe’s request does not apply to day care centers for children and after-school facilities for elementary school students.

More details about this news over at The Japan Times.

How thoughtful of the Prime Minister. I hope that the virus will no longer spread.

(Image Credit: KYODO/ The Japan Times)


A Fish That Sucks… Literally!

This is the remora fish, also known as the suckerfish, or the sharksucker, due to its powerful suction disc on its head which makes it capable of sticking and staying stuck even on fast-moving sharks and leaping dolphins. Its ability has made it a wonderful inspiration for scientific inventions.

Chinese scientists have now discovered how it works and, with colleagues in the US, have started adapting the same approach for use in robots.
Inspired, they engineered a biomimetic disc infused with vertical nylon fibres with electrostatic flocking, a technique that utilises an electric charge to align fibres.
Compared to pure silicon discs, these discs demonstrate an adhesion enhancement of 62.5% and show 3.4 times increment in attachment time, the researchers report in a paper in the journal Matter.

Unfortunately, as of the moment, the scientists could not yet copy the natural suction disc. Nevertheless, this new device could pave a way to new underwater robots which could travel the world attached to both whales and sharks.


(Image Credit: Klaus M. Stiefel/ Cosmos)


A Reminder To Not Pick Your Nose, From a 15th-Century Manners Book

As a parent, keeping your child’s finger from his nostrils can be difficult. In order to solve this problem, you decide to make up a nonsense consequence of nose-picking, such as “your fingers will be stuck”, or “you will receive a visit from an enraged snot monster.”

Nose-picking has been seen as bad manners in today’s society, but did you know that it was considered bad manners in the 15th century as well? In a 15-century book titled “Lytille Childrenes Lytil Boke”, which was recently digitized by the British Library, there’s a warning for children to “Pyke notte thyne errys nothyr thy nostrellys”, which translates to, “don’t pick your ears or nostrils”.

One of many so-called courtesy books—a genre popular in Europe between the 13th and 18th centuries—the manuscript proffers advice on table manners and etiquette, ironically offering modern readers a glimpse into the mischief of medieval children, reports Stephanie Pappas for Live Science.

This is only but one of the many warnings in the Little Book. See more of them over at Smithsonian Magazine.

(Image Credit: The British Library)


The Man Who Refused to Freeze to Death

There are many ways to die from very cold weather. Inadequate clothing can be a killer. Wet clothing can suck your body heat out, and when it dries, the evaporation also sucks heat out. Shock can disorient you and cause you to make mistakes. At high altitudes, the inability to exercise causes a lack of heat generation. And it's easy to get dehydrated, too. The BBC explains all those ways to die of cold and more, and then tells us about Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, who managed to survive everything nature threw at him when his fishing boat capsized off the coast of Heimaey, an island south of Iceland. He swam for six hours to get to shore.

It was here, in the early hours of March 12 1984, that 23-year-old Guðlaugur Friðþórsson stumbled towards salvation. His bare feet were bleeding from deep cuts caused by the volcanic rock hidden beneath the snow, his clothes soaked in seawater and frozen to his body. He should have already died several times over, but something deep inside Friðþórsson propelled him forwards.

The night was clear and cold. The air temperature was -2C (28F) but with strong winds it would have felt much colder. Despite the freezing temperatures, he paused at a bathtub filled with water left out for sheep for a brief respite. Punching through the centimetre-thick ice he began to gulp down water from the trough.

Friðþórsson's survival was a unique case, even at the time, as the four other fishermen on the boat didn't make it. Your mileage may vary. Read his story, and the dangers of hypothermia at BBC Future. -via Damn Interesting


Shimon The Robot To Launch First Album And Go On Tour

Back in 2017, Shimon the robot was more focused on playing the marimba. Now, it seems that he has learned new things along the way. He can now sing, dance, write lyrics, and compose his own melodies, and he’s about to show the world what he can do as “he’s about to go on tour to promote his first album.”

Shimon learns his craft the same way other creative robots do – by being fed huge amounts of data from existing human examples. In this case, that meant 50,000 lyrics from jazz, prog rock and hip-hop music.
With that foundation laid, Shimon can then begin assembling his own lyrics from the rules he’s learned. But there’s more to it than just repeating “yeah baby tonight” – the team made sure that Shimon understood some of the other ingredients that make music so appealing.

Take a listen to Shimon’s first single, "Into Your Mind," and learn more about Shimon’s recent changes, over at New Atlas.

Well, what do you think?

(Video Credit: Georgia Tech Center For Music Technology/ YouTube)


Box of Gold

Box of Gold

(This adorable leprekitten design is available on a variety of garments and bags)

March is but a few days away. You know what that means. Spring is in the air and it's time to get your green on! 

St. Patrick's Day is Tuesday, March 17th. In honor of this luckiest of holidays we present our failed attempt to make a limerick. The piece is titled:

The NeatoShop

There is a great shop in the Pacific Northwest. 

That sells cool stuff to make your life the best. 

Make no mistake, their printed stuff is especially great.

Take a whirl around the store, don't wait!

The fact that you stumbled upon this website is probably fate. 

Spruce up your spring wardrobe with some funky fresh designs from the NeatoShop. We specialize in curvy and Big and Tall sizes. We carry baby 6 months all the way to 10 XL shirts. We know that fun and fabulous people come in every size. 

Be sure to check out the NeatoShop for more great stuff. New and crazy items arriving all the time. 


The Creator of the World’s Most Famous Cheat Code Passes Away

Ever since its inception in 1986, the Konami Code (which is up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A) may have perhaps helped thousands of gamers. I was able to finish the game Contra because of this code. The Code was created by a man named Kazuhisa Hashimoto during the development of the side-scrolling shooter Gradius, when he discovered it to be too difficult to play during testing.

However, he forgot to remove this bypass and soon, gamers discovered that if you paused Gradius and entered the code, every power-up became theirs. While it was initially considered for removal from the title, developers worried that it could effectively break the game, so it stayed in.

The Konami Code has since then been used in dozens of games, such as Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania, and Dance Dance Revolution.

Hashimoto passed away on February 26, at the age of 79.

Rest in peace, sir. You will always be remembered.

(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)


This Cat Is Amazed With His Footprints In Memory Foam

A cat named Winston steps in amazement as he moves around an undressed memory foam mattress. At some points in the video, he slowly moves away his paw from the foam and looks at it, as if to say “did my paws just make that mark?” He is even more surprised when he sees his footprints disappear.


Via Laughing Squid

(Video Credit: mikebowers123/ YouTube)


The Correct Way To Pronounce Nevada

We might be pronouncing the word “Nevada” wrong all along, at least for Nevadans.

For the locals of the state, the case of Ne-VAD-uh vs. Ne-VAH-duh is taken seriously.

The subject is so sensitive to Nevadans that Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval sent a text to former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination John Kasich instructing him how to say the word.

So what’s the correct pronunciation of the word? The answer is, it’s up to the speaker how he pronounces it. But for the locals, the right way is Ne-VAD-uh, and pronouncing the word as Ne-VAH-duh would immediately expose a person as a foreigner to the state.

The reason for the confusion may be that Nevada is a Spanish word. Meaning “snow-capped,” Ne-VAH-duh would be the correct pronunciation if you were to say the name in its original tongue. But following a flood of Northern and Midwestern settlers to the state in the 1860s, the hard a prevailed.


Not everyone in Nevada agrees there's one true pronunciation.

But you’ll still get funny looks from the locals if you pronounced it the Spanish way, “especially if you’re a politician.”

(Image Credit: skeeze/ Pixabay)


The Mystery of How Birds Navigate Solved

How do birds navigate when they migrate to one place and go back to where they came from again? This has been one of the many long-standing mysteries in science.

For forty years, scientists have known that birds can somehow sense the magnetic field and navigate by it. But they’ve been unable to figure out how, until now. Two teams have recently identified that birds can actually visualize the magnetosphere.

The prevailing theory when it came to bird navigation was that the cells in a bird’s beak, which are rich in iron, were what helps it in navigation. In the late 1960s, however, a new theory from Klaus Schulten from the University of Illinois emerged. According to Schulten, “migratory animals, including birds, must contain a certain molecule in their eyes or brains that responds to the magnetic field.”

Ever since then, there has been a great amount of evidence that supports Schulten’s theory. And now, two teams — one from the University of Oldenburg, in Germany, and the other from Lund University — may have made Schulten’s theory the prevailing one.

The Swedish study was published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, while the German one was published in Current Biology. Both studies focus on a class of proteins known as cryptochromes.

More information about these studies over at Big Think.

(Image Credit: TheDigitalArtist/ Pixabay)

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