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1

Another Fine Day in Flight Simulator X

Witness the insanity of a multiplayer flight simulator. The air traffic controller resigns himself to the fact that no one knows what they are doing. He trolls a young kid by sending him back to the terminal to load cookies. A 747 keeps trying to crash into the tower. Then a guy shows up in a kite. This is supposed to be the airport in Atlanta, but the pilots just want to show off their moves like they're in an airshow.  -via Metafilter


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2

The Plan to Sell Texas to Great Britain

In 1843, Texas was a country unto itself, although it was pressured on both sides: the United States wanted to annex it, and Mexico wanted to conquer it. But a lawyer from New England considered a third option- selling Texas to the British. The plan was, at its heart, a scheme to free Texas' slaves.

A convinced abolitionist practicing law in what was then the independent Republic of Texas, Stephen Pearl Andrews got it into his head that, in an attempt to free Texas’s slaves, he would invite a foreign power into North America and hand over a massive chunk of it. Andrews’s attempt to free Texas’s slaves by way of an invitation to foreign interference illustrates the strange bedfellows created by “the slavery question” in the nineteenth century. Andrews, in his quixotic vision, in his idealism, ambition, and occasional crankery, was an exemplary nineteenth-century American figure.

Andrews had been living in Texas for quite a few years by then, and owned a large amount of land himself. His plan pitted abolitionism against America's lingering distaste for the British Empire. And Andrews was not even part of the Texas government! Read about his plan to sell Texas to the British, which Texans either enthusiastically loved or vehemently hated, at Jstor. -via Digg


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4

19 Powerful Groups (And People) That Secretly Rule The World

"Rule the World" in the title can be taken with a grain of salt. A few people end up becoming very powerful in a tiny niche of modern life because someone's gotta do it. The Unicode Consortium is a private non-profit company that sets standards so that programming languages and software can communicate with each other. It's an important job, and no doubt the work is hard. You could try to get a job there if you wanted to.



Other "powerful groups" are businesses that became so successful they overwhelmed any competition. If those companies didn't fulfill a need, or if they turned evil, they could lose their power because they can't exist without users or customers. But remember, if you're not paying for the service, you are the product.



I thought this one was quite odd, so I looked it up. The sentence would be more clear if it said, "They now manufacture all US money paper," instead of "paper money." American currency is still printed by the US Mint, on paper supplied by Crane Currency. The company does print money for other nations.



Then there are the quirks that come with small governments who see a way to become powerful by being different, like a tiny island nation that makes bank by selling their top level domain names or collectible postage stamps. Delaware's lack of usury laws mean that your credit card company is most likely headquartered there (or in South Dakota), and apparently they have other laws to attract business.    

That said, most of the "pictofacts" in the list at Cracked will not shock you (they don't promote scary conspiracy theories), but you'll learn something new.


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2

World's first TED talk written by an AI and presented by a cyborg

An AI (Artificial Intelligence) watched all the TED talks and created this talk from what it learned. It is presented by Alex Reben who is an MIT-trained roboticist and artist who explores humanity through the lens of art and technology.

As seen in the Washington Post

Performed by Alexander Reben


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1

Top 10 Real-Life Grinches Who Did Their Best to Steal Christmas

We all know how the Grinch tried to steal Christmas, but for some reason, there's a third version of the Dr. Seuss story in theaters now. You're also familiar with Ebenezer Scrooge, but there have been many non-fictional people who wanted to take the joy out of Christmas.  

1. Brock Chisholm was a distinguished Canadian psychiatrist who, as the first director-general of the World Health Organization, came to be called the “doctor to the human race.” But he was also known for telling an Ottawa home-and-school association in 1945: “Any child who believes in Santa Claus has had his ability to think permanently destroyed. … Can you imagine a child of 4 being led to believe that a man of grown stature is able to climb down a chimney…. That Santa Claus can cover the entire world in one night distributing presents to everyone! He will become a man who has ulcers at 40, develops a sore back when there is a tough job to do, and refuses to think realistically when war threatens.” When a reporter gave him a chance to clarify his remarks, Chisholm said that “Santa Claus was one of the worst offenders against clear thinking, and so an offense against peace.”

Chisholm was just one of the ten real-life Grinches profiled in an article at Smithsonian.  


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3

Love Letters from the Battlefields of World War II

2 days left to vote

Some of the most touching love stories are those that blossom through deep struggles and extreme situations like war.

Harley Rustad of The Walrus learned of one such love stories when his mother handed him a worn box, torn at the edges, containing dozens of envelopes, tied with yellowed string in small bundles.

The letters were love letters, sent by Rustad's grandfather, who wrote to the love of his life from the battlefields of the Second World War:

The Canadian soldier, Harry Mac­donald, my grandfather, had sent Jacquelyn Robinson dozens of letters, spanning several years—letters written in spidery cursive by candlelight as rain ­pounded down on corrugated rooftops or amid the blasts of nearby shelling. His letters were often rushed or cut short, with some started and finished with hours or even days in between. He ­frequently apologized for his messy handwriting, hoping his words would be legible. One letter, sent five days before, written in haste, contained a question for which he anxiously awaited a reply. The letter had begun with a familiar two words, “Dear Jacquie,” and ended with a ­question: “Will you marry me?”
He signed the bottom of the page, folded the sheet, and slipped it into an envelope and carefully wrote a Vancouver address. Now he waited, not knowing what would come first: death or a reply.

Read the rest of the fascinating story over at The Walrus.


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2

Detective Pikachu Teaser Trailer

At first glance, I didn't even want to watch this trailer for a CGI movie based on Pokemon. But when I read that the voice of Pikachu was Ryan Reynolds, I had to have a look. He's not just squeaking "Pika pika!" and they explain that. This looks like a pretty cool movie, if you're into this kind of thing. The premier date for Detective Pikachu is May 11, 2019.


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2

All the Ways You Can Board a Plane, Ranked by Stupidity

As more people fly, planes get bigger, and then they start charging extra for checked luggage, so everyone has a carry-on suitcase. The process of boarding a plane has become slower and more complicated, which prompted airlines to develop new processes to make it faster, or at least more bearable. Strangely, no airline uses the most efficient methods. Or maybe that's not so strange, because if the process was efficient, people wouldn't pay extra to be in the first boarding group. Anyway, you can learn about five different boarding procedures and how well they work at Thrillist.

(Image credit: Jnpet)


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0

This Is Me Remix

2 days left to vote


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4

How Edgar Allan Poe Got Kicked Out of the U.S. Army

Edgar Allan Poe dropped out of college and joined the army in 1827, when the US military was small and composed mostly of poor immigrants. Enlisted men were not highly regarded, and that might be the reason Poe changed his name to Edgar A. Perry during his service. Within two years, he rose to the rank of Sergeant Major, and then made the leap to West Point.

The evidence indicates he toed the line as an enlisted man. The same cannot be said of his time at the service academy. He entered West Point in 1830 and was court-martialed and discharged the next year. Numerous tall tales have circulated about his misdeeds as a cadet: that he often passed out drunk on campus after visits to a local tavern; that he was known to start food fights with baked potatoes lobbed in the mess hall; that he showed up to drill naked except for a hat and a cartridge belt; and most outrageously, that he murdered his tactical officer by throwing him into the Hudson River.

The real story was not quite as outrageous, but Poe was court-martialed for his behavior at West Point. What caused the budding author to join the army, excel for a time, and then flame out so suddenly? Read what we know about Poe's military career at The Daily Beast. -via Metafilter


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4

THC vs CBD: What's In Your Weed?



Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two different chemicals found in marijuana. They are very similar, but their exact chemical structure means they affect us un different ways. Sp which is better? It depends on what you are looking for. AsapSCIENCE explains in this video. -via Digg


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4

In 1474, A Swiss Rooster was Put on Trial for Laying an Egg

1 day left to vote

Nowadays, we have such a fascination of the bizarre and the unknown that no one would probably be surprised if someone said that they saw a UFO or that they have a photo evidence of mythical creatures like the Loch Ness monster or Big Foot.

But back in the days, people were absolutely terrified of things that were alien to them or that they couldn't begin to fathom which led to this unfortunate trial for a rooster in Medieval Switzerland.

The rooster was given a public defender:

On behalf of the gallinaceous prisoner, the facts of the case were admitted, but his advocate submitted that no evil animus had been proved against his client, and that no injury to man or beast had resulted. Besides, the laying of the egg was an involuntary act, and as such not punishable by law. If it was intended to impute the crime of sorcery to his client, he was entitled to an acquittal; for there was no instance on record of Satan having made a compact with one of the brute creation (Andrews, 1897, p154-156).

That was a good defense strategy, but the prosecutor countered:

The prosecutor replied that it was not a case of the devil making a compact with brutes, but that Satan actually entered into them on occasion; and he adduced the case of the Gadarene swine and the fact that these animals, though involuntary agents like the cock, had been punished (Hyde, 1915, p708).

What happened to the bird? Well, it was still the Middle Ages ...

An extract from the Chronicle of Basel: “In the month of August, in the year 1474, a cock of this city was accused and convicted of the crime of laying eggs, and was condemned to be burnt with one of his eggs in the Kublenberg, or public square, where the ceremony took place in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators.” That the owner of the unfortunate bird should not have shared his fate, is one of those marvels which sorcery alone can explain (Costello, 1861, p270).

Read the full story over at Esoterx

Image: Wikimedia Commons


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3

Farm To Table Cannabis Fed Pork In Oregon

This video from Eater features Brent & Tim visiting Moto Perpetuo Farm, where the pigs are fed a diet that includes about 25% cannabis. And it ends with them trying the pork at the restaurant the Imperial in Portland, OR.

And no, the pigs do not get high. The cannabis is raw, and needs to be heated to become psychoactive. And they're also eating the leaves & stems, versus the commercially sold flower, which have low to no THC.

While the chef at Imperial can't tell the pigs were was raised on cannabis, he can tell that they lived a good life. And after cooking the rare cut they chose on a smoking wooden plank, Brent & Tim end up delighted with a simple but amazing farm to table meal.

via Eater


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