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What’s With Humpback Whales?

Humpback whales are a fascinating species. These winged whales are massive and majestic, but much of their lives, mannerisms, and habits are a mystery. Hakai Magazine takes a ride with humpback researcher Jackie Hildering to dive deeper on these majestic animals: 

There it is. Or he, or she; gender indeterminate. Hildering, a humpback whale researcher, angles the boat toward the humpback and throttles the engine way back. She’s just close enough to try—with a telephoto lens—to identify this individual by its unique tail flukes. Humpbacks are fairly slow swimmers, but this one’s moving quickly enough to make her job hard. A mobbing is going down. A half-dozen or so Pacific white-sided dolphins are swarming the whale Hildering will later identify from photographs as an adult named Squall.
“Dolphins can be mystical and complete jerks—both things are true,” says Hildering, cofounder and director of education and communication at the Marine Education and Research Society (MERS), a Port McNeill–based nonprofit studying humpback and minke whales. These dolphins are potentially “learning by provocation,” as Hildering puts it. They’re clearly having a ball. Not so the humpback. This “most gamesome and light-hearted of all the whales,” as Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick, described the humpback, must be feeling mighty put upon. The whale flexes its body, trying to shake off the harassers, and rolls, exposing one of those great pectoral fins, which can be as long as one-third of its body length, and which gives the humpback its scientific genus, Megaptera, or “large-winged.” Squall slaps it down, apparently in self-defense, like a sweet-natured grandmother whacking a mugger with her umbrella.

image via Hakai Magazine


The Future Of Music Festivals Are … Minecraft Livestreams?

If we can’t attend big music festivals due to the pandemic, there’s always another option: doing the festivals online. A virtual EDM festival takes the online festival to another level by hosting it entirely in Minecraft. Paper Magazine has more details: 

"What if we can build Electric Forest in Minecraft?" recalled Jackie McGuire, CEO of Rave Family. "What if we could build the forest in Minecraft and invite some of our friends?"
What began as visions of McGuire's favorite festival spots transformed into vivid recreations of the locations built with blocks in Minecraft, and the vibrant atmosphere of outdoor festivals came to life.
The in-game festival contains all of the elements that attendees are missing from their usual summer outings: camping (attendees can set up on empty plots with friends to showcase their building skills and compete for a private DJ session), games and live music are all key in the Rave Family Block Fest experience.
Some of the top EDM artists made their way onto the lineup: Steve Aoki, Rudimental, Diplo and Deadmau5 are all set to take the virtual stage over the course of the festival. Additionally, McGuire explained that Paris Hilton will host parties for ravers in her digitally recreated nightclub.

image via Paper Magazine


This Retreat Defies The Architectural Norm

Casa OchoQuebras is a weekend home perched near the Chilean coast and the Pacific Ocean. A project of a Chile-based developer Ochoalcubo, the structure is a convention-defying dwelling composed of three geometric volumes, one of which tips at a seemingly precarious angle between the two others, as Plain magazine detailed: 

The retreat was inspired by the primitiveness of its location, and this is manifested in the studio’s choice of materials – wood and concrete – and in its bulky, unembellished silhouette. “We chose to move backwards towards the archaic, not as a nostalgic escape but as a natural filter against clichés,” the studio says. “In an era where the hunger for novelty is threatening architecture to become immediately obsolete, we looked for timelessness.”
The horizontal volume houses a self-sufficient living area, with a staircase leading to the vertical part of the home appointed with additional bedrooms and an access to the rooftop terrace. Rounding it up is a basic fire pit enclosed by the leaning, hollowed-out form that acts as a chimney stack. Stripped to the mere essentials, the home seamlessly blends into the brutal landscape. “We expect these pieces to age as a stone, acquiring some of the brutality of the place but still being gentle for people to enjoy nature and life in general.”

image via Plain magazine


So Which Zebra Is Looking At The Camera?

This photograph taken by Sarosh Lodhi has bewildered a lot of people on the Internet after it was shared. Two zebras are in the photograph, but can you tell which one is facing the camera? I couldn’t. Lodhi took the photograph in the Maasai Mara national game reserve, one of the most famous and important conservation and wilderness areas in all of Africa. 

image via BoredPanda


Modern Henna Designs by Dr. Azra


While browsing Instagram, I was struck by the henna designs of dr.azra. Her amazing work makes use of and then breaks through traditional forms. Waves and forms sweep over and through her hands.

Continue reading


If a Centaur and a Gorgon Had a Child

He might look something like this, according to New Yorker cartoonist Madeline Horwath. A cute little fella and mostly human. Not to be specist or anything. Some of my best friends are humans.

Content warning about Horwath's main Instagram page: porn.

-via Super Punch


The Search For Naya Rivera Continues

Naya Rivera was reported missing after her four-year-old son was found in a rental boat on the lake by himself. Authorities are still looking for the body of the “Glee” actress, who was believed to have drowned, as The Los Angeles Times details: 

Divers, helicopters, drone aircraft and cadaver dogs have been trying to find Rivera for five days. The 33-year-old actress, who gained fame for her role on “Glee,” was reported missing Wednesday after her 4-year-old son was found in a rental boat on the lake by himself.
Sheriff’s officials said the boy was found asleep on the boat, wearing his life vest. They later learned that Rivera and her son were swimming together in the lake and that he was able to get back on the boat, but she had not.
Search teams on Sunday were checking cabins and outbuildings surrounding the lake, as well as the shoreline, officials said. All of those areas were already searched the afternoon Rivera went missing, they said.
“They’re just doubling back and checking those areas one more time to be sure, but there’s no indication that she got out of the water,” said Capt. Eric Buschow of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.

image via The Los Angeles Times


The Best of Murder Mittens

We love cats, but we must remember they are pointy on five ends. The term "murder mittens" refers to a cat's claws, and they can be as cute as they are dangerous. A subreddit collects images of murder mittens, and Bored Panda has a ranked gallery of 40 of them. It's rather heavy on black kittens, who are apparently quite proud of their teeny murder mittens.

(Image credit: Islandcoda)


The First American Restaurants’ Culinary Concoctions

While travelers have always been able to get a meal at a pub or an inn in America -as soon as there were pubs and inns- the fine dining restaurant only came into fashion in the 1830s, soon after the French began such businesses. Historian Paul Freedman has been searching and cataloguing the menus of early American restaurants, between 1838 and 1865, to see what kind of food they were serving.

For one thing, it was fashionable for European visitors to complain about American food. Famous visitors like Frances Trollope groused that it was “abundant but not delicate” in 1832. Ten years later, Charles Dickens’s first trip to America was “a culinary disaster.”

Americans were also renowned for eating with great speed: Delmonico’s scheduled an average of eight to ten minutes per course for their fourteen-course meal. Dinner was served from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Food could still be had later in the evening, but choices were more limited.

These restaurants served things like frogs (six different ways), tripe, lamb testicles, and many varieties of macaroni and cheese. Read more about early American restaurant dining at Jstor Daily. -via Damn Interesting

(Image credit: Albert Edward Sterner)


How to Safely Cross a Piranha Infested River

It appears that everything we know about piranhas is wrong. If you need to swim cross a river filled with piranha fish, first, make sure it's the right month. Then ask the fish to turn over and show you the color of their bellies. There's a lot more involved, spelled out in this video from RealLifeLore. In other words, good luck. However, you will learn a lot about piranhas in the first six minutes. -via Digg


Look Out Someone Else's Window

You probably enjoy looking out your window to see the world, but you've seen it a lot from the same viewpoint. Wouldn't it be great to see what someone else sees through their window? Window Swap lets you do just that. It's a never-ending gallery of submitted window views from all over the world. Some are static, others are videos of varying lengths -and the ambient sound is a bonus! Text at the top will tell you whose window it is, and where. You'll see mountains, cityscapes, pastures, industrial yards, gardens, crowds, rooftops, traffic, porches, patios, cats, and a lot of houseplants. Its like traveling the world as you sit in your home! Window Swap is also asking for submissions, so you can share your view with the world. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Harmut in Germany)


What Is Intelligence? Where Does it Begin?

What we call intelligence is a set of skills that work together. When you break it down to the basic components, you realize that we set pretty high standards for humans. A slime mold can find its way around, and even bacteria can sense and avoid toxins. If that’s intelligence, why do we accuse people who can’t keep up with a bank account with a lack of it? Because everything is relative, and a lot of people can not only balance a checkbook, but also invest in the future. It’s a good thing we learned to help each other out.


Are You Scared Of What’s Outside Your Bedroom?

On a new episode in Watcher’s Are You Scared, Ryan reads another tale from the Internet about an incident that made a police dispatcher quit his profession for good. Do you think that the story is real? 


How Do Small Farms Cope During The Quarantine?

The current pandemic has brought a lot of businesses to a big halt. Some are close to shutting down, while some are still trying to adapt to the current situation. Some small farms send out their products through a new mobile market and are hosting drive-in tours around their farms

Mooney began reaching out to other small farmers and food producers in the area, seeing whether they'd like to be a part of the orchard's new Apple Barn Mobile Market, which pulls together products from various local farms and delivers them directly to customers. “In the beginning we had one person selling their farm's sausage, another selling eggs, and a woman who provided us with beautiful microgreens that she usually sold to restaurants,” says Mooney. The Apple Barn Mobile Market has since grown to a few-dozen products, including fresh goat cheese from nearby Goat Lady Dairy, tomatoes from Twin Oaks Produce, and Liberty Kettle Corn from local purveyor Becky Suphin, who says her sales are up 50 percent from what they would be during the pandemic without the market. It's just one of the innovative ways that Mooney has reworked her property's offerings in the age of COVID-19—others include a socially distant farmers' market, pick-your-own fruit that allows adequate space between participants and a reservation-only “behind-the-scenes” farm tour.
In fact, the Visit NC Farms app, which officially launched in January 2020, had 4,630 downloads in May, up from 726 downloads in March. But as farmers adjust to new COVID-19 rules and restrictions, they're having to find new and innovative ways to attract visitors, whether it's curbside produce pickup, socially-distanced farm stays or even a farm experience drive-through, allowing families to view the production of seasonally changing crops and visit with farm animals—all from the safety of their vehicle.

image via The Smithsonian Magazine


All The World’s Species In One List

It’s the pokedex! Scientists are now planning how to put together a list of all the creatures on Earth. This project seems simple at a glance, but some lists may not cover some species, while some may not follow some principles set by scientists. Currently, there is no agreed-upon list of species available, as ScienceAlert details: 

"Listing all species may sound routine, but is a difficult and complex task," says environmental scientist Stephen Garnett from Charles Darwin University in Australia. "Currently no single, agreed list of species is available."
One factor in the researchers' favour is that the world is connected like never before (as you might have noticed if you've had to take part in more video group calls than normal in recent weeks). Information can be easily shared and assessed across countries and continents in an instant.

image via ScienceAlert

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