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Neil deGrasse Tyson Gets Hate Mail

Photo: Emerson York

Somewhere, mixed among all the fan mail from fanboys and geek-loving girls everywhere, Neil deGrasse Tyson gets hate mail. Not just ordinary hate mail though, hate mail from kids. You see, Tyson was part of the movement at the turn of the century that excluded Pluto from a list of the planets in our solar system. Unfortunately for him, many kids had already pegged Pluto as their favorite planet and were not willing to part with it.

You can check out a full gallery of children who were disappointed in Mr. Tyson's and the Hayden Planetarium's decision here.

Link | Via Geneticist

The Vela Pulsar Imitates The Phantom

Photo: NASA

The Vela pulsar is a neutron star. What's a neutron star you ask? Well, it's basically a compact star (like a white dwarf or a black hole) that results from the collapse of other gargantuan stars and is composed almost entirely of neutrons. Also this one kind of looks like the mask from Phantom of the Opera.

The Vela pulsar happens to be about 1,000 light-years away from earth and is 12 miles (19 km) in diameter. It takes the star a full 89 milliseconds to complete a rotation, all while spewing out charged particles that move at about 70 percent of the speed of light.

“We think the Vela pulsar is like a rotating garden sprinkler — except with the water blasting out at over half the speed of light,” said Martin Durant of the University of Toronto in Canada, who is the first author of the paper describing these results.

You can check out a sweet video of this phenomenon here.

Why We Blink

Photo: WikiMedia

Sometimes the most basic things remain unknown to us. For example, why do we blink?

“Many people have extensively investigated the eye movement, but most of them did not care about the eye blink,” writes Tamami Nakano, as associate professor at Osaka University in Japan, in an email. “The reason why we generate blinks so frequently has been unknown.”

Unknown, until now? Nakano and her colleagues have been examining this very simple question in recent studies. What they did is ask 20 students to watch Mr. Bean for 30 minutes while in a fMRI scanner. Most eye movement researchers have dismissed blinking simply as an involuntary way to lubricate the eyes, but that is not what Nakano believes. She believes that blinking restarts the brain network.

“The present study indicates that even while we pay attention to the external world, the shift from the external attentional brain network to the internal processing brain network (default mode network) dramatically occurs every time we blink,” Tamami says. “I think that blink is closely related to resetting of the brain network and chunking the flow of visual information for memory.”

Her study shows that blinking is like shifting gears between two different networks in the brain. A person may be watching Mr. Bean in the default mode network, but when they become visually more attentive they will blink and switch to the dorsal attention network.

So why do we blink? It seems it may be a bit more complex than just keeping our eyes clear.

Full Study Link | Via NBC News

Record Heat Puts New Colors on the Map

Photo: Australia Bureau of Meteorology

It's so hot in Australia right now, they had to add two new colors to the weather forecasting chart. Deep purple and pink can now be seen on the map as Australia has broken a 50 year record of an all-time high temperature of 50.7 degrees Celsius. The range will now go up to 54 degrees, that is 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit ladies and gentleman.

It's so hot in Australia that the conditions have created a catastrophic fire threat across southeast Australia. Monday's temperature broke the record for national average temperature and the mean temperature. A total of six of the 20 hottest days in Australia have been recorded in 2013, a total that is sure to rise.

Stay safe people, hydrate, and don't choose milk. That would be a bad choice Mr. Ron Burgundy.

Link | Via The Atlantic Wire

Tauntaun Snow Rider

Photo: Bobsutan

The tauntaun is a mysterious creature from the far reaches of the galaxy. Its Homeworld- Hoth, hair color- white, designation- non sentient, average adult height- 1.3 to 2 meters, and the amount of awesomeness derived from homemade snow-creature? Infinite.

It's hard to say who goes home with the Star Wars parenting award this year, but it really comes down to this post and one other- both including tauntauns.

Link | Via Holy Puns Batman

Star Wars Taxidermy

Photo: Tauntr

Star Wars taxidermy. If you are looking to start a Kickstarter campaign but have a limited imagination, then Tauntr has a good idea for you. Unfortunately these photos are photoshopped, but maybe someone can make this a reality in the future.

We can't help you out on where to find the Rancors or the Wampas, but hey I will write a blog post for you once you do! Try looking on Hoth or Dathomir, once you manage to build that space ship. Who wants a Bantha head for their living room?

Photo: Tauntr

Link | Via Buzz Patrol

Turkey Cake

Photo: Sarah Hardy

As the holiday season passes by, one thing many of us will miss dearly is the turkey. People love turkey, but for some reason it has been decided that the bird is mainly a seasonal meat and there is no way around it. Turkey season is almost over. That means no more roasted bird, no more mashed potatoes with thick gravy, no more stuffing, and no more cranberry sauce- oh the humanity!

Sarah Hardy, thankfully, has figured out a clever loop hole to help us forget about all that. She has concocted a turkey cake, because there is no end to cake season.

Okay so it's not a turkey cake per se, the cake is actually an orange and rum spice cake, but that sounds delicious nonetheless.

Photo: Sarah Hardy

Link | Via Foodiggity

2013 Ping Pong Drop

Vimeo Link

From Crictor on Vimeo, welcome 2013! May it be a year of astonishingly well timed ping pong ball drops caught on camera. Or well something of that nature. 

-Via The Mary Sue

Laser-Cut Bathymetric Charts

You learn something every day and today is no exception. Today I learned the definition of bathymetry, the study of underwater depth and topography. Below the Boat is a website and a company that makes these beautiful bathymetric charts, as seen above. 

The charts are laser-cut into sheets of Baltic birch with hand colored detail. They also have a ton of maps too, from the East Coast to the Midwest and to even the West Coast regions. I particularly like this map of Lake Michigan- a lake I have spent a good deal of my life on, in, and around. 

Photo Below the Boat | Via Colossal 

The Tree of Gondor Tattoo

I love The Lord of the Rings, both in book and film form. I have probably watched the extended edition of each film at least ten times. I have already been three times to see The Hobbit, and the book remains one of my all-time childhood favorites. So maybe that is why I love this tattoo so much!

The Tree of Gondor and a Durin war cry in Khuzdul. I wouldn't mind if it the war cry was in the more dwarvish looking letters, but this will do. 

Via F Yeah Fandom Tattoos

XKCD Christmas Communion

Well that is taking Christmas fairly literally. I ate lots of red meat and drank lots red wine, does that count? I think it should. 


Butter Sculptures

Now we have seen some interesting sculptures before, but none quite as heart-stopping as this collection of butter sculptures by sculptor Jim Victor and his wife Marie Pelton. Let's just hope the scukptures are in an air conditioned room so they won't melt, that or at a lobster-eating-fest in Maine. As I was writing this I was thinking about putting it in our Neatolicious Food Blog, but then I decided against it. Too much butter.

Photo Credit Jim Victor | Via Modern Met


Youtube Link

Planning on popping the big question anytime soon? If so, you may want to get your hands on one of these TARDIS ring-boxes. Made by Paul Pape Designs, the box lights up and sounds like it is pretty customizable depending on your needs. I like the opening of the doors personally, the light inside just sets it off. 

If Doctor Who isn't your thing, no need to fret. Paul will make you pretty much anything your engaging little head can think up.

Some might say that the proposal is just as important as the wedding, and Paul is happy to help you create the perfect ringbox to help pop the question. Any theme possible, and Paul is only limited by your suggestions. 

Paul Pape Designs | Via The Mary Sue

Jellyfish Lamps Are Illuminating

Check out this great collection of jellyfish lamps by Roxy Russel Design. These gorgeous beasts of the deep are made out of eco-friendly materials such as translucent mylar. While they may cost a pretty penny, a percentage of the profits are going to be donated to The Ocean Conservatory. I have my eye on the "Medusa" lamp, how long until next Christmas?

Image Roberto Cortez and Roxy Russel | Via Offbeat Home

Reindeer Papercraft

As everyone is feeling the Holiday spirit, take a break from the rigors of gift unwrapping and feast eating to build this beautifuly creative Papercraft Reindeer with friends and family. Brought to us by the people at Media Molecule, all the instructions and cutouts you need are here. 

Images credit Media Molecule | Via Super Punch

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