Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Just You And Your Cat

Nestle Japan is now offering a catering service to prepare food for you and your cat. A professional chef will come to your home and cook for you and your feline friend.

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(thanks Cora)

The Telharmonium Was The Spotify Of 1906

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The Telharmonium was an early electronic organ, developed by Thaddeus Cahill in 1897. The electrical signal from the Telharmonium was transmitted over wires; it was heard on the receiving end by means of 'horn' speakers.

10 Interesting Facts About The Placebo Effect

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The placebo effect happens when someone is given a pill, a shot, or some other form of treatment, and are told it will help with their ailments. They feel better, but it's just their mind and body healing itself because the treatment is essentially fake.

Researchers are very interested as to why the placebo effect works, because understanding it will help with patient care and decrease the amount of drugs that need to be prescribed.

(via Neatorama)

The Cigar Connoisseur

A New York man explaining why he smokes cigars and what he enjoys most about them.

Vimeo link

(thanks Cora)

15 People Who Started Their Own Micronations

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A micronation is a piece of land which claims to be a sovereign state - but isn't. By the most bare-bones definition, this means all you have to do to create one is declare that you've done so.

Some micronations are serious attempts driven by political ideology, while others are more like practical jokes. By some accounts, over 400 currently active micronations now exist. Here are 15 of the most interesting from the past few decades.

There's A Good Reason Why The Next Generation Of Robots Will Look Like Animals

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Biomimetics. That's the field dedicated to imitating aspects of nature to better understand, and potentially solve, complex human issues. It's the reason why so many engineers and researchers are creating robot models of animals.

Robotic animals can help researchers better understand locomotion, evolution, and simply how certain animals accomplish the amazingly unique tasks that they do. But they can also have tangible applications, from scouting for danger for the marines to aiding in search and rescue missions.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Walter And His Dog Sing 'Like Diamonds In The Sky'

Walter Ledermüller and his French bulldog Junior like to sing together.

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The Inventor Of A Green Dye That May Have Killed Napoleon

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If anyone tells you that all you need to do to succeed is work hard, just mention Carl Wilhelm Scheele. They'll say, 'Who?' And your point will be proved. This may be the most accomplished chemist never to get credit for anything - except possibly accidentally killing Napoleon.

Google Honors Lucy The Australopithecus With A Doodle

Lucy is the common name of AL 288-1, several hundred pieces of bone fossils representing 40% of the skeleton of a female of the hominin species Australopithecus afarensis. November 24 is the 41st anniversary of the discovery of 'Lucy' who lived in Ethiopia 3.2 million years ago.

In Defense Of The Cassowary, The Maligned Killer Of The Bird World

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Do a quick search of 'cassowary' and you will find that almost everything written about Australia's heaviest bird has to do with its reputation as a killer of men. In the annals of birds that are thought to be a dangerous threat to humans, cassowaries may just be king.

And given that cassowaries are the third largest bird species on the planet, looking like some sort of prehistoric holdover, it's no wonder they are so often painted as avian monsters.

Crazy Synthesizer Demo

Meet the Collidoscope, a prototype double granular synthesiser by researchers Fiore Martin and Ben Bengler. This hybrid keyboard is a combination between a sampler and a supercollider synth engine, designed to be played by two performers at the same time.

YouTube link

Historical Sites Throughout Jordan In Google Street View

You can now explore more than 30 historical sites throughout Jordan in Google Street View. People all over the world now have a window into this kingdom in the heart of the Middle East.

Throughout the ages, ancient civilizations have left their footprints in Jordan. Reminders of the Silk Road which linked the regions of the world in commerce. Ancient cities, such as the Romans' Jerash and the Nabateans' Petra and significant religious sites like Mount Nebo and the River Jordan.

(thanks Cora)

Science Says Dancing Is Good For You

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Anyone taking part in any kind of dance can reap a whole range of rewards. Dancers and teachers from the passionate and committed world of community dance have long known about the benefits of dance, but now there's the research evidence to back this up.

Studies have started to emerge on the positive impacts community dance activity can have on different populations, across a range of issues. They show that whether you're young, older or disabled, dancing can be good for you.

Monday, 23 November 2015

What's The Difference Between Sweet Potatoes And Yams?

Can you tell the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?

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Wing Walkers

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It was not long after the Wright Brothers' historic first flight that people began attempting death-defying stunts on airplanes.

Starting in airshows and barnstorming during the 1920s, wing walking is the act of moving on the wings of an airplane during flight.

Mind-Blowing Facts About Octopuses

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With their eight arms and giant egg-shaped head, octopuses are one of the most alien-looking creatures on the planet. Yet scientists have an extremely difficult time studying them in the wild because these highly intelligent invertebrates are the ultimate masters of disguise.

In her book, 'Octopus!' Katherine Harmon Courage travels the globe to swim, observe, and even taste some of the many octopuses of the world. Here are 30 mind-blowing facts she learned about this squishy predator of the sea along her epic journey.

Why Being A Bell-Ringer During The Middle Ages Was One Of The Worst Jobs In History

A bell-ringer is a person who rings, tolls or peals a large bell, usually a church bell, by tugging on a long rope. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the sound of a bell could disperse thunder. A large number of bell-ringers were electrocuted as a result.

In France between the years 1753 and 1786, 103 bell-ringers were killed during thunderstorms as a result of holding on to wet bell ropes. The Parlement of Paris enforced an edict in 1786 to prohibit the practice. Deaths likely continued until the 19th century, when the lightning rod came into general use.

(via Everlasting Blort)

Morgan's Story

St George Community Housing in New South Wales, Australia, has provided homes and social and economic opportunities to the vulnerable and low income people for 30 years. This film features the true story of Morgan, who with the help of SGCH rose above a troubled upbringing.

Vimeo link

(thanks Stefan)

Why Are Autumn Leaves Mostly Yellow In Europe And Red In North America?

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The colour of a European wood in autumn is predominantly yellow. There are relatively few European trees which have red leaves in autumn. Evolutionary biologists have long pondered the phenomenon of the changing colours of autumn leaves.

It's possible that the red pigments are manufactured in the leaf as a side-effect of something else that's happening at this time. But it could also be that the red pigment is somehow adaptive: that red autumn leaves are a product of natural selection, because they perform a function which offers some advantage to the tree.

Along The River During The Qingming Festival

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People lined up to wait for six hours to see one of China's most famous artworks, an exquisite 12th century scroll painting depicting the Song Dynasty capital of Haifeng during the festival of Qingming.

The painting, titled 'Along the River during the Qingming Festival,' has been copied several times, but the original is rarely displayed because it is so fragile. Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145) painted the scroll. It measures 24.8 centimeters high (9.76 inches) by 5.29 meters long (208 inches).