30 March 2011
Three bald eagles are expected to hatch in Decorah, Iowa, between March 30 and April 1 — and you can watch it happen. Two new cameras positioned above the eagles’ nest provide an unprecedentedly clear window into eagle domestic life. The expectant parents built their nest 80 feet up a cottonwood tree near the Decorah Fish Hatchery in 2007, and all eight of their children have entered the world under a filmmaker’s gaze.More at Wired Science
But the new cameras, plus a computer upgrade, will bring a sharper view to more people than ever before. One camera runs automatically and streams footage of the nest 24/7, switching to infrared at night. The other is remotely controlled from a nearby equipment shed, where bird conservation expert Bob Anderson, executive director of the nonprofit Raptor Resource Project, will pan, tilt and zoom in on the nest.
According to Anderson, viewers will be able to see tiny cracks lacing through the eggs before they hatch. The zoomed-in view gets so close, you can count the scales on the eagles’ feet.
29 March 2011
YouTube | TDW
It’s a little-known fact outside Russia that Soviet-era (namely Cold War-era) cartoons are something of a sight to behold. Unlike their Western counterparts, animators working for the influential Moscow-based Soyuzmultfilm animation studio were not constrained by commercial concerns (the success or failure of a film had no bearing on an animator’s paycheck), and were therefore free to experiment with styles and techniques that would otherwise be considered commercially precarious.
A perfect example of the end-result can be found in Yuriy Norshteyn’s “Hedgehog in the Fog.” Considered by many to be one of the greatest animated films of all time — Hayao Miyazaki is reportedly a big fan — the 1975 Soyuzmultfilm classic tells the tale of a curious hedgehog who stumbles upon a thick fog and decides to explore its mysteries.
28 March 2011
YouTube | BBC3 Bizarre ER via TDW
Don't English physicians know that nail polish remover dissolves Superglue? I found this video charming, from the gorgeous little hat to the embarrassment of the fellow who glued it to his head. I wonder what the rest of his costume was like ... maybe he was supposed to be Blaine Edwards? And what, exactly, is the appeal of the tiny hat?
Moses Lanham Jr., known as the "Backwards Feet Man" and "Mr. Elastic," has the unique ability to rotate his feet behind him. This week, the 49-year-old tax accountant and theater usher from Monroe, Mich., is heading overseas to Rome to set two new records on the Guinness World Records Show.More about Mr. Elastic here.
Photo: AFP | Greg Wood
Little Keo-co, born 7 weeks ago at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Austraila, made his public debut on 16 March.
"He's quite inquisitive," zoo primate keeper Roxanne Pellatt said. "When the keepers are around and he's in his den he'll stick his head out and have a look."The Courier-Mail
Keo-co's bright orange fur is quite a sight but he won't retain that vibrant colour. "His colour will gradually start changing . . . at about six months he will be completely black with a tiny bit of white on his face," Ms Pellatt said. An endangered species native to Vietnam and China, there are thought to be less than 1000 francois langur monkeys left in the wild.
27 March 2011
Eythor Bender, the CEO of Berkeley Bionics, introduces two amazing robotic exoskeleton "add-ons": the HULC allows a human to carry 200 pounds without tiring, and eLegs allows a wheelchair user to stand and walk.
25 March 2011
The Titan beetle (Titanus giganteus) is the largest known beetle in the Amazon rainforest and one of the largest insect species in the world. It is from the family Cerambycidae (longhorn beetles). The titan beetle is the only member of its own genus. It is known from the rain forests of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, the Guianas, and north-central Brazil, where it is most commonly collected by the use of mercury-vapor lamps, to which the males are attracted. There is a local 'cottage industry' in French Guiana of leading tours specifically to collect specimens of this beetle (which can command prices over US$500), and other countries' ecotourism agencies mention these beetles in their advertisements.
Adults can grow up to 6.5 inches (16.7 cm) in length. It is said that their mandibles can snap pencils in half and cut into human flesh. Adult titan beetles do not feed, they simply fly around to find mates. They are attracted to bright lights after dark. There is an extensive sequence towards the end of Sir David Attenborough's Life in the Undergrowth series (in the version released in the UK) which prominently features a hunt for this beetle. In it, an adult specimen was found and brought back to Oxford University. Because the adults do not eat, this specimen was cared for until it died.
The larvae have never been found, but are thought to feed inside wood and may take several years to reach full size before they pupate. Boreholes thought to be created by titan beetle larvae seem to fit a grub over two inches wide and perhaps as much as one foot long. A famous "life-size" photograph of a putative larva of this beetle appeared in National Geographic Magazine, filling an entire page, but it was of a different species of beetle, possibly Macrodontia cervicornis.
The adults defend themselves by hissing in warning, and have sharp spines as well as strong jaws.
24 March 2011
Pajiba provides a list of films found in the video:
0’00 - Session 9, The Devil’s Rejects, Candyman, Texas Chainsaw Massacre
0’32 - Misery, Psycho, American Psycho, The Hitcher (1986)
1’00 - Peeping Tom, When a Stranger Calls (1979), Black Christmas (1974), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), A Nightmare on Elm Street
1’32 - The Fly (1986), An American Werewolf in London, Aliens, The Blair Witch Project
2’00 - The Thing (1982), Friday the 13th, The Haunting (1963), Poltergeist
2’29 - The Ring, Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, The Exorcist, Manhunter
3’01 - Dracula (1931), IT, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Child’s Play, A Nightmare on Elm Street
3’34 - House of 1000 Corpses, Halloween, The Omen
4’01 - Hellraiser, The Lost Boys, The Evil Dead, Pet Sematary
4’33 - The Omen, My Bloody Valentine, The Return of the Living Dead, Scream
5’04 - Friday the 13th, Island of Lost Souls, White Zombie
5’35 - Zombie Flesh Eaters, Dawn of the Dead (1978), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Birds
5’59 - Jaws, The Thing (1982), Halloween, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Psycho
6’33 - Carrie, Evil Dead II, Black Christmas (1974)
7’01 - The Sixth Sense, The Shining, Candyman, Freaks
7’32 - Dracula (1931), Blue Velvet, Hellraiser, Videodrome
8’02 - Friday the 13th, The Mummy (1932), The Shining, IT
8’37 - Silence of the Lambs, The Black Cat, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
9’01 - Audition, Black Sunday, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, Saw II, The Serpent and the Rainbow
9’30 - Deliverance, The Mist, The Wicker Man (1973)
10’00 - The Fly (1958), Evil Dead II, The Exorcist, Frankenstein (1931), Rosemary’s Baby
10’34 - Se7en, Carrie, Hellraiser, Silence of the Lambs, IT
11’06 - Black Sunday, Them! (1954), The Haunting (1963), Night of the Living Dead, Poltergeist, The Shining
11’28 - Phantasm, Suspiria
23 March 2011
22 March 2011
Dr. Robert Sapolsky is professor of Biological Sciences and Professor of Neurology
and Neurological Sciences and, by courtesy, Neurosurgery, at Stanford University.
He is also a research associate at the National Museums of Kenya.
Dr. Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology
Dr. Piero Paravidino, 2002/3 LFHCfS Man of the Year, is a research chemist at
Isagro Ricerca Srl, Novara, Italy, and a guitarist in the heavy metal band Mesmerize.
The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists is, as the name implies, a club for scientists who have luxuriant flowing hair. LFHCfS, as it is known unpronouncably to its members and their admirers, was founded in early 2001. Anyone can join, provided only that she or he is a scientist and has luxuriant flowing hair, and is proud of it.Neatorama
The “proud” part is important. The club is not for the morbidly shy, people-averse scientist of stereotype and legend. Every LFHCfS member’s hair is on display on the Improbable Research web site.
LFHCfS was founded by admirers of the famously curly mane of psychologist Steven Pinker. Dr Pinker, then a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and now head of the psychology department at Harvard University, became the first member. He proudly lists the club on his academic web page.
The ranks now include mathematicians, astronomers, linguistics professors, organic chemists, computer researchers, immunologists, geneticists, physicists, neuroscientists, three sisters, a married couple, and other men and women of science, of both sexes, all hair colors, and many hair styles.
21 March 2011
Ross Horsely, the author of My First Dictionary, describes himself as a "timid librarian by day ... frenzied fan of gory slasher movies by night." His work reminds me of Edward Gorey's classic abecedarian poem, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, in which Gorey details the deaths of 26 children. My First Dictionary is my new guilty pleasure.
Link | Nag on the Lake
Photo: Owen Booth | Creative Commons
A problem faced by scientists comparing the mental abilities of humans, chimpanzees, apes, and monkeys is that the humans are tested by their own species and understand the requirements of the tests, while the other primates are tested by a different species (humans) and have to work out what they are supposed to do. This uneven playing field can distort the results, and so researchers in the US have designed experiments that remove the advantages humans usually have.PhysOrg
Psychologist Sarah Brosnan of the Language Research Center at Georgia State University tested humans, chimps, and capuchin monkeys with a decision-making "assurance" game that ensured no participants had an advantage over the others. The game was a variation of an often-used game called "Stag Hunt," which has two participants who can choose to hunt either a hare or a stag. A hare can be killed by a single hunter for a small reward, but killing the more highly-rewarded stag needs both participants to choose the stag. The aim of the game is for the participants to work out how to get the greatest reward.
Most studies of this type are designed for humans and then adapted for the other primates, but Dr Brosnan reversed the process, designing the game for the monkeys and chimps and giving the humans no instructions other than telling them they would make decisions based on tokens, and would be paid in quarters or dollars each round. They also had to work out the game non-verbally, and the tokens did not have pictures of hares or stags, but were either blue or red.
... The results mirror the social complexity of the species, with human social life the most complicated, followed by chimps, which hunt in groups and have a complex social life. The capuchins are the least social of the species, and are the most evolutionary distant from humans. Dr Brosnan said the results provide preliminary evidence that human behavior in cooperative games could be part of an evolutionary continuum, and primates share the same foundations.
The results were different for the three species but not as different as the researchers had expected. For example, only five of the 26 student pairs chose Stag-Stag, which was only a slightly higher rate than the chimps. When humans have the rules of the game explained to them and they are allowed to speak, they would normally demonstrate 100% cooperation. Their poor results of only 20% show humans are extremely reliant on language.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS): Responses to the Assurance game in monkeys, apes, and humans using equivalent procedures, Sarah F. Brosnan et al., PNAS, Published online before print February 7, 2011.
20 March 2011
Build Your Wild Self is a fun and creative site sponsored by New York Zoos and Aquarium. First you build a facsimile of yourself as a child, then add animal parts to create your very own Wild Thing. I'm a Lio-Ossa-Tiger!
Click image to enlarge
There has been much talk of radiation exposure levels in the news, and here on Boing Boing, this past week. But it can be hard to wrap your head around what those measurements mean, and how they compare to things you may have already experienced in life. Well, it was, until XKCD created this exceptionally helpful chart showing exactly how much radiation exposure you might encounter by doing something like flying from LA to NYC, getting a chest x-ray, hanging out at Chernobyl, living near the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, or sleeping next to another human being.xkcd | Boing Boing
18 March 2011
Belarusian industrial design duo Solovyovdesign just unveiled a clever brain-shaped compact fluorescent light bulb that turns the phrase “bright idea” into a literal source of light. The unique form creates a unique lighting effect as the filaments are distributed through a the channels of the bulb’s “brain."psydoctor8
17 March 2011
Katowice is one of those cities that many, unless they live in Poland or the surrounding countries, have perhaps vaguely heard of but could not give much if any detail about. That’s a shame because this city, home to two million people, is really a pretty cool place. So it was with something approaching delight that I came across this amazing time-lapse footage of the city made by Velour.kuriositas
It does get off to a slowish start but hang on in there – by the time you get to forty seconds you really begin to get a feel for the place. This film not only allows you to get a great impression of the city it is filmed in a kind of tilt shift manner which renders its inhabitants as small as ants.
Katowice is a center of culture, science, transportation and business in southern Poland and is located in the historical region of Silesia. It is slap bang in the middle of the largest conurbation in Poland and owes its size mostly to the development of mining and metallurgical industries in the in the nineteenth century. This time-lapse video shows the variety of architecture of the place as well as its busy, bustling nature beautifully. Enjoy!
Original upload by http://www.youtube.com/user/onaradaijobu. Following is taken and translated from an original uploader.TDW
This video was created based on the simple analysis of the current state of the Fukushima Nuclear power plant by media artist Kazuhiko Hachiya (http://togetter.com/li/111871). Neither Mr. Hachiya nor video creator is an expert on the subject, and we advise you to obtain acurate information from the Tokyo Electric Power Company.
My thoughts and prayers are for those affected by the disaster. And for us living outside of an affected area, should not take irrational action based on unofficial reports. We're hoping for everyone's quick recovery so more people can have a smile.
16 March 2011
Being unemployed is generally regarded as detrimental to your mental health, with the prevailing wisdom being that gainful employment will fix you right up. Unfortunately, according to research published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, a crappy job can be just as bad — if not worse — than unemployment.io9
Analyzing more than 7,000 working-age Australians across a great number of data points, the researchers found that people defined good jobs as ones that provided a defined social role and purpose, friendships, and structured time (among other things). Being hired into these kinds of jobs resulted in an overall improvement in mental health. Conversely, those in jobs that offered little control, were very demanding, and provided little support and reward lead to a general decrease in mental health.
14 March 2011
Photo: Lynchburg News & Advance
A woman showed up for a hearing Thursday at a rural Virginia courthouse with a tiny monkey - clad in a pink-and-white dress - tucked in her bra.CBS News | Neatorama
... The woman brought along the palm-sized marmoset to a proceeding in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in Amherst County, Va. Apparently, officials actually didn't notice the clinging creature until the woman went to an office to do some paperwork. "I can't understand why the deputy didn't see her - she was peeking out," the woman told The Lynchburg News & Advance.
When the woman referred to a daughter, a puzzled official asked where the daughter was and the woman pulled the monkey out of her bra, the newspaper reported.
In an interview with the newspaper, the woman said the marmoset, named Cara, is 7 weeks old and requires constant attention. "When you first get them, they're just like a preemie," the woman told the paper. "She's just like a baby, she's starting to teethe. I mean, caring for them is just like caring for a human." The woman said she bought the animal on an online auction site and had its clothes specially made.
The woman's identity is being withheld for "family reasons," according to the News & Advance. Asked who let the marmoset through the metal detector, deputies quipped: "It wasn't armed."
13 March 2011
Owlsley Stanley with Jerry Garcia
Owsley “Bear” Stanley, an iconic iconoclast and pioneering LSD chef who produced millions of doses in his Bay Area labs (after allegedly finding the recipe in a chemistry journal at UC Berkeley), passed away today in Australia following a car crash near his home in Queensland. He was 76.TDW
From his involvement with the Grateful Dead (a former manager and sound man, Bear co-designed the band’s Lightning Bolt Skull logo), through his friendship with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters (as detailed in Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test), to his product’s inspirational effects on contemporary legends (Jimi Hendrix named “Purple Haze” after a potent batch of so-called Owsley Acid), Bear undoubtedly played a pivotal role in the nascent psychedelic scene.
“I was punished for political reasons,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2007, referring to a 1970 drug bust that sent him to prison for two years. “Was I a criminal? No. I was a good member of society. Only my society and the one making the laws are different.”
He is survived by his wife Sheila, four children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
12 March 2011
Vimeo | TDW
This footage was filmed by an equities analyst whose nom de Vimeo is Big Ben:
From my office in Otemachi, central Tokyo. Rough footage started 10 seconds into today's quake. I've been in Japan 19 years and never felt anything like this. I'm a little embarrassed about my attitude while filming this, considering the many real victims, but this is a real picture of how it felt to go through this.
11 March 2011
NOAA | Maximum wave amplitude [in cm] computed with MOST forecast model
Clilck image to enlarge
NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] has released this image showing maximum computed tsunami amplitude (in cm) “during 24 hours of wave propagation.” The data was calculated using the MOST [Method of Splitting Tsunami] forecast model. According to NOAA, “this method takes into account three processes of tsunami evolution: earthquake, transoceanic propagation, and inundation.”NOAA Center for Tsunami Research | TDW
09 March 2011
YouTube | Jezebel
Engineer-turned-artist Krandel Lee Newton developed the Original Butt Sketch® concept in Dallas' Historic West End in 1987. The sketches became a big hit and Newton and his artists received offers to be flown around the country to make special appearances at colleges, trade shows, conventions, parties and private receptions. To date, over 250,000 people have gotten their backsides drawn.Coming to Washington in April and to Baltimore in June!
Click image to enlarge
From Grey's Blog:
One of the things I’ve often heard while living in the European Union is the meme that only 10% of Americans own a passport. (This assertion is usually followed by the quazi-urban legend that George W. Bush never had a passport before becoming president. This I’ve never been able to prove or disprove any satisfaction)TDW
Such a low number wouldn’t have surprised me. After all, the United States is nearly thrice the size of the EU and borders only two foreign countries, while the EU is made of 27 countries and – depending on how you want to count them – borders another 19.
I wondered aloud about this in my previous post, ‘Work in Progress: The United States Explained‘ and a commentor, Alison, was nice enough to bring this data set about passports from the ever-awesome data.gov to my attention.
The data was only for the past four years, so I had to do some estimates based on issue rates and the 2000 census numbers ...
08 March 2011
YouTube | Gizmodo
Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro was responsible for the first Geminoids—super realistic androids capable of reproducing facial tics and other subtle mannerisms—but a team of researchers at Aalborg University in Denmark has fired back with their own fair-skinned take on the creepily realistic robot: the Geminoid DK.
DK already looks startlingly familiar, like he's the cool guy who teachers your English composition class at Uncanny Valley University, but he's still very much a work in progress. Currently, he's programmed to breathe and make his own involuntary muscular reactions, though both actions currently seem a bit too pronounced from these first videos. Nevertheless, he's considerably cheaper than Ishiguro's Geminoids, meaning that he'll be more widely available to robotics researchers. Oh and if you're late to class he punishes you with laser beams that shoot out of his eyes.
Waiting for the fully-functional Brad Pitt model.
Click image to enlarge
You might not be able to fly down to Rio for Carnival, but you can hear and feel a “bateria,” a samba school drum section, in this web toy from Brazil. Enjoy the rhythm, or toggle on and off the sections to hear how each instrument sounds: shaker, cuica, agogo, tambourine, snare drum, repique, and bass drum. Use the menu at the top of the site to see the actual instruments played or see how a samba parade is conducted.Link | Neatorama
Nice little game from Cadbury Creme Egg where you can egg people's houses. Type in an address (city, state, country, street), then follow the instructions to catapult an egg towards that address.Link | The Presurfer
07 March 2011
At the last minute, I asked my good friend [and master cook] Rick Seaby for a "Rickified" cajun or creole recipe to post for Mardi Gras. Within the hour he had written back with this recipe for baked chicken legs with a cajun twist.
King's Crown Cajun Chicken
8 each chicken legs, trim ends
4 cups unseasoned croutons
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup pretzel nuggets, broken into small bits
1 stick butter
1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
1 can cream of chicken soup
Trim chicken legs with a sharp knife or cleaver so they stand on end. Place foil in a 9" pie pan and grease lightly with oil. Stand chicken legs around outside of pan. In a saucepan, melt butter and saute onion and celery until translucent. Stir in 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning*. Add croutons, pecans and broken pretzels -- mix well. Add 1 can undiluted cream of chicken soup and stir to coat. Mound the stuffing in the center of the chicken legs and press so than stuffing holds the legs in place. Cover stuffing with a small piece of foil to prevent it from burning. Bake in 375 degree oven for 1-1/2 hours, uncovering the stuffing after an hour. Garnish with red and green peppers cut into diamond shape. Serve warm.
* The BEST cajun seasoning is Rick's Ragin' Cajun Seasoning™. Visit the website for more recipes and to buy Rick's wonderful seasonings and sauces.