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Published: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:04:55 GMT

Last Build Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:04:55 GMT


My briefcase full of bees ought to put a stop to that

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:04:55 GMT

Later that very same year, on International Bring A Shit-Ton Of Bees To Work Day... DR. BEES (Harry Partridge, YouTube, 02:11)


"He does have a lot of challenges, but he doesn't know that."

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 00:01:17 GMT

While there are parts of the world where intelligent robots are drowning themselves, it's good to see technology being used for good elsewhere. In New Hampshire, a group of eighth graders designed and created a 3D-printed wheelchair for a six-month-old kitten named Ray who is unable to use his rear legs due to a spinal condition. On top of that, he was born with abnormally tiny eyes, leaving him blind.
The little charmer (full name: Ray Catdashian) also has an Instagram account.

Brothers Keepers

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 23:51:33 GMT

The cautionary tale of the Harlem hoarders, the Collyer brothers. I've known about this story since 1954, when Marcia Davenport wrote the novel My Brother's Keeper, a romanticized portrait of this sad story. I'd never seen these pictures.

Ratted out

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 21:05:10 GMT

"A forgotten Eden, belonging only to albatrosses, penguins and seals, South Georgia is one of the most remote islands on the planet....We were there for a simple purpose – to free South Georgia from the rats that had plagued the island for almost two hundred years."

We were also running out of time. Due to global warming, South Georgia's glaciers are retreating at a rate of up to one metre a day. Soon beaches would become exposed, allowing rats to cross to previously inaccessible parts of the island and creating areas too extensive to bait. For the project to be a success we had to eliminate all of the rats. 99% wouldn't be good enough; we had to get every last one.

South Georgia Rat-Eradication Project - South Georgia Heritage Trust:

At 100,000 hectares in size, the area of South Georgia being cleared is more than eight times larger than Campbell Island (New Zealand), which at 11,300 hectares is the largest island ever cleared of rodents until now. However, as South Georgia's rodent population is divided into a number of independent units by the island's sea-level glaciers, eradication of all rodents is feasible. The eradication operation on South Georgia has required three helicopters, approximately 300 tonnes of rodent bait and three seasons to complete the baiting work.

South Georgia rat eradication mission sets sail

Rare birds return to remote South Georgia island after successful rat eradication programme

World's largest rat extermination returns South Georgia to its bird life

Hello, camp director? I was on your website and I don't see them.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 21:00:54 GMT

For years, summer camp has been known as a technology- and parent-involvement -free zone. But cell phones are making that harder and harder to do. Are Helicopter Parents Ruining Summer Camp?

Stay tuned, presumably, for "squid on a grid"

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:12:43 GMT

Let's play a mathematical game I call Swine in a Line. [YouTube, about 3 minutes]. The video is broken into short parts so you have time to think; here are Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. If you prefer text (and spoilers), here is the blog post with detailed explanation.

Paint no more.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:40:33 GMT

Microsoft has killed Paint after 32 years of faithful service.

Come for the kitties, stay for the mad knife skillz

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:18:25 GMT

Chef and cat owner (or cat owner and chef, if you prefer) Jun Yoshizuki (previously) likes to prepare lavish birthday meals for his cats. His YouTube channel, Jun's Kitchen, has lots of great human food, as well as knife techniques, but his chill cats figure prominently in most of them. (Also previously as one half of Rachel and Jun.) [h/t]

Grow your own Purple Crystals [SLYT 4 min 4 sec]

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:53:53 GMT

Growing your own purple crystals. A fun, simple and educational diy project With a little potassium, some aluminium sulphate, water, a glass container, an airing cupboard (or similar space), and a little patience you can cultivate your own decorative purple crystals. This video explains how.

Video Transcript for those unable or who don't want to watch video:

"Hello everyone, in this video I'll show you how to grow a beautiful purple single crystal.
For this we'll need the following substances – potassium and chrome alum. To begin, let's make a mixture of alum.
To do this, take a glass and weight 100 gram of aluminium potassium sulphate and 12 grams of chromium potassium sulphate in it. Adding chrome alum will make the crystals violet.
Then, pour 400 ml of a very hot water into the glass and stir until all the alum is dissolved.
After it's all dissolved, leave this glass for a few days to let the crystals form at the bottom. A day later pour the alum solution into another container.
As you can see a lot of beautiful little fused together crystals were formed at the bottom of the glass. Now pick open the mass of the crystals and put them in a bowl.
Choose from this mass the most beautiful and large crystal. This crystal will serve as a seed from which a large crystal will be grown in the future.
The solution, which previously was merged can be now filtered but that is optional. Now tie the seed on a thin fishing line and hung it in a solution of alum on a pencil or a stick.
Now we can only wait for the crystal to grow. Over time, water will evaporate from the solution and excess alum will form the crystal that is hanging onto the fishing line.
After some time the crystal will begin to take a regular geometric shape that is defined by the crystal lattice of a substance.
For alum it is octagonal or octahedron. Also, during the crystal growth excess crystals will grow as well on the bottom and the line of the glass, and they should be removed.
Though it's better to save these crystals as it is possible to prepare a solution and raise other crystals out of them in the future.
Also, in single crystals growing it is important to avoid extremes of temperature and pollution of the solution.
After 2 months my crystal become large enough and I decided that I can stop its growth. I pulled out the crystal from the solution and desiccated its surface with a napkin.
Next I covered the crystal with colourless nail polish, one or two layers is usually enough. It is important to protect the crystal from further destruction.
After the nail polish has been dried out it's okay to take the crystals with bare hands. Crystal growing is very exciting activity that develops patience and mind.
I raised two purple crystals. One is dark and the other one is more transparent and bright. Now, ladies and gentlemen, as we have done a long journey growing these crystals let's just enjoy their beautifulness without any further comments."


The colors of time

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:48:06 GMT

On 16 October 1913, two Frenchmen landed in the port of Durrës, or as it was then called, Durazzo, in the recently created Albania. They opened an elongated lacquered trunk, and took out a folding camera mounted on a tripod. They inserted a glass plate, and made photographs of the port, a curious kid in the gate of the former Venetian fortress, two Muslim boys at the base of the wall – one of them also separately –, a man with an attractive face with three or four chickens in his hand, a master who offered his services on the square with a huge-wheeled oxcart and a Ferris wheel pieced together from raw beams. Then they removed the glass plates, and repacked the camera into the trunk. These were the first color photos ever created on today's Albania. Tamás Sajó is an art historian with a blog. (interview in hungarian). Or rather, with a multi-author web based side-project in addition to his antiquarian "publishing house" - which is digitalizing and publishing private libraries for the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. There are telling signs of the academic backgroud, for instance this "blog" has a table of contents, a proper blog review (naturally, with a reply) from a fellow academic/blogger, and a collection of thematic posts that are organizing the immense material into topics of interest into comprehensible threads. So if you are interested in the lost (or erased) world of our grandparents, you can start digging up Atlantis. Then there are opportunities to learn the suddenly relevant Soviet Union or even the less well known history of Crimea. But, if these topics are unsetting, you can always enjoy your time in the good, old Monarchy. Although, there were a couple of previous posts on the blue, as well as mentions in the comments, there is still a mind-bogging amount of esoteric, rare and unheard-of material on this page. Five Stones: "However, there was also another version of knucklebone games, called "pentelitha", that is "five stones" in ancient sources. There is no surviving description on its rules. But it seems that it was primarily played by girls, and as their gestures attest, they played it in the same way as all the other girls in the past two and a half thousand years from Singapore through China to the Mediterranean and South America." Pagans came, o Lord, in thy inheritance: "After the service I suggest that six years later, for the three hundredth anniversary it would be good to invite the representatives of the Tatars for reconciliation, we have the contacts for that. My hosts just shake their heads. "It's too early yet", they say." Subcarpathia between the two world wars: "But the traveler also sat in the restaurant next to the railway station of a small town, and he wordlessly enjoyed the following scene: the gentlemen coming from "the mother country" – as Hungary is called here – at a long table cruelly cursed the service, the food and the drinks, everything. Of course, doing so by cursing the Jews plentifully and at ease. For the Jewish innkeeper and his family, however, it did not matter if the entire kitchen and all the universe turned over, because they were sitting around the radio, since in Budapest there was a literary evening of Endre Ady! Well, what do they care about a few pieces of wiener schnitzels? Zsigmond Móricz speaks about Endre Ady in Budapest!" Mollah Sadik: "Who was this Muslim "monk" who, at the end of the 19th century when Hungary had no Muslim inhabitants, was buried under a Turkish gravepost in a Christian cemetery, and whose grave is always covered with fresh flowers?" The rooster is crowing: "Of a Hungarian shepherd boy even a Tzadik can only buy an authentic Hungarian folk song. This is also attested by Bence Szabolcsi: The rooster i[...]

Back to nature

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:10:59 GMT

Kate Kato is a designer who creates recycled paper models of the natural world. My favourites are her enhanced 3D books.

That time the Great Crown of England was pawned

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:13:02 GMT

In February 1338, the English Parliament approved a forced loan from Edward III's English subjects in support of his war against King Philip VI of France: 20,000 sacks of wool, which were to arrive in friendly Antwerp just before Edward landed with his troops in July. English wool, then the best in the world, could easily be converted into the gold needed to pay for troops and supplies. When Edward landed in Antwerp, his allies were there to greet him: The Duke of Brabant, the Count of Hainault, the Duke of Guelders, the Margrave of Juliers, and a host of lesser princes. But the wool wasn't. In England, there was little enthusiasm for Edward's adventures on the continent. The forced loan had been evaded and resisted with almost complete success. By the end of July, only 1,846 sacks had been shipped. Edward was blindsided and broke. With an army to feed and allies to pay, he borrowed indiscriminately - from the always dependable William Pole (great-grandfather of the most despised man in England), from the Italian Bardi and Peruzzi families, and from whatever other lenders his agents could find, Italian, Flemish, Dutch and Jewish. He offered interest rates up to 50% per annum. And he pawned the Great Crown of England. Edward spent his borrowed money lavishly in order to bring the Holy Roman Emperor on board and firm up the wavering commitment of his allies. But despite a grand ceremony of support from the Holy Roman Emperor, his allies still wavered, and the 1338 campaigning season was lost. They decided to invade in May 1339; then decided that July would be more prudent. In the meantime, over Christmas and into the new year, payments on Edward's debts and further subsidies he had promised his allies fell due. The Archbishop of Trier, Baldwin of Luxembourg, one of the most influential German princes, was a high-priority creditor for Edward. On February 27, 1339, the Great Crown of England was redeemed from pawn in Bruges and pledged to the Archbishop as security. The following year did not go well for Edward. Successful French naval raiding meant that he had to spend money which he did not have on buying supplies which never reached him. On October 23, 1339, his armies and allies were finally across the battlefield from the French, but Philip wisely refused to engage (despite being ridiculed on the field by his own noblemen). After the aborted battle, Edward's allies declared a moral victory and marched away. Edward's money was running out, but he couldn't go back to England to lend his weight to efforts in Parliament to raise further levies, as he had promised his creditors that he would not return to England until they were paid. On January 2, 1340, Edward III of England had himself declared King of France in a ceremony on a platform in the Friday Market of Ghent. But it was prelude to humiliation. In September, he was able to borrow £100 to pay for his archers' meals, but by October, a hostage to his creditors, not even tradesmen would extend credit to the King of England. Promised shipments of wool did not arrive. The Archbishop of Trier was threatening to break up the Great Crown of England; another syndicate of bankers was convinced to take over the pledge, but they, too, threatened to break up the crown if they were not paid within a year. On November 28, Edward pretended to go for a ride in the suburbs of Ghent but instead escaped the city and found a boat to take him to England. He left behind an apologetic letter to his creditors. His unexpected arrival at the Tower of London at midnight a couple of days later was like a stroke of thunder. Edward's anger at what he saw as a failure of his officials and advi[...]

I before E, except after... W?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:56:56 GMT

Most kids who grow up speaking English learn the "I before E" rule, complete with its subparts "except after C" and "or when sounding like A". And some people learn some of the major exceptions, like "weird" and "height" and "caffeine" (so many exceptions, in fact, that as Stephen Fry and QI point out, the rule is essentially useless). But not many people go as far as Nathan Cunningham and use their programming skills to see whether C is really the letter that should be cited as the main exception.

As it turns out, there are six consonants that follow the rule less (H, J, N, R, S, and W). Cunningham addressed some of the criticisms in a follow-up post -- particularly, that "when sounding like A" doesn't matter to this analysis, and whether frequency of word usage should matter.

Food for Soul

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:30:20 GMT

In the summer of 2015 Massimo Bottura, the acclaimed chef behind the three-Michelin-star restaurant Osteria Francescana, began a new project. Located in an abandoned theater in Milan, he invited artists and designers to transform the space into a welcoming place to share a meal. He also invited other world-class chefs like Rene Redzepi, Viviana Varese, Alex Atala, Ana Ros, Joan Roca and Daniel Humm to come create menus that changed daily. The result: Refettorio Ambrosiano. The mission: feed the hungry using food that would otherwise go to waste.

The project initially coincided with Expo 2015, which had a theme of "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life", but continues under the governance of Caritas Ambrosiana, a member of larger Caritas network of Catholic charities. The success of Refettorio Ambrosiano led to Food for Soul, a non-profit to address the issue of food waste through the creation of community kitchens around the world. The organization has already helped launch two more Refettorio projects – Refettorio Gastromotiva in Rio de Janiero and Refettorio Felix in London – and has more planned.

Theater of Life, a feature-length documentary about Refettorio Ambrosiano, was recently made available on Netflix. The film follows Bottura and some of the chefs who helped with the project, and profiles several people who ate there during the course of the Expo.

Young Explorers

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:21:33 GMT

Follow Bejla and Tristan as they explore their world after recently mastering walking.

Young Explorers is a short film project by Jacob Krupnick. He discusses the project with the ICP.

Found at Kottke