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The Neatest Stuff Around

Published: Fri, 20 Apr 2018 00:03:40 -0700

Copyright: 2018

Pickled Basilisk Eggs with Wasabi and Avocado

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 19:36:31 -0700


You've probably been using the same deviled egg recipe your entire life; now its time to try something different! Tye Lombardi at the Necro Nom-nom-nomicon has a spicy, colorful recipe for pickled basilisk eggs. You will need:

6-8 basilisk eggs.
1 fireproof suit and gloves.
Large mirror

Oh, wait, that's the recipe for immortals. For the rest of us, it's a matter of pickling your eggs for a few days with brine colored with beet juice, then deviling the yolks with with wasabi and avocado filling. That's where the fuchsia and chartreuse color scheme comes from. Bone appetit!

How Did Restaurants Get So Loud?

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 10:24:01 -0700


Have you ever gone to a restaurant and immediately wanted to leave because it was so loud? Or you had a problem hearing the waiter? It's not your imagination- restaurants have been getting demonstrably louder over the past couple of decades. Changes in architecture, decor, and management have contributed to noise levels reaching the range that can damage your hearing. Some of the increase is on purpose, as proprietors want to create an ambiance of "buzz" and "energy," so they crank the music up. That only forces people to talk louder. Vox gives us five reasons restaurants are so noisy, and tips on what we can do it about it.

(Image credit: Flickr user Kyle Mahan)

The Differences Between the U.S. and New Zealand

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 10:21:30 -0700

(image) (YouTube link)

Jordan Watson gave us two lessons on the difference between Australia and New Zealand, because he is from New Zealand and people thought he was from Australia. He must have gotten some feedback from Americans -probably confused Americans. So now he brings us a lesson on the differences between the States and New Zealand, as if we needed that. But he is, as always, entertaining. I honestly saw "Howdy" coming a mile away, and then expected him to go from "chilly bin" to the "chili bun," which is a Southern US thing.  -via Tastefully Offensive

Ancient Humans Performed Brain Surgery on a Cow

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 07:14:21 -0700


There are variety of possible reasons for the ancient practice of trepanation, or drilling holes in a person's skull, but whatever you call it, it was brain surgery. What is surprising is how good ancient practitioners were at it, and how similar trepanations were around the world. A new science paper may have a clue as to how that happened. In 1999, a 5,000-year old cow skull was unearthed at an archaeological dig in France. It had a hole in it. Researchers assumed the hole was a gore from another cow's horn, and put it away. A more recent examination shows that it was surgery.   

Physical analysis of the hole, which measures 64.5 mm long and 46.5 mm wide, shows no trace of fracturing or splintering, which means it wasn’t caused by a powerful blow, such as goring from another cow or a puncture inflicted by a stone tool. At the same time, the hole shows the characteristic signs of trepanation, namely a square-like shape and cut marks made around the gap. No marks exist on the skull to indicate that pressure was applied by an external force. This hole, the researchers argue, was cut—quite literally—with surgical precision.

The hole exhibits no sign of healing, which means the procedure was performed on a dead cow, or the cow did not survive the surgery.

This is the earliest concrete example we have of veterinary surgery, but we don't know the reason. It's possible, but unlikely, that they were trying to save the cow. Or, whether the cow was dead or alive going into the procedure, it could have been surgeons practicing for human trepanation. Read about the ancient cow surgery at Gizmodo.

(Image credit:  Fernando Ramirez Rozzi)

Musical World Map

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 05:08:59 -0700

(image) (YouTube link)

We've seen before how people turned art into music by playing it through a midi program. John Keats did that with a map of the world, and the results are surprisingly pleasant. Well, maybe it shouldn't be too surprising, since a talented programmer/musician would adjust those pixels to avoid the most dissonant notes. But it's nice to see our world sounding this good!   

Keats' musical map of Europe is way more discordant, his musical map of Africa is more dramatic, and his musical map of France is experimental, since he used the sounds of different musical instruments. You can see more of Keats' musical midi maps at YouTube. -via b3ta

Assassin Bug Lives Up to Its Name, Has Not One But TWO Distinct Venoms

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 21:29:21 -0700

Image: Jiayi Jin

With a name like the "assassin bug," this little insect better has something really awesome to live up to the badass moniker.

And it does: in a research paper recently published in Nature Communications, entomologist Andrew Walker and colleagues at the University of Queensland, Australia, discovered that the assassin bug Pristhesancus plagipennis has not only one venom, but two distinct ones stored in separate glands.

“We wanted to see if assassin bugs had venom that was similar in composition to other venomous animals due to convergent evolution, or if the different feeding physiology would result in a different composition,” [Walker] said. And when their research began, essentially no one has looked at their venoms—”almost nothing was known about them.”

But what they found was much more surprising: the animals are equipped with two different venoms, which are made and stored in distinct compartments—a first for any venomous animal.

Christine Wilcox of Science Sushi has the intriguing story of the dual-venomed assassin bug.

Which Way is the Windmill Rotating?

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 21:28:41 -0700


According to Michael Pickard and Gurpreet Singh, the creators of "The Windmills of Your Mind" illusion, the dots of the windmill are always at constant speed and direction throughout the video clip.

So why did your mind see both clockwise and counter-clockwise movement? The answer, the two researchers at the University of Sunderland, United Kingdom, said, is that perceived direction is changed when the dot pitch is changed (by removing alternate dots or using alternate light and dark colors).

This Urinal Shows You Ads While You Pee

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 21:28:15 -0700

(image) No place is safe from advertisement anymore - not even the restroom.

Mr.Friendly, a Dutch toilet company, has created a high-tech urinal with neat features like waterless/flushless function and anti-bacterial surface. But the unique feature here is the built-in display with an automatic sensor that'll play advertisement while you pee.

This Algae Species is Like a Living Opal

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 21:27:28 -0700

Image: Martin Lopez-Garcia, et al./Science Advances

All that glitters is not gold ... sometimes, they're opal.

Researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom have discovered an iridescent algae species called Cystoseira tamariscifolia that got its dazzling colors from its light-controlling crystals inside its cells.

"We have living jewels in the environment," study author Heather Whitney said to Gizmodo, "It’s a Fabergé seaweed":

Looking at it under a microscope reveals a shimmering iridescence. An even closer analysis reveals two to three fat-filled vesicles in each of its cells, according to the paper published last week in Science Advances.

Inside these sacs, lots of spherical fat globules arrange themselves into a three-dimensional lattice, similar to the lattice structure that silicon dioxide takes in opals, to give the alga its special iridescent property. Not only that, but it appears that the algae can choose to order and disorder the spheres to control how light is scattered (or not) inside cells.

Girl Brought Cardboard Cutout of Michael B. Jordan to the Prom

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 21:26:42 -0700

(image) No date for the prom? No problem!

When a teenager named Dee found herself without a date to the prom, she decided to bring the man of her dreams - Black Panther actor Michael B. Jordan - albeit in cardboard cutout form.

"After not being able to get a prom date from procrastinating and waiting til the last minute, i spent 3 hours making my sexy prom date," Dee tweeted.

Now, the crafty teen is campaigning to meet the real Michael B. Jordan.

A Real-life Lord of the Flies: the Troubling Legacy of the Robbers Cave Experiment

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 19:44:35 -0700


Harvard psychologist Muzafer Sherif was fascinated by group dynamics, and wanted to experiment with social psychology. In 1953, a year before William Golding's Lord of the Flies was published, he set up a summer camp called Middle Grove for 11-year-old boys and manipulated them into forming two opposing groups. He set them up to hate each other, and then planned a fake emergency to see if they would cooperate to overcome it.

Despite his pretence of leaving the 11-year-olds to their own devices, Sherif and his research staff, posing as camp counsellors and caretakers, interfered to engineer the result they wanted. He believed he could make the two groups, called the Pythons and the Panthers, sworn enemies via a series of well-timed “frustration exercises”. These included his assistants stealing items of clothing from the boys’ tents and cutting the rope that held up the Panthers’ homemade flag, in the hope they would blame the Pythons. One of the researchers crushed the Panthers’ tent, flung their suitcases into the bushes and broke a boy’s beloved ukulele. To Sherif’s dismay, however, the children just couldn’t be persuaded to hate each other.

After losing a tug-of-war, the Pythons declared that the Panthers were in fact the better team and deserved to win. The boys concluded that the missing clothes were the result of a mix-up at the laundry. And, after each of the Pythons swore on a Bible that they didn’t cut down the Panthers’ flag, any conflict “fizzled”. By the time of the incident with the suitcases and the ukulele, the boys had worked out that they were being manipulated. Instead of turning on each other, they helped put the tent back up and eyed their “camp counsellors” with suspicion. “Maybe you just wanted to see what our reactions would be,” one of them said.

When the first experiment didn't turn out they way Sherif expected, he held a second summer camp the next year at Robber's Cave where the experimenters manipulated the boys in a different way, and voilà! achieved the expected results. Gina Perry's new book The Lost Boys looks at the process and the ethics of the Robber's Cave experiment, and its lasting legacy. 

You can read an excerpt from the book The Lost Boys here. -Thanks, WTM!

How Dog Poop Led to Me Cleaning Out a Meth House

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 08:02:05 -0700

Erin Burr tells a story about how she went home and found her dog had pooped in the floor because she was late taking him out. But there was a footprint in the poop, and no one had been home all day. That can give you the willies, and rightly so. But that was just the initial feeling of unease about the neighbors that sets up the better parts of the story.

Fast forward to today. I’ve been locking my doors and closing windows because the neighbors are creepy. I lock up, and head out to my car so I can pick up the kids I babysit from school. I’m parked in the alley out back, which is super convenient.


Today, however, the end of the alley is blocked off by at least four unmarked police cars. There are a dozen cops. I can kind of see someone handcuffed on the ground. Lots of plainclothes cops. Shit is going down.

It’s a dead-end alley. I’m blocked in. I figure I need to ask them if they can move the arrest over a few feet. Nbd. I set my car keys, phone, and wallet down on the seat of the car. And then, distracted af, I hit the lock button.

And close the door.

You guys.

Have you ever locked your whole life in a car in the middle of a police raid.

I do not recommend it.  

I do, however, recommend that read the entire story, which gets much crazier from that point, either at Twitter, or to make it easier, you can read it at Thread Reader.

And if you liked that story, read about the time Burr's refrigerator was stolen, and how it was later returned. -via Metafilter