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What If Robots Designed and Played Guitars? January 30, 2013

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Thanks to Guitarist Dave Bryan. Could he be concerned that guitar players will be out-sourced to machines?

Cute Kitty the Killer January 30, 2013

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A new study by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that domestic cats in the United States kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year, most of them native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles rather than introduced pests like the Norway rat.

The estimated kill rates are two to four times higher than mortality figures previously bandied about, and position the domestic cat as one of the single greatest human-linked threats to wildlife in the nation. More birds and mammals die at the mouths of cats, the report said, than from automobile strikes, pesticides and poisons, collisions with skyscrapers and windmills and other so-called anthropogenic causes.

KittyThe KillerYet the new study estimates that free-roaming pets account for only about 29 percent of the birds and 11 percent of the mammals killed by domestic cats each year, and the real problem arises over how to manage the 80 million or so stray or feral cats that commit the bulk of the wildlife slaughter.

via That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think – NYTimes.com.

New Record Big Wave Surfed January 29, 2013

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McNamara surfed another giant wave in Nazaré, Portugal last Monday, Jan. 28th after breaking the record for surfing the biggest wave ever ridden (78ft) in 2011 also at Nazaré.

McNamara-surfed-another-giant-wave-in-Nazaré-PortugalAccording to The Guardian, his friend Mennie said that “Everything was perfect, the weather, the waves,”. And added “Cotty and I surfed two big waves of about 60ft and then, when Garrett was ready came a canyon wave of over 90ft. The jet ski was the best place to see him riding the biggest wave I’ve ever seen. It was amazing. Most people would be scared but Garrett was controlling everything in the critical part of the wave. It was an inspiring ride by an inspiring surfer.”

McNamara also shared his enthusiasm at Twitter by writing “Thank you for all your support. It means the world to me. Today was an awesome day and so fun to be out there.”

Check the video of McNamara’s deed. Although not complete – yet – it’s quite impressive to see how can someone face such a huge wall of water and live to tell the experience!

via McNamara surfed another giant wave in Nazaré, Portugal – All About Portugal.

Nasty, Short and Brutish January 28, 2013

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Conventional cultural anthropology’s thinking was that tribal people were peaceful, that Darwinism had nothing to say about human behavior and culture, and that material resources were the cause of conflict.

Current Science is refuting all 3 assumptions. Mortality from violence is very common in small-scale societies today and in the past. Almost one-third of such people die in raids and fights, and the death rate is twice as high among men as among women. This is a far higher death rate than experienced even in countries worst hit by World War II. Thomas Hobbes’s “war of each against all” looks more accurate for humanity in a state of nature than Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “noble savage,” though anthropologists today prefer to see a continuum between these extremes.

A Darwinian explanation of warfare would imply that similar kinds of violence might have evolved in other group-living animals. In recent years, Richard Wrangham of Harvard University has described chronic intergroup violence among chimpanzees.

But what is the motive for such killing? Robert Walker of the University of Missouri, Columbia, and Drew Bailey of Carnegie Mellon University last year published a survey of “Body Counts in Lowland South American Violence” and concluded that motives include revenge for previous killings, jealousy over women, capture of women and children and, less often, theft of material goods. Come to think of it, sounds just like the Trojan War

via Mind & Matter: Noble Savages Points to Resolution in Study of War – WSJ.com.

Debunking the Moon Landing Hoax January 25, 2013

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Even though this came out back in December, in case you haven’t already seen it…

34 Famous Photos in History Colorized January 22, 2013

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Hbomb-detonation-colorizedReddit user mygrapefruit and self-taught colorizer Sanna Dullaway has colorized famous photographs in history. You can find the entire 34-image collection on Imgur . http://imgur.com/a/wapUe Using a Wacom bamboo tablet and Photosohp, each photo takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours.


Is Great White Following Kayak Picture Real? January 20, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Enviroment.
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Great White and Kayak

I’ve always wondered if the well-circulated image was rea. The Photographer’s notes sound quite convincing.
©Thomas P. Peschak
When this photograph was first published in Africa Geographic, BBC Wildlife and later in Paris Match and the Daily Mail (London) it resulted in a flurry of e-mails, phone calls and letters from around the world asking if the image was a fake. The image became the most talked about of shark photograph ever.

The photograph is real, no photoshop, no digital manipulation, no nothing, in fact it was shot on slide film Fuji Provia 100 using a Nikon F5 Camera and 17-35 mm lens. For those conspiracy fans who still doubt its authenticity please read how I took the photograph.

To capture this image I tied myself to the tower of the research boat Lamnidae and leaned into the void, precariously hanging over the ocean while waiting patiently for a white shark to come along. I wanted to shot a photograph that would tell the story of our research efforts to track white sharks using kayaks. When the first shark of the day came across our sea kayak it dove to the seabed and inspected it from below. I quickly trained my camera on the dark shadow which slowly transformed from diffuse shape into the sleek outline of a large great white. When the shark’s dorsal fin broke the surface I thought I had the shot, but hesitated a fraction of a second and was rewarded with marine biologist Trey Snow in the kayak turning around to look behind him. I pressed the shutter and the rest was history. Throughout the day I shot many more images, most showing the kayak following the shark, but all lacked the power of that first image of the great white tracking the kayak.

55′ Snake January 15, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Cool photos, Enviroment.
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Snake 55footThis picture is claimed to be from Malaysia, where workers cutting a road through the jungle inadvertently killed this estimated to be 120 year-old snake with the pictured excavator. The driver supposedly felt so bad that he cried at what he had done.

What It Takes To Be an NFL Gladiator – Jason Taylor January 15, 2013

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Everything is lined up to get the unhealthy player back on the field — the desire of the player, the guy behind you willing to endure more for the paycheck, the urging of the coaches and teammates, the culture that mocks and eradicates the weak and the doctor whose job it is not necessarily to keep the player healthy but healthy enough to be valuable to the team, which isn’t the same thing at all. The doctor gives the player the diagnosis and the consequences on the sidelines with in-game injuries, without the benefit of an MRI, and then the player makes a choice with the information about whether to take a pain-masking shot. And the choice is always to play.

“Damn right,” Taylor says.

JASON-TAYLOR-You never know if all those needles — and Taylor took a lot — produce more pain. Science has linked Toradol to plantar fasciitis (the aforementioned torn tendons in Taylor’s feet), so Taylor might have been taking one painkiller … that helped create a different pain … and thus required a different painkiller. That was certainly the case after his compartment syndrome. He developed a staph infection that required that catheter to run from armpit to heart with antibiotics. He’d hook himself up to it for a half-hour a day, like a car getting gas, letting the balls of medicine roll into his body. Then he concealed the catheter in tape under his arm so that an opponent wouldn’t know he was weak. Opponents will find your weakness, At the bottom of a fumble pile, a Buffalo Bills player once squeezed the hell out of Taylor’s Adam’s Apple to try and dislodge the football. Anything you read about the PICC line catheter (peripherally inserted central catheter) Taylor used will tell you to avoid swimming or weightlifting or anything that might get it dirty or sweaty. Taylor was playing with it in for weeks while colliding in the most violent of contact sports. Doctors told him it wasn’t a good idea to play with it in. He ignored them. Read the whole sobering interview from the link below.

via Dan Le Batard: Jason Taylor’s pain shows NFL’s world of hurt – Dan Le Batard – MiamiHerald.com.

The End of Courtship? January 14, 2013

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Instead of dinner-and-a-movie, which seems as obsolete as a rotary phone, they rendezvous over phone texts, Facebook posts, instant messages and other “non-dates” that are leaving a generation confused about how to land a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Traditional courtship — picking up the telephone and asking someone on a date — required courage, strategic planning and a considerable investment of ego (by telephone, rejection stings). Not so with texting, e-mail, Twitter or other forms of “asynchronous communication,” as techies call it. In the context of dating, it removes much of the need for charm; it’s more like dropping a line in the water and hoping for a nibble.

PromDatenormanrockwellBlame the much-documented rise of the “hookup culture” among young people, characterized by spontaneous, commitment-free (and often, alcohol-fueled) romantic flings. Hookups may be fine for college students, but what about after, when they start to build an adult life? The problem is that “young people today don’t know how to get out of hookup culture,” Ms. Freitas said. In interviews with students, many graduating seniors did not know the first thing about the basic mechanics of a traditional date.

Online dating services, which have gained mainstream acceptance, reinforce the hyper-casual approach by greatly expanding the number of potential dates. Faced with a never-ending stream of singles to choose from, many feel a sense of “FOMO” (fear of missing out), so they opt for a speed-dating approach — cycle through lots of suitors quickly.

via The End of Courtship? – NYTimes.com.

Predicting 2013 – Opportunities and Threats January 14, 2013

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This report is the synthesis of a 48-hour crowdsourced brainstorming exercise, where over 60 Wikistrat analysts from around the world collaboratively explored the issues that will dominate the foreign policy agenda in 2013..

The year 2012 helped bring answers to a few of the questions that loomed large for foreign observers when the year began. We now know who will lead the United States for the next four years. We have confirmation that the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated branches across the Arab Middle East remain the dominant, if often struggling, political force in the countries where revolutions have toppled dictators. And we have learned, to little surprise, that the much-touted efforts by Washington to pivot towards Asia will remain constrained by the pullback from continuing crises in the Middle East, where major long-standing unresolved conflicts—notably the stand-off with Iran over its nuclear program and Israeli-Palestinian tensions—still occupy the front burner.

The distinction between threats and opportunities was not always clear, particularly because a well-managed threat can turn into an opportunity, just as the reverse is true. As expected, the ongoing developments in the turbulent Middle East occupied much of the analysts’ thoughts, suggesting numerous possible outcomes. But other areas of the world and other supranational trends also made the cut.

Here are some of the top negative & positive scenarios from Wikistrat’s simulation.

via Predicting 2013 – Opportunities and Threats.

17′ Florida Python – The hunt is on for a new record January 13, 2013

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FlaPythonSome estimate that nearly 150,000 pythons are living in the Florida Everglades. Officials say the Burmese pythons are eating wildlife and with no natural predator, the population is overwhelming. The Everglades have become crowded with the snakes and the pythons have started to move into nearby neighborhoods. Last year, a Burmese python was caught and registered more than 17 feet long and 160 pounds. The catch set a new Everglades National Park record.

via Florida Python Hunt Launched to Curb Slithering Population – ABC News.

11 Obscure References in Classic Songs—Explained! January 13, 2013

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We’ve all heard these classic pop and rock hits a thousand times. But even if you know all the words, do you know what they were about?

“Hotel California,” The Eagles

“Warm smell of colitas rising up through the air”

According to the Eagles’ then-manager, “colitas” was explained to Don Henley and Glenn Frey as literally meaning “little buds” by their Mexican-American road manager, and further as Spanish slang for “marijuana.

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen

“Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango?” … “Bismillah! No!”

Scaramouche is a traditional clown character featured in Italian commedia dell’arte. He is a stock character in Punch and Judy shows and often gets his head knocked off of his shoulders by Punch. The fandango is a lively couples dance usually accompanied by guitars, hand claps and castanets.

“Bismillah” is an Arabic word that means “in the name of God.” It is used at the head of almost every chapter in the Holy Quran

Read the full text here: 11 Obscure References in Classic Songs—Explained! | Mental Floss.

Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” Illusion January 12, 2013

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Pulsating_Seizure_Pink_Floyd_IllusionOriginally titled “Here comes another seizure“, the disturbing background pattern used in this tremendous optical illusions comes from Tautvydas Davainis’s digital studio.

via Pulsating Nightmare Optical Illusion | Mighty Optical Illusions.

Why Are Indian Reservations So Poor? January 12, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, philosophy & politics.
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At a time when there’s a spotlight on America’s richest 1%, a look at the country’s 310 Indian reservations–where many of America’s poorest 1% live–can be more enlightening. To explain the poverty of the reservations, people usually point to alcoholism, corruption or school-dropout rates, not to mention the long distances to jobs and the dusty undeveloped land that doesn’t seem good for growing much. But those are just symptoms. Prosperity is built on property rights, and reservations often have neither. They’re a demonstration of what happens when property rights are weak or non-existent.

The vast majority of land on reservations is held communally. That means residents can’t get clear title to the land where their home sits, one reason for the abundance of mobile homes on reservations. This makes it hard for Native Americans to establish credit and borrow money to improve their homes because they can’t use the land as collateral–and investing in something you don’t own makes little sense, anyway.

This leads to what economists call the tragedy of the commons: If everyone owns the land, no one does. So the result is substandard housing and the barren, rundown look that comes from a lack of investment, overuse and environmental degradation. It’s a look that’s common worldwide, wherever secure property rights are lacking—much of Africa and South America, inner city housing projects and rent-controlled apartment buildings in the U.S., Indian reservations.

via Why Are Indian Reservations So Poor? A Look At The Bottom 1% – Forbes.

Napoleon Wasn’t Short and 4 Other Historical Myths – Video January 12, 2013

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“In this four-minute video, C.G.P. Grey tackles five historical misconceptions, contrasting the commonly accepted stories with what the historical record actually shows.”

 Read the full text here: http://mentalfloss.com/article/32125/napoleon-wasnt-short-vikings-didnt-wear-horned-helmets-and-3-more-historical#ixzz2Hnpo7CTv
–brought to you by mental_floss!”

Vanishing Act: Camouflage in Nature January 10, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Books, Cool photos, Enviroment.
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animal-camouflage-photography-art-wolfe-1In this astonishing new book, legendary wildlife photographer Art Wolfe turns to one of nature’s most fundamental survival techniques: the vanishing act. His portraits show animals and insects disappearing into their surroundings, using deceptions, disguises, lures, and decoys to confuse the eye of both predator and prey. Click on this link and hit the “Slideshow” option and see how many you can find.

Vanishing Act: Camouflage in Nature | Art Wolfe Stock Photography 888-973-0011.


Last Known Painting of Ancient Vesuvius January 8, 2013

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Classical Archaeology News – Today in Classical Receptions… onestopartfun:….

When Will The College Bubble Burst? January 7, 2013

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Higher education’s business model is simply unsustainable.

Colleges have so far gotten away with their price hikes by making it easy for students to borrow money. But now the customers are tapped out. They owe $1 trillion, and they are having a rough time repaying that debt with the kinds of jobs available in today’s economy. Vedder notes that 115,000 janitors have bachelor’s degrees.

The system is ripe for an upheaval. Cheap online courses seem poised to deliver it. Traditional colleges at opposite ends of the glamour spectrum will probably survive. At one end, community colleges could deliver bankable skills in fields like nursing and computer network installation. At the other end, elite institutions like Princeton will carry on for a few more centuries.

In between? “It’s going to wipe out high-cost mediocre private schools without big endowments,” Vedder says.BSchoolBlues

via How Liberal Arts Colleges Could Go Bankrupt – Forbes.

Stairway to Heaven For Led Zeppelin January 6, 2013

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If you haven’t already had the pleasure of seeing this performance at this year’s Kennedy Center Honors,, please go ahead and indulge.

Thanks to Dave Bryan for this additional insight

Led Zepplin v AC DC

How Leaded Gasoline Caused Our Violent Crime Wave. January 5, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, health, Science & Technology.
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Starting in the 1960s, America saw a huge increase in levels of violent crime that peaked in the early 1990s, then steadily declined, and continues to decline today. All kinds of theories have been promulgated to explain this peak and decline in crime, and plenty of politicians in the 1990s took credit for it. Lead emissions from automobiles explain 90 percent of the variation in violent crime in America. Toddlers who ingested high levels of lead in the ’40s and ’50s really were more likely to become violent criminals in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.

And with that we have our molecule: tetraethyl lead, the gasoline additive invented by General Motors in the 1920s to prevent knocking and pinging in high-performance engines. As auto sales boomed after World War II, and drivers in powerful new cars increasingly asked service station attendants to “fill ‘er up with ethyl,” they were unwittingly creating a crime wave two decades later.

The use of lead pipes to carry water to wealthy neighLeadedCrimeWaveborhoods is claimed to be one major factor that contributed to the weakening and eventual destruction of the Roman Empire. At least we had the Science to discover our lead folly and correct it, even though much is to still be remediated. But the huge penal/judicial/police industrial complex budget justifications are threatened by such a simple crime source. Turns out criminologists were blaming the wrong Lead, when some accused the music of Led Zeppelin, among others.

via America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead | Mother Jones.

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