April 5, 2017

Miscellany #64

Circular Tunnel of Books in Zhen Yuan, China, the bookstore Yangzhou Zhongshug

 Tunnel-Like Book Entrance China

A grand optical illusion that you only see once you’ve set foot inside. Its lobby is a cavernous tunnel that most notably features striking black mirrored flooring. Together, the reflective ground and curved shelving creates the feeling that you’ve stepped into a perfectly circular room, making you question which way is up. Luckily, there’s help in finding the path forward. The shelves are split by a lightning bolt-shaped gap in the ceiling that leads you into the rest of the store.

Compare that to this photograph of the Stuggart Library entitled "Paradise is a Library"

 Sony Winners 2017 Paradise Library
© Luis Pina, Portugal, 2nd Place, National Awards, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards

How To Irritate Europeans In Just One Sentence

In a contest to find Canada's equivalent of "as American as apple pie", the winning entry was "as Canadian as possible under the circumstances."

The domestic terrorist Ted Kaczynski, known as the 'Unabomber', was a Harvard graduate who submitted his current information to the Alumni Association in 2012 and listed his eight life sentences as "awards" and his current occupation as "prisoner."

A “grammar vigilante” sneaks around at night fixing an infuriatingly common error on public signs.

A BBC video shows an anonymous “grammar vigilante” roaming the streets of Bristol, in the UK, adding apostrophes where they’re missing and covering unnecessary ones. He’s been moonlighting for 13 years, according to the story, and carries a long stick—the “Apostrophiser”—to help him reach improperly punctuated signs. The stealthy stickler does what every English grammar defender wishes they could. In the video, the grammar vigilante denies it's a crime, "It's more of a crime to have the apostrophes wrong in the first place."

Another Sony 2017 winner, Mathilda

 2017 Sony Matilda
© Alexander Vinogradov, Russian Federation, 1st Place, Open, Portraits (Open), 2017 Sony World Photography Awards

Lady Deborah Moody, the Dangerous Woman Who Started a Colonial Town

Deborah set up a town on the southwestern tip of Long Island, becoming the first woman to charter land in the New World.  Gravesend, as it was called, was located in what is today Brooklyn.

Chile Is a Ridiculously Long Country – Europe & US Size Comparison

A Visual Guide to Vantablack, the Darkest Substance Ever Made   See videos at link to understand how black

Vantablack® is a super-black coating that holds the world record as the darkest man-made substance. ...Vantablack is not a black paint, pigment or fabric, but is instead a functionalized ‘forest’ of millions upon millions of incredibly small tubes made of carbon nanotubes. ....

It's so dark because light energy striking the Vantablack surface enters the space between the nanotubes and is rapidly absorbed as it ‘bounces’ from tube to tube and simply cannot escape as the tubes are so long in relation to their diameter and the space between them. The near total lack of reflectance creates an almost perfect black surface. To understand this effect, try to visualize walking through a forest in which the trees are around 3km tall (that is almost 2 miles tall) instead of the usual 10 to 20 metres (30-65 ft). It’s easy to imagine just how little light, if any, would reach you.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:58 PM | Permalink

You can forget solar roadways

Idaho’s $4.3 Million Solar Road Generates Enough Power To Run ONE Microwave

An expensive solar road project in Idaho can’t even power a microwave most days, according to the project’s energy data.

The Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways project generated an average of 0.62 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day since it began publicly posting power data in late March. To put that in perspective, the average microwave or blow drier consumes about 1 kWh per day....

The panels have been under-performing their expectations due to design flaws, but even if they had worked perfectly they’d have only powered a single water fountain and the lights in a nearby restroom.

Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways has been in development for 6.5 years and received a total of $4.3 million in funding to generate 90 cents worth of electricity.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:11 PM | Permalink

"Americans must be suffering from an awful lot of pain."

Existing political proposals, Republican or Democratic, for solving the problem are based in economics.  The problem runs much deeper Damon Linker writes in The spiritual agony behind America's opioid crisis

One might even call them spiritual.  Imagine, for a moment, that addiction is a response to spiritual agony. Then consider the role of substance abuse in our lives.

A 2015 study showed that 32 million Americans (one out of every seven adults) struggled with a serious alcohol problem during the previous year — and that nearly a third of all Americans will exhibit signs of an alcohol-use disorder at some point in their lives. That's an astonishingly high rate of alcohol abuse....As of the end of 2015, the rate of fatal opioid overdoses was more than five times higher than [the crack epidemic] — 10.3 per 100,000. ...

Then there are prescription medications for depression and anxiety. The United States leads the world in per capita consumption of these drugs, with roughly 11 percent of the population over the age of 12 using them.....

What is clear is that the United States is filled with people pursuing various forms of relief from various forms of profound unhappiness, discontent, malaise, agitation, and emotional and/or physical pain....

Americans must be suffering from an awful lot of pain.

"The more often we’ve heard in this century about white privilege, the more often white people have dropped dead in despair, writes Steve Sailer in White Privilege, White Death.

The charts below shows how bad it is.

From Death Rates Rise for Wide Swath of White Adults, Study Finds in the WSJ

Increases in ‘deaths of despair’—from drugs, alcohol-related liver diseases and suicide

 White Deaths


 Death Rates Despair Comparison

 Death Opiods2000-2016

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:33 PM | Permalink

Tips and hacks

The best airplane life hacks

If you use a neck pillow while traveling you're probably using it incorrectly... Look again at all those people wearing the neck pillows. Where do they have the opening? They have a thick side on the back of their neck, pushing them forward towards the open gap in the neck pillow…the exact place their head is going to fall....With the neck pillows, you really should have it open to the back. The back of your head is supported by the seat back. Your chin against the pillow will keep you upright and let you sleep easier.

How to keep bananas fresh, spread hard butter, and make perfect pasta -

Food hacks: Fry your pasta, microwave your lemons, freeze your onions, soften your butter, keep your bananas fresh with plastic wrap and more.

The VERY clever uses for old tea bags

1. Add flavor to your pasta  2. Condition hair  3. Beat bad breath  4. Make floors shine  5. Beating odours  6. Degrease dishes  7. Soothe irritated skin  8. Beat bee stings  9. Help plants grow  10. Make windows and mirrors shine

Keep your bagged lettuce fresher longer.  When you get open, open the bag and tuck in a paper towel.

100-Year-Old Life Hacks That Are Still Useful Today

 Tip Extract Splinter

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:25 AM | Permalink

What do cucumbers and olives have in common with blueberries?

Tomatoes, winter squash, avocados, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, corn, olives, pumpkins, pea pods and zucchini are ALL FRUITS. 

What’s the Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables?

Botanically, fruits and vegetables are classified depending on which part of the plant they come from. A fruit develops from the flower of a plant, while the other parts of the plant are categorized as vegetables.  Fruits contain seeds, while vegetables can consist of roots, stems and leaves.

From a culinary perspective, fruits and vegetables are classified based on taste. Fruits generally have a sweet or tart flavor and can be used in desserts, snacks or juices.Vegetables have a more mild or savory taste and are usually eaten as part of a side dish or main course.

Than again, you can classify them by color

 Fruitveggiecolorwheel

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:08 AM | Permalink