December 2, 2017

Miscellany #89

Something Wonderful: The Escherian Stairwell.  I can't figure it out.

Two Stars Slammed Into Each Other And Solved Half Of Astronomy’s Problems. What Comes Next?

Farmers urged to bury their underpants to improve quality of their beef

The ‘Soil my Undies’ challenge was first launched by the California Farmers’ Guild in July and is slowly being adopted by agricultural organizations across the world.  The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) claim interring a pair of cotton smalls in a pasture can reveal vital information about soil fertility. According to the experts, sterile and lifeless soil will keep underwear intact, but organically thriving soil will eat away at the briefs, leaving nothing but the elastic waistband. Dig up the pants after just two months, and it is possible to judge how healthy the land is.

Prehistoric Dinosaur-era Shark with Insane Teeth Discovered Swimming off the Coast of Portugal


The rare frilled shark is considered a “living fossil,” because evidence of its existence dates back to at least 80 million years ago. This summer, researchers found one alive and thriving off the coast of Portugal. Named after its gills, the frilled shark has six pairs of gills that have “frilly” edges.  And  300 teeth neatly lined in 25 rows... specifically designed to help it “to trap squid, fish and other sharks in sudden lunges.”

Turquoise Icebergs Dot Iceland’s Black Sand Beach

 Turqoise Icebergs Black Sand Beach

Learning About Cities by Mapping Their Smells

The English artist Kate McLean is trying to preserve our olfactory memory with smellmaps.
“People expect Amsterdam to smell primarily of cannabis,” she says. But in her spring 2013 smellwalk, participants recorded the sugary sweetness of waffles, the spices of Asian and Surinamese restaurants, and pickled herring from the markets, which McLean notes is a link to one of the city’s old industries. These food smells were accompanied by the wafting aromas of old books in basement doorways and laundry odors from the city’s house hotels.
During a smellwalk in Brooklyn, one of her participants reported the “smell of shattered dreams.” McLean asked each person in the group what that meant and eventually a consensus was reached. “We agreed that the ‘smell of shattered dreams’ is the smell of walking out of a bar, with that typical stench of beer and cigarettes, and going home alone again.”

The frozen Siberian that 'sounds like whales singing'

 Singing Siberian Lake

A photographer in the Altai Mountains recorded the extraordinary haunting noises while walking on the frozen water of Lake Ak-Kem which she posted on Facebook.  Svetlana Kuzina said she was frightened the first time she heard the 'alien-like' sounds in the middle of the night while photographing shooting stars at Lake Ak-Kem.  The noise was 'soft, low, thick, long, taut, howling, changing between quiet and very loud - somewhat reminiscent of whales 'singing'.''The mournful howling sounds made me really feel aliens must be close by."  The frozen acoustics are from the ice expanding and contracting, say experts.

The typeface that helps dyslexics read
Designer Christian Boer had problems reading as a child because of dyslexia. Now he’s created a downloadable font called Dyslexie  that can untangle the jumbled letters that many dyslexics see. 

How the sandwich consumed Britain

 British Chilled Sandwiches

Mass-producing a meal that you could, if necessary, rip open and consume in the street was transforming people’s behavior. “Instant gratification and total convenience and delivery,”....The rise of the British chilled sandwich over the last 40 years has been a deliberate, astonishing and almost insanely labor-intensive achievement. 

For the first time, the Ratzinger Prize is awarded to a non-theologian: the Orthodox composer Arvo Pärt  He's extraordinary.

Somebody wrote an email bot to waste scammers' time

When you get a scam email, forward it to and a bot will keep the scammer busy emailing back and forth with it, giving the scammer less time to rob gullible humans....Re:scam is an initiative aimed at helping people from becoming fraud victims by occupying the time and resources of scammers through deploying a well-educated artificially intelligent chat bot. Instead of junking or deleting a scam email, you can now forward it to Re:scam who will continue the conversation indefinitely – or until the scammer stops replying.
Posted by Jill Fallon at December 2, 2017 1:47 PM | Permalink