For almost three decades beginning in 1936, many African-American travelers relied on a booklet to help them decide where they could comfortably eat, sleep, buy gas, find a tailor or beauty parlor, shop on a honeymoon to Niagara Falls, or go out at night. In 1949, when the guide was 80 pages, there were five recommended hotels in Atlanta. In Cheyenne, Wyo., the Barbeque Inn was the place to stay.
A Harlem postal employee and civic leader named Victor H. Green conceived the guide in response to one too many accounts of humiliation or violence where discrimination continued to hold strong. These were facts of life not only in the Jim Crow South, but in all parts of the country, where black travelers never knew where they would be welcome. Over time its full title — “The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide” — became abbreviated, simply, as the “Green Book.” Those who needed to know about it knew about it. To much of the rest of America it was invisible, and by 1964, when the last edition was published, it slipped through the cracks into history.
A Kevlar-like armor might have helped Alexander the Great (356–323 B.C.) conquer nearly the entirety of the known world in little more than two decades, according to new reconstructive archaeology research.
Presented at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Anaheim, Calif., the study suggests that Alexander and his soldiers protected themselves with linothorax, a type of body armor made by laminating together layers of linen.
So there we sat, I decline earplugs; I am used to loud drum and horn music from Morocco, and it always has, if skillfully performed, an exhilarating and energizing effect on me. As the performance got underway I experienced this musical exhilaration, which was all the more pleasant for being easily controlled, and I knew then that nothing bad was going to happen. This was a safe and friendly area–but at the same time highly charged. There was a palpable interchange of energy between the performers and the audience which was never frantic or jagged. The special effects were handled well and not overdone.
A few special effects are much better than too many. I can see the laser beams cutting dry ice smoke, which drew an appreciative cheer from the audience. Jimmy Page’s number with the broken guitar strings came across with a real impact, as did John Bonham’s drum solo and the lyrics delivered with unfailing vitality by Robert Plant. The performers were doing their best, and it was very good. The last number, “Stairway to Heaven”, where the audience lit matches and there was a scattering of sparklers here and there, found the audience well-behaved and joyous, creating the atmosphere of a high school Christmas play. All in all a good show; neither low nor insipid. Leaving the concert hall was like getting off a jet plane.
5. From the New Yorker: An illustrated explanation of how cartoonists get their ideas.
You know how grandma’s always criticizing your new haircut or choice of clothing? Well, it might not hurt to listen. Because old folks who can’t hold their tongues may give the best advice. That’s according to a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
8. Quote of the Week: “How is it that a man can make love to his wife thousands of times over the course of forty years and not be at risk for any sexually transmitted diseases, while another man can have three one-night stands and find himself crawling with sexually transmitted pests. And tell us again which behavior is more natural?” – Doug Wilson
If you’re headed for space, you might rethink that manicure: Astronauts with wider hands are more likely to have their fingernails fall off after working or training in space suit gloves, according to a new study.
In fact, fingernail trauma and other hand injuries—no matter your hand size—are collectively the number one nuisance for spacewalkers, said study co-author Dava Newman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Keg wine and wine vending machines just got supersized: 500 and one-thousand liter tanks have landed in French supermarkets.
Bring your own resealable bottles, Poland Spring containers, jerrycans, whatever. Or you can get one at the store. Select your grade (red, white, or rosé). Pump. Print receipt.
12. Image of the Week: Conserve Water, or This Fish Dies
Whenever you use Yan Lu’s “Poor Little Fishbowl Sink,” water in the above fishbowl drains, resulting in a life-threatening situation for its resident goldfish. That’s a clever way of reminding us that our wasteful practices can directly affect other creatures (and that, for much of the world, water issues are matters of life or death).
The distance to the moon is 385,000,000,000 mm.
The size of an unkerned piece of normal cut Helvetica at 100pt is 136.23 mm.
Therefore it would take 2,826,206,643.42 helveticas to get to the moon.
When the GI tract has finished digesting a meal, it continues to process the liquids and gasses remaining in the intestines. This process often causes your stomach to rumble when you’re hungry. Stomach growling is caused by intestinal contractions squeezing and popping intestinal gasses. Actually, stomach rumbles are simply flatulence that stays inside the body.
(Via: Boing Boing)
16. Infographic of the Week: The Most Powerful Colors in the World
17. What happens when you put a lighter in a blender?
(Via: The Presurfer)
19. The Dual Tracked (Military Purpose) Vehicle DTV “Shredder”
20. Corn Sugar?
Would high-fructose corn syrup, by any other name, have sweeter appeal?
The Corn Refiners Association, which represents firms that make the syrup, has been trying to improve the image of the much maligned sweetener with ad campaigns promoting it as a natural ingredient made from corn. Now, the group has petitioned the United States Food and Drug Administration to start calling the ingredient “corn sugar,” arguing that a name change is the only way to clear up consumer confusion about the product.
Short answer: Bad news for space travel. And this isn’t just idle speculation for boozy astrophysicist parties. Space junk—spent rockets, lost astro-screwdrivers, satellite parts—could form rings around our planet as surely as water, ice and dust encircle Saturn. Scientists have been especially concerned about satellite collisions, where debris from one wreck could trigger a futuristic 12-car pileup.
22. HistoricalLOL of the Week
The Anarchist Cookbook was written during 1968 and part of 1969 soon after I graduated from high school. At the time, I was 19 years old and the Vietnam War and the so-called “counter culture movement” were at their height. I was involved in the anti-war movement and attended numerous peace rallies and demonstrations. The book, in many respects, was a misguided product of my adolescent anger at the prospect of being drafted and sent to Vietnam to fight in a war that I did not believe in.
[ . . . ]
The central idea to the book was that violence is an acceptable means to bring about political change. I no longer agree with this.
During the years that followed its publication, I went to university, married, became a father and a teacher of adolescents. These developments had a profound moral and spiritual effect on me. I found that I no longer agreed with what I had written earlier and I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the ideas that I had put my name to. In 1976 I became a confirmed Anglican Christian and shortly thereafter I wrote to Lyle Stuart Inc. explaining that I no longer held the views that were expressed in the book and requested that The Anarchist Cookbook be taken out of print. The response from the publisher was that the copyright was in his name and therefore such a decision was his to make – not the author’s. In the early 1980′s, the rights for the book were sold to another publisher. I have had no contact with that publisher (other than to request that the book be taken out of print) and I receive no royalties.
Unfortunately, the book continues to be in print and with the advent of the Internet several websites dealing with it have emerged. I want to state categorically that I am not in agreement with the contents of The Anarchist Cookbook and I would be very pleased (and relieved) to see its publication discontinued. I consider it to be a misguided and potentially dangerous publication which should be taken out of print.
27. How-To of the Week: Read a patent in 60 seconds
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a new technology that may help robots feel, give the sense of touch back to those with prosthetic limbs, and ultimately help robots do the dishes without breaking them (and while they’re at it, maybe make a sandwich without turning it into land of the flatlanders).
The material is built using semiconductor nanowires that can operate using low voltages, and it’s more flexible than previous inorganic synthetic skins. This “e-skin” is also stronger than its competing organic materials. Organic materials are also poor semiconductors, and require a higher voltage to operate. The Berkeley group’s synthetic skin can either be transferred to another material like a plastic or glass by either directly transferring it over from a flat substrate which is then “rubbed” onto a polymer film made of polyamide. It can also be “rolled” onto the surface using a device that works much like a lint roller in reverse; the fibers are deposited to a sticky surface rather than picked up.
Well, when I started writing in my late 20s, I knew that I was a native of science fiction. It was my native literary culture. But I also knew that I had been to a lot of other places in literature, other than science fiction. When I started working I had the science fiction writer’s specialist toolkit. I used it for my version of what it had been issued for. As I used it, though, and as the world around me changed, because of the impact of contemporary technologies, more than anything else, I found myself looking at the toolkit and thinking, you know, these tools are possibly the best tools we have to describe our inherently fantastic present—to describe it and examine it, and take it down and put it back together and get a handle on it. I think without those tools I don’t really know what we could do with it.
Whenever I read a contemporary literary novel that describes the world we’re living in, I wait for the science fiction tools to come out. Because they have to—the material demands it. Global warming demands it, and the global AIDS epidemic and 9/11 and everything else—all these things that didn’t exist 30 years ago require that toolkit to handle. You need science fiction oven mitts to handle the hot casserole that is 2010.
(Via: Text Patterns)
33. Chemistry Ph.D. thesis explained via dance routine
Maureen McKeague, a chemistry Ph.D. candidate at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, turned her complicated thesis—”Selection of a DNA aptamer for homocysteine using systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment”— into an easy-to-follow dance routine.
(Via: Boing Boing)