Once upon a time, the Fab Four—having slain the pop charts—decided to set their sights on the Dark Lord Sauron by making a Lord of the Rings feature, starring themselves. One man dared stand in their way: J.R.R. Tolkien.
According to Peter Jackson, who knows a little something about making Lord of the Rings movies, John Lennon was the Beatle most keen on LOTR back in the ’60s—and he wanted to play Gollum, while Paul McCartney would play Frodo, Ringo Starr would take on Sam and George Harrison would beard it up for Gandalf. And he approached a pre-2001 Stanley Kubrick to direct.
Savor that leftover Halloween candy, because in the future, you won’t be able to afford it. Chocolate consumption is increasing faster than cocoa production, according to the Cocoa Research Association, and that means prohibitively expensive chocolate is in our future.
Since even before Choc Finger started hoarding it, cocoa prices have been on the rise, doubling in the past six years. The cacao plant can only be grown in latitudes within 10 degrees of the equator, but cacao farmers (largely in developing nations) lack incentives to re-plant their trees as they die off, according to a report in the Independent.
6. Weird News of the Week: Man’s Beard Was Cut, Stuffed In His Mouth During Fight
He claims his beard was cut off and stuffed in his mouth and that he was ordered to eat it last May. And that’s only the beginning of what one Lawrenceburg man says he and his brother endured, all because of a fight over a lawn mower.
While dogs slurp to alleviate thirst, cats display a mastery of physical dynamics that leaves their whiskers, chin and the counter top free of liquid, researchers found.
Researchers spent hours watching a feline consume liquids in order to understand the forces. They also made a robotic version of a cat’s tongue and watched YouTube videos of big cats drinking.
Using complicated formulas, the four-member team from Virginia Tech, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University came up with their findings, detailed Thursday in the online journal Science.
8. Quote of the Week: “My grandfather was born in 1888 and he didn’t have a lifestyle. He didn’t need one: he had a life.” – Michael Bywater
Deep beneath Vegas’s glittering lights lies a sinister labyrinth inhabited by poisonous spiders and a man nicknamed The Troll who wields an iron bar.
But astonishingly, the 200 miles of flood tunnels are also home to 1,000 people who eke out a living in the strip’s dark underbelly.
Some, like Steven and his girlfriend Kathryn, have furnished their home with considerable care – their 400sq ft ‘bungalow’ boasts a double bed, a wardrobe and even a bookshelf.
Although the stress of motherhood may make them feel insane at times, new moms aren’t losing their minds. In fact, it’s just the opposite: Their brains grow larger in certain regions within months of delivering the newborn, a new study suggests.
And those moms who are particularly awestruck and gushy over their babies show more growth in the brain areas associated with motivation, reward and the regulation of emotion, the researchers said.
12. Image of the Week: Grizzly Bear Chasing a Bison Down a Highway in Yellowstone
Alex Wypyszinski, a retired professor and amateur photographer, shot this amazing series of photos of a grizzly bear chasing down an injured bison when he stopped to take photos of geysers in Yellowstone National Park in May.
Numerous studies have reported on the health benefits — both mental and physical — of religious belief. But precisely why faith is linked to higher levels of well-being and lower levels of mortality remains something of a mystery.
Newly published research provides an intriguing clue: When they make a mistake, religious people are less likely to get stressed out about i
14. Gallery of the Week: A Brain Surgeon’s Must-Have Gizmos
Detectives are set to be taught how to track down killers and other criminals on social networking sites.
Thousands of student investigators will learn how to track down offenders on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Training is to be changed to include new information on how to track down suspects through sites, where wanted people may reveal valuable clues.
16. Infographic of the Week: Dollar Bill Facts
17. The Pips (without Gladys Knight)
Ever wondered how many of our everyday laughs, groans and sighs are instinctive rather than learned from our peers? It now seems that only expressions of laughter and relief are instinctive, whereas other emotional outbursts need to be learned from other people.
To find out which sounds are instinctive, a team led by Disa Sauter of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, asked eight deaf and eight hearing individuals to vocalise nine different emotions, but without words. These included fear, relief, anger, hilarity, triumph, disgust and sadness.
It’s well-established folk wisdom that you can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. But it’s a very different story if you’re working on your posture. In that case, chewing gum is actually the best thing you can do.
That’s the finding of a recent study about the effect of chewing gum on people’s “postural stability during upright standing.” The researchers got in twelve subjects who were asked to stand on a force platform, which is a special device that can measure how much a person really moves while trying to stand still.
22. HistoricalLOL of the Week
In George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead,” the dead are reanimated, enraged and hungry. They stumble toward the living, arms outstretched, eating everyone in their path. They show no reason, no pain and no signs of slowing down.
Dr. Steven Schlozman, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a lecturer at the Harvard School of Education, uses the undead to teach the living about the brain. In fact, he says, talking about zombie brains and folklore, like those in Romero’s classic, can give people a safe fictional context to discuss serious issues in medicine.
Scalia outlined a long list of Christian beliefs that he said are greeted with derision by the worldly — dogmas including Christ’s divinity, the virgin birth and Christ’s resurrection.
“Surely those who adhere to all or most of these traditional Christian beliefs are regarded in the educated circles that you and I travel in as, well, simple-minded,” Scalia asserted.
The Catholic justice cited a story in The Washington Post that described Christian fundamentalists as “poorly educated and easily led.”
“The same attitude applies, of course, to traditional Catholics,” Scalia said, “who do such positively peasantlike things as saying the rosary, kneeling in adoration before the Eucharist, going on pilgrimages to Lourdes or Medjugorje and — worst of all — following indiscriminately, rather than in smorgasbord fashion, the teachings of the pope.”
Scalia said believers should embrace the ridicule of the world.
“As St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians,” he said, “we are fools for Christ’s sake.”
If you’ve been following the rise of so-called “New Atheism” movement, you may have noticed that it sure looks a lot like old religion. The individuals most commonly associated with contemporary atheism—Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and Victor Stenger—are all male, white and, well, kinda old (69, 61, 68 and 75). Sam Harris, another popular figure who bears mention, has the distinction of being in his early 40s.
28. How-To of the Week: Prevent Identity Theft
Humans are social creatures, or so the psychologists tell us. But when does that social behavior start? Is it biological or cultural? A new study from a team of psychologists examines the behavior of twins in utero, and finds that “by the 14th week of gestation, unborn twins are already directing arm movements at each other, and by the 18th week these ’social’ gestures have increased to 29 percent of all observed movements. In contrast, the proportion of self-directed actions reduced over the same period.”
For most people, any goal or pursuit taken up 10 years ago is probably a long-gone memory.
But for Charlie Kested of Johnstown, NY, there’s one thing that has been a constant in his life for the past 10 years. For the last decade, Kested has regularly sequestered himself away in his basement workshop, carefully carving, letter by letter, every single line of the Declaration of Independence out of dark walnut wood.
33. Random Act of Culture – Handel’s “Messiah” at Macy’s