1. The Gettysburg Address Animated
(Via: Open Culture )
2. Worldometer - World statistics updated in real time
3. Disunion is a new NY Times blog that will be covering the events of the Civil War in “real-time” as it happened 150 years ago. From one of the first posts about the last ordinary day:
[November 1, 1860] was an ordinary day in America: one of the last such days for a very long time to come.
In dusty San Antonio, Colonel Robert E. Lee of the U.S. Army had just submitted a long report to Washington about recent skirmishes against marauding Comanches and Mexican banditti. In Louisiana, William Tecumseh Sherman was in the midst of a tedious week interviewing teenage applicants to the military academy where he served as superintendent. In Galena, Ill., passers-by might have seen a man in a shabby military greatcoat and slouch hat trudging to work that Thursday morning, as he did every weekday. He was Ulysses Grant, a middle-aged shop clerk in his family’s leather-goods store.
(Via: Kottke )
The Medical Research Council has shown that antibodies can actually move inside cells and fight viruses from the inside, opposed to the previous way antibodies were thought to work, which is by blocking or attacking viruses from the outside.
It is believed this discovery can lead to a cure or at least much more effective treatment for various nagging virus-induced ailments, such as the common cold and winter vomiting.
6. Weird News of the Week: Woman accused of bilking state by claiming 40 months of pregnancy
A Winslow woman is accused of fraudulently obtaining food stamps by forging state documents to say she was pregnant over a 40-month period.
Leah L. Wright, 34, of Winslow was indicted Thursday by a grand jury in Kennebec County Superior Court on one count of theft by deception and eight counts of aggravated forgery.
8. Quote of the Week: States have the right to regulate migration flows and to defend their own frontiers, always guaranteeing the respect due to the dignity of each and every human person. Immigrants, moreover, have the duty to integrate into the host Country, respecting its laws and its national identity. - Pope Benedict XVI
Hollywood had a record year at the box office in 2009, but its $10 billion in revenues was only 66 percent of what the U.S. yellow pages industry generated last year. Remarkable as it is that clip-art display ads crafted by Topeka window cleaners are a more vital economic engine than all the CGI James Cameron can dump onto an IMAX screen, no one cares.
Israels Antiquities Authority and Google announced Tuesday they are joining forces to bring the Dead Sea Scrolls online, allowing both scholars and the general public widespread access to the ancient manuscripts for the first time.
The project will grant free, global access to the 2,000-year-old textconsidered one of the greatest archaeological finds of the last centuryby uploading high-resolution images that are exact copies of the originals. The first photographs are slated to be online within months.
12. Image of the Week: Perpetually Capsizing Boat Sculpture
the floating sculpture is made from a large sailboat that has been modified to appear as if it is capsizing. despite its battered appearance the boat is fully functional and able to move around thanks to a built-in motor. to create the piece a 6.5 meter yacht was cut in half and a new keel was added to allow the boat to remain upright in the sinking position.
(Via: Neatorma )
The memoir of a former Boston prison librarian has revealed some of the literary preferences of American inmates. And according to Avi Steinberg, aka “Bookie” to the inmates of Suffolk County House of Correction, popular requests are The Diary of Anne Frank, Robert Greene’s Machiavellian self-help manual The 48 Laws of Power, and anything by Sylvia Plath.
(Via: Neatorama )
16. Infographic of the Week: How smartphone users see each other
Many studies over the years have shown you tend to have time-inconsistent preferences. When asked if you would rather have fruit or cake one week from now, you will usually say fruit. A week later when the slice of German chocolate and the apple are offered, you are statistically more likely to go for the cake.
This is why your Netflix queue is full of great films you keep passing over for Family Guy. With Netflix, the choice of what to watch right now and what to watch later is like candy bars versus carrot sticks. When you are planning ahead, your better angels point to the nourishing choices, but in the moment you go for what tastes good.
This is where Big Thinkers on both sides go wrong. It’s dangerous to start viewing too many movies as political straws blowing in the wind, which is why I find it hard to see “Toy Story 3” as any more of a conservative film than “Wall-E” as a cynical liberal attack on fat Middle Americans. Apuzzo has made a really good point — science-fiction films often reflect societal anxieties, but I’m not sure you can so easily put a political spin on them, especially before you’ve seen them. America’s future might be precarious, but when you start analyzing movies, you learn that they’re a lot better at dramatizing the problems than offering any answers.
George Washington: first president of the United States of America. He commanded forces in numerous battles, defended our country against the British, and risked his life to save others. He seems fearless, right? Wrong! He had a very serious fear of premature burial. This was clearly expressed on his deathbed, in 1799, where he made his attendants promise that his body would be left out for two days, in case he was still alive. This may seem pretty odd for a man like George Washington, but taphephobia was a common fear for noble people, as well as commoners, living in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Although the fear is not as well known today as it was back then, primitive medicine meant that premature burial has indeed happened throughout the ages.
22. HistoricalLOL of the Week
The scientists at the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies EMFT in Munich have developed an indicator dye that reacts to different pH values, and integrated it into a dressing and a plaster. Healthy skin and healed wounds usually show a pH value of or below 5. If this value increases, shifting from the acid into the alkaline range, it indicates complications in the healing of the wound.
Why do insults once hurled at us stick inside our skull, sometimes for decades? Why do some people have to work extra hard to ward off depression?
The answer is, for the same reason political smear campaigns outpull positive ones. Nastiness just makes a bigger impact on our brains.
27. How-To of the Week: Raise a creative genius
Asked where he stood politically in the years leading up to the Spanish civil war, Picasso would answer that since he was a Spaniard and Spain was a monarchy, he was a royalist. D.H. Kahnweiler, his dealer and close friend, and a lifelong socialist, asserted that Picasso was the most apolitical man he had ever met:
His Communism is quite unpolitical. He has never read a line of Karl Marx, nor of Engels of course. His Communism is sentimental . . . . He once said to me, Pour moi, le Parti Communist est le parti des pauvres.
In the last months of World War II, this apolitical position was difficult to maintain. De Gaulles liberation of Paris had transformed the artist, albeit momentarily, into a Gaullist. But after dining with the generals associates, he declared that they were une bande de cons. This perception made him, along with many of his fellow intellectuals, all the more susceptible to the Communists, whose party he joined in 1944. That Picassos private life was once again in a state of flux helped him to persuade himself that he was joining a kind of family. As a lifelong pacifist, he also persuaded himself that he had joined the party of peacean alternative to the Catholic faith that he had tried and failed to repudiate and seemingly drew on throughout his life.
Jones Soda is always ahead of the soft-drink game, and today the company introduces bacon-flavored soda. Mmm.
The concoction was created in partnership with J&D’s Foods (home of many bacon products) and comes in a fancy gift pack: Order now, and you’ll get two bottles of soda, bacon salt, bacon gravy, bacon popcorn and bacon lip balm. That’s a whole lotta pig for $9.99.
Going back 100, 150 years, American cities were disgusting — and New York City was notorious as the filthiest and stinkiest . . . .
The money set aside for street cleaning was going into the pockets of the Tweed and Tammany politicians. Eventually, it got to be that it was so dirty for so long, no one thought that it could be any different. Imagine, on your own block, that you cant cross the street, even at the corner, without paying a street kid with a broom to clear a path for you, because the streets were layered in this sludge of manure, rotting vegetables, ash, broken up furniture, debris of all kind. It was called corporation pudding after the city government. And it was deep — in some cases knee-deep.