Researchers claim they have ‘officially’ discovered the most boring day of the 20th century . . . April 11 1954.
A team of Cambridge scientists say the day was devoid of any major news events or even the birth or death of any famous people.
They made the discovery after developing a new search engine which collates 300 million facts and can reveal what happened on certain days in history.
2. The New York Times Book Review s 100 Notable Books of 2010
In no other part of the world does archaeology so closely resemble a contact sport. Eilat Mazar is one of the reasons why. Her announcement in 2005 that she believed she had unearthed the palace of King David amounted to a ringing defense of an old-school proposition under assault for more than a quarter centurynamely, that the Bible’s depiction of the empire established under David and continued by his son Solomon is historically accurate. Mazar’s claim has emboldened those Christians and Jews throughout the world who maintain that the Old Testament can and should be taken literally. Her purported discovery carries particular resonance in Israel, where the story of David and Solomon is interwoven with the Jews’ historical claims to biblical Zion.
6. Weird News of the Week: Paris woman trapped for 20 days in bathroom
An elderly woman has survived being trapped in her bathroom in Paris for 20 days, after the door lock jammed.
The room had no window or phone so the 69-year-old was unable to tell anyone but she tapped on pipes during the night, hoping to alert her neighbours.
They thought the noise was DIY work and started a petition to have it stopped.
But a few people realised they had not seen the pensioner recently and called the authorities, who sent in a rescue crew.
8. Quote of the Week: “There are a hundred magazines, but only about five stories.” — G.K. Chesterton
A spacecraft has tasted oxygen in the atmosphere of another world for the first time while flying low over Saturn’s icy moon, Rhea.
Nasa’s Cassini probe scooped oxygen from the thin atmosphere of the planet’s moon while passing overhead at an altitude of 97km in March this year.
Until now, wisps of oxygen have only been detected on planets and their moons indirectly, using the Hubble space telescope and other major facilities.
A recent study released by the English Spelling Society reveals that the Web has not only wholly altered the English language, but has turned us into a culture of misspellers. “The increasing use of variant spellings on the internet has been brought about by people typing at speed in chat rooms and on social networking sites where the general attitude is that there isn’t a need to correct typo’s or conform to spelling rules,” the paper says, meaning our attitude toward grammar has become increasingly lenient. But the real harm in a commonplace Web speak shorthand? If correct grammar continues on a path to irrelevancy, children won’t bother to correct themselves, let alone learn it in the first place.
12. Image of the Week: Vintage anti-smoking ad
Doctors diagnosed filaria, typhoid, gastroenteritis, and even advised a shrink. But having had malaria so many times, Rauf Ali, far from dreading the disease, now finds that it is not bad at all.
Write the sentence, not just the story
Long ago I got a rejection from the editor of the Santa Monica Review, Jim Krusoe. It said: Good enough story, but whats unique about your sentences? That was the best advice I ever got. Learn to look at your sentences, play with them, make sure theres music, lots of edges and corners to the sounds. Read your work aloud. Read poetry aloud and try to heighten in every way your sensitivity to the sound and rhythm and shape of sentences. The music of words.
16. Infographic of the Week: The Most Insane Roller Coasters Around The World
St. Louis overtook Camden, N.J., as the nation’s most dangerous city in 2009, according to a national study released Sunday.
The study by CQ Press found St. Louis had 2,070.1 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, compared with a national average of 429.4. That helped St. Louis beat out Camden, which topped last year’s list and was the most dangerous city for 2003 and 2004.
Detroit, Flint, Mich., and Oakland, Calif., rounded out the top five. For the second straight year, the safest city with more than 75,000 residents was Colonie, N.Y.
Half a millennium before Columbus calamitous 1492 arrival in the Caribbean, DNA from the Americas may have infiltrated the European genome by way of a woman brought to Iceland by Vikings. Thats the potential import of a widely-reported study that finds traces of a genetic variation seen among American Indian populations in four Icelandic lineages who likely share a common ancestor brought from North America before 1700. The variation, which occurs in mitochondrial DNA passed down only through the mothers line, is one of several markers that was present with the founding populations of native North Americans arriving 14,000 years ago. The Icelandic version has drifted in ways that suggest it originated in an American Indian woman who lived around 1000 AD.
(Via: Alan Jacobs )
A new method of data storage that converts information into DNA sequences allows you to store the contents of an entire computer hard-drive on a gram’s worth of E. coli bacteria . . . and perhaps considerably more than that.
The idea of storing data inside bacteria has been around for about a decade. Even very simple bacteria have long strands of DNA with tons of bases available for data encryption, and bacteria are by their nature far more resilient to damage than more traditional electronic storage. Bacteria are nature’s hardiest survivors, capable of surviving just about any disaster that would finish off a regular hard drive. Besides, bacteria’s natural reproduction would create lots of redundant copies of the data, which would help preserve the integrity of the information and make retrieval easier.
22. HistoricalLOL of the Week
Upper-class people have more educational opportunities, greater financial security, and better job prospects than people from lower social classes, but that doesn’t mean they’re more skilled at everything. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds surprisingly, that lower-class people are better at reading the emotions of others.
During Ireland’s boom years, thousands of people bought horses as a status symbol. But with the economy in crisis, many owners can’t afford to keep them. Some 20,000 abandoned horses are roaming Ireland and could face starvation this winter.
27. How-To of the Week: Verify if an Email Address Is Real or Fake
About a quarter of the population of the world has super-powered tongues. They experience taste more intensely than the rest of us. Find out if you’re one of Them below.
Some people have particular tastes in food. They’re considered overly picky and too sensitive. It turns out they could just be tasting things on a whole different level from the rest of us. A quarter of the world is composed of supertasters. These people have more taste buds on their tongues than the rest of the population. They’re hypersensitive to certain tastes.
Of course, every Superman must have his Lex Luthor. Another quarter of the world is made up of non-tasters. They have fewer taste buds than the average person, and don’t taste the things that most other people do.
What would the world be like if fiber optic and mobile phones had been available in the 1930’s? Would the decade be known as the start of the Information Revolution rather than the Great Depression?
In early 1934, Clarence Hickman, a Bell Labs engineer, had a secret machine, about six feet tall, standing in his office. It was a device without equal in the world, decades ahead of its time. If you called and there was no answer on the phone line to which Hickman’s invention was connected, the machine would beep and a recording device would come on allowing the caller to leave a message.
Researchers at Oxford University say they’ve finally discovered which is smarter cats or dogs . . . and cat owners aren’t going to like it.
Boffins claim dogs have developed bigger brains than cats because highly social species of mammals need more brain power than solitary animals.
33. Crows vs. Cat vs. Cat Street Fight
(Via: Boing Boing )
Additional sources: The Presurfer