Sunday, 8 April 2012

10 stories and links I think are educative, informative, entertaining, or weird

Do You Deserve To Have A Job That You Love? via Big Think by Jeffrey Israel
These days it’s hard enough to get any job at all. If it is part of a good life to have a job that you love then the current situation of unemployment, which is already life-threatening to many people, is all the worse. There is a lot that needs explanation here: is it part of a good life to have a job that you love? What kind of “part”?
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
William Shirer devoted 1,250 pages and 25 years to understanding the Third Reich. He didn’t pretend to have all the answers. Some things are inexplicable... more

Why has this flu season been so mild? via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker
Short answer: We don’t know. Despite its ubiquity, there’s a lot scientists don’t know about the influenza virus. Helen Branswell is a great medical reporter. In this piece for the Winnipeg Free Press [link above] she explains why the flu virus makes seemingly simple questions frustratingly difficult to answer.

Rio Becomes the World’s First “Smart City” via Big Think by Orion Jones
Rio de Janeiro has become tomorrow’s city, today. Using a central control station which collects and computes data from all over the city, Rio’s government, along with technology developed at IBM, wants to stop disasters before they occur and make the metropolis a better place to live.
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Fierce and magnetic, Lucian Freud seduced his models into the ordeal of posing. “Those eyes would be peering in: peering and piercing”... more

Country Music, Openness to Experience, and the Psychology of Culture War via Big Think by Will Wilkinson
In the car, I listen to country music. Country has an ideology. Not to say country has a position on abortion, exactly. But country music, taken as a whole, has a position on life, taken as a whole. Small towns. Dirt roads. Love at first sight. Hot-blooded kids havin' a good ol&rsquo' time.
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Play Minecraft Classic as a Free In-Browser Game via How-To Geek by Jason Fitzpatrick

Whether you can’t get enough Minecraft or you’ve never started playing it, you can hop right into your browser and play a classic edition of the game for free.
Unlike the free peeks you get at many games, this isn’t a partial peek at the current version of Minecraft. It’s a full release of an early version, setup so you can play the full game. It’s a great way to play around with Minecraft, see what all the fuss is about, and even save your creations to work on later. Hit up the link below to get started.
Minecraft Classic Single Player / Multiplayer [via Freeware Genius]
Note: I couldn't fully test the links as using husband’s computer – dare not install a Java add-on.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Saint or crank? By turns a pleasure-seeking aristocrat and a peasant guru of antimaterialism, Tolstoy was both monstrous and moral... more

Cat likes to swim in the sea via Boing Boing by Xeni Jardin

Video Link. Also contains an attractive woman in a bikini. (thanks, Tara McGinley!)

Flowers grown from 30,000-year-old fruit via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
Russian scientists grew the plants above from the innards of fruit that had been frozen for 30,000 years. From Discover:
The plant owes its miraculous resurrection to a team of scientists led by David Gilichinsky, and an enterprising ground squirrel. Back in the Upper Pleistocene, the squirrel buried the plant’s fruit in the banks of the Kolyma River. They froze.
Over millennia, the squirrel’s burrow fossilized and was buried under increasing layers of ice. The plants within were kept at a nippy -7 degrees Celsius, surrounded by permanently frozen soil and the petrifying bones of mammoths and woolly rhinos. They never thawed. They weren’t disturbed. By the time they were found and defrosted by scientists, they had been buried to a depth of 38 metros, and frozen for around 31,800 years…
Svetlana Yashina from the Russian Academy of Sciences grew the plants from immature fruits recovered from the burrow. She extracted their placentas – the structure that the seeds attach to – and bathed them in a brew of sugars, vitamins and growth factors. From these tissues, roots and shoots emerged.
Flowers regenerated from 30,000-year-old frozen fruits, buried by ancient squirrels

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