Sunday, 10 June 2012

10 stories and links I have found educative, interesting or just plain weird!

7 Technologies to Help You Sleep Better
via Big Think by Keerthi Chandrashekar
Numerous studies have shown us how important sleep can be. Not only does it revitalize our bodies, it also gives the brain time to sort through all the information it has received throughout our hectic day. Sleep deprivation, and a lack of quality sleep, can lead to weight problems, high blood pressure, and a weaker immune system (amongst a host of other issues).
Read More and learn about the different apps and electro-mechanical aids to better sleep.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The moral significance of people eating people. Cannibals are mental deviants, revolting curiosities. But they were once central to views of human nature...more

The Automation Mindset
via Big Think by Maneesh Sethi
Whenever you have to do something, how do you approach the problem? I grew up as a programmer, starting to program when I was about 10 years old, and the act of programming instilled the idea of automation within me. If you can do a task once, a programmer will do it by hand.
Read More

The Hidden Adult Themes of Where the Wild Things Are
via Big Think by Tal Pinchevsky
It’s an absolute fixture in children’s libraries worldwide and upon its publication in 1963 was awarded the Caldecott Medal, a distinguished award given to the year’s best picture book for children as decided by the Association for Library Service to Children. In the years since, it has inspired countless toys and children’s games.
Read More

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Lauded for their “heroic self-awareness” and lambasted for an “indecent invasion of his own privacy”, the “Crack-Up” essays of F. Scott Fitzgerald marked the dawn of America’s confessional culture... more

Out of Wind
via How-To Geek by Asian Angel
In this game your mission is to help set up new power sources in a village that has lost its wind power capabilities. Setting them up starts off simple enough, but will quickly become trickier the further you go!
Follow Asian Angel’s walk-through here or trust your instincts and go straight to the game here.
Definitely more difficult than it looks!

Testing spacesuits beneath the Earth’s surface
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

The Eisriesenwelt (the World of the Ice Giants) is an Austrian cave that stays cold enough year-round to freeze any water that gets into it. As a result, the cave is full of massive ice formations. On April 28th, it was also full of people like physicist Daniel Schildhammer (seen above) who came to the cave to test out a wide array of space technologies, from protective suits to roving robots. It’s all part of an international effort to prepare for a mission to Mars. Caves on Mars are likely places where bacteria and other forms of microbial life might be hiding out – the temperatures stay steady underground and the cave would protect those microbes from cosmic rays.
Below: Another scientist tests out a rover meant to scale cliffs.

Images: REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

British WWII propaganda movies to view and download
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow
The British Council has posted a fabulous trove of CC-licensed, downloadable “cultural propaganda” videos commissioned during WWII to “refute the idea that ours was a country stuck in the past”.
During the 1940s, the British Council was an enthusiastic commissioner of documentary films. Over 120 films were produced as ‘cultural propaganda’ to counteract anything the Nazis might throw out and to refute the idea that ours was a country stuck in the past. These films were designed to showcase Britain to the rest of the world, at a time when Britain itself was under attack.
Seen by millions of people in over 100 countries worldwide from the 1940s to 1960s, they present a historic snapshot of Britain, portraying its industry, its landscapes, and its people. The Collection is fantastically varied, covering anything from how a bicycle is made, to how the British spend their Saturdays. They provide us with a unique insight – not necessarily into how Britain actually was, but more into how Britain once wanted to be perceived by the rest of the world.
Alongside basic credits and production information, you can find some fascinating pieces of trivia, photos, and screen grabs, as well as the original synopses that the films were distributed with. Some of the films give you the option to go even deeper, to learn a little more about how the films was made. And, perhaps most importantly, you can not only watch the films online but download them too.
British Council Film: British Council Film Collection (Thanks, Sarah!)

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The locavore life. Food is now a lesson, and taste a moral test. The narcissism of ethical consumption has debased eating into an act of penance...more

The Unnamed Soldier: 1864
via Dave at Shorpy
The Unnamed Soldier: 1864
August 1864.
“Petersburg, Virginia. Federal soldier’s quarters”
A glimpse of camp life.
Wet plate glass negative by Timothy H. O’Sullivan
View full size

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