Sunday, 30 December 2012

Another week to go on this trivia marathon

Artillery Rush
via How-To Geek by Asian Angel
This game pits you against an enemy army as you work to either defend or invade based on your choice of army.
Will your cannon’s aim be true as you seek to take out the enemy forces or will your campaign end in defeat?
And will you need the help of Asian Angel’s walk-through or will you take a chance and go straight into the game?

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Tales from Odessa. The city’s literary brilliance – Babel, Pushkin – lives on in a run-down museum founded by an ex-KGB officer... more

Amiens Cathedral: France 1903
via Retronaut by Freifrau Fitz
View full size

Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942
via Boing Boing by Rob Beschizza
Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain* is a fascinating and occasionally hilarious guide written for GIs headed to Britain – then half-ruined by war – in 1942.
Subjects range from common-sense basics (“instead of railroads, automobiles, and radios, the British will talk about railways, motor-cars, and wireless”) to subtle social pitfalls regarding race, sex and income.
You can read it online for free; following are some choice excerpts.
The British don’t know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don’t know how to make a good cup of tea. It’s an even swap.
The British are often more reserved in conduct than we. On a small crowded island where forty-five million people live, each man learns to guard his privacy carefully – and is equally careful not to invade another man’s privacy.
If you are invited to eat with a family don’t eat too much. Otherwise you may eat up their weekly rations.
The British are used to this [monetary] system and they like it, and all your arguments that the American decimal system is better won’t convince them. 
*Reprinted in 2004 the Boing Boing link was to Amazon (which I am trying very hard to avoid) so I found it in the Bodleian Bookshop!!

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Engineering evil. It is an enduring shibboleth that science and technology are amoral. Consider Albert Speer, who may not seem relevant today. Unfortunately, he is... more

Slate’s “The Vault” is a great, new history blog
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

Rebecca Onion is the curator at a new Slate blog that showcases nifty finds from America’s historical archives. So far, she’s got a photo of the be-loinclothed winner of a eugenics-inspired Better Baby Contest; a breakup letter written by Abraham Lincoln; and this specimen of 1950s-style STEM recruitment toys for girls.
What’s interesting about this chemistry set is that you can’t really say it’s more or less sexist than the types of science kits you see marketed heavily to girls today. Sure, it’s in a pink box and heavily insinuates that the best job a woman can hope for in science is as somebody’s assistant. But, on the other hand, it’s apparently the exact same chemistry set sold to boys, just with different packaging. Whereas today, pink-colored science kits trend heavily toward “girl” things, like teaching you how to make your own scented soaps – but at least you’re in charge of the soap-making lab.
Read all about it at The Vault

Dream Homes Built for Books and the Nerds Who Love Them
via Flavorwire by Alison Nastasi
Barbie has a dream house, and it seems only fair that book nerds should have one too. When we saw a beautiful, four-storey home on Gizmodo that was designed entirely around a giant bookcase, we fell in love.
We feature more photos of the bibliofiend’s fantasy palace after the break, along with other amazing houses that take bookcases to the extreme. The designers of these abodes honoured the owners’ love of literature by making each home’s central concept and prominent architectural component a huge, built-in library. Several of these bookcases take over the entire house.
Are you swooning yet?
Click through our gallery for more
Not for “more” but for all of them. I’ve been up and down the images and have failed utterly to choose a favourite!

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Skull clamps and scrotum calipers. Harvard scholars poked and prodded students to learn the secrets of a successful life. What did they find?... more

Two very good dogs teach you chemistry
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker
Paige the border collie can load the washing machine, pick up trash, and make toaster waffles (although
you probably don't want to eat them afterwards).
And, with the help of her colleague Dexter – and their owner/trainer, who is also a chemist – Paige can even teach chemistry.

Here, Paige and Dexter serve as models for a discussion about chemical bonds – the forces that attract one atom to another and form the basis of all the chemicals that make up our world.
Via Matthew Hartings

Why do trees fall over in a storm?
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

West Philly Storm – Trees Down, 
a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from kwbridg’'s photostream
The more accurate version of this question would really be something like, “Why do some trees fall over in a storm while others stay standing?” The answer is more complex than a simple distinction between old, rotted, and weak vs. young, healthy, and strong. Instead, writes Mary Knudson at Scientific American blogs, trees fall because of their size, their species, and even the history of the human communities around them.
Read the full piece at Scientific American Blogs

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