Sunday, 21 July 2013

10 useless items which may interest you as much as they did me

Back after a very long break

Iron Man: 1941
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave

August 1941
“One end of the Hull-Rust-Mahoning pit, largest open pit iron mine in the world, near Hibbing, Minnesota. The pit is two and a half miles long, three quarters of a mile wide and about four hundred feet deep.”
Medium format safety negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
“What sort of person goes around saying that mass murder has a good side?” asks Ian Morris. “The sort of person who’s been surprised by his research”... more

Enid Blyton – hero or villain?
via AbeBooks by Richard Davies

Gardening guru and booklover Alan Titchmarsh has weighed in on the Enid Blyton debate after folks in Beaconsfield objected to a plaque (I originally wrote ‘plague’ instead of ‘plaque’) to commemorate the author. They say her books are racist and offensive.
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Why Flying A Drone Is Just As Stressful As Flying A Bomber
via Big Think by David Berreby
A study of U.S. Air Force drone operators has found they experience post-traumatic stress and other mental health troubles at the same rate as pilots who are actually flying aircraft in war zones. That may sound odd if you accept the stereotype of high-tech warfighting as a bloodless videogame.
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Welcome to the problem-free future. “Smart” trash cans monitor your recycling, forks regulate your diet. It’s social engineering, disguised as product engineering... more

Bees sense electric charge from flowers
via Boing Boing by Xeni Jardin
Scientists are studying another element that attracts bees to flowers, in addition to colour and scent: the distinct electric field a flower emits.

Colour Mixing: The Mystery of Magenta
via 3quarksdaily by S. Abbas Raza

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Why cursive? Done well, it’s the pinnacle of elegant handwriting, a mark of sophistication. Too bad it’s rarely done well anymore... more

The lesson you never got taught in school: How to learn!
via Big Think by Neurobonkers
A paper published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest has evaluated ten techniques for improving learning, ranging from mnemonics to highlighting and came to some surprising conclusions.
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Famous Record Covers Transformed Into Abstract Art
via Flavorwire by Tom Hawking
We came across these abstract pieces via Creative Blog, and were rather taken with their bold horizontal lines of colour. The really interesting thing, however, is that they’re actually album covers – they’re part of a series called Average Albums, produced by artist Matt Booth via a technique that breaks the image into a series of horizontal strips and then averages the colour value of the image across each row. The result is abstract compositions that evoke the pieces they’re based on, but also have a life of their own. Interestingly, some covers jump out at you, perhaps indicating how important colour is in their composition (Nirvana’s Nevermind and Primal Scream’s Screamadelica are good examples), whereas others are pretty much unrecognisable. Either way, the results are interesting.
Check them out for yourself.

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