Tuesday, 26 April 2016

I refer to these posts as "trivia" but most items are not trivial. There's ten of them.

Screw the Magna Carta. The Charter of the Forest is where it’s at
via Boing Boing by Rob Beschizza
The 800-year old Magna Carta, limiting the powers of the English monarchy, is hailed as a foundation stone of modern democracy and civil rights. But not only is it more limited in scope than commonly supposed, much of it is humorously and oddly specific, at least to modern ears.
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Yes, I know last year was the year to be talking about the great charter but this is too funny for words so even if it is nearly a year late please enjoy it.

Want To Live Longer? Go Nuts!
via Big Think by Dustin Petzold
If you’re at your desk, snacking on one of those giant jars of peanuts, take heart: You’re also extending your life. A paper from the International Journal of Epidemiology reveals that a steady daily diet of various nuts can protect you against an array of different diseases, including cancer and diabetes. Men and women from The Netherlands, ages 55-69, were tracked over a 29-year period, and had their food consumption assessed throughout.
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Build it and they will come
via Prospero by E.H.B.

The small Polish town of Pacanow has survived wars, revolutions and floods. It is a nondescript place, but it has one advantage over cities renowned for their cathedrals and palaces. Its own claim to fame is indestructible: it is home to Koziolek Matolek, the goat at the middle of the country’s best-known children's comic book.
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Bottle Boys: 1909
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
November 1909
“Night scene in Cumberland Glass Works, Bridgeton, N.J.”
Mak­ing bottles one at a time
Glass negative by Lewis Wickes Hine
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Old time elegance marries solar technology with solar outdoor clocks
via Red Ferret by Debra Atlas
chomkola solar street clock atlanta 2 2 Old time elegance marries solar technology with solar outdoor clocks
Outdoor clocks have been a fixture of large and small towns for several hundred years or more. But add solar to the mix and it gets interesting.
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Violence: A Modern Obsession
via 3 Quarks Daily: Ian Thomson in The Guardian
Even HG Wells, with his uncanny gift of scientific foresight, could not have predicted the murderous flash of light over wartime Nagasaki. Never before had a government planned the atomic annihilation of an entire city. The US airmen aboard the B-29 did not, however, feel morally responsible for the violence; neither did the scientists who helped to assemble the bomb, nor even the US president and his White House advisers. Division of labour had made the contribution of any single person seem unimportant. Adolf Eichmann, by a similar agency, saw the Final Solution to the Jewish question in terms only of his own special competence (the smooth running of the Auschwitz deportation trains) and this, too, enabled him to ignore the consequences of his violence.
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The 12 sweets you need to know about (and try)
via OUP Blog by Darra Goldstein
Have you ever tried vinarterta? How about gugelhupf? Whether these are familiar or completely foreign to you, this list of sweets is a must for everyone with a sweet tooth. All the sweets, cakes, desserts, and treats on this list come from The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, so give them a go and try one, some, or all!
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Hive consciousness
via 3 Quarks Daily Peter Watts in Aeon (Illustration by Richard Wilkinson)
Rajesh Rao (of the University of Washington’s Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering) reported what appears to be a real Alien Hand Network – and going Pais-Vieira one better, he built it out of people. Someone thinks a command; downstream, someone else responds by pushing a button without conscious intent. Now we’re getting somewhere.
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Never-ending universe
via Arts & Letters Daily: John Leslie in Times Literary Supplement
Steven Weinberg became famous for his elegant The First Three Minutes (1977), which described what happened during the Big Bang. Two years later, he shared a Nobel Prize for unifying electromagnetism and the nuclear weak force – a large step towards today’s Standard Model of particle physics. The citation for his Benjamin Franklin Medal of 2004 said he was widely considered “the preeminent theoretical physicist alive today”. To Explain the World, his twelfth book, tells of the long, hard struggle to arrive at modern science, which started to take something like its present form only in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The book is a magnificent contribution to the history and philosophy of science.
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