Friday, 3 June 2016

And another ten seemingly trivial items to keep you interested over the weekend

Of Polymaths and Multidisciplinarians
via 3 Quarks Daily: Jalees Rehman at the website of Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings
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The German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) is also a front-runner in the pantheon of polymaths because of his interests in geology, paleontology and optics. During his lifetime, Goethe assembled one of the largest collections of rocks, minerals and fossils ever owned by an individual person, consisting of 18,000 specimens! Even though he is revered as the greatest poet of the German language, Goethe’s longest published work is his treatise on a theory of color, the Farbenlehre. He devoted two decades of his life to studying light and he thought that this 1000-page tome would be his most meaningful contribution to humankind. In the Farbenlehre, Goethe vehemently disagreed with Newton about the nature of light. According to Newton, white light was a heterogeneous composite of colors and darkness was the absence of light. Goethe, on the other hand, felt that white light was a homogenous entity and that darkness was the polar opposite of light and not just its absence. Goethe also ascribed aesthetic qualities to specific colors such as “beautiful” to red and “useful” to green.
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Sonic Pi: Getting Creative With Computer Programming
an article by Jenny Judge (Cambridge University, UK) published in WIPO Magazine (June 2015)

On a damp Thursday afternoon in Cambridge, UK, Sam Aaron is telling a barista that he has a gig coming up. She looks up from the espresso machine, interested. “What do you play?’” she asks. “Well, it’s a bit weird,” says Sam, laughing. “I play the computer.”
Continue reading a serious article but great fun too.

In Maquisard, you solve trouble in a charming, ornate old hotel
via Boing Boing by Leigh Alexander
Maquisard is a lovely little game inspired by the grand details and tiny scenes of the film The Grand Budapest Hotel. Like that film's star you are a hotel lobby boy, but that's where the similarities end—from there, you're asked to put your skills to the unusual use of sniffing out an undercover government agent in your midst.
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The Big Biplane: 1918
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
The Big Biplane: 1918
Wilson at Trial of Giant Plane
The trial of the first American-built Handley-Page aeroplane, driven by Capt. E.B. Waller, of the British royal air force, yesterday was witnessed by President Wilson and Secretary Baker. A crowd of more than 5,000 greeted the President when he arrived at the polo field in Potomac Park early in the afternoon.
“Bolling Field – Handley Page on polo grounds”
National Photo Company Collection glass negative
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This single-celled bug has the world’s most extraordinary eye
via 3 Quarks Daily: Michael Le Page in New Scientist
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It is perhaps the most extraordinary eye in the living world – so extraordinary that no one believed the biologist who first described it more than a century ago.
Now it appears that the tiny owner of this eye uses it to catch invisible prey by detecting polarised light. This suggestion is also likely to be greeted with disbelief, for the eye belongs to a single-celled organism calledErythropsidinium. It has no nerves, let alone a brain. So how could it “see” its prey?
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What is the resonant frequency of googly eyes?
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
Watch the short video here Fascinating

A small grey pigeon
via An Awfully Big Blog Adventure by John Dougherty
…my 14-year old son came home from school and told me that his English teacher had asked him to amend a description in a piece of writing because the vocabulary used wasn’t ‘advanced’ enough. The description was:
“A small, grey pigeon”.
Continue reading and discover that what an advanced vocabulary makes of a small, grey pigeon!

How to Build a Sunrise Alarm Clock on the Cheap
via How To Geek

Sunrise-simulating alarm clocks are a great way to wake yourself up but commercial sunrise simulators are ridiculously expensive. Read on as we show you how to turn a smart bulb starter kit into a sunrise simulator (and enjoy the benefits of smart bulbs all day long at the same time).
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Was Dickens a Thief?
A new novel portrays the young writer of The Pickwick Papers as a conniving founder of modern mass culture.
via Arts & Letters Daily: Nicholas Dames in The Atlantic

On an April evening in 1836, two collaborators working on what would become one of the most popular novels of the 19th century met in London. The guest was the project’s illustrator, the comic artist Robert Seymour, whose speed and visual wit had made him arguably the most successful caricaturist of the decade. Seymour was famous enough to have persuaded a fledgling publishing firm, Chapman and Hall, to launch The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, a serial of four comic plates per month surrounded by enough suitably relevant text to fill 24 pages. The host was the writer hired to supply that text: an ambitious 24-year-old who had recently transitioned from parliamentary journalism to fictional-sketch writing. His name was Charles Dickens. Accounts of the meeting are murky at best. We know Dickens wanted to discuss his dissatisfaction with a plate for the second installment, a deathbed scene of an alcoholic pantomime actor. The only other certainty is that Seymour returned home that night, completed the plate over the next couple of days, and then killed himself with a shotgun.
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Free record with underwear purchase
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
via Weird Universe where you can find this and a lot of other very weird stuff

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