DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for the 'News You Can Use.' Category

Helpful Hint for Reading

22nd September 2014

If you’re trying to read an article on a site that has a paywall — e.g. Wall Street Journal, New York Times — and clicking on a link just gives you the ‘teaser’ for the article, highlight the title and search for it in Google, then click on that link to the same article. More often than not, it will give you the full thing, presumably because it thinks you’re coming from a search engine rather than being a Boring Old Consumer.

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Radical New DNA Sequencer Finally Gets Into Researchers’ Hands

20th September 2014

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Early versions of the instrument, called the MinION, have been reaching scientific labs over the past few months after long delays (see “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2012: Nanopore Sequencing”). It’s built by a U.K. company, Oxford Nanopore, that has raised $292 million and spent 10 years developing Deamer’s idea into a DNA sequencer unlike any other now available. It is four inches long and gets its power from a USB port on a computer. Unlike other commercial sequencing machines, which can be the size of a refrigerator and require jugs of pricey chemicals, this one measures DNA directly as the molecule is drawn through a tiny pore suspended in a membrane. Changes in electrical current are used to read off the chain of genetic letters, A, G, C, and T.

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Woman Receives World’s First 3D-Printed Skull

20th September 2014

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The 22-year old woman had a condition that was causing the bones in her skull to thicken. I was unable to find out the name of this condition, but the thickening of the skull was putting pressure on her brain. This was causing severe headaches, vision loss, and was beginning to result in loss of motor control. If left untreated, it would have eventually killed her.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

20th September 2014

Dry cleaning machine that fits in your closet.

KeySmart compact key holder.

D20 Cake Mold.

Hot Dog Toaster.

Dr Who Sonic Screwdriver Toothbrush.

Ryno one-wheeled motorcycle.

Food Cycler.

MittenFlask. I am not making this up.

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Bacon-related Medical Breakthrough Wins Ig Nobel Prize

19th September 2014

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Is there nothing that can’t be solved with the judicious application of bacon? Apparently not, as this year’s Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine winners can attest.

The boffins from the US and India took home the gong for their paper on treating “uncontrollable” nosebleeds by packing the nose with strips of cured pork.

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Talk Like a Pirate Day

19th September 2014

Arrrrrr.

Pirate Jokes

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Dremel Releases a Mass-Market 3D Printer

18th September 2014

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There are some very interesting things happening in this field.

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The Women With Superhuman Vision

16th September 2014

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The question of whether we all see the same colours has a long history in philosophy and science. In the past, there seemed little reason to expect huge differences. We know that almost everyone has three types of “cone cells” in their retina that each respond to a different bandwidth of light. The colour of an object depends on the particular combination of those signals, but although the exact sensitivity may vary between people, overall one person’s colours should roughly match another person’s. The exceptions were thought to be colour-blind people, where one of the cones is faulty. With reduced sensitivity at certain wavelengths, they struggle to tell the difference between reds and greens, for instance.

In theory, though, it could go the other way: according to some estimates, an extra cone would offer a hundred different variants to each colour that humans normally see. We know that this happens in nature: zebrafinches and goldfish both have a fourth cone that seems to help them differentiate apparently identical colours. About 20 years ago Gabriele Jordan at the University of Newcastle and John Mollon at the University of Cambridge proposed a way that it might be possible in humans too.

The crux of Jordan’s argument lay in the fact that the gene for our red and green cone types lies on the X chromosome. Since women have two X chromosomes, they could potentially carry two different versions of the gene, each encoding for a cone that is sensitive to slightly different parts of the spectrum. In addition to the other two, unaffected cones, they would therefore have four in total – making them a “tetrachromat”. For these reasons, it’s thought to be a condition exclusive to women, though researchers can’t totally rule out the possibility that men may somehow inherit it too.

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Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels, Scientists Say

16th September 2014

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How about that Global Warming, eh?

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Soylent Cuisine

14th September 2014

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“What if you never had to worry about food again?” Soylent’s website asks. For an idealistic, overachieving, and incredibly harried generation, a bland, nutritionally complete slurry that promises effortless waste-free consumption at a manageable price point just may be the ultimate comfort food. Soylent only costs around $3 per meal. It can be purchased in bulk online and prepared in seconds. You don’t have to idle in drive-through lines to sustain yourself, and you sure don’t have to source and chop organic carrots. Soylent renders microwave ovens, refrigerators, stoves, forks, knives, plates, dishwashers, and apparently even toilet paper as unnecessary as turntables and bookshelves. Say goodbye to shopping, prepping, clean-up, even chewing. A cup is your kitchen. Molars are little more than decorative heritage utensils from a bygone era.

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The Traffic Lights of Tomorrow Will Actively Manage Congestion

14th September 2014

Read it.

 

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Behind Every Good Whisky Is A Trusty Distillery Cat

13th September 2014

Read it.

 

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Salt Doesn’t Cause High Blood Pressure

13th September 2014

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So shut up about my use of salt already.

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A Delivery Drone for the Open Sea

13th September 2014

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Amazon got the biggest headlines for its drone delivery plans, but it’s an idea that’s catching on across the shipping industry. At a nautical trade fair in Hamburg this week, the shipping research firm DNV GL revealed designs for a new electric vessel that would ferry cargo with zero crew members — roughly the nautical equivalent of Amazon’s automated delivery drones. Dubbed “ReVolt,” the concept ship is designed for short sea voyages, carrying up to 100 standard TEU containers at a relatively slow 6 knots. But because the ReVolt has no crew, it doesn’t need living quarters or safety equipment, resulting in a much more efficient trip between ports.

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Melting Aluminum

13th September 2014

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Just in case you should want to do that.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

13th September 2014

Guitar Doorbell. I am not making this up.

Cyborg Unplug.

OpenSeaMap open-s0urce naval charts.

Opposed Piston Engine.

Hard Hat 2.0.

Backroadz Truck Tent.

ScanMarker Pen Scanner.

Fake Seat Belt T-Shirt. When you want to live dangerously but still not get a ticket.

Wine Yoke. For parties attended by dads who wear baby harnesses. You know who you are.

Blade Buddy.

The Beer Briefcase.

Stanley Cup popcorn maker. For the hardcore hockey fan, eh.

GoodRx. Orbitz for prescription drugs.

Bed Butler.

Fobotire. Bluetooth tire pressure monitors.

The Slime Safety Spair.

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3,000-Year-Old Golden Bowl Hides a Grisly Archaeological Tale

10th September 2014

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In 1958, archaeologists were digging through the ruins of a burned Iron Age citadel called Hasanlu in northwestern Iran when they pulled a spectacular, albeit crushed, golden bowl from the layers of destruction.

The 3,000-year-old bowl became an object of fascination once word got to the press. The next year, it graced the pages of Life magazine in a full-color spread alongside an article about the discoveries at Hasanlu.

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Canada Says 1 of the Lost Ships From Doomed 1840S British Arctic Expedition Is Found

10th September 2014

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Last seen in the 1840s while under the command of Sir John Franklin, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror have long been among the most sought-after prizes in marine archaeology and the subject of songs, poems and novels.

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Report: More Africans Entered US in Last Decade Than During 300 Years of Slave Trade

9th September 2014

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So says the New York Times, so it HAS to be true, right?

More people from Africa have entered the United States in the last decade than were forced to come to America during “more than three centuries of the slave trade.”

According to the New York Times, “between 2000 and 2010, the number of legal black African immigrants in the United States about doubled, to around one million,” and “more black Africans arrived in this country on their own than were imported directly to North America during the more than three centuries of the slave trade.” These large migrations have increased concerns about the entry of African immigrants into the U.S., since the deadly Ebola epidemic has ravaged the western part of the continent.

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A Very Rare Book

8th September 2014

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This is a fascinating tour of the ‘forensics’ of determining the authenticity of very old books.

Wilding obtained digital samples of unquestionably legitimate stamps from the book collection of Federico Cesi, the Accademia dei Lincei founder, and compared them in high-resolution detail. In each stamp, a lynx appeared at the center, framed by two oval borders, a wrap of Latin text (“From the Library of Federico Cesi, Prince and Marquis of Monticelli”), and a third oval border. Wilding then examined the stamp in Lan’s “Sidereus Nuncius.” In the genuine stamps, there was a gap in the innermost oval border just to the left of the lynx’s mouth. In Lan’s copy, the border was continuous. Wilding also checked the inventory of Cesi’s library, and found no listing of a “Sidereus Nuncius.”

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NASA Confirms ‘Impossible’ Thruster Actually Works

7th September 2014

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Shawyer’s engine provides thrust by “bouncing microwaves around in a closed chamber.” That’s it. There’s no need for a propellant of any kind like rocket fuel. When filled with resonating microwaves, the conical chamber of the thruster experiences a net thrust toward the wide end. These microwaves can be  generated using electricity, which can be provided by solar energy. In theory, this means that the thruster can work forever, or at least until its hardware fails.

Now, American scientists at NASA have given the EmDrive a go, and once again confirmed that it actually works. The test results were presented on July 30 at the 50th Joint Propulsion Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, and astonishingly enough, they are positive. The team behind the drive still doesn’t know why it works, just that it does.

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A Strange New Gene Pool of Animals Is Brewing in the Arctic

7th September 2014

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The first confirmed cross between a polar bear and a grizzly bear—a white bear with brown patches—was documented in 2006; genetic analysis of a second, found in 2010, revealed that its mother was also a hybrid, suggesting that more instances are happening under scientists’ radar. In 2009, a biologist at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory photographed a probable bowhead/right whale hybrid in the Bering Sea. More hybrids are possible. Kelly and his coauthors have counted 34 opportunities for hybridization across 22 Arctic or near-Arctic species, based on the animals’ genetic compatibility and geographic range. The list includes potential hybrids of ringed and ribbon seals, Atlantic walrus and Pacific walrus, and beluga whales and narwhals.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

6th September 2014

Toastabags.

Flashlight Grilling Spatula.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Soda. I am not making this up.

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Ancient ‘Last Supper’ Papyrus Gives Glimpse Into Early Christianity

6th September 2014

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The fragment formed part of an amulet, according to academics at the University of Manchester, making it the earliest surviving document to use the Christian Eucharist liturgy as a protective charm. Wearing amulets to protect against dangers was an ancient Egyptian practice adopted by Christians.

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Author’s Quest to Prove Anglo-Saxon Monarch Died 30 Years After Battle of Hastings and Is Buried in Essex Churchyard

6th September 2014

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The project will be charted by Oval Films, which also helped to find Richard III’s remains in a car park in Leicester.

It will follow amateur historian Peter Burke, who has written two historical novels on the times of Harold, and claims the king was wounded but survived.

He believes he died 30 years later and was buried near the east wall of the former abbey that dates to the late 11th century.

And if he can get a best-selling book out of it, that’s good too.

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Apple Invents Method of Hardening Sapphire Screens to Reduce Cracking

4th September 2014

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Can interstellar travel be far behind?

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Why Do We Have Blood Types?

1st September 2014

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In 1900 the Austrian physician Karl Landsteiner first discovered blood types, winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research in 1930. Since then scientists have developed ever more powerful tools for probing the biology of blood types. They’ve found some intriguing clues about them – tracing their deep ancestry, for example, and detecting influences of blood types on our health. And yet I found that in many ways blood types remain strangely mysterious. Scientists have yet to come up with a good explanation for their very existence.

Inquiring minds want to know.

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An Experimental Investigation of the Functional Hypothesis and Evolutionary Advantage of Stone-Tipped Spears

1st September 2014

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Just in case you were wondering. I know I was.

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What Is the Blue Light From our Screens Really Doing to Our Eyes?

1st September 2014

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“I discovered that using light at night is bad for people’s health and interferes with their sleep. I felt a moral obligation to do something about it, particularly when I learned it’s the blue component in ordinary white light that is suppressing the production of melatonin. And melatonin not only helps you sleep but is a marvelous material that has a very big influence on health in general; specifically, if you don’t have enough you may develop diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even a couple kinds of cancer.” [emphasis added]

Sky is falling. Film at 11. Meanwhile, on the Kardashian front….

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Myth of Arctic Meltdown

1st September 2014

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The speech by former US Vice-President Al Gore was apocalyptic. ‘The North Polar ice cap is falling off a cliff,’ he said. ‘It could be completely gone in summer in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.’

Those comments came in 2007 as Mr Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning on climate change.

But seven years after his warning, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that, far from vanishing, the Arctic ice cap has expanded for the second year in succession – with a surge, depending on how you measure it, of between 43 and 63 per cent since 2012.

Oh, gee, AlGore was wrong? What news!

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Cause of ALS Is Found, Northwestern Team Says

30th August 2014

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Researchers at Northwestern University say they have discovered a common cause behind the mysterious and deadly affliction of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, that could open the door to an effective treatment.

Dr. Teepu Siddique, a neuroscientist with Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine whose pioneering work on ALS over more than a quarter-century fueled the research team’s work, said the key to the breakthrough is the discovery of an underlying disease process for all types of ALS.

Now perhaps we’ll be spared the sight of rich narcissists pouring ice over their heads to get a few more minutes of fame.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

30th August 2014

For-ghetti spaghetti fork.

ButterUp butter knife.

Hugo’s Amazing Tape.

Beer stein for cans.

Leather beer caddy for bikes.

Compact folding bow. This baby can save your life if you’re suddenly cast back into the Middle Ages. Hey, it could totally happen.

Batman branding iron. You know you want one.

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The Secrets of Fake Flavours

29th August 2014

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Artificial flavours are more complex and interesting than first appears. Chris Baraniuk discovers a world of sensory trickery – and a curious myth about fake banana.

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Someone 3D Printed a Castle in His Backyard and It’s Awesome

29th August 2014

Check it out.

What’s next? A “full-scale” house. The castle is large enough to walk around in, but it seems that the builder has bigger plans. Also the next building will likely be built someplace warmer. Why warmer? Concrete sets at only so quick a pace — if you can help it cure, you can probably build more quickly.

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Bonuses Are the New Raises

29th August 2014

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A new survey from human-resources services firm Aon Hewitt found that companies are spending a record share of their payroll on performance-based bonuses, signaling a shift away from longer-term salary increases.

We are all CEOs now.

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If Britain Were a U.S. State, It Would Be the Second-Poorest, Behind Alabama and Before Mississippi

27th August 2014

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Maybe that’s why they talk so funny.

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London’s Most Unusual Royal Warrant Holders

27th August 2014

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Many of Her Majesty’s shopping habits are a matter of public record, thanks to the Royal Warrant Holders Association, a prestigious group of 800 or so companies selected as official suppliers to the Royal Household.

If you could afford the best of everything, from whom would you buy it?

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China Building Supersonic Sub That Travels in a Bubble

27th August 2014

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Rather than working up its own successor-to-Concorde project, the South China Morning Post says scientists at Harbin Institute of Technology’s Complex Flow and Heat Transfer Lab are working on developing a technique called supercavitation, first pursued by the Soviet military during the Cold War.

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Monster Dogs of Myth and Legend

27th August 2014

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Just in case you were wondering. I know I was.

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Your Fingernails Grow Way Faster Than Your Toenails

26th August 2014

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I’ll bet you didn’t know that.

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The Kennewick Man Finally Freed to Share His Secrets

26th August 2014

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The storm of controversy erupted when the Army Corps of Engineers, which managed the land where the bones had been found, learned of the radiocarbon date. The corps immediately claimed authority—officials there would make all decisions related to handling and access—and demanded that all scientific study cease. Floyd Johnson protested, saying that as county coroner he believed he had legal jurisdiction. The dispute escalated, and the bones were sealed in an evidence locker at the sheriff’s office pending a resolution.

“You can count on your fingers the number of ancient, well-preserved skeletons there are” in North America, he told me, remembering his excitement at first hearing from Chatters. Owsley and Dennis Stanford, at that time chairman of the Smithsonian’s anthropology department, decided to pull together a team to study the bones. But corps attorneys showed that federal law did, in fact, give them jurisdiction over the remains. So the corps seized the bones and locked them up at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, often called Battelle for the organization that operates the lab.

Your tax dollars at work.

Owsley and his group were eventually forced to litigate not just against the corps, but also the Department of the Army, the Department of the Interior and a number of individual government officials. As scientists on modest salaries, they could not begin to afford the astronomical legal bills. Schneider and Barran agreed to work for free, with the faint hope that they might, someday, recover their fees. In order to do that they would have to win the case and prove the government had acted in “bad faith”—a nearly impossible hurdle. The lawsuit dragged on for years. “We never expected them to fight so hard,” Owsley says. Schneider says he once counted 93 government attorneys directly involved in the case or cc’ed on documents.

And working hard.

I asked Schneider why the corps so adamantly resisted the scientists. He speculated that the corps was involved in tense negotiations with the tribes over a number of thorny issues, including salmon fishing rights along the Columbia River, the tribes’ demand that the corps remove dams and the ongoing, hundred-billion-dollar cleanup of the vastly polluted Hanford nuclear site. Schneider says that a corps archaeologist told him “they weren’t going to let a bag of old bones get in the way of resolving other issues with the tribes.”

It’s like something out of a bad spy novel.

During the trial, the presiding magistrate judge, John Jelderks, had noted for the record that the corps on multiple occasions misled or deceived the court. He found that the government had indeed acted in “bad faith” and awarded attorney’s fees of $2,379,000 to Schneider and his team.

“At the bare minimum,” Schneider told me, “this lawsuit cost the taxpayers $5 million.”

And these fools want to be in charge of your health care.

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Tire Makers Race to Turn Dandelions Into Rubber

24th August 2014

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I can barely stand the excitement.

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The Speech Accent Archive

24th August 2014

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Over the years, I’ve met with several foreign speaking partners. Through conversation, I learn their language — Spanish, Korean, Japanese — and they learn mine — English. Many of them first got serious about their study of that more-or-less-international tongue with the goal of completely eliminating their native accent which, while demonstrably possible, takes so much additional effort as an adult that I’ve always advised them to just spend that time learning another language (or two) instead. Many, of course, come to that conclusion themselves, realizing that English speakers all over the world have created a legitimate culture of speaking English in all kinds of different ways, with all kinds of different accents, whether or not they learned the language from childhood. But it still makes one wonder: how many different accents do people speak it in? And what do they all sound like? Wonder no longer, for we have The Speech Accent Archive, created by Steven H. Weinberger of George Mason University’s Linguistics department, who introduces it in the video above.

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3D-printed Vertebra Used in Spine Surgery

23rd August 2014

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Surgeons in Beijing, China, have successfully implanted an artificial, 3D-printed vertebra replacement in a young boy with bone cancer. They say it is the first time such a procedure has ever been done.

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Do People Really Use Hotel Irons to Cook Food?

23rd August 2014

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All America wants to know.

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This Insect Has the Only Mechanical Gears Ever Found in Nature

23rd August 2014

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The small hopping insect Issus coleoptratus uses toothed gears on its joints to precisely synchronize the kicks of its hind legs as it jumps forward.

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Where Is ‘Open Carry’ Legal?

23rd August 2014

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A useful map. Contrary to what you would expect, Texas does not allow open carry.

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Moose Sex Corridor Expands With Land Donation

23rd August 2014

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Project aims to help mating moose move from New Brunswick into Nova Scotia

Which, I gather, is what you do if you’re a mating moose. Who knew?

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

23rd August 2014

AirEnergy.

The Chairless Chair.

The Cozy Room.

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These 8 Rich Liberals Are Using Super PACs to Buy the 2014 Election

22nd August 2014

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Quick, somebody call Harry Reid and tell him that the 1% are Democrats, not Republicans.

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