Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My terms are simple

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Scientists Confirm That Cats a) Are Pretty Smart, b) Don't Really Care What You Want

Yes, your cat is very special, and your dog is very cute. Millions of years of evolution, however—tens of thousands in the company of humans—have instilled cats and dogs with some particular traits and mental skills. And while cat people and dog people love to debate the superiority of their preferred pet, pet lovers who really want to compare and contrast species-wide superiority would do best to turn to the science of animal cognition.
 One problem: According to David Grimm, writing at Slate, there's oodles of research on how dogs think. Not so for cats.

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Tiger on the Prowl


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Gabriel García Márquez Left An Unpublished Manuscript

Gabriel García Márquez left behind an unpublished manuscript when he died last week at age 87, Cristobal Pera, editorial director of Penguin Random House Mexico, told The Associated Press. Pera added that Marquez's family has not yet decided whether to publish it. Meanwhile, the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia published an extract of the work, tentatively titled We'll See Each Other in August (En agosto nos vemos). In the excerpt, a middle-aged woman named Ana Magdalena Bach has a fling during her annual trip to a tropical island to put flowers on her mother's grave. She stays at a hotel overlooking a lagoon full of herons. Ana, though she's married, meets a man at the hotel and begins an affair with him. The excerpt has a strong sense of place — García Márquez's descriptions are lush with flowers and tropical life – and a ripple of eroticism travels through it, from the touch of perfume Ana puts behind her ear at the beginning of the chapter to the thunderstorm during her encounter with the man from the hotel.via NPR

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MOTHER JONES: Sit down and read

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Unique Views of America’s National Parks

Grand Teton National Park by Abelardo Morell
Upper Mammoth Springs, Yellowstone National Park  by Peter Essick

 In this edition of Conversations, photographers Abelardo Morell and Peter Essick each discuss their personal approach to photographing in National Parks. The two are exploring contemporary versions of early photographic processes in order to reenvision vistas that are so familiar they have become part of public consciousness, Morell using a camera obscura and Essick through a wet-plate collodion process.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I'm Been Waiting All Day For You!

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Every Man's Best Friend

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The 20 biggest summer blockbusters

Will Godzilla smash the competition? Will superheroes win again? Or will Pudsey the dog charm Britain again? A guide to the 20 films you need to know about this summer. 

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Stormy Texas Panhandle


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VHS Cover Junkie

In this small selection, you will find some curiosities like James Spader in the cheesy Tuff Turf—“where reputations are earned”; The Band’s Robbie Robertson alongside Jodie Foster and Gary Busey in The Carny; Ethan Coen’s The Naked Man; Harry Dean Stanton and Sean Young in Young Doctors in Love, and Motel Hell where “it takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s fritters.” Immerse yourself in the gaudy world of VHS Cover Junkie.

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Nowzad Dogs in Kabul

Pen Farthing, founder of Nowzad Dogs in Kabul, pets a dog named Barfi, or "Snowy," who was rescued from an Afghan army base. After rescuing a number of dogs during his tour, Farthing came back to Afghanistan to establish a shelter and clinic that's been able to transport about 700 cats and dogs out of the country. continue

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Here I come...there I go

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No diving in at the deep end!

Viewed from a distance, Jeroen Bisscheroux's installation looks like a two-dimensional painting.
 But if you stand in the right spot, the artwork appears to become 3D and makes passers-by look like they're floating in mid-air above an empty swimming pool.

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Surprising Fly By

Photography by Elena Murzyn
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Isaac Asimov's predictions 50 years on

It is 2014, and we should all be in therapy. At least, that's according to Isaac Asimov, one of the 20th Century's best-known science fiction authors, who in 1964 published an essay predicting what our world would look like today. The occasion? Not a mental breakdown - despite his insistence on the importance of psychiatry in the future - but rather the inaugural World's Fair in Queens, New York, which opened 50 years ago today. Although the official theme of the fair, which ran for two six-month sessions, was Peace Through Understanding, today it is primarily remembered for its vision of the future. And while some of those futuristic technologies on display never quite went mainstream - underwater housing and levitating cars, anyone? - a closer look at Asimov's World's Fair of 2014 reveals that his crystal ball was shockingly clear.

 Here's a look at 2014, through the eyes of 1964.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Mise-en-Seine

Photograph by William Albert Allard, National Geographic

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The Tragic Story of How Einstein’s Brain Was Stolen

Einstein didn’t want his brain or body to be studied; he didn’t want to be worshipped. “He had left behind specific instructions regarding his remains: cremate them, and scatter the ashes secretly in order to discourage idolaters,” writes Brian Burrell in his 2005 book, Postcards from the Brain Museum. But Harvey took the brain anyway, without permission from Einstein or his family. “When the fact came to light a few days later, Harvey managed to solicit a reluctant and retroactive blessing from Einstein’s son, Hans Albert, with the now-familiar stipulation that any investigation would be conducted solely in the interest of science,” Burrell writes. Harvey soon lost his job at the Princeton hospital and took the brain to Philadelphia, where it was carved into 240 pieces and preserved in celloidin, a hard and rubbery form of cellulose. He divvied up the pieces into two jars and stored them in his basement.
 Just when you think this story can’t get any weirder, it does.

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The Wheelie Was Invented in 1890

One of the first stunt bike riders was a former telegraph messenger named Daniel Canary.
 When Canary started riding in 1879, bicycles were still a new form of transportation, and Canary excelled at finding new and interesting things to do on two wheels, says Phil Edwards at Trivia Happy. Canary could flip, he could ride with no hands, and in 1884 he even rode down the steps of the U.S. Capitol building. But he didn’t stop there.
 As Edwards discovered, Canary invented one of the most well-known bicycle tricks of all time: As the Tribune reports, Canary tried out the bike at Niagara Falls and "performed the feat, then regarded as impossible, of riding on the rear wheel, with the front wheel elevated. Mr. Canary believes he was the first rider to perform the feat." 

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

It's been a long day. I think we all could use this.

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