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Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday links

What do animals dream about?

May 4th is International Respect for Chickens day: some chicken-related links to help you celebrate. (yeah, I know it's also Star Wars Day but everybody's doing that).

I'm not at all surprised to hear this: Large Broods Drive Bird Parents to an Early Grave.

Dirty Money: A Microbial Jungle Thrives In Your Wallet.

This video compilation will bring a smile to your day: Kids Getting Stuck in Things. Need another smile? College Kid Lets Elderly Woman Trapped in Elevator Sit on Him.

Gallery: The hidden farms, pools, and patios of New York City that can only be seen from the sky.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include a U.S. military expert's plan to deploy Godzilla, what the shape of your nose says about your quality as a mate, and fart-collecting backpacks for cows.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

This video compilation will bring a smile to your day: Kids Getting Stuck in Things

The rest of today's links are here.

via Tastefully Offensive.

How to Sneak Into Any Sports Game

Thursday links

U.S. Military Expert Unveils a Strategy for Deploying Godzilla in War. Also, a new Godzilla trailer plus a new "making of" feature.

Science! What the shape of your nose says about your quality as a mate.

When People Thought Lambs Grew Right Out of the Ground. Also on the subject of farm animals: these Backpacks For Cows Collect Their Fart Gas And Store It For Energy.

Interactive Game of Thrones map with spoiler control.

6 Complicated Concepts Explained Using Kitchen Items.
The Bookplates of 31 Famous Men.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, including Crows building nests from coat hangers, drawings of insects from post-fallout Chernobyl, and deer on the Czech/German border who still avoid the Iron Curtain.

New ‘Godzilla’ trailer plus new "making of" feature

From the Godzilla re-boot, due out May 16. Watch each full screen:

New Asian trailer - less Heisenberg, more explosions:

And a brief "making of":

Previous posts:

The Art of Destruction - new art book from the about-to-be-released Godzilla movie, plus a bunch of old-time Godzilla movie posters.

Godzilla size chart: Per poster for the new movie, new Godzilla is much larger than the previous versions.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Deposed Ukrainian president Yanukovych's nude portrait could use a bit of enhancement

Probably safe for work, since the only potentially objectionable body part is really small. I assume that he didn't actually commission any of the portraits, because they would probably have been better done and more flattering. Donations from adoring fans, maybe?

KIEV: Giant crocodile skins, kitsch ornaments and a giant portrait dressed as a racing driver: just some of the items from deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s opulent palace that went on display in a new show in Kiev Saturday.

When Yanukovych fled in panic in February amid deadly protests against his rule, thousands of Ukrainian demonstrators overran his luxury private estate some 15 kilometers from Kiev and were shocked by what they saw.

Mansions dripping with gold and marble, a private golf course and a zoo boasting a collection of rare pheasants were among the sights that sparked awe and anger from the protesters in a country where the average monthly salary is around $250.

Now several hundred of the items, ranging from tasteless bling to the downright bizarre, have gone on show at the National Art Museum of Ukraine in central Kiev.

Here's his wife, in baroque (I think) costume:

I have no idea what this is supposed to be:

Larger set of images here (text in Ukranian)

Science! What the shape of your nose says about your quality as a mate

Compared to the noses of most other primates, the human nose is quite large and easily broken. Why have we evolved such a risky appendage? According to this study, it might be because of sexual selection — in other words, a nice nose acts as an indicator of an individual’s fitness as a mate. 

To test this hypothesis, the authors photoshopped either a man’s nose or mouth so that it looked slightly asymmetrical in some photos (see figure below) and then asked subjects to rate the photos for attractiveness. 

They found that only the nose manipulations made the faces more or less attractive, with centered nose tips being the most preferred. How this relates to fitness remains unclear, but you should probably get one of the devices shown to the right just in case.  Or this more modern version (below), available at Amazon for $1.74 plus free shipping - an excellent (and really cheap) Mother's Day present, if your mother (or wife, or baby mama) has a less than optimal nose: 

“Amplifiers are signals that improve the perception of underlying differences in quality. They are cost free and advantageous to high quality individuals, but disadvantageous to low quality individuals, as poor quality is easier perceived because of the amplifier. For an amplifier to evolve, the average fitness benefit to the high quality individuals should be higher than the average cost for the low quality individuals. The human nose is, compared to the nose of most other primates, extraordinary large, fragile and easily broken—especially in male–male interactions. May it have evolved as an amplifier among high quality individuals, allowing easy assessment of individual quality and influencing the perception of attractiveness?
We tested the latter by manipulating the position of the nose tip or, as a control, the mouth in facial pictures and had the pictures rated for attractiveness. Our results show that facial attractiveness failed to be influenced by mouth manipulations. Yet, facial attractiveness increased when the nose tip was artificially centered according to other facial features. Conversely, attractiveness decreased when the nose tip was displaced away from its central position. Our results suggest that our evaluation of attractiveness is clearly sensitive to the centering of the nose tip, possibly because it affects our perception of the face’s symmetry and/or averageness. However, whether such centering is related to individual quality remains unclear.
From the article:
Figure 1: A set of pictures used for attractiveness evaluation.
One set of pictures, in which the right side of the nose and the mouth were used to make the trait symmetric (A) unmanipulated face (B) right symmetric, centered mouth (C) right symmetric mouth, skewed 0.5 cm to the right (D) right symmetric mouth, skewed 1.0 cm to the right (E) right symmetric, centered nose (F) right symmetric nose, nose tip skewed 0.5 cm to the right (G) right symmetric nose, nose tip skewed 1.0 cm to the right.
via Discover.

Bad news for May Day: Marxist Revolution Delayed Again, Due To Copyright Squabble

Due to a copyright squabble among our would-be overlords:
A radical publishing house, Lawrence & Wishart, which at one time was connected to Great Britain’s Communist Party, is demanding the removal from the Marxists Internet Archive of the Marx-Engels Collected Works — hardcover books that sell for up to $50 a pop…
“What they are doing is actually restricting the masses’ ability to get these writings because they found a potential revenue flow by digitising the works themselves and selling some product to universities,” [said David Walters, a volunteer]. “We think it’s the opposite of a Marxist approach.”
More at Ars, via David Thompson.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday links

Video of UK tax dollars at work: scientists create 3-D glasses for a praying mantis.

Lingering effects of the Cold War: 25 years later, deer on the Czech/German still avoid the Iron Curtain.

Gallery: 36 Of The Most Ironic Moments Ever.

City Crows Build Nests Out of Coat Hangers.

Animated close-up view of the world at the bottom of the carpet - the world of dust mites. Sort of related - Chernobyl’s Bugs: The Art And Science Of Life After Nuclear Fallout.

Every day of the year has been declared the national day of some food. What's yours? (I was born on National Cashew Day!)

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include an Arabic-speaking chicken, how to drink without getting drunk, and some rather amazing real size comparisons.

Animated close-up view of the world at the bottom of the carpet - the world of dust mites

You may never look at a carpet the same way again after watching this animated short entitled Mite: we start in a hotel corridor and work our way down, down, down to the kingdom of the mite where everything in this tiny world becomes monstrous and huge.

By the way - Father's Day is coming, and you can buy a container of 1,000 live predatory mites here - makes a great gift!