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Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday links

Husband Gives Unfaithful Ex-Wife Literally Half of Everything They Owned. Literally.

Coke vs. Pepsi: The E. coli Test.

Happy Birthday Ambrose Bierce, author of The Devil's Dictionary.

A New Recreation Shows How Ancient Romans Lifted Wild Animals Into the Colosseum.

Using Lasers to Burn Away Mental Illness.

ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, and include recreating Stonehenge with old refrigerators, the number of iPhones necessary to stop an AK-47 round, all you never wanted to know about the poop-filled mites on your face, and the death of the inventor of pick plastic flamingos, who dressed in matching outfits with his wife for 37 years. 

Vincent van Gogh Possibly Identified in Newly Discovered Group Photo of Famous Artists from 1887

Interesting (possible) photograph of Vincent Van Gogh (wiki) as an adult:

JULES ANTOINE (1863-1948) ATTR. – Vincent Van Gogh in conversation with friends, Paris, 96 rue Blanche, December 1887 Melanotype, direct positive and reversed image on blackboard (carton photographique), 86×112 mm, “Gautier Martin” stamp, recto. Vincent Van Gogh in conversation with Paul Gauguin, Emile Bernard, Félix Jobbé-Duval. André Antoine is standing between them.

Some experts believe this recently discovered 1887 tintype showing six men drinking around a table may include a rare sighting of painter Vincent van Gogh. He was known to abhor photography and supposedly never sat for a photo as an adult.
Only two rare photos of the artist as a child are known to exist, taken when he was 13 and 19 (see below). More from Colossal:
The photo went to auction just this weekend and was expected to fetch between $136,000 to $170,000, though a final sale price hasn’t been made public. Still, some experts aren’t convinced. The photo expert for the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam feels it can’t be the artist “because it simply does not look like him,” and also mentions the artist’s desire to never be photographed. Others note that Van Gogh didn’t mention the gathering in his meticulously written letters from the time period.

Van Gogh, Age 13:

And age 19:

More famous, of course, are his self-portraits:

Self Portrait 1889
Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday links

Don Featherstone, creator of the plastic pink flamingo, died yesterday. He and his wife wore matching outfits every day for 37 years. Kind of related: Why Flamingos Succeed at Escaping the Zoo While All Other Animals Fail.

To Gaze into the Jaws Of Camel Spiders Is to Gaze into the Jaws of Hell.

Fridgehenge: to celebrate the solstice, British guy recreates Stonehenge using old refrigerators.  

Just so you know, there are poop-filled mites on your face right now.

How Many iPhones Does It Take to Stop a Round From an AK-47?

10 Enormous Foods That Have Shattered World Records.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include Victorian fairy tale art, heroic librarians, and Father's Day lessons from Homer Simpson, Walter White, Don Draper, and Tywin Lannister, 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Monday, June 22, 2015

Loaves of bread will be smaller in future because... global warming

An incredibly stupid "news" article at The Telegraph on your Aussie tax dollars at work:
Here's a picture of unrelated bread.
Long-term global warming could cause loaves of bread to shrink in size due a reduction in the amount of protein in grains, Australian scientists have found.
Loaves based on 2050 atmospheric carbon dioxide levels predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were baked by researchers at the Victorian government and Melbourne University.
They emerged smaller and crumpled compared to their present-day counterparts.
The scientists discovered that rises in carbon dioxide will increase the size of wheat plants and make them more efficient at using water but will affect the quality of the grain.
Dr Glenn Fitzgerald, a senior researcher for the state government of Victoria who led the study, said the amount of protein in the grain is set to reduce by 2 to 14 per cent if carbon dioxide levels increase as anticipated.
(Note - per this paper by (among others) the same researcher, 
       "Crops grown under high CO2 gave, on average, about a 50% increase in yield.")
He and his colleagues used grain harvested in December to bake loaves earlier this year and found them to be much smaller than those baked using grain harvested in current climatic conditions.
Really? How many loaves did they bake and how many times did they replicate the experiment? Personally, I can bake two batches of bread (or cookies or cakes or whatever) and have them turn out differently, but I never tried to draw sweeping conclusions from that phenomenon. Did they weigh the same? Did they measure to see how "much smaller" they were? Where did the "amount of protein in the grain is set to reduce by 2 to 14 percent" come from? Were there two loaves of bread and they measured the protein content? Maybe there was one loaf and a plus or minus 7% margin of error.

And if this rising CO2 is causing yields to increase by 50 percent and protein to decrease by only 2 - 14 percent, isn't that a net good thing?