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27 Nov 01:31

aspiringdoctors: Dying.



27 Nov 01:46




24 Nov 21:01

The Truth About Asparagus and Your Pee

by SciShow
An astonishing amount of research has gone into the question of whether asparagus really makes your urine smell funny. Sci Show explains it all inside! Hosted by: Hank Green ---------- Like...
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21 Nov 20:11

NASA Issues 'Remastered' View of Jupiter's Moon Europa

Europa's Stunning Surface

Scientists have produced a new version of what is perhaps NASA's best view of Jupiter's ice-covered moon, Europa.

31 Oct 23:07

The Dark Secrets of the Bird World

by Tim Urban

66 million years ago, a large asteroid about six miles in diameter smashed into what is present-day Mexico. It was the most unpleasant thing you can imagine for everyone here at the time, and it ended up causing the extinction of over 75% of species, including all the dinosaurs.


It killed off all the dinosaurs—that’s how the story goes. Right?

The thing is, when we picture dinosaurs, we picture large, reptile-looking guys tramping about on land being dicks. And yes, those guys you’re picturing went extinct.

But there were also a lot of other kinds of dinosaurs, including some with feathers who could fly. While no non-flying dinosaurs survived the mass extinction, some of their avian cousins did survive, and they’re still surviving today. Which leaves us with the surprising fact:

Birds aren’t just the descendants of dinosaurs, they are dinosaurs.

Birds are close relatives of the notorious Velociraptor1—they share a common ancestor with it from the Jurassic period.2

So there dinosaurs were, ruling the Earth, when a big rock changed everything, setting mammals on a new course to dominate the world and sending the mighty dinosaur off to the periphery to watch from the sidelines. And today, most of our attention is on the mammals of the world—ourselves in particular, but also on our dogs and cats and elephants and bears and whales and cows and monkeys and sheep.

But what about our planet’s flying dinosaurs over on the sideline? Have any of us thought to see what’s going on with them?

Sometimes, when a big, popular circus loses its appeal and another, new form of entertainment takes over, and then a bunch of time passes, it’s better not to see what those old, forgotten circus performers are doing these days. Sometimes, you don’t want to know. Because sometimes, it turns out that what’s going on behind the doors of the old, broken down circus caravan is a bunch of weird, dark shit.

This week, I decided to pull back the curtain on the bird world and see what was happening there. Here’s a report on what I found:

Identity Fraud: Ordinary Birds Pretending to Be Exotic

There’s no less glamorous animal than the pigeon, so it’s understandable why so many pigeons are trying to pass off as other, less stigmatized types of birds—but come on:


It’s just not working:


Growing a mustache and calling yourself the Inca Tern is clearly not fooling anyone:


The best pigeon-hiding effort I’ve seen is by a group of white pigeons who spent millions of dollars on PR and rebranded itself as “the dove,” locking down a partnership with the Catholic church and plastering the internet with images and drawings like this:

dove composite

It gets worse. Here’s a vulture that grew a beard to try to escape all the baggage of being a vulture, which might have worked had it come up with a cleverer name for itself than the bearded vulture:

fabeard vulture

Here are two skinny-headed anhingas who are pretending not to be birds by posing as the hind legs of a deer or a dog:


Then again, we shouldn’t be surprised when the anhinga is unimpressive, given that this is how it plays hide and seek.

An even more ridiculous move is some normal yellow and black bird gluing a clearly-fake plastic beak onto its face and calling itself the toucan:


Then there’s the harpy eagle trying to pose as a fucking panda bear of all things:


But the most blatant identity fraud cases are happening throughout the chicken world. I get that no one wants to be a chicken.3 A chicken is a tweaky, paranoid joke of an animal. A chicken doesn’t fly, it spazzes into a brief flutter—and it can’t chirp, settling instead for the absurd “bawk.” And while we have the courtesy to call cow and pig meat euphemisms like “beef” and “pork,” we just call chicken meat “chicken,” because nobody respects the chicken. I understand why you’d wish you were a different type of bird. But that’s no excuse for doing psychotic things like painting yourself black:


Or getting a transparent makeover:


Or getting a ridiculous haircut:


Or fluffing out your feathers and calling yourself the silkie hen:

hybrid puff chicken

I also discovered a new fad that’s gotten hot—impersonating humans.

Here’s a bird pretending to be a makeup-y 53-year-old woman:

hybrid makeup-y woman

And here’s a bird trying to be a human grandmother:


Here are birds posing as human old men:

hybrid old man

And it’s apparently become trendy to grow stylish human hair:

hybrid hair

The irony of all these ordinary birds going to insane lengths to try to be more exotic is that what’s going on in the world of exotic birds is far worse:

Sadistic Psychological Abuse of Male Birds By Females

What humans don’t realize is that exotic birds are only exotic for one reason—women abusing their power of sexual selection to force horny men to go through tremendous shame and indignity at their whim. The females in a species of birds can get together and decide to evolutionarily turn the men of their species into literally whatever absurd creatures they want just by agreeing to all “select” for it. Like female peacocks getting together and colluding to only sleep with the men who turn themselves into the biggest, prettiest fans—which leaves the men with no choice but to spend the next hundred million years evolving into big, pretty fans:


And you’d think it would be bad enough that the female mallard thought it would be fun to turn the male mallard’s head bright green, but the much more twisted female mandarin duck has made her man into a piece of full-blown abstract art:


And this is nothing compared to the sick practice by some species of female birds to turn their males into “birds of paradise”—like the tanager females, who got together and decided to have sex with only the fuzziest, most neon men, resulting in this tragedy:


And just look at the shame on the face of the male Wilson’s bird of paradise:

hybrid Wilson

One set of females forced their males to change species altogether into an orange fuzz ball and renamed them “the cock of the rock” because they found it fucking hilarious:

hybrid cock of rock

You’d think turning men into clowns would be enough, but the women aren’t done. They make their clowns put on mortifying dance performances:

Meanwhile, many birds have bigger things to worry about than whether they’re exotic or not:

Birds With Proportional Difficulties

There are birds out there going through physical hell and no one has any idea. Like this bird who has the head of a duck but the body of a sparrow:


Or this bird who has a miniature pair of human legs instead of normal bird legs:


This bird has no head:


And this bird is only a head:

projust a head

These birds didn’t realize you were supposed to be a body with feathers on it, not just feathers and nothing else:4



And this bird forgot to not be just a fuzzy sphere:


Widespread Facial Rotting

One of the more disturbing findings of my investigation was the large number of birds out there who are actively decaying even though they’re not dead yet. The most well-known example is the gruesome turkey, whose facial gummies—which are delicious-looking on other birds—have horribly rotted:

hybrid turkey

And it gets worse. The wood stork’s head is fully decomposing:


Some have tumor or mold-ridden beaks:

hybrid growths

And others have replaced their head entirely with that of a tiny bludgeoned-to-death llama:


Creatures Out in the Open Who Are Clearly Supposed to Still Be in The Egg

The elephant in the room whenever you’re in the presence of a newborn human baby is that it very obviously belongs in the womb for another month. But in the bird world, this phenomenon is far more extreme. Some upsetting examples:

hybrid baby

Most alarmingly, many of these fetuses are in a constant state of agony, with every passing moment being the new worst moment of their life:

hybrid agony

Birds Who Forgot to Go Extinct When They Were Supposed To

There are a number of birds currently living who were obviously supposed to go extinct a long time ago and just forgot. Most notably, the shoebill:

hybrid shoebill

And the helmeted hornbill:


Rampant Narcissism

The golden pheasant is a prime offender:


As is this strapping eagle, who needs to rein it in a notch and remember that he’s still a bird:


As is this chicken, who doesn’t even have clothes on, let alone a fashion runway and an audience:


But for Americans, we don’t have to look very hard to find avian narcissism at its worst. This is what the bald eagle looked like before 1776:

hybrid bald eagle humble

Just an ordinary, low-confidence bird. But ever since signing a deal with the US to serve as its national emblem, the bald eagle has let the whole thing go to his head, strutting around with this absurd look on his face:

hybrid bald eagle cocky

Little does he know how close he was to being ousted in favor of the turkey of all animals.5

Rank Racism

indpájaros exóticos zoom diseño y fotografía (4)

Outrage at Nothing in Particular

There’s an odd fetish in the bird world with being outraged about what seems like nothing in particular.





outz3 - Southern Cassowary

The Biggest Asshole in the Animal Kingdom

If you know the animal kingdom, you know that’s saying a lot. And no, I’m not talking about the ostrich, nature’s terrible personality on a stick:


I’m talking about the goose.


Outside of the heinous world of insects, I can’t think of a creature that has literally no redeeming qualities. Except for the goose.


You know when you have some bread and you decide to feed some birds, and there’s one piece of shit who’s bigger than everyone else and shoves the other birds out of the way, taking literally every piece of bread, and you have to cleverly strategize in order to throw bread to the rest of the birds, and even then it’s hard? Well the goose is the quintessential feed-the-birds-bully.


The goose is perpetually unpleasant to be around, and the second something happens that doesn’t go his way, he has a fit and makes this appalling face:




That’s about plenty of the goose.


The bald eagle isn’t the only bird with a hero’s complex. Steller’s sea-eagle seems to be convinced that he’s that Disney character who’s all hardened and low-voiced and gruff and doesn’t want to talk about his past but then ends up having a heart of gold and agrees to mentor the protagonist and ends up sacrificing himself to save the day:

hybrid stellers

On the other side of things, it appears that the vulture has taken his reputation to heart and become a caricature of himself, overexaggerating his sinister, menacing stereotype in a bad-guy-in-a-kids-movie way:

hybrid vulture

And just when you thought we had our hands full with these real birds thinking they’re fictional, the puffin, who is fictional, is out there living his life in the three-dimensional real world as if he’s an actual creature:

Taken on my trip to Machias Seal Island in July 2010

Odd so far, and a bit grim. But as my investigation grew deeper and I asked more questions, I began to uncover more disturbing things going on in the darkest corners of the bird world:

Legitimately Psychotic Behavior in the Pigeon World

The identity fraud pigeon cases mentioned above were just the tip of the iceberg of the strange things going on with pigeons. On the streets of your city, you’d have no idea, but as I explored, I was shocked by what I found. It started with certain pigeons looking kind of abnormal:


Something wasn’t right. I dug deeper, and an entire perverted world began to reveal itself:





After that last one, I decided I had dug deep enough. I still don’t know what the fuck is going on with those pigeons.

And my darkest findings were still yet to come—

The Rapey White Parrot That’s Terrorizing the Planet

I’m not talking about normal parrots, or even this overly-segmented fuck:


I’m talking very specifically about the white parrot:


Here’s what I want you to do. Look at the above photo and form an opinion about his motive at the moment the picture was taken.

Now watch this video:

Now look at this picture again:


Not okay, right?

A Ghostly Sociopath Who Watches You at Night

Owls are creepy. Everyone knows that. But when most people think of an owl, they picture this handsome, potentially-wise, only-scary-in-a-cartoonish-way owl:


Or maybe they picture the low self-esteem owl:


They might even picture the genuinely eerie round-headed owl:


What they probably don’t picture is the ghostly sociopath owl who watches you at night:


Let’s just discuss the situation here. First of all, he doesn’t have a face, he has an anti-face, which is unsettling as fuck. Secondly, he’s a predator who makes his living silently murdering unsuspecting living things. Thirdly, he’s nocturnal. Of course. Fourthly, most of the time, he’s just standing there by himself, perfectly still, with wide eyes. Fifthly, he says “hoo.” All the normal birds “chirp,” and this creepy fuck says “hoo.” And finally, add on to all of that that his head swivels around and even flips completely upside down:


Then—then—I come across this GIF:


And this GIF:


Nothing about this GIF is okay. The guy on the left is manically devouring some kind of rat alive, the two guys on the right are slinking around like the grudge lady coming down the stairs, and those three manage to be the three least disturbing owls in the GIF.

Moving on—

Complete Mental Breakdowns

We all know that the flamingo lost his mind a long time ago:


And the potoo’s snap is well-documented:




But as I reached the farthest fringes of society, I saw more and more cases that seemed beyond hope.

Like the arctic tern and its inexplicable migration habits. In general, I’ve always wondered what birds’ issue is and why they need to migrate such absurd distances, and then I read about the arctic tern and found this:

Arctic terns are true champions in the bird world. They fly about 11,000 miles from their breeding grounds in the Arctic to their winter home in Antarctica.

Champions? Champions of what—horrible decision-making? The North Pole is 6,000 miles away from the equator. Every climate possible exists in between. Whatever climate difference they’re finding on the other pole could be achieved by flying 1,000 miles of latitude away from the pole. There’s no explanation for going farther than 6,000 miles. And if the arctic tern claims there’s some key subtle factor that makes the far pole better than somewhere on their current hemisphere, that’s like commuting every day from your home in Boston to an office in San Francisco because you found a slightly better deal on office rent there.


An atrocious decision-maker

Then there’s the California condor, who at some point began shaving his whole head and face for no apparent reason:




And there’s this lunatic:


And this chicken, whose family hasn’t heard from him in over a year:


And these chickens, who look like walking food:




And these birds, who are non-ironically and permanently impersonating Big Bird:


And this parakeet, for whom we need no comment:


Birds Who Apparently Think This is All a Big Joke

If there’s one takeaway from all this, it’s that the state of the bird world should not be taken lightly, especially by birds. And yet, in the midst of everything I found, there were a bunch of birds who couldn’t give a fuck either way. Like the dimwitted spoonbill:

jozTX10 roseate spoonbill 111_0742

Or this incredibly immature pelican:


Or the blue-footed booby—


—who seemed more intent on dancing than doing anything to help:


I’ll wrap up with a bird who should be concerned about both the wider bird world and his own bizarre situation and seems apparently worried about neither:


So there you go. Next time you’re outside and you see your neighborhood crow or sparrow or pigeon, just remember: A) it’s a dinosaur, B) it may have secrets, and C) leave it at that—some things are better left unexplored.



More Wait But Why investigative journalism into the animal world:
The Bunny Manifesto
The Primate Awards
Why Bugs Ruin Everything

Note: We changed over to Disqus for comments. Annoying that it makes you create an account, but it only takes 2 seconds and it’s much more interactive with upvoting and downvoting. Facebook comment section is the same as it was. If you have feedback, we’d love to hear it—

  1. who the movie Jurassic Park lied to you a lot about—they were around the size of a turkey, feathered, and not especially intelligent.

  2. I have a billion things to say about dinosaurs and this extinction event, but I’m going to cut myself off here and save it for a post all about it.

  3. Weirdly, the currently-living creature whose DNA is most closely-related to that of a Tyrannosaurus Rex? The chicken. I picture what happened is that T-Rexes started having these disappointing sons and the fathers would be like, “You’re not my son” and then those sons would have even more disappointing sons and disown them, and then it happened again and again each generation and 65 million years later, this is where we are.

  4. I’ve been informed by a reader that the first of these two birds is, in fact, much more of a Christmas tree ornament and much less of a living bird. On one hand, I should probably take it off the post. On the other hand, I’m going to leave it up as commentary about how ridiculous-looking real birds are that I couldn’t tell that this was fake.

  5. Before settling on the bald eagle, Ben Franklin suggested that the US choose the turkey as its national emblem. He thought the turkey made more sense because it was aggressive and mean, while the bald eagle was a lazy scavenger.

The post The Dark Secrets of the Bird World appeared first on Wait But Why.

14 Nov 17:19

From 1 to 1,000,000

by Tim Urban

Look. I don’t know what you’re over there thinking about. It could be simple or sophisticated, mundane or whimsical, practical or creepy.

But I’m over here thinking about numbers. Again.

I’ve never been especially impressed by words. They’re mushy and sometimes pleasant and sometimes annoying. They’re subtle and subjective and rambly and flowy. Words are okay. Whatever.

But numbers. Numbers are fascinating and precise and satisfying and delicious and whatever it is you’re thinking about at any given time, there’s at least a 60% chance that I’m over here thinking about numbers.

So I’ve decided to do not one, but two consecutive posts on numbers, during which we’ll start at 1 and end up in a very scary place. Today, we’ll keep things in the realm of the ordinary and the conceivable, capping ourselves at a million.

The numbers between 1 and 1,000,000 are everywhere in daily life. 1, 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000, and 100,000 are our friends—we get them, they get us, and in this post, we’re basically gonna just hang out with them and catch up, since you probably haven’t been good at keeping in touch.

Let’s start at the beginning—

One-Digit Numbers

We’ll lead off with the extraordinarily dull 1.

1 dot

1 likes to masquerade as this poetic and profound thing, getting used in sentences I don’t really understand, like “the oneness of all” or something annoying like that. But then anytime you actually spend time with 1, you end up bored.

1 is also no fun to play with. Multiplying or dividing things by it is an incredibly underwhelming experience, and it manages to be such a dud that somehow, it’s not a prime number even though it only has one factor.

As for the rest of the one-digit numbers, I enjoy 2, 4, and 8 because when I was seven I became obsessed with saying “2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1,024, 2,048, 4,096″ before hitting a wall,1 and I have an affinity for prime numbers, naturally, so 3, 5, and 7 fall into my favor. Not thrilled with 9, but at least it’s a perfect square. The only thing 6 offers my life is annoying the shit out of me every time I have to tell someone my phone number—(xxx)-666-xxxx—and they can’t help but have some reaction to that and then we end up in this little song-and-dance interaction about it.2

Let’s move on.

Two-Digit Numbers

10 dots

Getting to the two-digit numbers, interesting things finally start happening. 10 itself is a big one, because our entire base ten existence stems from it. Why did we end up in base ten (instead of something like base 8, which would go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, etc.)? Because we have 10 fingers. It seems intuitive that only with base 10 could you multiply and divide so easily and simply add zeros or move a decimal point when shifting by multiples of 10, but that would be the case with any number system.3 Let’s look at some bigger numbers—

12 has the dozen thing going which is something, as well as factors up the dick. It’s also the number of people who have been on the moon.


Let’s pause for a second to acknowledge how ridiculously impressive it is that humans got humans onto the moon and safely back. And how lucky are those 12 guys? Could any life experience be more desirable than getting to bounce around the moon while looking at the Earth hovering out there in space?

Continuing along, I don’t know whose sister 13 slept with, but somewhere along the way it pissed off the wrong person and managed to become the only number with a legitimately bad reputation.

20’s worth mentioning just because I read during my research that only about 1 in 20 men in the US is 6’2″ or taller. So if you’re 6’2″ or taller, you’re the tallest of this average sampling of 20 American men—4

1 in 20

33 is relevant because of Larry Bird and because that’s what I turned on Wednesday thanks for wishing me a happy birthday none of you.

You might be surprised to know that only 1/43 Americans openly identifies as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, but that when asked in an anonymous and veiled survey, that number jumps to 8/43:

gay lesbian bisexual

There are 41 Disney princesses and 48 real-life princesses, none of whom is Kate Middleton.


Not much else happening with the two-digit numbers until we arrive at sleazy 99, the price tag whore who’s made its whole living being the guy next to 100.

Three-Digit Numbers

100 dots

100 is a big deal and clearly knows it, but that’s fair. It’s the first three-digit number, but in our world, 100’s main role is being the overlord of the one and two-digit groups—it’s a century of years, the official “okay you win” age to reach, and the whole concept of percent is just comparing a part of 100 to all of 100. 100 is also a perfect square of another one of these fundamental numbers (i.e. 10, 100, 1,000, etc.), which is satisfying.

Being in the top 100th of a group in some way is also a thing. It looks like this:


If you’re in the red dot when it comes to wealth, you’re the notorious 1 percent and a lot of people will make signs that are mean to you. To be in the red dot among Americans, you need to make almost $400,000/year, but only about a tenth of that ($39,000 in 2011) to be in the red dot worldwide.

On the SAT, you’d be the red dot if you scored a 1480 out of 1600 or a 2200 out of 2400, and on the ACT, you’d need a 33. A Stanford-Binet IQ of 137 will make you the red dot too and would mean 99% of people are stupider than you.5

After 100, we’re about to get into superbly random number territory, but first we hit 101, a C-list number celebrity for a handful of small claims to fame, like 101 Dalmations and beginner courses and the West Coast US highway.

Continuing along, while about exactly 1 out of every 100 dots speaks sign language (70 million people worldwide),6 1 of every 179 living humans (39 million) is blind:


There are 444 Apple retail stores in the world:


If you deal five cards 508 times, you’ll average one flush:


And there are 12 million US dollar millionaires in the world, or 1 out of every 583 people. If your total assets (in excess of your total liabilities) add up to over $1,000,000, you’re the red dot in this diagram:


Four Digit Numbers

1,000 dots

1,000 is also a huge deal in our world and has a bunch of nicknames, like a grand, a G, a kilo, and k. It’s also part of the elite chain of numbers in the “order-of-magnitude” chain, which we know as million, billion, trillion, etc. Million is actually the third number in that chain, with the dud 1 as the first number and 1,000 as the second number. And 1,000 is the key multiplier that defines the whole chain.

That said, 1,000’s dirty secret is that it’s a fraud like 10 and can’t be made into a square. The square root of 1,000 is an embarrassing 31.62277660168 etcetera without even a vinculum.7

Anyway, let’s look at some four-digit numbers and odds:

Here’s how many times a neutron star spins around every second:

neutron star

And here’s how many minutes there are in each day:

minutes in a day

A genius-level IQ of 150 will earn you red dot status on the thousand-dot intelligence diagram, but that doesn’t mean you got a perfect 1600 on the SAT—only the red dot in a 1,489-dot sample aces the SAT:

perfect SAT

There are 1,811 large US corporations (over 10,000 employees), and astronomers have identified 1,849 planets outside our solar system:


On a perfectly clear night, we can see about 2,500 stars in the night sky:


And there may be only 2,800 living people over 7 feet tall (213cm), but they each have a 17% chance of making the NBA.

Here are all the seconds in an hour:

seconds in an hour

And here’s the number of religions in the world:

religions in the world

So there are more religions than the stars we see in the night sky, and you could name a religion every second and it would take you over an hour to name them all.

We’ve identified over 400,000 species of beetle in the world, but only 5,416 mammal species.

And here’s how many living languages there are in the world:


Finally, this is how many medium-sized (.5mm in diameter) grains of sand you could fit in a cubic centimeter box:


Five-Digit Numbers

10,000 dots

If 1,000 is a little overrated, 10,000 is underrated. No one talks about 10,000, but unlike the square rootless 1,000, 10,000 a perfect square of 100 100s, and 1% of a million.

Stephen Hawking’s IQ is supposedly 160, which would just qualify him to be the red dot in a 10,000 dot average sample of human intelligence. And just so you know, in an average group of 17,000 people, one will be an albino.

This is how many people fit in a sold-out Fenway Park:


Larger than the number of people in Fenway are both the 41,821 airports in the world and the number of buildings in manhattan:

manhattan buildings

The 55,030 Google employees would fill up a large stadium, as would Apple’s 50,250. Facebook is considerably smaller, with a staff of 8,348, while Wikipedia is running with only 208 people. You could fit the Craigslist team in a small bus:


And here’s how many seconds tick by every day:

seconds in a day

Six-Digit Numbers

100,000 dots

100,000 is the most random main category number of this post. In life, it mostly comes up as a salary most people would really like to be making. It’s also getting very close to the largest number of people I can actually picture all together in one place. Michigan Stadium (The Big House) is just under 110,000, and the largest stadium in the world is India’s Salt Lake Stadium, with a capacity of 120,000. North Korea claims that its Rungnado May First Stadium holds 150,000 people, but North Korea also says that Kim Jong Il shot 11 holes-in-one on his first time trying golf so we’ll be sticking with Salt Lake Stadium as the world’s largest.8

Equal to the capacity of the world’s largest stadium is the number of abortions that happen in the world every day, on average:


That’s about 1/3 the amount of worldwide births per day, meaning a quarter of all pregnancies that don’t end in miscarriage end in abortion. That’s about the same as the rate in the US, but in New York City, 41 of every 100 non-miscarried pregnancies are aborted. And no, this isn’t meant to be a political statement of any kind, just an interesting (and to me, surprising) statistic, so just settle down.

One Million

Good luck. See you at the bottom—

Million Dots

Sorry. A million dots is a lot of dots.

And how small are one-in-a-million odds? How much of a long shot is one-in-a-million? Just try to find the red dot in the million dots above.

This image is the only way I can think of to visualize what a million or what one-in-a million actually means.

A million is interesting because it’s huge—but it’s also the smallest of the big boys, just small enough that you can still picture it or depict it on a diagram. It’s right on the border between the world we can wrap our heads around and the world of the totally inconceivable.

That red dot, if you found it, is a good thing to keep in mind next time you buy a 1-in-146 million Powerball ticket, or anytime you hear facts like one out of every 11 million airplane flights crashes. A one-in-a-million long shot is the same as rolling three 100-sided dice and trying to hit the number 63 with all three of them in one roll.

If you want to play around with taking a one-in-a-million shot at something, pick a number between 1 and 1,000,000, say it out loud, and then click Generate below and try to hit it (or two other ways to do it: 1) Change the max number to 1,000 and try to hit the number you say with the next two clicks; 2) Change the max number to 100 and try to hit a chosen number three times in a row):

The numbers generated by this widget come from RANDOM.ORG’s true random number generator.

The Million-Dot Poster

I like both the number 1,000,000 and the number 1/1,000,000, and I love any chance to visualize them. A blog post that can only fit 200 dots horizontally isn’t an ideal way to visualize a million because it makes a 1 x 25 rectangle you have to scroll down for an hour to see all of. So we’ve made a million-dot poster.

The poster is, satisfyingly, a square. A 24″ x 24″ (61cm x 61cm) poster with a 1,000 dot x 1,000 dot square of a million total dots. This allows you to most effectively visualize the number one million (it also helps to visualize 5 or 10 or 100 million, or even a billion, by picturing multiple posters next to each other).

And, of course, one of the dots is red. It takes a hunt to find it,9 but once you do, you can understand exactly what 1/1,000,000 means. So one poster, two extreme numbers to visualize.

There’s a plain poster, and we also made other versions that have a WBW drawing behind them. You can check them all out here.

Here’s what the plain one looks like:

Full poster:


A closer shot, showing the red dot in the middle:

Closer up

And a close up shot, showing the red dot:

Up close


And here’s numbers post #2: From 1,000,000 to Graham’s Number

  1. The other children were playing outside.

  2. At least at some point I’ll have a new phone number—oh wait, whatever your first smartphone number was is now your number for eternity.

  3. And other systems have been used, like when the Mayans used a base 20 system.

  4. Yes, that was kind of a random fact to have brought into this—get used to it cause this whole post is just gonna be me throwing haphazard shit at you.

  5. IQ is kind of a fake concept, but quantifying everyone’s intelligence with a number is fun anyway.

  6. I’m not sure how many of those people are deaf, but there are 600,000 functionally deaf people in the US, or 1 out of every 454 people.

  7. The WordPress spellchecker underlined vinculum even though it’s a word, because WordPress is appalled by where I’ve gone with this post.

  8. I’ve also been in that North Korea stadium (where I took this video), and it seemed about the same size as a typical NFL stadium. I originally had this note as part of that last sentence, but it seemed one notch too braggy for a non-footnote.

  9. Bonus points to anyone who can figure out why the dot is where it is on the grid.

The post From 1 to 1,000,000 appeared first on Wait But Why.

15 Nov 01:23

Chicken family

Chicken family

09 Nov 20:17

wilwheaton: GPOY



08 Nov 21:19

softmotherswimming: keepcalmimspidey: almostcrazycatlady98: Ca...




Cats Being Cats

i cant believe people dont like cats…

deeble deeee

09 Nov 13:16

lustik: Masanori Kono via Spoon & Tamago. Lustik: twitter |...

06 Nov 19:19

NASA Rocket Experiment: Universe is Brighter Than We Thought

CIBER launch

A NASA sounding rocket experiment has detected a surprising surplus of infrared light in the dark space between galaxies, a diffuse cosmic glow as bright as all known galaxies combined.

05 Nov 21:48


by Readers Like You

I believe the author was smashed.

apostrophied.png (142 KB)

(Thanks, Sherry!)

05 Nov 02:05

note-a-bear: fenrispenris: sourceThough we all know Wayne...



Though we all know Wayne Brady as the upbeat comedian-turned-TV star of shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Let’s Make a Deal, the 42-year-old Emmy-award winner is now opening up to ET’s Nischelle Turner about his debilitating depression.

Brady admits he has secretly battled with depression for years and describes the harrowing emotions he’s experienced. “People are like, ‘Wayne Brady’s always happy!’” he says. “No I’m not. Because I’m human.”

"Having a bad day is one thing, having a bad week is another, having a bad life … You don’t want to move, you can’t move in the darkness," he explains. "You’re like, ‘I am just going to sit right here and I want to wallow in this. As much as it hurts, I am going to sit right here because this is what I deserve. This is what I deserve, so I am going to sit here because I am that horrible of a person.’"

VIDEO: Wayne Brady Recalls His Big Break

The constant self-doubt turned into a vicious cycle.

"It starts this cycle where you tell yourself these lies … and those lies become true to you," he says. "So, you stick to your own truth you’ve set up. ‘If I am this bad, then why should any of this matter?’ I feel at that point, you end up wanting to stop the pain."

Brady reveals he hit rock bottom last June on his 42nd birthday, recalling, “I was there by myself, in my bedroom and I had a complete breakdown … Just go ahead and imagine for yourself a brother in his underwear, in his room, you got snot … and that birthday was the beginning of, ‘OK, I’ve got to make a change.’”

An event that especially hit him hard was the tragic passing of Robin Williams in August, who took his own life after a longtime struggle with depression.

Brady, who knew Williams from the comedian’s appearance on Whose Line, tweeted on the day news broke of Williams’ death.

"When he was on stage [in] full-on Robin mode — and I know this from being blessed enough to work with him — you could not touch that man," he tells ET. "He made all these people feel great. And at the same time, knowing that he had this sense of … what I make up in my mind, this low sense of self-worth, of belonging, of loneliness, of pain that all the money in the world can’t cure, all the accolades and awards, and all the love from people all over the world … all that love could still not stop that man from saying, I am in so much pain.’"

He also points out the double standard in Hollywood when it comes to admitting to depression as opposed to a drug problem.

"Nobody wants to out themselves so to speak, or if they out themselves, it’s in a very — I hate to say it — Hollywood way," he says. "It’s actually cool to go into rehab for some people. … But if someone says, ‘I’m clinically depressed,’ that sounds like someone’s making something up. It’s like, ‘Psst, you’re not depressed.’"

Brady now says he’s currently on the road to recovery, and gives a lot of credit to his ex-wife, Mandie Taketa. He says the two are still close friends, despite divorcing in 2007 after eight years of marriage. They remain committed to co-parenting their daughter Maile, now 11.

"We said we want to give her the closest experience she can have to living in the same house," he says of being neighbors with his ex. "And we’ve always lived in different homes. We just live super-close now. The fact of the matter is, I like her mom. She was down with me when nobody in the world was down with me, except my mom. There was loyalty there, there was respect, there is trust — she is my baby mama."

He also has this piece of advice for those battling with their own struggles with depression.

"It took me a while to get my stuff together to go, ‘You know what? If you’re not happy, you have to do something about it,’" he says frankly. "Just to admit that you are feeling this way is a huge step. To claim that, to say, ‘Why do I feel dark? Why do I feel unhappy? Let me do something about this.’"

Wayne Brady is one of my favorite people of all time, and I thought I might share this with some of you guys.

I’m all kinds of here for famous Black folks talking about their mental health publicly and candidly.
I’m all kinds of here for Black folks talking about their mental health publicly and candidly

Yes, open up this dialogue!

03 Nov 12:45

thewinterotter: I can’t even describe to you what a fucking...


I can’t even describe to you what a fucking delight Elon James White's twitter feed is today. (2 Nov 2014) #DudesGreetingDudes is now trending, pass it on.

31 Oct 22:33

vixyish: dynastylnoire: flockdynamics: tootricky: Mei the...





Mei the galah really enjoys the hair drier (source)

Omg that last gif tho




26 Oct 09:39


25 Oct 23:44

safeword: socimages: Nope! Brain studies find that concern for...


Actually, this article is about ethics in games journalism.




Brain studies find that concern for justice and equality is linked to logic, not emotion.

By Lisa Wade, PhD

A new study finds that people with high “justice sensitivity” are using logic, not emotions.  Subjects were put in a fMRI machine, one that measures ongoing brain activity and shown videos of people acting kindly or cruelly toward a homeless person.

Some respondents reacted more strongly than others — hence the high versus low justice sensitivity — and an analysis of the high sensitivity individuals’ brain activity showed that they were processing the images in the parts of the brain where logic and rationality live.   “Individuals who are sensitive to justice and fairness do not seem to be emotionally driven,” explained one of the scientists, “Rather, they are cognitively driven.”

Activists aren’t angry, they reasonably object to unjust circumstances that they understand all too well.

Image borrowed from Jamie Keiles at Teenagerie, who is a high sensitivity individual.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

this is shit we already knew but now i have a citation 2 link 2 next time yr in an internet fight

go get ‘em kids!!!

23 Oct 16:12

I Predict an Apostrophe Catastrophe

by (Becky)
If this astrologer were truly psychic, she would have known that she'd be on Apostrophe Catastrophes on October 23, 2014.

Didn't see that coming, did you, Ms. Psychic?

Oh, I miss Miss Cleo...

Thanks to Bryan for sending in this cosmic catastrophe.

23 Oct 03:32

life goals



Normal lings?

life goals

18 Oct 00:24

20 Vivid Hummingbird Close-ups Reveal Their Incredible Beauty

17 Oct 02:33

seananmcguire: castielsteenwolf: pr1nceshawn: The evolution...




The evolution of Halloween costumes for girls…

this is really important

This is why I get upset about the sexy costumes at Halloween.  Not because you don’t have the right to be sexy—you absolutely, absolutely do.  But because while you might be able to find costume #3 in a tween size in each of these rows, I can guarantee that in almost all cases, you will not find costume #2 in a teen or adult size.

Babies/toddlers get to be cute.  Kids/tweens get to be fun and spooky and still have modesty, if they want it.  Teens who aren’t on the small end are already getting the sexy, even if they really just want fun, spooky, and a skirt that goes below mid-thigh.  And adults?  LOL nope it’s sexy or nothing.

Everyone who is of an age to want sexy should be allowed to have sexy.  But “not sexy” should always be on the table as well, because sometimes you just want to be warm and cozy and filling a pillowcase with strangercandy.

13 Oct 02:26

agelfeygelach: armouredswampert: agelfeygelach: little-yogi: ...





It’s a cute little thing though.

Sometimes it is hard to remember that owls are incredibly dangerous predators seen by cultures throughout  the world as ill omens. Especially when they look like toasted marshmallows.

My boss once described them as flying pillows filled with seething hatred.

Further confirming that owls are the avian equivalent of cats.

08 Oct 14:48

seananmcguire: anonemouse: artjonak: Around 95% of people...




Around 95% of people have never seen a baby Hedgehog.

SHARE to change that percentage.

no those are clearly some kind of durian


08 Oct 01:50

pennywhistle: underhuntressmoon: dion-thesocialist: cassandrac...








Watch it in video

Follow us on Tumblr



what the shit

Wait, what? I have so many questions.

I encourage my fellow soap makers to also skip the palm oil. There’s lot of alternatives.

More info from Scientific American:

03 Oct 19:21

gunpowderandspark: (Source) The Republican Party recently...

Courtney shared this story from Super Opinionated.



The Republican Party recently released an ad assuring us that, yes, there actually are Black Republicans.

A message that would have probably been more impactful if the only appearance of a Black person in their video wasn’t a stock photo they had to pay to use…

02 Oct 18:00

How Dare They Misrepresent Our Breakfast Choices!


I would make you an American breakfast but we're out of guns and toast.

How Dare They Misrepresent Our Breakfast Choices!

Submitted by: Prelud3

02 Oct 21:09

Florian Pucher Turns Aerial Photos into Plush Carpeting

by Johnny Strategy
Florian Pucher Turns Aerial Photos into Plush Carpeting carpets aerial


Florian Pucher Turns Aerial Photos into Plush Carpeting carpets aerial

LANDCARPET Bahamas (detail)

Florian Pucher Turns Aerial Photos into Plush Carpeting carpets aerial

LANDCARPET Bahamas (detail)

Florian Pucher Turns Aerial Photos into Plush Carpeting carpets aerial


Florian Pucher Turns Aerial Photos into Plush Carpeting carpets aerial

LANDCARPET Hong Kong (detail)

Florian Pucher Turns Aerial Photos into Plush Carpeting carpets aerial

LANDCARPET Hong Kong (detail)

Florian Pucher Turns Aerial Photos into Plush Carpeting carpets aerial

LANDCARPET Netherlands (detail)

Florian Pucher Turns Aerial Photos into Plush Carpeting carpets aerial

LANDCARPET Netherlands (detail)

Florian Pucher Turns Aerial Photos into Plush Carpeting carpets aerial


Florian Pucher Turns Aerial Photos into Plush Carpeting carpets aerial


From a young age Florian Pucher was always fascinated by landscapes underneath and how blissful and beautiful our world looks from above. “I have always loved to travel and tried to always get window seats on planes,” said the Beijing-based Austrian architect who even avoided travelling by night in order to see as many different landscapes as possible. Pucher is now turning his childhood obsession into LANDCARPET: a series of rugs modeled after birds-eye-view aerial photographs of land.

Pucher uses various online mapping services to pinpoint locations of interest and then does picture searches to get a feel for the colors and elevations. He sometimes coincidentally will stumble upon satellite imagery or maps, which may lead to a new rug design. “Some countries are very easily recognizable through their methods of farming and that has always intrigued me,” Pucher tells us. “Furthermore as an architect and master planner I constantly get to see and look through site surveys, aerial images and city plans which have further sharpened my eye for distinguishable patterns and different layers.”

Pucher’s LANDCARPETs are signed and hand tufted in limited editions of 88 pieces. You can purchase one directly through his website. (via Yatzer)

02 Oct 12:47

mrasmus: gehayi: astrakiseki: themightyif: Well, that pretty...





Well, that pretty much says everything, doesn’t it?

(Photo by Tishka Miller, from Facebook, here.)

Excuse me while I go do some painful things to the programmers because I Am Not Amused.

Oh, wait. It gets worse. 

This is from the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Here’s how they describe “Science with a Sparkle”:

Science With a Sparkle

Oct. 11
1 – 4 pm
Ages – 8-12

Prepare to be dazzled! Dive into chemistry and learn how science relates to health and beauty products. Become a cosmetic chemist and concoct your own creations to take home.

Also, it’s described as:

No Boys Allowed! – Girls Only Workshops

Because God forbid that boys learn how to do something so icky, right?

The Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Webelos programs are not designated “boys only”—but the people who set up the programs consistently describe the participants as being boys, cub scouts, etc. There is no indication that a girl would be welcome to join in.

If you are as bugged by this artificial gender role reinforcement as I am (which seems to be about what people believe that boys and girls should be interested in), have some more links:

The Senior Staff Directory

Staff Directory (this is all phone numbers for different departments, not contacts for individual people)

Contact the Carnegie Science Center Online

I was given some incredible experiences in my time with Boy Scouts; I value that time a lot, it gave me access to many opportunities and honestly is still empowering me today (Eagle Scout is a recognizable and, by many employers, highly respected award to list on a résumé). My troop was, luckily, also fairly inclusive (relative to the national council, particularly; we had a few openly-gay troop members, and this was years before the ruling allowing such members). It bugged me at the time that girls in my peer group had disappointing-at-best opportunities that lacked any sort of parity with my own. Girl Scouts is a pretty cool organization in its own ways (and honestly, from what I’ve seen, a *significantly* cooler institution at the national level), but the content of the experiences does very much stem from those gendered expectations.

Looking back through the lens of how much I valued my own experiences, it actually really pisses me off that people don’t have the same/similar opportunities, just because of… well, *any* of the reasons people are denied such entry. Venture Scouts is a very, very cool program itself, but none of the other scouting organizations have the clout or resources that the BSA puts towards their primary program. I don’t think most people regard the Gold Award with the same prestige as the Eagle rank (forgive me if that’s the wrong equivalency; I myself don’t actually know the GS ranks that well), which, like… just, ugh. I don’t even know how to express myself, it’s just fuckin’ frustrating.

This is disgusting.

02 Oct 16:12

Nervösa personer kan få alzheimers sjukdom

by Klartext

Den som får alzheimers blir glömsk och virrig. Risken att få den sjukdomen ökar om du är nervös och stressad. Det visar en ny undersökning.

Klicka om du vill läsa mer!

De som har gjort undersökningen är forskare vid Sahlgrenska Akademin i Göteborg. Forskarna har följt en stor grupp kvinnor under närmare 40 år.

Då upptäckte forskarna att kvinnor med en nervös personlighet lättare fick alzheimers än andra. Med nervös personlighet menas de som ofta tänker att något dåligt ska hända, som oroar sig mycket och som lätt blir stressade.

Forskarna i Göteborg föreslår att nervösa personer kan söka hjälp hos vården så att de lär sig att ta det lite lugnare och tänka mer positivt. För då ökar också chansen att man slipper sjukdomen alzheimers.

27 Sep 12:54

exvind: scribblingbearcat: kammartinez: Author John Scalzi...




Author John Scalzi was on a roll this morning (currently 7:14 AM, 26 Sept. 2014) with a tweet he found from some guy sending out an “ultimatum” to women to “make a choice” between feminism and, well, men like him. So Scalzi launched into a truly magnificent set of scorchers, which I’m posting here for the delectation of people everywhere.

Also: I would like to thank that guy for setting the ultimatum. It makes finding a boyfriend so much easier when the undesirable ones wear a placard identifying themselves.


There is no problem that sass cannot solve