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09 Sep 15:54

David Cameron can’t help the No campaign – he’s less popular in Scotland than Windows 8

by Charlie Brooker
The first rule of panic mode is you don’t talk about panic mode. And this is purely for personal reasons, but I don’t want Scotland to reject us

It used to be unthinkable. Now it’s thinkable. In fact, in some minds, it’s already been thought. Scotland might be voting yes to independence and splitting from the rest of the union. I’m not Scottish, and I’m therefore powerless to intervene, although I would personally prefer Scotland to stay – but only for entirely selfish and superficial reasons. Reason one: I’d rather not be lumbered with a Tory government from now until the day the moon crashes into the Thames. Two: I quite like Scotland and the Scottish, so it’s hard not to feel somehow personally affronted by their rejection. Why did you just unfriend and unfollow me, Scotland? What did I ever do to you? What’s that? Sorry, you’ll have to slow down a bit. Can’t understand a word you’re saying. Don’t you come with subtitles?! Ha ha ha! No, seriously, come back. Scotland? Scotland?

Apparently the consequences of a split in the union could be calamitous. The skies will fall and the seas will boil and the dead shall rise and the milk will spoil. There will be a great disturbance in the force. Duncan’s horses will turn and eat each other. Starving ravens will peck out your eyes halfway through the Great British Bake Off. Your dad will give birth to a jackal full of hornets. And in London’s last remaining DVD shop, Gregory’s Girl will quietly be re-categorised as “world cinema”.

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11 May 21:46

Electromagnetic Leak (update 2014)

23 Apr 17:26

phantom internet

17 Apr 16:33

third date

06 Apr 23:26

eat shit & die 234 (20 Comments)

by bpatrick

The look I was going for was, I shit you not, Grendel Prime.

This is a true story. Draw your own conclusions.

Edit: This was supposed to be funny but I think I blew it. It all worked out; I’m now married to the greatest woman ever.

29 Mar 00:00

ScienceCasts: The Opposition of Mars

by ScienceAtNASA
Visit for more. Earth and Mars are converging for a close encounter in April, an ...
Views: 121937
794 ratings
Time: 02:58 More in Science & Technology
23 Mar 23:18

Fish Thing

by Robyn

Fish thing. Eat the fish thing. It’s a good thing, made of good fish eat it. Let it nourish you; become a part of you. Now you are a fish thing too. It’s okay.

17 Mar 15:07

In five years' time, all news articles will be a single coloured icon that fires out info-nuggets | Charlie Brooker

by Charlie Brooker
I was modern once – back when everyone thought the internet was just a fad

'We're running a special week in which G2 gets taken over by young up-and-coming trainees," explains the Guardian in an email, going on to ask if I'll write something about "the future of the media" to appear alongside it – presumably so the youngsters can point and laugh at my bewildered old man's perspective, the modern little bastards.

I was modern once, about 14 years ago, when the Guardian hired me to write a TV review column on the strength of a website I created. This was back when most websites were hand-stitched pamphlets, 85% of the pages consisting of "under construction" GIFs hurriedly Pritt-Sticked into place (I say "Pritt-Sticked" – it should probably be "Pritt-Stuck", but no one's going to correct me because grammar isn't hugely important in the exciting digital future).

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17 Mar 00:42

In five years' time, all news articles will be a single coloured icon that fires out info-nuggets | Charlie Brooker

by Charlie Brooker
I was modern once – back when everyone thought the internet was just a fad

'We're running a special week in which G2 gets taken over by young up-and-coming trainees," explains the Guardian in an email, going on to ask if I'll write something about "the future of the media" to appear alongside it – presumably so the youngsters can point and laugh at my bewildered old man's perspective, the modern little bastards.

I was modern once, about 14 years ago, when the Guardian hired me to write a TV review column on the strength of a website I created. This was back when most websites were hand-stitched pamphlets, 85% of the pages consisting of "under construction" GIFs hurriedly Pritt-Sticked into place (I say "Pritt-Sticked" – it should probably be "Pritt-Stuck", but no one's going to correct me because grammar isn't hugely important in the exciting digital future).

Continue reading...

16 Feb 23:37



14 Feb 01:09

February 13, 2014

Stacy Farina had the best graph at BAHFest 2013!

Don't forget to watch the question session afterward!
09 Feb 00:00

Sandy Subway 3D Chalk Drawing

by James Dean

I absolutely love posting up 3D chalk drawing optical illusions, because they never fail to completely impress me. Unfortunately, I don’t have a single artistic bone in my body. I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but I’m just not cut out for it. Therefore, I have massive amount of respect for anyone that can take something from their imagination and put it on a canvas. Some people take their artistic abilities off the paper and pump out some amazing 3D chalk art. This is one of those people. As you can see, someone used some chalk in a subway and made it look as if people are sitting on the beach and in the tide. Check it out by scrolling down.

Sandy Subway 3D Chalk Drawing

Now you can’t tell me that this isn’t one of the coolest things you’ve ever seen. Some people possess some amazing skills and that’s about all I can say. Did you like this drawing? If so, you should rate this thread and let us know how you feel. If you want to leave a more in-depth opinion, you could leave a comment below this post and we will definitely see it. Either way, I hope you enjoyed this beautiful piece of art.

The post Sandy Subway 3D Chalk Drawing appeared first on Mighty Optical Illusions.

08 Feb 20:46

The Sound of Atoms Bonding - Sixty Symbols

by Sixty Symbols
Featuring Professor Philip Moriarty See links and notes below for more details: Nottingham Nanoscience group's papers as PDFs: S...
Views: 185561
4285 ratings
Time: 09:49 More in Science & Technology
06 Feb 00:35

Being and Nothingness

05 Feb 20:17

Bullet guts.

Bullet guts.

25 Jan 10:36

Perception (information or use?)

by Jim Hamlyn

When we see the sunrise, do we perceive an illusion? We know that the sun is stationary with respect to the earth yet we say that the sun rises and falls. Are we misinforming ourselves, or, worse still, do we think that the sun presents misleading information? Philosophers talk of “accuracy conditions”, of “illusions” and “elusive appearances” but are these terms really appropriate? Is it even true to say that things present information to our senses? If we take the view that things do indeed present information then we are forced to conclude (though we should probably deny) that the sun presents inaccurate, imprecise or contradictory information about itself.

Many philosophers claim that experience has what they call “content” and this is either rich or sparse depending on your philosophical view. Others disagree. And so they should. The sun doesn’t emanate information and nor do the many surfaces from which its energy in reflected. So, it doesn’t follow that the appearance of the rising sun is inaccurate, elusive, deceptive, illusory etc.

The reason we commonly say that the sun rises and falls is because this has proven again and again to be a useful description of what we see. When some of our specialist needs changed (about 500 years or so ago) we eventually worked out that the sun doesn’t in fact revolve around the earth. Yet we continue to describe it in this way – not because we are misinformed, but because this is the way that continues to be most useful for our earth-bound needs.

So, what do we actually perceivewhen our portion of the earth turns towards the sun? Well, if you ask philosophers, you’ll get as many answers as you can fit fairies on a pinhead. But perhaps the most revealing way of approaching this issue is by asking what we can usefully do in response to the things that we see. And one of the most useful things we have learnt to do – especially with ungraspable things like the sun - is to represent them.

Perhaps one day it will be obvious that perception isn’t something we gain possession of (content we get) but rather something we are capable of doing. And, of all the things we are capable of purposefully doing, representing is probably the most fundamental.

24 Jan 00:32

Slow. Burn.


Slow. Burn.

18 Jan 12:15

No. Way.

No. Way.

18 Jan 12:15



08 Jan 10:45


I hate when people take photos of their meal instead of eating it, because there's nothing I love more than the sound of other people chewing.
27 Dec 02:18

Still the best ever synopsis of the Wizard of Oz.

by David Schneider
Still the best ever synopsis of the Wizard of Oz.

14 Dec 21:01

I Know How Alexander Graham Bell Felt

by Steve Albini

Sandwich made with this new kind of bread I invented

I am often out of bread. It's a shame but I sometimes don't have time to buy bread or make bread, and then well that's how you get to be out of bread. A while ago I was inspired by Jacques Pepin to try making a quick soda bread in a skillet. He did it on his show and it looked interesting so I did it a few times, but it wasn't great. Soda bread may be suitable for the some uses and I guess for the Irish, but it's a less than perfect substitute for real bread. Sorry the Irish, I speak truth to power. And drunks. And leprechauns.

A principle use for bread in our house is sopping, whether meat juices, barbecue sauce, runny egg, olive oil or soup, bread needs to be sop-worthy, and soda bread disintegrates too readily to sop. Compared to yeast bread, the crumb of soda bread is crumbly rather than spongy, which makes it terrible at sopping. Soda bread also tends to have a firm, craggy outer crust that can be hard and unpleasant to eat. French bread eats better even with a firm crust because the crust has a fine texture and acts like a kind of skin or envelope, holding together whatever you're eating. Soda bread also tends to have lingering aftertaste from the chemical leavening, a kind of baking soda bitterness that seems alien in my mouth. Soda breads are usually made with very little fat, which exacerbates the dry, crumbly texture. All tolled, soda bread is more of a biscuit or muffin than bread, and should probably be reserved for similar uses. Reserved for muffin duty.*

One night when Heather needed soup I made soup. No big deal, I'm on soup like Sinatra on the cigarette girl. Soup is my go-to, I can knock it out eyes closed. But Heather likes bread with her soup for sopping, and we were out of bread. I had been mulling over a couple of modifications to the skillet soda bread that might help with its deficiencies and this was a chance to try them out.

Both the texture of the crumb of yeast bread and the smooth resilience of its outside crust are the result of the gluten protein in the dough. The spongy interior is a web of protein that traps the fermentation gas of the yeast, and the gluten in the skin of the bread stretches as the dough rises and cooks to form a smooth browned exterior. To develop gluten, the protein needs to be teased away from the starch granules in the flour and then interlinked with other protein molecules to form a web. Conventionally, you develop the gluten by kneading the bread and giving it a long time to rise, but there are other ways. If the dough is extra-wet, almost a batter, then the starch molecules more readily free the gluten to do its thing, and if you use high-gluten bread flour rather than all-purpose flour there is more protein available and the gluten quickly becomes elastic. I had a hunch that using a protein-rich medium like eggs or milk to wet the dough also might help form the crumb.**

I decided to make a quick soda bread incorporating all these possibilities to see if it would function more like conventional yeast bread suitable for full bread duty***. I started the liquid medium with a couple of eggs, and when I reached in the fridge for the milk, I spotted a big tub of Bulgarian yogurt we'd bought on a whim at Andy's. Instantly I thought of a couple of reasons I should use the yogurt instead of milk. Yogurt has its milk proteins slightly curdled, concentrating and strengthening them, which might form a protein web with the gluten more readily. Also, the acid in the yogurt could be used to excite baking soda as a leavening agent, providing even more lift. I beat the eggs together with about an equal volume of yogurt. I don't know if Bulgarian yogurt is special, but it's pretty much like Greek yogurt, slightly less liquid than conventional supermarket plain yogurt. I had bought it because what the hell, Bulgarians can use my patronage, their roads are pretty fucked up. I added a couple of teaspoons of sugar and a pinch of salt to offset the tang of the yogurt, and it occurred to me that these three things, the yogurt's sourness, the salt and the sugar could all help to mollify the weird bitterness I associate with chemical leavening.

I melted some butter in a small non-stick skillet, about the size of an omelet pan but green and bought from the as-seen-on-TV store. These little things are great. They have a solid riveted handle, durable non-stick ceramic liner and are of heavier construction than anything else sold on TV. Definitely worth the six bucks or whatever. When the butter was melted I stirred it into the liquid mix and left the pan on the burner to heat.

I eyeballed the volume of the wet mix and made a scant pile of bread flour about the same volume in a small bowl, whisked-in a fat pinch each of baking soda and baking powder, then plopped them into the wet mix and stirred vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough came together really quickly, and I could tell the gluten was already forming by the way the dough behaved on the spoon. It had the rubbery strands I associate with bread, not the wet, blobby consistency of a batter. The chemistry was also beginning to kick in, and I could sense the dough beginning to lighten and rise, so I got it in the now-hot skillet and quickly flattened it into a disc. One trick I learned from Jacques Pepin's bread was to put a couple tablespoons of water around the perimeter of the bread and cover it to make steam, even out the temperature and encourage the bread to rise rather than settle. I lowered the heat on the skillet to medium and let it rise. In the past when I'd made skillet bread the top had an unappetizing flat color, so I turned on the broiler to remedy that.

After less than two minutes, the bread had risen inside the skillet and looked almost set, so I put the skillet under the broiler to finish, and that turned out to be the magic touch. The crust of the bread rose and smoothed itself, then browned nicely in a couple of minutes. Out from under the broiler, the loaf looked awesome; tight, smooth and nicely browned. I turned it out from the skillet and let it rest on the counter. From outward appearances, it appeared I had just made legit bread in like five minutes. I don't know if I could get as nice a finish by doing the loaf start-to-finish in the oven, but I suppose that's my next experiment. Nah, who am I kidding. If I can make legit bread in like five minutes this way, I'm going to keep doing it this way. Regular bread goes in the oven, this is for when I'm out of bread.

The proof is in the eating, and this bread was terrific. The butter in the mix kept the crumb moist and soft, but the bread had a nice sponge that held together when dunked in soup, and behaved basically like legit bread. The flavor was nice, sweet and slightly eggy, like challah bread or brioche, but I detected none of the creepy chemical quality I was worried about and fuck me, this was great news. I invented a bread. Now I know how Tesla felt when he first drew lighting out of one of his contraptions. Or Thomas Edison. Or Alexander Graham Bell. Or the first guy to do a pick slide to start a solo. Après moi, le déluge de pain frais de la skillet vert.

I was prepared for the bread to fail, but was relieved it had not. Had it failed, my next experiment would have been to try separating the eggs and beating the whites to a foam first, then making a thinner batter with the other ingredients and folding it into the whites, making the lift come from the meringue in the manner of a genoise or other sponge cake. I didn't do that initially because cake crumb is not as stable as bread, and I wanted to avoid making a fall-apart mock-bread. I wanted legit bread.

Emboldened by the success of the skillet bread, I have begun using it for other purposes. The other day H-Bomb (I still call her H-Bomb sometimes, she hates it) wanted a sandwich but guess what no bread. Guess again, pow! five minutes to bread. She only wanted one sandwich, and a full skillet would be too much bread, so I scaled everything back, one egg, one blop of yogurt, smaller pinches of everything I pinched in before, half as much bread flour, and I used a pastry ring inside the skillet to confine the dough and shape the little loaf into a bun**** suitable for sandwich duty. Everything in the bread is scalable. I could probably make a whole sandwich loaf like this.***** (vg)

* Muffin Duty is unfortunately also the name of a series of pornographic films made prior to the Brazilian wax epidemic that embaldened the collective pubis of the adult entertainment industry sometime in early 2006.
** "Form the Crumb," the side-long improv piece on Matching Mole's unreleased third album.
*** New from EA Games, Full Bread Duty, a first-person baker with mass online multibaker features. Epic chat.
**** Into a Bun also a porn franchise, but you probably guessed that.
***** Loaf Like This, the rejected title for a Ralph Records sampler from 1979
09 Dec 01:43

Broken kitten

by arbroath
07 Dec 22:05

Bisection of a metro. Zero gravity crystaline form?

Bisection of a metro. Zero gravity crystaline form?

06 Dec 21:04



06 Dec 21:04

Quartz is amazing stuff. (Use arrows if necessary)

Quartz is amazing stuff. (Use arrows if necessary)

06 Dec 20:26

Fishing cat catches itself dinner

by arbroath
06 Dec 20:23

Cat returns home with her kitten

by arbroath
04 Dec 17:40

December 04, 2013

04 Dec 17:10

Soda Planet

by xkcd

Soda Planet

How much of the Earth's currently-existing water has ever been turned into a soft drink at some point in its history?

Brian Roelofs


First, a tiny bit of background: In the beverage industry, "soft drink" technically refers to any non-alcoholic packaged beverage, but it's commonly used to mean carbonated beverages.[1]In the US, the word people use to refer to a generic carbonated beverage—"soda" vs. "pop" vs. "coke"—strongly depends on where they live. Carbonated water was first produced in the 1700s, and gained popularity as "tonic water" (carbonated water mixed with quinine powder, which has anti-malaria properties), and in carbonated lemonade.[2]Shahan Cheong, Taking the Waters: The History of the Modern Soft-Drink, Not Yet Published (blog post)

The vast majority of all soft drinks ever consumed have been consumed in the last 40 years. Carbonated beverages were fairly popular in the industrialized world throughout the 20th century, but population growth and the spread of companies like Coca-Cola into the developing world mean that the total soda consumption per year has grown relatively fast.

Total soft drink consumption in 2013 was about 188 billion liters. That's 26 liters per person annually, or 70 mL/day.[3]MarketLine, Carbonated Soft Drinks: Global Industry Guide (In the US, the average was 170 liters, or about one 16-oz drink per person per day[4]Dan Check, Matt Dodson, and Chris Kirk, Americans Drink More Soda Than Anyone Else (

Over the past several centuries, humans have probably consumed about 6.5 trillion liters of carbonated beverages.[5]This is a ballpark guess based on population growth and some rough estimates of when soda-drinking became popular in different parts of the world.

That's a lot, certainly. For example, it's enough to fill every house and apartment in the US to a depth of 12 inches:

Even if we assume that every soda is made from an entirely new batch of water, and doesn't include any water from previous sodas, it still represents a tiny fraction of the world's fresh water, and an even tinier fraction of the total volume of the oceans.

What if we expand the question to cover all drinking water? What percentage of water molecules have been drunk[6]Drank? Drinked? Drankéd? by someone at some point?

Humans have been around for a few hundred thousand years, and the total number of humans who have ever lived is usually estimated to be around 110 billion. The question of how much water we should drink per day is the subject of furious debate—the "8 glasses" thing seems to be a myth—but the amount of water we actually drink per day seems to be about a liter.[7]EPA, Estimated Per Capita Water Ingestion and Body Weight in the United States–An Update (2004) This amount varies a little depending on climate, but if we assume the average historical human drank a liter of water per day for 40 years,[8]This is a rough ballpark estimate; it's lower than the 70 or 80 years you might expect because we have to account for the changing human lifespans throughout history and the decreased water consumption by children. then our species has drunk about 100 trillion liters of water in total.

100 trillion liters (100 km3) is still very little compared to even the volume of all rivers (1,200 km3). This means that, since our drinking water passes through the water cycle and is quickly diluted by rivers and oceans, the majority of the water molecules we drink have never been drunk by any other human.[9]On the other hand, it's just about guaranteed that some of the water molecules in any mouthful have been drunk by someone else.

But we're just one species.

Dinosaurs, as a taxonomic group, have been around[10]They're still around! for 230 million years, but their heyday was the mid-to-late Jurassic period. In this period, there were probably around 5 trillion kilograms of dinosaur alive at any given time.[11]Jerzy Trammer, "Differences in global biomass and energy use between dinosaurs and mammals", Acta Geologica Polonica, Vol. 61 (2011), No. 2, pp. 125–132 (Today, there are probably only a few hundred billion kilograms of living dinosaur,[12]I haven't been able to find an estimate for total global bird biomass, but I'll take any chance to cite my favorite journal article ever: "How Many Birds Are There?", by Kevin J. Gaston and Tim M. Blackburn, which estimates the total number at about 300 billion. A later paper lowered the estimate to about 80 billion, so unless the average bird weighs 140 lbs, there is far less dinosaur in the world today than in the Jurassic. 50 billion of it chicken).

If we assume Jurassic dinosaur water requirements were similar to mammal ones,[13]Animal weights and their food and water requirements then this suggests dinosaurs drank something like 1022 or 1023 liters of water during the Mesozoic era—more than the total volume of the oceans (1021 liters).

The average "residence time" of water in the oceans—the amount of time a water molecule spends there before moving into another part of the water cycle—is about 3,000 years,[14]K. L. Schulz, Water in the Biosphere and no part of the water cycle traps water for more than a few hundred thousand years. This means we can assume that, over timescales of millions of years, Earth's water is thoroughly mixed—and dinosaurs had plenty of time to drink it all many times over.

This means that while the chances are that most of the water in your soda has never been in another soda, almost all of it has been drunk by at least one dinosaur.