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25 Apr 00:38

Water Plants with Club Soda to Make Them Grow Faster and Healthier

by Melanie Pinola

Water Plants with Club Soda to Make Them Grow Faster and Healthier

Whether you've got a green thumb or not, you probably want your houseplants to thrive. Besides fixing the reasons they might be droopy, try watering them with club soda to make your plants grow beautifully.

The reason why club soda is better than plain water for plants is it contains phosphate and other nutrients that enrich the soil and promote growth. In one study done at University of Colorado Boulder, researchers found that plants given carbonated water had shoots that grew 170% of their original height, compared to just 67% for plants given tap water. The soda-fed plants also developed a healthier shade of green.

As Gardening Know How points out, however, you probably don't want to feed your plants regular soda (like Coca Cola), because of all the sugar.

Is Soda Pop a Fertilizer? Information About Pouring Soda on Plants | Gardening Know How

Photo by holidayhanson.

27 Feb 05:29

Why you should always order the largest pizza in one graphic

by Jesus Diaz on Sploid, shared by Eric Limer to Gizmodo

Why you should always order the largest pizza in one graphic

This is why I love data and data visualization: The larger the pizza, the cheapest the price per square inch is. Get the largest size, eat the rest at room temperature the next day.


24 Feb 03:08

Animated Photo Collages by Qi Wei Fong Shimmer to Life as Time Passes

by Christopher Jobson

Animated Photo Collages by Qi Wei Fong Shimmer to Life as Time Passes landscapes gifs China
Glassy Sunset, 2013

Animated Photo Collages by Qi Wei Fong Shimmer to Life as Time Passes landscapes gifs China
Tanah Lot Sunset, 2013

Animated Photo Collages by Qi Wei Fong Shimmer to Life as Time Passes landscapes gifs China
Shanghai Freeway, 2014

Animated Photo Collages by Qi Wei Fong Shimmer to Life as Time Passes landscapes gifs China
Chinatown Sunset, 2013

Several months ago we featured a photographic series called Time is a Dimension by artist Qi Wei Fong that depicted layered collages of landscapes and cityscapes photographed over a 2-4 hour period. Fong has since taken the project a step further by animating the images in this new series called Time in Motion. The new photos, shot in locations around China, Indonesia, and Bali show the change in light at sunrise or sunset through angular rays and concentric circles that shimmer as time passes. You can see more from the series on his website.

23 Sep 12:13

China is after our inventions? Who are we kidding?

by John Naughton

The idea that the Chinese are incapable of producing anything for themselves is an age-old racist argument

Some things never change. For as long as I can remember, people in the west have been paranoid about the orient – and about China in particular. I grew up in an ultra-devout Catholic household in rural Ireland and I remember my mother being petrified by what people then called "the yellow peril", by which they meant the supposed threat to western civilisation posed by the Chinese communist regime.

This paranoia was not confined to my mother, incidentally. It was shared by most postwar US administrations. It led Harry Truman to go to war in Korea; and, decades later, to the Kennedy and Johnson administrations becoming embroiled in the jungles of South Vietnam. And although a kind of unlikely rapprochement was engineered by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in 1972, profound suspicion of China endures to the present day.

It is widely believed, or at any rate confidently asserted by the US, for example, that the Chinese government is the most persistent abuser of cyberspace. (A bit rich, that, coming from the home of the National Security Agency, but we will let that pass.) Special units of the People's Liberation Army, operating from buildings that have been identified by western analysts, spend every waking hour hacking into the servers of American hi-tech companies and government organisations. And this abusive hacking, so the Cassandras maintain, is intensely purposeful: its aim is to steal industrial secrets (intellectual property) from the west so that they may be used to give Chinese companies a market advantage.

"In the post-information age," writes Mark Anderson, one of the fiercest critics of China's activities in this sphere, "the global economy is driven by technology and IP is its primary asset class. Wealth is the result of invention and those individuals, companies or countries desiring wealth must obtain it by either inventing or stealing those inventions. Nations in this new information economy find themselves in one of two businesses: robbing others' "information banks" or protecting their own. A successful IP theft or protection strategy can mean jobs lost and gained, middle classes destroyed and created and military power shifted."

Now just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that they aren't out to get you. It's conceivable that Mr Anderson's apocalyptic visions are based on a solid foundation. It's also true that contemporary China does not have the rule of law as we would understand it in the west, which means that it's pretty difficult to mount prosecutions for infringement of intellectual property. But even allowing for all that, two things about the current hysteria about China bother me.

The first is that it has echoes of earlier, semi-racist panics. The implicit assumption is that these oriental types are incapable of inventing stuff themselves, so in order to make economic progress they have to rip off the inventions of our clever chaps. They can't create, in other words, so they have to copy. Readers with long memories will recall that once upon a time we in the west used to say such things about the Japanese. Nikon and Canon just made inferior copies of German Leicas and Rolleiflexes. Sony just made knock-off copies of American transistor radios. And of course Datsun and Toyota cars were rust-bucket jokes.

Well, guess what? It turned out that the joke was on us. Leica very nearly went under. Rolleiflex morphed into a niche manufacturer of beautiful, expensive analogue cameras. Nikon and Canon learned how to make astonishingly good cameras and lenses and now dominate the world market. Sony became a company that for several decades was as revered for elegant design as Apple is today. And Toyota taught the rest of the world how cars should be manufactured. So much for occidental superiority.

And that highlights the other puzzling aspect of the assumption that the only way the Chinese can get on is by stealing from us. One of the most striking aspects of the engineering and science departments of elite British and American universities is the astonishing numbers of Chinese students studying in them for postgraduate degrees. I've met quite a few of these students in the course of my day job. They are uniformly hard working and many are very smart indeed. Most plan to return home after they've obtained their degrees or completed their post-doctoral research. And anybody who thinks that they are intellectually inferior to their homegrown counterparts is not paying attention.

It's possible, of course, that when these migrants return home their creativity will be stifled in some way. They may find it difficult to get venture capital, for example. Or the dead hand of local communist officialdom may squash their entrepreneurialism. But of one thing I am sure: if China doesn't become a technological innovator, it won't be for lack of talent. There may come a time when we will need to steal from them. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

26 Aug 03:58

Learn about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the Google Cultural Institute

by Emily Wood
This August marks the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. Working together with the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, we’ve launched seven new online exhibits on the Google Cultural Institute that help tell the story of the two cities and their tragic fate.

Explore four collections from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum that illustrate the bombing from different perspectives: a pocketwatch stopped at the exact time of the detonation, diaries of young women cut off abruptly on August 6, and panoramic photos of the hauntingly barren city center days after. While most of the materials document the harrowing devastation of the bomb and its aftermath, the gallery “Recalling the Lost Neighborhoods” helps archive the old Hiroshima that vanished off the map.
Pocketwatch showing 8:15, the time of the atomic bomb drop (from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum)

The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum meanwhile curated photos, videos, and drawings in three exhibitions. One collection focuses on the famed Urakami Cathedral—the largest cathedral in East Asia where 15,000 Japanese Catholics once worshipped. The church completely collapsed after the bombing, but thanks to a post-war reconstruction effort, the Urakami Cathedral now stands triumphant as a symbol of the city’s rebirth.
Urakami Cathedral exhibition (from the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum)

Speaking at an unveiling ceremony for the exhibits in Hiroshima today, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said, “Through the Google Cultural Institute exhibitions, we hope that people around the world would learn about the terrible experiences of the Hibakusha, or A-bomb survivors, and wish for peace.”

The Cultural Institute was created to help preserve the world's history and heritage. Given the average age of the Hibakusha is now past 78, we're honored that our digital exhibit can help keep the memories from both cities alive for the future.

Posted by Toru Kawamura, New Business Development Senior Manager, Google Japan
10 Jul 16:23


by Elise
Panache on Simply Recipes

Hello my friends, you are just going to have to trust me on this one. The first time I had a panaché (pan nah SHAY), a popular French drink that is simply a combination of a light beer and a citrusy soda like 7-Up, it was in Orlando at Disney World, on a typically hot May afternoon. My friends and I had been wandering the park for hours. My legs were tired. I was tired. If I had been 3 years old I would have been on the verge of meltdown requiring a nap or time-out. My dear French sweetheart found us a table in the shade and ventured off, returning with a platter of glasses filled with ice, a few beers, and a few cans of 7-Up. Now, if the thought of mixing 7-Up with beer makes your head want to explode, you’re not alone. But we were tired, our resistance down. We had a taste and with it, every reservation vanished. I can now tell you that on a hot day, there is no better drink in the world.

Continue reading "Panaché" »

27 Jun 03:52

Council of 300

'And hypnotize someone into thinking they've uploaded it and passed it around.' 'But then won't the uploader get suspicious that it pauses at 301+ for a while? Why don't we just forge the number entirel--' ::BLAM:: 'The Council of 299 is adjourned.'
27 Jun 03:52

Ice Sheets

Data adapted from 'The Laurentide and Innuitian ice sheets during the Last Glacial Maximum' by A.S. Dyke et. al., which was way better than the sequels 'The Laurentide and Innuitian ice sheets during the Last Glacial Maximum: The Meltdown' and 'The Laurentide and Innuitian ice sheets during the Last Glacial Maximum: Continental Drift'.
15 May 11:13

Hell Yes! You Can Gchat in Outlook Soon

by Kyle Wagner

Here's some good, good news. Microsoft is adding Google Talk (which all of you just call Gchat) support to Meaning, you can use Google's chat service right through Microsoft's beautiful new(ish) webmail page. Awesome.



14 May 12:37

SafeIP Is Perfect for Location-Restricted Media or Private Browsing

by Alan Henry

Windows: If you want access to streaming media restricted by your location, web sites that display differently depending on where you are, or just a little privacy, SafeIP can help. The utility lets you select where your IP address will appear to be located, and can even rotate them regularly if privacy is your goal.

SafeIP has IP addresses in ten locations, including multiple servers in the US and the UK, and a handful of locations in places like Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Canada, Austria, Poland, Italy, Germany, and France. You can select any one you choose to have your traffic routed through their servers so any site you visit or app you open thinks you're in that location instead of where you are. SafeIP even lets you change your IP without disconnecting and reverting to your original one first, and can be told to run at startup, or automatically change your IP on a schedule you set (the default is every 10 minutes).

By default, SafeIP works as a proxy—there is an option to encrypt your traffic in the settings, the way a VPN would, but it's not on by default. Make note: SafeIP is built for private browsing and getting around location restrictions, not security.

The app boasts some enhanced features like malware protection and ad blocking (although those features really just try to block items via your HOSTS file; it's not worth enabling when you have better options available). While the app is free, there is a "Pro" version ($30) that adds Wi-Fi protection (much like what Disconnect already does), and some other features we don't really think are worth the cash. If the app sounds interesting, stick to the free version. You can grab it at the link below.

SafeIP | via Addictive Tips

11 Apr 05:32

Make Your To-Do List More Doable with the 1-3-5 Rule

by Melanie Pinola

Make Your To-Do List More Doable with the 1-3-5 RuleAll too often, our to-do lists fail us. They're too long and unreasonable. You don't have to completely ditch the to-do list, though, and can actually feel more productive if you implement a priority rule for your tasks, such as the 1-3-5 rule.

On any given day, plan to accomplish one big thing, three medium things, and five small things. This limits your to-do list to nine items, and keeps the hundreds of other things you might have in a to-do list app from haunting you.

This is just a framework, similar to the 3 + 2 rule we've mentioned before (3 big things and 2 small things). It has the same benefits of focusing you on your priority projects, and the 1-3-5 rule may be a little more doable for you, depending on your needs. (Of course, both of these are flexible, so you could make up your own 1-2-3 rule or whatever works for you).

The Daily Muse even has a handy downloadable template for planning your tasks day-to-day with this system.

A Better To-Do List: The 1-3-5 Rule | The Daily Muse

11 Apr 05:30

How to Disable Chrome’s Annoying New Right-Click Menu Style

by Alan Henry

How to Disable Chrome’s Annoying New Right-Click Menu Style If you've updated Chrome recently, you may have noticed that context menus—the ones you see when you right-click anything—have changed. Instead of being just like any other right-click menu, they're now stylized with white backgrounds and smaller text in the center. Personally, I hate them. If you hate them too, here's how to get the old menus back.

The new menus only appear in Chrome for Windows, and only then in beta, dev, and Canary. You'll need to add a flag to the shortcut you use to launch Chrome to get the old menus back:

  1. Right-click your Google Chrome shortcut (if it's in the taskbar, right-click the icon, then right-click "Google Chrome" in the popup menu).
  2. Select "Properties."
  3. Click the "Shortcut" tab if it's not already highlighted.
  4. In the "Target" field, add this to the end of whatever's already there (with two hyphens before "disable"):


  5. Click Apply, then OK.

That's all there is to it. Now, whenever you launch Chrome from that shortcut, you'll see the old right-click menu style. Yes, "hate" is a strong word (and I obviously don't mean it), but I certainly don't think the look of the right-click menu is something that needed to be changed, and I preferred the old look better. Thankfully, this flag fixes the "improvement," at least until Google removes the flag entirely.

Don't like Chrome's New Menus? Here is how to Disable Them | Techdows

25 Mar 13:30

Neil Gaiman returns to Marvel, and he's bringing a Spawn character with him?!

by Rob Bricken

The New York Times has just announced that very famous comic book writer Neil Gaiman is returning to Marvel, and that's not even the weird part. The weird part is that he's bringing Angela, a character he created for Todd McFarlane's Spawn over at Image Comics with him... for some reason.


25 Mar 13:25

Could you drink beer instead of water and still survive?

by Robert T. Gonzalez

Beer. It is one of the most awesome things in life. This leads to a couple of important questions. One: how long can you survive on beer alone? Two: to what extent is beer a suitable replacement for water?


25 Mar 13:25

Morgan Freeman, in a CERN hard hat, inside the Large Hadron Collider

by Robert T. Gonzalez

Picture pretty much does what it says on the tin. Yes, it's real, and it is excellent – arguably the best (only?) shot of Freeman and a tunnel since Shawshank.


25 Mar 13:18

Download the first episode of the BBC's Neverwhere radio drama

by Lauren Davis

The first episode of BBC Radio 4's audio production of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere is up and available for free download. Listen to James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, Johnny Vegas, and Bernard Cribbins inhabit the latest incarnation of Gaiman's magical London Below.


25 Mar 13:17

This gory, goofy animation captures what it's like to read Game of Thrones

by Lauren Davis

George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire is filled with rich familial histories, but sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of all those minor characters, especially when they keep dying on you. This video (NSFW for cartoon sex) pays mocking tribute to those doomed characters and all the details we learn about them.


25 Mar 13:17

Watch four hours of Aurora Borealis compressed into three stunning minutes

by Lauren Davis

Photographer Göran Strand used 2464 raw images taken with his all-sky camera to create this gorgeous time-lapse video. The swirling crystal ball images show the view from Östersund, Sweden, when a when a Coronal Mass Ejection hit Earth’s magnetic field.