“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.” — John Kenneth Galbraith
Studio Brussels asked astronomers at Belgium's MIRA Public Observatory to select stars that would make a fitting asterism in memory of David Bowie. (Of course, only the International Astronomical Union can officially name stars and other astronomical objects, and it's almost always with a number.)
(via The Guardian)
The Slow Mo Guys aimed their high-speed video camera at a spinning drill bit covered in paint. The result was pretty.
Trying to imagine the scope of the cosmos is nearly impossible, but musician and artist Pablo Carlos Budassi decided to make a visual attempt by cramming the entire known universe into a single image. Using scores of satellite images and photos snapped from NASA’s rovers, he painstakingly pieced together many of the prominent features of the universe as observed from our solar system in the form of a logarithmic map. Logarithms are useful for understanding large numbers or distances, so in Budassi’s map each consecutive ‘ring’ around the circle represents several orders of magnitude further than the one before it.
Budassi was aided by similar (though less visually stunning) logarithmic maps produced by astronomers at Princeton back in 2005. In this map, our sun and solar system are seen in the middle, followed by the Milky Way Galaxy, another ring of nearby galaxies like Andromeda, all the way out to cosmic radiation and plasma generated by the bing bang on the furthest outskirts of the image.
The words on her tank: Боевая подруга means Fighting Girlfriend [x]
While living in Tomsk, she learned that her husband was killed fighting the forces of Nazi Germany near Kiev in August 1941. The news took two years to reach her. The news angered her extremely, and she became determined to fight the Germans in vengeance for her husband’s death
Most of the men fighting alongside Mariya just saw her as a publicity stunt and didn’t take her seriously. However, their doubts were quickly laid to rest when Mariya drove her tank straight into battle and was the first tank to breach the German lines. In doing so, she destroyed several machine gun nests and German artillery. It wasn’t long until the Germans figured out that her tank was the one they needed to really worry about.
The Germans immediately started focusing their gunfire on her medium Mariya-Vasilievna-Oktyabrskayasized tank, temporarily crippling it. Mariya didn’t sell all her worldly possessions just so she could sit around in a crippled tank. She was determined to get her vengeance. She leaped out of her tank into a hail of gunfire and started patching it back together so that she could charge even further into the enemy lines.
A month later Mariya found herself in the middle of night raid when her tank was hit by an artillery shell severing the tracks on her tank. She once again jumped out of her tank and started repairing the tracks while her gun crew provided covering fire. A few days later and a little worse for wear, she rejoined the fight.
Mariya Vasilyevna Oktyabrskaya was the first female tanker to be awarded the Hero Of The Soviet Union award; the Soviet Union’s highest award for bravery during combat.
Follow Ultrafacts for more facts
I LOVE IT
I FUCKIN LOVE IT
Ok so I know I’ve seen a few posts about the Organa-Solos passing baby Ben back and forth and spoiling him rotten while rebuilding the Republic but also consider:
Big, loud, belligerent, protective, huggable Chewbacca toting his best friend’s kid around
You know what, I’m doubling down on this. Give me a Kylo Ren who not only understands spoken Wookie but can also speak it with a passable accent because Chewbacca babysat him so much when he was bitty. Give me a confrontation between them in Episode IIX where Chewy is screaming at him and Kylo Ren just starts irately yodeling back.
YES PLEASE MAKE IT SO
Chewie has a life debt toward Han that includes Han’s family, so YES LET’S DO THIS IT IS CANON
Important reminder, happy mutants! The Elf on the Shelf, the cherubic, round-eyed toy with a faux-traditional backstory, is yet another manifestation of the surveillance state. It watches you 24/7, then reports your behavior to an old white man with unaccountable authority who judges you and manipulates you with largesse or neglect.
Laura Pinto, a technology professor:
The gaze of the elf on the child’s real world (as opposed to play world) resonates with the purpose of the panopticon, based on Jeremy Bentham’s 18th century design for a model prison… What is troubling is what The Elf on the Shelf represents and normalizes: anecdotal evidence reveals that children perform an identity that is not only for caretakers, but for an external authority (The Elf on the Shelf), similar to the dynamic between citizen and authority in the context of the surveillance state. Further to this, The Elf on the Shelf website offers teacher resources, integrating into both home and school not only the brand but also tacit acceptance of being monitored and always being on one’s best behaviour--without question.
By inviting The Elf on the Shelf simultaneously into their play-world and real lives, children are taught to accept or even seek out external observation of their actions outside of their caregivers and familial structures. Broadly speaking, The Elf on the Shelf serves functions that are aligned to the official functions of the panopticon. In doing so, it contributes to the shaping of children as governable subjects.
The Washington Post asked her if she's serious. Yes and no, obviously:
“I don’t think the elf is a conspiracy and I realize we’re talking about a toy,” Pinto told The Post. “It sounds humorous, but we argue that if a kid is okay with this bureaucratic elf spying on them in their home, it normalizes the idea of surveillance and in the future restrictions on our privacy might be more easily accepted.”
The nastiest thing about the "Elf on the Shelf" is not that it elaborates the old "Santa's watching you" thing… … but the life-overwhelming specificity with which it does it. The Elf on the Shelf's mythos controls the parameters of play, puts the observation of play expressly beyond the child's control, and defines who gets to touch what during play and who knows about it. It is a very creepy toy.
(Whether it's worse than toys that let parents secretly spy on children old enough to have a sense of privacy, or internet-connected ones that send recorded media over the internet, is another matter)
The folks over at Insignificant Fish Industries run a popular Etsy shop selling geeky merchandise like glowing arcade coin slot belt buckles. But they also just teased this wonderful Han Solo blaster flask on their website that is sure to make them overnight millionaires if they ever start selling it.
Your partner can touch you almost anywhere and you won't feel uncomfortable. A friend can touch your head, shoulders, hands, and upper back without ruffling your feathers. Your mother can touch you in the same places a friend can touch you, but she is also welcome to touch your lower back. Your uncle better not try to touch you anywhere but your arms and upper back, and a stranger can only touch your hands without causing you to be alarmed. (more…)
It's when you carry a frame and door to someone else's door, while dressed as someone who's staying at home and giving out candy; you interpose your door between you and their door, ring the bell, and when they answer, they're confronted with your door, with a PLEASE KNOCK sign. They knock, you open up, and offer them candy. Trick-airity ensues. (via Reddit)
Albuquerque police officer Jeremy Dear was ordered to wear a body-camera after many of the city's residents complained about their encounters with him. Afterward, he routinely failed to plug in the camera. His camera was not running when he shot and killed a 19-year-old girl in 2014. (more…)
A more efficient medium...
We’ve been making things awfully hard on spirits. The standard Ouija board lays out the alphabet in two simple rows, which means it’s easy for the dead to tell us about FEEDERS but terribly hard to refer to LAYAWAY, even though these words are equally long.
In the interests of better communication, Eric Iverson made a study of this for the August 2005 issue of Word Ways. Using an image of a Ouija board, he counted the number of pixels that a planchette would have to travel in order to spell out various English words. The results are dismaying: The most exhausting four-letter word, MAMA, requires fully 17 times as much travel as the simple FEED. Longer words are more consistent: The hardest 23-letter word, DISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM, requires little more work than the easiest, ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPHIC. But do dead people have that kind of stamina?
What’s the answer? Iverson experimented with different layouts and found a hexagonal grid that minimizes the average travel distance for a typical word (see the link below). And he found a checkerboard grid that’s 3 percent more efficient than that. Even rearranging the letters on a standard board to ZXVGINAROFUPQ JKWCHTESDLMYB rather than the standard alphabet increases efficiency by about a third. Now maybe we can have some better conversations.
(Eric Iverson, “Traveling Around the Ouija Board,” Word Ways 38:3 [August 2005], 174-177.)
Cats Who Immediately Regretted Their Poor Life Choices.
"Complimenting a teen is basically the same as inviting a vampire into your house." [from the comments]