How tennis balls are made, a short film by Benedict Redgrove

Friday, 22 July, 2016

Watch a batch of tennis balls come into being, at the Wilson Factory in Thailand, in this short film by British filmmaker and photographer, Benedict Redgrove.

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Are you looking forward to eternal life in the digital afterlife?

Friday, 22 July, 2016

We may live forever more in a digital afterlife. It’s a notion we hear a lot about, and wouldn’t it be something to know, and interact with, our descendants living centuries in the future? But is it really possible? Could we upload our brains, so to speak, into some hard drive, and live, fully conscious, as a kind of digital avatar of our once corporeal selves?

You could have the same afterlife for yourself in any simulated environment you like. But even if that kind of technology is possible, and even if that digital entity thought of itself as existing in continuity with your previous self, would you really be the same person? As a neuroscientist, my interest lies mainly in a more practical question: is it even technically possible to duplicate yourself in a computer program? The short answer is: probably, but not for a while.

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Not everybody’s succeeding for the weekend, how to join them

Friday, 22 July, 2016

Since it’s almost the weekend, I’m wondering what I can do to lower my game. As it happens, there is rather a lot. All I have to do is take a leaf or two from the book of an unsuccessful person. And if you can’t make a success of your weekend, what can you make a success of?

Here are a few suggestions for stuffing up the weekend, based on what the unsuccessful do:

  • They don’t have a plan
  • They let technology take over
  • They don’t enjoy themselves
  • They sleep the entire time
  • They laze around and regret it

If that’s not enough, find more ideas here.

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How rectangular in shape is your country?

Friday, 22 July, 2016

How rectangular in shape is the country you live in? What is the most rectangular nation in the world? All these questions, and more, are answered by Australian geostatistician, David Barry.

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The Evolution of the Joker, a short documentary

Thursday, 21 July, 2016

The Evolution of the Joker, a short documentary that examines the role of Batman’s nemesis, the Joker, and how actors who have portrayed him – including Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, and Mark Hamill, who voiced the super-villain in animations and video games for years – have played a part in developing his character.

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How much eye contact is too much eye contact?

Thursday, 21 July, 2016

3.3 seconds, that’s the maximum amount of time you should make eye contact with someone you’ve just met, elsewise you run the risk of making them feel uncomfortable, or put off.

Eyes meeting can lead to moments of raw emotions and autonomic physiological responses. But any deviation of what is considered normal can signal a problem: Short eye contact may lead people to perceive someone as less confident and untrustworthy. Avoiding it altogether has been suggested to be a symptom of autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. A long gaze, on the other hand, can easily make both parties uncomfortable.

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Gravity powered lamps, lighting up our off-grid communities

Thursday, 21 July, 2016

Flick the switch, and there be light. It’s probably something we take so much for granted, that we don’t even think about. For people living in off-grid communities though, such as in sub-Saharan Africa, lighting a home is far from simple, or cost-effective for that matter. And how long do you think you might tolerate living with a kerosene lamp?

Enter London based designer, Jim Reeves, and the GravityLight, a lamp that shines light for twenty-five minutes, thanks to a weight assisted power generator.

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Is that a funeral for a crow, or is it a post mortem?

Thursday, 21 July, 2016

After a crow shuffles off this mortal coil, its friends and relatives can often be seen gathering about it, in a funeral like manner. While it may look like the corvids are holding some sort of memorial service, it’s more likely they are trying to determine the cause of death, in the hope of avoiding the same fate themselves.

Calling to each other, gathering around, and paying special attention to a fallen comrade is common among the highly intelligent corvids, a group of birds that includes crows, jays, magpies, and ravens, says Kaeli Swift, a Ph.D student in environmental science at the University of Washington. But it doesn’t necessarily mean the birds are mourning for their lost buddy. Rather, they’re likely trying to find out if there’s a threat where the death occurred, so they can avoid it in the future.

Fascinating.

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Do you remember the days of the old roller-skating rinks?

Wednesday, 20 July, 2016

Remember the days of the old roller-skating rinks? Anyone? If you are feeling nostalgic though, Cascade takes a look at the rink, of the same name, in the US city of Atlanta.

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The smart streets of the city were made for walking, not driving

Wednesday, 20 July, 2016

Could it be so? Urban centres that are easier to walk around, or walkable, are more likely to be inhabited by people who are university educated, and well off?

That’s not all: Education levels aren’t just higher in walkable cities. GDP is, too. The gap between the highest and lowest urban metros by GDP in the study is a chasm of 49%, which Leinberger calls a “first and second world gap. This is serious stuff.”

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