Could you condition yourself to go without shampoo?

Monday, 18 August, 2014

While the notion of a single, global, time zone is something I could quite easily get my head around, the thought of ditching shampoo and conditioner, something that appears to make an equal amount of sense, would be another matter entirely.

Left to its own devices or washed with natural substitutes, the scalp eventually theoretically returns to its natural balance, producing enough oil to keep hair soft and smooth without the associated grease-slick. The oils produced by the scalp – notably sebum – keep the shaft of the hair clean, smooth and protected, performing the role of “shampoo and conditioner” far more effectively than the manufactured alternatives. The upshot should be healthier hair that is stronger, thicker and fuller as it is less damaged than shampooed hair.

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Politeness, a social virtue worth preserving

Monday, 18 August, 2014

It’s possible to be too polite sometimes, but I think a little more is better than not enough:

People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment. I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches.

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If we can’t go to the stars maybe they can come to us

Friday, 15 August, 2014

Even the Stars screen cap

Wandering through space without a purpose. Getting old and getting lost. That’s what interstellar space exploration might actually be like, given the time it’ll take to get anywhere… a game by Pol Clarissou.

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The argument in favour of a single, global, time zone

Friday, 15 August, 2014

Should time zones across the world be abolished, in favour of a central GMT based time system?

It would take a while to get used to, but it’s an idea worth giving some thought. If, for instance, I wanted to meet you at say 14:00 hours, being 2PM, somewhere on the east coast of Australia, on what is presently AEST, our meeting time would simply become 04:00 hours GMT, or just 04:00.

So instead of thinking in AEST times, we, and everyone else on the planet, regardless of location, would be thinking in GMT times.

If the whole world used a single GMT-based time, schedules would still vary. In general most people would sleep when it’s dark out and work when it’s light out. So at 23:00, most of London would be at home or in bed and most of Los Angeles would be at the office. But of course London’s bartenders would probably be at work while some shift workers in LA would be grabbing a nap. The difference from today is that if you were putting together a London-LA conference call at 21:00 there’d be only one possible interpretation of the proposal. A flight that leaves New York at 14:00 and lands in Paris at 20:00 is a six-hour flight, with no need to keep track of time zones. If your appointment is in El Paso at 11:30 you don’t need to remember that it’s in a different time zone than the rest of Texas.

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Putting a name to the place where grandpa took these photos

Friday, 15 August, 2014

The family of an Australian man, Stephen Clarke, who recently moved into a retirement home, are looking for help nailing down the locations of a stack of photos he took while travelling the world in decades past. Maybe you know some of the places that still haven’t been identified?

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Film money, intricately designed prop, or a counterfeit attempt?

Friday, 15 August, 2014

Obviously filmmakers want to be as accurate as possible when it comes all aspects of their production, but the use of fake money, that is meant to look real can land them, and those who create said… funny money, in hot water.

For ISS (the company who produced the money), the premise of Rush Hour 2 had become a reality – and they were penned as the bad guy. Sadly, their story is indicative of a constant dilemma faced by prop suppliers in Hollywood: the necessity to skirt the line between strict counterfeiting laws and producers’ demands for incredibly realistic money.

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The greatest space flight hacks to date

Thursday, 14 August, 2014

Photo by NASA

We all know that the Apollo 13 Moon mission was essentially one long space flight hack that returned the crew safely home, but there have been other instances of space missions going awry for one reason or another, even if the problems have not been of quite the same severity.

In April 1985, nine months before the Challenger disaster, the crew of Space Shuttle Discovery deployed the satellite Leasat-3. With the shuttle doors open, it drifted away. But within minutes it was clear that something was wrong: the satellite’s antennae had failed to deploy. Rather than abandon the $85m satellite, the crew set to work putting together a less-than-sophisticated device that could be used to poke the satellite to activate a lever on its side. Dubbed the “fly swatter”, this improvised space stick was constructed using clear plastic covers from spacecraft manuals, sticky tape and a metal pole.

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The science of the science fiction “Star Wars” films

Thursday, 14 August, 2014

US scientist Andy Howell discusses the science of the “Star Wars” films… which he actually describes as “space fantasy”. Could it be that more people might focus on the fiction, rather than the science, of sci-fi stories if they were referred to as fantasy more often?

In any event, some of the apparent science presented to us in the films isn’t too far off the mark.

If Star Wars really happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, we might be able to watch it through a telescope right now, or at some point in the future.

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Ebola, some hard facts, not hearsay

Thursday, 14 August, 2014

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is making headlines, and rightly so. But while the virus – that has a mortality rate of fifty to ninety percent – is not to be taken lightly, it’s not as if it spreads like the flu:

Let’s start with the basics: Ebola is spread only through bodily fluids from an infected person, or from objects such as needles that have been in contact with infected bodily fluids. Ebola is not spread through air, food, water, or by touching money and keyboards.

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On being the victim of a stalker

Thursday, 14 August, 2014

US novelist Helen DeWitt recounts being stalked and harassed by a neighbour on her isolated rural property. A compelling read, but definitely harrowing.

If I could finish a book in two months, before winter set in, it wasn’t absolutely insane not to make a bolt for an office job. E came over the day I arrived. I said I had come to work. He said he understood. He would not come uninvited. And immediately came drifting down the road looking for odd jobs, a loan, cigarettes, a hot shower. He brought a paraffin lamp before Hurricane Sandy. He showed me how to use my chainsaw, cut up a fallen tree, brought a splitter for the logs. He made a sawhorse for chainsaw work adapted to my height. He stayed to talk. And talk. And talk.

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