Wanted, bold pioneers to explore Mars

Wednesday, 22 June, 2016

Even if you don’t want to go there yourself – it’s cold, you’d need to live underground, mail can takes years to get through, and so on – you can help with the effort to explore Mars, by pinning up these promotional posters, encouraging others to emigrate to the red planet.

Via Hypnophant.

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Could raising chickens help break the chains of poverty?

Wednesday, 22 June, 2016

Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, thinks raising chickens may help people in developing nations, who are living in extreme poverty, or on two dollars, or less, a day. The outlay is low, and the chickens would soon pay for themselves through the of sales of eggs, and their off-spring.

They are easy and inexpensive to take care of. Many breeds can eat whatever they find on the ground (although it’s better if you can feed them, because they’ll grow faster). Hens need some kind of shelter where they can nest, and as your flock grows, you might want some wood and wire to make a coop. Finally, chickens need a few vaccines. The one that prevents the deadly Newcastle disease costs less than 20 cents.

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A bad day in space, but a good day for sci-fi film fans

Tuesday, 21 June, 2016

Space Story: A Bad Day, by Luc Bergeron, a compilation of scenes from numerous sci-fi films, cut together to tell a new story. I wonder if a sequel is on the way?

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A short film written by Benjamin, an automatic screenwriter

Tuesday, 21 June, 2016

Just how smart are artificially intelligent entities? Clever enough to write a screenplay, a good screenplay? Benjamin (I want a URL with the same top-level domain), who is said to be the world’s first automatic screenwriter, recently wrote the script for Sunspring, a short sci-fi film. The premise is intriguing, that much is for sure, but take a look, and see what you think.

It’s about three people living in a weird future, possibly on a space station, probably in a love triangle. You know it’s the future because H (played with neurotic gravity by Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch) is wearing a shiny gold jacket, H2 (Elisabeth Gray) is playing with computers, and C (Humphrey Ker) announces that he has to “go to the skull” before sticking his face into a bunch of green lights.

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What a tangled web we weave when first we begin to compose music

Tuesday, 21 June, 2016

The Musicmap, by Belgian architect Kwinten Crauwels, might look pretty straightforward when it loads in your browser, but zoom in. What started out as a dozen or so music genres, expands into over two hundred and thirty sub-genres, that encompasses almost one hundred and fifty years of pop music history.

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There may be a word for that emotion you don’t quite understand

Tuesday, 21 June, 2016

Do we have a mere handful of emotions, or are we possessed of many more? I read awhile back that University of Glasgow researchers had determined we may only have four, being happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted.

This list of extremely precise words for emotions we didn’t know we had, compiled by Melissa Dahl, writing for the New York Magazine, increases the count by another ten. Mind you, not all of these are exactly day to day emotions:

Kaukokaipuu: People of, say, Irish descent who have never actually been to the country of their ancestry may still experience an unexpected ache for it, as if they miss it – a strange, contradictory sort of feeling, as you can’t really miss someplace you’ve never been.

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You are awake. For that matter, am I awake?

Monday, 20 June, 2016

You are awake, a short film by Pedro MartÍn-Calero Medrano. An illness, that eludes detection by medical professionals, leaves victims with no memory of how long they’ve been asleep, or how they came to be in the place where they eventually awoke. Is this a nightmare, or a glimpse of a dystopian near-future that awaits us?

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The beehive bed, far more comfortable than a bed of nails it seems

Monday, 20 June, 2016

To sleep on a bed of nails is one thing, but how about a bed of bees, as in honey bees? The Bee Bed allows you to sleep atop two bee hives, that you are nonetheless isolated from, and rock off to sleep, I guess, to the warmth of the colony, and the smell of honey in production. I might put that on the list of things to try once, and once only.

I call it Bed-and-Bees or B&B and it is a long horizontal hive where you are separated from the bees by thin planks and can bathe in their warmth and vibration and smells without any danger of being stung.

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Since I left you, The Avalanches have released a new track, Colours

Monday, 20 June, 2016

Frankie Sinatra was the first single from The Avalanches to be released in the best part of sixteen years, which they’ve followed up with Colours. This is a departure from the norm, in that the track is said to contain no samples, which is not the usual modus operandi of the Avalanches.

I don’t know about you, but I’m still undecided about their new music. I hate to be one of those, your-old-stuff-is-better-than-your-new-stuff people, but neither of these new tracks has the… energy of their earlier work. Still, let’s wait and see what they come out with next.

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Will deliberate practice make you an expert at anything?

Monday, 20 June, 2016

You can become expert at anything, according to Florida based psychology professor Anders Ericsson, it’s all a matter of practicing some deliberate practice.

In general, according to Ericsson, deliberate practice involves stepping outside your comfort zone and trying activities beyond your current abilities. While repeating a skill you’ve already mastered might be satisfying, it’s not enough to help you get better. Moreover, simply wanting to improve isn’t enough – people also need well-defined goals and the help of a teacher who makes a plan for achieving them.

It’s not a short cut by any means, and the notion is disputed by other psychologists, who think that more than practice alone is required to become expert at something.

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