There’s a lot to learn about design, here are the first 136 items

Monday, 4 April, 2016

Shane Bzdok has compiled one hundred and thirty-six snippets of information that may well leave you far more versed in the topic of design, than you were previously.

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Places you can go to (hopefully) survive the end of world

Tuesday, 1 March, 2016

Antarctica. Iceland. Guam. Denver. Cape Town. Scotland’s Isle of Lewis. While some distance from each other, they have one thing in common… they are among places to be, or to head to, should the world end. That’s distinct from the planet ending though. In that case Mars would be the best bet, at this stage, but unfortunately that’s not saying much.

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Classical composers and their curious subtleties

Thursday, 21 January, 2016

How much do you know about the best known composers of classical music? Did you know, for instance, that Ludwig Van Beethoven only made coffee that consisted of precisely sixty coffee beans? That Norwegian composer and pianist Edvard Grieg had a frog figurine as a good luck charm? Or that Antonin Dvorak, a Czech composer, was an avid trainspotter in his later years?

There’s more where that came from right here.

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That bottle of tobassco sauce on the table, three years in the making

Friday, 18 December, 2015

Tabasco sauce, there’s an old favourite, though best enjoyed in moderation maybe. I didn’t realise the production process was so manual, or drawn out however, it seems a bottle of the spicy stuff is a good three years in the making.

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The cover song killed the original recording

Thursday, 3 September, 2015

A lot of songs end up being covered, or re-recorded, by another musician, sooner or later. I imagine it’s a compliment of sorts, from one artist to another, but that may not always be the case. Most music lovers will have little trouble picking out a cover from an original, but not all the time.

For instance did you know that the 1980 single Video Killed the Radio Star, by British band The Buggles, was a cover of a song performed by Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club, in 1979? A cover of sorts anyway, as it happens Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, of The Buggles, co-wrote the song with Woolley a year or two earlier.

Well known songs by Joan Jett, Buddy Holly, and Kiss, are also among covers that many people assume to be originals.

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Never let the flame go out, on relighting an extinguished candle

Tuesday, 26 May, 2015

I have seen this party trick before… someone snuffs out a candle, and then relights it by hovering a burning match very near to, but not on, the candle’s wick. I’ve never known why that happens though. Magic, maybe?

In fact there’s no hocus pocus involved, as this ultra slow-motion video of the phenomenon goes to show, but I won’t spoil it for anyone who doesn’t yet know.

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An absence of life on Earth would mean… smaller continents

Tuesday, 28 April, 2015

If Earth were devoid of life, despite its abundance of the likes of water and oxygen, it’s possible the continents we’re familiar with may be far smaller than they are today, this largely on account of an absence of the erosion that results from the presence of plants, animals, and humans.

Plant life, for example, can root its way through rock, breaking rocks into sediment. The sediments, like milk-dunked cookies, carry liquid water in their pores, which allows more water to be recycled back into Earth’s mantle. If not enough water is present in the mantle about 100 to 200 km deep to keep things flowing, continental production decreases.

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Seen but no longer heard, Leo the MGM lion

Tuesday, 14 April, 2015

A lion named Leo has been the centrepiece of the distinctive Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logo, that features at the beginning of movies produced by the US film production and distribution company, since 1957, even though the logo itself has undergone a number of alterations in the last fifty-eight years.

While Leo had a number of lion predecessors, he must be the longest serving to date, even if the roar we now hear isn’t his anymore… an electronic version was created some time ago.

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New centuries that start on Mondays, what brilliant planning…

Monday, 6 April, 2015

If you abide by the convention that the current century began in 2001, rather than 2000, and the mathematics aside, I know there are plenty of people who don’t, then conceivably centuries will only ever start on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, not any other day of the week.

This arrangement is down to the way the Gregorian calendar was drawn up in the sixteen century. Big, heartfelt, thanks to whoever decided that Monday be one of these days though.

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Pop it in the oven for a few minutes, one way to repair laptops

Tuesday, 31 March, 2015

I’d say your mileage would vary to say the least, but in certain circumstances, placing the motherboard of your laptop computer in a heated oven, may be one way to effect certain repairs, in this case a graphics chip that would run so hot, it’d detach from the motherboard when the solder holding it in place melted.

Believe it or not, baking the laptop was actually the easy part. Successful reports from internet forums all said pretty much the same thing: set your oven to 320-350 degrees, prop the mobo up on a casserole dish (or a few carefully placed balls of aluminum foil) and cook each side for 2-4 minutes each. Allow it to cool and serve in its original chassis for best results.

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