blaghed

where I collect the interesting things I read elsewhere

San Francisco makes Batkid's wish come true

Batkid is five-year-old Miles Scott of northern California. For the past three years, Miles has suffered from leukemia. Now in remission, his greatest wish is to be Batman — and the Make-a-Wish Foundation promised to make that dream come true.

Have no idea if this made the news in Portugal but it should have. Even Obama played his part. Stunning.

A beautiful design and no jerks: how Tumblr did it

Tools for a better internet:

What Tumblr did instead was to design a more thoughtful form of community engagement by requiring people to repost content in its original context rather than simply piping in an anonymous comment. According to Karp, this meant that people who had “put themselves out there” through a guitar performance or a poem were more likely to attract a sympathetic, encouraging community rather than trolls.

He added that comments are “a second class feature” because a commentator is subsumed to a tiny text stream below the main piece of content. To foster engagement, Tumblr is instead choosing options like “Fan mail” which aspire to create more careful, thoughtful and elegant interactions.

The ultimate result, said Karp, is an eco-system in which creators love curators who share their work and curators who love the creators who help them build a sense of identity.

Tang was Not Invented for the Space Program

"There was a particular component of the Gemini life support-system module which produced H2O (water) among other things. This was a byproduct of a recurring chemical reaction of one of the mechanical devices on the life-support module. The astronauts would use this water to drink during their space flight. The problem was that the astronauts did not like the taste of the water because of some of the byproducts produced, which were not harmful of course. So, they added Tang to make the water taste better."

This usage, particularly during the Gemini program, greatly contributed to the previously unpopular drink mix becoming a huge hit. Because most people were introduced to Tang for the first time through the space program, this lead to the misconception that it was invented for that program, rather than just a generally available product that NASA decided to use, as it was.

historical-nonfiction:

Jesus’ original name is Yeshua. It was mistranslated into Greek as Iesus, and on top of that the “e” and “s” have been mispronounced in English since Christianity’s introduction. Leading to today’s pronunciation that is very far removed from the Hebrew name he would have answered to.

(Source: jesusisajew.org)

You can increase your intelligence: 5 ways to maximize your cognitive potential

For once, I read an article about intelligence that doesn’t sound like bogus:

There is only one trait from the Five Factor Model of personality (Acronym: OCEAN, or Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism) that correlates with IQ, and it is the trait of Openness to new experience. People who rate high on Openness are constantly seeking new information, new activities to engage in, new things to learn—new experiences in general.
When you seek novelty, several things are going on. First of all, you are creating new synaptic connections with every new activity you engage in. These connections build on each other, increasing your neural activity, creating more connections to build on other connections—learning is taking place.

It goes on about 5 principles that will improve one’s intelligence. I’m always a little bit skeptical but the thing is, if you follow them you can only get better and more knowledgeable. There’s no downside - and this reminds of a cartoon about global warming:

historical-nonfiction:

When cereal was first invented, the only type was corn flakes. It was very popular, with over a hundred brands selling essentially the same product. So how did they stand out from the crowd? The focus quickly became decorating the box, not the product. Some tried using fancy adjectives, creating names like University Brand Daintily Crisped Flaked Corn. Others competed to appear the healthiest. But the answer came from a brand called simply Force. Its mascot, Sunny Jim, was a strutting, top-hatted gentleman who became so popular in newspapers and magazines that other cereal makers rushed to create their own characters to sell their corn flakes. Thus the cereal industry commandment was created: every box needs a mascot.

Sometimes, the product itself isn’t the most important thing.

historical-nonfiction:

When cereal was first invented, the only type was corn flakes. It was very popular, with over a hundred brands selling essentially the same product. So how did they stand out from the crowd? The focus quickly became decorating the box, not the product. Some tried using fancy adjectives, creating names like University Brand Daintily Crisped Flaked Corn. Others competed to appear the healthiest. But the answer came from a brand called simply Force. Its mascot, Sunny Jim, was a strutting, top-hatted gentleman who became so popular in newspapers and magazines that other cereal makers rushed to create their own characters to sell their corn flakes. Thus the cereal industry commandment was created: every box needs a mascot.

Sometimes, the product itself isn’t the most important thing.

(Source: neatorama.com)

A Stunning Tribute to Hong Kong's Super-Packed Cemeteries

Wow

atlasobscura:

Fort Graça - Elves, Portugal

Lest anyone think that the Pentagon had a monopoly on geometry-themed military bases, we present Portugal’s Fort of Graça, whose unique star shape helped the base defend its country for over a hundred years.

Built between 1763 and 1792 during the Portuguese War of Independence, the fort features no less than three distinct layers of defense, each separated by walls and ditches. The striking earthwork outer wall is shaped like a huge star, although whether this was a strategic or aesthetic choice is unclear. Inside the outer wall is the thick, inner fortification, shaped like a square with huge, raised diamonds of land at each corner. Smaller buildings were constructed on top of the wide corner pieces. In the center of the fort is the main structure, known as the Governor’s House, which rises above the rest of the base. The walls and buildings are decorated with elaborate stonework designs giving the entire complex a feeling of officious luxury.

As the strategic importance of the fort decreased over the years, the base was demilitarized and left in the hands of Portugal’s Ministry of Defense who left the site to moulder. Thankfully the Fort of Graça was recently recognized by both the World Monuments Fund and UNESCO as a site to protect. In the end, the greatest enemy this fort has ever seen might be apathy.

Tour Fort of Graça on Atlas Obscura…

Consider that you can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. As you read this, you are traveling at 220 km/sec across the galaxy. 90% of the cells in your body carry their own microbial DNA and are not “you.” The atoms in your body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you were born with, but they all originated in the belly of a star. Human beings have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato.

The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes; to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don’t just look at a rainbow, you create it. This is pretty amazing, especially considering that all the beautiful colors you see represent less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum.

—   NASA Lunar Science Institute, We Originated in the Belly of a Star (2012)

(Source: thinksquad, via grumplr)