30 May 2010

Recent posts at Neatorama

"Rush Hour in Utrecht" is a two-minute video showing rush hour in a city where people commute by bicycle.   The intersection shown has 18,000 bicycles crossing it each day.

The next video shows an unusual effect - a ball rolls down a ramp more slowly than you would expect.  The reason is explained in the video, and this is something you can make at home.

An unusual book from the 18th century opens up to become a seat fitting over a chamber pot.

Given the choice, bees prefer flowers whose nectar contains caffeine or nicotine.  The former occurs naturally in some plants.

The Lewis Chessmen are "the most precious archaeological treasures ever discovered in Scotland. It is believed they were made in Trondheim, Norway, in the late 12th century and dug from the sands of Lewis’s Atlantic coast in 1831."

The oak trees of Britain are threatened by a blight.  Simon Schama writes an interesting essay on the role of the oak in the history of England (linked at the link).

America's National Monuments get many fewer visitors and less vehicular traffic than the more-well-known National Parks.  Here's a list of the 20 least-visited National Monuments.

Of the dozen or so pieces listed here, I thought this one was rather ordinary, but curiously it got more comments than all the others put together.  It's a two-minute video about the Bechdel Test, which is one (of many) ways to evaluate the roles of men and women in movies.  Some people get very worked up over topics like this.

A young man is walking across the United States (passing through Minnesota this week, which is why I found out about him).  Not a big deal, not sponsored by anyone.  But he is maintaining a blog while walking, and it's quite interesting, with photos of interesting scenery (he sees a lot of mailboxes walking on rural roads for a thousand miles...), and of nice people who have been kind to him in his adventure.

Here's a tumblr blog entirely about Stephen Fry.

If you've ever had a Micro course or worked with bacteria, you will experience a moment of recognition when you see Petri Dish Soap.

Stem cell technology is being applied to dental restoration work, with the creation of "scaffolds" which are inserted into your mouth; stem cells are drawn to the scaffold, and a new tooth grows where you lost the old one.  Work in progress.

Probably every army in recorded history has left some graffiti behind.  This set of photos shows some of the graffiti in Berlin after the allies defeated Hitler.

An essay at The Telegraph has photos of the palettes used by famous artists (Renoir, Seurat, Degas, Delacroix (above), Moreau, Gauguin, and Van Gogh).  Each a little different, reflecting I suppose the idiosyncracies of the users.

The photos are unrelated - butterflies photographed in our back yard this morning.  On top, a Red-spotted Purple resting on an oak leaf; its larva feed on all sorts of trees (cherry, willow, aspen, poplar, birch, juneberry, basswood, hawthorn), so I don't expect to find eggs or caterpillars.  Below that, one of the numerous types of "grass skippers" - Peck's Skipper - sitting on recently-sprouted carrots in the butterfly garden.


  1. "The former occurs naturally in some plants." I believe the latter does as well. It is a great example of plant chemistry being the blessing and curse that it is.

    As far as the unvisited national monument go... SHHHHHH. They are secretly and quietly amazing! I have been to all of the NM ones listed and El Morro and the Gila Dwellings are some of my favorites. I am perplexed that they failed to mention El Malpais (shhhhhhh!) which is one of the most amazing sites in New Mexico that no one ever seems to go to. There are lava tubes with year round ice for crying out loud. Also, not for the faint of heart or unadventurous, The Ah-shi-sle-pah (or Bisti or De-Na-Zin) which are actually wilderness areas not Nat. Monutments.

  2. For local equivalents, I recommend going to your local states Department of Natural Resources and looking for "State natural areas." SNAs are undeveloped without groomed trails, so not many of the public will go there, but they harbor some of the best nature in your region.

  3. The Telegraph link to the artists palettes is broken... would love to see them, though.

  4. Nathan - it wasn't broken, just copied-and-pasted wrong by me. Fixed now; try again.

    Tx for the heads-up.



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