A Famous Architect Teach You How To Build The Perfect Sandcastle
July . 19 . 2015 484 Views A Famous Architect Teach You How To Build The Perfect Sandcastle

The sandcastle game is growing more competitive, and you're not getting to this guy's level with your tired shovel and bucket routine. Luckily, renowned architect Renzo Piano is here to help with a foolproof, four-step guide to building the perfect sandcastle.

In a piece for the Guardian, Piano—the starchitect behind the Shard skyscraper in London, the New York Times tower in New York, and a host of other beautiful buildings—shares the sandcastle technique he's been using all his life. "My career started when I was a child and I built my first sandcastle on the beach in Genoa, where I grew up," he writes. "Making things has always been a pleasure for me—happy hands, happy mind—and making sandcastles was my training in fantasy."


Fountains of Chain | ScienceTake | The New York Times
July . 19 . 2015 507 Views Fountains of Chain | ScienceTake | The New York Times

How to speak Australian : Abbreviate Everything
July . 19 . 2015 454 Views How to speak Australian : Abbreviate Everything

Life of the Poor in the 1500's
October . 16 . 2014 929 Views Life of the Poor in the 1500's

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & Sold to the tannery.......if you had to do this to survive you were "Piss Poor"

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot......they "didn't have a pot to piss in" & were the lowest of the low

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell . ...... . Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting Married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof... Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive... So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.

History behind ‘An apple a day’
May . 04 . 2014 1111 Views History behind ‘An apple a day’

It isn't often that I get the opportunity to list Wales as the source of a commonplace English phrase. There's a fair chance that this little maxim originated there as the earliest known example of its use in print makes that claim. The February 1866 edition of Notes and Queries magazine includes this:

"A Pembrokeshire proverb. Eat an apple on going to bed, And you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread."

A number of variants of the rhyme were in circulation around the turn of the 20th century. In 1913, Elizabeth Wright recorded a Devonian dialect version and also the first known mention of the version we use now, in Rustic Speech and Folk-lore:

"Ait a happle avore gwain to bed, An' you'll make the doctor beg his bread; or as the more popular version runs: An apple a day Keeps the doctor away."

Apples have a good claim to promote health. They contain Vitamin C, which aids the immune system, and phenols, which reduce cholesterol. They also reduce tooth decay by cleaning one's teeth and killing off bacteria. It has also been suggested by Cornell University researchers that the quercetin found in apples protects brain cells against neuro-degenerative disorders like Alzheimer's Disease.

Apples may be good for us but it wasn't their precise medicinal properties that were being exalted when this phrase was coined. In Old English the word apple was used to describe any round fruit that grew on a tree.

No Underwear in Outerspace: Star Wars Fans and Sex Appeal
December . 22 . 2013 4177 Views No Underwear in Outerspace: Star Wars Fans and Sex Appeal

George Lucas once famously told Carrie Fisher “there is no underwear in outer space.” The implication is that there is no need for underwear because men, women, aliens, Wookies and Womp Rats alike presumably don’t have genitalia that needs covering. As we all know from our biology classes here on planet Earth, if you want to procreate it certainly helps to have genitals.

However, if you’re Anakin Skywalker and you’re born on the desert planet Tatooine then there’s a decent chance that your mother didn’t require intercourse to get pregnant. Instead you were magically conceived. As a result of all this space chastity sexuality in the Star Wars universe is almost non-existent.

Sure, Carrie Fisher looks stunning in Return of the Jedi in her “slave bikini” outfit. But just how alluring she looked is not really the point. (Along those lines it’s probably not a good idea to consider why Jabba the Hutt wanted her in a skimpy outfit in the first place.) Her courage and daring are what’s important. Leia is a strong, brave, heroic woman and unlike other cinematic heroines (like Lara Croft, Wonder Woman and Batgirl to name a few) how good she looks while saving the galaxy is irrelevant.

Eroticism in Star Wars is decidedly beside the point. While the films themselves might be nearly asexual, the fans who watch them certainly are not. In fact, they take great joy in infusing sexuality into their fandom.

I recently made JEDI JUNKIES, a feature film about the most extreme Star Wars fans I could find, and some of them find release in bringing their sensuality to their interpretation of Lucas’s universe. One such fan is Jamin Fite, the creator of “Leia’s Metal bikini“, a website devoted to collecting and displaying dozens and dozens of photos of fans dressed up in Leia’s memorably skimpy slave bikini provided to her by the apparently lecherous Jabba the Hutt. Jamin and his website celebrate just how sexy all types of women look when dressed up in the iconic outfit.

One fan who takes the whole Leia bikini thing even further is Amy “Kitty” Brown who performs a Star Wars themed burlesque routine. First dressed as Leia in her all white dress and then stripping down to the metal bikini, Amy reenacts and reinterprets some classic scenes from the saga. She incorporates the imagery of the virginal Leia into her routine in an artful and humorous but provocative way. She takes something without apparent sexuality (Star Wars) and combines it with something irrefutably sexual (burlesque). It’s the incongruity of combining sexuality with the innocence of Star Wars that makes her act so memorable in JEDI JUNKIES.

While Amy doesn’t always feel sexy in her outfit she’s cognizant of the power it can have on others. Amy explains, “I can wear the costume (like at a convention) and not feel sexy on my own, but when I see the reactions and the way people respond to ladies in the costume it makes you realize it is a sexy costume. Not just because it’s skimpy, but because it’s part of pop culture as a fanboy fantasy costume.”

Then there’s Cosplay (costume play) model Candy Keane, who has made a name for herself in the Star Wars fan community by wearing the famed metal bikini at dozens of conventions. Candy found enough success as a character model (taking photos as different characters) that she’s been able to open her own boutique selling those same outfits to other women who also enjoy dressing up.

In JEDI JUNKIES we also meet Flynn, the founder of the NY Jedi, a group of light saber wielding enthusiasts. Flynn and his crew get together to use light sabers in tightly choreographed martial arts demonstrations. Flynn’s unwavering mission is to make being a Jedi desirable. He’s self aware enough to know that when most people hear about his organization “their eyes roll back into their heads”. But he’s savvy enough to know that once you put a light saber into even a skeptic’s hand that any feelings of being self conscious will be dwarfed by their rekindled childlike sense of play.

Flynn is so successful in making wanna-be-Jedis hip and sexy that supermodel Tyra Banks put him on her show and declared that his “Geek is the new Chic.” And when a Sports Illustrated and Victoria’s Secret cover model declares that you’re sexy you get bragging rights with your friends. Of course, Tyra just figured out what fanboys have always known – - being a Star Wars fan has always been, and will always be, cool.

image credit:www.movieweb.com

The Assassin Bug
June . 16 . 2013 1825 Views The Assassin Bug

Like a real-life version of the Predator—that's barely a half-inch in size—the aptly named assassin bug wears the bodies of its victims like trophy armor after liquefying and consuming their innards. Disgusting.

After it's made a kill, the assassin bug—which calls Malaysia home—injects its victim with a special enzyme that dissolves and softens its guts so they can be easily sucked out. And once all that's left is the insect's empty shell, the assassin bug attaches those exoskeletons to its back using a sticky secretion, piling them high to create a thick layer of protective armor that also serves to confuse its enemies.

This amazing insect (Acanthaspis petax) belongs to the Reduviidae – which consists of about 7000 species, making it almost the largest family in the true bugs (or hemiptera) order. Although fascinating it is perhaps a relief to learn that just a few species make a habit of lugging the emptied out carcasses of their victims around with them!

Why English (UK) and American Words are Spelt Differently
June . 11 . 2013 858 Views Why English (UK) and American Words are Spelt Differently

What all the buttons, switches and levers on a Formula One steering wheel are used for?
June . 10 . 2013 1336 Views What all the buttons, switches and levers on a Formula One steering wheel are used for?

Following are the controls most used by the drivers during a race:
➡ Shifting levers
➡ KERS boost
➡ RPM / Fuel / Pedal
➡ Radio (R)

Some additional information:
➡ Average number of shifting events per race (all races): 2’750
➡ Grand Prix with the highest number of shifting events per lap and per race: Singapore (70 per lap, approx. 4’270 in total)
➡ Grand Prix with the least shifting events per race: Belgium (1’980 in total; 44 per lap)
➡ Grand Prix with the least shifting events per lap: Brazil (36 per lap, 2’556 in total)

➡ Average KERS boost button usage: 4x per lap, >220x per race
➡ Average use of team radio: <1x per lap, >30x per race


Incredible colour film footage of 1920s
May . 27 . 2013 943 Views Incredible colour film footage of 1920s

Incredible colour footage of 1920s London shot by an early British pioneer of film named Claude Friese-Greene, who made a series of travelogues using the colour process his father William - a noted cinematographer - was experimenting with. It's like a beautifully dusty old postcard you'd find in a junk store, but moving.
Music by Jonquil and Yann Tiersen.