Jul 31, 2015

How Shakespeare changed America’s wildlife

posted by Christy Wilding

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In the opening act of Henry IV: Part One, the eponymous king refuses to help free Lord Mortimer, the brother-in-law of his loyal knight Hotspur, from imprisonment, and even forbids Hotspur from mentioning Mortimer’s name in his presence. As revenge, Hotspur plots to “find him [the king] when he lies asleep, And in his ear … holla, ‘Moritimer,’” before changing his mind and deciding that, “Nay, I’ll have a starling … taught to speak nothing but ‘Mortimer,’ and give it to him to keep his anger still in motion.” 

It’s a strange plan, but it’s not as strange as the plan it inspired almost 300 years later, hatched by an eccentric New York businessman named Eugene Schieffelin.

via Mental Floss

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Jul 31, 2015

Humans are evolving to walk and text

posted by Christy Wilding

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While technological advancements are meant accommodate the way people live, sometimes humans are the ones that must adapt to technology. This is especially noticeable when walking with a friend who’s texting. As new research suggests, they subconsciously "shorten their step length, reduce step frequency, lengthen the time during which both feet are in contact with the ground and increase obstacle clearance height,” effectively modifying their gait in order to compensate for the distraction. And while it may seem minor, it’s a significant insight into behaviors that may shape future generations.

via Cool Hunting

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Jul 31, 2015

Inventor Colin Furze builds a high voltage ejector bed for people who struggle with getting up in the morning

posted by Christy Wilding

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British inventor Colin Furze recently built a wild High Voltage Ejector Bed that flips up and dumps the heavy sleeper out onto the floor when an alarm goes off in the morning. The Taylors of Harrogate coffee and tea company asked Furze to build something to get people out of bed, just like their new High Voltage blend coffee, and he surely did not disappoint.

via Laughing Squid

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Images courtesy of Colin Furze

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Jul 30, 2015

KFC’s new mobile gimmick is a photo-printing bucket

posted by Christy Wilding

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These days, fastfood chains are thinking up of unusual and sometimes bizarre marketing stunts to appeal to today's mobile generation? Remember the Pizza Hut projector box in Hong Kong? Or how about KFC's Bluetooth keyboard food tray? It seems that the latter is at it again. Its Canadian branch will soon be celebrating its 60th anniversary and to honor that memory, it is going to help their devoted customers make their own memories. How? By turning their boring chicken buckets into instant photo printing machine.

via Slash Gear

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Jul 30, 2015

The world’s biggest free form 3D printer is being used to build houses

posted by Christy Wilding

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The dream of 3D printing buildings is not a new one and, typically, it’s not a pretty one either. However, the visionaries at Branch Technology, a startup founded by architects in Chattanooga, Tennessee, want to change that—and they’ve built the world’s largest free form 3D printer to do it.

via Gizmodo

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Jul 30, 2015

Ambient sounds can make a creepy place feel comfortable

posted by Christy Wilding

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Regardless of the actual chances of being the victim of a random murder in a dark alley, people tend to get the willies in deserted, shadowy public places. But the right sounds can put people at ease in an otherwise creepy, isolated parking garage or metro station, a new study in the International Journal of Research in Marketing finds. Natural sounds, like human voices and bird songs, can make people perceive their surroundings as safer and more comfortable. 

via Mental Floss

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Jul 29, 2015

Scientists have discovered a new taste that could make food more delicious

posted by Laura Domela

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Taste, the sense that allows us to appreciate the beauty of good food, is something scientists understand fairly well. The sensation we feel when eating a piece of cake, chewing on a hamburger or taking the first bite of a piping hot piece of pizza is triggered when chemicals in our food interact with receptors in our mouths.

For hundreds of years, scientists have known about four basic tastes: sour, sweet, salty and bitter. More recently, a Japanese chemist discovered a fifth basic taste, umami, which is triggered by monosodium glutamate, or MSG, as it's more widely known. Umamiperhaps best described as savory, is especially prevalent in truffles, meat and anchovies.

And now, scientists believe they have found a sixth basic taste that could profoundly change the way we eat.
via Washington Post

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