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.
Virginia Woolf memorably wrote:
I ransack public libraries, and find them full of sunk treasure.
Here’s to the glorious geography of ransacking: A stride-stopping map of the distribution density of public libraries.
Whether it’s an attempt to increase recycling rates, reduce energy consumption or cut carbon emissions, conventional wisdom says the best way to get people to do the right thing is to make it worth their while with financial incentives.
But a new study shows that there may be an easier — and cheaper — way: by boosting people’s reputations through the use of peer pressure.
“When people know it’s a cooperative effort, they feel peer pressure to take part,” Rand explained. “They think, ‘If I don’t do this, I’m going to look like a jerk.’ But if it’s not observable, then there’s no problem with not participating.”
I find this interesting, because it shows how the ‘Eastern concept’ of ‘face’ is really more universal than is believed.
Beautiful infographic that speaks to ongoing, fundamental shifts in the world economy from Western dominance to a more diverse composition that’s increasingly influenced by Asian mega-cities. The graphic’s twist at 2012 visually implies what we already know: we’re living in the midst of an era of change.
If I could ask for anything else from this graphic, it’d be bigger, bolder text. Nonetheless, the point is made.
When patients were committed to the Willard Asylum for the Insane in Upstate New York, they arrived with a suitcase packed with all of the possessions they thought they needed for their time inside.
Most never left. The mental hospital had an average stay of nearly 30 years. When patients died, they were buried in nameless graves across the street of the asylum. Their suitcases, with all their worldly possessions, were locked in an attic and forgotten.
In 1995, an employee of the mental hospital discovered the suitcases, 400 of them. They date from 1910 to 1960.
Now, photographer Jon Crispin is cataloging each suitcase and opening a window into the lives - and the minds - of the people deemed too unwell to be allowed in society.
This is fascinating and distressing. I wonder how many of those people were actually “unwell”, or whether it was just a reflection of what society considered unacceptable at the time.
Comparative illustrations of hands for National Geographic Magazine by Bryan Christie Design
Human, Aye-aye, bat, frog, dolphin. Absolutely fantastic.
EDIT: I thought I should talk about this a bit more:
One of the things that fascinates me the most when learning about comparative anatomy is how we are all made of the same organs and bones, and it’s the special adaptations and morphologies these parts take on which make the most drastic differences between us as animals. The bones in a bat’s wing are the same bones that are in our hands, they just happen to be elongated and connected with a much thinner tissue membrane. Because dolphins don’t need individual fingers, theirs have grown together underneath a cohesive layer of fat, muscle and skin, adapting into paddles. Once you start to look underneath the surface of these creatures and study how their bones have changed shape, grown, or shrunk, it can really shed light onto how we all fit together in the bigger sphere. We can physically begin to see how we have changed over time.