Monthly Archive: September 2015

The Soul Painter Who Created Camouflage

The gap between the British Army’s bright red coats and today’s military camouflage was bridged by an unlikely man—a naturist and painter of angels named Abbott Thayer. Thayer was fascinated by how even the most brightly colored birds blended into their surroundings, and even though he was called a fool by the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, he eventually turned to designing military uniforms based on the principles he had observed. Working through the years of World War I, his work ultimately led to the Camouflage Corps and the creation of camouflage as we now know it today.

The Supreme Court’s Difficulty With The Difference Between Fruits And Vegetables

For a long time, people have been rather up in the air about the tomato. By 1893, though, botanists agreed that it was a fruit. It developed from the ovaries of the plant, and that was the very definition of a fruit. When the Supreme Court weighed in, though, they declared it was a vegetable, because no one was eating tomatoes for dessert. Other government have made some pretty strange declarations when it comes to the difference between fruits and vegetables, too. Oklahoma says the watermelon is its state vegetable, and the European Union considers carrots and sweet potatoes to be fruits.

When Michelangelo Made The World’s Greatest Snowman

The history of art is full of lost masterpieces. Works by Picasso were burned by the Nazis, and frescoes by Leonardo da Vinci were painted over. But none of them can hold a candle to Michelangelo’s greatest lost work. In January 1494, an unseasonable snowfall occurred in Florence. At the insistence of his patron, Michelangelo went outside and sculpted a snowman. It’s been called the greatest snowman ever built.

The Terrifying Ordeal Of Anesthetic Awareness

You’re in the middle of surgery, and you know it, but you’re unable to move or to tell anyone that you know what’s going on. It’s previously been estimated to happen to 1 in 500 patients who undergo anesthesia, but now estimates have become more along the lines of 1 in 15,000. Those that it does happen to can often describe the doctors’ and nurses’ actions and the surgery in frightening detail. Many later suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that can last for the rest of their lives.

The Psychology Behind The Extreme Creepiness Of Dolls And Clowns

There are some things that a huge percentage of the population can agree are creepy, like dolls and clowns. While there hasn’t been much research done on what makes something creepy as opposed to terrifying, some findings suggest that it has something to do with ambiguity. When we’re not sure what someone’s motives are, we find them creepy. Among some of the professions consistently believed to be creepy are (of course) clowns. Creepy hobbies are usually those that involve watching something—even birds—perhaps one of the reasons we find dolls just so relentlessly creepy.

Trap-Neuter-Release Isn’t The Most Effective For Controlling Feral Cats

According to Tufts University, the popular trap-neuter-release program for controlling feral cats isn’t the most efficient. Replacing neuter surgeries with vasectomies and hysterectomies will keep established colonies more stable, and with a male cat still producing hormones but unable to make kittens, he’ll be more capable of protecting his female cats from unaltered males. The cats won’t have the extended lifespan that neutered cats do, and simulations show that a policy of TVHR has the potential to humanely eliminate entire colonies of feral cats over a handful of years.

How America Trumped The Eiffel Tower With An Amusement Park Ride

When America was getting ready to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s generally accepted discovery of the New World, they wanted something that would be bigger and better than the recently unveiled Eiffel Tower. A young engineer named George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. came up with the idea to take the centuries-old concept of a vertically rotating sort of people-carrier and make it steel and massive. The so-called Ferris Wheel turned an incredible profit for the first few years, but after several relocations and waning popularity, it met a heartbreaking end that involved a lot of dynamite.

Cracking The 11,000-Year-Old Code On The World’s Oldest Wooden Statue

Excellently preserved for about 11,000 years in a peat bog in Siberia, the Shigir Idol is the oldest wooden statue discovered on Earth. Covered with pictograms and other symbols, this mysterious statue appears to harbor a secret code. Scientists believe these Stone Age markings were meant to communicate information and may completely change our understanding of that period in history.

The Different Types Of Obesity

Obesity is on the rise, and there are almost as many diet and exercise choices as there are ways of packing on the pounds. But a study led by Sheffield University is taking another route, and by determining the six different types of obesity, it’s allowing them to look at the larger picture of a person’s health. Obesity isn’t just about obesity: It’s about mental illness, it’s about lifestyle choices, and it’s about other chronic illnesses that are keeping a person from reaching their goals. Isolating which type a person belongs to—the heavy-drinking male, the young and healthy female, the sick but happy elderly, the affluent elderly, the unhappy and anxious middle-aged, or the poor health group—can help people address all the factors that are causing their weight problems.

Why We Might Not Need Erasers Much Longer

Chemists at the University of California have invented rewritable paper that can be written on and erased over 20 times before you have to throw it away. This paper uses ultraviolet light and redox dyes to create printed letters and images on glass or plastic film. With so much conventional paper discarded after one use, rewritable paper may help us get closer to the reality of a paperless office.