Wednesday, December 06, 2023
We often eat a big bird for Christmas dinner, but Simon's cat is terrified of this one, because it's still alive and kicking! But that's just the beginning. The cat and the kitten have plenty of shenanigans to ruin Simon's solo Christmas dinner in this compilation of Simon's cat holiday cartoons. You'll be glad to know that by the end of this video, the cat finds a way to spread some Christmas joy.
Randall Munroe, of xkcd fame, has a new video series called What If? based on his books in which is gives "serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions." Someone asked what an earthquake that measured 15 on the Richter scale would be like. The answer: pretty bad.
The thing to remember is that the Richter scale does not measure earthquakes in a constant series of units like, say, a yardstick measures in inches. It is a logarithmic scale, where each number is exponentially more powerful than the previous number. For example, a magnitude 5 earthquake is 100 times more powerful than a magnitude 3 quake. It's done this way to make the numbers more manageable, at least for those who understand the numbers. Most earthquakes we read about are between magnitude 5 and magnitude 9. Anything below that will barely make the news, and anything above the would disrupt communications. But I did not know that the Richter scale actually goes into the negative! (via Damn Interesting)
The Strange Case of Antarctica’s Red and Green Snow. It’s not a Christmas trick, but the colorful effect could change everything.
See a 17th-Century Portrait Restored to Its Original Appearance, Minus Lip Fillers and Other Touch-Ups.
The World's Tallest Christmas Tree. No one ever tried to top it. (via Nag on the Lake)
Krampus Approved Christmas Coal. (Thanks, gwdMaine!)
5 Famous Catchphrases That Don’t Actually Exist.
How to Remove Water Stains From Wood.
8 Magical Facts About The Nutcracker.
Unraveling Ulysses S. Grant’s Complex Relationship With Slavery.
“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.” Han makes it clear he’s an atheist in the original Star Wars film. He will come to think differently in the next couple of movies. I guess that’s one more reason to just completely ignore the prequels. There was no reason other than merchandising to include Chewbacca in Revenge of the Sith. (via Geeks Are Sexy)
Tuesday, December 05, 2023
The title of this video from Geography Now is "Everything you need to know about Africa." That's not true at all, but it's an awful lot. I recommend skipping the first minute, which is just an intro, but made me feel like the rest of the video would drag. Au contraire! The rest of the video is really rapid-paced and gives a lot of fascinating information on the geography of Africa in just a few minutes. (via Boing Boing)
If you know, you know. Indie games are built by developers with passion but without the resources of the major companies. Try a new one out, and you'll be confronted with ancient fonts, motion blur, breaking the fourth wall, existential angst, unexpected/over-expected twists, bad art, and an overall feeling that this is just a beta test, and maybe the full game will be ready sometime in the future. But this is as good as it gets, and it really doesn't matter as long as you have fun playing it. Alasdair Beckett-King has obviously done quite a bit of playing these games, because he's got every detail pegged with frightening accuracy. Or at least every detail that will fit into a one-minute video.
When you watch a movie in a language you don't speak, do you look for a dubbed version, or do you turn on the subtitles? It makes a difference, because teams who dub movies into another language translate it completely separately from the teams who type up subtitles, which are also used as closed captions. Those who dub movies try to match the dialogue with the lip movements of the actors. Or sometimes they don't try all that hard, as you've no doubt noticed in some really cheaply made films. And then there's the problem of translating puns, which aren't funny if you just interpret it word by word, or even grammatically, if the context doesn't make sense in another culture. If you listen to a dubbed movie and turn on the captions, you might notice a lot of differences, which will cause you to lose the plot quickly. The last minute of this video is an ad.
Frijoles & Frescas Grilled Tacos in Las Vegas was robbed a few years ago. Much of the caper was caught by security cameras. While they most likely didn’t get away with any money, they sure caused a lot of damage. But the restaurant made lemonade by using the security footage to make an ad! The ad asked for any information from the public, but the biggest impact of the video appears to be making people crave tacos. That’s all good, too. (via reddit)
Monday, December 04, 2023
If you've ever studied the saga of the Russian Revolution in the early 20th century, you know how important it was globally. But... actually reading the convoluted story of war and politics will make your eyes glaze over. The one character that stood out to make it downright entertaining was Rasputin, the "mad monk" who was plucked from central casting to play both the wizard and the villain. He was mysterious, outrageous, and polarizing, and his story had supernatural overtones that make him a fascinating study even today. You have to train your eye to recognize Tsar Nicholas II and his family in photographs, but Rasputin stood out as an archetype. YouTuber Antimatter tells the story of Rasputin, accompanied by hundreds of still images of Rasputin himself, the artworks he inspired, and the many movies that featured him.
We make decisions every day, but we don't often think about the toll those decisions have on us. Deciding between too many options will drain our mental capacity, as will making momentous decisions that we might regret, or making too many small decisions. But we can do things to reduce that cognitive load, like recognizing the triviality of small decisions and not stressing about a decision after the fact.
A household disaster led to the loss of my bedroom wallpaper. Just thinking about the difficulty of finding the perfect wallpaper to replace it, and the hassle of looking for it made me decide to paint the walls, therefore simplifying everything. I can always paper later if I want.
This TED-Ed lesson on decision fatigue explains the concept and gives us more advice on how to reduce the stress of making decisions in our everyday lives.