Lifes Worth Knowing

The Weekender

In Fascinating, General, Interesting, Justin on November 25, 2011 at 11:46 am

The Weekender is a weekly column devoted to the ideas/articles/videos that I find fascinating and wish I had more time to explore.

Are you sure this isn’t from Lord of the Rings? I honestly had a hard time containing this one until today, but I wanted to try to learn more about it before posting. It’s called the “brinicle” and it is awesome. When winter comes to Antarctica, the cold air begins to freeze the surface water of the ocean. The salinity of the sea lowers the freezing point to about 28 degrees. When water freezes, it purges its impurities, meaning the ice becomes pure, fresh water and and the salt is left behind.

When water freezes fast enough, enough salt is left under the ice that is forms a super salty brine that has a much lower freezing point, meaning that it can get a lot colder than the rest of the ocean water. This brine is so laden with salt that it becomes heavy and starts sinking. When the super cold brine meets the relatively warmer and fresher water in the water column, it freezes, creating a hollow ice tube in which the brine sinks to the ocean floor. And then it gets better. As the brinicle’s icy fingers reach toward the ocean floor it will entrap any of the animals that it comes in contact with. The result is an icy tube extending from the surface ice to the ocean floor – with an assorted array of starfish and other invertebrates trapped in an icy tomb. It really has to be seen to be believed. (via BBC Nature – narrated by David Attenborough)


Oh, That’s what context means An interesting article over at Think Progress notes that while much was made about the increased cost of policing the Occupy Wall Street encampments across the country (the AP estimates it was about $13 million nationwide), it takes some context in order to fully understand that number. Contrast $13 million dollars in increased police costs (which when directly to police officer’s overtime pay) to the $20 trillion dollars of wealth that was destroyed by the recession that Wall Street triggered. In fact, the Koch Brothers make $13 million every eleven hours. (Via ThinkProgress)

The Most Interesting Man in the World has a To-Do list.  Fascinating piece by Robert Krulwich on NPR uncovers an actual to-do list written by Leonardo Da Vinci (released in a new book by historian Toby Lester). His list includes things like “get the master of arithmetic to show you how to square a triangle” and “get the friar to show you ‘der ponderibus’ (a medieval book on mechanics)” Its a brief glimpse into the mind of one of history’s greatest intellects, and a lot cooler than my to-do list, which includes “clean litterbox” and “buy diapers.” (via Boing Boing)

Pour me a glass of the Federalist Papers, please. This company will hollow out a professional looking book for you and insert a flask so that it looks very impressive on the bookshelf, and can help take the edge off. If you were like me in college and wished for sweet relief after your 9th straight hour of reading Plato…this might be the solution.

I, for one, Welcome our new Octopus Overlords. Crazy video of an octopus walking on land. I’m really not sure i need to say anything else.

That’s a lot of pixels. New NASA satellite takes some crazy hi-res photos of earth. I know my internet connection isn’t the fastest, but it took me a while to get this whole picture of Florida/Cuba/Bahamas. It’s so detailed that you can actually see the city of Miami not caring about their new baseball team.

India: where fluorescent light bulbs and common sense don’t stand a chance. I will let Jason Kottke introduce this one:
“I’ve been on the web for 17 years now, I’m a professional link finder, and I have never in my life seen anything like these guys performing on an Indian talent show. They *start off* by biting into fluorescent light bulbs and it just gets more nuts from there.”


Lee Harvey Oswald had it coming. This past week marked forty eight years since JFK was assassinated. Those of us under fifty really have no reference point to what a politically motivated killing is like, and while that is a triumph for democracy, it is important to remember. This is a clip of the Zapruper film showing the moment’s where JFK was shot. To be warned – this is video of a murder.

Well, that explains my High School experience. This study found that even the anticipation of interacting with a woman can impair men’s cognitive ability. So, even the thought of talking to a girl makes us dumber. It explains so much of our behavior doesn’t it? On a related note…this study found that beautiful women cause existential crises in men. Seductive women make men aware of their own mortality, and thus more likely to act aggressively.  So, between these two studies, we can safely assume that women literally reduce us to our basic animal instincts. Explains a lot.

Maps. But not like you think. I love maps. Most of my time spend in Europe was spent hunched over a map trying to make sense of a new city – one of my favorite things to do. This is a collection of ten odd maps that highlight unusual cartography. My favorite? Alaska’s Revenge.


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