Lifes Worth Knowing

The Weekender

In Fascinating, General, Justin, Thoughtful on December 15, 2011 at 11:14 pm

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

Google+Tsunami. Earlier this year, Google announced that they would be trying to record the damage of the Japanese tsunami through Street View. This week, they announced the culmination of that project, which lets you tour through the tsunami disaster zone, and even compare before and after Street View pictures. Pretty incredible stuff.

99% Invisible – Discovering The Hidden World. The Radiolab geniuses (an I do mean geniuses – I can’t recommend radiolab highly enough) bring us a new podcast “99% invisible” by a guy named Roman Mars who likes to explore the overlooked parts of our lives that we don’t even realize have great meaning. Ever wonder how electronic devices got their sounds? Who doesn’t have middle school flashbacks whenever they hear the old AOL instant message sound? This guy explores how those sounds cane to represent what we now associate with them.

25% Seems High. Really, Really High. If I asked you what has happened to 25% of American men, you might come up with an answer like “been divorced” or “has a college degree” or something like that. But for the Agta, a tribe in the Philipines, 25% of their men have been attacked by snakes bigger than themselves. Seriously, the Agta typically grow to be slightly under 5 feet and 100 lbs, and they happen to share their jungle with reticulated pythons that clock in at 23 feet, 165 pounds. No lie, they have actually found men inside snakes that they have killed. Fully one-quarter of the men in the tribe bear scars from a run in with a python. My soul-crushing cubicle job has taken on a whole new light.

If Kodak Made Pandora’s Box. Despite the fact that this video itself is underwhelming – consider what they are actually saying: MIT built a camera that can track individual photons moving through space. Individual photons?  Really? My brain keeps running around in circles…the science behind it escape me, but it could revolutionize multiple industries.

Creepiest Disney Attraction since the Tower of Terror. What happens when an ill-advised theme park runs out of money? Some hauntingly beautiful photos over a decade later. Disney had been building a Magic Kingdom in China, until disagreements over property prices halted construction in 1998. What’s left is a kind of beautiful commentary on how far we go to create a nostalgia for something that never actually existed. Disney has designed all of its parks to evoke a certain reality about how we view ourselves, and it’s almost unnerving to see what the underside of that reality looks like in its unfinished state.

Corporations are people too, my friends. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling basically held that money = speech, so to restrict the amount of money that someone can give to a political cause would be to restrict speech. This opened the floodgates for corporate money to enter our political process. A recent review of donations thus far in the presidential race shows that just 58 people are responsible for 80% of political donations. That’s a horrifying statistic. Money raised is highly correlated to races won…can 58 people truly speak for all 300 million of us? (via Boing Boing)

Why Yes, My oven should have wheels. Too amazing not to pass along. Apparently President Eisenhower was smitten with his. (via Boing Boing)

Oh…Thats was good writing is. Oops. At it’s best – long form journalism will take you someplace you’ve never been and introduce you to something you never thought possible. In a way, it’s what we aspire to here at LifesWorthKnowing. With that in mind, please don’t judge us too harshly against this list of the years best in long form journalism.

Gotta Get Down on Friday!!!!! I don’t know what was more surprising – see that Rebecca Black topped Google’s zeitgeist (their yearly compilation of the world’s search trends) or that two of my coworkers had never heard of Rebecca Black. You know who you are. Anyway, the zeitgeist is a fascinating look at our world through one of our most revealing actions – what we search.

Technology makes our lives easier. Lizards? not so much. I’m sure that digital ants don’t have anywhere near the protein as real ants. (via Kottke.org)

90% of murderers eat bread, and other lies. A hilarious look at something that drives me crazy – people who mistake a correlation for a causation. I know that statistics never lie, and these graphs prove that babies named Ava caused our housing crisis and facebook is the reason that Greece is falling apart.  In related news on statistics and misinformation, Fox News has given up pretending and has started drawing their own graphs, data be damned!

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  1. I find this to be extremely interesting. Is it gross I immediately wanted to see a photo somehow?? “….they have actually found men inside snakes that they have killed.”

  2. I had the same reaction! Horrified, but morbidly curious as well.

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