Lifes Worth Knowing

The Weekender

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2012 at 10:55 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.

Coolest. Story. Ever. (for nerds) Robert Krulwich brings us an awesome piece about Australian “tree lobsters” which were found only on one island near Australia. Turns out, rats from early explorer ships got onto the island and wiped out the entire population of these huge insects. Then in the 1960s, two climbers were on a tiny speck of cliffs in the middle of the ocean (seriously check out this picture)

and found some dead tree lobsters. It wasn’t until 2001 that scientists made it to back to the island, and they found an autonomous population of tree lobsters living under a SINGLE BUSH on a cliff 200 feet above the ocean. No one knows how they got there, or how they survived. Read the whole post for the full, fascinating story.

That whole political polarization thing is just hyperbole, right? Rachel Maddow takes a look at some interesting charts/graphs that illustrate the general shirt towards the right that American politics has taken over the decades. Be sure to watch the little video that plots individual seats of Congress over time…it is fascinating to watch the dots go from being across the entire spectrum of ideology in the early years, and then coalesce around two specific points.

Communist flying saucer? Check. In the same vein that the atlas obscura post from a few weeks ago, these are some awesome shots of some Communist memorial in Bulgaria. I’m not sure what it is about the photos, but it just feels like our American vision of communism embodied in one place. It is equal parts soulless and unforgiving, but definitely throws off a militaristic aura.

Another example of “facts” destroying common knowledge. You know how Republicans always talk about how Democrats destroy business with the “environmentalism” and “regulations”?  Well, as it turns out, Democrats might actually be the party for Wall Street. If you invested $1,000 in the stock market in 1961, and only kept it in the market during Democratic administrations, that investment would be worth $10,920 today. If you had done the same thing with Republican administrations? $2,087. I think our perceptions might be a little skewed.

Nothing like some uplifting economic news. Just when things are starting to turn around a little bit…we get this story…which is almost funny how sad it is. A British study found that 10% of medical students knew a fellow student who had turned to prostitution to help pay off loans. I don’t really have anything else to say about that. Just…really?

So, food industry…about those feedlots. A new study found that diseases that affect humans can be transmitted to livestock, gain antibiotic resistance from all of the antibiotics used in their feed, and then jump back to humans as a super strain. This is unsettling…are we sure that we should be raising our food in a way that creates pathogens that we are defenseless against?

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