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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Apr 18, 2017 8:36 am 
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The Movie Screen That Makes Annoying 3D Glasses Unnecessary

Wearing those 3D glasses in a movie theater can be an annoying pain.

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Engineers at MIT are looking to solve that issue with Cinema 3D, a prototype movie theater screen that allows viewers to experience movies in 3D without having to wear the dreaded glasses. Though similar technology does exist, the Cinema 3D prototype is the first technology that would bring three dimensions to every viewer in a theater's audience, regardless of where they are seated.

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The MIT Computers Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) teamed up with Israel's Weiszmann Institute of Science to create the prototype. The technology works similar to Venetian blinds—the screen uses "a complex arrangement of lenses and mirrors to create a set number of parallax barriers," according to TechCrunch.

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Clear as mud, right?

History

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Apr 18, 2017 8:40 am 
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There's A Hidden Beach In Mexico Called Playa Del Amor

If you're in the market to travel somewhere tropical and unique... I’m jealous. But also, I feel inclined to tell you about Puerto Vallarta, Mexico's Playa del Amor. This exotic "Hidden Beach" is invisible from the outside since its sandy cavern sits inside one of Mexico's lush and uninhabited Marieta Islands.

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Hop on a boat and travel an hour northwest from Puerto Vallarta's coast in search of Mexico's Hidden Beach. Don't worry—it's not too hidden. Playa del Amor has become a popular tourist spot for romantic adventurers, so several tour companies will provide day excursions. How will you know when you're approaching your destination? The secret beach is at the mouth of Banderas Bay and at the base of a Marieta Island. Look for a sandy cavern with crashing blue waves from the Pacific ocean.

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As for how the crater got there... I’m not quite sure. The Marieta Islands themselves are an archipelago, which Atlas Obscura explains as "a chain of land formations formed by underwater volcano eruptions."

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Similar to these in the Maldives

However, it is believed that the crater was caused by a very different explosion—bombings. Beginning in the early 1900s, the uninhabited islands were used for military testing by the Mexican government. These test bombs are likely the cause for much of the archipelago's rocky topography, including the Hidden Beach.

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The islands were officially named a national park in 2005, Parque Nacional Islas Marietas, which prevented further military testing and its consequential harm on the islands' marine life. This also allowed for visitors to enjoy the Playa del Amor without, you know, the threat of a bomb. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your swimsuit, then swim or kayak your way to a truly dreamy (and hidden) destination.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Apr 18, 2017 10:24 am 
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Oh, I think I could spend some time there!! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Apr 19, 2017 8:41 am 
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In 1930, BBC Radio Had A Day With No News

Some days, the news is so terrible that you just want to will it away entirely. On April 18, 1930, BBC radio did just that. Instead of their evening broadcast, they chose to play piano music. Doesn't that sound pleasant?

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The night before Good Friday, the UK's Home Office was desperate to deny a newspaper account of an interview with the home secretary. Since newspapers wouldn't be published over the Easter holiday, they had only one option for their announcement of denial: the BBC's evening radio news.

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Within 24 hours, that was it. The evening of Good Friday came, and the untold issues were no longer news. The BBC's newsroom had recently installed agency tape machines, which fed the editorial staff more stories than they could keep up with. Meanwhile, the government had also gotten on board and would flood the newsroom with official announcements. But on April 18, 1930, for some reason, the tape machines came up dry. So, what did the editorial staff do? According to the BBC, "listeners who tuned in to hear the bulletin on Good Friday itself were informed: 'There is no news.'" Then, they heard piano music.

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If you're wondering whether or not there actually wasn't any news that day... well, of course there was. It was 1930, though, so I won't blame the BBC for not being all that aware of the world's events. Those were certainly simpler days. Would you like a day with no news?

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Post Posted: Apr 20, 2017 8:38 am 
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The Crater Lakes of Mount Kelimutu Change Color All The Time

You’ve probably seen lakes with some pretty crazy colors before, but Flores, Indonesia may take the cake. At the summit of Mount Kelimutu, there are three crater lakes in three different colors—and those colors change all the time. It's a natural occurring phenomenon tailored to travelers' dreams.

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According to Indonesia Travel, Kelimutu's westernmost lake, Tiwu ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People) is usually blue. Lake Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Tai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) is typically green, and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) is usually red.

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However, the lakes can and do change color at any time—even to black. As reported, "A few years ago, the lakes were white, turquoise and red. In November 2009, they were black, turquoise, and a coca-cola brown. And again in July 2010, the lakes were resplendent in various shades of green."

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Tiwu Ata Polo

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Tiwu Ata Polo

Whereas other colored lakes often get their hues from certain species of bacteria, Kelimutu's lakes are a bit more mysterious—especially since their colors change so often. People believe that particular minerals in the water may interact with volcanic gas to create the mercurial shades, but it's hard to know for sure.

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Before and After

The names of these mysterious lakes come from local folklore. Many believe that the lakes are a resting place for departed souls, and Mae, a god of the afterlife, will send those who died to different lakes depending on their merits in life. (Hence lakes named for the old, young, and prophetic.) If you plan on visiting the volcano while living, you can simply drive up the 8 km path to take a little gander at these beauties.

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The best time to visit is in July or August (during Indonesia's dry season). Travel experts recommend waking up as early as 3:30 A.M. to catch the sunrise at Mount Kelimutu. After you soak up the imagery of three colorful crater lakes swirling with sunshine, you can hike around the volcano before riding back the way you came. I’m in.

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Sunrise

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Apr 21, 2017 7:58 am 
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Fascinating. The microscopic world and the things they can do are hinting at things in the future.

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Daniel Dennett Says Consciousness Is An Illusion, And He May Have A Point

Cogito ergo sum means "I think, therefore I am." That quote—coined by French philosopher René Descartes—is the cornerstone of modern philosophy. What it means is that although you could be wrong about nearly everything, from the answers to simple math problems to the very belief that you're awake and not dreaming, the one thing that you can be certain of is that you're experiencing the things that you're experiencing. But according to modern-day philosopher Daniel Dennett, even that is suspect.

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Descartes

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Daniel Dennett

There's a quote by religion professor Lee Siegel that Dennett used to illustrate his point: "Real magic is the magic that's not real. While the magic that is real, that can actually be done, is not real magic." There's nobody out there sawing people in half and putting them back together again, only illusionists using various tricks to make it appear that that's the case. According to Dennett, the same is true of consciousness. The only difference is that our brains are triple-billed as the saw-wielding magician, the lovely assistant trapped in the box, and the mystified audience. What we think of as our consciousness is actually our brains pulling a number of tricks to conjure up the world as we experience it. But in reality, it's all smoke, mirrors, and rapidly firing neurons.

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If that's a bit heady, then get ready for Dennett's next metaphor: If our brain is a smartphone, then consciousness is the screen. In other words, consciousness is not how our brain works, it's only how we interface with it. A screen doesn't really have much to do with how the phone works, and in fact, the phone could do nearly everything it does without it. It just wouldn't be useable by humans. According to Dennett, our brains are like smartphones in another way as well: they are basically robots, or thinking machines, and like any robot, they need a medium through which to communicate with their users. But it goes even further than that: if our brains are robots, then our neurons are smaller robots, which are in turn made up of even smaller robots. So even if we lose the concept of consciousness along the way, we're still pretty incredible "machines."

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It wouldn't be philosophy if there wasn't somebody to vehemently disagree. Meet Thomas Nagel, a fellow philosopher who has some key disagreements with Dennett's ideas. To Nagel, consciousness is something outside of the material world, and what's more, he claims Dennett thinks so too. After all, even if consciousness is an illusion, it's a "real" illusion just like the sawed-in-half trick is "real" magic. "You may well ask how consciousness can be an illusion," says Nagel, "since every illusion is itself a conscious experience—an appearance that doesn't correspond to reality. So it cannot appear to me that I am conscious though I am not."

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Thomas Nagel

If this is starting to sound like we're going full circle back to cogito ergo sum, you're not wrong. It just goes to show how philosophy operates as an ever-turning wheel of ideas and counter-ideas. At the end of the day, it might be best to rely on Dennett's view when it comes to understanding the brain and how consciousness works, and Nagel's when trying to wrap your mind around the way you actually experience the world. Either way, our brains are thoroughly tied in knots at this point.

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Post Posted: Apr 21, 2017 9:22 am 
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Rockdoc wrote:
Fascinating. The microscopic world and the things they can do are hinting at things in the future.


Yeah, just when you think you've got her figured out, Mother Nature throws another curve ball at you. :doh:

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Post Posted: Apr 22, 2017 8:50 am 
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The Boston Marathon Didn't Allow Women Until 1971, But These Women Ran It Anyway

Dating all the way back to 1897, the Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon, and among its most prestigious. While today, women make up nearly half of its finishers, the race wasn't always that way. The historic event didn't allow women to enter until the surprisingly tardy year of 1971. Even so, two women went down in history when they each broke the rules and ran the Boston Marathon anyway.

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When 23-year-old Roberta Gibb tried to register for the 1966 Boston Marathon, her rejection letter was short and to the point: "This is an AAU Men's Division race only," wrote race director Will Cloney. "Women aren't allowed, and furthermore are not physiologically able." In fact, race regulations didn't allow women to compete in any race longer than 1.5 miles. Gibb was outraged. "I could run 30 miles at a stretch!" she told Competitor Magazine. Instead of getting discouraged, she decided to run the marathon anyway.

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The day of the race, she hid in the bushes, waited for enough runners to pass, and broke out into a run. According to Runner's World, "from Hopkinton to Boston, to her amazement, Gibb didn't encounter a single hostile moment. Some onlookers cheered: 'Attaway, girlie, you can do it!'" She finished in 3:21:40, among the top third of the male finishers.

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An unnumbered Bobbi approaches finish line

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Bobbi was later recognized and honored as a pioneer

Inspired by Gibb's run, 20-year-old Kathrine Switzer registered for the 1967 Boston Marathon using only her initials. On the day of the race, her coach Arnie Briggs, her boyfriend and nationally ranked hammer thrower "Big Tom" Miller, and Switzer shuffled in with the rest of the runners, Switzer's oversized sweatshirt keeping her gender undetected by race officials. "All around us the men were pleased to have a woman in their presence," Switzer recalls on her website. "More than ever before at a running event, I felt at home."

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But around mile four, things changed. A race director named Jock Semple spotted her and began to chase her down, grabbing her by the shoulder. He swiped at her bib number, missed, and grabbed her by the shirt. Suddenly, "a flash of orange flew past and hit Jock with a cross-body block," she writes. It was Big Tom, her boyfriend. High on adrenaline, the runners sped ahead, knowing that they'd probably be arrested at the finish line. "If I don't finish, people will say women can't do it, and they will say I was just doing this for the publicity or something," Switzer told Arnie. "So you need to do whatever you want to do, but I'm finishing." When they reached the finish line, there were no police—just throngs of rain-soaked reporters. Switzer finished in 4:20:02.

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Gibb and Switzer's historic rule-breaking led the Amateur Athletics Union to allow women to enter their marathons, including Boston, in 1971, making 1972 the first Boston Marathon with an official women's champion. Eight women ran and finished that year. In 2016, the number of female finishers exceeded 12,000.

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Post Posted: Apr 23, 2017 8:38 am 
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Bad Kissengen, The City That Always Sleeps

Feeling rested? If not, you might want to consider a move to Bad Kissengen: in this little town in Germany, a big experiment is happening. Researchers are looking to unlock the secrets of sleep—and the daily rhythms of an entire community.

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In his book Wild Nights, Benjamin Reiss details how a team of sleep scientists in Germany are trying to promote "optimal sleep and recuperation in everyday life," according to the team's leader, Thomas Kantermann. To do so, they gave residents of the town a small, wearable device with an app that tracks variables including sleep patterns, work, exercise, diet, mood, screen use, and social activities, Reiss says.

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The project has been called the world's first "Chrono City" (chrono = time), and researchers hope the results of the tracking could lead to some big finds.

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In essence, the researchers hope that, once all the data comes back, they'll actually be able to build the schedule of the town around people's natural daily rhythms. Reiss describes a number of these benefits: for instance, they can optimize the start and end times for schools, depending on when children are most awake. They could recommend when patients should be scheduled for surgery to maximize both patient healing and doctor alertness. They could even help develop intelligent alarm clocks that went off within the short window that corresponded to a person's lightest sleep phase, or recommend changes to public lighting that mimicked natural light patterns.

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The results? A restoration of balance, and a world that is well-suited to our body's circadian (biological) rhythms--something that the modern world seems to have lost. Reiss describes how researchers hope that their work could have huge benefits, for the individual and the community at large. Not only would individuals have more energy and better health, but the community could save energy and develop more profitably.

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But really, I’m most excited about the better sleep.

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The City

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Post Posted: Apr 24, 2017 8:34 am 
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Krishna's Butter Ball Is India's Gravity-Defying Boulder

Have you ever balanced an egg? How long did it stay in that position?

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There's a small town in India that can do you one better: a giant boulder known as Krishna's Butter Ball has been balanced on its side for more than a millennium.

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Krishna’s Butter Ball

The small town of Mahabalipuram in India contains a baffling scene: one very special boulder.

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The name of this boulder is "Vaan Irai Kal," which translates to "Sky God's Stone," but it's more commonly known as Krishna's Butter Ball. The huge size of the thing isn't the strangest characteristic (the boulder measures 20 feet tall and 16.5 feet across), it's the boulder's location. The Butter Ball is perfectly perched on a sloping hillside, a seemingly gravity-defying position it has held for more than 1,200 years.

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This boulder is called Krishna's Butter Ball because of a Hindu legend that tells the story of the god Krishna, who liked to steal butter as a baby. The tale goes that Krishna dropped a huge dollop of butter that became the giant stone.

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Many people have tried to push the 250-ton boulder down the slope, but to no avail.

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So how does this iconic boulder maintain its unbelievable balance on a small base of less than two square feet? Even after more than a thousand years, the answer isn't clear.

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Post Posted: Apr 25, 2017 8:44 am 
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Jellyfish Lake Is Filled With Millions Of Harmless Jellyfish

A lake bursting with jellyfish sounds dangerous. But in Jellyfish Lake on the Pacific island of Palau, you're at no risk among the millions of golden jellyfish. Yes, millions. Dive right in.

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You'll find Jellyfish Lake on a rocky, uninhabited island off the coast of Koror in Palau.

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The images are surreal and a bit terrifying, but there's surprisingly not much to be afraid of here. There are no threats to the jellyfish in this saltwater lake, which is why there are upwards of 10 million there. And, lucky for them, these jellyfish have had no predators to protect themselves against while gliding through their watery jellyfish kingdom. Because they don't need to use their stinging cells, those zappers have shrunk so small that they can barely penetrate human skin. Great news for divers.

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It kind of seems like someone purposely began breeding jellyfish in this lake to attract tourists, but that's not the case. This unique destination is all natural, baby. Jellyfish Lake is one of about 70 saltwater lakes on the South Pacific archipelago of Palau that were once connected to the ocean, but have been cut off at some point over the years.

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Unfortunately, in recent years, the jellyfish population in the famous lake has dwindled. But why? According to Palau Dive Adventures, "The problems seem to be an increase in salinity of the saltwater lake, due to the ocean warming weather pattern what is commonly known as El Niño. Palau locals also attested to the fact, that the drought of 2016 had been the worst of the past 65 years." But not all hope is lost! Scientists believe that if conditions improve, the jellyfish can certainly bounce back and repopulate their namesake home.

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