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1000 Years of European Borders


The music doesn’t do much for me, but this is still amazing to watch.



Simply amazing (and true).


Drinking Behavior


Beer of Choice





30,000-Year-Old Virus


Welcome back to life!

An ancient virus has “come back to life” after lying dormant for at least 30,000 years, scientists say.

It was found frozen in a deep layer of the Siberian permafrost, but after it thawed it became infectious once again.

The Economics of Sex


A brilliant take-down (read the whole thing):

The longer I live and the more I read and the deeper I fall in love and the less I give a fuck and the more patience I lose and the more perspective I gain, the more certain I become that the people who most aggressively try to define love for others have never actually experienced it themselves.



See what they have to say to Bill Nye, the Science Guy.

Woody Allen


This is a basic principle: until it is proven otherwise, beyond a reasonable doubt, it’s important to extend the presumption of innocence to Dylan Farrow, and presume that she is not guilty of the crime of lying about what Woody Allen did to her.

Read the whole thing.



It’s a shame this magazine – or something much like it – is no longer around.

If you’re a kid and a toy you bought doesn’t work as promised, or it turns out the best parts were sold separately, you don’t have much recourse. You might complain to your parents, but they’re likely to point out again that TV is deceptive. After all, there is an entire industry devoted to parting your hard earned cash from you, yet most commentary on this is directed to your parents. What you’re really looking for is someone to agree it’s unfair and acknowledge you care about your money while explaining the mysteries of ads. In the ’90s, Consumer Reports filled this needed role with Zillions, a magazine that talked to kids about money and advertising.



A sobering account of the (largely) religious homeschooling movement and the abuse it occasionally enables.

Property Taxes


A fascinating, interactive map of property tax and home value rates across the United States.

Trans-Generational Behavioral Genetics



The animals were trained to fear a smell similar to cherry blossom.

The team at the Emory University School of Medicine, in the US, then looked at what was happening inside the sperm.

They showed a section of DNA responsible for sensitivity to the cherry blossom scent was made more active in the mice’s sperm.

Both the mice’s offspring, and their offspring, were “extremely sensitive” to cherry blossom and would avoid the scent, despite never having experiencing it in their lives.

Changes in brain structure were also found.

“The experiences of a parent, even before conceiving, markedly influence both structure and function in the nervous system of subsequent generations,” the report concluded.


A Post-Antibiotic Future


What it looks like:

If we really lost antibiotics to advancing drug resistance — and trust me, we’re not far off — here’s what we would lose. Not just the ability to treat infectious disease; that’s obvious.

But also: The ability to treat cancer, and to transplant organs, because doing those successfully relies on suppressing the immune system and willingly making ourselves vulnerable to infection. Any treatment that relies on a permanent port into the bloodstream — for instance, kidney dialysis. Any major open-cavity surgery, on the heart, the lungs, the abdomen. Any surgery on a part of the body that already harbors a population of bacteria: the guts, the bladder, the genitals. Implantable devices: new hips, new knees, new heart valves. Cosmetic plastic surgery. Liposuction. Tattoos.

We’d lose the ability to treat people after traumatic accidents, as major as crashing your car and as minor as your kid falling out of a tree. We’d lose the safety of modern childbirth: Before the antibiotic era, 5 women died out of every 1,000 who gave birth. One out of every nine skin infections killed. Three out of every 10 people who got pneumonia died from it.

And we’d lose, as well, a good portion of our cheap modern food supply. Most of the meat we eat in the industrialized world is raised with the routine use of antibiotics, to fatten livestock and protect them from the conditions in which the animals are raised. Without the drugs that keep livestock healthy in concentrated agriculture, we’d lose the ability to raise them that way. Either animals would sicken, or farmers would have to change their raising practices, spending more money when their margins are thin. Either way, meat — and fish and seafood, also raised with abundant antibiotics in the fish farms of Asia — would become much more expensive.

And it wouldn’t be just meat. Antibiotics are used in plant agriculture as well, especially on fruit. Right now, a drug-resistant version of the bacterial disease fire blight is attacking American apple crops. There’s currently one drug left to fight it. And when major crops are lost, the local farm economy goes too.



A super-cool interactive graphic showing migration flows in the US.

Abstinence Speakers


Mother Jones profiles five of the speakers that are being paid public money to speak at public schools – and what they’re saying.



A fascinating look at what a hyperloop nation would look like.

Patches for Vaccines


From the BBC:

The nanopatch overcomes some of the more obvious disadvantages of syringe-given vaccines such as needle phobia and the possibility of contamination caused by dirty needles.

But there are other reasons why the method could be transformative, said the professor.

Thousands of tiny projections in the patch release the vaccine, which is applied in dry form, into the skin.

The amount of vaccine needed to be effective is much lower, up to one hundredth of the traditional dose.

“A vaccine that had cost $10 [£6.40] can be brought down to just 10 cents, which is very important in the developing world,” he added.

Another major shortcoming of traditional vaccines is that, because they are liquid, they need to be kept refrigerated between the lab and the clinic.

“Half of vaccines in Africa are not working properly because refrigeration has failed at some point in the chain,” said Dr Kendall.

When he told the TED audience that the vaccine for the nanopatch could be kept at 23C (73F) for up to a year, he elicited a huge round of applause.



This map of hatred in the United States – as determined by hateful language on twitter – makes it look like most of the hateful people are in the eastern US (both north and south). And maybe they are. But I think the fact that the West half of the country looks less hateful has more to do with the distribution of population than anything else. At least, I assume so.

Highest Paid Public Employees


An awesome map, showing, state-by-state, that the highest-paid public employees within each state are, almost always, football and basketball coaches at large public universities. Fascinating.