Monthly Archives: February 2017

Jevons Paradox

In economics, the Jevons paradox occurs when technological progress increases the efficiency with which a resource is used, but the rate of consumption of that resource rises because of increasing demand.

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The Cure for Insomnia

At 5,220 minutes long (87 hours, or 3 days and 15 hours) in length, the film has no plot, instead consisting of artist L. D. Groban reading his 4,080-page poem “A Cure for Insomnia” over the course of three and a half days, spliced with occasional clips from heavy metal and pornographic videos.

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Axolotl

In some cases, axolotls have been known to repair a damaged limb, as well as regenerating an additional one, ending up with an extra appendage that makes them attractive to pet owners as a novelty.

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Oliver Cromwell’s Head

Cromwell’s head remained on a spike above Westminster Hall until the late 1680s, not counting a temporary removal for roof maintenance in 1681.

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Big Rip

In the last minutes, stars and planets would be torn apart, and an extremely short amount of time before the Big Rip, atoms would be destroyed. At the time the Big Rip occurs, the scale factor will be infinity.

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Bicycle Infantry

During World War I cycle-mounted infantry, scouts, messengers and ambulance carriers were extensively used by all combatants.

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Metal Umlaut

A metal umlaut (also known as röck döts) is a diacritic that is sometimes used gratuitously or decoratively over letters in the names of hard rock or heavy metal bands—for example those of Blue Öyster Cult, Queensrÿche, Motörhead, The Accüsed and Mötley Crüe.

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Jack Churchill

Lieutenant-Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming “Mad Jack” Churchill was a British Army officer who fought throughout the Second World War armed with a longbow, bagpipes, and a basket-hilted Scottish broadsword.

He is known for the motto: “Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.” It is claimed that Churchill also carried out the last recorded longbow and arrow killing in action.

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Catatumbo Lightning

Catatumbo lightning is an atmospheric phenomenon in Venezuela. It occurs only over the mouth of the Catatumbo River where it empties into Lake Maracaibo.

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Gorgoneion

In Ancient Greece, the Gorgoneion was a special apotropaic amulet showing the Gorgon head, used most famously by the Olympian deities Athena and Zeus: both are said to have worn the gorgoneion as a protective pendant.

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Sousveillance

Sousveillance is the recording of an activity by a participant in the activity, typically by way of small wearable or portable personal technologies.

In this sense it is possible to replace the Panoptic God’s eye view of surveillance with a more community-building ubiquitous personal experience capture. Crimes, for example, might then be solved by way of collaboration among the citizenry rather than through the watching over the citizenry from above.

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Wat Arun

The temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna, often personified as the radiations of the rising sun.

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Macaroni

“There is indeed a kind of animal, neither male nor female, a thing of the neuter gender, lately started up among us. It is called a macaroni. It talks without meaning, it smiles without pleasantry, it eats without appetite, it rides without exercise, it wenches without passion.”

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Nephilim

The nephilim (Hebrew: נְפִילִים‎, sing. נָפִיל‎, Naphíl or Naphil) were offspring of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” before the Deluge.

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The All-Joking, All-Drunken Synod of Fools and Jesters

The All-Joking, All-Drunken Synod of Fools and Jesters (1692–1725) was a club founded by Peter I of Russia. The group included many of Peter’s closest friends, and its activities centered mostly around drinking and partying.

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Gee-haw Whammy Diddle

A gee-haw whammy diddle is a mechanical toy consisting of two wooden sticks.  Gee-haw refers to the fact that, by rubbing your finger against the notched stick while rubbing, the direction of the spinning propeller may be reversed. The operator may do this surreptitiously and yell “gee” or “haw” to make it appear that the propeller is reacting to the commands. If you call it a hooey stick, you would yell “hooey” each time you want the direction to change.

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The Defenestrations of Prague

The Defenestrations of Prague were two incidents in the history of Bohemia in which multiple people were defenestrated (i.e., thrown out a window).   Each helped to trigger prolonged conflict, within Bohemia and beyond.

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Mamihlapinatapai

It refers to “a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other would initiate something that they both desire but which neither wants to begin.”

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The Banach–Tarski Paradox

The Banach–Tarski paradox is a theorem in set-theoretic geometry, which states the following: Given a solid ball in 3 dimensional space, there exists a decomposition of the ball into a finite number of disjoint subsets, which can then be put back together in a different way to yield two identical copies of the original ball.

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Robert Liston

Amputated a leg in under 2 and 1/2 minutes. He amputated in addition the fingers of his young assistant. He also slashed through the coat tails of a distinguished surgical spectator, who was so terrified that the knife had pierced his vitals he dropped dead from fright.

That was the only operation in history with a 300 percent mortality.

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