Saturday, May 30, 2009
At 8:17 PM TONIGHT!!! What is it?
"For 15 minutes around sunset on two days this summer, the sun will set in exact alignment with the cross streets of Manhattan's street grid, making the city's towering buildings function something like a modern-day Stonehenge.
They call it Manhattanhenge."
Read more here and here.
Sorry for the late notice!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
UPDATE: A reader has informed us that this was a hoax. I can't find proof either way, but it's a nice idea, isn't it?
A high school student who goes by the alias "Kat Atreides" (she's either a big fan of Dune or Greek mythology) claims to have started an unusual library. Her strict school banned a long list of books, so she's decided to keep a selection of the titles in her locker to lend to her classmates.
She now has over 60 banned books available to her fellow students, including:
His Dark Materials
The Divine Comedy
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
The Holy Qu'ran
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Lord of the Flies
Bridge to Terabithia
The Brothers Grimm Unabridged Fairytales
What do you think? Is Kat a hero or a criminal? (I'm sure you know how I feel about this. Who bans the Brothers Grimm, anyway?)
Read the post that caught people's attention here.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Amy Stewart, author of Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities (which I plan to purchase as soon as I finish this post) is living my dream. In a plot of ground behind her house in California, she's growing her very own Poison Garden filled with killer plants such as hemlock, foxglove, jimson weed, and castor beans. She's even decorated her garden with tombstones, skulls, and half-buried books.
I'm so jealous I could spit. But at least I can visit the Stewart-inspired “Wicked Plants” exhibition that's coming soon to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I'll try not to nibble anything while I'm there.
Read more (and take a peek at Amy Stewart's garden) here.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
For several months, New Yorkers have been reporting sightings of a rather unusual beast. "Sad Panda," as he's called, has been showing up all over the city. He mopes around Wall Street. He pouts in front of FAO Schwarz. He rides the subway. (And in true New York fashion, he's generally ignored by his fellow passengers). He'll even offer tourists a melancholy hug.
Who IS this bear? No one seems to know. But apparently he accepts tips.
See a slide show (and read a few theories) here. (BTW, the tourists messing with the Wall Street bull are engaging in a rather distasteful tradition in which few New Yorkers would ever take part.)
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Liltomboyblue just asked an interesting question of all of us.
Should mean-spirited school gossip just be ignored--or does it need to be addressed?
Have you ever been the victim of nasty gossip? How did you deal with it? Did your parents or teachers help? Do you wish they had/hadn't?
Saturday, May 16, 2009
When I was in high school, the most a budding coroner could hope for was a frog or two to dissect. (Sorry amphibian lovers--it was all in the name of science.) But these days, there seems to be no shortage of dead things for students examine.
That's because forensic science classes have grown quite popular recently. Everyone wants to learn how to calculate a corpse's time of death based on the size of the maggots feeding on the body. (Sorry to be so gross, but isn't it wonderful?!?)
Students also learn how to analyze a body's stomach contents, make sense of blood splatters, and reconstruct car crashes.
Where do I sign up?
Read more here.
Friday, May 15, 2009
We all know what lies beneath New York. But is there anything cool to be found underneath New York Harbor? How about a freight train, a giraffe skeleton, $26 million in silver bars, ice cream trucks, and lots and lots of dead people!
(And of course, until recently, that airplane that landed on the Hudson River.)
Check out the whole list of underwater sites here. Though I wouldn't recommend hopping into your dive suit for a closer look. Apparently there's a whole lotta sewage floating around out there, too.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Some experts now believe that the awesome painting shown above was painted by Michelangelo when HE WAS TWELVE OR THIRTEEN.
How did he find the time? When I was thirteen, I was way too busy making my mother regret her decision to have children to create something so amazing.
Read more here.
Giant spiders are terrorizing the Australian town of Bowen. After heavy rains washed them out of their well-hidden homes, the normally reclusive eastern tarantulas (aka: "bird-eating spiders") started making quite a few public appearances.
The citizens of Bowen are justifiably concerned! No one wants to find a hairy, hissing (yes, they do that) six-inch-long spider in the garden. To make matters even worse, experts say the beasts ARE venomous. One bite from an eastern tarantula can kill a pet or make a human beg for mommy/mummy.
So I'm reaching out to all of our Australian readers. Do any of you have friends or family in Bowen? Any chance we could get a first-hand account of life in a town overrun by giant spiders?
Read more here.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
According to a Swiss art historian, the iconic bust of Queen Nefertiti (shown above) may be nothing but a modern fake!
Henri Stierlin's latest book claims that in 1912, a German archaeologist asked an artist to create the bust. The poor man never intended to perpetrate a hoax--he merely wanted to test some ancient pigments he'd uncovered at a dig. But when the work was praised by a German prince, the archaeologist couldn't bring himself to embarrass his guest by exposing the bust as a fake. As a result, Nefertiti ended up in a Berlin museum alongside a plaque that gave her age as 3,400 years old.
This is an astounding theory! The bust only recently underwent a series of scientific tests, which supposedly found a more "realistic" portrait of the queen hidden beneath the glamorous plaster exterior.
Read more here.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
A couple of you kindly alerted me to the photo shown above. (Thanks Nellie and Kiel!) Design student Sara Watson created her own "ninja car" by painting it to blend into it's environment. Cool--but what does it look like driving down the road? I'd like to see THAT.
On a somewhat related topic, I recently came across a list of the "Top Ten Myths about Ninjas." Though we've probably covered much of this information in earlier posts, I think ninjas are cool enough to merit the extra coverage. (They're certainly cooler than pirates--that's for sure.) And I was pleased to discover that while ninjas can't actually vanish, they CAN kill with a single touch. I'm packing my bags for ninja school!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Ann Arbor, Michigan, is apparently home to quite a few wee folk. How else would you explain the mysterious "fairy doors" that can be found all over town? (Tucked next to an otherwise unexceptional fireplace, perched high above a market entrance, or hidden in a library bookshelf.) No two tiny entrances are ever the same. They're all decorated in their own fashion, and sometimes you can even get a glimpse of the rooms beyond.
How lucky are the six-year-olds of Ann Arbor?
Check out dozens of fairy doors here, and read about the mastermind behind them here.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
(Above: Show off your sequins and carry a big stick.)
When a 17-year-old student was attacked by two muggers earlier this week, she whipped out her baton and left the men limping and bloody.
According to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Rust, "The moral to this story is don't mess with the marching band girls, or you just might get what you deserve."
Read more here.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
This week, while everyone was freaking out about the swine flu, I had bigger fears to face. What's scarier than swine flu, you ask? ZOMBIE SPIDERS.
I can't tell you how many times I've disposed of spiders in the toilet. Now I learn that those creepy little arachnids could have returned from the dead to seek their revenge! The horror!
Scientists have discovered that some spider species are "resistant to drowning." What does this mean? It means they can spend up to 36 hours underwater, looking completely lifeless. But let them dry off and a few hours later they're twitching back to life!
This is the stuff of nightmares, people. Zombie spiders crawling out of the toilet and taking their revenge on one's most private parts. Eeeek! It's worse than having to ride the subway during a flu epidemic!
Read more here.