29 August 2015

Abdul and his daughter

The photos above were posted on Twitter by Gissur Simonarson. They depict Abdul, a single father with two children, and his daughter Reem, who is four.  They are Palestinian Syrians from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus.  He is selling pens in an effort to support his family.

The photographer was swamped with offers to help the family, so he set up an Indiegogo account for them, which has now raised over $100,000 in 2 days.

Discussed at the Uplifting News subreddit.

Gissur Simonarson's twitter feed is here.  Warning: contains graphic images of war, including battlefield casualties and bloodied and dead children.

Refugee family at Hungarian-Serbian border

One of the "best photos of the week" at the Washington Post

Photo credit Csaba Segesvari/AFP/Getty Images [cropped for size].

28 August 2015

"Traverse board" for navigating at sea

The rounded top of the board bore a painted 32-point compass pattern. Each point featured a line of eight holes radiating from the center of a circle. The lower, square portion of the board had horizontal lines of holes under columns that represented the speed of the ship in knots.

During each standard four-hour watch, the crew measured the ship’s speed and direction eight times, every half hour, and recorded them using pegs: direction under the appropriate compass point on the rounded top; speed along the bottom. After each watch, the navigator collected the data, logged it, plotted it on a chart, cleared the board, and then began the process again.
The boards were widely used throughout Europe and Scandinavia from the late 15th century until the mid-19th century.
More information at Hakai Magazine.

Photo credit: Gjalt Kemp Scheepsantiek/ships-antiques.com

A tinfoil-wrapped house for those worried about mind control

A more prosaic explanation is offered at Nothing To Do With Arbroath.


More examples at The Telegraph's gallery of mistranslated Chinese phrases.

"So volatile that a mosquito landing on it will make it explode"

 This is why you won't find any nitrogen triiodide sitting around in the woods of northern Minnesota.

Popularity: Sanders 2016 = Obama 2008

Discussed in a thread at the Data Is Beautiful subreddit.

It's not the Spanish Armanda...

Can you guess what the unusual formations are in this nanosatellite photo? (The area being imaged is the Myeongnyang Strait - if that helps...)

Which brings us to the subject of "nanosatellites" -
On Nov. 26, 2013, Planet Labs, a private start-up company of San Francisco, CA, announced that it successfully launched its most recent nanosatellites, Dove 3 and Dove 4, into orbit on a Dnepr vehicle (launch on Nov. 21, 2013 from the Yasny Cosmodrome, Russia), completing a series of four prototype nanosatellites in 2013. Those proved successful, enabling the company to quickly follow up with the production of a 28-member network. The launch of Planet Labs' "Flock 1" fleet of 28 nanosatellites in December/January, which will be the largest constellation of Earth-imaging satellites ever launched...

Their "Dove" nanosatellites are meant to be low-cost and rapidly deployable, and capable of taking pictures of Earth that provide a spatial resolution of 3-5 m. — On March 17, 2014, Planet Labs announced that it has confirmed launches for more than 100 satellites over the next 12 months. This full constellation of nanosatellites will allow Planet Labs to image the entire Earth every day
It's hard for me to wrap my mind around the concept that technology and data processing have progressed to the point that it is now possible to image the entire planet Earth every day at a resolution of a couple meters.

The answer to the initial question, btw, is at the link.

27 August 2015


Via Bad Newspaper, where there is always something funny.

Have you purchased Starkist tuna?

If so, you may be eligible to participate in one of those class-action lawsuits where the claimants get a pittance and the attorneys get rich:
If you’re a resident of the United States and bought at least one five-ounce can of any of these tunas from Starkist between February 19, 2009 and October 31, 2014, you’re eligible to file a claim...

As often happens with class actions for small items, they’re assuming that you haven’t saved your last five years’ worth of grocery receipts. They’re asking consumers to say on penalty of perjury when they file a claim that they have, indeed, purchased tuna during the period covered by the suit.  
More details and a link to the website for submitting a claim at Consumerist.

25 August 2015

Long-tailed broadbill

Photo credit, via Wikipedia.

This dog can sniff the location of hidden flash drives

Bear, you see, is no ordinary dog. He's able to sniff out things that most people may not even realize have a scent... During a police raid on Fogle's home in July, investigators seized multiple smartphones, MP3 players, tablets, laptops, CDs, memory cards and drives. But there was one crucial piece of evidence that would have gone undiscovered if it weren't for Bear and his incredible sense of smell. The dog, say prosecutors, was able to track down a flash drive Fogle had hidden that contained data important to the investigation. As it turns out, the rambunctious black Lab is one of only four K9 units in the country who has been specially trained to detect the smell of electronic storage devices. "Bear is unique because he can sniff out SD cards, thumb drives, external hard drives, iPads and micro SD cards..."
Image cropped for size from the original.

Ann Coulter "feels the Bern"

Republican support for Bernie Sanders is not quite the counterpart of Democrats cheering on Donald Trump.  The latter phenomenon is readily understandable as a desire to see Trump wreak havoc in the Republican primary process.

Republicans for Bernie Sanders apparently are quite different - they seem to actually like him.
"Despite its reputation as a place filled with liberal hippies, Vermont, like most of rural northern New England, is home to a lot of conservatives... Anyone running for statewide office there needs to win these conservatives’ votes, and Bernie is great at doing that... And as NPR’s “Morning Edition” found out last year, some of Bernie’s biggest fans are in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, the poorest and most conservative part of the state.  It’s people from the Northeast Kingdom who’ve overwhelmingly elected Bernie to almost 20 years in Congress and two straight terms as senator..."
On a recent appearance on Lou Dobbs Tonight, Ann Coulder expressed the situation this way:
I wish Fox News would go a little easier on Hillary Clinton. She’s the one we want to run against. Could you guys just back off? Because I feel like I’m living through this, I feel like this is déjà vu again. We used to say, ‘Oh, the next president isn’t going to be a guy named Barack Hussein Obama.’ Our next president could be Sen. Bernie Sanders, if you people keep this up.

Rhino rescues a zebra foal entrapped in a mudhole

The rhino bull, after being rebuffed by the cows numerous times, made his way down to the water and near to the muddy patch the foal was stuck in. The rhino started to prod the zebra with his horn out of curiosity. After a while he grew impatient and lifted the body out. The foal, still being alive but very weak, could only lift its head out of the mud. The rhino lifted the foal so quickly that it had no time to react. The rhino then dropped the foal and moved off.
More details about the encounter and its unfortunate outcome at Africa Geographic.

Treasure found in waist-deep water close to shore

I am so jealous...
Bartlett and the 1715 Fleet Queens Jewels Salvage Crew counted more than 300 gold coins valued at four point five million dollars. The larger coins-- called Royals-- tell an important story of the past. Royals were specifically made for King Phillip V and are  incredibly rare.  There were only 20 or so known to exist in the world before the crew found these 9.
The photo is a screencap from the video at the link, which I've posted to show how close the treasure was to shore and that it was within walking distance of hotels further down the shore in Vero Beach.

In other news, a metal detectorist in Germany has found a hoard of Nazi-era gold valued at €45,000.

And... two men claim to have found one of the legendary Nazi treasure trains.   "...the train might hold up to 300 tons of gold... (but)...There are reasons to doubt the existence of this mythical gold filled Nazi train..."  And if it does exist, there is a high probability that it is protected with land mines.
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