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Why People Keep Trying To Erase The Hollywood Sign From Google Maps

Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Sign might be one of the most recognizable things on Earth. In Los Angeles, it’s also one of the most visible. You can see it from a plane as you glide into LAX. You can see it from a car as you drive up the 101 freeway. But a group of people who live near the sign are trying to hide it, even as it looms in the hills, in plain sight. By removing it from Google Maps.

More at Gizmodo

The History Of Fire

flames background

Herakleitos famously observed that everything is change, and more specifically concluded that all things are an exchange for fire, and fire for all things. For him fire was a metaphor for dynamism. Fire changed matter. It moved: fast or slow, the world burned, and that burning accounted for Earth’s ceaseless motions.

By the nineteenth century, modern science had demystified fire. Energy replaced fire as a universal medium, and scientists reconceptualized flame as form of oxidation, a subset of physical chemistry. But the notion of fire as a motive power endured. Slow combustion in the form of respiration powered the living world. Fast combustion in the guise of flames transmuted landscapes. And internal combustion within mechanical chambers powered the industrial revolution.

More at The Appendix

The Unproven Science That Could Propel Our Children Into Space

Space Travel

Ever since I was old enough to read science fiction, I’ve wanted to visit Mars. Even the Moon would be better than nothing. Alas, rocket technology is unlikely to take me there within my lifetime.

The problem is that rockets are a poor tool for the job. Even if their safety record improves, they are inherently limited by the basic concept of reaction mass. Hot gases must blast out of the rear in order to move a space vehicle forward, and this entails carrying a fuel load that is hundreds of times heavier than the payload.

More at Boing Boing

Why Are So Many People Paying So Much For Art?

Banksy Vs Hirst

Very important people line up differently from you and me. They don’t want to stand behind anyone else, or to acknowledge wanting something that can’t immediately be had. If there’s a door they’re eager to pass through, and hundreds of equally or even more important people are there, too, they get as close to the door as they can, claim a patch of available space as though it had been reserved for them, and maintain enough distance to pretend that they are not in a line.

Prior to the official opening of Art Basel, the annual fair in Switzerland, there is a two-day V.I.P. preview. In many respects, the preview is the fair. It’s when the collectors who can afford the good stuff are allowed in to buy it. After those two days, there isn’t much left for sale, and it becomes less a fair than a kind of pop-up museum, as the V.I.P.s, many of whom have come to Basel from the Biennale in Venice, continue on, perhaps to London for the auctions there. The international art circuit can be gruelling, which is why pretty much everyone who participates in it takes off the month of August, to recuperate.

More at The New Yorker

How Climate Change Will End Wine As We Know It

Oregon Wine Grape Harvest

“All the grapes were ripening at once,” Wendy Cameron recalls of the harvest that was the wake-up call.

Cameron is head winemaker at Brown Brothers, one of Australia’s largest and oldest wine producers. In her 16 years there, Cameron had seen changes — hotter summers, harvest dates inching earlier. While heat waves aren’t unheard of in Australia, the one they had during the late summer of 2008 was unlike anything she’d ever seen: It was over 105 degrees for 10 days straight.

More at BuzzFeed

The Proton And Neutron Just Got Two Brand New Subatomic Cousins

Hadron Collider

Using the same massive particle accelerator that found the elusive Higgs Boson in 2012, physicists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) announced that they discovered two new “heavy-weight” subatomic particles on Wednesday.

The LHC is a 17-mile long underground “racetrack” that accelerates two opposing beams of particles to speeds of 99.9999 percent the speed of light. The particles race around the LHC on a crash course, and when they collide, the temperatures soar to more than 100,000 times hotter than the center of the sun. At heats this extreme, the particles transform into a primordial form of matter known–in not-quite-technical terms–as a “subatomic soup.”

More at The Atlantic

Your Brain Can’t Handle The Moon

Moon On The Horizon

What is this new theory?” the long-retired New York University cognitive psychologist, Lloyd Kaufman, asked me. We were sitting behind the wooden desk of his cozy home office. He had a stack of all his papers on the moon illusion, freshly printed, waiting for me on the adjacent futon. But I couldn’t think of a better way to start our discussion than to have him respond to the latest thesis claiming to explain what has gone, for thousands of years, unexplained: Why does the moon look bigger when it’s near the horizon?

More at Nautilus

Catholics Are Going to Freak When We Find Aliens


Once, a long time ago, while partaking in an activity that is now legal in Washington and Colorado, I got stuck on one hell of a deep question: What would happen to the world’s religions if we made contact with alien life? Would leaders tweak their theology in the face of the revelation that humans are no more unique than a particularly resilient strain of mold? Or would the pious see that their scriptures were bullshit and riot in the streets with nothing left to live for?

More at Vice

Is It Wrong Not To Accept The Nobel Prize?

Nobel Prize

If the members of the Nobel Academy felt slighted when Jean-Paul Sartre rejected their prize 50 years ago, they didn’t show it. The Academy set out the dinner plates and made their speeches anyway — without the philosopher. The 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature, announced Anders Österling — longtime member of the Swedish Academy, and a writer himself — was being given to “the French writer Jean-Paul Sartre for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has exerted a far-reaching influence on our age.”

More at The Smart Set

Why Did A Ghost Hunter Stab Himself Inside A Famous Axe Murder House?

Villisca Axe Murder House

On November 7, a visitor to the world-renowned Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa, was rushed to a nearby hospital after being found with a self-inflicted stab wound to his chest. The house is a familiar site to paranormal investigators, who have ​proclaimed it to be one of the most haunted places in America following the 1912 murders of six children and two adults whose skulls were crushed while they slept in their beds. The crime was never solved, and visitors to the house regularly report emotional, physical, and supernatural disturbances during their overnight visits.

More at Vice