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Catwoman On A Coin!

Catwoman Coin

Tales You Lose is a creative art project by Frankfurt-based Brazilian designer Andre Levy (aka zhion) that started on Instagram. The unconventional artist began painting over the figures on various international coins collected from his travels, transforming presidents and monarchs into pop culture icons. The ongoing series features anyone from Cat Woman and Wolverine to Cinderella and Ronald McDonald.

More at My Modern Met

There Are Only 10 Types Of Smells

Smell

From fruity to minty to popcorn-y, all smells can be classified as one of 10 types of aroma, scientists say.

Taste, vision and hearing can be quantified, but a systematic description of smell has remained elusive. Now, researchers have used mathematics to describe odors systematically and simplify them into 10 categories: fragrant, woody/resinous, fruity (non-citrus), chemical, minty/peppermint, sweet, popcorn, lemon, pungent and decayed.

More at LiveScience

What Happens When You Mix Silly Putty And Sand?

Silly Putty And Sand

Denmark may have the lockdown on Lego, but a neighboring country is also producing something children can use to build things: Sand. No ordinary sand, of course. A company called Delta of Sweden, which manufactures modeling compounds for use in the educational, medical, therapeutic and arts & crafts markets, has an invention called Deltasand.

More at Core77

Massive Music Piracy Plunge Fails To Halt Decline In Sales

Music Piracy

For more than a decade the music industry has attributed a massive decline in sales to music piracy. However, in a week where a report from the UK telecoms regulator indicated that piracy has plunged, no industry press releases hit the wire. Perhaps that’s because the effect on sales appears to be non-existent? In fact, the same research shows once again that those who download without permission tend to spend more on music than those who don’t.

The majority of the reports and press releases put out by music industry groups over the past several years can be summarized in a few words: “Piracy is evil and we lose a lot of money because of it.” On the other side, however, numerous studies have also shown that on average file-sharers spend more money on legal purchases, whether it’s music or box office tickets. The most logical explanation for this finding is that “pirates” are more engaged than those who don’t share, and that they complement their legal purchases with unauthorized downloads.

More at TorrentFreak

The Zombie Ant And The Fungus That Controls Its Mind

Zombie Ant

The zombie is a simple creature with simple tastes, enjoying leisurely walks on the beach, dining out with hordes of its friends, and every now and then having a good tumble down a flight of stairs. It behaves this way because the pathogen that has infected it doesn’t require complex behaviors in order to replicate — it commands a hungry, nearly indestructible vessel that can walk it right up to its next potential host.

But on our planet there exist zombified ants that undergo a decidedly more complex, and more disturbing, transformation at the hands of highly sophisticated parasitic fungi that assume control of the insects’ minds. What ensues between a host and a parasite with no brain of its own is a battle that is far stranger and far more methodical than anything ever dreamed up by Hollywood. (The zombifying fungus that attacks humans in the videogame The Last of Us comes close, but its real-life counterpart is much, much weirder. And you don’t have to pay 60 bucks to see it, which is nice.)

More at Wired

How Being Poor Makes You Poor

Web

Why are the rich rich and the poor poor? It’s a question that gets asked a lot, and a question we should continue asking.

Do the wealthy simply work harder and for longer hours? Are they more willing to take risks and make sacrifices, while the destitute tend to sleep in past 10:00 a.m. and splurge all their cash on Cool Ranch Doritos Tacos from Taco Bell? Or is it more circumstantial—meaning, are the haves forged in homes where education is valued and opportunity abundant, while the have nots come from generation after generation of just scraping by?

According to the BBC, income inequality in the U.S. has grown for nearly three decades, and in 2012 this disparity reached record-breaking proportions when the top one percent of U.S. earners collected 19.3 percent of all household income. For some policymakers and members of the public, this is a problem—and it’s a problem that cannot properly be addressed without examining both the personal and systemic reasons for why some end up so rich while others end up so poor.

More at Pacific Standard

Expressive Digital Illustrations That Tell Surreal Stories

Christian Schloe

These surreal scenes by Christian Schloe feature bizarre moments that draw viewers out of a concrete reality and into a dreamy, fictional world. In his work, the digital artist creates expressive visual stories filled with soft color palettes, elegant birds and butterflies, soft flower petals, and otherworldly, majestic landscapes. The illusion of a scratched canvas and worn, aged edges allude to a different time and place where a howling wolf is half human, half animal; a couple dances among the clouds; and a young girl collects drops of moonlight in a bowl.

More at My Modern Met

The Most Underrated Sense

Fingers

“Touch is probably our most underrated sense,” said psychologist Martin Arvidsson of Stockhom University in Sweden, whose research team has found that humans can perceive even smaller changes in surfaces than previously believed. Touch matters, Arvidsson said.

He points to the importance of touch in understanding others: “Babies explore the world through touch and find comfort in human contact. The need for touch does not go away with age either: Think about affectionate touch such as hugs and kisses or sex.” It can even be important in getting a job.

More at National Geographic

The Concept That Helps To Explain Why Tetris Is So Addictive

Tetris

You never know when a casual lunch may make you famous. One day in 1927, the psychologist Kurt Lewin was finishing up a meal with colleagues, and called the waiter over to ask for the bill. The waiter unhesitatingly told them how much they owed. A few minutes later, on a hunch, Lewin called him back and asked how much their bill had been. Now, the waiter had no idea. Intrigued, Lewin’s colleague Bluma Zeigarnik ran some experiments back at her lab.

She got people to perform a batch of little tasks, like solving puzzles, and interrupted some of them halfway through. Then she asked all the subjects which activities they remembered. Her conclusion was that people tend to remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed ones—an observation now widely known as the Zeigarnik effect.

More at Pacific Standard

The Dark Side Of Peter Pan

Peter Pan

“All children except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up …this is the beginning of the end.” The first paragraph of James Barrie’s classic story, Peter Pan, introduced its central theme. It sounds innocent, but a look at Barrie’s life gives it a more sinister twist.

“All of James Barrie’s life led up to the creation of Peter Pan,” wrote one of his biographers.

A pivotal point came in 1866 when Barrie, the youngest in a Scottish family of ten children, was six: his brother David, the pride of the family, died in a skating accident. Barrie’s mother was devastated. To comfort her, little James began imitating David’s mannerisms and mimicking his speech. This bizarre charade went on for years… and only got weirder: when James reached 13, the age at which David had died, he literally stopped growing. He never stood taller than 5′, and didn’t shave until he was 24. He always had a thin, high-pitched voice.

More at Neatorama