Renting a read from ‘newspaper landlords’

Do you want to read the news but don’t want to pay for the newspaper? Rent one.

Entrepreneurs in Ethiopia rent out newspapers to people for a small fraction of the price that it costs to buy them.  Apparently most of the people renting them aren’t looking for news, but are looking for jobs in the vacancy section.

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Hungry for justice

This article reports Israeli research that shows that judges are far more likely to give prisoners parole (let them out of jail) straight after they have taken a break. The research looks at all factors that might cause this to happen and concludes that the only explanation is that when judges are hungry and tired, they take the easy way out and don’t let the prisoner our of jail – much less paper work that way, and an earlier break and snack! The researchers don’t say that this is intentional, but simply that our seemly conscious decisions are often decided by our physiological needs.

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Tsunami’s aren’t new

…but I guess you knew that.

This article describes old stone tablets up to 600 years old in Japan that act as warnings against tsunamis. Some are built inland or up hills to mark how far away from the sea houses should be built, and others just remind people to immediately get away from the coast when there is an earthquake.

And here are a collection of pictures – cartoons? – from the mid-19th century, with catfish representing a tsunami that hit Tokyo.

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Best pranks of the last 100 years

It’s a bit late for April Fool’s day to copy them, but this video tells of some of the best pranks of the past 100 years.

 

This one, about the loudest sounds ever made, is from the same people.

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Caveman: An Interview

What would life be like without a clock? Or more than that, what would it be like without the sun to even tell you if it was daytime or night time?

In 1962, Michel Siffre descended into a cave for two months to find out what would happen. His natural day lasted 24 1/2 hours – not a huge change – but other strange things happened, like five minutes feeling like two. He repeated the experiment with different people and himself and found that some people adopted a 48 hour day without even realising it, and one man slept for 33 hours non-stop. What I find most interesting is that most of these people couldn’t tell that their routines were changing so much.

This interview with Siffre gives a summary of these experiments, which are now famous for investigating how we sleep and measure time.

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Your brain signals can drive how the movie ends

Did you read pick-a-path stories when you were a kid? These are the books where you can decide what the character should do next, and turn to a different page for each possible action?

Now we have pick-a-path movies. This article from the New Scientist describes a new type of headset that literally reads your mind and changes what happens in the movie according to what you want to happen next. If you want the character to fall in love  and live happily ever after, they will. If you want the romance to end (far more interesting, I say!), it will.

But should movies only do what you want them to? And what happens if two people want to watch the same film?!

 

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I ain’t gonna pee pee my bed tonight

I had no idea what on Earth I was watching when I first watched this video, but it’s strangely catchy and addictive. The singing, dancing, age of the people, the clothes and the lyrics seem like they shouldn’t go together, but they do in a hilarious way.

The Wikipedia article on the family is pretty interesting as an example of a family who decided to live an alternative lifestyle. It tells us that the mum and dad in this family moved to Spain from the US in the mid-1960s, and after their kids had grown old enough, 10 years later, they made a family band. They were apparently very successful from the 1970s to the 1990s.

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