That's Interesting

  • How the Internet Archive Digitizes 3,500 Books a Day – the Hard Way, One Page at a Time

    Does turning the pages of an old book excite you? How about 3 million pages? That’s how many pages Eliza Zhang has scanned over her ten years with the Internet Archive, using Scribe, a specialized scanning machine invented by Archive engineers over 15 years ago.

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  • Applying insights from magic to improve deception in research: The Swiss cheese model

    Social psychologists, placebo scientists, and consumer researchers often require deception in their studies, yet they receive little training on how to deceive effectively.  The field of magic offers a potential solution; magicians have deceived audiences for millennia using a variety of robust techniques.

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  • The Strange Costumes of the Plague Doctors Who Treated 17th Century Victims of the Bubonic Plague

    In the 17th and 18th centuries,with the bubonic plague sweeping Europe, plague doctors wandered towns and countryside in a “fanciful-looking costume [that] typically consisted of a head-to-toe leather or wax-canvas garment,” writes the Public Domain Review, “large crystal glasses; and a long snout or bird beak, containing aromatic spices (such as camphor, mint, cloves, and myrrh), dried flowers (such as roses or carnations), or a vinegar sponge.”

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  • Inside Baikonur, Kazakhstan’s Gateway To Space

    As liftoff nears for the first astronauts launched from U.S. soil since 2011, we take a look at the Soviet-built cosmodrome that sent more than a dozen NASA astronauts into orbit.

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  • Music Is Truly a Universal Language: New Research Shows That Music Worldwide Has Important Commonalities

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s description of music as a universal language has become a well-worn cliché, usually uttered in a sentimental and not particularly serious way.  In the sciences, the “universal language” hypothesis in music has been taken far more seriously.

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  • Isaac Newton Conceived of His Most Groundbreaking Ideas During the Great Plague of 1665

    Health experts worldwide say home is the best place to be right now to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Many lifesaving discoveries have been made in the wake of epidemics, such as Shakespeare, who wrote some of his best works during outbreaks of plague in London.  But the best role model of productivity in a time of quarantine, is perhaps Isaac Newton.  During the years 1665-67, the time of the Great Plague of London, Newton’s “genius was unleashed,” writes biographer Philip Steele. “The precious material that resulted was a new understanding of the world.”

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  • Plastics Watch: China to Ban Single-Use Plastics, Malaysia Rejects Waste Shipments

    China announced it intends to implement a sweeping back on single-use plastics; China now has a more progressive plastics policy than does the United States.

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  • The future of software engineering

    “Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott on the future of software engineering and the better world ahead”

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  • Carting Lane Sewer Lamp

    “By the end of the 19th century, London was trying to shed its reputation as a stinky cesspool.”

    “Patented by British engineer Joseph Edmund Webb in the 1890s, the so-called “sewer gas destructor lamps” were designed to extract gases from the pipes and burn them off at high heat.”

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  • Outside: Alternative Meat Industry

    Article on the alternative meat industry – where it had come from and where it might be heading.


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