The community of Asbestos, Quebec has decided to rename itself. Now it's up to the residents to decide whether the town should be named Trois-Lacs, Apalone, Phénix or - wait for it - Jeffrey. Plus: on this National Cheeseburger Day, did you know there's an 1,800 pound burger on the menu at a place in Detroit?
Asbestos in Quebec Shortlists Four New Names to Get Fresh Start (Bloomberg)
World's Largest Burger Costs $8,000 (Food and Wine)
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A sensor developed at MIT uses a set of microneedles to push through packaging and determine whether the food inside is safe to eat, which could prevent food waste and help head off outbreaks of salmonella. Plus: did you know China is apparently home to several thousand glass footbridges, where you can walk across and see what's underneath?
Velcro-like food sensor detects spoilage and contamination (MIT)
Would You Walk on the World’s Longest Glass Bridge? (Hyperallergic)
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44 years ago today, Shavarsh Karapetyan, a finswimming champion in Armenia did something extraordinary, saving at least 20 passengers who were trapped in a trolleybus that had gone into a lake. Has anybody done a biopic about this guy yet? Plus: meet Mieko Nagaoka, who in April 2015 became the first 100-year old swimmer to finish the 1,500 meter freestyle.
The Plunge (Grantland)
100-year-old Japanese woman sets her own 1,500-metre freestyle swim record (The Guardian)
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The Cold Tube cools people off, similar to air conditioning, but using half the energy. Which sounds pretty cool. Plus: an experimental musician makes a delicious and funky new keyboard out of watermelon and kiwi.
Innovative personal cooling system uses half the energy of traditional AC (Anthropocene)
This is the Funkiest Sounding Watermelon You Will Ever Hear (The Sifter)
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A lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair just sold for $81,000 at auction, a reminder that a) people will pay lots of money for lots of things, and b) hair was a pretty important keepsake in the 19th century - people back then even made it into art. Plus: a couple in England decides to upgrade their garden, which the husband decides means installing a 12-foot statue of a T. rex.
The Curious Victorian Tradition of Making Art from Human Hair (Artsy)
Lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair sells for more than $81,000 (ABC News)
What a disat-saur! Husband shocks wife who suggested he liven up their garden by installing a 12-ft replica T-REX on the patio (Daily Mail)
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A study out of Ohio State University found that people who take acetaminophen, one of the most common over-the-counter painkillers, are apparently more willing to take risks. Plus: the story of a guy who ended up taking quite a risk by setting up a tent - he just didn’t know it at the time.
A pain reliever that alters perceptions of risk (Ohio State University)
How this Nova Scotia man ended up accidentally camping in the Atlantic Ocean (CBC)
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John Cage once wrote a score with the instructions that it be played "As Slow As Possible." So that's what an organ is doing in Germany, for more than 600 years. Plus: a YouTuber trains his cat to put out fires, sort of.
John Cage musical work changes chord for first time in seven years (BBC)
I Trained My Cat To Put Out Fires (William Osman on YouTube)
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On this day in 1947, a team working on a computer at Harvard University discovered the first computer bug: a moth that had gotten trapped in the electronics. Plus: today in 2005, a guy writes to Major League Baseball to get that expressed written consent they always talk about to rebroadcast or retransmit a game.
Sep 9, 1947 CE: World’s First Computer Bug (National Geographic)
Making Sure You Have Your Expressed Written Consent (Deadspin)
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A research project has built a handheld device modeled on Nintendo's Game Boy that gets its power from solar panels and the energy created by pushing buttons - no batteries necessary. Plus: a programmer has recreated the classic video game Doom inside an electronic pregnancy test. Technology is pretty versatile, isn't it?
Battery-free Game Boy runs forever (Northwestern University)
Programmer makes original Doom playable on pregnancy test (CNet)
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Computers and the Internet have changed so much of the world, but older technology that still has a home in the world and there are still people who still make it all work, like the family that runs the Gramercy Typewriter Company in Manhattan. Plus: sitting in a box of ice up to your shoulders may or may not be a job, but the guy who set the world record last week definitely worked.
Inside One of NYC’s Last Typewriter Stores (Untapped New York)
Chilling out: Austrian breaks record for standing in box of ice (Reuters)
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Research at the University of Oslo shows that humans have an almost unstoppable urge to start moving when the music starts - though, of course, some kinds of music and other factors can lead to more moving than others. Meanwhile, in Austin, Texas, you can (virtually) move through some of the city's most unusual houses through a virtual Weird Homes tour.
Not moving to dance music is nearly impossible, according to new research (University of Oslo via Medical Xpress)
2020 Austin Weird Homes Virtual Tour
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The strangeness of this year has been messing with our internal clocks and our sense of how days, weeks and months go. But sometimes it's good to rethink how we understand time, like though Tahoe Timescape, a project to take photographs over one thousand years. Plus: New York City is where King Kong ran wild in the movies, but a new statue could help rebuild the relationship between NYC and big apes.
Artist tries 1,000-year time lapse photo of Lake Tahoe (US News & World Report)
Photos: King Nyani, the Largest Bronze Gorilla Statue Arrives in NYC (Untapped New York)
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Decades ago researchers announced a Rembrandt painting was not actually by Rembrandt at all. But on Sunday, researchers said they'd looked again and the painting probably was an actual Rembrandt. There are lots of challenges to verifying whether a Rembrandt is really his work or just a simulation. Plus: an interactive online map of continental drift can show you where a town or city used to be hundreds of millions of years ago.
The Rembrandt Research Project: Past, Present, Future
A Supposedly Fake Rembrandt Might Just Be Real (Vanity Fair)
Map Lets You See How Your Hometown has Moved Across 750 Million Years of Continental Drift (Good News Network)
As a very unusual school year gets underway, here's the story of the Trapper Keeper, a school supply that made binders cool - at least for my generation. Plus: a 10 year old in Northern Ireland digs up some history before the school year even starts.
The History of the Trapper Keeper (Mental Floss)
Beginner's luck for 10-year-old metal detectorist (BBC)
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Autonomous vehicles need to learn how to avoid collisions. Locusts are really good at avoiding collisions. So a research project in Pennsylvania is modeling a new collision detection system on the way locusts get out of each other's way. Plus: there's an online community built around finding what businesses move into old Pizza Hut buildings after the Hut moves out.
Locust swarm could improve collision avoidance (Penn State University)
Hundreds of Pizza Huts Are Closing. What Happens to Those Weird Buildings? (The Daily Beast)
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In 1939 some ranchers in the West proposed taking parts out of Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana and creating a new state, called Absaroka. It never won approval from Congress but it did have its own license plates and beauty pageant. Plus: how come a spot in Tulsa is known as the center of the universe?
The State of Absaroka (South Dakota Magazine)
The Center of the Universe (Atlas Obscura)
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