The wall surrounding Oxford Castle has anti-climb paint on it. At least that is what this ominous sign warned me of as I walked past it late one Friday night while I was stranded under the ash cloud. Of course, the rock climber in me was tempted to climb the forbidden wall; a few seconds later, the cops were yelling at me to get down, and I had to apologize so they wouldn't arrest me. "What is anti-climb paint, anyway?" I asked them as I ducked away into the darkness. "Does it work?" After all, I did get up the wall without much of a problem.
The cops (who weren't really that mad) told me that anti-climb paint is kind of like pigeon glue; it has a long-lasting viscosity that makes surfaces sticky, slippery, and just plain unpleasant to perch on. It also sticks to human skin, so back in the day you'd be able to identify burglary attempts by checking the suspects' fingers. But, they said, "it might not be working anymore"; it's been a long time since people actually tried to break into Oxford Castle, which is now a tourist destination.
Despite Trump’s denial of climate change the the ghastly attacks on climate science and mitigation in the new proposed budget, the Carbon Bubble — which overprices hydrocarbons and the industries that rely on them, as though we’ll be burning all of them with impunity — is about to pop.
South American polka dot tree frogs are pretty cool, but Julián Faivovich and Carlos Taboada found out they are even cooler when an ultraviolet flashlight is trained on them. They fluoresce. Many animals can see beyond the spectrum visible to humans, and these frogs adapted with this trait. From the abstract: Fluorescence, the absorption of […]
A small (51 men aged 24 +/- 3 years) study published in Neuron tasked experimental subjects with practicing the ancient Greek mnemonic technique of “memory palaces” and then scanned their brains with functional magnetic resonance imaging, comparing the scans to scans from competitive “memory athletes” and also measuring their performance on memorization tasks.
The Lightning port has thus far resisted the cruel fate that befell the headphone jack, and despite rumors that it may be disappearing come iPhone 8, for the present and foreseeable future, Lightning cables are a hot commodity for iPhone users. As such, we must make do in this strange time in which long, glorified […]
All the filters in the world won’t save your smartphone pics from a shaky hand. To really step up your mobile photography game, you’ll need some kind of mount to hold it steady. You could buy a smartphone attachment for a conventional camera tripod, but who wants to carry that kind of gear everywhere they […]
The forced transition from analog to digital TV signals was probably met with relative indifference from people with Netflix subscriptions and the “I don’t even own a TV” snoots. But anyone living in the vast swaths of the country that don’t have guaranteed high-speed internet, broadcast TV is a perfectly valid (and 100% free) way […]