Fibonacci drawers in a cabinet


Guangzhou's Utopia Design created this Fibonacci Cabinet, whose drawers are scaled according to ratios from the Fibonacci sequence.

Fibonacci Cabint - 乌托邦建筑设计 - UTOPIA ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN: (via Neatorama)

Faulkner estate claims that quoting his novels in films is both a trademark and copyright infringement

A reader writes, "A character in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris quoted nine words from William Faulkner, with attribution. Faulkner Literary Rights LLC has responded a year later with a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement and attempts to deceive viewers into thinking Requiem for a Nun is a game for the PS3. Or something." The suit's major claims seem to turn on trademark (though there are copyright claims in there, too): the Faulkner estate claims that a movie that quotes Faulkner and has a character who meets various historical people (including Faulkner) "is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, and/or to deceive the infringing film's viewers as to a perceived affiliation, connection or association between William Faulkner and his works, on the one hand, and Sony, on the other hand." Cory

Commensense about ebooks

Joanna Cabot's An Open Letter to E-Book Retailers: Let’s have a return to common sense is just what you'd hope for from a post with a title like that: three commensensical points about ebooks, licensing and DRM that I generally agree with (though I quibble a little here and there). 1. If your button says "Buy this ebook," then I own it. 2. Ebooks are read by households, not devices or the users to whom they're registered. 3. It's not piracy to share the kids' ebooks you buy with your kids. (Thanks, Dan!) Cory

17 year old builds a tiny house on wheels

Austin Hay began to build himself a tiny house when he was 17 and planning to move out his parents' place. He's planning to take it to college and park it in someone's back yard or side yard. It's a snug little ship-shape thing, too:

Now, Hay is done with his house, and it looks beautiful and well-made and very, very tiny. He’s been living in the house instead of in his childhood bedroom, and he has it registered as a trailer, so he can drive it to college if he has somewhere to park it. This video combines two tours — an early one before the project was done, and a recent open house showing the finished home and its features.

This teen built his own tiny home so he could move out of his parents’ house (via Naked Capitalism)

Dinosaurs had cancer, too

I'm at the National Association of Science Writers conference this weekend and, in a panel on creating narrative in journalism, author George Johnson mentioned something absolutely fascinating. Johnson is currently writing a book about cancer and he told the audience a story about traveling out to see specimens that showed a metastasized cancer in the fossilized bones of a dinosaur.

I think Johnson just sold me a copy of his book, but I also wanted to look up this phenomenon right now. I'd honestly never heard of dinosaur cancer, but it turns out that there are several examples of this, including a fossilized brain tumor discovered in 2003. That said, there does seem to be some debate on the subject. While that brain tumor was found in the skull of a relative of the T. Rex, another study published the same year found that only duck-billed dinosaurs seemed to have had much of a risk of cancer. In that study, scientists x-rayed 10,000 specimens. They only found cancer in the duck-billed hadrosaurs.

Now, on the one hand, this might not be totally representative of all cancer risk. After all, what you're seeing in fossils are cancers of the bone, or cancers that have metastasized to the bone. On the other hand, if this is an accurate reflection of the nature of cancer in dinosaurs, it's a pretty interesting finding, which suggests that genetics played a huge role in determining which dinosaurs got cancer and which didn't. Either that, or duck-billed dinosaurs were exposed to some kind of environmental risk factor that didn't affect other species. (Which isn't a totally crazy idea. For instance, we know that hadrosaurs grazed heavily on conifers. And, according to the 2003 paper, they may have been the only dinosaurs who preferred that diet.)

There's lots of good stuff to read on this:
Read the full 2003 study on the epidemiology of cancer in dinosaurs
• In 1999, the same researchers published a short report on bone cancer in dinosaurs. You can read that online, too
• A 2007 paper compared rates of bone cancer in dinosaurs with those in modern vertebrates. According to this research, the rate of bone cancer hasn't changed.
• A 2010 paper looked at modern cancer treatments in the context of what we know about cancer in ancient times — both in dinosaurs and in human mummies

Edit: Yesterday, I said David Quammen was the author writing a book about cancer. That was incorrect. It is fixed now.

William Shatner schools a director

Here's a smashing recording of an commercial audio recording session with William Shatner. The director in the booth has lots of notes for Captain Kirk, and Kirk gives it to him, with astounding, passive-aggressive, brilliance.

Click through to hear (warning: autoplaying audio)

William Shatner Voice Session (Thanks, Mary!)

Read the rest

Accessories for boys

Turning to page 326, we find a selection of sartorial wonderments for boys. The hats, the rayon ties, the better quality rayon ties, the Jr Commander and Jr Tech lids... It's a lad's paradise!

Boys' Accessories

Caturday: Japanese cat in a box

A cat in a box, from shironekoshiro.

Long dinosaur is long

Diplodocus is a sauropod — one of those dinosaurs whose shape you probably associate with the name "brontosaurus". Except that Diplodocus was long. Really long. At an average length of 90 feet, it's longest dinosaur ever found. Also: It might have had spines up and down its neck. Check out this LiveScience piece by Kim Ann Zimmermann for more fun Diplodocus facts.

HOW TO: Fish in the desert

In the United Arab Emirates, a freshwater lake has appeared in the middle of the desert. The oasis is beautiful and full of life, and it's risen 35 feet since 2011. It's also probably accidentally man-made.

Hydrologists believe the lake formed from recycled drinking water (and toilet water). The nearby city of Al Ain pumps in desalinated sea water, uses it for drinking and flushing the toilet, cleans it in a sewage treatment plant, and then re-uses it to water plants. All of that water ends up in the soil and, at the lake site, it comes back up.

The water is clean, writes Ari Daniel Shapiro at NPR. Don't worry about that. Instead, the major side-effect of the lake is change, as scientists watch the desert ecosystem that used to exist on the site decline, and a new one rise to take its place. It's a great story that shows how complicated discussions about ecology can be. On the one hand, you're losing something valuable. At least in this one spot. On the other hand, you're definitely gaining something valuable, too.

"With every species that we lose, it's like rolling the dice. The whole ecosystem could crash down," Howarth says.

But Clark, with the U.S. Geological Survey, says he's not so worried about the desert ecosystem. He says the lake is tiny compared to the vast amount of desert in this part of the world. "If I look through the binoculars, there's, like, seven different kinds of herons. There's greater cormorants. There's ferruginous ducks, which are another very rare worldwide species," Clark says. "There's about 15 of them out here."

This year, three types of birds bred at this lake. They've never been able to breed before in the United Arab Emirates. But this lake, and the others like it, have changed all that. There are fish appearing in these lakes as well. Fish eggs cling to the feet and legs of the herons. So as the birds shuttle between old and new lakes, the eggs fall off and hatch. That's how you get fish in a desert.

Read the full story at NPR

Image: fish, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from wattsdave's photostream

Cory in Boston today for finale of the Pirate Cinema tour

Yo, Boston! Today is the last day of my Pirate Cinema tour (after this, I'll be touring complete) and I'm wrapping it up in Boston, the 18th city in 6 weeks, where I'll be appearing at the Boston Book Festival, on a 4:15 panel with MT Anderson, Rachel Cohn, and Gabrielle Zevin. Come on out and marvel at my haggard appearance, my wasted flesh, and my improbable uprightness! Cory