Forced internment of British civilians during World War II

Something I didn't know about world history: During World War II, the British government rounded up thousands of its own citizens — people of German, Austrian, or Italian ancestry. Some were put into camps, others deported to Canada and Australia. Others were simply labeled as potential enemies and spied upon. The really crazy part: Many of these people were Jewish refugees who had become citizens of Britain in order to get away from the Nazis. (Via Carol Roth) Read the rest

Cosmically speaking, we are over the hill

This entire universe is nearing the point where it's time to throw it a party full of black balloons and cheap Grim Reaper decorations, according to recent research by an international team of astronomers. They studied the rate at which stars are born and found that that rate is declining. In fact, most of the stars that will ever exist already do. We're only likely to increase the total by about 5% between now and the end of everything. So, you know. Have a great rest of your day. Read the rest

The world's most disgusting Russian nesting dolls

Here's a headline for you — Worse than sex parasite: Sex parasite with virus. Yes, trichomonas (a sexually transmitted parasite that you've probably never been tested for), can actually harbor its own diseases. When infected with a virus — dubbed trichomonasvirus — trichomonas becomes even worse. Kill it, and it releases the virus, which causes inflammation and can actually lead to worse side-effects for infected people. (Via Charles Q. Choi) Read the rest

An interstellar bummer

I recently found out that, in 2050, when I am 69 years old, the Voyager 1 space craft will finally reach a distance of one single light-day away from the Earth.

Light will reach that point in 24 hours. A man-made jumble of electronics will have taken 73 years. At that rate, it'll be more than 26,000 years before Voyager has traveled a light-year away from us.

The nearest star is more than 4 light-years away. (And also in the wrong direction.)

These facts were making me feel a little overwhelmed and strangely sad. Reader David Radune on Google+ captured those feelings perfectly, in one sentence,"I don't think we're ever getting off this rock." Read the rest

Human disease kills coral

In news that would be completely fascinating, were it not so damn depressing: One of the causes behind Caribbean coral die-offs seems to be a bacteria, spread from humans to the coral through sewage. It's the first time that a human disease has ever been shown to kill an invertebrate. Read the rest

Non-Sterile Tongue Depressors

I have gone through several boxes of these over the years. Not only are they great for stirring the last 2" of paint and epoxy, but they are also so precisely cut that I used them on a measuring table for shims when we measured parts for prototyping using a high accuracy measuring tool. You can build them up in almost perfect 1/16" layers and since they are made of hard wood they are surprisingly stable with moisture and temperature changes. I have repaired door jambs, precisely spaced decking, leveled flooring by taping bundles together, and tweaked jigs of all kinds for household projects. They are a must have for the creative handyman. Cheap and useful for a never ending array of things. --Dave Schwartz Non-Sterile Tongue Depressors $10 Comment on this at Cool Tools. Or, submit a tool! Read the rest

Walking Dead 11: zombie comic is a parable about the ethics of survival and disaster

The Walking Dead Volume 11: Fear The Hunters came out this month, and I happened on it this weekend and promptly fell into it, emerging an hour later feeling like the world was coming to an end.

For the uninitiated, The Walking Dead is Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore and Cliff Rathburn's superb and terrifying zombapocalypse graphic novel series, in which a band of survivors overcome zombies, internal power-struggles, traumatized family, zombie-bit lovers, and, of course, other survivors who've been turned even more feral by the walking dead.

The pacing never lets up -- something amply demonstrated in this volume, where a new rival group of survivors has something awful planned for our heroes, a plan that involves terrorizing them as much as possible, keeping them off balance.

What makes The Walking Dead so compelling to me is the way it asks you to decide, over and over again, do you bug-out (get away with your loved ones) or bug-in (help your neighbors and let them help you), or both? I've always hoped that I'd be a bug-in person, that in a disaster I'd work for the mutual aid of everyone. But bugging in works best if the rest of the world does it with you -- a few selfish buggers-out shatter the social bonds that make it possible for the most people to survive a terminal prisoner's dilemma. But even for us bug-in types, Kirkman wants us to ask ourselves, how far will you go? Who gets to come inside the shelter with you, and who gets left outside to die? Read the rest