Shark footage makes newsman vow off swimming in ocean


His face says it all.

Read the rest

Just a pug lying in a little swimming pool, snoring, with sunglasses on


No big deal.

Read the rest

Throwing your girlfriend overboard? You're doing it wrong


Also wrong: vertical video.

Read the rest

Watch a bunch of goofy dogs enjoy eating ice cream on a hot summer day


“Don't worry, the ice cream was provided specifically for the dogs.” Read the rest

The best affordable fan for cooling your home this hot summer: Vornado 660

Vornado 660
And this fan isn't even marketed as a fan, but an “air circulator.” Whatever. It works.

Now legal to break a car window to save a dog's life in Tennessee

The state of Tennessee extended its "Good Samaritan law" this month, allowing people to smash a car window to save a dog from dying in a hot car.

“If you act reasonably, as any reasonable person would respond, you will not be at fault to save a life," says Nashville Fire Department Chief of Staff Mike Franklin. "You will not be at any fault to save a life and/or animals."

Apparently, acting "reasonably" includes first searching the for car's owner and calling police. I don't think I'd waste the time.

According to the Humane Society, "On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die."

"It’s Now Legal to Break Into Cars to Save Dogs in Tennessee" (TIME)

(photo by Nate Christenson) Read the rest

History of the Slip 'N Slide

My wife (and kids) are big fans of the classic Slip 'N Slide on a summer day. The New York Times Magazine has the history of its invention which involved belly-flopping on a concrete driveway.

Like any concerned father with ready access to rugged, waterproof synthetic fabrics at work, Robert Carrier took home a 50-foot roll of beige Naugahyde in hopes of persuading his son to splash down on something safer. He unfurled it in the yard, hosed it down and watched as every kid in the neighborhood showed up and stayed to slide for hours.

Realizing he had a hit on his hands, Carrier used his sewing skills to refine his product. “He stitched a long tube along one side, sewn shut at one end, with spaces between the stitching so that when you attached the hose, the water pressure would build up and water would squirt out those openings and lubricate the surface of the material,” (explains Tim Walsh, author of "Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them.")

(Thanks, Tanya Schevitz!) Read the rest

Summer cold-brew coffee reminder

The sun's finally out in London, so it's time to repost last summer's cheap, easy, no-mess cold-brew coffee technique. This is the best cup of coffee you're likely to drink this summer. Read the rest

The mysterious physics of bicycles

We don't actually understand why bikes stay upright as they move, writes physicist Michael Brooks at The New Statesman. A 2011 paper, published in the journal Science, poked big holes in the old theories about gyroscopic effects, and nobody has come along with anything to fill them yet. Read the rest

You can go wading in the lake at the North Pole

Last week, Dean told you about the lake at the North Pole, a pool of melted ice captured on camera by the North Pole Environmental Observatory webcams.

At Climate Central, Andrew Freedman provides some really fascinating context that illustrates the changing nature of, well, nature ... and draws a big, heavy underline on how difficult it can be to make assumptions about what is and what isn't an effect of climate change. Arctic sea ice is melting in concert with rising global average temperatures, but (contrary to the knee-jerk assumption I made about this story) the lake at the North Pole may or may not have anything to do with that. In fact, little pools have been forming at the North Pole in summer for as long as we've been paying attention. They don't actually represent the total melting of ice, but rather a layer of slushy water that forms on top of solidly frozen ice — usually, you could wade out through them and never get more than waist-deep.

What's more, the picture above wasn't taken at the North Pole. That's because the North Pole Elemental Observatory — which sits on mobile ice — has moved far from the actual North Pole since its launch. So, there probably is a lake (more of a pond, really) at the North Pole, but it might not be caused by climate change. While this lake, which isn't at the North Pole, could well be part of the melting sea ice that climate change does cause. Read the rest

Why do mosquitoes prefer to eat some people over others?

If you seem to be the target of bloodsucking attention, there are two biological systems you can blame — your microbial flora, and/or your immune system. Your particular mix of skin bacteria play a big role in determining how well mosquitoes can smell you (and whether you smell delicious). Meanwhile, your immune system controls your allergic response — or lack thereof — to mosquito bites. If you never get red welts to go with the biting, it's easy to think that you're not getting bitten as often as someone who does. Read the rest

Drowning without a sound

Drowning, in real life, doesn't look or sound the way it does on TV. It's not loud. It's not thrashy. And it can happen just a few feet away from you without you even noticing. At Slate, Mario Vittone explains the Instinctive Drowning Response — a physiological knee-jerk reaction that pretty much prevents all the signs and signals most of us look for in order to identify a person in the water who needs help. Read the rest

Brace yourselves, tick season is coming

At Outside magazine, Carl Zimmer has a great long read on why the tick population in the United States is increasing — and why scientists are having so much trouble controlling both ticks, and the diseases they spread. Read the rest

How to: Build a better sand castle

Why build a normal, weak sand castle, when you could have a defensible sand fortress?

What's climate change ruining today?

In Virginia, rising sea levels are threatening Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge's ability to provide free parking near the beach for the summer tourists who provide a major source of income in the region. Here's a hell of a quote: "Zones that used to be parking areas in the 1990s are now underwater." Also threatened: The beach itself. Read more Daily Climate. (Via Brendon Slotterback) Read the rest

TOM THE DANCING BUG: Scientists Agree - It's the Shortest Summer on Record

Support Tom the Dancing Bug and receive BENEFITS and PRIVILEGES by joining the INNER HIVE right now!

"I used to spend 20 dollars a year on TOM THE DANCING BUG collections... Happy to support him and pass the word." -Neil Gaiman, Inner Hive member Read the rest

Just how hot is it in the US right now?

Mark Memmott at NPR's "The Two Way" blog digs in to statistics and maps from the National Climatic Data Center to illustrate exactly how fucking hot it is in hundreds of cities around the US, as a record-setting heatwave continues. I found the data a little confusing, so I 'shooped up a "For Dummies" version for you all, above. But do read the whole post from Mark here. (via Dave Pell's NextDraft) Read the rest

More posts