Archive for the ‘Really’ Category

Produce

In a recent episode, the men were catapulted into a lake if they couldn’t guess the conspiracy theory that the princess genuinely believed (spoiler alert: it was that planet Earth is secretly governed by a race of giant lizard-people). Then they were made to dress as birds and sproing up and down on a trampoline while a tiny jester fired footballs at their faces, all to protect a framed photo of the princess’s puppy. Next they were plunged neck-deep into puddles for not guessing which of two men was covered in tattoos of the Corrs, before being blindfolded and asked to charge headfirst into a wall. And finally, the winner was asked to belt out an abysmal karaoke rendition of Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship right into the princess’s face, instead of just saying hello to her.

You get the feeling that it took a lot of clever people a lot of time to produce something as gleefully stupid as My Little Princess. It’s as if someone made a Frankenstein’s monster of The Princess Bride, Adventure Time, Takeshi’s Castle and My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss, then lobotomised it and stood around taking pictures on their phones as it toppled down the stairs. It’s endless, compulsively inventive and brilliantly subversive.

There are some problems, of course. Not least that weird king/princess business. Although it adds a hint of tension to proceedings, inviting the female contestant’s dad along to help her find a nice boyfriend seems very odd. And then there’s the title. Somehow, My Little Princess feels like it does less for gender equality than Take Me Out, and that can’t possibly be a good thing.

But if you haven’t watched it yet – and ratings suggest that you probably haven’t – then I urge you to give it a try. It would be crime if an oddity like this slipped away without notice.

New techniques

Dating pinpoints volcanoes that killed half of species, split continents.

New techniques for dating rocks have helped narrow the time frame of a chain of massive volcanic eruptions that wiped out half of the world’s species 200 million years ago, a study said Thursday.

The result is the most precise date yet — 201,564,000 years ago — for the event, which is known as the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event, said the study, published in the journal Science. The event was the fourth mass extinction in the history of our planet.

The eruptions “had to be a hell of an event,” said coauthor Dennis Kent, an expert on paleomagnetism at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
They may offer a historic parallel to the human-caused climate change happening today, by showing how sharp increases in carbon dioxide can outpace vulnerable species’ ability to adapt, researchers said.

The new analysis narrows the estimated date from its previous range of up to 3 million years to just 20,000 years at most — a blink of an eye in geological terms.

The eruptions caused an already hot Earth to become even more stifling, killing off plants and animals and making way for the age of the dinosaurs — before they, too, were eventually obliterated some 65 million years ago, possibly by another volcanic event combined with a devastating meteor strike.

Optimize

A perfect example are the integrated displays. PearsonLloyd had wanted to connect these in a center band to optimize their complexity of articulation. And while this didn’t affect roominess, the band blocked a view into the next row, cutting down on perceived space. So they abandoned the idea. The precise shape of the head/shoulder compartment was honed to accept users of multiple broadness. The lower lumbar adjustments were given massage functions (which sounds like a godsend for anyone who’s gone numb during a long flight). And even the seat textile is wholly custom, bringing in flecks of yellow to warm the otherwise silver sheen. I asked Pearson why many of these pretty obvious improvements hadn’t been made before, why if V-shaped seating is so efficient, it wasn’t simply implemented in the first place? “Simply because design and engineering knowledge evolves,” he responded. “People never arrive immediately at the optimum solution.” Which makes you wonder, with a few more great ideas, how wonderful could Lufthansa’s next new business class be?

Really

Scientific dating sheds light on another aspect of Lima Lake’s history.

Ten years ago, a flurry of excitement arose when bones and teeth from an ancient bison were found along the eroded bank of a drainage ditch running through the former site of Lima Lake in the northwest corner of Adams County.
Mixed among the animal remains was a projectile point typical of the kind used by a native American culture known to exist in this region about 1,600 to 2,000 years ago.
This was an exciting discovery for archaeologist Steve Tieken of the Quincy-based North American Archaeological Institute. Finding the bones, teeth and projectile point at the same location suggested the point theoretically could have been associated with the killing of the bison. If that was indeed the case, it would rewrite history because most scientific evidence has suggested that bison didn’t arrive in this region until about 600 years ago.

“I was really confident that this point had some meaning with the bones,” Tieken said.This question nagged at him for years. Now, finally, Tieken has an answer.

A sample of the Lima Lake bison was submitted for absolute dating to the University of Illinois. The results, published in the latest edition of Illinois Antiquity magazine, show the bison teeth and bones, and the projectile point might have been found together, but they are more than 1,000 years apart in age.
“I felt in my gut those two pieces were contemporary. This proved that they weren’t,” Tieken said.
Tieken said he wasn’t disappointed by the findings.
“They are what they are,” he said. “To me, it was the truth. And that’s what we’re trying to get at.”

Until the carbon-14 dating technique was used to determine the age of the bison remains, archaeologists interested in the historic Lima Lake area were intrigued by the possibility that the findings from the drainage ditch could alter the cultural history of this area. But this could happen only if the unknown age of the bison matched up with the known age of the projectile point, identified as a Waubesa Cluster point typical of the Early and Middle Woodland periods going back 1,500 to 2,000 years or more.
“It would have put bison hunting way back — almost a thousand years previously,” Tieken said.