The Useless Box – With some surprises!

This is easily the best invention of all time.


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So much for Saving The Planet

How much damage did Superman’s fight with General Zod at the end of Man of Steel cause?

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Even Roses can Bloom in the Mud

The most humbling lines you will read today:

Black holes were first discovered not in space but on the pages of a notepad in the German trenches of the first world war. Physicist Karl Schwarzschild was serving as an artillery officer on the Russian front in 1915. In his spare time, he was investigating Albert Einstein’s controversial new theory of gravity: general relativity.

He found an equation that suggested regions of space and time could become like lobster pots, trapping anything that fell into them. The point of no return around these “black holes” was dubbed the event horizon.

Schwarzschild completed the work shortly before facing his own event horizon. He contracted a painful skin disease called pemphigus and was returned to Germany, where he died in May 1916.

From this link, which announces the discovery of 26 new black holes located in the Andromeda galaxy.

The horrors of World War I were unparalleled by such a margin that they called it “The Great War” back then. Little did they know how much worse it would get, just 30 years after it ended. And yet, though the horrors, came arguably the biggest breakthrough in astrophysics till that time.

All from a man sitting in the trenches on the Eastern Front, one who wouldn’t even live to see the end of the war or the fruits of his insight.

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Vaccines, Again

At the risk of sounding like a broken record – and on the subject of vaccines it’s a big risk – here is more evidence that this anti-vaccine hysteria is downright dangerous.

Auckland parents Ian and Linda Williams thought they had made an informed choice not to vaccinate their children, but after their son ended up in intensive care with a tetanus infection they realised they had made a terrible mistake.

It started when seven-year-old Alijah got a small cut on the bottom of his foot in December 2012.

“Of course we didn’t think it was too serious, it was just a little cut but a couple of days later he started getting symptoms like a stroke on the side of his face,” Mr Williams says.

“A couple of days later during the night he started to get cramps across his face. His face would contort and he was in a lot of pain.”

After 24 hours in Auckland’s Starship Children’s hospital, the doctors diagnosed Alijah with tetanus, and he was taken to intensive care.

Mr Williams recalls his son’s agony, “It’s a terrible thing… Your whole body arches, your arms go up in the air.”

“It’s like getting cramp but it’s everywhere, across the face as well. They are so tight your jaw locks.”

“He’s fine now and all you can see now is some scarring on his throat from the tracheotomy, he’ll probably have that his whole life.”

Anti-vaccine hysteria nearly claimed another victim. There is already a measles epidemic in progress right now in Wales of all places (1190 people affected). It’s a disease you don’t easily see in India because the MMR vaccine is given at an early age. It doesn’t help that famous but absolutely stupid people like Robert Kennedy Jr. spread lies – that’s what they are, not “half-truths” or “counterpoints” or “scepticism” – about vaccines.

Don’t be stupid. Vaccinate your kids. Your choice is between improving the bottom lines of pharma companies and having healthy kids (yours and those around them) or improving the bottom lines of emergency care hospitals and maybe even the baby coffin industry.

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Opinions are like…

Image…noses. Everyone has one, and sometimes they’re full of snot.

Okay, so the actual quote refers to a rather different part of the anatomy and a different level of grossness of body waste, but this is supposed to be a family-friendly blog…

But lately* it seems that people confuse the right to hold an opinion to be the same thing as the right to be heard and the right to be given equal credibility in the quest for “balance” in coverage (especially in the media).

The worst example of this is the anti-vaccine brigade. First, the home truths:

Continue reading

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The Hiroshima-Equivalent

A calculator for lazy journalists who want to convert ANY (large?) release of energy into the multiples of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima for WW2.

I’m not sure Wolfram Alpha has this yet, but I suspect it can do Libraries of Congress / Rhode Islands / London Double-decker buses as units of measurement.

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Statistically Yours

Debarghya Das retrieves the ICSE and ISC results – ALL RESULTS – and, for kicks, performs a statistical analysis on the marks.

And comes out with some bizarre and potentially worrying results.

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