The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco / open to pedestrian traffic only, during its opening in May 1937 (top) and on its 50th anniversary in May 1987 (bottom).
In 1987, the weight of the 300,000 people that crossed the bridge caused it to sag by 5 feet.
My dad and I were watching it live on TV and he had to assure me that the bridge wouldn’t break or collapse.
Can a person be bright? Cold? Soft? Sweet? When the psychologists Solomon Asch and Harriet Nerlove posed these questions to a group of 3- and 4-year-olds in 1960, the response, on the whole, was skeptical. “Poor people are cold because they have no clothes,” one child said. By second or third grade, though, children could understand the psychological meanings of these so-called double-function terms and how they relate to the physical world.
Read more. [Image: Rami Niemi]
You want a time machine, don’t you?
Because one in 10 Americans do — at least that’s what they said when Pew Research Center asked what futuristic technology they would like to own.
That’s a notable percentage of people, especially when you consider that survey respondents came up with “time machine,” unprompted, out of every possible future invention they could imagine. (Naturally, flying cars were popular, too.)
The curious thing is that Pew found people’s level of interest in time travel had a lot to do with how old they are. About 11 percent of 30-to-49-year-olds said a time machine was the one futuristic device they’d want to own, but only 3 percent of people older than 65 said so.
And looking across demographics of the entire study group, people under 50 were way more into time-travel than people older than 50.
Why is that?
A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.
The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.
Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.
The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn’t.
"One woman from the neighborhood actually called police the first time she drove by," says David Boraks, editor of DavidsonNews.net. "She thought it was an actual homeless person."
That’s right. Somebody called the cops on Jesus.
"ooh! a poor person in need of help! i better make sure they get arrested!" to me, that’s the issue that’s most troubling. Apart from that, the statue, and the idea behind it, is one of the parts of Christianity that even a grouchy atheist like me has to admire…
CAPTCHAs are a time-worn way for humans to tell computers that we are human. They are those little boxes filled with distorted text that we’ve been told humans can decipher, but computers—the bad guys’ computers—cannot. So, Watson-be-damned, we enter the letters and gain access to whatever is behind the veil, leaving the bad bots steaming outside the pearly, CAPTCHA’d gates. As Google’s ReCAPTCHA website puts it: “Tough on bots, easy on humans.”
It is a satisfying display of human superiority built into the daily experience of the web. And, BONUS, you’re often helping do optical character recognition on old books at the same time. Take that, Machines, you don’t even have any books.
But then along comes Google today noting, in a showily short and breezy blog post, that their machines can beat ReCAPTCHAs 99% of the time.
The guerrilla graffiti artist Banksy is believed to be behind an artwork which has appeared on the side of a house in Cheltenham. More photos
Photograph: Jules Annan/Barcroft Media
A secret package arrived at CIA headquarters in January 1958. Inside were two rolls of film from British intelligence — pictures of the pages of a Russian-language novel titled “Doctor Zhivago.”
The book, by poet Boris Pasternak, had been banned from publication in the Soviet Union. The British were suggesting that the CIA get copies of the novel behind the Iron Curtain. The idea immediately gained traction in Washington.
“This book has great propaganda value,” a CIA memo to all branch chiefs of the agency’s Soviet Russia Division stated, “not only for its intrinsic message and thought-provoking nature, but also for the circumstances of its publication: we have the opportunity to make Soviet citizens wonder what is wrong with their government, when a fine literary work by the man acknowledged to be the greatest living Russian writer is not even available in his own country in his own language for his own people to read.”
The memo is one of more than 130 newly declassified CIA documents that detail the agency’s secret involvement in the printing of “Doctor Zhivago” — an audacious plan that helped deliver the book into the hands of Soviet citizens who later passed it friend to friend, allowing it to circulate in Moscow and other cities in the Eastern Bloc.
The book’s publication and, later, the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Pasternak triggered one of the great cultural storms of the Cold War.
A new project, initiated by a collective of artists from around the world including the French JR, has tried to reach the people pulling the trigger in America’s drone wars—the drone operators themselves.
It’s called “Not A Bug Splat,” and its gets its name from the term drone operators use for a successful “kill,” because—in the pixelated grayscale of the drone camera—ending a human life looks like squashing a bug.
Read more. [Image: Not a Bug Splat]
Today, for the first time, ThinkUp is open to the world. You can just sign up and become a member. We hope you’ll do so!
In the months and years that we’ve been working on ThinkUp, the biggest question that’s come up is a simple one: What is ThinkUp? How we answer that…