Doug Falter, photographer and surfer while in Hawaii in February 2018 lost his board while surfing. He swam after it, waited for it to wash up ashore and when that didn't work, he posted on social media and printed flyers for local fishermen.
Nothing happened. The board didn't turn up until two years later when a middle school teacher in Sarangani Bay in the Phillippines 8,000 km away was sold the board for $40 by local fishermen.
You can read more about this astonishing tale in this article at Vice.
Sarcasm, wit and a lovely turn of phrase are some the choicest descriptions of George Carlin's work. If you're having a dull day working from home during the pandemic, a few of his quotes will sure go a long way toward brightening up your afternoon.
In fact, this article over at The Parade has about 125 witticisms from the famous comedian and includes such gems as “The IQ and the life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other in opposite directions" and “If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?”
Researchers in Yogyakarta, Indonesia have trialled a novel therapy to combat the spread of dengue fever by targeting the mosquitoes responsible for spreading the disease.
By releasing mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria, they were able to reduce the incidence of dengue by as much as 77%. It is thought that the Wolbachia bacteria and the virus causing dengue compete for resources inside the mosquito and this prevents the virus from growing.
You can read more about this unique strategy over at the Guardian.
Philipp Hainhofer, a merchant and diplomat from Augsburg travelling the ports of Europe in the 17th century hit upon the idea of having wealthy, powerful and influential figures sign in his Das Große Stammbuch or Friendship book.
These included personalities like Cosimo De’ Medici, the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II and Christian IV, the king of Denmark and Norway. Each signature was accompanied by a unique drawing and the book in toto comprised about 100 signatures. The book itself took about 50 years to complete.
A German library Herzog August Bibliothek has paid the princely sum of £2.5 million for this album amicorum. You can read more about this unique treasure at the Guardian.
Forensic reconstructions involving facial features being recreated is always fascinating to watch. I remember watching these in documentaries as a child and there was even an entire Korean film based on this principle. Towards the end of the movie, the artist finds that his new assistant who has been helping him throughout the film is actually a ghost when the face he has recreated from a cadaver matches that of his assistant!
Daniel Voshart, a Toronto based designer has taken multiple images of busts and sculptures of Roman emperors and used modern software to create a likeliness of how they might have looked thousands of years ago. He uses ArtBreeder, a new AI based application that merges together multiple images and Adobe Photoshop to fill in the gaps.
He has also previously used the technique on Egyptian mummies. You can read more about his work at ArtNews.
Meditation is an ancient practice in most traditional cultures including Indian, Oriental and Islamic. While in some it is part and parcel of the traditional schooling, in others it is combined with yoga, music or packaged in some other form.
The Western world is only now beginning to uncover a host of mental health and physical benefits that can be directly ascribed to the regular practice of meditation. These include better quality sleep, better self-awareness, enhanced self esteem and so much more.
You can read more about this unique scientific take on meditation at Harpers Bazaar.
The average life expectancy is among the highest in the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Denmark, Sweden) and in the blue zones of earth (Mediterranean, Okinawa etc). The Scandinavian countries also regularly top the periodic surveys for happiness indices among populations throughout the world.
If one were to study their culture, there are several things that set them apart, including love for the outdoors, being close to nature, limiting their work days and time, free education, free healthcare, minimalism and simplicity. Perhaps there are several other explanations why this culture enjoys such high quality and longevity of life, but these seem to be the most prominent.
You can read more about their habits at Forbes.com.
Aubrey Powell is one of the photographers who shot and created most of the iconic covers for the albums of the legendary band Pink Floyd, who we all grew up with.
For example, the cover for Wish You Were Here was born out of a conversation about two businessmen, one of whom was getting burned in a deal. They took the concept literally, with two stuntmen shaking hands and where one of them was actually set on fire.
Interestingly, it took 15 takes to get it right and both the characters in the photo obliged, finally creating the stunning album cover reproduced above. You can read more about the entire back story here at the Guardian.
If you're anything like me, you're struggling to cope with the avalanche of issues that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us. Managing work from home, family, elderly parents, children and balancing several new unique situations has left most of us drained during and at the end of the day.
When we are trying to cope with all the multitude of problems, a few words to brighten up the day can prove to be invaluable. Practicing a routine of self-care be it listening to music, meditating or relaxing with a book, should be an important part of the day that we need to make time for.
This article over at Parade has 100 quotes to help you through the day and add to your self-care or meditation routine.
The current state of artificial intelligence is in a weird place right now. We keep reading about AI bots who invent a whole new language to speak to each other which is unintelligible to us humans, but this one just takes the cake!
A college student named Liam Porr has used an AI model called GPT-3 to create a fake self-help and productivity blog under a fake name. It was so convincing that it generated thousands of followers and even claimed number one spot on Hacker News.
You can read more about this story here on MIT Technology Review.