Saturday, March 31, 2018

Hey! Some of These Are Pretty Good!

18 Things You've Been Doing Wrong


Talltanic  Published on Feb 9, 2017 6 min. 39 sec.

From putting a lid on boiling water to eating cheetos with chopsticks here are 18 Things You've Been Doing Wrong. Life hack 101!
  10. Taking Out the Trash Drilling holes at the bottom and sides of your trash bin might not be so bad of an idea. If you’re household or lifestyle means the trash piles up a lot and you find yourself having someone hold down the bin while you pull out the bag or keep one foot on the can to do so, you should consider drilling holes. Doing so allows less likeliness for suction issues, which is what keeps a lot of bags from being pulled out easy. 
9. Scooping Ice Cream If you’re with friends or at a party and decide you don’t want to spend time waiting for the ice cream to thaw and then put in muscle energy to serve it, then you should cut the ice cream. Cutting it into portions makes it available for consumption faster and serving it to more than 1 or 2 people more efficient. Granted, this is only helpful if there’s a handful of you wanting to eat your cold treats right that moment. If you’re alone watching Netflix, then a spoon in the container’s all you need. 
8. Frozen Ice Cream Of course, you always have to freeze your ice cream--unless you really want to drink it instead. But a better way than just sticking the tub in your freezer is to put the ice cream in a sandwich bag. Doing so helps avoid that hard ice cream you get when it’s opened and has been in the freezer too long. 
7. Eating Cupcakes This one’s definitely something no one does. Apparently, the right way to eat a cupcake is by tearing or cutting the bottom half of the cupcake and sandwiching it over the top half. Even though it’s strange, what it does do is make for a neater snack and even the icing to cupcake ratio. 
 6. Potholes Did you realize the hole at the end of your pot handle can be used for your spoon? Not everyone has those fancy kitchen installations that lets you hang your pots over your kitchen island. Most kitchen devices end up stacked in cupboards. But people also use the handle holes as a place to keep the spoon. Doing this prevents you from setting it on your dirty counter or scrambling to find a plate to lay it down on when the phone rings. 
5. Filling Water Instead of lugging a bin or huge jug to fill with water, which will inevitably get too heavy once you’ve finished, use a dustpan or a water bottle with a hole cut out the bottom to transfer water from the sink way easier. 
4. Aluminum Foil You’re not alone if you’ve haphazardly tried to get some aluminum foil and accidentally pulled the whole roll out of the box. There’s a hack for that, actually, and it’s been right in front of you since forever. This little tab that no one ever pays attention to at the end of the 
3. Eating Cheetos Maybe you’ve seen this picture of Star Wars star Oscar Isaac floating around on the internet. As ridiculous as it looks, lots of people at cheetos and other season heavy, cheesy snacks with chopsticks. It helps to not get any of that red or orange food residue all over your fingers that takes a few handwashes to really scrub out. 
2. Putting a Lid on Boiling Water Here’s another spoon fact you didn’t know about. Have you ever heard that placing a wooden spoon over a pot of boiling water helps the water from spilling over? It sounds fake, but it apparently works. It looks like magic, but science can explain this one. The wooden spoon acts a destabilizer to the naturally unstable bubbles. When it reaches the surface of the spoon, the boiling water retreats, keeping your pasta or soup from making a mess on the stove top. 
1. Dr. Seuss So this might make you completely rethink your childhood, but the correct way to pronounce the author’s name is “SOYce” not “Soose.” His friend, Alexander Liang, wrote a poem about how people have been pronouncing it all wrong this whole time. “You’re wrong as the deuce/And you shouldn’t rejoice/If you’re calling him Seuss/He pronounces it Soice.” Soice is spelled with and o and i. Even so, does anyone really think the world’s going to correct itself anytime soon?

Riding While Black

For the Compton Cowboys, Horseback Riding Is a Legacy, and Protection

A group of childhood friends wants to create a safer community and challenge the notion that African-Americans can’t be cowboys.
Anthony Harris, 35, rides his horse through Compton, Calif.CreditWalter Thompson-Hernández/The New York Times
For Anthony Harris, 35, walking to the corner store to buy a soda in his hometown, Compton, Calif., often comes with the risk of being stopped and searched by the police. But when Mr. Harris and other members of a group of horse riders known as the “Compton Cowboys” choose to ride their horses to the store, something entirely different happens. 

“They don’t pull us over or search us when we’re on the horses,” Mr. Harris said while riding a dark brown horse named Koda as two police cars slowly drove past him on a recent trip to the store. “They would have thought we were gangbangers and had guns or dope on us if we weren’t riding, but these horses protect us from all of that.”

The Compton Cowboys, composed of 10 friends who have known one another since childhood, but officially came together as a group in 2017, are on a mission to combat negative stereotypes about African-Americans and the city of Compton through horseback riding. 

The tight-knit group first met more than 20 years ago as members of the Compton Jr. Posse, a nonprofit organization founded by Mayisha Akbar in Richland Farms, a semirural area in Compton that has been home to African-American horse riders since the mid-20th century. Like other nonprofits, the Compton Jr. Posse and the Compton Cowboys rely heavily on donations from alumni, government grants and local community support used to sustain the cost of the horses on the ranch.
Lamontre Hosley, 23, Leighton BeReal, 28, Randy Hook, 28, Kenneth Atkins, 26, and Carlton Hook, 28, at Richland Farms.CreditWalter Thompson-Hernández/The New York Times
Most of the Compton Cowboys were first encouraged to join the organization by friends or relatives who believed horse riding would offer an alternative to gangs and violence prevalent throughout the city. 

“When I was 11, I saw a black guy who was washing his horses outside of his home,” said Charles Harris, 29. “I walked up to him and started asking him questions about horses because I had only seen horses on TV before that.”

The man told him about the Compton Jr. Posse. The next day, Mr. Harris and his mother signed the papers and paid a fee to be a member.
Anthony Harris, 25, and Charles Harris, 29, practicing roping on the Richland Farms ranch.CreditWalter Thompson-Hernández/The New York Times
For the Compton Cowboys, living in a community best known for the gangster rap group N.W.A. and high murder rates — 35 murders in 2016, with the crime index being nearly double the average in the United States, despite the fact that it has declined since 2002 — has been a motivating factor in their choices to ride horses.

“We’ve always wanted to give people a different side of Compton besides gangster rap and basketball,” said Leighton BeReal, 28, a member of the group who was born and raised in Compton.
The Compton Jr. Posse, the birthplace of the Compton Cowboys.CreditWalter Thompson-Hernández/The New York Times
Mr. BeReal, who like other members of the Compton Cowboys began riding in elementary school, found that using a horse as a method of transportation through Compton has also protected him from the threat of gang violence. 

“If we’re walking on the street and a car drives past us that’s from a rival gang, they assume that we’re from a gang around here,” Mr. BeReal said, while riding alongside Mr. Harris and two other members of the group. “But if they see us on horses then they know we’re from Richland Farms and leave us alone.”
Mr. Harris tending to a horse at the ranch.CreditWalter Thompson-Hernández/The New York Times
Maintaining the horses for casual riding and competitions at the Richland Farms property requires consistent maintenance and a collective effort from the Compton Cowboys. A typical workday for Anthony Harris — who is often joined by Mr. BeReal and Carlton Hook — begins at 5 a.m. with cleaning the stables and supplying the horses with fresh feed. Other members of the group like Roy-Keenan Abercrombia, 26, a full-time chef at a restaurant near Downtown Los Angeles, help at the ranch during their days off.
Carlton Hook, 28, on the Richland Farms property.CreditWalter Thompson-Hernández/The New York Times
While work on the ranch may consist of strenuous physical labor, and occasional horse-related injuries, Anthony Harris uses his time working in the stables as an escape from the realities of a community that continues to struggle with gang violence.

“I was always around shootings and gangs, but none of that happens when I’m in the stables with the horses,” Mr. Harris said while restocking one of the stables with a fresh batch of hay. “There’s peace with the animals.”

Still, while the Compton Cowboys believe that they are helping to eradicate some of the negative stigmas of their city, their mission is to also break into a predominantly white western rodeo circuit. 

The group members have individually tried to do so over the years, albeit with some challenges.
A typical horse can cost $10,000 to $50,000, depending on the breed, but the Compton Cowboys have had to rely on auctioned horses that cost approximately $200, and were victims of abuse, malnourishment and other forms of trauma. 

Members of the Compton Cowboys order food from a drive thru in Compton.CreditWalter Thompson Hernandez/The New York Times
Resources are scarce, and they often rely on secondhand riding gear, which can put them at a disadvantage when riding against those with more resources. In addition, training with a limited number of saddles often means having to ride “bareback,” which, according to Randy Hook, has now become a staple of their style. Their unique style, however, is believed to be one of their strengths as they continue to challenge conventional cowboy culture in a rodeo world that often prides itself on tradition. 

“We’re different than most cowboys because we wear Air Jordan’s, Gucci belts and baseball hats while we ride,” Anthony Harris said. “But we could also dress like other cowboys.”

For the Compton Cowboys, riding through the city brings different reactions from local residents. Some react to the sight of African-American men on horses with fascination and disbelief, creating what Mr. Hook, 28, describes as a “Compton paparazzi” experience. But some are used to seeing them, scarcely pausing to take a second look.
Members of the Compton Cowboys pose to take photographs with local residents.CreditWalter Thompson-Hernández/The New York Times
Combating the stereotype that African-Americans do not ride horses has always been an issue for the group, particularly because they are largely omitted from media like movies and books.

African-American cowboys first emerged in the southwest United States at the conclusion of the Civil War, when freed African-American slaves migrated west to seek opportunities in a host of professions including cow herders and ranchers. According to William Loren Katz, author of “The Black West: A Documentary and Pictorial History of the African-American Role in the Westward Expansion of the United States” there were 5,000 to 8,000 black cowboys and cowgirls after the Civil War when wild herds of cattle were rapidly growing throughout the West.

“Being a black cowboy opened up professions for black men that they could not find in the North or South where they were often forced to work as street cleaners and elevator operators,” he said.
Roy-Keenan Abercrombia, 26, rides through the streets of Compton with other members of the Compton Cowboys.CreditWalter Thompson-Hernández/The New York Times
Mr. Katz also said that black cowboys — although often erased from historical narratives — are an indelible part of United States history.'

“The most American part of America are cowboys, who attracted the attention of Hollywood movies for decades,” he said. “Black people, however, were left out of them and their accomplishments were buried throughout history.”

As African-American migration increased from the South to cities throughout the West Coast after the Civil War and up to the mid-20th century, African-Americans began to settle in cities like Compton, which were slowly transformed from predominantly white suburbs to majority African-American where Southern social and cultural practices like horse riding often continued. 

Compton, despite growing revitalization efforts, continues to be one of the most economically underserved communities in the United States, leaving its residents with limited access to educational and economic resources.
Kenneth Atkins, 26, riding his horse through Compton, Calif.CreditWalter Thompson-Hernández/The New York Times
“The Compton Cowboys are a multigenerational story of black people’s ability to survive and create alternate worlds in the face of neglect,” said Thabisile Griffin, a doctoral candidate in history at the University of California, Los Angeles, who believes that many of the conditions that exist in Compton today, both inside and outside of the horse stables, have been a response to the lack of opportunities available to African-Americans. “Folks were frustrated, but subcultures of resistance persevered.”

Today, the Compton Cowboys continue to compete in individual events and often are invited to perform in parades throughout Los Angeles. Despite limited resources, some members of the group continue to excel in polo and bull riding events as a result of the intimate bonds with horses that, members of the group believe, have also been relegated to the margins.
Charles Harris, 29, practicing roping at Richland Farms.CreditWalter Thompson-Hernández/The New York Times
“The throwaway horses that we were given ended up being the best horses for us because they had a feisty spirit and a chip on their shoulder just like we did,” Mr. Hook said. “They were the underdogs just like we were.”
Carlton Hook, 28, Randy Hook, 28, and Lamontre Hosley, 23.CreditWalter Thompson-Hernández/The New York Times
Mr. Harris, who is attempting to become one of the first African-Americans to compete in polo in the Olympics, used to be ashamed to tell his friends that he rode horses.

“I don’t have any shame anymore. I even wear my breeches and boots to the mall,” he said.
In the past year the group took part in a featured ad by Guinness, the Irish alcohol company, as part of a promotional campaign, which, as some members have stated, has helped increase their visibility in an attempt to diversify a longstanding white cowboy culture.
Roy-Keenan Abercrombia, 26, and Anthony Harris, 35, ride their horses through Compton.CreditWalter Thompson-Hernández/The New York Times
At the same time, Randy Hook and other members of the Compton Cowboys hope to use their growing exposure to connect with other black cowboys around the United States, who, like them, represent a growing number of African-Americans whose experiences have been underrepresented in the rodeo world.

“At the end of the day, we want people to also think about us when they think about cowboys, not just a bunch of white guys in cowboy hats who smoke Marlboro cigarettes,” he said. “We’re trying to be the guys who make it cool to wear Stetson hats and Wrangler jeans in the ’hood.”

John Collins: The Paper Airplane Guy

How This Guy Folds and Flies World Record Paper Airplanes | WIRED

WIRED  Published on Mar 29, 2018 11 min. 3 sec. 

John Collins, better known as "The Paper Airplane Guy," has devoted himself to designing, folding, and flying the world's finest paper airplanes. UPDATE #1: We’ve uploaded a new how-to video, showing how to fold all five of the planes featured in this video. UPDATE #2: We’ve also posted excerpts from Collin's book -- instructions for four of the planes -- on to help you follow along. Check them all out! 

How to Fold Five Incredible Paper Airplanes | WIRED

WIRED Published on Mar 30, 2018  21 min. 17 sec.

John Collins, the Paper Airplane Guy, shows how to fold five amazing paper planes. We’ve also posted instructions for four of the planes -- excerpts from Collins' new book -- to help you follow along

Catholics Eat Beaver

Catholics once circumvented meatless fasts by claiming the semi-aquatic rodent was a fish.

Sergejs Rahunoks / Alamy Stock Photo 

When the Europeans arrived in North America, two of their primary objectives were to collect as many beaver pelts as possible, and to convert the native population to Catholicism.

The locals liked to eat the beaver meat, which was convenient for the Europeans, who cared only for the skin. The newcomers changed their tune, however, during the Catholic season of Lent. On Fridays throughout this stretch leading up to Easter, the faithful are forbidden from eating meat, specifically land-dwelling animals. To accommodate new converts (and probably meat-loving Europeans), they turned to the beaver.

In the 17th century, the Bishop of Quebec petitioned the Church to make beaver meat permissible during Friday fasts. The logic: Fish were permitted and the semi-aquatic rodent did spend much of its time in the water. The Church, which has a long history of creative cheats around meatless fasts (such as capybaras and muskrats), granted the request.

Beaver still serves as a Lenten meat substitute in some areas, particularly St. Louis, Missouri. To counter its gaminess, barbecue pit masters often add a dry rub and savory or spicy sauce. Diners, who may enjoy the smoked meat in tacos, gumbo, or stuffed mushrooms, liken it to chewy beef. Some even claim that you can detect slight woody notes from the animal’s diet.
Need to Know
Make sure the beaver you're eating has been humanely trapped (Bootleggin' BBQ in St. Louis ensures this). The smoked meat is supposed to pair particularly well with a strong British ale.

Great Balls of Aluminum!

Japanese Are Polishing Foil Balls To Perfection, And The Result Is Too Satisfying

Aluminum foil looks pretty boring. It is used for packaging, insulation, cooking… and making really shiny balls that appear to have no real purpose, apparently. That’s right, thanks to a Japanese jeweler, the whole country became obsessed with refining these metal leaves, and we aren’t sure how to react.

According to Twitter user @puchuco709, they took a whole 16-metre (52-feet) long roll of the federal government brainwashing-blocking material and started abusing it – hammering, polishing it. After probably a gazillion repeats, the ball was finished. People instantly fell in love with this low-budget DIY project, flooding Japanese social media with their very own versions. Can you think of a use for it? Let us know in the comments!

It all starts with an aluminum foil ball like this one:


Image credits: sekaiminzoku

Then, with incredible amounts of determination…

Image credits: skytomo

Image credits: sekaiminzoku

…lots and lots of repeating the same tedious task…

Image credits: skytomo

Image credits: tomooo.25

…and hours of polishing to perfection…

Image credits: skytomo

Image credits: sekaiminzoku

Image credits: skytomo

It turns into something like this!

Image credits: sekaiminzoku

Image credits: skytomo

People instantly fell in love with this low-budget DIY project

Image credits: skytomo

Image credits: sekaiminzoku

Flooding Japanese social media with their very own versions

Image credits: sekaiminzoku

Image credits: puchuco709


SKYtomo Published on Mar 10, 2018 10 min. 23 sec.


Through genetic manipulation, Kyoto University researchers have cracked the code of cherry trees and found a way to make them bloom in both spring and fall. | GETTY IMAGES

Japanese researchers find way to replicate cherry-blossom magic in fall

The Japan Times by Hugh Datzman  Staff Writer 
To the delight of sakura (cherry blossom) lovers everywhere, botanists at Kyoto University have discovered a way to make cherry trees flower more than once a year and plans are already afoot to introduce pink to the autumnal palette.

By manipulating the sakura’s genetic markers, researchers say they have essentially tricked Mother Nature into reproducing spring’s bounty again in the fall.

Like so many great scientific discoveries, the breakthrough was a bit of a fluke.

Aiming to boost Japan’s rice production, the university researchers had been hard at work studying the genome of a fast-growing strain of Vietnamese rice that can be harvested up to four times a year.
“We’ve not yet been able to crack that nut,” head researcher Kohei Yoshimoto said. “Yes, we’ve produced a similar strain, which we’ve named Chumpa, that can be harvested more than once, but it really didn’t pass the team’s taste tests.”

On a lark, the researchers decided to turn their attention to Japan’s most cherished tree.
“Call it self-serving, but our lab’s hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties are legendary,” Yoshimoto said with a wink. “We thought it was a shame that we can only let our hair down once year.”

Though still in its initial stages, the promise of the project — code-named Sakura AF (short for aki (autumn) flower) — has excited both the tourism industry and Japan Inc.’s retail sector.

“This really is too good to be true,” said JTB spokesperson Mei Naito. “We’ve seen a steady increase in tourists during the cherry blossom-viewing season, so doubling that with more hanami tourism is an auspicious accomplishment. We couldn’t be happier.”

Beverage and confectionery makers are especially keen to release new lines of aki sakura drinks and sweets to complement the festivities.

Although the scale and location of the genetically modified trees has yet to be decided, Yoshimoto said there have been talks of starting with the Tohoku region to help revitalize the area’s flagging tourism numbers.

The idea, however, has not been welcomed by everyone.

Already a group has been formed to oppose the implementation of the project. Named Hanami no Dentou wo Zettai ni Mamoru Kai (the People Who Will do Anything to Protect the Tradition of Hanami), the group has threatened to cut down the biannual sakura trees if the plan ever comes to fruition.

“These are mutant species, a blight on the soul of Japan,” said group leader Kenji Yamato. “The thought of these symbols of ephemeral beauty being programmed to pop open at will makes my blood boil. It’s a perversion of this nation’s unique four seasons.

Next thing you know, they’ll be making them bloom rainbows.”

Twilight in a Western Sky


Image Credit & Copyright: Stan Honda
Explanation: A slender crescent Moon and inner planets Venus and Mercury never wander far from the Sun in planet Earth's skies. In the fading evening twilight of March 18, they line up near the western horizon in this atmospheric skyscape. While the celestial scene was enjoyed around the world, this photo captures the trio, with fainter Mercury at the far right, above the crags of Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas. Tonight the Moon will be full though, and rise opposite the Sun. Look for it high in the sky at midnight, near bright star Spica.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Remember Integration?

Integration Now, Integration Forever

Residents of Atlanta walking along the BeltLine, an urban redevelopment project.CreditDavid Goldman/Associated Press
If you had pulled somebody aside in the mid 1970s and asked him to predict how racially integrated America would be in 2018, he would probably have said: pretty integrated. American schools were integrating very quickly back then. The subject of racial integration was on everybody’s tongue. Young people seemed to be growing up in a very different racial environment, and the rising tide of immigration was making America a more diverse place.

Unfortunately, the mid-70s were, by some measures, a kind of a high-water mark. School integration peaked then, and American schools have been resegregating since. Measured by Google Ngram, the phrase “racial integration” was used most frequently then; people have been using the phrase less and less ever since.

By the late 1990s, passion for the cause had been lost. As Tamar Jacoby wrote in her 1998 book “Someone Else’s House”: “If integration is still most Americans’ idea of the goal, few of us talk about it any more. The word has a quaint ring today — like ‘gramophone’ or ‘nylons.’ ”

Now we seem to have entered a phase of trepidation, or even passive segregation. Race is on everybody’s mind, but are there enough efforts to create intimate bonds across racial lines? Jacoby emphasizes that there are two kinds of integration, objective and subjective. The former is about putting people of different races in the same classroom, office and neighborhood. The latter is about emotional bonds of connection, combining a positive sense of pride in group with an overall sense that we are a “we.”

Three-quarters of American whites have no close nonwhite friends. A study from the Public Religion Research Institute found that if you looked at the average white person’s 100 closest friends, you would find that 91 would be white. If you looked at the average black person’s 100 closest friends, 83 of them would be black.

Many people support racial integration in the abstract but don’t want to do the things integration would require. Some see integration as a sentimental notion not connected to immediate concerns. Others have accepted the idea that birds of a feather flock together and always will.

The big problem with this complacency is that you end up in a racially divided nation with millions of people left in areas of concentrated poverty, falling further behind. Racism is America’s great sin, and if there isn’t continual progress to combat it, the nation becomes ugly to itself.

Moreover, you wind up with the depressing results reported in The Times last week, that even when African-American families do manage to rise to affluence, their boys can’t stay there because of systemic racism and the lack of fathers/role models in their neighborhoods.

In retrospect, trying to integrate the country through the schools may have been a mistake. Racial integration in schools does produce better student outcomes, which last throughout a lifespan. But parents are super-paranoid about their children. It doesn’t matter how supposedly enlightened a white neighborhood is; if the government brings poor black kids into the school, many parents react with fury, or with moving vans.
If might have been better to lead with residential integration. If American parents are unwarrantedly fearful and race-minded about their kids’ environment, they seem to be less so about their own. As William Frey of the Brookings Institution has shown, American neighborhoods have become steadily more integrated. Northern and Midwestern cities like Milwaukee and New York are still very segregated, but Southern and Western cities like Atlanta; Louisville, Ky.; Dallas; and Las Vegas have made strides.

Intermarriage rates are also rising. In 1967, 3 percent of Americans married outside their race or ethnicity. Now 17 percent do. Twenty-four percent of black men marry a woman outside their race, as do 12 percent of black women.

Even churches are integrating. Martin Luther King Jr. observed that Sunday morning was the most segregated hour in America, but today one in five churchgoers worship in a congregation where no single ethnic or racial group predominates.

If we’re going to kick-start another push toward racial integration — which is more or less a moral necessity — maybe the place to start is in the neighborhoods. As the work of the Stanford economist Raj Chetty has emphasized, poverty is very place-oriented. It is the granular conditions of each specific neighborhood that influence whether the residents have a high or low chance of rising and succeeding.

A renewed integration agenda would mean building public housing in low poverty areas, eliminating exclusionary zoning laws, and yes, accepting gentrification (a recent U.C.L.A. study finds that gentrification is increasing diversity in District of Columbia public schools). Then schools could be integrated through the back door by using socioeconomic status as a factor in student assignment.

The big shift, of course, has to be psychological. Everybody laments how divided America is, but how many of us are part of an organization that lets us meet once a week with others who are very different from ourselves? Integration doesn’t mean losing the essence of what makes each group special; it just means connecting fervently with a fellow American.

Roots down/walls down/bridges out.