Pop Culture Link Round Up 12.31.14

Ever have the thought, while waiting in line to board a plane, that the process could be revamped to make it more efficient?  Vox has the answer:  the outside-in method.

Having everyone with window seats board first, regardless of row, then all people with middle seats, then all people with aisle seats is much faster.

United Airlines switched to this method in June 2013 (although they make an exception for families, allowing them to board together).

This method cuts down on the total amount of congestionbecause each time a passenger sits down, no one is already sitting in their row, so they don’t have to wait for someone to get up to allow them in. Because everyone isn’t trying to get in the same few rows at the same time, many different passengers can access the overhead bins and enter their seats simultaneously.

The small downside is that people who are sitting together can’t board together, a problem for families with children and couples who inexplicably require continuous physical contact.

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Those wacky xenomorphs are celebrating their 35th anniversary and here are some commemorative posters

Of the 11 posters, here are my favorites:

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‘Lord of the Rings’ litter box and ‘Eye of Sauron’ scratching post

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Every Christmas, photographer turns his dog into different animals

Bristol-based photographer Peter Thorpe has a great little tradition that he started 20 years ago. For his annual holiday card, he transforms Raggle, his dog, into various animals. He started this tradition with Paddy, and now continues with Raggle.

Other photographers would often turn to Photoshop, but Peter uses real props instead. When the photos are finished, he sends these cards to his family, friends and clients.

Sadly, this awesome tradition is coming to an end as Raggle is growing older and weaker every day. This year’s card is going to be the last one before her retirement.


2007 is my favorite.  Click the link to see other years.

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Move over Angry Birds, here comes Drunken Birds


Humans are not the only animals to get drunk, and the symptoms can be remarkably similar in other species. The latest example is that zebra finches, after hitting the bottle too hard, can’t stick to their melody any more than the karaoke enthusiast who had a few too many waiting their turn for the mike.

“Speech impairment is one of the most intriguing and least understood effects of alcohol on cognitive function, largely due to the lack of data on alcohol effects on vocalizations in the context of an appropriate experimental model organism,” write a team led by Dr Claudio Mello of Oregon Health and Science University in PloS ONE. The authors decided to see if zebra finches could fill the gap. While not capable human sounds lile parrots, or lyrebird level mimicry, male zebra finches are enthusiastic singers

Finches keep the same song from adulthood, often with similarities to those they heard growing up. This, along with their easiness to breed, have made them a popular animal forstudying speech acquisition.

Being native to the central Australian deserts, zebra finches like a drink and the researchers found that this applies to alcohol as much as water. Once drunk, their song takes on an “altered acoustic structure.” The authors note, “The most pronounced effects were decreased amplitude and increased entropy, the latter likely reflecting a disruption in the birds’ ability to maintain the spectral structure of song under alcohol.” So while the notes became more random, they also became softer – something many of us might have wished for when the neighbors got into Bohemian Rhapsody towards the end of a well lubricated party.

Mello and colleagues add, ”Furthermore, specific syllables, which have distinct acoustic structures, were differentially influenced by alcohol, likely reflecting a diversity in the neural mechanisms required for their production.” Yep shlurring those esshes ish not jusht for humansh.

Pop Culture Link Round Up 12.31.14

2 thoughts on “Pop Culture Link Round Up 12.31.14

  1. 1

    Tony!, have a look at the sculpts over here.

    So often, the resemblance between movie character and action figure take a lot of imagination to even see. I hate to imagine what it would cost to buy one of these!

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