before you read this article

The Facebook page I Fucking Love Science linked to this blog for a funny infographic about eclipses, but didn’t link to the infographic itself. For you convenience, here it is again. It works best if you imagine Neil deGrasse Tyson reading it to you.

Diagram: Lunar eclipse (earth between moon and sun), solar eclipse (moon between earth and sun), and apocalypse (sun between earth and moon)

Found via Enno Park.

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I had no idea there was such a thing as cookie icing

by Joey deVilla on April 2, 2015

Photo: A grocery shelf with a selection of several tubes of cookie icing.

Click the photo to see the sugary goodness at full size.

I snapped this photo at my local Publix. I suppose that these are for decorating or spelling out messages on those giant cookies, but I’m also sure that there are some people who buy these because cookies alone aren’t diabetes-inducing enough. You could also use these to liven up your next Catholic mass by icing those bland communion wafers.

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Do they still put these seats in station wagons?

by Joey deVilla on April 1, 2015

I used to love riding in these things:

Photo: "What they were": rear-facing seats in the back of a station wagon / "What they felt like": Han Solo in the seat of one of the Millennium Falcon's gun turrets

Do they still have these in modern station wagons?

And for old times’ sake…

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Nothing to see here…or is there? [Updated]

by Joey deVilla on March 31, 2015

Nothing to see here…

Photo: Schoolchildren sitting on a bench in a museum, engrossed in their smartphones, completely ignoring the large masterpiece hanging on the wall in the background.

Click the sad scene to see it at full size.

As my friend Lisa Goldman (who pointed me to this photo) put it, I hope that they’re Googling some facts about the baroque masterpiece that they appear to be ignoring. In case you’re wondering, it’s Rembrandt’s The Night Watch.

…or is there? [An update]

Photo montage: Kids at same museum writing notes, reading field guides, looking at the art

Matthias Bauer pointed me to this article in The Uncatalogued Museum, which asks what we see in the picture at the top of this article. Its author, Linda Norris, posted photos taken the same day, showing the kids also absorbed in the art, takes notes on paper, and reading field study guides and other material on the art in the museum. If the kids had their noses in books instead of smartphones, she asks, would we be so quick to roll our eyes?

Yes, smartphones are wonderful devices for entertainment and chit-chat, but as tiny bundles of computing power, networking capability, and all kinds of sensors, they’re also tools for learning, creativity, and getting stuff done. As I said earlier, there’s always a chance that the kids were looking up information on the things they were seeing in the museum. They may have been using their phones as notepads (I do this all the time, as I can back it up, and in the long run, it’s far more portable than a paper notebook). Some of them may have taken photos of pieces they liked, perhaps to enjoy later as “desktop wallpaper”; I myself did this during my last trip to the nearby Dali Museum.

Of course, they may have been chatting with friends or playing the game du jour — and I’d bet good money that at least some of them were. And hey, as a middle-aged force of darkness (it sounds so much more badassed than “person of color”), it’s my right to rant about “kids today”, and especially first-world white kids who get to see some of the world’s most famous chef d’oeuvres on a school field trip.

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Sign of the day

by Joey deVilla on March 30, 2015

Photo: Handwritten sign with the text 'The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.'

Found via Sean Silcoff.

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Goodbye, sweet Camaro!

by Joey deVilla on March 26, 2015

The business trip is drawing to a close, and I had to bid farewell to my new best friend this morning:

Photo: Joey deVilla's rental yellow Camaro and his accordion, side by side.

Click the photo to see it at full size.

I kept the accordion that got me the car in the first place, but I had to return the Camaro. Even the rental car pickup guys were impressed; I guess it doesn’t get out much.

As a way of saying goodbye, I blasted this song out of the stereo while zipping down the Mass Pike this morning — a song that will likely never be played in the car again, as it’s pretty unknown outside Canada:

For my American friends into ’80s alt-rock, this song might be more meaningful:

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Comparison: How to tell the difference between evil parallel-universe you and the real you

Click the chart to see it at full size.

See the original at Medium Large.

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