There are no words in the English language to quite convey what is happening in this Norwegian music video by Ylvis called “The Fox”, which our friend Ian stumbled onto and shared through Google Plus. I just feel confused, slightly disoriented, and guarded, as if I’ve walked into the midst of a weird furry cult and these are their hymns.
Here are some of the more interesting things I’ve come across in my reading lately:
- 10 Amazing Man-Made Substances - This is some of the coolest stuff I’ve ever seen! There is a substance called Starlite that is so crazy people thought its inventor was nuts. The British Atomic Weapons Establishment subjected it “to nuclear-flash-level bursts of heat, up to the level of 75 Heroshimas. The sample was fine, if a little charged”. It produces no toxic fumes when under heat, is incredibly light weight … this is some StarTrek level science. The inventor died in 2011 and it has never left the lab because no one would pay him for the licensing rights because they didn’t believe it could be so powerful so he let its secret die with him. That’s what escrow accounts are invented for people! There is always a way around those sorts of impasses.
- Texas Continues Its Anti-Capitalist Ways By Banning the Sale of Tesla Electric Cars – The car lobbies are still winning. This is unreal. I own shares of one of the major automobile manufacturers that I picked up for very cheap awhile back and this still ticks me off majorly. They are destroying the free market by giving into lobbyist protecting the middlemen in an existing system setup a century ago that is now out of date instead of letting freedom of choice determine market outcomes based on what people want to do with their own money.
- Japan’s Levitating Train Hits 310 MPH in Trials – It aims to compete with the airplane and redirect some customers who would have opted for a flight.
- The World’s Oldest Clove Tree – The story intro says it all, “Indonesia’s “Spice Islands” produced more nutmeg, mace, pepper and cloves than anywhere else in the world and on the island of Ternate, one particular tree has an extraordinary history.” It’s all history; and connected. Read about it …
- 50% of the Population of the United States Live In Only a Handful of Counties - People congregate. You have to check out the map.
- A Visual Guide to Where Your Federal Tax Dollars Go - This infographic looks at the discretionary portion of the budget and lets you calculate how much you are paying for it.
- Berkshire Hathaway Has Minted Yet Another Billionaire – Add the Horejsi family to the ranks of Buffett, Munger, Otis, Gottesman, et al. Stories like this make me so incredibly happy. I’ve actually followed the family for awhile, and have a case study on them (remember my “Hall of Paragons” I mentioned a few years ago, which I use as a blueprint for identifying optimal strategies and behaviors? Horejsi was in that list for several reasons, including the thought process for diversifying in the first place, his later move into asset management, and a laundry list of other decisions that were intelligent. It’s nice to see the public finally recognize what happened.) Stewart used his family’s welding business here in nearby Kansas, Brown Welding Supply, to make an initial $10,600 investment in 40 shares of Berkshire Hathaway Class A (these were the only shares back then – the Class B had not been issued, yet) at $265 each in 1980. He kept buying, using his welding profits to fund the purchase. He went on to amass a total of 5,800 shares over the years, selling 1,500 in 1998 to fund his family’s other investments and needs. Today, his remaining 4,300 Class A shares have a market value of around $750 million. Alongside that fortune, his other holdings are worth around $350 million, which he built by taking a play out of the value investors of generations past, acquiring control of discounted closed-end funds, using them as investment vehicles that he controlled through his own firm. Buffett’s secretary said that there are at least two other, non-disclosed Berkshire Hathaway billionaires out there, both of whom would have been on the Forbes 400 if they had made themselves known but decide to stay secret.
- What Is the Stupidest Reason Someone Has Been Mad At You? - The sheer mental disfunction in this thread is too much to take before at least 2 p.m. in the afternoon (sometimes, by the person who feels wronged). Entitlement, non-examined assumptions, poor inter-personal skills … it’s a miasma of foolishness. Like this one. Or this one. Or this one. Or people who lose friends or family because they “steal” their hobbies. Maybe it’s because I’m an evangelist if I find something cool as I want everyone to get as much joy out of it as I do. I point to it, throw up a neon sign, and say, “Hey! Hey look at this! This is awesome! You should try it!”.
- Worth 1,000 - A site devoted to epic Photoshop battles. Observe and laugh. Or, if you are brave enough, enter yourself … What does it say about our society or, perhaps, biological wiring that the most popular contests include things like “Feeding Time”, where you have to make celebrities morbidly obese … I mean, how differently would people treat him if Bill Gates were actually 400 pounds?
- Play Your SNES Games On a Hand-Held Gameboy-Like Device – This exists!
- Men Feel Worse About Themselves When Female Partners Succeed – I haven’t had a chance to dive into the actual research as far as I’d like but the American Psychological Association has an interesting explanation and link to the journal article. Interestingly, the research supposedly found that women do not feel the same way. If you want to skip the short version and go right to the PDF version of the study that appeared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, you can read it here.
- Pat Carroll, Voice of Ursula the Sea Witch, Reads Lines – It’s so weird seeing that iconic voice coming out of her.
- Ten Stone Lions – There is a poem recited that consists of what sounds like the exact same word being said over and over, but actually tells a complete story based on how each word is pronounced, giving it a different meaning. It’s like the famous gramatically correct English sentence, “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo“.
- A Nation-Sized Battery – This is a really interesting read about energy storage and fuel sources.
- The Irrationality of Terror – Hat tip to Alex, who sent me this article from The Atlantic looking at the mathematics of terror deaths. We, as a society, are giving up our most basic freedoms for something that has killed far fewer people in the past decade than food poisoning.
- This Michigan Architect Is Talented – There is a firm called DesRosiers Architects in Michigan. I’ve been browsing their portfolio and its one of the most interesting I’ve seen in a long time. Several of the interiors feature all-glass walls so it feels like you are living outside. I’m a big fan of the view from the dining room in this one. That is my version of minimalism.
- How Business Friendly Is Your State? – This interactive map aims to tell you.