viernes, 28 de diciembre de 2012

The Most Dangerous Kind of Reading

“Novels are the favourite, and the most dangerous kind of reading, now adopted by the generality of young ladies. I say dangerous, because the influence, which, with very few exceptions, they must have upon the passions of youth, bears an unfavourable aspect on their purity and virtue. The style in which they are written is commonly captivating; and the luxuriance of the descriptions with which they abound, extremely agreeable to the sprightly fancy, and high expectations of the inexperienced and unreflecting. Their romantic pictures of love, beauty, and magnificence, fill the imagination with ideas which lead to impure desires, a vanity of exterior charms, and a fondness for show and dissipation, by no means consistent with that simplicity, modesty, and chastity, which should be the constant inmates of the female breast. They often pervert the judgment, mislead the affections, and blind the understanding.”
—The Preceptress’ advice to her graduating students from the 18th century self-improvement book, The Boarding School

lunes, 24 de diciembre de 2012

True stories about Santa Claus
Left: Santa Claus depicted as guarding the skulls of children taken as hunting trophies. According to some sources the pile grew so large it became Korvatunturi, Santa's mountain home.
Right: The archaic Santa Claus didn't spare the rod.

jueves, 20 de diciembre de 2012

lunes, 17 de diciembre de 2012

viernes, 14 de diciembre de 2012

sábado, 1 de diciembre de 2012

Argentavis magnificens: Magnificent Argentine Bird
With a wingspan of nearly 7 metres, Argentavis magnificens is the largest known bird to ever fly. It lived 6 million years ago in the open plains of Argentina and the Andes mountains, and it is related to modern-day vultures and storks—but with feathers the size of Samurai swords. It rivals some light aeroplanes in size, but it is believed to have flown on the wind more like a glider, soaring to speeds of 240 km/h. But with its massive flight muscles and enormous wings, the behemoth bird weighed 70 kilograms, so flapping its wings was not enough to achieve lift-off. “Birds are commonly compared with aircraft, but in reality helicopters are a better analogy,” says Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University. Chatterjee and his team came to understand the bird’s flight by collaborating with a retired aeronautical engineer, inputting measurements from fossils into a computer program designed to study flight performance in helicopters. They determined that Argentavis must have run downhill into a headwind in order to become airborne, just like hang gliders, then gained elevation by circling inside columns of air known as “thermal elevators.” It would have easily hitched a ride a few kilometres up without even flapping its wings—then by just gliding to adjoining thermals, it would have been able to travel hundreds of kilometres per day
(via pricklylegs)