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Balloonomania was a strong public interest or fad in balloons that originated in France in the late 18th century and continued into the 19th century, during the advent of balloon flights. The interest began with the first flights of the Montgolfier brothers in 1783 (in a balloon inflated with hot air). Soon afterwards Jacques Alexandre César Charles flew another type of balloon (inflated with hydrogen) and both types of balloon were in use from then on. The fad quickly spread in France and across the channel in England.
- "Balloonomania" | 2021-02-26 | 42 Upvotes 21 Comments
In decision making and psychology, decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making. Decision fatigue may also lead to consumers making poor choices with their purchases.
There is a paradox in that "people who lack choices seem to want them and often will fight for them", yet at the same time, "people find that making many choices can be [psychologically] aversive."
For example, major politicians and businessmen such as former United States President Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg have been known to reduce their everyday clothing down to one or two outfits in order to limit the number of decisions they make in a day.
- "Decision fatigue" | 2020-03-04 | 184 Upvotes 82 Comments
The Gish gallop is a technique used during debating that focuses on overwhelming an opponent with as many arguments as possible, without regard for accuracy or strength of the arguments. The term was coined by Eugenie Scott and named after the creationist Duane Gish, who used the technique frequently against proponents of evolution.
Old Tjikko is a 9,550 year-old Norway Spruce, located on Fulufjället Mountain of Dalarna province in Sweden. Old Tjikko originally gained fame as the "world's oldest tree." Old Tjikko is, however, a clonal tree that has regenerated new trunks, branches and roots over millennia rather than an individual tree of great age. Old Tjikko is recognized as the oldest living Picea abies and the third oldest known clonal tree.
The age of the tree was determined by carbon dating of genetically matched plant material collected from under the tree, as dendrochronology would cause damage. The trunk itself is estimated to be only a few hundred years old, but the plant has survived for much longer due to a process known as layering (when a branch comes in contact with the ground, it sprouts a new root), or vegetative cloning (when the trunk dies but the root system is still alive, it may sprout a new trunk).
- "Old Tjikko, the oldest living clonal Norway Spruce" | 2016-02-08 | 98 Upvotes 26 Comments
WTFPL is a GPL-compatible permissive license most commonly used as a free software license. As a public domain like license, the WTFPL is essentially the same as dedication to the public domain. It allows redistribution and modification of the work under any terms. The title is an abbreviation of "Do what the fuck you want to Public License".
The first version of the WTFPL, released in March 2000, was written by Banlu Kemiyatorn for his own software project. Sam Hocevar, Debian's former project leader, wrote version 2.
Dune is a science fiction media franchise that originated with the 1965 novel Dune by Frank Herbert and has continued to add new publications up to 2017. Dune is frequently cited as the best-selling science fiction novel in history. It won the 1966 Hugo Award and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel, and was later adapted into a 1984 film and a 2000 television miniseries. Herbert wrote five sequels, and the first two were presented as a miniseries in 2003. The Dune universe has also inspired some traditional games and a series of video games. Since 2009, the names of planets from the Dune novels have been adopted for the real-world nomenclature of plains and other features on Saturn's moon Titan.
Frank Herbert died in 1986. Beginning in 1999, his son Brian Herbert and science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson published a number of prequel novels, as well as two which complete the original Dune series (Hunters of Dune in 2006 and Sandworms of Dune in 2007), partially based on Frank Herbert's notes discovered a decade after his death.
The political, scientific, and social fictional setting of Herbert's novels and derivative works is known as the Dune universe, or Duniverse. Set tens of thousands of years in the future, the saga chronicles a civilization which has banned all forms of computers, or "thinking machines", but has also developed advanced technology and mental and physical abilities. Vital to this empire is the harsh desert planet Arrakis, only known source of the spice melange, the most valuable substance in the universe.
Due to the similarities between some of Herbert's terms and ideas and actual words and concepts in the Arabic language, as well as the series' "Islamic undertones" and themes, a Middle Eastern influence on Herbert's works has been noted repeatedly.
The Mercedes-Benz W125 Rekordwagen was an experimental, high-speed automobile produced in the late 1930s. The streamlined car was derived from the 1937 open-wheel race car Mercedes-Benz W125 Formel-Rennwagen, of which also a streamlined version was raced at the non-championship Avusrennen in Berlin.
The main difference to the Grand Prix race car, which had to adhere to the 750 kg (1,653 lb) limit, was the engine. While the GP car had the 8-cylinder inline M125, which was rather tall, the record car was fitted with a V12 engine that was lower, which reduced drag.
The car is on display in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.
- "Mercedes-Benz W125 Rekordwagen hit 268 MPH – in 1938" | 2021-11-24 | 32 Upvotes 2 Comments
Y Combinator is an American seed accelerator launched in March 2005 and has been used to launch over 2,000 companies including Stripe, Airbnb, Cruise Automation, DoorDash, Coinbase, Instacart, and Dropbox. The combined valuation of the top YC companies was over $155 billion as of October, 2019.
- "Help keep the Y Combinator Wikipedia page updated" | 2009-11-24 | 37 Upvotes 39 Comments
Déformation professionnelle (French: [defɔʁmasjɔ̃ pʁɔfɛsjɔnɛl], professional deformation or job conditioning) is a tendency to look at things from the point of view of one's own profession or special expertise, rather than from a broader or humane perspective. It is often translated as "professional deformation", though French déformation can also be translated as "distortion". The implication is that professional training, and its related socialization, often result in a distortion of the way one views the world. Nobel laureate Alexis Carrel observed, "Every specialist, owing to a well-known professional bias, believes that he understands the entire human being, while in reality he only grasps a tiny part of him."
As a term in psychology, it was likely coined by the Belgian sociologist Daniel Warnotte or Russian-American sociologist Pitirim Sorokin.
- "Déformation professionnelle" | 2009-05-22 | 44 Upvotes 27 Comments
The (pan)arthropod head problem is a long-standing zoological dispute concerning the segmental composition of the heads of the various arthropod groups, and how they are evolutionarily related to each other. While the dispute has historically centered on the exact make-up of the insect head, it has been widened to include other living arthropods such as chelicerates, myriapods, crustaceans; and fossil forms, such as the many arthropods known from exceptionally preserved Cambrian faunas. While the topic has classically been based on insect embryology, in recent years a great deal of developmental molecular data has become available. Dozens of more or less distinct solutions to the problem, dating back to at least 1897, have been published, including several in the 2000s.
The arthropod head problem is popularly known as the endless dispute, the title of a famous paper on the subject by Jacob G. Rempel in 1975, referring to its seemingly intractable nature. Although some progress has been made since that time, the precise nature of especially the labrum and the pre-oral region of arthropods remain highly controversial.
- "Arthropod Head Problem" | 2023-05-13 | 60 Upvotes 22 Comments