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"In Iceland, books are exchanged on Christmas Eve, and you spend the rest of the night reading...."

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In Iceland, books are exchanged on Christmas Eve, and you spend the rest of the night reading. People generally take their books to bed along with some chocolate. How cozy and wonderful does that sound?

(More fun facts: Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country, and new books are typically published only during the Christmas season—the frenzy is called Jólabókaflóð, or the Christmas Book Flood.)



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this is amazing (via awelltraveledwoman)

There is actually a fantastic planetmoney podcast that explains more about the Icelandic fascination with books. Listen herehttp://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/05/23/135846192/the-friday-podcast-a-city-on-the-moon

(via crookedindifference)

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wreichard
2 days ago
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Iceland FTW.
Earth
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mmunley
2 days ago
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Every time I learn something new about Iceland, it sounds like such a wonderful place.
Chicago

Lava Lamp

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Lava Lamp

What if I made a lava lamp out of real lava? What could I use as a clear medium? How close could I stand to watch it?

Kathy Johnstone, 6th Grade Teacher (via a student)

This is a surprisingly reasonable idea, by What If standards.

I mean, it's not that reasonable. At the very least, I'm guessing you would lose your teaching license, and possibly some of the students in the front row. But you could do it.

Just a warning: I'm going to be linking to a lot of videos of lava flowing and people poking it with sticks, so you may have a hard time getting to the end of the article without getting sidetracked into watching a bunch of them like I did while writing it.

You have a few choices for transparent materials that could hold the lava without rupturing and splattering half the classroom with red-hot droplets. Fused quartz glass would be a great choice. It's the same stuff they use in high-intensity lamp bulbs, the surface of which can easily get up to mid-range lava temperatures.[1] This bulb, [This bulb], for example, can supposedly handle bulb temperatures of up to 1000°C, which is hotter than many types of lava. Another possibility is sapphire, which stays solid up to 2,000°C, and is commonly used as a window into high-temperature chambers.[2]That link wasn't a lava video, but this is.

The question of what to use for the clear medium is trickier. Let's say we find a transparent glass that melts[3]Some people say glass is a liquid that flows very slowly. Other people smugly point out that this is actually wrong. Then another group of people dissects how we know it's wrong, and where this incorrect idea got started. And then at the end of the chain, a Metafilter user steps back and asks some supremely insightful questions about what's really going on here as we variously repeat and debunk these kinds of factoids. at low temperatures. Even if we ignore the impurities from the hot lava that would probably cloud the glass, we're going to have a problem.[4]And later, when the school board finds out, we'll have another.

Molten glass is transparent. So why doesn't it look transparent?[5]Which sounds sorta contradictory. "This music is loud, but it doesn't sound loud." The answer is simple: It glows. Hot objects give off blackbody radiation; molten glass glows just like molten lava does, and for the same reason.

So the problem with a lava lamp is that both halves of it will be equally bright, and it will be hard to see the lava. We could try having nothing in the top half of the lamp—after all, when it's hot enough, lava bubbles pretty well on its own. Unfortunately, the lamp itself would also be in contact with the lava. Sapphire might not melt easily, but it will glow, making it hard to see whatever the lava was doing inside.

Unless you hooked it up to a really bright bulb, this lava lamp would cool down quickly. Just like individual blobs of lava, the lamp would solidify and stop glowing within the first minute, and by the end of the class period you'd probably be able to touch it without being burned.

A solidified lava lamp is just about the most boring thing in the world. But the scenario made me wonder: If making a lamp out of molten lava wouldn't be very exciting, then what about a volcano made of lamps?

This is probably the most useless calculation I've ever done,[6]Ok, there's no way that's true. but ... what if Mount Saint Helens erupted again today, but instead of tephra,[7]The technical term for "whatever crap comes out of a volcano." it spewed compact fluorescent bulbs?

Well, if it did, the mercury released into the atmosphere would be several orders of magnitude larger than all manmade emissions combined.[8]45% of which come from gold mining.

All in all, I think making a lava lamp out of lava would be kind of anticlimactic, and would much rather go find some actual lava and poke it with a stick. I also think that it's probably good that Mount Saint Helens didn't erupt compact fluorescent bulbs. And I think that if I were in Ms. Johnstone's class, I'd try to sit toward the back of the room.

Lastly, for old time's sake, I'd like to share one final link with you: The music video for Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up."

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jlvanderzwan
2 hours ago
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That meta-folklore link hidden in [3] is fantastic:

http://www.metafilter.com/141772/MetaFolkloreFilter#5676767
llucax
1 day ago
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Lava EVERYWHERE!!!
Berlin
Repton
2 days ago
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"Not found" :-(
rclatterbuck
2 days ago
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It is very important that you watch the video on the mercury hyperlink.
ridingsloth
1 day ago
That is a lie that Ross is telling :|
sandge
2 days ago
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Wait, is the lava having a sword fight *with itself*?!
Atlanta, GA, USA

Father Christmas

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Father Christmas
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dreadhead
4 days ago
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Merry Christmas!
Vancouver Island, Canada
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norb
4 days ago
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took me a minute
clmbs.oh

Unedited Footage of a Bear

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Following in the footsteps of Too Many Cooks is Unedited Footage of a Bear. It aired for the first time on Adult Swim this week in their 4am infomercial slot. It starts off as a nature thing with a bear which is interrupted by a fake infomercial and then. Gets. WEIRD.

Update: Adult Swim has a site set up for Claridryl. There might be some answers there to some questions you might have? About stuff? (via devour & @veganstraightedge

(via devour )

Tags: TVvideo
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satadru
4 days ago
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wow
New York, NY
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sarcozona
3 days ago
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For everyone who's had to take buckets of pills
Mother Hydra
3 days ago
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Adult Swim is always full of WIN.
Beneath Innsmouth
thefakened
3 days ago
I have many of these symptoms. Is Claridryl right for me?
Mother Hydra
2 days ago
I went to the Claridryl website but sorta got lost. I wasn't able to find this info for you, sorry.
humanbean0000
4 days ago
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that was great
cinebot
4 days ago
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#goodstuff
toronto.

Payloads

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With a space elevator, a backyard full of solar panels could launch about 500 horses per year, and a large power plant could launch 10 horses per minute.
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mareino
4 days ago
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Alt text: With a space elevator, a backyard full of solar panels could launch about 500 horses per year, and a large power plant could launch 10 horses per minute.
Washington, District of Columbia
thelem
4 days ago
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What's the unlabelled one? I doubt it's a mistake.
Brighton, UK
Ironica
4 days ago
I don't see any that are unlabeled. Some of them have the label at the bottom instead of the top, maybe you just are missing it?
thelem
4 days ago
Bottom left of 2000s
Ironica
3 days ago
Sure enough. Huh, interesting.
ChuckMcM
3 days ago
Ariane 5 (Ariane 4 is 16 horses, original 5 is 21 horses)
JayM
4 days ago
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.
Boston Metro Area
skittone
3 days ago
I'd rather have a space elevator than tethered surveillance blimps and whatnot.
sfrazer
4 days ago
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Just in time for the KSP beta!
Chicago
Cafeine
4 days ago
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<3
Paris / France
mchahn
3 days ago
Where can I get a version of the graphic big enough to read?

→ From Open (Unlimited) to Minimum Vacation Policy

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Mathias Meyer of Travis CI, on why they abandoned their uncounted-vacation-days policy:

When people are uncertain about how many days it’s okay to take off, you’ll see curious things happen. People will hesitate to take a vacation as they don’t want to seem like that person who’s taking the most vacation days. It’s a race to the bottom instead of a race towards a well rested and happy team.

Exactly. I’ve never heard of an employer in the tech business with one of these “open” vacation policies whose employees actually took as much vacation as they would have in a traditional accrued-vacation-days policy.

What usually happens instead is that the workaholism culture in tech startups takes priority, and it becomes politically unwise to ever take a vacation, especially a truly offline one.

The tech business is proud of its workaholism, but it really shouldn’t be. It’s a sign of immaturity and poor management, not drive.

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Courtney
5 days ago
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At my last job we had one of these, with senior management approval needed if you took more than 4 weeks in a year. I never went over 4 weeks but when I got close to that, I received a talking to from my manager and was told not to take any more PTO for the year. "Unlimited", ha.
Boston, MA
tedder
5 days ago
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another advantage of untracked vacations- companies don't have to keep vacation balances as a liability on the accounting books.
Uranus
mxm23
5 days ago
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I'm at a "we don't track vacation" policy company and I disagree with Marco's assessment. I take about four weeks off every year and the guideline here to take an average of one week off per quarter. Works well. I don't think "not tracking" or tracking will change much behavior of work-a-holics. And there's a big upside for the employer: no vacation time accrual that must be accounted for.
San Rafael, CA
mareino
5 days ago
You work for One Of The Good Ones. The rest of us can tell you stories about idiot bosses who fired people for taking sick leave.
sirshannon
6 days ago
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I've had unlimited/uncounted paid time off at 2 of my last 3 jobs (including my current one) and have not seen this "race to the bottom" thing at all.
jhellman
6 days ago
We've got this now, too. While I haven't seen a "race to the bottom", the developers in the company don't take much time off at all. When you don't account for PTO, but you do account for the work done, it's easy to postpone vacation to get work done.
sirshannon
5 days ago
it's only easy for certain types of people to postpone vacation for work. I'm not any of those types of people. I did that for the last time in 2008. We do plan our vacations around work schedules but once planned, they aren't moved. That also means we have to accurately plan/estimate our work and get finish it as planned.
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