Tourist Remover

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Tourist Remover:

Remove mov­ing objects such as tourists or pass­ing cars from your pho­tos. Take mul­ti­ple pho­tos from the same scene and the «Tourist Remover» blends them into a com­pos­ite pho­to with­out any inter­fer­ing ele­ments.

A free ser­vice from snampmania.com. I’ve not tried this yet as I don’t have a suit­able set to use, but if it works, and I can down­load the resul­tant com­pos­ite image again at decent res­o­lu­tion, I think I’ll be using this a lot.

(Via Boing Boing Gad­gets.)

The Unevenness of Space-Time Convergence

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The Uneven­ness of Space-Time Con­ver­gence « Strange Maps:

How long does it take to trav­el from Lon­don to else­where? The answer is pro­vid­ed by this map, show­ing a set of expand­ing cir­cles cen­tered on the British cap­i­tal, each big­ger one delin­eat­ing two extra hours of trav­el time.
The famil­iar shape of the world is mor­phed into grotesque, con­tort­ed shapes as these isotem­po­ral lines replace the usu­al lines of lon­gi­tude and lat­i­tude for frame of ref­er­ence.

This is from 1981, so it’s not quite as accu­rate any more. I’d love to see it redrawn.

(Via Strange Maps.)

British Standards Institute introduces Standard British Idiots

British Stan­dards Insti­tute intro­duces Stan­dard British Idiots:

Fol­low­ing a 30 per­cent increase in domes­tic acci­dents, the British Stan­dards Insti­tute has recruit­ed 1000 Stan­dard British Idiots (SBIs) to per­form safe­ty tests on a range of appli­ances. A spokesper­son explained: ‘For years we have worked on the assump­tion that nobody in their right mind would stick a spoon into a live sock­et, but they do. We have recruit­ed this cal­i­bre of per­son: some­one who will look for a gas leak with a match, or set off across the chan­nel on a lilo.’

I’m think­ing of set­ting up a nom­i­na­tion web page for them.

(Via News­Bis­cuit.)

The Evolution of House Cats

The Evo­lu­tion of House Cats: Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can:

[genet­ic analy­sis] revealed five genet­ic clus­ters, or lin­eages, of wild­cats. Four of these lin­eages cor­re­spond­ed neat­ly with four of the known sub­species of wild­cat and dwelled in spe­cif­ic places: F. sil­vestris sil­vestris in Europe, F. s. bieti in Chi­na, F. s. orna­ta in Cen­tral Asia and F. s. cafra in south­ern Africa. The fifth lin­eage, how­ev­er, includ­ed not only the fifth known sub­species of wild­cat — F. s. lybi­ca in the Mid­dle East—but also the hun­dreds of domes­tic cats that were sam­pled, includ­ing pure­bred and mixed-breed felines from the U.S., the U.K. and Japan. In fact, genet­i­cal­ly, F. s. lybi­ca wild­cats col­lect­ed in remote deserts of Israel, the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates and Sau­di Ara­bia were vir­tu­al­ly indis­tin­guish­able from domes­tic cats. That the domes­tic cats grouped with F. s. lybi­ca alone among wild­cats meant that domes­tic cats arose in a sin­gle locale, the Mid­dle East, and not in oth­er places where wild­cats are com­mon.

The arti­cle goes on to pos­tu­late that wild­cats took advan­tage of increased rodent pop­u­la­tions in prox­im­i­ty to humans, caused by the com­mence­ment of agri­cul­ture approx­i­mate­ly 10,000 years ago in the Mid­dle East­’s Fer­tile Cres­cent — much ear­li­er and in a dif­fer­ent loca­tion to the estab­lished wis­dom of where the rela­tion­ship between man and cat start­ed. Makes sense though.

(Via Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can.)

8 glasses of water per day? Rubbish!

I’m glad to see that final­ly, some sci­en­tif­ic inves­ti­ga­tion is being done on this old canard. And it turns out you don’t need to drink litres of water per day at all:

Accord­ing to Heinz Valtin, a retired pro­fes­sor of phys­i­ol­o­gy from Dart­mouth Med­ical School who spe­cial­ized in kid­ney research and spent 45 years study­ing the bio­log­i­cal sys­tem that keeps the water in our bod­ies in bal­ance, the answer is no.

The Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences’s Insti­tute of Med­i­cine also researched this in 2004:

Its pan­el on “dietary pref­er­ence intakes for elec­trolytes and water” not­ed that women who appear ade­quate­ly hydrat­ed con­sume about 91 ounces (2.7 liters) of water a day and men about 125 ounces (3.7 liters). These seem­ing­ly large quan­ti­ties come from a vari­ety of sources—including cof­fee, tea, milk, soda, juice, fruits, veg­eta­bles and oth­er foods. Instead of rec­om­mend­ing how much extra water a per­son should drink to main­tain health, the pan­el sim­ply con­clud­ed that “the vast major­i­ty of healthy peo­ple ade­quate­ly meet their dai­ly hydra­tion needs by let­ting thirst be their guide.”

So there you go. Your body has a per­fect­ly good way of telling you it needs a bit of top­ping up. Short of an ill­ness that requires you to over-hydrate, or weath­er requir­ing the same, drink when you’re thirsty and stop wor­ry­ing.

Via Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can