Wee-hee!” Mario Kart–inspired apartments are coming to Phoenix

Live out your Mario Kart dreams in Phoenix – Lev Libeskind is creating a funky apartment building inspired by the popular Nintendo racing game. Featuring colour-blocked windows and a multicolored path that extends from the sidewalk through the courtyard, Rainbow Road will bring the player’s experience to life with a gallery and a courtyard for events and art installations. Breaking ground this spring or early summer, it’s the perfect opportunity to live out your gaming fantasies! Read full article here

The Renaissance Lets Its Hair Down

Hair has been an integral part of defining sexuality and gender for centuries. During the Renaissance, Sandro Botticelli emerged as the great painter of hair, making it a threshold to erotic desire. His Idealized Portrait of a Woman (allegedly Simonetta Vespucci), painted in the early 1480s, defied Florentine sumptuary laws with over two hundred painted pearls in her hair. Unfortunately, Botticelli was eventually defeated by religious repression, and his Christ the Redeemer of circa 1500 was his only late painting in which he still showed an interest in hair. Read full article here

Why are eggs so expensive?

Egg prices are soaring this year, up a whopping 49%, and the main culprit is bird flu. This is the worst outbreak in US history, with 57.7 million poultry birds infected. It’s not just the US that’s suffering either – Britain, Japan and other countries are also feeling the pinch, with chicken feed prices, energy prices and other factors driving up egg costs. The good news is, while egg prices remain high, chicken meat prices are starting to fall – due to the fact that broilers (birds used for meat) don’t live as long as layers (birds used for eggs). Read full article here

How giraffes can teach us to wonder

To the Chinese Emperor Zhu Di, it seemed as if he’d seen and experienced all that the world had to offer and that life was now boring. But then, the admiral Zheng He returned from the first great expedition of exploration. Of all the treasures and animals Zheng He brought with him, nothing sparked Zhu Di’s sense of wonder like the graceful awkwardness of the giraffe. The giraffe proved to him that he did indeed live in a wondrous and fascinating world, and we should let the giraffe remind us of the same. Read full article here

Is There a Market for Edible Cactus in the United States?

Edible cactus is a mainstay in Mexico, and it’s beginning to gain hold in America. The prickly pear cactus grows natively as far north as Connecticut, and it already sees scattered use throughout the US. Some farmers use it as a fence for crops and a magnet for pollinators, but it’s slowly becoming more popular as a true specialty crop. If the mass-market appeal is there, then the prickly pear cactus could be the next cash crop and a boon to sustainability. Read full article here

This essay isn’t true

Does truth really exist? Alethic nihilism is the theory that nothing is true. This theory says that there are no true beliefs, no true assertions, no true anythings. For example, saying that the longest river in Ireland is the Shannon is not the truth but a fact. Another example is believing that there is a fly in your soup, and even if there really is, it is not the truth but the reality. If you think that this doesn’t make sense, well, that’s not true! Read full article here

Do Brussels Sprouts Taste Better Now? Yes—Here’s Why

Older millennials might remember hating brussel sprouts as a kid, but then coming around to enjoying them. This isn’t just because their palette changed; the sprouts actually do taste better now. When harvesting became mechanized in the 1960s, only extremely bitter varieties were suitable for the process. That resulted in 30 years of disgusting Brussels sprouts, before Dutch biotechnologists found the bitter compounds in the sprouts and painstakingly bred a better plant. Read full article here

What’s It Like to Be an Editor of a Prison Newspaper?

Philip Vance Smith II is the editor for a prison paper, and he’ll likely hold the position for some time as he’s serving a life sentence. Since he’ll never leave prison, people might question the value education holds for him. However, he’s found a transformative, rehabilitative value in learning that’s independent of chasing a career. It’s given him room to think, reflect, and grow as a person. Philip reports that these effects aren’t just visible in his life, but that they impact the entire prison culture and create positive change. Read full article here

Is The Moon Really Made of Cheese?

Since time immemorial, people have looked into space and wondered ‘what kind of cheese is the moon made out of?’ Okay, maybe not. Nonetheless, the European Space Agency is hosting the “Shaun the Sheep moon cheese” challenge and inviting kids to send in submissions of edited photos depicting the moon as a type of cheese. Read full article here

How physics can improve the urinal

Say goodbye to splashes and wet floors with a new seashell-inspired urinal from the University of Waterloo in Canada! In experiments with dyed fluids, the team found that their prototype prevented almost all splashing, so you can expect to have much cleaner floors and drier shoes the next time you visit the restroom. Just remember to aim carefully and enjoy the view! This is one shell of a good idea. Read full article here


The occasional email full of conversation-worthy content