Pop Culture Omnibus

Once again, I harvest the fruits of the Internet sea and bring them to you free of charge and without the need for a publishing house.

Ominous Summaries

I love this although I wonder how funny/interesting this would be at any sort of scale.
Via Criggo by way of Neatorama (Criggo is added to the probationary RSS feed- quick read posts and some potential for English.)

Clear Blood, Vanadium, & Good Eating


P. chilensis has two siphons that connect the animal to the surrounding ocean through its tunicin – one for exhaling and one for inhaling. It eats by inhaling the water and filtering out the edible microalgae using a moving layer of mucus in its enlarged pharynx, or branchial sac, before exhaling the water back out the other siphon. The pharynx is connected to the animal’s digestive tract, which basically acts like a mouth.

Their blood is clear and, strangely, can accumulte extremely high qualities of a mysterious and rare element called vanadium. The concentration of vanadium in the blood of P. chilensis and other tunicates can be up to 10 million times that of the surrounding seawater. Just why and how these creatures are able to accumulate vanadium in such huge quantities remains unknown.

-Quote and photo from Scientific American

I have no idea no idea what I’d use this for but I find it fascinating. I wonder if you could genetically engineer something like this to concentrate gold instead of vanadium and besides I really want to try eating some.

Via WTF pictures and then on to Wikipedia and Scientific American

Just Call Me Tom 2003942

This strange, possibly tongue in cheek, exchange in the Times from 1941 would be a nice addition to Rand’s Anthem. I find the whole structure of the communication to be fairly interesting.


Among the minor reforms that are coming would not the suppression of ‘Esquire’ in general and business correspondence be welcomed? It is a relic of mid-Victorian snobbery, and has little or nothing to commend it. I believe the United Kingdom is the only part of the Empire that uses it.

Yours truly,

Loughlan Pendred


How right Mr Loughlan Pendred is in denouncing the use of this word as ‘a relic of mid-Victorian snobbery’ and in demanding its ‘suppression’! But why does he not go further? Is not our all too frequent utterance or inscription of the word ‘Mr’ an equally gross survival from an era which men of good will can hardly mention without embarrassment and shame? I do hope Pendred will go further.

Your obedient servant,

Max Beerbohm


Beerbohm’s suggestion that the prefix ‘Mr’ should be abolished does not go far enough. We are still left with our surnames, and this is undemocratic. I demand that we should all be called by the same name, as plain a one as possible. If this should render difficult the filling up of forms, a number could be attached to each — or rather the same — name.

Yours faithfully,

Osbert Sitwell

via – Futility Closet

Safety First

Ortiz, who was a principal himself for years, said he’s never had a parent complain. “Would you have wanted me to permit wholesale running during recess?” Ortiz asked. “Or would you want me to make sure your kid is safe?”

Intentionally overly simplified via the quote but it makes me sad nonetheless.
via – The LA Times

Wicked Smart

Although you have to say it like a bad actor playing someone from Boston, I like the idea behind this.

Wicked intelligence would be organic and mimic the qualities of nature. It would branch and flow, lie still like a mountain and then blossom forth in an explosion of exuberant growth. It would be cyclic and seasonal, waxing and waning with the rhythms of habitat.

Wicked intelligence would not reside in the experience of isolated individuals. Rather, it would be intrinsically social. The diversity inherent in teams and mixed groups is vital to finding wicked solutions. Likewise, wicked intelligence is conversational, both explicitly and implicitly. It is always engaged in dialogue with diverse stakeholders and philosophies.

Naturally, wicked intelligence would be creative, playful and innovative. It reaches beyond conventional, single-plane approaches and prefers lateral movement and multi-plane solutions. It is curious about novel recombinations, especially those that cross traditional categories and disciplines. It relishes humor and is tolerant of risk, ambiguity and insecurity. It is willing to live in the midst of messy uncertainty without impulsively reaching for quick “solutions. In this process, aesthetics are vital.

Via – Exuberant Animal

Comments on this post

  1. Karen Richardson said on January 3, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Wicked intelligence will be required to solve wicked problems, right? You prompted me to go searching for stuff on wicked problems something I vaguely remembered from my grad work and here’s what I found to add to the pop culture omnibus: http://vimeo.com/24297553. Helping students learn one video at a time.

    • Tom Woodward said on January 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks Karen. It’s funny to me how things keep getting reinvented. Sadly education is way too much like fashion.