Prehistoric Life: A Time When Size Really, Really Did Count

From flying insects that would cave in your car’s bumper to a snake that, at an average 50 feet (15m) long, could easily have eaten a herd of cows for breakfast… there are some pretty large animals to have roamed the Earth in its history and this amazing science video takes us on a journey through them. It also provides us with a relative scale, so that we can appreciate just how f***ing huge they are in comparison with our own tiny selves. Just do yourself a favour and turn your computer’s volume off, because the accompanying music will make you want to bludgeon yourself to death with a brick.

Video Source: “World’s 10 Biggest Animals of All Time” Uploaded by Hybrid Librarian on YouTube channel https://youtu.be/qVftGh4K8JA

Advertisements

Astrology Owes You an Apology

Horoscope circle astrology

What’s your star sign? Sagittarius? LIAR!!

If your horoscope a little out of scope, it’s because you’re reading the wrong one.

This is not really your fault. How are you to know that things have changed in the heavens since the zodiac was assigned to each calendar month just over 2,500 years ago? This is the problem with astrology in the 21st Century. It is the single most ridiculous cluster of notions that have ever been conceived, second only to the idea that womankind was created from the rib of a man. How insulting! If anything, man was created from the rib of a woman. Why else would men have nipples?

On the upside, on issues of astrology and horoscopes, I’ve finally found something I can agree with Christians about.

If you’re keen on these subjects, I am really sorry to burst your bubble. I’m all for esoteric beliefs if it distracts people from judging thy neighbour and killing in the name of You-Know-Who. But the entire rational framework of astrology is completely and inexcusably flawed. This isn’t only from a logical standpoint, but for one very particular reason, which we shall discuss shortly.

First, let’s find out what on Earth our ancient counterparts were thinking…

The Gods are Grumpy Angry gods fist smash

A cluster of ridiculous notions is forgivable of an ancient civilization that has no understanding of the physical world around them and of all its beautiful and intricate macroscopic and microscopic complexity. Back in the day, a sickness was not the result of a virus running rampant in your body: it was a punishment for wrong-doing or an expression of some deity’s dissatisfaction with your most recent sacrifice. Even though said sacrifice was your sister…

Lightning wasn’t an electrical discharge between a negatively charged sky and a positively charged Earth; it was Zeus throwing his toys out the cot. The stars were not balls of intense and unending nuclear reactions held together by gravity, they were the souls of dead people (or fireflies, if you’re a Lion King fan).

Every civilization has sought to explain the physical observable universe using what little bits and pieces of knowledge they had. A few thousand years ago, in the absence of powerful telescopes, super computers, mathematical equations and the cumulative work of tens of thousands of scientists, that knowledge stemmed from tradition, superstition and beliefs that had been passed down from generation to generation.

Scientific these explanations were not.

Meet the Babylonians

The Ishtar Gate and the Processional Way, Babylon,The Pergamon Museum

Humans are inherently creative and seek symbolism in just about everything around us, so naturally the patterns perceived in the arrangement of stars against the night sky became other people, animals and objects. These constellations were then bestowed with significance over and above their random scattering across the sky.

And who can blame our ancestors? Back in the day there was no TV, so our ancient counterparts looked to the sky for their daily and seasonal weather forecasts; the stars were their GPS. If a decent crop yield depended on you sowing seeds at precisely the right time of year, you too would regard the sky as something sacred and symbolic. Your life could depend on it.

Around 7th century BC, Babylonian astronomers (dudes who puzzled over the sky and made attempts to measure and record the migrations of the stars and planets) divided the constellations that coursed across the Milky Way into the zodiacal signs, which, in Latin, literally means “circle of animals.” Think “zoo.”

astrology and zodiac

Although some of the constellations that make up the zodiac have origins elsewhere and in other times, the Babylonians were the ones who landed the Oscar for incredible breakthrough work in scientific observation, measurement and recording. They were the ones who divided the sky into the co-ordinate system that has largely survived to this day (with subtle modifications and a greater accuracy, of course.)

Each calendar month was assigned a ‘star sign,’ beginning with the constellation that was positioned behind the sun at the time of the spring equinox. This was around March and April in the northern hemisphere. Remember, back in these days, the seasons very much governed the life and times of these people. Spring was an auspicious time of year because your farm animals would start bonking like mad, which was a good thing if you wanted your farm animals to make baby farm animals.

Funny Goat picture

At the time this was all cooked up (just over 2,500 years ago), the constellation that took position behind the sun at the spring equinox was Aries, the ram. Baaa. Every year at the same time, the same star sign would resume its rightful position in the sky.

But the Earth’s movement relative to the stars changes year after year. Every time we make our way around the sun, our aspect is very slightly different thanks to Earth’s wobbly axis of rotation. Just under three millennia later, the constellation positioned behind the sun at the time of the spring equinox is no longer Aries. It’s Taurus.

What does this mean?

The Zodiacal Identity Crisis

Cute lion pictures
“Screw this, I’m not a Leo anymore… I see myself as a Virgo anyway.”

What’s your star sign? Libra? Nope! Actually, you’re a Scorpio. When you were born, the constellation positioned behind the sun was Scorpio, not Libra. So all that crap about being sensitive, artistic, fickle and in love with the idea of love blah, blah, is just that: crap. Whatever star sign you thought you were, you are actually one ahead:

Aries’ are Gemini’s

Gemini’s are Cancer’s

Cancer’s are Leo’s

Leo’s are Virgo’s

And so on and so forth.

Everything you’ve ever read about yourself in a horoscope – what kind of person you are, your personality traits, your likes, loves, potential health problems and more – is all fundamentally flawed because you are reading the wrong star sign. Plain and simple. What’s the point in reading the horoscope for, example, Sagittarius when you’re actually a Capricorn? And why don’t astrologers or whoever writes this garbage picked up on this very simple, yet grave error?

Little Gypsy Fortune Teller

My birthday is on the 19th October. Every horoscope I have ever read in any magazine, newspaper or book has told me that my star sign is Libra. But every single one of them has been inaccurate. The constellation behind the sun on the date of my birth is Scorpio, which makes far more sense because I can be quite a bitch.

Class Dismissed: Your Take-Home Message 

Milky Way over the mountain
The Milky Way, the spiral arm of our galaxy, courses across a darkening sky.

The idea that the stars and planets play a part in forecasting our future is a very romantic one. It makes us feel very important. But those giant impartial elemental worlds composed of ice, rock, fire and air have about as much to do with your love life as scientology has to do with science.

Sure, those horoscopes you read in People while sitting on the porcelain throne can make sense sometimes. But horoscopes are self-fulfilled prophesies. If Madame Zola tells you that your love life is about to get hot and heavy, you’re immediately primed to see significance where there is none. You regard the world with fresh eager eyes; watching and waiting for your Prince Charming or Pussy Galore (guys) to come and sweep you off of your feet.

The bottom line is: stars are far too busy exploding and being catastrophically nuclear to worry about your office dynamics and how that bitch down the aisle keeps stealing your stapler. The planets couldn’t be less interested in how flaccid your sex life has been recently and the moon couldn’t give two hoots about what colour you should dye your hair next.

Perhaps it’s our innate fear of being ordinary that compels us to seek evidence of our extraordinary nature outside of ourselves – in the relative orientation of the stars and planets – when in fact we already ARE extraordinary.

We’re made of star dust, aren’t we?

Epic Rap Battle: Bill Gates Vs. Steve Jobs

We’re back with another Epic Rap Battle of History! This time, technology geniuses Bill Gates (creator of Microsoft and the PC), Steve Jobs (creator of Apple) take each other on in a verbal battle that drops mental bombs and “Oooh no he ‘dints!!”

Video Source: Uploaded by Epic Rap Battles ERB on YouTube channel https://youtu.be/njos57IJf-0

In this video taken from Season 2 of the hilariously funny Epic Rap Battles of History, these two giants of science and technology battle it out and in the end, you get to decide who wins!

For those of you who aren’t nerdy enough to know who super computer “Hal” is, do yourself a favour and watch one of history’s most epic and sensational nerd movies, 2001 Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick. It’s a lesson in cinematic history and just how advanced the previous generations all thought we’d be in the year 2001. Oops.

Drunk History (& Science): The Story of Benjamin Franklin

If you found your own history lessons at school mind-numbingly boring (who didn’t?) then this epic telling of the story of Benjamin Franklin will have you paying attention like never before. Who better to learn about the history of one of America’s greatest science pioneers (and political figureheads) from than a drunk celebrity? Illustrating a totally inebriated Eric Falconer’s account of Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiment are funny actors Jack Black and Clark Duke.

Source: Derek Waters’ “Drunk History” on YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjZR1Rjj_p0

For more from the masterminds behind this genius and totally hilarious American comedy show, check out www.cc.com/shows/drunk-history.

Sensitive viewers, please note that when Eric says he’s going to puke he actually does, although it’s not too graphic. Just calmly put down your onion bagel around the 1:45 mark. You’re welcome.