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Why Isn't Fish Considered Meat During Lent?

Lent is the 40-day period, not including Sundays, leading up to Easter. It is a time of fasting and reflection, and in the Catholic church, part of that fasting means no meat on Fridays. However, fish is not considered meat, so the Friday fish fry has become traditional. But fish is still animal flesh, so why is it not considered to be meat?    

Legend has it that centuries ago a medieval pope with connections to Europe's fishing business banned red meat on Fridays to give his buddies' industry a boost. But that story isn't true. Sunday school teachers have a more theological answer: Jesus fasted for 40 days and died on a Friday. Catholics honor both occasions by making a small sacrifice: avoiding animal flesh one day out of the week. That explanation is dandy for a homily, but it doesn't explain why only red meat and poultry are targeted and seafood is fine.

For centuries, the reason evolved with the fast. In the beginning, some worshippers only ate bread. But by the Middle Ages, they were avoiding meat, eggs, and dairy. By the 13th century, the meat-fish divide was firmly established—and Saint Thomas Aquinas gave a lovely answer explaining why: sex, simplicity, and farts.

To make sense of all that, you’ll need to read the article at Mental Floss. Of course, the difference between fish and other meats is subject to change- at different times in different places, beavers, capybaras, muskrats, and alligators have been classified as fish.   


Meet The Ancient Memorization Trick That Boosts Long Term Memory

A new study published in Science Advances suggests that the ancient memorization technique called “method of Loci” is good for both short and long-term memory. Led by neuroscientist Isabella Wagner from Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands, the study discovered that the method also rewires the brain, allowing for improved storage and retrieval of long-term memories. But what is the “method of Loci?” Gizmodo has the details: 

Imagine the route you typically take to the grocery store. Now imagine the many identifiable landmarks that exist between your home and the store—like a specific garden, stop sign, or gas station.
Take these landmarks and associate them with things you’re trying to remember, such as the items on your grocery list. So for the garden, let’s assign mustard. For the stop sign, we’ll add ketchup, and for the gas station, we’ll use relish. Once at the grocery store, you’ll be able to recall these items simply by re-imagining your trip to the grocery store and the associated landmarks.

Image via Gizmodo 


New Nintendo Switch Pro In The Works

Rumors are now circulating on the Internet that Nintendo is set to reveal a new model of their successful console, the Nintendo Switch, with improvements. Bloomberg reports that the company plans to unveil the new model in hopes that the "larger touchscreen can prop up demand in time for the holidays." The new model will have a bigger OLED display and will be able to output 4K ultra-high definition graphics when in docked mode, as IGN details: 

For reference, the current Nintendo Switch model features a 6.2-inch, 720p-resolution screen. This new screen would look as if you extended the current Switch's screen that replaced most of the black bezel around it.
“The OLED panel will consume less battery, offer higher contrast and possibly faster response time when compared to the Switch’s current liquid-crystal display,” said Yoshio Tamura, co-founder of display consultancy DSCC.
The report also claims that Nintendo has decided to go with rigid OLED panels for this new model, a "cheaper but less flexible alternative to the type commonly used for high-end smartphones."

Image via wikimedia commons


Ancient Roman Marble Floor Unraveled In France

Archaeologists have discovered a tiled floor that belonged in an ancient Roman villa. Estimated to date back to 1-2 A.D., the flooring is composed of marble from multiple empirical provinces that’s inlaid to the foundation. The design of the marble floor is called opus sectile, which was common during ancient times, as the Colossal details: 

During their dig, archaeologists also uncovered plaster sheets that had caved in on the impeccably preserved tiles featuring classic frescoes on red and black panels. Lines score the back of the decorative pieces, which would have helped them adhere to the earthen walls. Other findings indicate that this domu, along with another nearby, were particularly lavish and featured a private bath, a concrete floor speckled with decorative gemstones, and a large central fountain made from Carrara white marble. One room even had remains of hypocaust heating, an inventive system that sent hot air underneath the flooring to warm the home. 

Image via the Colossal 


Incredible Sculptures From Ordinary Pencil Leads

Creativity has no bounds, regardless of the material used for artistic endeavors. Japanese artist Shiroi proves that sculptures can be made from fragile pencil lead sticks, with his  intricate pencil-lead sculptures of things like buildings, logos, weapons, tools, cartoon characters, household items, and more. His talent in creating these sculptures from graphite has attracted fans on Twitter and Instagram, where he posts his creations: 

According to Oddity Central, Shiroi took his first steps into pencil carving after getting inspired by celebrity Japanese pencil carver Toshiyuki Yamazaki as he was featured on a television segment.
Since catching a glimpse of the master's talent on screen around seven years ago, Shiroi has tried his best to emulate the same level of intricacy and craftsmanship in his own carvings – an incredibly challenging task considering the brittle nature of pencil lead and the extremely limited surface area afforded to the artist.
Clearly, Shiroi's perseverance has paid off. Taking a look at some of his creations will show just how much care and attention the artist has put into his work. From Cloud Strife's Buster Sword and Sora's Keyblade to imitations of Big Ben and miniature versions of household items like cutlery and furniture, all of his work features a significant level of accuracy and detail.

Image via Mashable 


18 of the Most Annoying Co-Workers

Recently, Cracked asked its Facebook followers to send them stories about the most annoying things their co-workers had ever done. And you thought your workplace was toxic--


First Ever Space Hotel May Begin Construction in 2026

While the future of space travel is still indefinite, Orbital Assembly, a large space company, recently announced their plan to start the construction of a space hotel. They are aiming to begin the assembly of their space hotel in 2026. 

Based on early renderings, the hotel will look almost like a Ferris wheel floating in orbit, with an outer ring connected to the center hub of the structure by elevators. Though the number of rooms has yet to [be]confirmed, the newspaper reports that the hotel will have room for up to 280 guests, all of whom will be required to undergo some space training, and 112 crew members. The company intends to build the hotel out with all the amenities you’d expect at a luxury property, including restaurants, entertainment options, a gym, spa and shopping. You’ll even be able to take a spacewalk while you’re there. It’s basically a luxe resort that happens to orbit the earth.

I wonder if someone would be interested to go through a special training just to experience shopping in space.

(Image Credit:)


Shooting With A 23-Year-Old Game Boy Camera

Out of all the new and advanced camera models on the market, these photographers are going old school and taking their photos with Nintendo’s Game Boy Camera. That’s right, the low-res, pixelated, black and white photos you take from the device made for the game console. The Game Boy Camera was released in 1998, and now, people are enhancing its capabilities with mods. Input Magazine features five photographers who still use the camera today. Check the full piece here.  

Image via Input Magazine 


100-Million-Year-Old Seafloor Sediment Bacteria Have Been Resuscitated

A Japanese research team drilled into the sea floor under 6,000 feet of ocean in the South Pacific Gyre and pulled up sludge that had been sitting there for 100 million years. Could anything survive in it? Well, consider this:

The gyre is a marine desert more barren than all but the aridest places on Earth. Ocean currents swirl around it, but within the gyre, the water stills and life struggles because few nutrients enter. Near the center is both the Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility (made famous by H.P. Lovecraft as the home of the be-tentacled Cthulhu) and the South Pacific garbage patch.  At times the closest people are astronauts passing above on the International Space Station.

The sea here is so miserly that it takes one million years for a meter of marine “snow”—corpses, poo and dust—to accumulate on the bottom. The tale of all that time can total as little as 10 centimeters. It is the least productive patch of water on the planet.

Against all odds, bacteria cells from the retrieved cores came alive in the presence of nutrients -and started reproducing! Some types of bacteria produce spores that encase the cell to protect it, but this bacteria was not that sort. What kind of bacteria can lay dormant for 100 million years and come to life? And how afraid of it should we be? Read about this experiment at Scientific American. -via Damn Interesting

(Image credit: Arito Sakaguchi & IODP/TAMU)


The Royal Rundown on Queen Victoria's Nine Children

Queen Victoria, monarch of the British Empire, had nine children, and would have had more if her husband Prince Albert hadn't died in 1861. Those children had varying personalities and relationships with their mother. All nine married into European royal families, even the youngest, who married a prince against her mother's wishes.

The last of Victoria’s children, Beatrice—known as “Baby”—was her mother’s constant companion. Victoria’s affection toward Beatrice meant she was resented by her siblings. From an early age, Beatrice said “I shall never get married. I will stay with mother.” If anyone mentioned the word marriage in front of her, they would be strictly reprimanded by Victoria.

Despite her previous views on the matter, in 1884, Beatrice fell in love with Prince Henry of Battenburg and became determined to marry him. Victoria refused to speak to Beatrice for over six months, but eventually she relented, on the condition that the couple lived with her.

Read a short biography of each of Victoria's children at Mental Floss.


Cat Tries To Cope With Unrequited Love

This is the story of Lily and Bean. And Stan. And Cassidy. A true life soap opera. Is this a case of anthropomorphism, or do cats play complicated mind games the way humans do? Bean is in awe of Lily, who is out of his league. But Lily seems to be on the verge of figuring out what -or who- is good for her. You can see more of Lily and Bean at the Instagram account beautynthebean.


Why Is This Cargo Ship Floating above the Water?


This scene from the southwest coast of England depicts a "superior mirage." It's a type of optical illusion that appears under particular weather conditions. When there's a layer of cold air on top of a layer of warm air, light refracted through it distorts. The Guardian explains:

Because cold air is denser than warm air, it has a higher refractive index. In the case of the “hovering ship”, this means light rays coming from the ship are bent downwards as it passes through the colder air, to observers on the shoreline. This makes the ship appear in a higher position than it really is – in this instance, above the sea surface.

TL;DR version: sorcery.



“The Lamborghini Of The Past”: The Intricate Roman Chariot of Pompeii

Archeologists found a Roman chariot near the ancient city of Pompeii in Italy. It was a four-wheeled processional carriage decorated with figures of satyrs and nymphs made from bronze and tin. Eric Poehler, an archaeologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, described this carriage as the Lamborghini of its time.

The chariot is the first of its kind unearthed in its entirety, reports Colleen Barry for the Associated Press (AP). Though experts have previously discovered vehicles used for everyday activities like transportation, the recently found example was too ornate for such purposes. Instead, the team speculates that ancient Romans used it for festivals, parades, weddings and other ceremonial events.

(Image Credit: Archaeological Park of Pompeii /


Embroidered Tiny Princesses with 3-D Hair

During my childhood, we did not have gadgets and YouTube apps to play with. At that time, we looked to our surroundings for ways to ease our boredom. One of the ways that I had fun was watching my granny’s embroidery. She would make pillowcases with floral patterns. 

This video not only reminded me of the fun during my childhood; it also reminded me of my granny.

(Image Credit: 3-minute DIY/ Youtube)


Australian Airline Offers Mystery Flights with Unstated Destinations

When you buy a ticket for for one of Qantas's mystery flights, you know from where you will depart, but the airline keeps your destination a secret. All that you know is that Qantas has definite plans for you when you land and those plans will be surprising. Fox News reports:

The three mystery flights will depart from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to a destination outside of the "major capital cities," but still within a two-hour distance. Activities upon arrival could include a winemaking course or a gourmet lunch, and even a visit to one of Australia’s "tropical island wonders," Qantas describes. Once passengers touch down, they’ll have a day to explore at their leisure before flying home.
And while Qantas hasn't specified where passengers will land, the airline is giving a few hints. Those taking off from Brisbane can expect to enjoy "country hospitality" along with food and wine, while those leaving from Melbourne will likely be doing some hiking, or browsing through local farmers' markets. Passengers leaving from Sydney, on the other hand, will be enjoying "long lunching on the beach" at a tropical destination.

That's what Qantas claims. Has anyone actually returned from one of these mystery flights?

-via Marginal Revolution | Photo: Colin Brown Photography

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