Friday, 3 April 2015

Artist CJ Hendry Draws 50 Photorealistic Foods in 50 Days

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Starting in February, Brisbane artist CJ Hendry embarked on an ambitious drawing project, the creation of 50 food drawings in 50 days, with a new piece posted to Instagram every 24 hours. Each black pen drawing of a photorealistic food set against the backdrop of an ornate French plate is rendered with a stunning grasp of shading and depth. You can scroll through the entire collection of photos here, and see some of her earlier large-scale drawings on Analogue/Digital.com.au. (via Boing Boing, The Cool Hunter)

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Sushi Bath Towel Concept by Jenny Pokryvailo

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Designer Jenny Pokryvailo came up with this amusing concept for a series of towels that when properly folded resemble different types of maki rolls. You may previously recognize Pokryvailo’s design work from her wildly popular (and equally quirky) Nessie Ladle, Sardine Paper Clips, and Rainbow Marker Set. (via Laughing Squid)

 
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Wandering Jupiter accounts for our unusual solar system

Jupiter may have swept through the early solar system like a wrecking ball, destroying a first generation of

The post Wandering Jupiter accounts for our unusual solar system has been published on Technology Org.

 
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Why we gossip, according to science

Did you hear what happened at yesterday's meeting? Can you believe it?

If you find those sort of quietly whispered questions about your co-workers irresistible, you're hardly alone. But why are we drawn to gossip?

A new study suggests it's because the rumors, innuendo, and hearsay are ultimately all about us — where we rate in the unofficial local hierarchy, and how we might improve our standing.

"Gossip recipients tend to use positive and negative group information to improve, promote, and protect the self," writes a research team led by Elena Martinescu of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. "Individuals need evaluative information about others to evaluate themselves."

Writing in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,the researchers describe two experiments testing the personal value gossip recipients derive. The first featured 178 university undergraduates who had all previously worked on at least one course assignment with a group of four or more students.

Participants "were asked to recall and write a short description of an incident in which a group members shared with them either positive or negative information about another group member's confidence," the researchers write. (Eighty-five received a positive report, 93 a negative one.)

They then reported their level of agreement with a series of statements. Some of these measured the self-improvement value of the gossip ("The information received made me think I can learn a lot from X"); others measured its self-promotion value ("The information I received made me feel that I am doing well compared to X"). Still others measured whether the gossip raised personal concerns ("The information I received made me feel that I must protect my image in the group").

In the second experiment,122 undergraduates were assigned the role of "sales agent" at a major company. They received gossip from a colleague that a third person either did very well or very badly at a performance evaluation, and were then debriefed about the emotions that information evoked. They also responded to the aforementioned set of statements presented to participants in the first experiment.

In each experiment, participants found both negative and positive gossip to be of personal value, albeit for different reasons. "Positive gossip has self-improvement value," they write. "Competence-related positive gossip about others contains lessons about how to improve one's own competence."

On the flip side, "negative gossip has self-promotion value, because it provides individuals with social comparison information that justifies self-promoting judgments, which results in feelings of pride."

"Contrary to lay perceptions," the researchers assert, "most negative gossip is not intended to hurt the target, but to please the gossiper and receiver."

In addition, the results "showed that negative gossip elicited self-protection concerns," the researchers write. "Negative gossip makes people concerned that their reputations may be at risk, as they may personally become targets of negative gossip in the future, which generates fear."

Fear is hardly a pleasant sensation, of course, but it can be a motivating one. As Martinescu and her colleagues put it: "Gossip conveniently provides individuals with indirect social-comparison information about relevant others."

In other words, if you don't want to be viewed as a goof-off like Charley, you'd better get your act together.

It's worth noting that this study did not look at who-is-sleeping-with-who gossip, which presumably has a somewhat different function — although news that an illicit couple has gotten caught could certainly serve as a cautionary tale.

But it does show that beyond providing "emotional catharsis and social control," confidentially treaded information about the competence, or lack thereof, of a co-worker can be "an essential resource for self-evaluation."

Pass the word.

Pacific Standard grapples with the nation's biggest issues by illuminating why we do what we do. For more on the science of society, sign up for its weekly email update or subscribe to its bimonthly print magazine.

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A Photographer Lovingly Captures the Unlikely Bond between His Family and an Orphaned Bird

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The stories of a unique bond between a child and their pet are as timeless as they come, but rarely does the pet have wings. Such is the case with photographer Cameron Bloom whose son Noah happened upon a baby magpie in 2013 when the family was out walking near their home in Newport, Australia. After consulting with a veterinarian, the family learned to raise the orphaned bird, who they affectionately named Penguin.

A year later, the curious bird has deeply integrated with the family. Despite being free to come and go outdoors, she always returns to the Bloom household where Cameron, his wife Sam, and their sons Rueben, Noah, and Oli eagerly await her return. On rare occasions, Penguin even shows off her adopted family to other magpies who have followed her inside the house.

For the past year, Bloom has dutifully snapped photos which he publishes on a wildly popular Instagram account. Seriously people, it’s amazing; follow it now, ask questions later. The feels. Penguin pretty much gets the run of the house and is free to snuggle with the family in bed, get tangled in their hair, or help with homework.

Just yesterday, New York Times bestselling author Bradley Trevor Greive announced that he’ll be writing a book about Penguin and the Blooms, accompanied by Cameron’s photography. You can see more on his website. All photos shared here courtesy the photographer. (via Beautiful Decay, ABC)

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How Could You Capture an Asteroid?

We can’t just go into space with a big butterfly net or catcher’s mitt, so how in the

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