What Starts With ‘f’ And Ends With ‘uck’? Firetruck!

The f-bomb. That satisfying combination of syllables that can be a noun, verb, or most any part of a sentence or phrase. But who uses it the most? New Yorkers? Texans? Brits?

Now we can track the drops of the f-bomb (on twitter at least) with fbomb.co. Every time a tweet goes out containing those four controversial letters, the map on fbomb.co updates and drops a missile down on the location where it was tweeted. And if you’re prone to dropping a few bombs yourself, you might even catch your own tweets coming down and leaving a puff of smoke behind.

The Women Who Mapped the Universe (you probably haven’t heard of them)

the women who mapped the universe - the harvard computers
In 1873, a doctor and Harvard professor wrote that “A woman’s body could only handle a limited number of developmental tasks at one time—that girls who spent to much energy developing their minds during puberty would end up with undeveloped or diseased reproductive systems.” It was not satire.

His advice was promptly and thoroughly ignored by women’s colleges of the time, where women were encouraged to study the sciences. Unfortunately, women’s colleges were still largely underfunded. They sometimes needed to pair with other colleges for support. It was in one of these pairings that the ‘Harvard Computers’ were formed.

The ‘Harvard Computers’ were a group of women mapping the universe as a team lead by Williamina Fleming – a maid for Edward Pickering. She ended up in the position after Pickering fired his incompetent male assistant. The ‘Harvard Computers’ are still not well known, rarely being recognized in history or science books… but at least they’re (mostly) not referred to as ‘Pickering’s Harem’ anymore. To find out more about these underappreciated scientists, check out the Smithsonian’s blog post on the topic.

The Big Book of Online Trolling

the big book of online entitlement
Our digital world isn’t confined to just the digital anymore. Kickstarters, secret santas, and online political movements all bleed into our physical spaces. And internet culture is pervasive, even offline. People will actually say ‘I can has?’ or imitate a ‘doge’ in casual conversation. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is likely all perspective, but like any culture, there are positive and negative aspects. Tumblr user LiarTownUSA explores some of these negative aspects in a way that mimics real physical artifacts with their series of mock-up book covers.

Math Keeps You Warm at Night

adventure time - mathematical!

Knitting. Baby blankets, cozy scarfs for every Christmas, and great aunts sitting on the couch next to a pile of pastel yarn.

Coding. Zeros and ones, faces lit only by the light of a computer screen, and your socially awkward cousin trying to stammer his way out of a conversation that will surely end with him fixing Grandma’s computer.

This association game would give you the impression that knitting and computer programing have nothing in common. That would be a false impression. Computer programming and knitting actually go way back – some of the first programmers followed a process strikingly similar to way weaving patterns were made, using card stock and hole punches. This makes a lot of sense, considering that early computers were inspired by looms.

Knitting and coding are both very mathematical at heart. They are pattern focused, often instruction based, and they build line-by-line. The differences between the two are obvious, naturally, with the two processes attracting different audiences, using different tools, and ending with very different results. These differences, however, can end up being beneficial. Knitting offers a way for participants to develop their fine motor skills, and the fact that it works in a physical space allows for a different kind of learning.

Plus, even if the direct skills aren’t transferable between the two fields, the way of thinking can transcend the tools and space to really bring out the best of both worlds. For more on the topic, take a look at the article by MindShift, or the original essay by Dr. Karen Shoop.