It'll be the Vernal Equinox on Wednesday, meaning it's still winter today so you'd best stay on the Internet where it's nice and warm

  • How rats became an inescapable part of city living - Emma Marris on the inescapable vermin: ”Nearly everywhere that people live, rats live too… In Seattle, where I grew up, the rats excel at climbing sewer pipes—from the inside. Somewhere in my hometown right now, a long, wet Norway rat is poking its twitchy pink nose above the water surface in a toilet bowl.”

  • Earliest Signal Ever: Scientists Find Relic Neutrinos From 1 Second After The Big Bang - ”If the Universe is expanding today, then we can extrapolate back, earlier and earlier, to when it was smaller, younger, denser, and hotter. You could go back as far as you can imagine: before humans, before the stars, before there were even neutral atoms… Known as the cosmic neutrino background (CNB), it was theorized generations ago, but was dismissed as undetectable. Until now.” Another blow to Fred Hoyle's steady state theory

  • Wild African ape reactions to novel camera traps - Apes notice cameras, which means that observing how they behave using cameras might affect how they behave. ”We were specifically surprised by the differences in reactions we observed between the chimps and bonobos. Since they’re sister species and share a lot of the same genetic makeup, we expected them to react similarly to the camera, but this wasn’t the case.”

  • The Strangest Mausoleums – England’s Top Ten Pyramid Tombs - David Castleton on the legacy of the 18th and 19th century passion for all things ancient Egyptian: ”A number of such monuments are scattered across England – brooding in dark stone next to modest churches, crowning green hilltops or rising incongruously from the lush grass of aristocratic estates. These pyramid tombs are magnets for bizarre legends – tales tell of glass strewn over their floors to repel the Devil, of occupants seated with bottles of wine to await the Resurrection.”

  • A Three-Day Expedition To Walk Across Paris Entirely Underground - More graves (well, catacombs) and rats with Will Hunt: ”We would descend into the catacombs just outside the southern frontier of the city, near Porte d’Orléans; if all went according to plan, we’d emerge from the sewers near Place de Clichy, beyond the northern border. As the crow flies, the route was about six miles, a stroll you could make between breakfast and lunch. But the subterranean route — as the worm inches, let’s say — would be winding and messy and roundabout, with lots of zigzagging and backtracking.”

  • Radioactive Glass Beads May Tell the Terrible Tale of How the Fukushima Meltdown Unfolded - Andrea Thompson on an unexpected consequence of the Fukushima meltdown: ”What no one knew or expected was the fallout also contained bacteria-size glassy beads, with concentrations of radioactive cesium that were far higher than those in similar-size motes of tainted dust or dirt… By analyzing the particles’ composition, scientists can piece together a clearer image of what happened during the white-hot violence inside the plant itself, and of the current condition of the debris in the three reactors that experienced meltdowns.”

  • Abinger Magnetic Observatory (1923-1957) - HT to WTFH, who discovered the remains of this place when walking the dog recently: ”Back in December 1890, small uncountable agitations began to be detected in the Horizontal and Vertical Force traces. These corresponded to similar disturbances detected by the Earth Current registers. They started around 7 o’clock in the morning, ended around 11 o’clock at night, and were generally absent on Sundays. It took until the following summer for their source to be traced to the opening of the City and South London Railway (now part of the Northern Line) some 4¼ miles away.” And that’s why they had to move their magnetic observatory away from London.

  • ‘Centurians of Rome’: How a Bank Robber Made the Most Expensive Gay Porno of All Time - ”When George Bosque stole $1.85 million and went on the lam, he invented a new identity—as a movie producer with bags of cash and a dream to film a Roman-themed porn orgy.” I told you bank robbers were interesting

  • A first-person engine in 265 lines - A cool demo and tutorial by Hunter Loftis shows you how to implement raycasting, the technique used by games such as Wolfenstein 3D: ”Raycasting feels like cheating, and as a lazy programmer, I love it. You get the immersion of a 3D environment without many of the complexities of "real 3D" to slow you down. For example, raycasts run in constant time, so you can load up a massive world and it will just work, without optimization, as quickly as a tiny world. Levels are defined as simple grids rather than as trees of polygon meshes, so you can dive right in without a 3D modeling background or mathematics PhD.”

  • On the Hunt for Japan’s Elaborate, Colorful Manhole Covers - From the “Japan is weird, but often in a wonderful way” department: ”In Japan, many manhole covers are works of urban art—elaborate, curious, distinctive, even colorful. They have become a tourist destination unto themselves, and attract a legion of dedicated manhole enthusiasts who travel the country to visit some of the thousands of unique designs.”

Happy invoicing!