Photo of the day

From a recent Telegraph photos of the week gallery:

This jaw-dropping shot shows a shadow 15 miles long.  The distinctive dark triangular shape has been cast by Mount Fuji, Japan's highest mountain at 3,776 metres high.  Kent photographer Kris J Boorman captured the amazing image from the mountain's summit on a visit there two years ago.  The 28-year-old's photograph, which he took at sunrise around 5am, has now garnered international praise after he posted it online on Reddit last week. This was actually Kris' second attempt at capturing the spectacle. After being left unsatisfied with a picture he took the year before, he had arranged to scale the peak the following year especially to try again.  Kris' photograph is notable as the view is often obscured by fog or low-hanging clouds. 'When the time came to shoot the shadow I had an absolutely crystal clear sky - near unheard of for Fuji outside of winter,' he says.

The distinctive dark triangular shape of Japan’s highest mountain, Mt Fuji, casts a 15 mile shadow. Kent photographer Kris J Boorman captured the image from the mountain’s summit (3,776 metres) on a visit there two years ago. The 28-year-old’s photograph, which he took at sunrise around 5am, has now garnered international praise after he posted it online on Reddit last week. This was actually Kris’s second attempt at capturing the spectacle. After being left unsatisfied with a picture he took the year before, he had arranged to scale the peak the following year especially to try again. Kris’s photograph is notable as the view is often obscured by fog or low-hanging clouds. ‘When the time came to shoot the shadow I had an absolutely crystal clear sky – near unheard of for Fuji outside of winter,’ he says.Picture: Kris J Boorman/Rex Features

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Quick hits (part II)

1) The complex historical factors behind poverty in NC.

2) A journalist volunteered to go to prison (you can do that!) in Arizona.  It wasn’t pretty.

3) Love Michael Pollan’s takedown of the Paleo diet.

4) Can you really say you are sure there’s no such thing as Bigfoot?

5) Very nice essay on the dumbing down of America.

6) On the parallels between Voter ID laws and leash laws for unicorns.  Love this.

7) Love this from a former Marine on the bad combination of military weapons given to police officers without proper training in how to use military weapons.

8) Did you hear about Facebook’s plan to tag satirical posts (e.g., Onion, etc.) because too many people are fooled by them.  Sad.  Love this website that has actual reactions to Onion posts where people did not get the satire.  Good, good stuff.

9) There was an absolutely horrible Op-Ed from a cop in the Washington Post about how citizens need to meekly obey all police authority and we’d have no problems.  I wanted to write a post and didn’t.  Big Steve wrote a better one than I would have anyway.

10) Great piece from Jon Lee Anderson on ISIS and James Foley.  A big part of the problem is that Europeans pay ransoms (not that this would have helped Foley).  They shouldn’t.  And a nice Vox piece on what Obama should do about ISIS.

11) I love cave art.  I’m still waiting for my wife to figure out that I want her to surprise me with some sometime (a reproduction, obviously– though I sure wish I could see the real thing some day).  Some scientists are now suggesting that art is part of the feminization of the human species which proved crucial for the development of human cooperation and society:

A new scientific-minded guess at this riddle is both intriguing and politically appealing, not to say politically correct: it suggests that ape-men made art and culture only when ape-men finally became more like ape-women. A group of five scientists just last week proposed that the great symbolic transformation happened at around the time the human face, and the hormones that shape its growth, became—and this is the scientists’ word—feminized. Indeed, that’s the title of a paper in this month’s issue of Current Anthropology: “Craniofacial Feminization, Social Tolerance, and the Origins of Behavioral Modernity.”

The argument is tight enough. “Social tolerance” seems, from long anthropological observation, not to mention common sense, to be necessary for symbolic communication: if you can’t stay put in the circle around the fire long enough to listen, there’s no point in sharing good stories. As human groups got bigger, more social tolerance is what they had to have. Very early man, alas, of the kind who appears on the fossil record for some four hundred thousand years, shows every sign of social impatience; his big, testosterone-fuelled brows seem made merely to intimidate his fellow early man—to scare him (or her) away before the talking and symbol-sharing can even start. As testosterone ebbed and the aggressively masculine stare-downs faded, Paleolithic life had to become less a scene red in tooth and claw and more like an afternoon program on NPR, with thoughtful-voiced disputants sharing the day’s news and seeking its moral points.

12) Nut allergies are quite the growing problem these days.  Immunotherapy can be quite effective, but it’s long and hard.  Here’s an idea… change the nuts themselves to be less allergenic.  It’s the early stages, but seems to hold some promise.

13) North and South Carolina are working together to clarify their border– which will apparently be modified.  Pretty amazing to think that state borders could have been wrong all this time.

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