Hello, it's Victor. Hope everyone is coping with isolation. Here's my monthly stash of stuff I found while staying at home:
In the 1950s and 60s, when a lot of Western music was banned in the Soviet Union, a black market for illegal copies of records emerged — and was highly in demand. Because vinyl lathes and presses are very expensive, copyists figured that they were able to 'reverse' the needles of old phonographs to press music onto very soft materials.
One material that worked well for blanks turned out to be X-ray films, and people started raiding hospital's bins to collect them. They cut the round with scissors, burned a spindle hole with a cigarette, and repressed copies of the (rare) real records that made it through the borders. These copies are called ribs recordings (or 'jazz on bones'): they were very poor quality and could only be played 5-10 times, but cost only a ruble… and looked pretty cool.
Bungee jumping was invented in the 1970s by the Dangerous Sports Club, a British group specialised in “high risk and surreal activities”. They were responsible for early base jumping, trying to run a double-decker bus down a ski slope, gliding around active volcanoes, and zorbing.
Its founding members are known for their involvement with the Oxford Stunt Factory, that resulted in the death of a student launched with a trebuchet in 2002.
Plant blindness is the name for a phenomenon where humans do not notice plants around them, or fail to remember species of plants in their memories. Unlike animals or objects, we just remember that “a plant” was there, but are often unable to tell what it looked like, or what species it was.
Last year, doctors successfully placed humans in short-term suspended animation. Doing so right after acute trauma (like a gun shot or stab wound) could give precious time for surgeons to operate: “Their heart will have stopped beating and they will have lost more than half their blood. There are only minutes to operate, with a less than 5 per cent chance that they would normally survive. EPR involves rapidly cooling a person to around 10 to 15°C by replacing all of their blood with ice-cold saline. […] Their body – which would otherwise be classified as dead – is moved to the operating theatre. A surgical team then has 2 hours to fix the person’s injuries before they are warmed up and their heart restarted.”
The trial will run until the end of this year (probably longer, in current circumstances), but when the survival odds are that low, even a small increase in success rate would be an incredible medical feat.
When cherries 🍒 are a few weeks away from being picked in orchards, they are very vulnerable from rain: water droplets stick to the fruits and can make them rot or spli. If it rains a lot, this can destroy an entire crop — and a year's worth of income.
They're so valuable that for orchards, it's cost-efficient enough to hire helicopters to hover above the cherry orchards, and use the downwash from the blades to shake out the water off the branches and cherries. You can read more about this (tedious) work from the pilot's point of view in The life of a cherry-drying pilot. And no, let's not talk about the ecological impact of this.
Wash your hands (again),