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Weekend Word Wrap

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I thought I'd turn to the physical today and look at word fonts. Well, not so much the actual fonts themselves (because let's face it, we'd be here all blog), but the word, font.

Our English word has its roots not in the Old English font, which comes from the Latin word for "fountain," but the Middle French fonte, which means "melted" (what I'm feeling right now in this dreadful Los Angeles heat wave!).

But why melted? Because originally, typefaces were not available in convenient drop-down windows, but rather cast from molten metal. In the 1450s, when the invention of moveable type came along, they were cast from an alloy of lead, antimony, and tin.

For hundreds of years, the English-speaking world used the spelling fount, which we in the States eventually changed to font. Just as we lost the "u" their colour. (Sorry Brits!)

Thanks to computers, the American spelling is now generally accepted as the universal word for typeface.

As for the fonts themselves, check out this cool site where you can make a font from your own handwriting! Link via our reader, Marcy.

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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
Can’t See the Eclipse in Person? Watch NASA’s 360° Live Stream
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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, the historic eclipse on August 21 might not look all that impressive from your vantage point. You may be far away from the path of totality, or stuck with heartbreakingly cloudy weather. Maybe you forgot to get your eclipse glasses before they sold out, or can't get away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But fear not. NASA has you covered. The space agency is live streaming a spectacular 4K-resolution 360° live video of the celestial phenomenon on Facebook. The livestream started at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and includes commentary from NASA experts based in South Carolina. It will run until about 4:15 ET.

You can watch it below, on NASA's Facebook page, or on the Facebook video app.

Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former War World II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]


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