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Morning Cup of Links: July 4th Holiday Weekend

First off: Happy Canada Day!
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9 Fourth of July Myths Debunked. We learn our history in childhood as short sound bites that oversimplify what really happened in 1776.
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On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets: An Empirical Study. If you are paranoid about government mind-control rays, you'll be even more so after reading this research from MIT. (via Everlasting Blort)
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Our earth is a dynamic place that moves and changes with no regard to humans or anyone else. Cracked looks at five events that left behind some serious scars. (NSFW text)
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First, they made killing infants illegal, then they outlawed sex determination before abortions. Now families in India who want sons are resorting to gender reassignment surgery to turn their daughters into boys.
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Watch fireworks explode in slow motion, thanks to ultra high-speed film. They're blowing things up, too, although I can't imagine why they picked a jar of mayonnaise.
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An ad from Argentina called "Braids" could stand on its own even without the product it is promoting. What was that product, anyway? ...not that it matters.
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265 TV Marathons & Specials for 4th of July Weekend 2011. So you'll have something to do between picnics, parades, and fireworks.
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Ten Big Uncle Sams. Americans, take this larger-than-life symbol with you as you celebrate the holiday weekend.

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

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Art
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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