CLOSE

Weekend Links: The 2,000-Year-Old Computer

That eternal elevator conversation fodder, weather talk: Is there a way to make it interesting? The BBC says yes (and I concur!)
*
Check out the interactive map "the Connected States of America," which shows which counties across the country have the highest rates of cell phone and text message usage. Not surprisingly, it's mostly (though not totally) tied to population. Did your county's placement surprise you?
*
There's an extraordinary 2,000-year-old computer that you've probably never heard of. "The Antikythera mechanism was designed to predict movements of the sun, moon and planets. Why isn't it better known?"
*
"High in the Himalayan foothills, fearless Gurung men risk their lives to harvest massive nests of the world's largest honeybee." Haunting and amazing.
*
Simple question with a complex answer: did humans make tools, or did tools make humans? (But not in a Cylon way.)
*
Another question: how does Vatican City deal with criminals?
*
For my fellow soccer fans who find the summer months slow (though not this year - the Euros and the Olympics, huzzah!), here's how Britons deal with the dearth of footie with shin kicking competitions. In fact, the 2012 World Shin Kicking Champion has just been crowned.
*
Haven't you always wondered how to anodize aluminum? No? Well! This video makes it pretty darn interesting.
*
Lovely rainbow origami street art. Far preferable to the lame graffiti I see around here. Inspired now to try some of your own? Here's a great animated tutorial on how to make a paper crane.
***
Stay tuned - more links on the way tomorrow! In the meantime, send you submissions to FlossyLinks@gmail.com.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
arrow
video
Bone Broth 101
5669938080001

Whether you drink it on its own or use it as stock, bone broth is the perfect recipe to master this winter. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
science
Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?
iStock
iStock

If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios