Weekend Links: Comet Pan-STARRS Lights the Night

These time-lapse videos of the comet Pan-STARRS allow us terrestrial beings too busy to observe the night sky a chance to relive and appreciate one of the first great astronomical wonders of 2013. You’ll still have an opportunity to catch it in person: the comet will continue to shine on, though dimming gradually in brightness, through the end of March.

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National Geographic is celebrating their 125th anniversary by releasing a series of images from their archives in a curated collection called FOUND, “showcasing photographs that reveal cultures and moments of the past.”

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Cats through the ages: a new collection called Puss in Books proves that our love of cat pictures predated the internet, with images of the furry little balls of cute appearing on Egyptian tomb walls and the pages of medieval religious texts.

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YouTube science vlogger Vsauce explores the burning question of “What’s the most dangerous place on Earth?” At 2:39, you can find out what would happen if you fell into a volcano full of molten lava, and why it’s even more terrifying than you would expect.

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A Reddit post asking users to submit “the happiest facts you know” resulted in this uplifting list of information about exactly the subjects you’d expect: love, laughter, and baby animals.

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Jay-Z has officially been named the executive producer of, and original music contributor to, the soundtrack for Baz Lurhmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

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This infographic provides a brief history of video game driving, from Gran Tak, the first car-based racing game released in 1974 to the upcoming fifth installment of the ever-popular and morally controversial Grand Theft Auto series. Drive safe.

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Breaking science news: CERN says it was the Higgs boson!

If March 15 Is the Ides of March, What Does That Make March 16?

iStock.com/bycostello
iStock.com/bycostello

Everyone knows that the soothsayer in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar was talking about March 15 when he warned the Roman emperor to "beware the Ides of March." We also all know Caesar's response: "Nah, I gotta head into the office that day." But if March 15 is the Ides of March, what does that make March 16?

At the time of Caesar's assassination, Romans were using the Julian calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar himself). This was a modified version of the original Roman calendar, and it is very similar to the one we use today (which is called the Gregorian calendar). A major difference, however, was how Romans talked about the days.

Each month had three important dates: the Kalends (first day of the month), the Ides (the middle of the month), and the Nones (ninth day before the Ides, which corresponded with the first phase of the Moon). Instead of counting up (i.e., March 10, March 11, March 12), Romans kept track by counting backwards and inclusively from the Kalends, Ides, or Nones. March 10 was the sixth day before the Ides of March, March 11 was the fifth day before the Ides of March, and so on.

Because it came after the Ides, March 16 would’ve been referred to in the context of April: "The 17th day before the Kalends of April." The abbreviated form of this was a.d. XVII Kal. Apr., with "a.d." standing for ante diem, meaning roughly "the day before."

So, had Julius Caesar been murdered on March 16, the soothsayer's ominous warning would have been, "Beware the 17th day before the Kalends of April." Doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

This story first ran in 2016.

Show Houseguests Who's in Charge With This Game of Thrones Doormat

ThinkGeek
ThinkGeek

If you’re prone to houseguests who shed crumbs on your sofa and use all the toilet paper without replacing it, it might be time to demand a little respect. This Game of Thrones doormat from the merchants at ThinkGeek offers some guidance. Emblazoned on the mat is an order to “bend the knee” before entering your home.

A doormat from the HBO series 'Game of Thrones' is pictured
ThinkGeek

The 17-inch long by 29-inch wide mat arrives in time for the eighth and final season of the popular HBO series, which is set to debut April 14. Chronicling the lives of disparate characters vying for control of the Iron Throne, the show has often depicted Daenerys Targaryen, also known as the Mother of Dragons and played by Emilia Clarke, ordering subjects to “bend the knee” before addressing her. In season seven, King in the North Jon Snow famously refused to do so before eventually capitulating. Had she laid out the doormat, it’s possible he wouldn’t have taken as long.

The mat retails for $24.99 and can be purchased online here.

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