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YouTube / Neil Gaiman

Watch Neil Gaiman Recite Jabberwocky in the Woods

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YouTube / Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is a longtime supporter of Worldbuilders, a charity that in turn supports Heifer International. (Basically, fans of various authors pledge to Worldbuilders, money goes to Heifer, and fans get cool stuff from authors.)

In February, Gaiman set out a $500,000 funding goal and ended up reading Green Eggs and Ham shortly after it was met. So the goal was bumped to $600,000. You can guess what happened next.

Gaiman wrote:

Worldbuilders let people who donated money to them vote on what I would read if they hit $600,000. They did reach that goal, and they voted. It was between Goodnight Moon, Fox in Socks, Where the Wild Things Are and Jabberwocky. Jabberwocky won. So I got up this morning and headed, sleep-bleary, out into the woods to record myself reciting it... You can donate to Worldbuilders at worldbuilders.org. And you should.

Enjoy:

You can follow along with Lewis Carroll's original text if you like. You might also check the YouTube comments for some nerd fights about pronunciation and omitted words.

Also notable, Hank Green covers "Shake It Off" in an angry/angsty manner for the $575,000 goal.

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Ikea
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Design
How IKEA Turned the Poäng Chair Into a Classic
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Ikea

IKEA's Poäng chair looks as modern today as it did when it debuted in 1976. The U-shaped lounger has clean lines and a simple structure, and often evokes comparisons to Finnish designer Aalto’s famous “armchair 406.” Its design, however, is ultimately a true fusion of East and West, according to Co.Design.

In 2016, the Poäng celebrated its 40th birthday, and IKEA USA commemorated the occasion (and the 30 million-plus Poäng chairs they’ve sold over the years) by releasing two short videos about the armchair’s history and underlying design philosophy. Together, they tell the story of a fateful collaboration between Lars Engman, a young IKEA designer, and his co-worker, Noboru Nakamura.

Nakamura had initially come to IKEA to learn more about Scandinavian furniture. But the Japanese designer ended up imbuing the Poäng—which was initially called Poem—with his own distinct philosophy. He wanted to create a chair that swung “in an elegant way, which triggered me to imagine Poäng,” Nakamura recalled in a video interview. “That’s how I came up with a rocking chair.”

“A chair shouldn’t be a tool that binds and holds the sitter,” Nakamura explained. “It should rather be a tool that provides us with an emotional richness and creates an image where we let go of stress or frustration by swinging. Such movement in itself has meaning and value.”

Save for upholstery swaps, a 1992 name change, and a new-ish all-wooden frame that's easily flat-packed, the modern-day Poäng is still essentially the same product that customers have purchased and enjoyed for decades. Devotees of the chair can hear the full story by watching IKEA’s videos below—ideally, while swinging away at their desks.

[h/t Co. Design]

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iStock
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Medicine
Why Haven't We Cured Cancer Yet?
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iStock

Walkathons, fundraisers, and ribbon-shaped bumper stickers raise research dollars and boost spirits, but cancer—the dreaded disease that affects more than 14 million people and their families at any given time—still remains bereft of a cure.

Why? For starters, cancer isn't just one disease—it's more than 100 of them, with different causes. This makes it impossible to treat each one using a one-size-fits-all method. Secondly, scientists use lab-grown cell lines cultivated from human tumors to develop cancer therapies. Living masses are far more complex, so potential treatments that show promise in lab experiments often don't work on cancer patients. As for the tumors themselves, they're prone to tiny genetic mutations, so just one growth might contain multiple types of cancer cells, and even unique sub-clones of tumors. These distinct entities might not respond the same way, or at all, to the same drug.

These are just a few of the challenges that cancer researchers face—but the good news is that they're working to beat all of them, as this TED-Ed video explains below.

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