Browsing Tag

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Could You Turn Into A Slice Of Pizza?

July 20, 2015

Your parents warned you that if you ate too many pizza slices, you’d turn into one. Turns out, if you ate enough and you were anything like a flamingo, you could have come pretty close. You might have noticed that flamingos can be the iconic pink, orange, or even white. They begin their lives with grey plumage—the color distinction later in life depends on their diet. Flamingos eat algae and crustaceans that contain pigments called carotenoids, mostly brine shrimp and blue-green algae. Enzymes in the liver break down the carotenoids into pink and orange pigment molecules that end up getting deposited in the feathers, bill, and legs of the birds. Captive flamingos tend to be a more vibrant pink since they’re fed more pigmented crustaceans like prawns. We eat foods with carotenoids, like carrots or even watermelon; we just don’t eat enough to affect our skin color.

Pizza Cutter and Server | $20.00

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: What’s The Most Unusual Collection?

July 13, 2015


Collecting things is a common pastime, and each collection is as unique as its collector. If it can be collected, categorized, and obsessed over, somebody’s done it. From the familiar (dolls, comic books, snow globes) to the bizarre and unsavory (air sickness bags, toenail clippings), collectors have collected it. So what’s the most unusual collection in the world? Collectively, it must be the multiple collections of William Davies King. What does he collect? Everything. And nothing.

Chronicled in his 2008 book, Collections of Nothing, King’s accumulations of stuff are mundane but staggering in their variety—cereal boxes, tuna can labels, the patterns from the inside of security envelopes. His collecting began innocently enough, when he inherited a stamp collection. But this common collecting activity soon led to more and more esoteric and ephemeral items, crossing the line into what can only be called organized hoarding. Essentially, King was a collector of collections, and his book is a fascinating reflection on his futile efforts and his ultimate realization that he was collecting… nothing.

Cheese & Crackers Serving Board | $48.00

Uncommon Knowledge

What’s Going On With The Robot Claw Game?

July 6, 2015

You put in your money. You position the claw over the stuffed giraffe so perfectly that future generations will most likely write songs about it. You make your brave descent. The prize is within your robotic grasp. The thrill is intoxicating. Then, without any warning, the claw grows listless and its tissue-thin grip slips right past the disappointed giraffe. What gives? Turns out, these infuriating machines are built with variable PSI strengths. It’s designed to “pay out” and give you a toy only as often as will guarantee a steep profit for the machine. Every 10-20 tries, the claw will regain its strength and deliver that giraffe to your loving arms. So much for beginner’s luck.

Hydraulic Robotic Arm Construction Set | $35.00

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Can You Trust Your Gut?

July 1, 2015
Considering the fact that it’s connected to your brain by a nerve that handles all things “anxious feelings,” yeah. The vagus nerve, also known as the “wandering nerve,” has multiple branches that go from the brain’s cerebellum, lightly touches your heart, then finds it final destination at the lowest part of your abdomen—those gut feelings you get about a bad date or that questionable job offer. The vagus nerve is constantly sending updated sensory information about the body’s organs to your brain, meaning gut instincts are literally emotional intuitions that are transferred up to your brain—jury’s still out on what happens when you have a bad feeling about something AND indigestion. That might call for a sick day.

Molecular Gastronomy Kit – Cuisine |$49.00 – 65.00

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Are Polar Bears Sneaky?

June 22, 2015


Totally. Polar bears would make great spies or robbers, in case you’re looking for a large bear to assist you in a jewel heist. We already know that a polar bear’s fur helps it blend in to its environment. But did you know that this camouflage also hides them from infrared technology? In the mid-1990s, scientists were trying to track the bears, but had some trouble seeing them with the naked eye due to the white on white combo. To solve this, scientists set up infrared cameras. Think again, scientists! Cameras were able to pick up heat from the bears’ eyes, nose, and breath, but their enormous bodies were all but invisible. Turns out the bears’ large deposits of blubber keep their bodies from radiating heat, making the infrared signature of polar bear fur almost identical to that of the snow. Now who’s up for a game of super cold hide and seek?

Sagacious | $65.00 – 120.00