June 2012
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Month June 2012

Surprising to Visitors

Some interesting answers to the question “What facts about the United States do foreigners not believe until they come to America?” The economics of food was a popular response:

Fruit and vegetable prices, compared to fast food prices:

A bag of grapes: $6
A box of strawberries: $7
1lb tomatoes: $3

McChicken: $1
Big Mac : $1 ( I think. I don’t go to McDonalds though)


At the same time, there are things that you wouldn’t associate with first-world countries:

Religious fanaticism
It is hard to believe that a first-world country has non-progressive ideologies, especially that hurt women (the vaginal probes and other abortion related woes). Not only that, the belief in Earth’s age, talking snake etc. Being from India, it is even harder for me to understand this. I expected US to be more progressive. It is not as crazy as back in India but still something that I think is enough to be detrimental to the progress.

Others are pleasantly surprised:

Many Indians are very surprised to find out that there are large numbers of Americans who actually love their parents and siblings and wives and children and have normal, healthy relationships with them. Our media has them convinced that all Americans are very self-centered people who throw their kids out of their homes after high school, don’t care for their parents, and divorce their spouses. And, I swear, it is literally true that many Indians do not believe that this is not true until they have been to the US and seen examples of good healthy family relationships themselves. I have had heated arguments with people who’ve never been to the US, but can give lectures on how screwed up family values in the US are.

But we could also use some improvement:

There actually is an accepted piece of clothing called a ‘wife-beater’.

Direct from Kottke.org

Paper in Prison

Read this very interesting article on how paper is used in prisons. Or just read this quote:

Books have practical purposes as well, used to “prop up one end of the mats we sleep on,” wrote T.H. He had seen books “torn up and mistreated,” but was excited to find a complete GED test book and assess his 12th-grade knowledge. He wrote, “I’m a high school graduate but I lost a lot of knowledge and going through the test book has been very rewarding!” Ironically, the GED manual contained chemistry lessons on explosives, giving T.H. the idea “for making gunpowder or fireworks as a chemistry experiment and an educational learning experience.

“Small explosives can be made with household items if a person had the right ingredients and knowledge,” he wrote. “I’m guessing that’s probably illegal because it sounds like fun.”

That last part got me thinking. That does sound fun and it’s not illegal! So in honor of Independence day coming up: Small explosives can be made with household items ALSO homemade smoke bombs AND (this is my favorite) homemade rockets!

Wow Spaceships!

From Boingboing.


Now in an extended edition from the space nerds at r/space. They add more ships and a tiny human for scale which is great. But they also organize the projects by country, unpleasantly reminding me of the nationalism these space programs are meant to inspire. But look! How cool!

Charlotte Caron

Human/animal portraits on photographs made by french artist Charlotte Caron. The animal masks look like they have appeared in a splash of energy, or like they’ve been shot out of a gun. Violent like jets breaking the sound barrier or fruit shot by a gun. The paintings I found on ffffound.