What We Love This Week, Volume CXII

Cat Island Clowder

Source: The Atlantic

An Island Filled Entirely Of Cats

Cat Island Woman

Source: The Atlantic

Given the fact that cats have become something of the Internet’s universal currency, it’s a bit surprising that these “cat islands” haven’t been written about sooner. A handful of these islands exist around Japan, and as you might imagine their population is more feline than it is human (with a 6:1 ratio, at that!). Pending your level of misanthropy or allergies to pet dander, a visit to Aoshima Island (where these photos were shot) could make or break you. Learn more about cat country at The Atlantic.

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HIV’s Surprising Scientific Origins

HIV Origins Virus Image

HIV, which was first identified by medical professionals in the 1980s, has a much longer history in human beings than was previously believed. Source: Wikimedia

Doctors first identified the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the early 1980s at the height of an epidemic. Tens of thousands of HIV-positive people around the world were dying as HIV developed into the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS.

Where did this plague come from? In the 1980s, fear and ignorance gave rise to speculation. In the United States, the religious right saw the virus as a cruel God’s punishment for homosexuality. Urban legends sprouted about crazed bestial encounters between monkeys and human beings.

This was all nonsense.

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4 Upcoming Science Headlines You’ll See This Year

2015 Science Gallery

Source: Consult Add

Apart from the flesh-eating nanobots the government is spraying out of commercial airplanes, one of the cool things about science is its predictability. You can fire a cannonball at a cluster of objects of any size, from dust grains to distant galaxies, and (in theory) predict the exact path of the cannonball for the next 10 trillion years. Then you can fire another 10 trillion cannonballs, and they’ll all obey the same rules and give the same results.

2015 Science Gravity Well

What’s your job? Oh yeah, I guess customer service is important too. Source: Cornell University

Science news can be a little like that. Back when people were stupid, gentleman-scientists were forever stumbling into major, world-shaking discoveries in their spare time. Today, however, all of the easy science has been used up, so while world-shaking discoveries still happen, they’re really only made by PhDs with multimillion-dollar laboratories and solid publication histories. Since nothing on that scale happens quickly, it’s sometimes possible to predict a major event in science months or years in advance.

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What Is Received Pronunciation?

If you are a non-Brit, chances are when you imagine a British accent you’re thinking of a crisp, clean, regal and very intelligent sounding lilt: think the Queen of England or BBC reporters. What you might not know is that what you’re imaging is a very specific — and, in fact, somewhat rare — accent called Received Pronunciation.

It goes by other names, too: The Queen’s English, BBC English, Oxford English — and the sound of this accent is instantly recognizable to Brits and non-Brits alike due to its exactness. It’s important to make the distinction between an accent and a dialect: in the UK, there are many dialects as well as accents, but Received Pronunciation (or RP) is not a dialect. A dialect suggests the geographic region of the speaker whereas an accent, particularly RP, is associated with a person’s location within the social hierarchy.

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