First Pitch

On October 30, 2001, President George W. Bush stepped to the mound at Yankee Stadium to throw out the first pitch at Game 3 of the World Series, just six weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That night the first pitch meant more than just “play ball.”

The NASA Design Program

Fletcher: “I’m simply not comfortable with those letters, something is missing.”

Low: “Well yes, the cross stroke is gone from the letter A.”

Fletcher: “Yes, and that bothers me.”

Low: “Why?”

Fletcher: (long pause) “I just don’t feel we are getting our money’s worth!”

Fletcher: And this color, red, it doesn’t make much sense to me.”

Low: “What would be better?”

Fletcher: “Blue makes more sense… Space is blue.”

Low: “No Dr. Fletcher, Space is black!”

It is also worth checking out some of the additional images of NASA Graphics Standards Manual on Flickr.

Your Chances of Dying

Regardless of all these risks, your probability of dying during a given year doubles every 8 years.

50 Ironman Distance Triathlons, In 50 States, In 50 Consecutive Days

The Ironman Distance Triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile run. This means that in 50 days James “Iron Cowboy” Lawrence, through his own physical power, moved himself 7,030 miles.

If Looks Could Kill: The Story Behind the Most Intense Lion Portrait

On this day, I was testing a new lens and camera body. When I approached the Lion from the observation area his head was almost completely submerged below the water’s surface. As I raised my camera and composed the shot, Luke simultaneously raised his head out of the water in my direction. As I began to fire off continuous shots the sound of my shutter focused Luke’s attention on me.

Through the lens, I felt his stare; it was powerful enough to make me stop shooting, and for that moment, time seemed to pause and nothing else existed but this massive imposing lion intensely staring back at me as if to my soul.

I truly felt amazed and minuscule by the power of this animal. I watched the rest of his intrigue and facial expression not through my lens, but peering around the side of my camera still holding it as if I were shooting. It was the first time anything has ever made me stop shooting. It was such an unforgettable moment, something I am lucky to have been a part of. I will never forget.

How Pregnancy Tests Work

Over-the-counter pregnancy tests give potentially life-changing results with a pretty high rate of accuracy. But how do they work? Tien Nguyen explains how each test performs a scientifically rigorous, multi-stage experiment that goes from start to finish in the time that it’ll take you to watch this video.

How Mosquitoes Survive Raindrops

A study says a mosquito being hit by a raindrop is roughly the equivalent of a human being whacked by a school bus, the typical bus being about 50 times the mass of a person. And worse, when it’s raining hard, each mosquito should expect to get smacked, grazed, or shoved by a raindrop every 25 seconds. So rain should be dangerous to a mosquito. And yet (you probably haven’t looked, but trust me), when it’s raining those little pains in the neck are happily darting about in the air, getting banged—and they don’t seem to care. Raindrops, for some reason, don’t bother them. […]

In most direct hits, Hu and colleagues write, the insect is carried five to 20 body lengths downward, and then, rather gracefully—maybe helped by a dense layer of wax-coated, water-repellent hairs—gets up and “walks” to the side, then steps off into the air, almost like a schoolchild getting off of a bus (albeit a fast-moving bus hurtling toward its doom). It does this almost matter-of-factly, like it’s no big deal.

Supreme Court Rules the Constitution Guarantees the Right to Same-Sex Marriage

Justice Anthony Kennedy

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The Original Super Mario Game Was Designed On Graph Paper

“Back in the day, we had to create everything by hand,” Nintendo designer Takashi Tezuka said in a video released as part of Nintendo’s E3 announcement Tuesday. Every square of land, question-mark block and Goomba had to be hand-drawn and colored on graph paper. When they were happy with the design, they sent it off to a developer to code. Fixing errors or making changes was tricky. Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario’s creator, said whiting out mistakes was too messy, so they overlaid opaque tracing paper on top of the level being drawn.

Be sure to check out the embedded video starting at 41:11.

Remembering Auschwitz: 70 Years After Liberation

Auschwitz I and nearby Auschwitz II-Birkenau were the extermination camps where an estimated 1.1 million people—mostly Jews from across Europe, but also political opponents, prisoners of war, homosexuals, and Roma—were killed in gas chambers or by systematic starvation, forced labor, disease, or medical experiments. About 200,000 camp inmates survived the ordeal.