Browsing the Internet improves your productivity

Don’t feel guilty about browsing the Internet at work—turns out it may actually improve your performance. Two studies presented at the Academy of Management in San Antonio concluded that concentration and effectiveness are actually improved in workers who have the freedom to surf the internet.

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A University in Texas has a course that requires students to play Skyrim

This course is called “Scandinavian Fantasy Worlds: Old Norse Sagas and Skyrim” and is being offered at Rice University in Houston, Texas. The course has students read translated versions of Old Norse and Old Icelandic Sagas as they play through specific quests in Skyrim. They then examine how medieval Scandinavian culture influenced Skyrim, and then look at what else in our lives might have been influenced by the same things. And it’s a pretty good strategy to teach the students this stuff, seeing as how they love Skyrim or just video games in general.

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Tsutomu Yamaguchi – the Japanese man who survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki

It seems almost improper to suggest that fortune was smiling on Tsutomu Yamaguchi in the dying days of the second world war. He was one of an unknown number of survivors from the Hiroshima bombing had made their way to Nagasaki, where they were bombed again.

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Necropants: The Icelandic Pants of the Dead

Nábrókarstafur, or “Necropants,” is an Icelandic magical stave, or runelike symbol, associated with a pair of pants made from a dead man’s skin. As the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft cheerfully notes, ”If you want to make your own necropants, you have to get permission from a living man to use his skin after his dead.”

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Hosting the Olympics Is 6-times more expensive than flying a robot to Mars

The $2.5 billion that it cost to launch Curiosity Rover may sounds like a lot, but as the Facebook group “I f**king love science” noted, that’s pocket change compared to the cost of the London Olympics … The group compared Curiosity’s $2.5 billion number from The New York Times and the Olympic’s $15 billion estimate from Forbes in a pie chart. (A pie chart suggests Curiosity and the Olympics were dipping from the same pool of money.)

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Music is as addictive as sex and drugs

Image Credit: gibranchequer/Flickr

People love music for much the same reason they’re drawn to sex, drugs, gambling and delicious food, according to new research. When you listen to tunes that move you, the study found, your brain releases dopamine, a chemical involved in both motivation and addiction.

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A Penny on Mars: US Coin Riding NASA Rover on Red Planet

A penny in today’s economy does not go very far, but that has not stopped NASA from making a 1-cent piece stretch all the way to another planet: Mars. This Lincoln penny is part of a camera calibration target attached to NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, which successfully landed in Gale Crater on August 6, 2012.

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Extra Terrestrial Nickels are out of this world

Did you ever wonder what our currency might look like if aliens invaded our planet and for some strange reason decided to integrate into our culture rather than destroying us all? This selection of extra terrestrial coins includes some of the most intriguing hobo nickels on Earth. If you’re not familiar, hobo nickels are any coin-not just nickels- of which the original carvings have been altered.

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