You may feel more happy or more depressed from one day to the next, but how might one go about measuring a person’s level of despair or depression? Several clinical tools attempt to address this tricky question.
Everyone knows that a day has 24 hours, but if you base your measurement on the position of the sun, that figure could vary by as much as 16 minutes over a year. The equation of time compensates for this irregularity.
The words scruple and stone can both refer to units of measurement, and their metaphorical meanings intersect with those concrete meanings in interesting ways.
The division of days into 24 hours and hours into 60 minutes is arbitrary and makes calculation awkward. Why not use a system based on units of 10 and 100? Some people have tried, with lackluster results.
Engineers with a sense of humor use the expression “furlongs per fortnight” when the correct unit of measurement is unclear. But there may be a practical use for this odd unit of measurement, too.
Many units of measurement (both historical and modern) derive from the typical size of body parts such as hands, feet, and arms.
In the mid-1800s, long before lasers, digital computers, or atomic clocks, a French scientist devised a brilliant method for measuring the speed of light using rotating mirrors, some clever geometry, and a bit of math.
Architect and artist Paolo Soleri has been building a city called Arcosanti in the Arizona desert as an experiment in urban living. With only a tiny fraction built after more than 30 years, the experimental results in some ways speak for themselves.
All over the United States, enterprising (or paranoid) individuals are turning abandoned missile silos into underground homes. Quiet, safe, and well-insulated, what’s not to like?
William Hearst built a magnificent estate, sometimes called Hearst Castle, in San Simeon, California. Now a tourist attraction, it gives a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous.
Yet another of the ambitious (and never-finished) castles built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria is on and island in the Chiemsee lake in Germany. More lavish than Neuschwanstein, it features a dining room with a table that descends into the kitchen below.
Something drove Sarah Winchester to keep adding to and remodeling a large house in San Jose, California, keeping it continuously under construction for 38 years. The result is mysterious indeed.
Of the several castles built by the eccentric king Ludwig II of Bavaria, none is more recognizable than Neuschwanstein, which inspired Cinderella’s Castle at the Disney theme parks.
Highway 101 in northern California features many wacky roadside attractions, including a house carved out of a single, huge redwood log. But it’s famous mostly just for claiming to be famous.
Voluntarily going without food, for a few days or a few weeks, can have surprising effects (beyond the sensation of hunger). Under the right circumstances, it can be good for your mental and physical health.
Some monastic communities, including the Benedictines, also have lay members called oblates, who live in the world as ordinary citizens but still dedicate themselves to the contemplative life of a monk.
Is it a gentle exercise program for senior citizens, the ultimate martial art, or both? Unlike karate or judo, t’ai chi is an internal martial art that emphasizes the movement of energy within the body.
Do bullies kick sand in your face at the beach and ridicule you because you’re skinny? It’s not too late to sign up for Charles Atlas’s no-equipment-required body-building course from the 1930s and get the physique you always wanted.
There’s more to a bagel than a piece of dough with a hole in the center. Bagel connoisseurs know the history of this food and the best way to bake (or buy) and eat bagels.
An accidental explosion in 1848 drove a 3-foot iron rod through the brain of railroad worker Phineas Gage. Miraculously, he survived, and the personality changes he underwent provided important information about how the brain works.