It's pretty neat until you realize that from the Slinky's point of view, it's a human attempt to create a Sisyphean hell for all Slinkykind. Matthias Wandel's eternal Slinky escalator amuses us to no end and horrifies any Slinky that watches it.
Wandel made his escalator with a looped wood chain of steps. He tried to use an electric drill to automate the task. But after failing to get the right speed, he opted for a simpler and more effective hand crank. Just turn at the right speed and the Slinky will never stop its labor.
In space, no one can hear you complain that it's chilly outside. So throw another log into this wood stove that Burned by Design made. It's shaped like the head of the xenomorph from Alien. He comments on Facebook that "this should keep the neighbors cat out of the garden."
Simone Giertz is the chief technologist at Punch Through Design, a hardware design company in Minneapolis and San Francisco. Her latest project, the Toothbrush Machine, has a simple premise: “because knowing how to build something doesn’t always mean that you should.” To prove that, her useless machine stylishly and practically brushes the front teeth. It consists of a robot arm mounted onto a bike helmet. An Arduino controls the servo motors, moving the brush into position, and then back and forth as needed.
Researchers at Harvard University found that they could use fat cells to produce laser light. They inevitably chose pig fat because of the flavor. An MIT Technology Review article that was surprisingly not published on April Fools’ Day explains:
The team at Harvard University turning cells into lasers has tried it before. But last time they had to put the cells inside a special optical cavity to make them shine (see “Lasers Made from Human Cells”). Pumping light into a sphere can create the resonance that produces sharply defined laser light.
This time the team showed that some cells could lase on their own. They chose pig fat because each cell contains a large, nearly perfectly spherical ball of fat inside it. They added a glowing fluorescent dye and then started up the microlasers by shining in light through an optical fiber.
The 1993 movie Demolition Man teaches us that by 2032, Taco Bell will be the only restaurant chain left in the country. All restaurants will be Taco Bells, even the most luxurious dining establishments.
22 years into that vision of the future, Taco Bell is already making progress. A new location in the wealthy Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago will offer liquor and local craft beers. And to make sure that only the proper sort of clientele gets in and stays in, the restaurant will have its own bouncer. Presumably the restroom will be equipped with 3 seashells.
In its heyday, people in Rwanda wore the amasunzu in more than 30 different ways. It was a demonstration of elegance and refinement. The East African, a news source based in Kenya, describes how and why people grew it:
The style is designed by cutting some of the hair sideways, towards the middle, then leave it to grow.
“It is a style of elegance, hygiene; it reflected reality and maturity among girls,” said Epa Binamungu, a 60-year-old visual artist. “Most adolescent girls would use it to show pride; it showed that that a girl was a virgin.
“It was a style for the spinsters.”
It was also a way of beautifying the body. Rwandan etiquette is based on the body’s nature. This style was used to reflect important aspects such as might, hygiene and, for unmarried girls, virginity. It was also a way to show class; powerful leaders, nobles and the rich wore the hairstyle.
Although the amasunzu has fallen out of style in recent decades, it is currently experiencing a revival in popular interest.
Should the roll flow over or under? That’s an old debate. Henry Franks, a product designer in London, wants to introduce a new toilet topic to argue about: where the toilet paper roll should be located.
His Bog Standard toilet seat offers a radically different perspective. You don’t have to twist or turn to reach the roll. It’s right in front of you. Provided that the seat will lock in the upright position for men, this is an ergonomically optimal placement.
Clinic 212, an ad agency in Vilnius, Lithuania, wants people to take care that our animals friends don’t get squashed when they cross human roads and pathways. To “show that we are not the only ones living in the city,” the agency made little road signs and crosswalks in the spaces that humans and animals share.
Martynas Karpovicius came up with the idea when he saw a taxi driver almost run over a hedgehog. He and his colleagues responded on behalf of pigeons, cats, and ducks, as well as hedgehogs. You can see more photos and read about the project at the Huffington Post.
The story goes that on April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was about to launch into space, becoming the first human being to do so. At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Gagarin took a bus to the launch pad. When he arrived, he sensibly decided to relieve his bladder one last time. So he peed on one of the bus's tires.
Specifically, Gagarin peed on the back right tire.
Ever since, Soviet and Russian cosmonauts faithfully peed on the back right tire of the shuttle bus before blasting off into space.
Using advanced facial and cranial biomechanical analyses with nearly 40 people whose measurements were plotted from toddlers to adults, the UI team concludes mechanical forces, including chewing, appear incapable of producing the resistance needed for new bone to be created in the lower mandible, or jaw area. Rather, they write in a paper published online in the Journal of Anatomy, it appears the chin's emergence in modern humans arose from simple geometry: As our faces became smaller in our evolution from archaic humans to today -- in fact, our faces are roughly 15 percent shorter than Neanderthals' -- the chin became a bony prominence, the adapted, pointy emblem at the bottom of our face.
Dr. Franciscus does not, however, provide an explanation for the development of multiple chins.
What these Indian girls are apparently doing is manipulating in their minds and with gestures an imaginary abacus. This technique helps them keep the numbers in the man's rapid-fire math questions straight. He can barely keep ahead of them with his electronic calculator.
It’s a fantastic game, but I do have a few complaints: there aren’t enough save points, the respawning function doesn’t work, and you can’t skip the cut scenes. The graphics can be impressive, but the character designs don’t match the packaging at all. Honestly, I’ll give it only 2 out of 5 stars.
Hennig-Olsen, an ice cream company in Norway, earned a Guinness World Record by building the largest ice cream cone in the world. It’s over 10 feet tall and contains over 38 cubic feet of ice cream, 2 cubic feet of chocolate, and 243 pounds* of waffle cone material. That’s so much that the company had to airlift the ingredients from its factory to Kristiansand in southern Norway for the event.
Mos Burger, a Japanese fast food chain, is now offering this healthy if unusual hamburger alternative. Instead of a bun, you get your patty and condiments sandwiched between the halves of a huge tomato. They’re available at only one outlet in Tokyo and only after 2 PM. The staff of Rocket News 24 visited to test it. Oona McGee reports that the meal, which comes with a cup of salad instead of fries, is tasty and uses quality tomatoes.
What other fruits or vegetables do you think should be used this way?
It's late July and 88ºF in Buffalo, New York. But that city had a rough winter with foot upon foot of snow. It took a long time to clear all that snow away. And the job isn't over, yet. There is at least one huge pile of snow that hasn't melted. It's been there so long that it's covered over with dirt and grass is now growing on top. Local news meteorologist Patrick Hammer explains how it's lasted so long:
"That pile of snow is like a glacier," explained Hammer. "It's very dense and it's covered in dirt and garbage, which acts to insulate the snow from the sun's rays. That's what melts the snow, not just the heat but the sun's rays, and it's protected."
Hammer also noted that because of this, most of the melting of the pile is not occurring from the surface, as one might suspect.
"It's actually mostly melting from below…from the ground which has warmed beneath it," he said.
Hammer says rather than sunshine and heat, water might be more effective in dissipating the pile.
"A lot of rain would do the trick,…but so too could the fire department with a bunch of hoses, which they could use to spray off the dirt and break up what's under it, because it's really the dirt that's insulating it."
Don’t park in the bike lane. Seriously: Don’t. Park. In. The. Bike. Lane. It’s not for you and this beefy cyclist will prove it to you. If your car is in the way, he’ll pick it up and move it out of the way. That’s a courtesy. A less polite response from him might be to throw the car out of the way.
Earl S. Tupper gave us Tupperware and thus an extended life on that casserole you don't want to eat. But he did a lot more than just give us a way to forget leftovers in the back of the refrigerator for 6 months. He had lots of ideas. Scholars can find his sketches in the archives of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. For example, he developed an ice cream cone design with a gutter to prevent leakage. And he put a lot of thought into how women’s corsets should be designed.
But most importantly, Earl S. Tupper came up with a revolutionary form of naval propulsion. The fish-powered boat had a pair of wings that did not greatly slow down the boat, but prevented the fish from diving and escaping—or diving and taking the boat with it. We we don't use these today is beyond me.
It makes sense if you think about it: if you suddenly discover that your mouth is full of sheep poop, then your first instinct will be to spit it out—hopefully as far away from you as possible. That’s why the people of Irvinestown, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, held a sheep poop spitting contest earlier this month.
44 people signed up for this test of skill and dexterity as part of the local Lady of the Lake festival. 7 participated. This is not an old tradition passed down for generations, but an entirely new event dreamed up by Joe Mahon, the owner of a local hotel (here is its menu). The winner walked away with a prize purse of £100, which is about $156 USD. It was presumably spent on mouthwash.
Ian Stell’s Sinan table is a precisely designed and built piece of kinetic furniture that opens and folds. He explains that “Mutability in a piece of furniture should serve a purpose, but the act of transformation should be a kind of dance.” The Sinan does indeed dance!
Stell doesn’t list a price for the Sinan, but a somewhat similar design of his sells for a mere $20,000. For that much, the table should make accordion sound effects whenever it moves.
This is a satellite image of an active runway at the main airport of Savannah, Georgia. The tarmac is on top of what was once the property of Richard and Catherine Dotson, both of whom were born in 1797. They died in 1884 and 1877, respectively, and were buried at a family cemetery on their property.
That land remained in their family until World War II. The Army then took the land to expand the local airfield and paid for the family to relocate the cemetery. The family did so, but refused to move the graves of the founders of their clan.
So the Army paved over the graves and moved the gravestones to the top of the pavement, directly over the final resting spots of Richard and Catherine Dotson. I can’t find current information, but as of 2001, the runway was in common use at the now-civilian airport, where pilots sometimes ask “if they could use the runway with the graves, just so they could see them.”
Not too long ago in the US, it was normal for fathers to wait outside the delivery room for the birth of their children. The mother, along with a doctor and nurses, would handle the delivery alone. Later, the father was allowed to be present.
The Daily Telegraph reports that increasingly, more people are present in the delivery room: family, friends, and anyone accessible through WiFi. When it comes to childbirth, there’s no such thing as “too much information”:
For women in their teens and twenties, an average of eight people are now present at some point during the birth, according to a survey by video blogging site Channel Mum.
And the results also showed that childbirth is becoming increasingly public, with almost a quarter of mums sharing the experience through social media.
Siobhan Freegard, founder of Channel Mum said: "The younger generation share are used to sharing every aspect of their lives, so why not birth? Many women feel it is their biggest achievement and so want to share the moment with all of those closest to them.
We did not crowd-birth for our kids. But our first child was born in a teaching hospital. There was a seemingly non-stop parade of medical students and interns interested in seeing more than we wanted them to see. I eventually shooed them out.
YouTube user Albizu Garcia visited a beach in Puerto Rico and found that a hermit crab had discarded a conventional shell for a stylish and functional LEGO brick. This should give him the ability to join with other LEGO crabs to create a larger structure. You can see the video here.Make sure that you don’t step on this crab, which is now a double threat to your feet.
People and organizations often adopt stretches of road, promising to keep them clean and free of litter. This is a great way to contribute to the well-being of local communities and possibly get some good publicity from it.
So it’s no surprise that Lord Vader, who always wants to maintain the good reputation of our loyal Imperial forces, has pitched in to help. He’s adopted a section of US Highway 460 in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Occasionally standing in for him will be Henry Wakley, a local resident and loyal supporter of the Emperor. He wears a copy of Lord Vader’s helmet while picking up trash. News 10 reports:
Wakley had to pass several standard guidelines, including two highway clean ups, before VDOT would agree to the sign. He convinced the agency the sign was not a joke, and he intended to take care of the highway and draw attention to the adopt a highway program.
“We’d love to have more people follow Mr. Vader’s example and help us keep the highways clean,” Clarke professed.
Drivers could soon see more than just a sign. Wakley plans to clean up his portion of the highway in his Darth Vader costume later this month.
Wakley is an example to us all to stand together so that we may crush the rebellion and restore order in the galaxy.
1983 saw the premier of a classic American film: National Lampoon’s Vacation. In it, the Griswolds, a typical American suburban middle class family, journeys across the country on a road trip vacation. At the beginning of the movie, patriarch Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, buys a huge and hideous station wagon for the journey.
That car was called a Wagon Queen Family Truckster, which did not exist in real life but was typical of the great land yachts which sailed across American highways in the 80s. The movie production studio built the Truckster from a 1979 Ford LTD Country Squire.
The movie has inspired Steve and Lisa Griswold—yes, that’s their real last name—to build a replica of the Truckster out of a 1984 Ford LTD Country Squire, then take it on road trips. They modified the car in precise and exhaustive detail, even going to far as to install a fake gas cap hatch where it was in the movie. You read more about the car conversion and see photos here.
Robert Palmer of Toutle, Washington recently spotted an unusual caterpillar. It seemed to have a human face colored on its back. Who does it look like? My first thought was Edgar Allan Poe. Others have seen Teddy Roosevelt, Marlon Brando, and Robin Williams.
Palmer insists that it's not a Photoshop job--he wouldn't even know how to do that. KATU quotes him:
"I sent a picture to my grandson, he said 'nice photo-shop grandpa'. I said I can't even use my smart phone half the time, much less do some special computer effects. I had to have the girls at the Shell station send the picture to KATU. He knows I wouldn't lie about this," said Palmer
Researchers led by Dr. Robert Webster of Vanderbilt University's Medical Engineering and Discovery Laboratory have developed a new type of wrist joint for surgical robots. It's only 2 millimeters wide, which permits it to get inside extremely narrow spots in the body, then turn a corner.
The team made the joint by cutting out portions of the arm. A wire inside that arm constricts and releases, activating and deactivating the joint.
According to a press release by Vanderbilt, Webster suggests that the first use of the wrist will be transnasal brain surgery. Accessing the brain through the nose will be easier on the patient than cutting into the skull.