The trailers forthe upcomingStar Wars movie The Force Awakens have a unique style noted for varied pacing and dramatic narration. They inspired Dan Flesher to edit scenes from The Empire Strikes Back into a new trailer. They make that movie look fresh, even at 35 years old. Compare it to this original trailer for Episode V.
Although it looks cute, I've long suspected that kitten wrestling is fake. The way that they paw at each other with no one getting seriously injured or gaining lasting advantage of the other . . . that's got to be scripted.
Some of the best inventions aren't high tech, but technology adapted to the needs and resources of poor people in developing nations. When on Earth has a list of 10 of them, including these self-adjusting glasses.
The system is called Child ViSion. A pair will fit a child between the ages of 12 and 18 and withstand a lot of punishment. More importantly, they don't require an optometrist. The user can adjust them by twisting the rods on the side, which move the lenses. Once the user can see well, s/he removes the adjusters until it's time to tweak them again.
NASA recently released this composite image of 9 round objects. 8 of them are the bottoms of frying pans. 1 of them is Europa, a moon of Jupiter. It was taken by NASA's New Horizons space probe in 2007.
But that's just for now. If you have the title "Scorpion Queen," then you're morally obligated to become a vicious tyrant.
At the moment, our queen parades in front of visitors to the Tiger Zoo in Pattaya, Thailand. She amazes them by wearing live scorpions on her dress and playing with them as though they were loyal henchmen who will obey her psychic commands. This is a demonstration of her power. She has no fear of something that terrifies everyone else. It is Step 1 to building a base of supporters.
"Microbrewers can focus on making each bottle taste good. But we can focus on making each sip taste great." The comedy troupe Above Average takes the microbrewing craze to the next level by imagining a brewery that scales down its product to less than a thimble-full per bottle. You will never, ever feel the effects of alcohol, but you will experience microbrew prices.
Willie and Waylon are raccoons. They're also brothers. Willie is a "hold my beer and watch this" type of raccoon. It's Waylon who has to get him out of his messes. In this case, the insane Willie decides to swim in the pool. Waylon drags him out when he manages to get to the edge.
Willie is alive--for now. Eventually, Waylon won't be there to save him.
What should you drink for breakfast? You can guzzle down coffee. But that gets old after a while and stimulants are not necessarily a good idea in the morning. A better alternative is an invigorating cocktail. Kim Patton-Bragg, a professional mixologist in New Orleans, has a great solution that she calls the Cereal Killer. She describes her recipe in Garden & Gun magazine:
The preparation takes a while because the cereal needs to marinate in the milk for at least an hour. I recommend starting that process the night before. Patton-Bragg says that if it's prepared correctly, the Cereal Killer is "an eye-opener."
Dénes Sátor, a Hungarian designer, envisions the Egg Map as a playful navigation device for tourists to use while exploring a new city. It's a compromise between enormous folding paper maps and handheld devices. To zoom, just squeeze the egg. Each quarter has a different color to help you find out where you are. Standardized symbols show visitors how to find important spots, like restaurants and public transportation.
Aren't they adorable? They look just like cartoon versions of little pigs. But these delicious entrées aren't made of pork.
They're made of squid! Rocket News 24 followed a recipe by a Russian YouTube user to craft fresh whole squids into artistic piglets ripe for eating. They're hollow squid cores with spicy stuffing inside. You can see more process photos here.
It may have been a long time ago, but Star Wars wasn't necessarily in a galaxy far, far away. If you live in the US, then the events of that great story may have taken place right around the corner. Bryam Dayley of Geek Tyrant argues that the major worlds depicted in the series are analogous to US states. For example, Endor is basically Oregon:
Besides Oregon's geographical similarity to Endor, it also has a cultural similarity. Specifically Portland's culture. Its inhabitants are furry little people completely out of touch with the rest of the galaxy. Sound familiar? Ewoks are just hipsters. Bearded people who want to get in tune with retro styles and the old ways. They believe in natural remedies, grow organic plants, and irritate the hell out of a lot of people. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if I went to Portland and a group of hipsters tied me up and planned to sacrifice me to some girl they worship as a goddess. Friggin Ewoks, man. Love 'em to death, but if I had to sit through The Ewok Adventure again, I think I'd kill myself.
Ricardo Garza Marcos, a Mexican furniture designer, developed this oak coffee table. It's named for the San Andreas fault in California--the site of so many earthquakes in that region. The surface of the table splits in two to reveal storage space inside.
This isn't McMurdo Station, which can house over a thousand residents, but the tiny Palmer Station. Only about two dozen people live there. It is, by Antarctic standards, out in the boonies. But that doesn't stop Mike Heller, the station chef, from developing impressive meals with limited ingredients that arrive only every three months.
Sometimes it's hot dog soup, which is precisely what it sounds like. But Heller can also get creative and whip up some impressive deserts. Pictured above is his mocha semifreddo. Sky Moret explored Palmer Station cuisine in a fascinating article in Roads & Kingdoms. She writes:
“I would challenge you to buy three months of produce at your grocery store … and then not go shopping again for three more months,” he tells me, pointing to 50 large cans of tomatoes stacked in his dry-goods storage room that he’ll transform into roasted tomato bisque, spicy pizza sauce, and black bean chili. […]
To add some variety, our science support crew makes exotic dishes as well. On the other U.S. Antarctic ship, the Nathaniel B. Palmer, I enjoy making liquid nitrogen–cooled ice cream with our excess supply. Scientists clad in cryogenic gloves and safety glasses stir cream, milk, sugar, and flavoring in large stainless steel bowls while I pour the super-cooled liquid into each, and a midday treat is served.
You've always wondered and now you know: Big Bird would look like a freshly-plucked chicken. Dan Meth explained in a helpful interactive visual tool. Next up: a 3d model of what Big Bird looks like inside.
It's the latest fashion advance from China and is especially popular in Beijing, the capital city. People wear in their hair fake plants made of plastic. They're usually young plants, such as flower buds and bean sprouts. The origin and meaning are unclear, but the trend may originate with a character in a popular cartoon called Pleasant Goat and Big Bad Wolf. You can see more photos at Shanghaiist.
Neil Henry, a magician in London, wants his seemingly magical relationship with his girlfriend to become permanent. So he performed a magic trick in which he ate a can of alphabet pasta, then pulled letters out of his mouth that spell words.
For this performance of that trick, he asked for a volunteer from the audience, then volunteered his girlfriend, Charlie Gardner. When it came time to pull the letters out of his mouth, they spelled "Marry me?"
Content warning: a bit of foul language from the future bride when she realizes what's happening.
When Hal Taylor's third child was born, he was left with a dilemma: he didn't have enough lap space to read books to all of his kids at once. Since he was a woodworker who made rocking chairs, he designed the StoryTime Rocking Chair as a solution. Now he sells them, too. He makes each one by hand. They're priced at $7,000-7,500.
When she ran out of fruit to make into jelly, Nancy Warner of Vermont decided to make beer jelly. To her knowledge, she's the only person to develop and method to make sweet jellies from beer. Each flavor from Potlicker Kitchen is made from just three ingredients: beer, cane sugar, and citrus pectin. Warner spoke to the tabloid The Mirror:
“I set about making a jelly with all beer, no fruit. I have made all of my own recipes and can find no record of anyone else make a pure beer jelly before I did.
“I make beer jelly much the way I would make fruit jelly, but instead of kid juice (like fruit juice), I use adult juice.
“Each jar of jelly is approximately half full of beer or wine, but, for better or worse, the jelly is non alcoholic.
“The alcohol is removed during cooking and by dilution of sugar.
“There are only three ingredients - beer, cane sugar and citrus pectin. Because there is no added fruit or flavours, it tastes like a sweet version of the beer it is made with.
“You can actually taste the hop and malt characteristics of each flavour of jelly.
Russell Munro's son asked for a Transformers cake for his birthday. Munro went much, much further. This Optimus Prime cake transforms accurately from vehicle to biped mode while quoting a famous line from the 1986 Transformers movie. This video shows how it works internally. A 3d printed frame for the cake moves on servos with the touch of a button.
In the original Winnie the Pooh stories, Pooh and Christopher Robin like to play a game that they call "Poohsticks." This consists of standing on a bridge and dropping sticks over the upstream side. The person whose stick emerges on the downstream side the first wins.
If you play, it would be a good idea to master the physics of the game in order to optimize your performance. Experts at the Royal Academy of Engineering have figured that out. Ideally, a Poohstick is covered with bark, fairly heavy, and dense. The Daily Telegraph reports:
The main variables that need to be considered are cross sectional area, density, buoyancy, and drag.
Usually large objects are slowed down by drag but in water the large size will allow it to be swept along more quickly by the water.
“When it comes to Poohsticks the tubbier the better,” said Dr Rhys Morgan, Director of Engineering and Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering. “If more water is able to influence the trajectory of the stick, it will accelerate more quickly.
“Generally, a rough stick will create more drag than a smooth stick, so in general, bark is good.”
Instructables member Britt Michelsen is a chemical engineer specializing in computational fluid dynamics. She's also a fangirl with incredible crafting skills. In the past, we've seen her edible Harry Potter wands, pixelated trashcan, and dead Kenny doorstop. Now she presents to the world a table that looks like it's levitating. Deadpool has cut straight through 2 legs, but it's still standing. In fact, an adult can sit on it without difficulty. That's because the 2 cut legs are decorative. The table stays up because the other legs have metal reinforcements that connect to a plate beneath the rug.
On the mean streets of Coruscant, people can hear a revolutionary new sound. It is sweeping away the old order. Secretly, the electronic music duo of Darth Vader and Boba Fett are luring people over to the Punk Side of the Force. In this vibrant video by Infectious Design, they challenge a Jedi gang to a dance-off.
Sweet, sweet coffee. You love other people. But, truly, only coffee loves you back. Coffee alone fully responds to your morning inquiries. Coffee alone provides the stimulation that you crave. That's why South Korean designer Jang Wooseok developed a coffee cup lid that looks like a pair of human lips. It's disposable--not something interested in a serious relationship.
10-year old Kaley Szarmack was swimming off Jacksonville Beach, Florida last Wednesday. A three-foot shark bit one of her legs--a wound that would eventually require 90 stitches. But Kaley didn't let that mere flesh wound distract her. After realizing that a 6-year old friend of the family was still in the water, she ran back out, grabbed the younger child, and pulled her in before the shark could get a bite from her, too. News 4 Jax quotes her father:
“I am just so proud of her. And so thankful that she is doing so well. You know, she's got no permanent damage that we know of at this point, and they said she is going to heal up. She'll be able to run, jump, swim and surf in not too long of healing time. Going to have a pretty big scar and quite a story to tell though,” Dave Szarmack said.
Edison Conner, a rocket scientist who used to work for SpaceX, saw that surfboard design and manufacturing had not changed substantially in 50 years. It still consisted of mostly layers of fiberglass and resin over wood and foam. So Conner established a new company, Varial Surf Technology, and used the latest knowledge of materials science to develop a firm by extremely light surfboard. Popular Science reports:
They replaced the wooden stringer with an ultrarigid foam similar to the type used in helicopter rotor blades and in rocket-propulsion systems. The foam is 30 percent stronger, with seven times the stiffness (or modulus) of conventional foam. It’s also 25 percent lighter. That means surfers have a board that’s easier to control and more durable.
Varial’s chemists altered the polymers of the foam, producing high levels of crystallinity. The crystallized foam consists of structured, rigid latticelike polymer chains. Crystallization also makes cell walls thinner. That lets chemists pack more cells into a tighter, more-angular (or polygonal) cell structure. The structure is stronger and firmer than the looser, more-bubblelike cell structure of conventional polyurethane foam.
Because these boards are so much lighter than common surfboards, they can be used to ride much smaller waves.
Leonie Müller, 23, is a college student in Cologne, Germany . . . sometimes. She goes to college in Cologne, but doesn't live there. When her apartment rent reached $450 per month, she found a way to save money. She bought a $380 train pass that lets her ride as many trains on Germany's fast and effecient rail service as she wants for an entire month.
So when Müller is done for the day at college, she gets on a train. The destination isn't really important--just as long as she's back in Cologne by the morning. The Washington Post reports:
Now, Müller washes her hair in the train bathroom and writes her college papers while traveling at a speed of up to 190 mph. She says that she enjoys the liberty she has experienced since she gave up her apartment. "I really feel at home on trains and can visit so many more friends and cities. It's like being on vacation all the time," Müller said. […]
"I read, I write, I look out of the window and I meet nice people all the time. There's always something to do on trains," Müller told German TV station SWR in an interview. Since risking the move, Müller's life fits into a small backpack in which she carries clothes, her tablet computer, college documents and a sanitary bag.
Whenever I see photos of Copenhagen, I want to go there.
For hundreds of years, the capital of Denmark has been one of the great trading centers of the world. Ships from many nations touch there, so it is appropriate that this footbridge reflects that heritage.
This is the Cirkelbroen bridge, a gift to the people of Copenhagen from the non-profit Nordea-Fonden. Architect Olafur Eliasson designed it with high masts and lines to remind viewers of the great sailing vessels that once poured into and out of the harbor. He expects that daily traffic will be about 5,000 people. You can see more photos of it at Contemporist.
Actor Bruce Campbell is currently promoting his film Ash vs. Evil Dead, the latest production in the long-running Evil Dead horror/comedy franchise. While attending Worldcon in Chicago, he hung out with the crew of the local news program Good Day Chicago. Not one to be idle, Campbell got right to work, providing both the weather and traffic reports for the Chicago area, which now apparently includes Iowa and Ohio.