ELEMNT, an art studio in New York City, makes luxury, handcrafted goods with marble and leather. Their Darth Vader helmet, which is pictured above, is covered with python skin. It's available in limited numbers, as it takes up to two weeks to make. Each one costs $3,000. It's the perfect way to make Darth Vader even creepier.
Do you like to type out text messages on your phone while walking? That's fine, so as long as you don't get hit by a train. Tragically, that happened to a 15-year old girl in Augsburg, Germany. She died.
So the city of Augsburg took action. It installed traffic lights at train crossings on the ground, where they would fall into the peripheral vision of texters. The Daily Mail reports on this and other efforts around the world to prevent texting accidents:
Augsburg is not the only city introducing measures to make phone users more aware of their surroundings – or at least keeping them safe as well as others around them.
In 2014, the city of Chongqing experimented with a 165ft long pavement divided into lanes – with one for speedy and alert pedestrians and another for 'smombies,' meaning smartphone zombies.
Similarly, last year, Utah Valley University's Student Life and Wellness Centre (UVU) introduced a 'walking and texting' lane to a busy flight of stairs.
The idea started as a joke, although it could ensure that diligent students get to class on time and prevent accidents caused by people not looking where they are going.
The staircase was divided into three lanes, for walking, running and texting.
The outdoor gear company The North Face has unveiled a backpack with a radical new opening system. Instead of a zipper around the main pouch, it has a spring loaded opening that snaps open and shut. When opened, the spring pushes the outer shell away, creating a wide mouth into the pouch.
It's appropriately named the Access Pack. You can see more photos and a video at The Contemporist.
Why? Because Texas is awesome, that's why. And here's further evidence: go to the Evergreen Cemetery in Paris, Texas. There you will find the grave of Willet Babcock (1821-1881), a wealthy resident who built furniture, caskets, and the town's 1,200-seat opera hall.
Babcock commissioned an artist named Gustave Klein to carve this marble monument to stand over his grave. It's thought to be a representation of Jesus because of his clothing, body shape, and, of course, his cowboy boots.
You knew that Jesus wore cowboy boots, right?
Anyway, Babcock's grave, which is popularly known as the Jesus in Cowboy Boots, is now a popular tourist attraction. You can read more about it at Atlas Obscura.
Amy E. Herman is an expert on visual perception. She teaches people how to observe things and gain information from them. This is an essential skill for police officers, so she frequently trains cops how to be better observers by taking them to art museums. Herman shows police officers paintings and asks them what they see. The New York Times describes one such class:
Ms. Herman also displayed a pair of slides featuring reclining nudes: Goya’s “The Nude Maja” (1797-1800) and Lucian Freud’s 1995 “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping,” who is very fat. Ms. Herman asked the group to compare the pictures. “Most cops, when I ask this question, say it shows someone before and after marriage,” she said.
Several officers raised their hands.
“Uh, the woman at the bottom is more generously proportioned,” one said.
“She is morbidly obese,” said another.
“Right!” Ms. Herman said. “Don’t make poor word choices. Think about every word in your communication.”
Police often look at art differently from art historians. When they're in the museum, they're taking down criminals:
“Sometimes they’ll say, ‘We have an E.D.P. here’ — an emotionally disturbed person,” Ms. Herman said. Once she showed some officers El Greco’s “The Purification of the Temple,” which depicts Jesus expelling the traders and money-changers amid turmoil and mayhem.
“One cop said, ‘I’d collar the guy in pink’” — that would be Jesus — ‘“because it’s clear that he’s causing all the trouble.’”
Catherine Marshall is a South African travel writer and journalist who lives in Sydney, Australia. While flying over the Strait of Messina separating Sicily from the Italian peninsula, she snapped this amazing photo of her plane's shadow transposed over a rainbow.
In an elevator in China, a man gets handsy with a woman. After he's had plenty of warning, she delivers a right cross, then a groin kick that puts him on the floor. She follows up with a knee to his face.
It's a lovely, heart-warming scene.
The origin of this video is uncertain. Mashable reports that some people think that it's fake. But a Chinese news outlet has confirmed that the woman is an actress named Du Qiao. She says that it's real:
Qiao confirmed to Tencent on Thursday that she was the woman in the video, but insisted it wasn't staged. "I was just minding my own business, but he forced a reaction from me," she said.
Urban Prep Academies is a 3-campus all-boys school in Chicago. Six years ago, we told you about an impressive achievement of the school: every one of their graduating seniors was going to college.
That was followed by another year, and other. It's 2016, and for the seventh year in a row, every single senior has committed to a 4-year college. CBS Chicago (auto-start video) reports:
Founder and CEO of Urban Prep Tim King says the students have been admitted to more than 220 colleges and universities this year.
“We’ve got two guys going to my alma mater, Georgetown University, we have our first admit to Yale University this year,” said King. “We have students who’ve been admitted to University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Morehouse College, schools all over the country. It’s a huge level of diversity in terms of the types of schools these young men will be going to in the fall.” […]
“Every year, I’m just wowed by these young men by what they are doing,” King said. “They really make me proud. We started Urban Prep with the goal of moving the needle when it comes to black male achievement and these guys proved to me, the city and the world every year, that we did the right thing when we founded Urban Prep ten years ago.”
During World War I, warring nations developed large, heavily armored, self-propelled vehicles that could support infantry attacks. They called these war machines "tanks." Why?
It was the British who came up with the name. The engineers wanted the vehicles to remain a secret from the Germans, so they told workers assembing them that these machines they were building would be used to carry water onto the battlefield. They were mobile water tanks. The History Channel (auto-start video) explains:
To keep the project secret from enemies, production workers were reportedly told the vehicles they were building would be used to carry water on the battlefield (alternate theories suggest the shells of the new vehicles resembled water tanks). Either way, the new vehicles were shipped in crates labeled “tank” and the name stuck.
When Richard Adams's first novel was published in 1972, one critic wrote "I announce with trembling excitement the looks of an exceptional story." This was Watership Down, a masterfully crafted tale of adventure, courage, tyranny, and freedom.
The characters are rabbits.
This surprised readers, especially those who suspected that they were reading a children's novel. But there is war, death, and cruelty in Watership Down, a thoroughly adult story. It enthralled an entire generation and became a bestseller.
Watership Down became a movie in 1978 and an animated television series in 2001. Now Adams's famous story is returning to the big screen. Deadline reports that Neflix and the BBC plan to turn it into an animated miniseries. They've recruited the best actors for it, including John Boyega of Star Wars, James McAvoy of X-Men, and Ben Kingsley of Ghandi.
As a devoted fan of Richard Adams's work, I'm thrilled. Watership Down, though not deep, is a truly perfect novel. If you've enjoyed it, I suggest also reading Adams's greatest and most neglected novel, Shardik. You may also enjoy Adams's autobiography, which describes the real-life people that inspired Hazel and Bigwig.
The home of police officer Margo Feaser of Longwood, Florida caught on fire on Monday night. Neighbors smashed in windows to give Feaser an escape route from the home, which was rapidly filling with smoke.
Feaser got out, as did her dog and her husband, who promptly collapsed on the front lawn. But their 4 and 2-year old children were still inside.
Maxx, the family's German Shepherd mix, led firefighters back inside to the location of the kids. The entire family, including the dog, suffered severe smoke inhalation. But they're all alive, thanks to Maxx the dog. The Orlando Sentinel quotes Deputy Sheriff Dennis Lemma:
"The family canine was just absolutely remarkable leading firefighters inside," Lemma said. "It absolutely saved their lives."
Lemma said the Sheriff's Office is grateful for the quick-actions of neighbors and fire crews, but also called the deputy a hero.
"She came out and her No.1 concern was to get back in there and save those kids," Lemma said. "She's a hero and acted as such."
I think that Captain Mal Reynolds is more likely to be chaotic good, or possible chaotic neutral (he did kick a guy into a running engine). But I agree that you shouldn't cross him when he's equipped with his pretty floral bonnet.
After pulling out the nail, the mechanic builds a fire in a can. Then he puts a piece of rubber beneath the can and mashes the can inside the tire with a clamp. The heat melts the rubber enough so that it seals the hole.
Now it's time to refill the tire. I'm not sure what the truck tire is for. Perhaps he's siphoning it for compressed air. In either event, he's able to refill the tire and get the van moving again.
You get the Hobie Mirage Eclipse. The premise for this product by the Hobie Cat Company (which makes watercraft, not cats) is that paddleboarding can be a vigorous form of exercise when users pedal stairs that flap fins on the bottom to provide locomotion. You steer it by squeezing handlebar-mounted levers, which control the rudder. It comes with an optional crate that straps onto the back end for storing snacks or fishing gear.
Unlike a conventional stairclimber, the Mirage Eclipse offers more adventure than a stationary device inside a gym.
Recently, in the office, while passing by a co-worker, I held up my hand for the purpose of exchanging a high five. He ignored me and kept walking.
This was a dark and traumatic moment.
And it's one that I could have escaped if only I had Albert Cohen's patented apparatus for simulating a high five. It is made specifically for solitary people in need of some high five action. Cohen writes in his 1993 patent paperwork that his machine is designed for sporting events, but it's clearly applicable in all of the other many high five events that constitute the typical adult's day.
The Bomb consists of the uncooked (or at least partially uncooked) pizza ingredients inside a bubble of dough. The server pours oil over the top and lights it on fire. The dough burns. When the fire goes out, the server cuts open the bubble with a pair of scissors and slices the bottom half.
Laura Keeble, a British artist, takes stained glass from old churches and turns it into everyday objects. This McDonald's Happy Meal becomes a symbol of the Eucharist titled The Glass Supper. In other pieces, memorial church glass becomes a security camera and a phone booth becomes a confessional.
My guess is that the bank is not going to get the money.
Sheila Henderson of Chicago Heights, Illinois recently examined the bank account of her mother, who died last month. Was there any money in it that she could use to pay for funeral expenses? No, not at all. In fact, the bank informed her, the account was greatly in arrears. ABC 7 News reports:
"Your checking account has a balance of $99,999,999,545.90," an automated message can be heard saying.
When Henderson heard that mind-boggling number Wednesday, she said she almost had a heart attack.
"I was in shocked. I couldn't even speak. I called it again," Henderson said. […]
"I called my brother to listen to it and the first thing he said, 'You have been hiding all this money from me. Why did you do this? Come on. Let's go.' I was like, 'No, it says it is a negative amount on it," Henderson said.
Chase Bank says that it is investigating the issue.
Here's Peter Yarrow of the 60s folk group Peter, Paul, and Mary. What does he want? The answer is blowing in the wind, my friend: he wants you to get a colonoscopy. His was a very positive experience, for his "colon took first prize," as he recounts in this funny song.
This is a Western Barred Spitting Cobra (Naja nigricincta). During molting, our little friend needs to drink water. So YouTube user Частный экзотариум feeds him water from a glass. Then, after he's back in his tank, he gives him pats on the back. So apparently cobras are like dogs in that they liked to be petted.
YouTube user SpockBoy presents this perfectly edited mashup illustrating a crossover that should have been. Just imagine the Penguin teaming up with the Klingons to rob a bank and/or obliterate Gotham City!
Do you look good in open-toed shoes? For that, you need a proper pedicure with well-maintained nails. If that's not an option, then you may wish to try these stockings from the Japanese firm Belle Maison. They're built with toe-ends. The tips are painted to give the impression that you've just come back from a pedicure.
This ship is the Harald Fairhair, named in honor of the first king of unified Norway. Its 33-man crew has modern navigational tools, but are otherwise dependent upon 10th Century technology.
That's risky because the Harald Fairhair is attempting an extraordinary journey: crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Captain Björn Ahlander describes the journey and his ship in The Local:
And time is of the essence. Following in the historical tailwind of Leif Eriksson, the Viking thought to have discovered America centuries before Christopher Columbus, the ship has a long journey ahead, taking a route via Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland before it finally drops anchor in the United States.
"We've got one month because the only gap, if you don't want to battle low pressure and harsh winds, is May. That's your chance to make it across," Ahlander told the Swedish news agency TT on Monday. […]
An impressive 35 metres long, eight metres wide and with a mast height of 24 metres, Harald Hårfagre is the world's biggest longship built in modern times. Sponsored by Norwegian businessman Sigurd Aase, it was completed in 2012.
The planned launch on Sunday was delayed, but the official Facebook page reports that the longship is now on its way to Iceland. After Iceland comes Greenland, Canada, then the Great Lakes as far as Duluth, Minnesota.
They're made out of meat. And you can send electrical signals through that meat. Prof. Andrew Singer of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign explains:
“You’re a big bag of salt water, with some bones and some other tissues,” he says. “Communicating in the ocean and communicating in your body are very similar.”
So would it be possible to wirelessly control implanted medical devices, such as pacemakers, by sending signal through your flesh?
Signer and his colleagues conducted experiments to find out. They transmitted signals through pork loin and beef liver. This was so successful that it would be possible to stream video from Netflix through a meat conductor. The New Scientist reports:
The team tested two different types of tissue: a pork loin and beef liver. They suspended the pieces of meat in the water tank and found that the ultrasonic signal passed through both types of meat at speeds of up to 30 megabits a second. That is 1000 times faster than existing implants, which send radio signals through tissue at a maximum of 50 kilobits a second. “You could stream Netflix through the pork loin,” says Singer.
This technology could be useful in order to stream live video from inside the human body for medical diagnostic purposes:
“For high-definition video, this is more than sufficient,” says Akram Alomainy, at Queen Mary University of London in the UK, who was not involved in the research. Alomainy thinks the technology could be particularly useful for wireless endoscopy, in which a person swallows a pill that broadcasts a video feed from inside their digestive tract. At the moment, wireless endoscopy requires a laptop-sized device placed on the outside of your body to pick up the feed. A system that transmitted using ultrasonic waves would be far less cumbersome.
Now he can fish at any time. He doesn't even have to go outside. He can just open the hole that he built into the floor of the living room and drop down a line. You can watch a video of him demonstrating it here.
Would you like to own this house? Phillips is now selling it because he wants a bigger pond.
He'll not only exterminate you, but exterminate you 20% extra.
Jeremy Marbler made this amazing costume for his 6-year old daughter. The idea was all hers: a My Little Pony Dalek. It has movable wings and weapons. There's even a light and a fan inside so that the Dalek inside the Dalek shell feels comfortable.
Marbler plans to hook up lights, but I'd advise againt overpowering it. With wings, it can already defeat stairs. We don't need more dangerous Daleks.