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Play Zork on a Rotary Phone

Zork, a classic computer game from the 1970s, is now accessible through a rotary phone. The project is appropriately called "Dial-A-Grue":

[...] a chap named Ulysses got the vintage game to run on a TDD (telecommunications device for the deaf) -- a project he built to show off at the Bay Area Maker Faire last weekend. In a move we truly respect, he hunted down a rotary phone lifted straight out of the era when Zork was conceived (that would be the late '70s / early '80s). Then, he modified a modem so that the acoustically coupled TDD could be interfaced -- transmitting at a slow 45.5 baud to make it easy for even ponderous readers to keep up, one line at a time on the TDD's narrow display.

Link via Walyou | Project Website | Photo: Ulysses

You Are Likely to Be Eaten by a Grue
Pac-Man + Zork = Pac-Txt

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Featured Designs from the NeatoShop:

Human-Sized Pin Toy

Lulu Guinness, a fashion designer in the UK, created this public art installation which invited people to create impressions of themselves with a giant pin toy:

The giant frame of pins is situated in front of the iconic London landmark, St John’s Gate and lets the public create full body sized portraits using the 6,000 chromed capped aluminum pins. Here are a few pics of the images created by passerbys.

Link via NotCot | Photo: Lulu Guinness

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Beef Jerky Purse

Nancy Wu, a student at the Art Center College of Design in California, made a Chanel purse out of pure beef jerky. Presumably it's not actually endorsed by Chanel, though one would imagine that Chanel would want to market this product as soon as possible.

Link via Boing Boing | Photo: Design Boom

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Music Box Automata Pistols

(Video Link)

This is a truly amazing work of art and machinery. Built in Geneva by Rochat around the year 1820, these two pistol-like objects are actually tiny music boxes. When the user pulls the trigger, a tiny, realistic mechanical bird pops out of the end. It dances as the musical components play what sounds just like bird whistling.

This video from the auction house Christie's shows how devices work, including internal diagrams. You can skip to 1:45 in the video to see them in action.

via Everyday, No Days Off

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Three Leias in the TARDIS

Well, sure. But are those the correct model blasters?

This image was taken by deviantART user glittersweet, a textile artist in New Zealand.

Link via Nerdcore

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Straight Razor: A Short Film about the Traditional Barbershop

(Video Link)

"[...] 'cause honestly, the barbershop is one of the few last refuges of an old man, you know, where you can go and be a man's man. And if that ever goes away, it'll be a sad day, because I don't think that it'll ever come back." So speaks barber Dave Devine of American Classic Barbershop of St. Louis in this short film by Bruton Stroube.

via Doobybrain | Studio Website

Previously by Bruton Stroube Studios: Breakfast Interrupted

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Be Careful What You Say -- The Walls Have Ears

Colossal has a roundup of some of the whimsical pieces created by the artist Michael Beitz. I especially like this one called "body/brick", which was installed in Brooklyn.

Artist's Website via Colossal

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Super Grover Tattoo

Certainly a good premise for a tattoo is an inspirational, heroic figure. Super Grover from Sesame Street will do the trick. This particular tattoo was made by Cecil Porter of Murrieta, California.

Link (main site is NSFW at times) | Cecil Porter's Website

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15 Facts You Might Not Know about Knight Rider

"Knight Rider: a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man...who does not exist. Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law."

Knight Rider (1982-1986) was a ratings success in its own day and a pop culture symbol that has endured to our time, producing several sequels and revivals since the flashing red lights of K.I.T.T. first crossed television screens. Let's take a look at some things you might not know about this famous show.  

1. Knight Rider was conceived of as a modern remake of The Lone Ranger. One mysterious individual, aided primarily by his beloved ride, fights a private war against injustice.

2. But the initial impetus to create it came from a 1979 episode of B.J. and the Bear. This 1979-1981 television show focused on the life and struggles of a trucker and his pet chimpanzee against corrupt law enforcement officers. One particular episode entitled “Cain’s Cruiser” featured a technologically advanced police cruiser. Knight Rider producer Richard Lindheim saw potential for a show about such a vehicle and started developing the idea.

(Video Link)

3. NBC initially hesitated to pick up Knight Rider -- or at least one that included K.I.T.T. talking. They had memories of a 1965-66 sitcom called My Mother the Car, regarded by many television critics and historians as the worst show in television history. That show featured a car that was the reincarnation of its owner’s deceased mother.

4. K.I.T.T., which stands for Knight Industries Two Thousand, was originally named T.A.T.T. for Trans Am Two Thousand because the design was based on the Pontiac Trans Am.

Continue reading

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What Is This Tool Used For?

If you take a look at a catalog of tools for a specialized craft, you might be amazed at the vast number of specialized pieces of equipment available that you've never heard of. This tool, for example, is a perforation gauge. It's used by stamp collectors to measure the gaps left by tear marks in postage stamps.

Link via Swiss Miss | Photo: Harris Co.

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Brochure for a University Criminology Course

Junior, an agency in Australia, made a brochure for a criminology course at Griffith University that goes way beyond a trifold flyer. It's like an ad for CSI!

Link via Super Punch

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Bath Tub Buggy

The American philosopher Homer Simpson once praised the concept of the motorhome as "a car I can go to the bathroom in." The custom-built (no, sadly, this was not a production vehicle) Bath Tub Buggy made by George Barris during the 60s and 70s is the fulfillment of this dream:

The design features a bathroom. In front of the grille is an actual handsink. The rear displays a french bathtub. Hardware and facets for each bathroom fixture is included in brass. There is a tile flooring with long hair mats. Front headlights are spot beam or flood and the rear lights are ornamental styled bathroom fixtures.

The listing doesn't say firmly that the fixtures aren't also functional. There's really one one way to know for sure.

Link via Jalopnik | Photo: eBay

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Link to the Future

(Video Link)

Quickly! A wormhole will only open if the ocarina is played at 88 beats per minute! This ingenious fan film by Grant Duffrin explains and unites the stories of The Legend of Zelda franchise by suggesting that they are all necessary components of a particular timeline. Doc Brown's mission is to ensure that Link takes the necessary steps to set the chain of events in motion.

via Topless Robot

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Pac Man Cross Stitch in the Street

I don't have any information about this clever piece of street art except that it was discovered by Flickr user Bear in Mind. I wonder what material was used.

Link via Craft

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Air Force Academy Graduates Four Sisters

The admission standards for the US service academies are incredibly demanding, to say nothing of the task of graduating. But success runs in the Robillard family. The four children of the family, who form two sets of twins, are all graduates of the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado:

As twins, and soon-to-be 2nd Lieutenants, Alicia and Amanda Robillard graduate today, the Robillard’s makes history as the first family to graduate four sisters from the Academy.

“As anyone who attended the academy can attest to, there is just that language and shared experience that all grads have in common, and being able to share that with all my sisters has really kept our bond strong,” said Lauren Robillard, Class of 2007 and the eldest sister of the family. “I would even venture to say that by having all attended the academy, we are closer than we otherwise would have been.”

Link via The Mary Sue | Photo: USAF Academy

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Princess Leia/Vespa Headphones

Whether they remind you of Princess Leia's hair buns or Princess Vespa's headphones (Spaceballs), redditor Jacquielonglegs did a great job with this craft project. She wonders if she should sell the set. Would you buy them?

Link via Fashionably Geek

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Questionable News Sources

In the olden days of the Internet, it was fun to trip people up by linking to The Onion stories and acting as though they were real. Now, people are too Internet saavy to fall for this trick. Well, one would hope so, but it is not to be. Literally Unbelievable is a new Tumblr blog filled with screenshots of Facebook users taking articles from The Onion seriously.

Link via Kottke

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Rifle in Stained Glass

It's an AR-15 short-barreled rifle rendered in stained glass by Joe Thunstrom. I can so easily imagine it in a kitchen window in a picturesque country cottage.

Link via Everyday, No Days Off

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Functional Imaginary Phone

(Video Link)

Here's how it works: the palm of your hand is in view of a depth camera. Wherever you point on your palm corresponds to an area of the screen on a touchscreen phone. The computer hooked up to the camera then sends relevant commands. Researchers at Potsdam University figure that this technology that they've developed could go from experimental to commonplace without many people even noticing:

In their tests, the depth camera was a clunky head mounted device. "But ultimately, we envision the camera becoming so small that it integrates into clothing, such as the button of a shirt, a brooch, or a pendant. So people would not even notice if someone carries an imaginary phone," Baudisch told New Scientist.

"We envision that users will initially use imaginary phones as a shortcut to operate the physical phones in their pockets. As users get more experienced, it might even become possible to leave the device at home and spend the day ‘all-imaginary'."

Answering calls on the phone would still require the physical device – but it would be possible to access apps and forward calls to voicemail with the imaginary version.

Link via Walyou

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Contest for the Worst PowerPoint Slide Ever

A DPU manufacturer called InFocus recently held a contest for the worst ever PowerPoint slides. Although they don't say it explicitly, I gather that these were not slides that were intentionally designed to be terrible, but simply found in that condition and passed on to the contest judges. Some entrants actually offered photos of the slides being displayed in front of large groups of people, presumably as evidence that they were real.

The above image was the 1st runner up. You can view the other winners at the link.

Link via Ace of Spades HQ | Previously: Dan McMillan's PowerPoint Standup Comedy

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Playable LEGO Ukulele

Ross Crawford faced four challenges with this project. He had to be able to shape the LEGO pieces into generally curved shapes. The assembly had to be strong enough to withstand the pressure of four tight strings. There had to be a way to tune those strings effectively. Finally, even though it was made of plastic, the ukulele had to sound like a ukulele. Crawford writes that he was successful:

So, after all that, I ended up with what I like to call an alto ukulele – it is tuned to C-F-A-D (normal ukes are generally tuned to G-C-E-A).

Hopefully he'll soon put up a video of the ukulele in action.

Link via Make | Photo: Ross Crawford

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Across Bolivia's Salt Desert

Guy Nesher, a photographer based out of Tel Aviv, shot this picture of the Salar de Uyuni. At over four thousand square miles, this region of Bolivia is the largest salt flat in the world. It functions like a natural mirror, but I've never seen a picture of it that expresses that quality quite as well as this one.

Link via Super Punch

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Steve McQueen TV Rifle Now for Sale

Wanted: Dead or Alive was a half-hour Western television show which ran from 1958-1961. It starred Steve McQueen as the bounty hunter Josh Randall. The character was noted for wielding a modified Winchester 1892 .44-40 lever-action rifle called the "Mare's leg". With a reduced stock and a barrel cut down to less than a foot long, Randall could carry it holstered on his hip. It was his signature piece, and now gunmaker Rossi is selling it in .44 magnum, .45 Colt, and .38 special/.357 mangum.

Of this design, Tamara Keel writes:

When I was younger, I used to think cut-down lever guns, a la Steve McQueen's "Mare's Leg" were just the coolest thing ever.

Now that I am older and actually know a little bit about firearms, I think they make about as much sense as a kickstand on a tank.

They still look cool though, and, y'know... Firefly.

It probably wouldn't hurt their sales for Rossi to come out with a Firefly special edition.

Link via View from the Porch | Image: CBS

UPDATE 5/26/11: In the comments, LeeMajors points out that there's another Mare's Leg made by Henry Repeating Arms.

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Movie Scenes in Eye Shadow

This is pretty amazing. Katie Alves recreates movie scenes on the eyelids of models, such as the above presentation of The Nightmare before Christmas. Other featured films include The Lion King, Aladdin, and Alice in Wonderland.

Link via Flavorwire

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Gummy Bearskin Rug

Get it? It's a gummy bear shaped into a bearskin rug by Brock Davis.

Well, I thought it was funny.

Link via Colossal

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Comic Strips in the Future

A few years ago, to mark the 75th anniversary of the comic strip Blondie, Chip Zdarsky imagined the futures of six classic comic strips. Ones that, for no comprehensible reason, refuse to die.

Link via Popped Culture

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Spinal Column Candles

Etsy seller Daniel Tyrkiel made three candles shaped like a human spinal column. Why?

This time around both wizards and muggles must join forces to defeat the dark horde. I created this light as a symbol of our commitment to the fight. It lifts the magical vale between our worlds flashing like a beacon, drawing the power of love, uniting them in the struggle. It creates a polarized aura that prevents the dark from entering. The more candles are lit, the stronger their combined power to channel love and repel darkness which in turn gives more strength to the fighting wizards and witches.

Or, I suppose, they could be used for mood lighting on a romantic evening.

Link via Nerdcore

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How to Recharge a Nissan Leaf with a Tow Truck

Sure, you could recharge your Nissan Leaf the earth-friendly way (feeding it electricity from a coal-burning power plant), but what fun is that? There's a better way: holding down the brakes lightly while being towed. Because of the regenerative braking feature of the Leaf design, this will charge the car's batteries. Just make sure that your tow truck gets no more than 15 miles per gallon.

You can watch a video of this technique at the link. It's in Dutch, but English subtitles are available by clicking on the Closed Caption button. There's also a little bit of profane language.

Link via Jalopnik | Photo by Flickr user cliff1066 used under Creative Commons license

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Using a Banana Peel as a Jello Mold

SandeeA. reasoned that a banana peel, if properly sealed, could function as a jello mold. So she filled a few with strawberry gelatin made from real strawberries. Yummy!

Link (Google Translate) via NotCot | Photo: La Receta de la Felicidad

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Nintendo-Style Doctor Who Intro

(Video Link)

Sadly, there was never a classic Nintendo game for Doctor Who. But YouTube user DoctorOctoroc has created an introductory theme that would have been perfect for it, in both graphics and music.

via Geekosystem

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Profile for John Farrier

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