Cartoonist Caldwell Tanner thinks that the Girl Scouts really need to rethink their cookie designs. Here's one of several proposals that he's making: wrap the best cookies in the most unappetizing packaging possible.
Sure, you can cook a squirrel in a popcorn popper, but those really aren't that common since the advent of microwave popcorn. Max Eddy of Geekosystem has a more practical guide for you: how to cook food in a coffee pot. He has links to instructions and recipes including lemon pepper chicken, chicken pesto pasta, and fish steaks. Inspired by his post, right now I'm cooking eggs in my coffee pot. I'll let you know how they turn out.
Scientists in Britain -- wait, I mean the United Kingdom -- propose to breed sea cucumbers in large numbers. These animals will eat the waste off the ocean floor and can then be sold as a food product:
It breathes through its anus, can liquefy its body and acts as the waste collectors of the seabed. Scientists now believe that a species of sea cucumber living off the British coast could become a lucrative culinary export.
A project will begin this year to see whether it is possible to harvest commercial quantities of sea cucumbers – which are animals not plants – from beneath fish farms where the seabed is laden with the organic detritus.
Experts believe it may be possible to clean up the sea floor below the fish farms by cultivating vast "herds" of sea cucumbers while at the same time producing a valuable culinary delicacy that is highly prized in China and the Far East, where processed sea cucumbers can sell for extortionate prices.
According to the one diner quoted in the article, sea cucumbers taste like phlegm. What's not to like?
BUILD!, by LEGO animators David Pagano and Matt Witham, tells the tale of an ordinary Norse woodsmen. When his axe was struck by divine lightning, it began having a transformational effect on everything the wielder encountered. The animation is set to an awesome soundtrack by Jason Mass.
Nothing hits the spot quite like a grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl of tomato soup. But it's been hard to get sloshed on this combination...until now. Clive's, a bar in Victoria, British Columbia, offers a cocktail called a "Cold Night In" that blends these flavors with alcohol. Here's how bartender Shawn Sole makes one:
Soole starts with his own batch of “grilled cheese rum” — dark, viscous Mt. Gay “washed” overnight with a real-live grilled cheese sandwich, a seeping process to extract essential flavors and infuse them into the rum, before adding fresh-muddled tomato and basil, salt, Lillet Blanc and Glenfiddich Scotch whiskey. The effect is extraordinary: the grilled cheese rum leaps off the palate with flavors of cheddar, bread and butter, mingled with a dark sweetness, while the Lillet Blanc prevents the texture from veering into Bloody Mary territory. Topping the cocktail off with a drop of Glenfiddich adds a hint of off-the-grill smoke and evokes sipping, grilling and dunking.
The mimic octopus, discovered ten years ago off the coast of Indonesia, has been observed duplicating the appearance of at least fifteen other species. It can swim like a banded sole, a type of poisonous flatfish. If it fears attack, it can bury six of its arms so that its two visible arms make it look like a particularly deadly snake. The octopus can also swim with its arms spread in such a way that it looks like a venomous lionfish. It's like the Mystique of the natural world.
Therese of Earth and Living figured out how to construct shoes like those worn by Medieval Scandinavians. It's not as simple as you might think, but it's a quite feasible craft project for the non-professional leatherworker. She provides step-by-step instructions with pictures from start to finish. Once you're done, grab a sword and go raiding!
Etsy seller Rachel Peters makes Franken Toys -- freakish dolls and stuffed animals attached to each other, probably against their will: Elmo's head on a toucan's body, Ronald McDonald and a Teletubby, and more. It's like a mad scientist started producing children's television.
The Belgian television channel Prime commissioned miniature sets for major American shows, including Mad Men, Lost, Deadwood, and Six Feet Under. It's simple, but quite visually effective. Warning: the video at the link compiling them is NSFW.
So you suddenly find yourself long, long ago in a galaxy far away. You're going to need to earn some money, so it's time to find a job. This flowchart by Andy Green and Bobby Bernethy will make some suggestions for careers that fit your personality.
Photographer David Kaplan took this mesmerizing image. It shows a cloudbank over the Rhine with Liechtenstein in the background. The Moon and Venus can be seen in the upper right corner. Click on the link to view a much larger image.
Comics critic and editor Steven Padnick has an interesting read on the Batman narrative. Bruce Wayne, he argues, is hardly a hero of the oppressed, but a tyrant whose primary goal is to maintain a rigid class structure in Gotham City:
Batman isn’t just “the man,” Bruce Wayne is also The Man. He’s a rich, white, handsome man who comes from an old money family and is the main employer in Gotham. He owns half the property in the city. In a very real sense, Gotham belongs to him, and he inherited all of it.
True, it’s a very American version of aristocracy, based on wealth rather than divine right, but in practice it’s basically the same. The myth of aristocracy is that class is genetic, that some people are just born good enough to rule, and that this inherent goodness can be passed down from generation to generation.[...]
This gives Batman’s origin an Arthurian “king-in-exile” element. “Banished” from Gotham by the death of his parents, Bruce Wayne returns to reclaim his throne and redeem his land. But instead of reclaiming it from usurping uncle or foreign invader, Batman must take Gotham back from a rising underclass.
Just look at who he fights. Superman (for example) fights intergalactic dictators, evil monopolists, angry generals, and dark gods, i.e. symbols of abusive authority. Batman fights psychotics, anarchists, mob bosses, the mentally ill, and environmentalists, i.e. those who would overthrow the status quo. Superman fights those who would impose their version of order on the world. Batman fights those who would unbalance the order Batman himself imposes on Gotham.
Swarovski, a manufacturer of glass crystal, has a museum and garden in Wattens, Austria. This enormous fountain stands in front of it. Think of the setting possibilities it offers to producers of science fiction shows!
Japanese artist Jarashi Suki developed dominoes that trip each other even without physical contact. Each one has a number, 1-5, displayed with dots. You can change the number of a domino by shaking it. When domino 1 falls, it will then trip 2, which will then trip 3, and so on. The video shows creative ways that this system can be used to make domino chains that would be impossible with conventional dominoes.
Do you need a stock photo to illustrate some point in a presentation? Specifically, that you shouldn't grope your co-workers? Stock photo companies try to meet all sorts of needs, including this one. Abe Sauer of The Hairpin rounded up some of the oddest pictures of sexual harassment from stock photo archives, and this picture is among the tamest. All SFW, but really weird.
Kevin Kelly, an editor for Wired and Cool Tools, points out something that is both simple and profound. No piece of technology, once it becomes widely used, ever goes extinct. It doesn't matter if that technology has become obsolete. There are and always will be people who will continue to produce it. Robert Krulwich of NPR reports:
Nothing? I asked. Brass helmets? Detachable shirt collars? Chariot wheels?
Nothing, he said.
Can't be, I told him. Tools do hang around, but some must go extinct.
If only because of the hubris — the absolute nature of the claim — I told him it would take me a half hour to find a tool, an invention that is no longer being made anywhere by anybody.
Go ahead, he said. Try.
If you listen to our Morning Edition debate, I tried carbon paper (still being made), steam powered car engine parts (still being made), Paleolithic hammers (still being made), 6 pages of agricultural tools from an 1895 Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalogue (every one of them still being made), and to my utter astonishment, I couldn't find a provable example of an technology that has disappeared completely.
David Windestål's RC helicopter, equipped with little missiles, hunts balloons across the frozen Swedish landscape. That's cool enough as it is. What makes this video superneat is the way that the scene is presented like a classic arcade game with appropriate sound effects and text notifications.
A "Dude Licking a Pole Production"? That's the best name for an entertainment production company EVAR.
The Earnest movies were, like, deep. Really deep. There's a lot in there, and Wonder Tonic's automatic film school thesis generator will give you a lot of ideas that will further your pursuit of master of arts in film studies.
Comedian Jack Vale drove around pretending to be looking for people. He provided the physical description of whatever person he asked. No one recognizes his own appearance, or at least doesn't want to admit to it.
Once upon a time, TLC was an educational channel. Now it shows increasingly eccentric reality and remodeling programs. If you haven't watched it in a while, yes, this is a parody. But only by a little bit.
Alexander Chen took Massimo Vignelli's iconic 1972 map of the New York City subway system and turned it into a musical instrument. The routes are treated like strings, and whenever a train intersects a string, that string is plucked:
Length determines pitch, with longer strings playing lower notes. When a string is in the middle of being drawn by a subway car, its pitch is continually shifting. The sounds are cello pizzicato from the wonderful freesound.org, a set recorded by corsica_s. A complete chromatic scale was too dissonant. Ultimately I settled on a simple major C scale but with the lowest note as a raised third E, which keeps it from ever feeling fully resolved.
P. Wesley Tyler, Jr. captured this spooky image. What you're looking at a hole-punch cloud:
Hole-punch clouds are miniature snowstorms that can occur in thin, subfreezing cloud layers.
The lack of fine particles, such as dust, in the clouds means water droplets have little to condense around, so they don't turn to ice until the cloud hits about minus 38 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 36 degrees Celsius).
"Basically, the water molecules become sluggish enough at this temperature to form their own cluster of ice that produces an ice crystal spontaneously," according to ice microphysicist Andrew Heymsfield.
A company called Sonitus Medical recently acquired FDA approval for its new hearing aid system. It's called SoundBite, and involves two machines: one that slips behind the user's ear, and another that fits on the molars. Sound picked up by the earpiece is transmitted wirelessly to the mouthpiece, which vibrates the teeth. The vibrations can be understood by the inner ear as sound.
The Buster Sword is a special weapon that appears in Final Fantasy VII. Flickr user Michaelcthulhu either made or commissioned a realistic version of one. In the linked video, he does his best to swing it like a functional weapon. The sword is for sale, so you'd better grab it before someone else does.
Literary theorist and columnist Stanley Fish has listed and described what he regards as the five greatest sentences ever composed in the English language. Among them is this selection from John Bunyan's 1678 work The Pilgrim's Progress. In my limited experience, I cannot think of any craftsman of the English language greater than Vladimir Nabokov, who wrote as though he was sculpting words from marble. And a selection from Nabokov is properly included in Fish's follow-up post in which the professor judged from reader-submitted suggestions.
What do you think is the greatest sentence in the history of the English language?
Link (and a Follow-Up) | Screenshot: edited image from the first edition
Lee Thomson has a copy of Gene Roddenberry's March 1964 pitch for Star Trek. There were many changes made before the first and second pilot episodes were filmed. The ship's doctor, for example, went by a different name, but was still known as "Bones". Sex kitten Yeoman Rand was called "Colt", and Roddenberry clearly had a larger role in mind for that character.