John Farrier's Blog Posts

Salt Shaker/Dandruff Shampoo Ad

The advertising agency of Grey G2/Group in Düsseldorf, Germany made this salt shaker as a promotional item for a line of anti-dandruff shampoo by Pantene. When salt remains on the top, it looks like the model has dandruff.

Link via Super Punch | Photo: Björn Giesbrecht

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How Close Could a Person Get to the Sun and Survive?

How close could you get to the sun before burning up? Alessandra Calderin of Popular Science asked NASA engineer Ralph McNutt:

The sun is about 93 million miles away from Earth, and if we think of that distance as a football field, a person starting at one end zone could get about 95 yards before burning up.

That said, an astronaut so close to the sun is way, way out of position. “The technology in our current space suits really isn’t designed to withstand deep space,” says Ralph McNutt, an engineer working on the heat shielding for NASA’s Messenger, a new robotic Mercury probe. The standard space suit will keep an astronaut relatively comfortable at external temperatures reaching up to 248°. Heat coming off the sun dissipates over distance, but a person drifting in space would begin encountering that kind of heat (the five-yard line) some three million miles from the sun. “It would then be a matter of time before the astronaut died,” McNutt says.

The space shuttle, however, has greater heat resistance than a spacesuit, so it could get to the two-yard line before cooking its crew.

Link | Photo: the Sun seen from Skylab, courtesy of NASA

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Photographing the Elements

Wikipedia user alchemist-hp is on a quest to take beautiful color photographs of every naturally occurring element. Pictured above is bismuth. At the link, you can view his German-language clickable periodic table of images.

Link via Make

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The Buddha's Hand

The Buddha's Hand is an unusual fruit rarely found in American grocery stores, but common to parts of China and India. It's so named because its fingers are said to represent the hands of the Buddha praying:

In China the fruit is often carried in the hand or simply placed on a table in the home to bring those who live their good luck, happiness and long life. Its Chinese name, fo-shou, means exactly that when it is written alongside other characters. As well as culinary and household use the fruit, before maturity, is often prescribed as a tonic.

Link via The Presurfer | Photo by Flickr user gumdropgas used under Creative Commons license

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How to Make Glow Sticks

(YouTube Link)

Glow sticks are a mixture of bis (2,4,6-trichlorophenyl) oxalate, a few other chemicals that serve as a base, and a fluorescent dye. This video by Nurd Rage provides detailed instructions on how to make your own, as well as an explanation of the chemistry involved.

via CrunchGear

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Sweden's Redneck Greaser Subculture

The Faster Times and The Guardian report on a thriving youth subculture in Sweden called "raggare" that Katie Natopolis describes as:

[...]a delightful mix of the style of a’50s greaser, the corpulence and bad hygiene of a biker, the love of the Confederate flag of a southern redneck, and the enthusiasm for drinking of a British soccer hooligan. Basically, every stereotype about poor white trash spanning both time and globe, rolled into one.

The Faster Times then presents a gallery of fourteen photos of raggae folk. Conor Creighton of The Guardian further describes the subculture:

The raggare have always tended to be drawn from country folk: farmers, petrol station owners, low-skilled workers. The growth in their numbers is the result of the differing fortunes of the US and Swedish economies over the decades: successive oil crises and a poor exchange rate saw Americans trading in gas-guzzlers for more economical models; the Swedes, relatively rich in comparison, bought their cars for a song.

For young Swedes, these giant American cars, which contrasted with the safe, boxy Volvos their parents drove, were the ultimate symbols of rebellion. And they were dirt-cheap. "They were stupid," Georg says about the Americans. "Some of the cars were limited edition. They built maybe 70 of them and they were selling them to us for a few thousand when they were collector pieces."

Faster Times Link and Guardian Link via Marginal Revolution | Photo: Christer Ehrling

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Robotic Butterfly

(YouTube Link)

The Japanese toy company Tenyo made this robotic butterfly that looks and acts like the real thing. It was on display at the Tokyo Toy Show this year.

Link via Gizmodo

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Primitive Knife Made from Fiber Optic Glass

Mike Cook is an artisan who makes knives the old fashioned way. He knapps flint and other stones into different shapes, like Stone Age humans did. In a juxtaposition of technologies, Cook knapped this one from fiber optic glass.

Link via Make | Photo: Mike Cook

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Divers Find 200 Year Old Bottles of Champagne in Shipwreck

Divers exploring a shipwreck near the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea found bottles of what is thought to be the world's oldest drinkable champagne. They probably date back to the 1780s and have an estimated value of $65,000 each:

They tasted the one bottle they've brought up so far before they even got back to shore.

Diving instructor Christian Ekstrom said the bottles are believed to be from the 1780s and likely were part of a cargo destined for Russia. The nationality of the sunken ship has not yet been determined.

"We brought up the bottle to be able to establish how old the wreck was," he said. "We didn't know it would be champagne. We thought it was wine or something."

Ekstrom said the divers were overjoyed when they popped the cork on their boat after hauling the bubbly from a depth of 60 metres.

"It tasted fantastic. It was a very sweet champagne, with a tobacco taste and oak," Ekstrom said.

The oldest known champagne currently on record is from 1825.

Link | Photo (unrelated) by Flickr user Waldo Jaquith used under Creative Commons license | Previously: World's Largest Champagne Flute

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The Paper Worlds of Jeff Nishinaka

Los Angeles-based artist Jeff Nishinaka is a sculptor of paper. He creates amazingly detailed 3D renderings for both the fine and commercial arts, such as the above dragon. In the links, you can see a video demonstrating the creation process.

Link via DudeCraft | Video

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Old Spice Commercial for a Library

(YouTube Link)

Hello scholars. Look at your grades. Now look at mine. Now back at your grades. Now back to mine. Sadly, they're not like mine. But if you stopped studying in a cave and started studying like me, they could be like mine.

The Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University made this commercial promoting itself in imitation of the popular Old Spice commercials.

via Nerdcore | Library Website | Previously: 42 Greatest Old Spice Commercials Ever Made

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New Buoys Allow Submarines to Communicate While Submerged

US Navy submarines can receive messages while submerged, but can't respond without raising antennas and exposing themselves. That's why Lockheed Martin is developing a system of buoys that will be able to relay surface signals to submerged submarines:

The idea was to excite the upper atmosphere with high-frequency radio waves, and it would then emit the ELF bands required for one-way communicate with submerged submarines.

The new system is the first two-way communication method for submarines at depth. The actual depth is classified, but according to Reints the cables attached to the tethered buoys are “measured in miles” and would allow them to be launched from “a significant depth.” The submarine could continue normal operations at its normal speed while communicating.

Link via DVICE | Image: Lockheed Martin

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Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes Are 100% Resistant to Malaria

Scientists at the University of Arizona have created mosquitoes that are completely safe from the parasite that causes malaria. It does so by reducing the lifespan of the engineered mosquitoes. Most mosquitoes live only two to three weeks, but the parasite needs twelve to sixteen days to develop inside a mosquito. Consequently, these mosquitoes don't live long enough to become dangerous.

So with that problem solved, how can scientists use the new mosquitoes to destroy malaria? At Popular Science, Laurie J. Schmidt explains:

According to Riehle, completely eradicating the malaria parasite carried by mosquitoes requires three things: the ability to engineer the mosquito, finding genes or molecules that can kill the malaria parasite, and giving the modified mosquitoes a competitive advantage so they can replace the wild population. The first two components have been accomplished, but Riehle says the third represents a bigger hurdle. "A lot of research is being done now to give the mosquitoes fitness advantages so that they can replace the wild populations," he said. "But it's probably at least a decade away, and if this is ever used for malaria control it will take several years for population replacement to actually occur."

Link | Photo by John Tann used under Creative Commons license | Malaria Vaccine Spread Through Mosquitoes Themselves

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The Last Emperor(s)

The 1987 film The Last Emperor was a critical and box office smash. It won 9 Oscars and profits far exceeding its $24 million budget. It’s based on a true story – the life of Pu Yi, the final emperor of China. But he wasn’t the only last emperor in world history. So let’s take a moment to look at Pu Yi and some of the other men who represented the ends of their empires, dynasties, and eras.

Xuantong Emperor (1906-1967), also known as Pu Yi, held the imperial title, but never any power. From the ages of 3 to 6, he was the last of the Qing dynasty emperors. But effectively, he was just the tool of various warlords in the chaos of early 20th Century China.  Later, he was the titular ruler of  Manchukuo, the Japanese puppet state in Manchuria  from 1934-1945. Upon the collapse of his Japanese masters, Pu Yi was arrested by the Soviets, who imprisoned him until 1950. Then Stalin presented him as a gift to Mao Zedong, who had just completed the Communist conquest of China. Pu Yi spent the next nine years in a labor camp before his release to take up the simple life of a gardener.

Pedro II (1825-1891) was the second and last emperor of Brazil, which gained its independence in 1822. Pedro became emperor at just 5 years old, and was declared of age at 14, but real power eluded him until about 1850. Then he set to work ending slavery, expanding Brazilian territory at the expense of Paraguay, and establishing an effective bureaucracy. An absolutist monarch in the old European mold, he resisted sharing power with a younger generation of Brazilians that was increasingly republican in their political outlook. An army coup in 1889 overthrew him, and Pedro II died in exile in Paris.

Charles I (1887-1922) took power in 1916, in the middle of World War I. He tried and failed to remove Austria-Hungary from the war, and upon the collapse of the Austrian army on the Italian front, he renounced political power. That proved to be an insufficient concession for the people of the rapidly collapsing multiethnic empire, and Charles was forced into exile in Switzerland in March of 1919. Austria deposed him the following year, and his efforts to take the Hungarian throne were stymied. He died in 1922 in relative poverty on the Portuguese coast. Due to his devout faith and desire for peace, he is a candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church. He was beatified (a step in the sainthood process) in 2004 after a Brazilian nun claimed to be healed of her varicose veins after praying that Charles intercede for her.

Romulus Augustulus (r. 475-476), the last emperor of the western Roman Empire, had a legally weak claim to the throne in this own right.  This was because his father, the general Orestes, had overthrown the emperor Julius Nepos and given the imperial throne to his young son.  This was Romulus, known to history as Augustulus, which which is the Latin diminutive form of "little Augustus".  The boy was clad in the imperial purple, but he had no power at all beyond the walls of Ravenna, the northern Italian city that had been the seat of Roman governance over Italy for decades.  The Germanic king Odoacer, in possession of no imperial title but a formidable army, deposed him the following year. Romulus was well-treated, but forcibly retired to a country estate in Campagnia with an annual pension.

Bao Dai (1913-1997) was last emperor of Vietnam and the last reigning member of the Nguyen Dynasty. He succeeded to the throne in 1926, but promptly moved to France -- Vietnam’s colonial ruler -- at the request of that nation’s government. He was allowed to return in 1932, and he carried out a number of reforms designed to build a 20th Century government that France would consider worthy of limited sovereignty. France refused, and so Bao Dai retreated into the lifestyle of a playboy until the Japanese conquest. When the Communist Viet Minh took control of the country after the Japanese surrender, Bao Dai abdicated the throne, and the next year, moved to France. The French installed him as head of state in 1949, and then pushed him out of power in 1955. He died in exile in Paris in 1997.

Constantine XI Palaiologos (1404-1453) was the last ruler of the Byzantine Empire, beginning in 1449, amidst furious infighting with his political rivals. Under assault by Muslim invaders for eight hundred years, the once-mighty empire had been reduced to Constantinople, a few Aegean islands, and the Peloponnese. Fully aware of the desperate circumstances, Constantine spent all of his energies on securing help from the Catholic west. He even held a Latin Mass in Hagia Sophia, to the outrage of the population of Constantinople. But no aid came, save the Genoese mercenaries that he could not afford to pay. After a seven week siege by Sultan Mehmet II, the Turks breached the walls of Constantinople. The emperor flung off his royal insignia and rallied his remaining troops to a final charge in which he died.

Atahualpa (ca.1498-1533) was the last emperor of the Inca. His father did not clearly denote a successor, so Atahualpa had to seize power through a bloody civil war. While enjoying the thermal baths at Cajamarca, he was surprised by 168 European soldiers led by the Spanish adventurer Francisco Pizarro. Atahualpa offered an enormous ransom to the Spanish, who were paid 13,420 pounds of gold and 26,000 pounds of silver. Diego de Almagro, the commander of the Spanish garrison at the time that the ransom arrived, responded by executing the Inca emperor. But indigenous peoples of the region were inspired to compose messianic prophecies about Atahualpa. Two centuries later, a Native Peruvian named Juan Santos, claiming to be a descendant of Atahualpa, led a prolonged rebellion against Spanish colonial rule in the Andean highlands.

Haile Selassie I (1892-1975) was the last emperor of Ethiopia. As a political entity, the Ethiopian Empire emerged gradually over a millennium of change. It was firmly in place by the time of Adma Siyon (r.1313-44), but had essentially collapsed by 1769. Tewodros II (r.1855-1889) restablished the monarchy and claimed, like all previous Ethiopian emperors, to be the successor of King Solomon. He was eventually followed by Haile Selassie I. The emperor overcame a conquest by Mussolini’s Italy during World War II and, with British and US help, modernized the Ethiopian government and economy. Haile Selassie defeated a coup in 1960, but dissent to his rule only increased. In 1974, in the midst of a serious famine, the army revolted and imprisoned the emperor. Haile Selassie died the following year in confinement, and his captors declared an end to the Solomonic Dynasty. Nonetheless, he remains today the central focus of worship in the Rastafarian religion, which sees him a divine messenger and savior.

Images: Columbia Pictures, Wikimedia Commons

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QR Code Billboard

A QR code is a two dimensional visual code that can contain a large amount of information and read by many smart phones and other mobile devices. Think of it as a sophisticated barcode that you can scan with a phone and thus acquire media. In the case of the Calvin Klein billboard pictured, the code reveals a sensual ad typical of the sort for which that fashion brand has become famous. Mashable writes about the rise of QR codes in advertising:

QR codes are increasingly appearing in advertisements as a way to increase engagement with consumers. Although already common in Japan (where they were originally invented), they do not appear in many advertisements — much less take up an entire billboard. Most U.S. citizens still do not own smartphones, and even those that do don’t necessarily know what a QR code is or have the necessary scanning software to read it.

The billboards are clearly a test run for Calvin Klein Jeans, given that they will be up for only a little more than a week. If the videos get enough views, however, we can expect similar billboards in the future — both from Calvin Klein Jeans and from other brands. It’s often difficult to measure engagement with billboards, and QR codes help advertisers better measure their impact.

Link via Gizmodo | Photo: Mashable

Previously on Neatorama:
Space Invaders Scarf
Barcoded Gravestones

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Functional Exoskeleton for the Disabled

(YouTube Link)

Hayden Allen hasn't walked in five years, but in this video, he's able to move around using a new type of exoskeleton called REX:

Called REX, short for "robotic exoskeleton", the legs weigh 38 kg (84lb) and are individually made for each user.

The first pair is expected to sell for $150,000 (£97,600) the equivalent cost of 20 standard wheelchairs.

The inventors claim that due to the upright and mobile nature of their creation, users will not suffer the burns, scrapes and bladder infections that can come with wheelchair use.

One of the great features of this design, as you can see in the video, is that it's fairly easy for a wheelchair user to mount the exoskeleton by him/herself.

Link via DVICE

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FarmVille Now Offers Organic Crops

If you're an environmentally conscious FarmVille player, you may be concerned about the impact that your agricultural practices are having on the environment. After all, the pesticides that you use on your farm could seep into the water table and poison plants, animals, and humans alike. Thankfully, you now have the option of planting organic blueberries:

Next week, FarmVille will, for the first time, offer its pretend farmers a specific food brand. Players will be able to plant an organic blueberry crop from Cascadian Farm, a subsidiary of General Mills. The objective is for FarmVille users to learn about organic farming and green living, and at the same time, earn additional points to grow fruits and vegetables or raise animals on their virtual farms. Cascadian Farm executives say they hope that the company can expand its food niche and make itself better known by increasing awareness among FarmVille’s audience.

Link via Kotaku | Image by Flickr user sabrina.dent used under Creative Commons license | Previously: FarmVille Parody

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All-Terrain Trike

Peter Wagner made this trike to go over or through any obstacles that it encounters. It even has paddle wheels to traverse water. It's called the "Whymcycle Express", and is much a sculpture as a means of transportation:

Stock fork surpassed by adding rear 2/3's of a full suspension mountain bike as the springer front end. Double rimmed drum brake 16" laced to 26" alloy, get us height, braking and with plastic lawn sign in between the spokes, a dandy rudder!! Also tripled up on Torrington freewheeling axel bearings for the rear drive component. 3 of them with 6 all-thread bolts thru their sprocket teeth, making them act as one, ideally reducing by 2/3's the strain on each one..also bolted by the 6 all-threads, a 65 tooth Schwinn Exerciser cog..dune/mud/hillclimb to test them this weekend @ the da Vinci Days Kinetic Sculpture Race in Corvallis. OR.
That fork innovation's going onto my full suspension tallie Real soon....

Rear wheel 'overwheels' are 40" trampolines for mud/sand/water paddle wheels....shall see if they survive the test weekend also....

Link via Make | Photo: Peter Wagner

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Secrets of Grand Central Station

Grand Central Terminal in New York City is the largest train station in the world, processing 700,000 visitors a day. It's an impressive demonstration of technology and logistics, and Daniel Terdiman at cnet has written an article about its many hidden secrets. Among them is a train station within it that was built to hide President Roosevelt's use of a wheelchair:

FDR was from New York state and often returned to New York City. Because his physical condition was not understood by a public that likely would have been unsympathetic to seeing the commander-in-chief in a wheelchair, the president would arrive in New York on a special private train.

But instead of pulling into a normal platform and having a normal train car, FDR arrived on a custom car that contained his 1932 armor-plated Pierce-Arrow limousine. By the time the train would get into the secret tunnels, the president would be inside the limo, and when it hit the platform, the car would be driven out through special, wide doors and then into a special wide elevator. He would then alight into the ballroom at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel above.

The secret train car was armor-clad, and had bullet-proof glass, which in those days meant little more than many, many layers of glass, Brucker said. In addition, a series of vents along the top of the train car were actually gun ports, and it featured unique wheel assemblies that allowed no lateral movement. That was because any such movement would have shaken FDR out of his wheelchair.

Link via Make | Photo by Flickr user bennie719 used under Creative Commons license

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Dairy Powered by Manure from 4,000 Cows

A large dairy in the Ukraine is powered by the energy generated by the cows' own manure. In fact, the cows generate a surplus of electricity that the dairy sells back to the electrical company:

The combined heat and power (CHP) plant--the first biogas cogeneration plant in the Ukraine--has successfully been powering the Ukraine Milk Company's factory for 9 months with 625 kW of electricity and 686 kW of thermal output. That's enough to fully power the factory and sell energy back to the grid. The advantages of using poop power are threefold: UMC improves its factory efficiency, cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, and keeps excess manure out of the waste stream. After UMC's manure goes through its biogas plant, leftovers can be used as agricultural fertilizer.

Link | Photo (unrelated) by Flickr user law kevin used under Creative Commons license

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New Nanotech Paint Turns Anything into a Stealth Aircraft

Well, that may be oversimplifying it a bit. But an Israeli company called Nanoflight claims to have developed a new type of paint that greatly enhances the radar-evading ability of aircraft and missiles that are covered with it:

For the test run, a thin layer of the material was painted on dummy missiles, and radar waves aimed at them had a difficult time registering them.

The paint particles don't make the missile's detection on the radar disappear completely, but make it exceedingly difficult to positively identify the object as a missile. In the future, this development will allow any missile or jet significantly decreased radar detection.

Even though they may not entirely disappear from radar screens, this technology is a considerably more cost-effective method to evade radar detection than purchasing an American stealth plane for $5 billion.

Link via Popular Science | Photo (unrelated) by Flickr user eschipul used under Creative Commons license

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Bench Retracts Spikes When You Pay

(Video Link)

Designer Fabian Brunsing created "Pay & Sit: The Private Bench". Normally, it's covered with spikes. But if you slip half a Euro in the coin slot, they retract for a fixed period of time. An alarm goes off a few seconds before the user's time is up and the spikes rise.

via Geekosystem

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Patient Survives after Receiving Fecal Implant from Husband

Dr. Alexander Khoruts, a gastroenterologist, saved a patient by transplanting a piece of her husband's excrement into her colon:

Dr. Khoruts decided his patient needed a transplant. But he didn’t give her a piece of someone else’s intestines, or a stomach, or any other organ. Instead, he gave her some of her husband’s bacteria.

Dr. Khoruts mixed a small sample of her husband’s stool with saline solution and delivered it into her colon. Writing in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology last month, Dr. Khoruts and his colleagues reported that her diarrhea vanished in a day. Her Clostridium difficile infection disappeared as well and has not returned since.

The microbes in the man's excrement replaced those absent in the patient:

Two weeks after the transplant, the scientists analyzed the microbes again. Her husband’s microbes had taken over. “That community was able to function and cure her disease in a matter of days,” said Janet Jansson, a microbial ecologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a co-author of the paper. “I didn’t expect it to work. The project blew me away.”

Link via The Agitator | Photo (unrelated) from Flickr user pnoeric used under Creative Commons license

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Solar Powered Weeding Cart

Australian inventors Brendan Corry and Peter Sargent designed the Wunda Weeder. This fanciful garden gadget is self-propelled, thanks to the solar cells on the roof. A gardener can lay on the cot and weed rows of plants in his/her garden while staying cool in the shade.

Link via OhGizmo! | Photo: Wunda Products

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Crocheted Car Cozy

Flickr user StartTheDay, a photographer from Britain, spotted this Smart Car sporting a crocheted cozy. It was created by Magda Sayeg for the Il Lusso Essenziale art festival in Rome.

Link via The Presurfer | Artist's Website | Il Lusso Essenziale | Image by Flickr user StartTheDay used under Creative Commons license

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World War II Is Full of Plot Holes, Fire the Writing Staff

LiveJournal user squid314 has posted a great rant. He loves Babylon 5 because the story is pretty consistent, but hates Doctor Who because it isn't. He rips into Doctor Who good and hard, but reserves his harshest criticism for the writers of World War II:

So Doctor Who is not a complete loss. But then there are some shows that go completely beyond the pale of enjoyability, until they become nothing more than overwritten collections of tropes impossible to watch without groaning.

I think the worst offender here is the History Channel and all their programs on the so-called "World War II".[...]

Anyway, they spend the whole season building up how the Japanese home islands are a fortress, and the Japanese will never surrender, and there's no way to take the Japanese home islands because they're invincible...and then they realize they totally can't have the Americans take the Japanese home islands so they have no way to wrap up the season.

So they invent a completely implausible superweapon that they've never mentioned until now. Apparently the Americans got some scientists together to invent it, only we never heard anything about it because it was "classified". In two years, the scientists manage to invent a weapon a thousand times more powerful than anything anyone's ever seen before - drawing from, of course, ancient mystical texts. Then they use the superweapon, blow up several Japanese cities easily, and the Japanese surrender. Convenient, isn't it?

...and then, in the entire rest of the show, over five or six different big wars, they never use the superweapon again. Seriously. They have this whole thing about a war in Vietnam that lasts decades and kills tens of thousands of people, and they never wonder if maybe they should consider using the frickin' unstoppable mystical superweapon that they won the last war with. At this point, you're starting to wonder if any of the show's writers have even watched the episodes the other writers made.

Link via io9 | Photo: National Park Service

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Knitting Clock

Industrial designer Siren Elise Wilhelmsen made a clock that knits a 2-meter scarf over the course of one year. It's called "365", and its purpose is:

[...]to give a physical manifestation to the change of time. drawing from the change that is witnessed through the growth of human bodies and hair, the same concept is found in '365' which translates time through the growth of knitted material. the clock houses a circular knitting machine with 48 needles, a thread spool, a thread holder and roll of yarn. moving in clockwise direction, one day leads to a complete round, while a year gives users 2 meters of a complete scarf.

The clock was exhibited at the DMY International Design Festival in Berlin this year. You can view more pictures and a completed scarf at the link.

Link via DudeCraft | Photo: Design Boom | Artist's Website

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Boeing's New Unmanned Spy Plane Can Stay at 65,000 Feet for 4 Days

Boeing's new Phantom Eye UAV is powered by hydrogen, making it a very fuel efficient vehicle capable of flying at more than 12 miles of altitude for 4 days at a time. From the company's press release:

"The program is moving quickly, and it’s exciting to be part of such a unique aircraft," said Drew Mallow, Phantom Eye program manager for Boeing. "The hydrogen propulsion system will be the key to Phantom Eye's success. It is very efficient and offers great fuel economy, and its only byproduct is water, so it's also a 'green' aircraft."

Phantom Eye is powered by two 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engines that provide 150 horsepower each. It has a 150-foot wingspan, will cruise at approximately 150 knots and can carry up to a 450-pound payload.

Link via Gizmodo | Photo: Boeing

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How One Man Beat The Price Is Right

In 2008, Terry Kniess became the only person to ever give the exact price of the final showcase on the game show The Price is Right. He wasn't lucky -- he was prepared. Kneiss has a natural talent for spotting patterns that other people don't notice. He spent years as a stunningly accurate meteorologist, and then worked in Las Vegas, catching card counters. Then for four months, he and his wife watched The Price Is Right:

For four months during the summer of 2008, they recorded The Price Is Right every morning and watched it together in bed every night, Terry hunting for patterns and Linda doing the math. It didn't take long for them to find their edge. In The Price Is Right's greatest strength, he and Linda also found its greatest weakness: It had survived all those years because it seemed never to change. Even when Drew Carey replaced Bob Barker — the show's own version of Vatican II — he rocked a similar skinny microphone. Behind all the screaming and seeming chaos, there was a precise and nostalgic order. Terry says he first sat upright in bed when a distinctive grill called the Big Green Egg came up for bid again and again. It was always $1,175.

When Kneiss was ready, he got a ticket the show and became a contestant. And with his knowledge of how the games worked, he kept on winning until the end:

Then came Terry. "You bid $23,743," Carey said through his teeth.

Today, at his kitchen table, Terry says he'd seen all three prizes before. The karaoke machine was $1,000. The pool table, depending on the model, he says, went for between $2,800 and $3,200. Terry went with $3,000. The rule of thumb for campers, he knew, was about $1,000 a foot, plus a little more; he says today he'd actually misheard the length of the trailer, thought Rich Fields had said it was nineteen feet long — so, $19,000. That gave him $23,000. And then, he says, he got lucky. He picked 743 because that was the number he and Linda had used for their PINs, their securitycodes, their bets: their wedding date, the seventh of April, and her birth month, March. Here's their wedding certificate, he says, and here's her passport: $23,743.

"Actual retail price, $23,743," Carey said. "You got it right on the nose. You win both Showcases."

Link via Geekosystem | Photo: Esquire

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New Lie Detector Tracks Eye Movements

Research by psychologists at the University of Utah has led to the development of a new lie detection system that tracks the activities of a subject's eyes:

Using eye movement to detect lies contrasts with polygraph testing. Instead of measuring a person's emotional reaction to lying, eye-tracking technology measures the person's cognitive reaction. To do so, the researchers record a number of measurements while a subject is answering a series of true-and-false questions on a computer. The measurements include pupil dilation, response time, reading and rereading time, and errors.

The researchers determined that lying requires more work than telling the truth, so they look for indications that the subject is working hard. For example, a person who is being dishonest may have dilated pupils and take longer to read and answer the questions. These reactions are often minute and require sophisticated measurement and statistical modeling to determine their significance.[...]

Besides measuring a different type of response, eye-tracking methods for detecting lies has several other benefits over the polygraph. Eye tracking promises to cost substantially less, require one-fifth of the time currently needed for examinations, require no attachment to the subject being tested, be available in any language and be administered by technicians rather than qualified polygraph examiners.

Link via DVICE | Photo by Flickr user orangeacid used under Creative Commons license

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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