Alex Santoso's Blog Posts

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Light Phone: A Minimalist Phone the Size Slightly Larger Than a Business Card

Smartphones today are jam-packed with features that border on the silly (folding phones, anyone?) as tech companies race to outdo each other.

But one company decided to take a completely different path. Behold, the Light Phone:

The Light Phone was an object of extreme minimalism. “Going light,” founders Joe Hollier and Kai Tang stressed, was about a conscious uncoupling from our screens, rediscovering the world around us, and creating space for a slower and potentially more meaningful pace of communication. In practice, that meant a stripped-down phone that only made calls — no keyboard, T9 texting, or even a contact list. Adding a contact to speed dial meant firing up a desktop dashboard. Even then, you could only save 10 numbers at a time.

Read the rest over at The Verge

Photo: Amelia Holoway Krales


Friendly Reminder from a Trucker: Put Your Phone Down

This semi-trailer truck has a public service announcement for fellow drivers on the road, though if you were on the phone while driving you probably wouldn't see this on your rear view mirror. Via /u/Bigreddog19


Daredevil Driver Drove on Iron Poles Across a Washed-Out Road


No road? No problem!

Watch how this daredevil Indian driver drove his car across a washed-out road in Himachal Pradesh, northern India, using iron poles that were laid out and taped together. Nerves of steel or simply madness?


50 Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time

Love sci-fi books? Me too (though I confess that I mostly listen to them on tape now.)

If you're looking for a new title and sci-fi author to read, don't miss this ultimate list compendium of 50 best sci-fi books, as compiled by Bobby Bernstein of Nerd Much?

There are some classics there, including my favorite, Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, as well as newer hits like Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I wish they'd include Leviathan Wakes / The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey.

Do you have anything to add to Nerd Much?'s list?


The Abacus is Still Heartily Taught in Japanese Schools

The abacus, called soroban, is still taught in Japanese schools, although not as intensively as it once was. Interestingly, the centuries-old tool is still popular, and national tournaments attract elite and trained competitors.

Just this month, a 16-year old high school student from Hiroshima was crowned champion in an All- Japan Abacus Championship held in Kyoto International Conference Center, Kyoto, Japan:

The caller read out the numbers at a speed evoking an auctioneer on fast-forward, each multidigit figure blurring into the next.
Within seconds, Daiki Kamino’s right arm shot up in the air, triumphant. Not only had he heard every number, he had tabulated them and arrived at the correct, 16-digit sum: 8,186,699,633,530,061.

As of now, there are more than 43,000 students taking advanced lessons at private schools. According to its advocates, little kids can easily visualize numbers on the soroban because unlike the computer or calculator, you have to watch the movement of the beads with your eyes, and then think with your brain and make a move with your fingers. This is believed as a very foundational learning process.

(Image: screenshot of clip by Chang W. Lee/The New York Times)


The Rock Musician Who Became a Missile Defense Expert

Some musicians play well into their 60s or even their 70s (looking at you, Jagger), and some drift into retirement and obscurity. But others re-invent themselves and enjoy second careers.

Take Jeff "Skunk" Baxter of Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers and Spirit, for example. The rock guitarist became a missile defense expert:

Baxter is also a guitar engineer with a keen eye for solving technical problems. In the 1980s, discussions with a neighbor who is a retired Pentagon engineer made him wonder whether existing high-tech military systems could be adapted for other purposes. This line of study led to a 1994 research paper on converting the United States’ Aegis anti-aircraft system to a missile defense system. 
His ideas were so impressive that he was suddenly drafted as a consultant to the Department of Defense. Baxter has since worked as a consultant with various government agencies and private companies on missile defense systems.

Read more about him as well as nine other musicians who went to develop very different second careers over at Considerable (an article by our very own Miss C!)

Image: Carl Lender/Wikipedia


How to Fight Slavery

Like Sun Tzu once said, know your enemy. And what better way for a human rights charity that called itself "Fight Against Slavery" to do its job than to, ahem, obtain first hand experience in handling slaves unpaid personal assistant.

In this ironic job listing from 2017 (which is most likely apocryphal), a newly minted charity purportedly tried to find a personal assistant with an unpaid internship position.

This reminds me of that joke: crimefighters fight crime, firefighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight?


Where Did The Traffic Go?

See if you can figure out where the motorcycles and cars go in this optical illusion of a video clip.

Maybe all those vehicles are going to Hogwarts at Bridge 9-3/4 ... or maybe it's not a bridge at all.


Stunning Apple and Snake Skeleton Glass Sculpture by Kiva Ford

This one is simply stunning: glassblower Kiva Ford created this intricate sculpture of a glass skeleton of a snake encircling a globe containing a glass apple.



What's The Craziest Thing A Guy Ever Did To Be With His Girlfriend?

Talk about grist for the mill!!!

O.K., i think we can all agree on one thing - when a man and woman fall in love, they will often do some pretty crazy things to be together. Something about being star-crossed lovers adds to the fun and romance of a couple. So, let's get back to our original question: "What's the craziest thing a guy ever did to be with his girlfriend?"

Horace Greasley was one of twins born on Christmas Day, 1918, in Leicestershire, England. Nicknamed "Jim" (you try and think up a nickname for "Horace"), as a 20-year-old, he was working as a young hairdresser in 1939.

It was then that Adolf Hitler and his Nazi buddies invaded Czechoslovakia. Jim was now eligible, by the "Military Training Act", to be called up for military service. Both Jim and his twin brother were conscripted in the first draft.

It turned out that cutting hair well doesn't translate into fighting Nazis because young Jim was almost immediately taken prisoner and sent to a p.o.w. camp in Poland.

Jim was soon transferred to a p.o.w. camp called Freiwaldau, an annex of the notorious Aushwitz. Most people in this situation would be too distracted by the abject horror of being a Nazi prisoner of war to be on the lookout for ladies.

But most people weren't Jim Greasley.

Continue reading


"Dad Guy": Fatherhood Parody of Billie Eilish's Hit Song "Bad Guy"

Billie Eilish's hit song "Bad Guy" has just hit number one on Billboard Hot 100, but hot on its heels is this: a parody song titled "Dad Guy" by YouTuber Funk Turkey who sings about fatherhood and all its glory.

Used to be a tough guy / Like it really rough guy
Just can’t get enough guy / Chest always so puffed guy 
Now I’m that dad type / Sunday mow the yard type
“Did you change your oil” type / Entire bag of chips type
I’m the Dad Guy

So, should you watch this clip of the "Dad Guy" song? We've only got one word for you: Duh.


Gundam Needs to Fill Up on Gas, Too

In the future, Mobile Suit Gundam is powered by a Minovsky-Ionesco nuclear reactor but this at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, it seems that it's still powered by fossil fuel.

Spotted by @Cbrown803


Batman and Catwoman in a Titanic & Ghost Mash Up by Jacob Chabot

Comic book artist Jacob Chabot tweeted his latest fantastic creations: Batman & Catwoman / Titanic and Ghost mash up artwork, just in time for San Diego Comic-Con 2019.

He sure drew 'em like one of his French girls ...

Clayface makes a surprise appearance in this Batman/Catwoman & Ghost (1990) mash-up.



Looks like Deadpool isn't content on breaking the fourth wall - he's dragging (heh) us through the San Diego Comic-Con 2019 in a unique fashion-style as well.

Dragpool AKA David Schoelen (@the_reel_guy) takes us through his creative process in creating the drag queen/Deadpool mash up in this SYFY WIRE interview:

Can you tell me the origin story of your take on Deadpool, aka Dragpool? How did you decide to design that look, and what went into it?
Dragpool has become one of my favorite characters to cosplay. I stay in that character all day (nine hours in heels!) and everyone from little kids to Marvel bros to goth nerds to grandmas seem to enjoy him.
I'd never dressed in drag before, but the elements of the character seemed to easily emerge, including crystal bullet earrings, rhinestoned glitter lips, and the 2-foot, red beehive wig! I've discovered a whole community of "Pools" — not only cosplayers who bring the comic and screen Deadpool to life, but others who also create their own fusion of the character. They're great folks who are always excited to see a new Pool!
I continue to develop the character — keep the balance of drag elements and Deadpool — trying to never tip the scale in a direction that destroys the mix. I see Dragpool like the Deadpool from the drag universe, just like the diverse Spider-Verse. All the Pools are connected, but each remains unique.

Image via @monkeyarcher_9


Superhero Donuts of the San Diego Comic-Con 2019

Too many of these awesome superhero donuts and you won't be able to fit in that cosplay costume!

From Chef Santiago Campa of the Donut Bar in downtown San Diego. Spotted by @sdlucifern

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Profile for Alex Santoso

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