Minnesotastan's Blog Posts

"Weed Dating"

The rural equivalent of "speed dating," this activity was developed to allow single people with at least a modicum of interest in gardening to meet others interested in outdoor activities.
The women were given a crash course in how to identify a weed versus a vegetable or fruit, and then instructed to pass that information along to the men, who rotated from each bed every three minutes.

Participating farms in Idaho, Vermont, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio also provide numbered mason jars into which persons too shy to speak can leave messages for potential partners.

Link.   Image: Jessie L. Bonner/AP

The UK's Most-Complained-About Advertisements of All Time

(YouTube link)

The Telegraph has a compliation of the ten advertisements (print and televised) which have generated the most complaints to the official watchdog.  The subject matter is generally predictable: misleading content, sex (contraception, abortion, nudity), violence, verbal and physical child abuse, religion, and climate change.

Oh, and also one about a cat being kicked by a blind person.

The advertisement which generated the most complaints, however, was a 2005 promotion for Kentucky Fried Chicken which featured people talking (singing) with their mouths full of food; this was viewed as encouraging bad manners among young persons.  Would you object to your children viewing this ad?  Is it more offensive than the other topics?

The other nine most-offensive ads are listed and embedded at the The Telegraph.



How to Car Camp in a Toyota Prius

Earlier this year, we posted a report of a camper conversion kit for the Prius, but it was a permanent alteration that cost USD $40,000.  Now a removable tent extension has been developed by Habitents.
Habitents doesn't use any poles and is able to roll up small enough to store in your glove compartment - also something you don't get with a regular tent. It basically hangs off your hatchback with a couple of simple tie-downs, so it sets up easily.

A photo at the Gizmag source shows a view of the interior; the price of USD$90 could be recouped by avoiding one night in a hotel or motel.  The manufacturers have a patent pending that would apply to other hatchback vehicles.


Lamprey Pie For The Queen's Jubilee

When Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Jubilee next week, one of the gifts she will receive is a lamprey pie.
The pie comes from Gloucester, a small city about 100 miles northwest of London. In a tradition dating to the Middle Ages, the city sent lamprey pies—which it considered a delicacy—to the monarch every Christmas and when kings or queens ascend to the throne. The lampreys usually come from the River Severn, a narrow, muddy waterway that passes through town.

The lampreys used for this year's celebration, however, will come from North America's Great Lakes region, since few are now available in the U.K. The image above (credit Gloucester City Council) shows lampreys; the pie, in the shape of Gloucester's cathedral, is still under construction.  Of note, an interesting legend has it that in 1135, King Henry I died after eating a surfeit of lampreys.


An Angel Using a Mobile Phone


St. John's Cathedral in the city of  ‘s-Hertogenbosch (colloquially known as Den Bosch) in the Netherlands is extensively decorated with statues of religious figures.  The cathedral dates to the sixteenth century, so it has had to undergo multiple restorations.  During the most recent restoration, sculptor Ton Mooy from Amersfoort was commissioned to create 25 angels.
Interestingly enough he also decided to create one modern angel. Although the cathedral's fathers rejected an angel with jet engines on the angel's back, they finally approved of an angel in jeans with a mobile phone... "The phone has just one button”, says the artist, “It dials directly to God."

Additional photo at the link.

Related:  Angel Wings Mobile Phone Stand.

Piano Concerto For Orchestra And Two (Small) Hands

YouTube link.

The pianist is Lise Linde Kronenberg, filmed on her first birthday.  It's not clear whether the piano music was overdubbed on a pre-existing melody, or whether the orchestral accompaniment was created specifically to harmonize with her extemporaneous creation, but the result is fascinating.  Try playing it for someone who can't see your monitor, and ask them what they think of this "nouveau" piano style.

And it has an LOL ending.

How To Move a Barn

(YouTube link)

It's quite easy, really.  You don't even need any heavy equipment.  In 1981 the Ostry family in Nebraska wanted to move their barn to higher ground.
Ostry’s son Mike showed his father some calculations. He had counted the individual boards and timbers in the barn and estimated that the barn weighed approximately 16,640 pounds. He also estimated that a steel grid needed to move the barn would add another 3,150 pounds, bringing the total weight to just under 10 tons.

The next step is to gather about 350 of your best friends and invite them to come lift your barn.  The video shows the result.


How Fast Does the Grim Reaper Walk ?

About two miles (three kilometers) per hour.  That's the conclusion of a group of researchers at the University of Sidney, who found that the walking speed of adults correlated inversely with their risk of death.
The Grim Reaper’s preferred walking speed is 0.82 m/s (2 miles (about 3 km) per hour) under working conditions. As none of the men in the study with walking speeds of 1.36 m/s (3 miles (about 5 km) per hour) or greater had contact with Death, this seems to be the Grim Reaper’s most likely maximum speed; for those wishing to avoid their allotted fate, this would be the advised walking speed.

Details of the methodology and analysis of the results are published in the British Medical Journal.  The authors note also that "the preferred walking speed of the Grim Reaper while collecting souls is relatively constant irrespective of people’s geographical location, sex, or ethnic background."

Link.  Image credit Belle Mellor.

Photography of Liquid Droplet Collisions

(YouTube link)

Collisions of liquid droplets create fluid sculptures that can be appreciated only when the action is captured by high-speed photography.  This video demonstrates how those photographs are created.  After the first droplet impacts the milk, it generates a Worthington jet, which in turn is impacted by a second droplet.

Link.  Previously on Neatorama: Markus Reugels's Water Drops.

Modern Santas Advise Children To Have Modest Expectations

The world's oldest and most famous school for Santa Clauses has modified its curriculum to adapt to the times.  In addition to teaching the Santas how to network using social media, they suggest advising children not to expect too many presents.
The result is a Christmas season in which Santas — including the 115 of them in this year’s graduating class of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School — must learn to swiftly size up families’ financial circumstances, gently scale back children’s Christmas gift requests and even how to answer the wish some say they have been hearing with more frequency — “Can you bring my parent a job?”

Santas here tell of children who appear on their laps with lists that include the latest, most expensive toys and their parents, standing off to the side, stealthily but imploringly shaking their heads no... Some children show up with elaborate printouts, cross-referenced spread sheets and clippings from catalogs. “I try to guide the children into not so unrealistic things, and I do tell them that Santa’s been cutting back too,” said Tom Ruperd, of Caro, Mich., who added that parents often silently signal their appreciation.

Additional details at the New York Times link.  And, in case you were wondering, "mall" Santas earn about $25-50 per hour.

Link.  Photo from the school's gallery.

Denver Airport Flash Mob

YouTube link.

Holiday travelers passing through Denver International Airport last week were treated to a selection of Swing classics by about 100 dancers from the non-profit organization Community-Minded Dance.  The performance had been coordinated by the airport's Art and Culture Program.

Canada's New Plastic Currency

YouTube link.

The Bank of Canada will begin issuing new, plastic, $100 bills.

In a statement, the Bank of Canada said that the new notes will last twice as long as paper money and will also be recycled, which makes them generally greener... There are also two transparent windows on the note -- one small one depicts a frosted maple leaf, the other extends the height of the bill, and has a copy of the portrait toward the top of the window, and an image of a building at the bottom. If you move the bill the colors of the building will change a lot, while the color changes on the portrait are more subtle.

The video highlights the relevant features , which were all created in an attempt to make the bills impossible to counterfeit.  The degree to which they will be foldable, stackable, washable etc. remains to be determined.


A Small Mystery Hidden In Five Postage Stamps

In 1993 the Royal Mail in Great Britain issued a set of five se-tenant stamps to honor the legendary fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.  The stamps depicted iconic scenes from The Reigate Squire, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Six Napoleons, The Greek Interpreter, and The Final Problem.

Hidden within the design of each stamp is a single letter; the five letters (D, E, L, O, and Y) can be anagrammed to form a relevant word other than "yodel."  The question is whether you can locate the five letters.  You will need good eyes, perhaps a magnifying glass, and a supersized image (available here - click twice).  Those who are curious, but too impatient to do the searching, can avoid the fun and skip to the solution.

The link has additional literary and philatelic information.


Cleaner "Destroys" Work Of Art - By Cleaning It

A cleaner working in a museum in Dortmund, Germany, has "destroyed" a valuable piece of art.
Entitled “When It Starts Dripping From The Ceilings” the piece comprised a tower of wooden slats with a plastic bowl at the bottom painted brown to give the impression of discolouration caused by water. The cleaner took the paint to be an actual stain and scrubbed the bowl till it looked new.

The piece of art (shown above) by Martin Klippenberger was valued by the museum at £690,000.

There may be some who would argue that the cleaning person didn't destroy a piece of art, but rather created a new art work (which might be entitled "It Has Stopped Dripping From the Ceilings.")

Relevant video:  "How To Distinguish Art from Trash."

Link.  Photo: EPA.

Superconductivity Is Very Cool

(YouTube link)

On the 100th anniversary of the discovery of superconductivity, researchers at Tel Aviv University demonstrate how a superconductor will float in a locked position above a magnetized track.
The puck of superconducting material is able to stay locked in the air above the magnets because one of the properties of superconductivity is that that it is impervious to magnetic fields. The puck repels the magnetic field with greater force than the pull of gravity so it hangs in mid air...

Via Physics Buzz.

Addendum:  The technology has now been applied to a skateboard.

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