Shared posts

14 Feb 13:46

The most passive-aggressive wheelchair ramp in Britain

by Rob Beschizza

Photograph: Hemedia/Mark Sutherland

West Dunbartonshire council has had quite enough of listening to that woman complain about her assigned public housing being inaccessible to her disabled child. The Guardian:

Clare Lally, 33, spent two years campaigning for improved access for her daughter Katie, seven, who uses a wheelchair, after the council gave them a home at the top of three flights of stairs. But she was shocked at the solution, a £40,000 60-metre steel ramp which winds from the front door to the pavement.

They filled the entire yard with it!


14 Feb 06:21

Better Olympic Narratives

by David Malki !

stirring olympic narratives: • the athlete trained very hard • his/her country wants him/her to win • his/her family is very supportive

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

Like lots of you perhaps, I’m watching bits of the Olympics, and it’s interesting to watch how the same basic narratives are played over and over in an attempt to add drama to the sports. Fundamentally, the Olympics is about world-class athletes competing with one another, so of course they’re all going to be dedicated, and the pride of their country.


better olympic narratives • the last practitioner of a dying sport • in the olympics by mistake • possibly replaced by a bear in a costume

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

better olympic narratives • needs pure gold from medal to save dying spouse • in curling contest for immortal soul • skis are actually feet

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

better olympic narratives • actually snowboarding to save community center from developers • little white lie on first date has gone too far

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

better olympic narratives • back half of horse costume took a wrong turn • deep undercover narcotics agent • trying to outski her past

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

better olympic narratives • bionic sequined tutu has mind of its own • every 4 years we must cavort to thrill the icedemon • make-a-wish kid

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

@malki Traveled back in time to kill world leader but fell into sport due to missed date

— Recovering ninja kat (@Kouban) February 13, 2014

@malki here to save their homeworld from a crippling gold medal shortage

— Erik Peterson (@miniwombat) February 13, 2014

@malki Lost hunter accidentally wins biathlon. Training for Gymkata II: This Time It's In Snow? Actually a wizard just showing off.

— Jon Bergdoll (@jbergdoll) February 13, 2014

• country ceased to exist mid-ski jump à la Tom Hanks in The Terminal • presidentchancellorking of micronation must do every event himself

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

• elaborate costumed ruse to trap international gambling cartel • athlete switched minds with family dog • in olympics ironically

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

• wants to prove that a scientologist can also be a world-class snowboarder • family was killed by a metal target and now out for revenge

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

• v. precise fetish requires winning a bronze medal specifically • hates snow and wants to crush it • just wants to get on the wipeout reel

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

@malki Didn't realise where those stairs really went until it was too late…

— alison (@alisonborealis) February 13, 2014

@malki Elaborate spinoff of popular 1995 Sega Genesis game Izzy's Quest for Olympic Gold

— Jon Bergdoll (@jbergdoll) February 13, 2014

@malki Meant to sign up for Summer Games. Checked the wrong box.

— Erik Peterson (@miniwombat) February 13, 2014

@malki Ineffectual attempt to get divorced parents back together Chasing dream of starring in local furniture store commercial in ten years

— Jon Bergdoll (@jbergdoll) February 13, 2014

• need to collect all five colored rings to heal the planet • just love hearing accents • ruse to sell all this ski wax before it spoils

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

@malki Believes winning gold medal will lead to an audience with Zeus

— Recovering ninja kat (@Kouban) February 13, 2014

• wheaties box photographer who always wanted to take a selfie • there against wishes of every country • forgot NOT to be in the olympics

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

@malki ghost who needs to win 100 gold medals to get into heaven.

— Joe Hopkins (@Balthazarlove) February 13, 2014

@malki · Primary role on hockey team is enforcer, really just wants to dance · Speed skater is forced to maintain 55mph or bomb will go off

— Ned Keitt-Pride (@BigNed) February 13, 2014

@malki foolishly chose "dare" instead of much safer "truth" option

— Tim Willmott (@holterya) February 13, 2014

@malki blindly following guy who keeps getting into bobsleds

— James Webber (@james_t_webber) February 13, 2014

• making the best of speed-skate-shaped foot tumors • uncomfortable in clothes not emblazoned with national insignia and sports brand logos

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

• using biathlon as research for existential novel • splashed with paint while nude and mistaken for member of norwegian curling team

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

@malki Just prefers the temporary McDonalds in the olympic village

— Bryan Stoll (@BryanStoll) February 13, 2014

@malki Cryptozoologist, misheard name of event as "all imp pics"

— Emily (@erpurc) February 13, 2014

@malki Werewolf competing for either Gold or Bronze

— Emily (@erpurc) February 13, 2014

@malki •feverishly chasing ghost, later revealed to be a smudge on goggles •team of snowboard thieves pulling off heist of a lifetime

— Nate MacDonald (@lentilstew) February 13, 2014

@Malki Accidentally wandered into event while trying to figure out the source of that smell

— CSjostrand (@cjsjostrand) February 13, 2014

@malki Forgot to return rented ice skates and felt obligated to use them

— Josh Closs (@FiveIronFanatic) February 13, 2014

@malki Trying to avoid getting a "real job"

— Josh Closs (@FiveIronFanatic) February 13, 2014

@malki dying father made her promise to never enter the olympics; hates dying father.

— Andrew J. Plant (@AndrewJPlant) February 13, 2014

@malki Wrote now-forgotten MySpace password on back of one of the medals

— Josh Closs (@FiveIronFanatic) February 13, 2014

@malki Died overnight from hotel gas leak, being subtly paraded around by coaches Weekend at Bernie's style

— Slinkydoodle Rick (@RicksWriting) February 13, 2014

• just wants to have fun on the bobsled without all the pressure of the World Championships in Königssee

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

@malki communicating with spies via precise sequences of national anthems

— Emily (@erpurc) February 13, 2014

@malki Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award winner going for coveted "EGOTO"

— Andrew J. Plant (@AndrewJPlant) February 13, 2014

and the number 1 motivator for today's modern olympic athletes: breaking own ankles by hand just not that exciting anymore

— David Malki ! (@malki) February 13, 2014

@malki Final Boss fight with Putin being a close 2nd. Afterwards u unlock a new character and a recolor of your respective country's uniform

— Spencer Stevens (@KryloGrad) February 13, 2014

i like twitter, twitter can be fun

12 Feb 14:00

Of course you will believe what happens next.

by Jessica Hagy

renew your faith in humanity!

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08 Feb 06:25

Dreamed Up

by Greg Ross

In composing a state map of New York in the 1930s, the General Drafting Company wanted to be sure that competing mapmakers would not simply copy its work. So the company’s founder, Otto G. Lindberg, and his assistant, Ernest Alpers, scrambled their initials and placed the fictional town of Agloe at the intersection of two dirt roads in the Catskills north of Roscoe.

Several years later, they discovered Agloe on a Rand McNally map and confronted their competitor. But Rand was innocent: It had got the name from the county government, which had taken it from the Agloe General Store, which now occupied the intersection. The store had taken the name from a map by Esso, which had (apparently) copied it from Lindberg’s map. Agloe had somehow clambered from imagination into reality.

Similarly, in 2001 editors placed a fake word in the New Oxford American Dictionary as a trap for other lexicographers who might steal their material. Fittingly, the word was esquivalience, “the willful avoidance of one’s official responsibilities; the shirking of duties.”

Sure enough, the word turned up at (it’s since been taken down), citing Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary.

And as with Agloe, the invention has taken on a life of its own. NOAD editor Christine Lindberg, who coined esquivalience, told the Chicago Tribune that she finds herself using it regularly. “I especially like the critical, judgmental tone I can get out of it: ‘Those esquivalient little wretches.’ Sounds literate and nasty all in one breath. I like that.”

06 Feb 19:09

Here's a chicken wearing a prosthetic tail to walk like a dinosaur

by Ria Misra

Here's a chicken wearing a prosthetic tail to walk like a dinosaur

You already know about the evolutionary areas of overlap between dinosaurs and modern-day birds. Now one group of researchers is using those similarities for science, by attaching a prosthetic tail to a chicken to study how dinosaurs might have walked.



06 Feb 20:20

This cyborg mystery novel is what Intelligence could have been

by Lauren Davis

This cyborg mystery novel is what Intelligence could have been

One of the reasons Intelligence has fizzled is that it took a solid premise—a government agent with a chip in brain—and failed to do anything interesting with it. K.B. Spangler's novel Digital Divide, on the other hand, takes the idea of cyborg agents and runs with it in a tale of murder and anti-cyborg prejudice.



08 Feb 16:30

A squirrel attempts to hide a nut in the fur of a Bernese mountain dog

by Robert T. Gonzalez

A squirrel attempts to hide a nut in the fur of a Bernese mountain dog

This one does exactly what it says on the tin, folks. And yes, it is the best thing.



06 Feb 23:00

Weird true facts that sound false

by Cory Doctorow

A great and endlessly entertaining Reddit thread asks for weird facts that sound made up, but aren't, like "The Ottoman Empire still existed the last time the Cubs won the World Series" and "When you get a kidney transplant, they usually just leave your original kidneys in your body and put the 3rd kidney in your pelvis." And:

The United States in World War 2 created a bomb that used bats. The bats would be carrying small incendiary charges and would be released from the bomb in mid air, causing them to fly and scatter to different buildings in the area. The charges would then detonate and set all the buildings on fire. It was tested and proven to be very effective.

Russia is bigger than Pluto. (Surface area of Pluto: 16.7x10^6 km^2; Surface area of Russia: 17.1x10^6 km^2)

If you melted down the Eiffel Tower, the pool of iron would be less than 3 inches deep (in a square area the same dimensions as the tower base).

John Tyler, who became president in 1841, has 2 living grandchildren.

Mammoths were alive when the Great Pyramid was being built.

If an atom was the size of our solar system, a neutrino would be the size of a golfball, to scale.

Humans share 50% of their DNA with... bananas.

What's the most bullshit-sounding-but-true fact you know? : AskReddit (via Kottke)


07 Feb 20:32

How to turn a chicken into a dinosaur

by Mark Frauenfelder

"This is an animated gif of a chicken wearing a prosthetic tail to counterbalance its weight and make it walk like a dinosaur."


08 Feb 14:00

Scalzi's Redshirts coming to TV

by Cory Doctorow

I am entirely uncertain about how I feel about this...

John Scalzi's Hugo-winning, existentialist comedy space opera novel Redshirts is being adapted into a TV series by FX -- it's a natural! This is just wonderful news -- intelligent, funny science fiction from a novelist who plays with the tropes of the field, it's just what TV needs. Congrats, John!

Here's my review of Redshirts: "Redshirts both realizes and transcends its premise, and is at once a tribute to, and a piss-take on, the best and worst that space opera has to offer. It's the sort of thing that science fiction is especially good at, and the sort of thing for which Scalzi is justifiably loved."

Redshirts TV Series FXEXCLUSIVE: John Scalzi’s 2012 comedic sci-fi novel Redshirts is headed to the small screen. FX has teamed with veteran feature producer Jon Shestack (Dan In Real Life) and producer-director Ken Kwapis (Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants) and his partner Alexandra Beattie to develop a limited series based on the book, which won the 2013 Hugo Award. Search is underway for writers to pen the adaption, with Kwapis set to direct the opening episode. He, Shestack and Beattie executive produce.

FX Adapting Sci-Fi Novel ‘Redshirts’ As Limited Series [Nellie Andreeva/Deadline]



03 Feb 20:08

And a few residents of Middle Earth.

by Jessica Hagy


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03 Feb 19:22

Scientists Feed Peanut Butter to Jellyfish, Make PB and Jellyfish

by Robert T. Gonzalez

Scientists Feed Peanut Butter to Jellyfish, Make PB and Jellyfish

Researchers at the Children's Aquarium at Fair Park in Dallas, TX were curious what would happen if they fed their jellyfish a mix of seawater and peanut butter. Why? Well... two reasons, really.



02 Feb 19:39

Tapir taper

by toni

tapir taper


The heat is back and so am I!

* Awesome edit * Tapir taper is available on all sorts of products at Redbubble!

02 Feb 03:00

Canada's weirdly recursive geography

by Cory Doctorow

Mrmcd sez, "Contained within the borders of Canada are: the world's largest island in a lake on an island; the world's largest island in a lake on an island in a lake; and the world's largest island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island.


01 Feb 19:00

Med school students assigned to improve most-used medical Wikipedia entries

by Cory Doctorow

Dr. Amin Azzam who teaches at the UCSF school of medicine, has created an elective for his fourth year students in which they are assigned to improve the most-used medical Wikipedia entries. Students are given Wikipedia orientation and taught how to be good participants in the project. This is especially relevant given the fact that Wikipedia is the most-used reference among doctors and medical students. The students prioritize the most-cited, most-visited entries, and they are working with wikipedians to have these entries translated into many other languages, as well as adapting it for the "simple English" version of Wikipedia.

The pilot run, he said, was a great success. Five students (believe it or not, that’s a lot of students for a fourth-year elective in medical school, according to Azzam), after being oriented to the structure and editing process of the site, spent their month targeting articles that required improvement: the most read and those with the greatest potential health impact. They put their medical knowledge—after all, Azzam said, the students were less than six months away from being doctors—to good use. Most of Wikipedia is surprisingly accurate, Azzam said, because it uses the “wisdom of the crowd” to vet information. But medical pages have catching up to do. “Medical professionals haven’t been editing Wikipedia,” he said. “In fact, we were told not to go near it.” This anti-crowdsourcing bias has kept doctors from contributing to the site’s accuracy until now, Azzam said. But current students are more open to the value of editing the articles. +

America’s future doctors are starting their careers by saving Wikipedia [Rachel Feltman/Quartz]

30 Jan 18:38

Keep calm & carry on repressing your emotions (if you have them).

by Jessica Hagy

Why the British scare me.

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27 Jan 00:00


Stay warm, little flappers, and find lots of plant eggs!
23 Jan 21:09

Rufous elephant shrew (Hidden Kingdoms - BBC)

Rufous elephant shrew (Hidden Kingdoms - BBC)

21 Jan 14:10

Fore-Edge Paintings

by Greg Ross

Some of your old books may contain hidden artworks: Beginning in the 17th century, a book’s binder would sometimes paint a watercolor scene on the edge of the book’s page stack. If the pages were then gilded, the image might remain hidden for years until the pages were fanned.

Sometimes two different images are hidden in the same book, revealed successively when the pages are fanned “up” and “down.” In rare cases paintings are hidden not just on the book’s fore edge but on the top and bottom as well, offering a panoramic view of the painting’s subject.

18 Jan 21:42

Fiordland National Park, New Zealand (Nathan Kaso)

Fiordland National Park, New Zealand (Nathan Kaso)

08 Jan 00:00


I hate when people take photos of their meal instead of eating it, because there's nothing I love more than the sound of other people chewing.
25 Dec 02:27

Happy Holidays 2013

23 Dec 06:51


by Greg Ross

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.” — G.K. Chesterton

18 Dec 14:00

In Space, No One Can Hear Your Puns

In Space, No One Can Hear Your Puns

Submitted by: Unknown

Tagged: moon , puns , astronaut , space
10 Dec 15:33


by toni


04 Dec 01:45

Rewriting sensationalist headlines for mathematical correctness

by Cory Doctorow

Math With Bad Drawing's "Headlines from a Mathematically Literate World" is a rather good -- and awfully funny -- compendium of comparisons between attention-grabbing, math-abusing headlines, and their math-literate equivalents.

Our World: After Switch in Standardized Tests, Scores Drop
Mathematically Literate World: After Switch in Standardized Tests, Scores No Longer Directly Comparable

Our World: Proposal Would Tax $250,000-Earners at 40%
Mathematically Literate World: Proposal Would Tax $250,000-Earners’ Very Last Dollar, and That Dollar Alone, at 40%

Our World: Still No Scientific Consensus on Global Warming
Mathematically Literate World: Still 90% Scientific Consensus on Global Warming

Our World: Hollywood Breaks Box Office Records with Explosions, Rising Stars
Mathematically Literate World: Hollywood Breaks Box Office Records with Inflation, Rising Population

Our World: Illegal Downloaders Would Have Spent $300 Million to Obtain Same Music Legally
Mathematically Literate World: Illegal Downloaders Would Never Have Bothered to Obtain Same Music Legally

Headlines from a Mathematically Literate World


26 Nov 16:55

Turn your home into the Death Star with these amazing wall tiles

by Meredith Woerner

Turn your home into the Death Star with these amazing wall tiles

Turn any surface of your home into the cavernous surface of the Death Star thanks to these custom-made Star Wars tiles. What a brilliant idea!



21 Nov 03:03

Because is a new, Internet-driven preposition, because grammar

by Cory Doctorow

The English language has a new preposition, driven by Internet conventions: "Because." It's not clear where this originates, but I like the theory that's it's a contraction of "$SOMETHING is $MESSED_UP, because, hey, politics!"

However it originated, though, the usage of "because-noun" (and of "because-adjective" and "because-gerund") is one of those distinctly of-the-Internet, by-the-Internet movements of language. It conveys focus (linguist Gretchen McCulloch: "It means something like 'I'm so busy being totally absorbed by X that I don’t need to explain further, and you should know about this because it's a completely valid incredibly important thing to be doing'"). It conveys brevity (Carey: "It has a snappy, jocular feel, with a syntactic jolt that allows long explanations to be forgone").

But it also conveys a certain universality. When I say, for example, "The talks broke down because politics," I'm not just describing a circumstance. I'm also describing a category. I'm making grand and yet ironized claims, announcing a situation and commenting on that situation at the same time. I'm offering an explanation and rolling my eyes—and I'm able to do it with one little word. Because variety. Because Internet. Because language. 

English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet [Megan Garber/The Atlantic]

(via Making Light)


12 Nov 00:24

Dino workout

by toni

dino workout

06 Nov 21:49

Male northern elephant seal (Supergiant Animals - BBC)

Male northern elephant seal (Supergiant Animals - BBC)