Formula One World Champion Jackie Stewart wearing an early helmet camera to capture on-board footage, 1966.
The Excel subreddit exploded earlier this week when redditor [AyrA_ch] shared his custom spreadsheet that allowed him to play video files on a locked-down work computer. How locked down? With no access to Windows Media Player and IE7 as the only browser (all plugins disabled, no HTML5), Excel became the unlikely hero to cure a 3-hour boredom stint.
Behind the cascade of rectangles and in the land of the Excel macro, [AyrA_ch] took advantage of the program’s VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) functions to circumvent the computer’s restrictions. Although VBA typically serves the more-complex-than-usual macro, it can also invoke some Windows API commands, one of which calls Windows Media Player. The Excel file includes a working playlist and some rudimentary controls: play, pause, stop, etc. as well as an inspired pie chart countdown timer.
As clever as this hack is, the best feature is much more subtle: tricking in-house big brother. [AyrA_ch]‘s computer ran an application to monitor process usage, but any videos played through the spreadsheet were attributed to Excel, ensuring the process usage stayed on target. You can download it for yourself over on GitHub.
Wow. Downey is finally evolving? A few years ago somebody was going to put a supermarket in that building called "Fiesta Mart" -- the city made them change the name to "Fresh Mart" (because old white farts). It never did open...
DOWNEY aS' Vallarta Supermarkets will open a grocery store at the mostly-abandoned Beach's Market property on the southwest corner of Imperial Highway and Paramount Boulevard. Councilman Mario Guerra made the announcement at a town hall meeting he hosted Wednesday night at the Barbara J. Riley Community and Senior Center.
In the art museums of Russia, women sit in the galleries and guard the collections. When you look at the paintings and sculptures, the presence of the women becomes an inherent part of viewing the artwork itself. I found the guards as intriguing to observe as the pieces they watch over. In conversation they told me how much they like being among Russia’s great art. A woman in Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery Museum said she often returns there on her day off to sit in front of a painting that reminds her of her childhood home. Another guard travels three hours each day to work, since at home she would just sit on her porch and complain about her illnesses, “as old women do.” She would rather be at the museum enjoying the people watching, surrounded by the history of her country.
1. Stroganov Palace, Russian State Museum
2.Matisse Still Life, Hermitage Museum
3.Konchalovsky’s Family Portrait, State Tretyakov Gallery
4. Veronese’s Adoration of the Shepherds, Hermitage Museum
5. Rublev and Daniil’s The Deesis Tier, State Tretyakov Gallery
6. Michelangelo’s Moses and the Dying Slave, Pushkin Museum
7.Malevich’s Self Portrait, Russian State Museum
8. Nesterov’s Blessed St Sergius of Radonezh, Russian State Museum
9. Petrov-Vodkin’s Bathing of a Red Horse, State Tretyakov Gallery
10. Kugach’s Before the Dance, State Tretyakov Gallery
At least they are the same color... I had two pairs of shoes that were exactly alike except one was brown and one pair black -- of course wore brown/black at least once. Also did it with a pair of black shoes that weren't even really alike... Not a morning person
I'm just 1 year old on Saturn...
Good thing the BBC was keeping count: my heart has beaten 2 billion times in my lifetime. It also tells me I’ve just turned 30 on Mars.
Check out all the information the BBC has about you.
It’s been almost ten years since I was first in touch with Claire, the talented author of the pioneering natural foods blog Clea Cuisine, and over time we’ve built a simple and sincere friendship that means a lot to me.
Clea is one of those rare persons who radiate with confidence and serenity, as if the turmoil of the outside world and its latest trends left them unfazed, so busy they are following their own path, guided by their own taste. These qualities have earned her a crowd of loyal and engaged readers whose food lives she has often changed, as one of the very first in France to write about agar agar, rice flour, and almond butter.
And so when she suggested a culinary exchange between our respective blogs, I accepted without a moment’s hesitation: the idea was for each of us to pick three recipes on the other’s blog, combine them vigorously in a shaker, and come up with a new recipe inspired by the mélange.
The opportunity to dive into one another’s archives was not the least of the associated perks, and I personally chose her Cream of carrot with white miso and ginger, her Chocolate and ginger pudding with agar agar, and her Ultimate lemon tart.
Initially, I decided to make a lemon tart flavored with ginger and white miso — you can read more about using white miso in desserts. But my preliminary tests did not convince me that white miso had its place in this recipe, so I shelved the idea and opted instead to make lemon ginger tartlets, which delighted all who had the chance to sample them.
The pairing of lemon and ginger no longer has to prove itself, and all I had to do was add finely grated fresh ginger to Clea’s lemon curd recipe. I share her taste for a very tangy lemon tart — i.e. not very sweet — and to me the formula below achieves the perfect balance. This vividly flavorful lemon ginger curd could also be prepared for its own sake, to spread on a pretty brioche, pimp your yogurt, garnish crêpes, or dip a spoon in (I won’t tell).
For the crust, I chose to follow the recipe for pâte sucrée that pastry chef Jacques Genin uses and shares in his little book Le Meilleur de la tarte au citron (The best of lemon tarts). It is very easy to make and lovely to handle, and it forms a delicate and crisp tart shell in perfect contrast to the unctuous curd.
And to see the idea that my own archives sparked for Claire, head over to her post (in French) on Pasta with almond-zucchini gremolata and roasted onions.
Do you know people like Clea who inspire you with their poise and taste? And how do you like your lemon tarts — tangy? sweet? with a layer of meringue on top?
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours, 30 minutes
Makes six 10- to 12-cm (4- to 4 3/4-inch) tartlets.
All I want is education, and I am afraid of no one.
The Soviet Flying Tank —- The Antonov KT-40
During World War II paratroopers were ideal for conducting harassing attacks behind enemy lines and capturing key positions at the beginning of a military campaign. However paratroopers can only bring into battle what they carry on their backs. Thus, paratroopers are typically short on heavy equipment, important things like heavy machine guns, artillery, vehicles, and tanks. To solve this problem, the Soviet Antonov Bureau designed the KT-40 in 1940.
The KT-40, nicknamed the “flying tank”, consisted of a T-60 light tank outfitted with a pair of wooden fabric wings. It was planned that the flying tanks would be towed into the air by larger aircraft, then release when they reached their drop zone. Once released the tank would glide to its destination, hopefully landing safely with its treads acting as landing gear. The wooden wings would then be removed so that the tank could roll on into battle.
Only one KT-40 prototype was produced in 1942 and tested. The KT-40 didn’t exactly fly gracefully as drag and weight cause the engines of the tow plane to quickly overheat. The KT-40 was released early but landed safely, being piloted by the Soviet tank driver Sergei Anokin. The KT-40 design was considered a failure and scrapped as there was no plane in the Soviet Union powerful enough tow the 6 ton tank. Attempts were made to lighten the tank by stripping it of armor and weapons, but this would have made it too vulnerable to German guns.
Webcomic artist Zach Weinersmith fuels ‘Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal’ with grad student humor and almost half of a physics degree.
Zach Weinersmith, creator of popular webcomic “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal,” doesn’t know all the things you think he knows—but he’s working on it.
Reading certain SMBC comics, you could be forgiven for assuming Weinersmith (his married name) possesses a deep knowledge of math, biology, psychology, mythology, philosophy, economics or physics—even if that knowledge is used in service of a not-so-academic punch line.
In reality the artist behind the brainy comic simply loves to read. “I think I’m a very slow learner,” Weinersmith says. “I just work twice as hard.”
Around 2007, before SMBC took off, Weinersmith was working in Hollywood, producing closed captioning for television programs. He was taken with a sudden desire to understand how DNA works, so he bought a stack of textbooks and started researching in his spare time.
“Before that, my comic was straight comedy,” he says. He began to inject some of what he was learning into his writing. It was a relief, he found. “It’s much harder to make funny jokes than it is to talk about things.”
That year, SMBC was recognized at the Web Cartoonists’ Choice Awards and became popular enough for Weinersmith to quit his job and write full time. But he started to get bored.
“Imagine being 25 and self-employed,” he says.
What better way to cure boredom than to pursue a degree in physics? He took a few semesters of classes at San Jose State until he realized he was stretching himself too thin.
“I have three-eighths of a physics degree,” he says, which is probably perfect. “If you say three things about a topic, people assume you know the rest of it.
“I really think there’s this sweet spot. Right when I’m learning something, I have all these hilarious ideas. Once you’re a wizened gray-beard, nothing works.”
That hasn’t soured Weinersmith on scholarship. Last year he hosted his first live event, the Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses, in which he invites speakers to compete to give the best serious argument for a completely ridiculous idea. It was inspired by a comic arguing the evolutionary benefits of aerodynamic babies.
Weinersmith runs the festival with a panel of judges and his wife, biologist Kelly Weinersmith, whose trials and tribulations in academia inspire much of his writing.
The appeal of BAHFest can be hard to explain, he says. “People see the video [of last year’s event] and say, ‘What the hell is the audience laughing about? That was barely a joke.’”
The key, he says, is to get rid of the jokes entirely. “It’s not stand-up; it’s play-acting,” he says. “Let this thing you’re doing be the joke.”
BAHFest will take place October 19 at MIT in Boston and October 25 at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.
Ultimate freak. I love Kathy -- I have several of her chapbooks and recordings. She was sucked in by woo and abandoned conventional treatment for her breast cancer and left us way too soon.
Speaking of icons being people … here’s an odd piece of memory to add to the mix. Way back in 1997, I was enlisted as the lighting person for a performance of the Kathy Acker-Mekons operetta Pussy, King of the Pirates, an adaptation of Acker’s novel Pussy, King of the Pirates, at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Then, just two months before her death, Acker was very frail. The Mekons were very rowdy. Throughout the weekend the whole thing teetered on the verge of implosion, held together only by wheatgrass juice (Acker) and whiskey (Mekons).
It was my first up-close encounter with either and I remember being so confused! The Mekons were a six?—eight? twelve?—person ball of howling chaos; Acker was thin and reserved, clearly gravely ill but silent on just with what, and saving her every energy for the moment when, perched on a stool onstage, she would did down deep into her abdomen and declaim: “THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD COME DOWN AND BREAK, THE MOON EQUALS CRACKS IN MY CUNT.”
The show was a filthy, glorious mess of disco-dancing lesbian pirates and rickety plywood props, and I was totally besotted with it, and with her. To me, in that moment, in her wracked body, Kathy Acker became an icon off the page as well as on. After she died that November, I went through a ravenous stretch, revisiting work of hers I had barely understood on first reading, and somewhere in there came across the three-part essay “The Gift of Disease,” published earlier that year in the Guardian. I read it like a sacred text, in which Acker-the-icon offered up her humanity on a spit. This rare thing disappeared from the internet for years, but when I went looking for it recently, I was overjoyed to find it had been republished last year in both English and Spanish by the blog Outward from Nothingness:
The MCA show was—sadly? wisely?—not documented, but I did find this hilariously terrible video snippet from another performance online. And if you’re in Chicago, next month, by a strange coincidence, two Mekons are back at the MCA, this time doing David Bowie.