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26 Jul 03:14

Soak up the sun next to this lovely green Volkswagen T3 Westfalia camper van

by Andrew

Back in 2011, LEGO introduced the 10220 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van to its line of Creator vehicles (followed more recently by the lovely 10252 Volkswagen Beetle). Both these official sets are at a larger scale than LEGO’s own Miniland scale, which is the scale that TBB’s own Ralph Savelsberg frequently builds his cars and trucks in. Ralph’s latest vehicle is VW’s T3 Westfalia camper van, complete with a pop-up top for extra head room when you head inside after a long day of drinking cold beverages from a cooler while sitting in your lawn chair.

Volkswagen T3 Westfalia camper van

Ralph makes extensive use of hinged connections and 1×1 “cheese” slopes attached sideways to achieve subtle angles throughout the model, from the section below the windscreen to the shape of the van’s body underneath the sliding door. Naturally, the interior upholstery is a lovely checked pattern of orange and tan.

Volkswagen T3 Westfalia camper van

The post Soak up the sun next to this lovely green Volkswagen T3 Westfalia camper van appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

24 Jul 23:00

Fried eggs – the greatest thing since sliced bread

by Jonathan

If you’ve ever tried to create stop-motion animation using LEGO bricks before, you’ll know it takes a lot of effort. Before you check out the latest YouTube video by BrickBrosProductions (no relation to The Brothers Brick), take a moment to appreciate that it took three days and 1,500 pictures to film their 2-minute animation!

Inspired by PESfilm’s stop-motion animations, “Lego In Real Life” is a really cool short film about a boy with a LEGO Movie T-Shirt making his breakfast using LEGO-built ingredients, and the result is fantastic. Keep an eye out for the minifig fridge magnet, the bread turning into toast, and my personal favorite, the butter melting into liquid and bubbling in the frying pan.

The post Fried eggs – the greatest thing since sliced bread appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

24 Jul 11:57

All aboard the Kintetsu Railway at Hyōtan-yama Station in Osaka

by Andrew

There’s a strong possibility that I’ll be traveling to Japan for work later this year, and I’ve spent the last couple of evenings revisiting childhood haunts via Google Maps and looking at rail connections to get from one end of the country to the other. This train station by Japanese builder Kaz Fuji was thus quite timely as I plan potential rail travel to places like Kyoto and Nara.


Hyōtan-yama Station is on the Nara Line between Osaka and the ancient capitol, which predates both feudal Kyoto and modern-day Tokyo. This overhead shot showcases the interesting curves Kaz has built into the station structure.


In addition to a sleek 50000 series express train in blue and white, Kaz has included the 30000-series EMU (electric multiple unit) in lovely orange, reminiscent of the former livery of subway cars on the Ginza Line in Tokyo.


The post All aboard the Kintetsu Railway at Hyōtan-yama Station in Osaka appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

23 Jul 20:44

Eco-friendly living in the green house

by Elspeth De Montes

They say a house is not a home without a cat, but despite being a cat-lover I would say that a house is not a home without an awesome home gym and fully equipped kitchen. I would be very happy to move into this eco-friendly sustainable Green House by Swedish builder Sarah. Extending from the rock-face, this house makes full use of the sun’s power with solar panels and lots of windows for light. The central column has a nice colour combination to tone in with the surrounding natural environment.

Green Rock House MOC exterior V

There are some clever techniques used in the construction. For example, I love the panels that surround the balcony made by slotting panes of glass into lever bases.

Green House MOC close-up exterior II

In addition, the interior is beautifully furnished, all ready for me to move in. There’s a gym with weights and pull-up bar, modern kitchen, bedroom and sitting room plus a lounger for relaxing in during those warm summer afternoons.

Green Rock House MOC gym

Green House MOC kitchen interior close-up II


The post Eco-friendly living in the green house appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

23 Jul 20:44

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - A New Method


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I guess I'd better not tell him about my collection of uncountably infinite rocks.

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23 Jul 10:10

Russell's Teapot

Unfortunately, NASA regulations state that Bertrand Russell-related payloads can only be launched within launch vehicles which do not launch themselves.
23 Jul 08:59

mymodernmet:Creative Mom Dresses Up in Amazing Cosplay to...

20 Jul 03:53

Our thoughts on Doctor Who. 

Our thoughts on Doctor Who. 

20 Jul 03:41

If you dig a hole through the earth...

by Minnesotastan'll end up in China. I remember hearing that as a child. Ignoring for a moment the problem of the magma and the gravitational conundrums one would encounter at the center, it's still untrue. I remember fiddling with a globe and discovering that I would end up somewhere in the middle of the south Indian Ocean.

As an adult I revisited this question and discovered that for most of the people on earth, the antipodes were in an ocean. It's a curious aspect of world geography - most of the large land masses are in the northern hemisphere, with more oceans in the south. And much of the land masses in the south are opposite northern oceans - Africa corresponds to the northern Pacific, and the Aussies would be in the middle of the Atlantic. It must be pure coincidence, though a nagging thought makes one wonder whether there could be a plate tectonic explanation for this.

Now you can explore this on your own. There's a website called Antipodes Map - draggable and zoomable in true Google Map fashion. Click on your location and it shows you what is on the opposite side of the earth.

The Wikipedia entry on the antipodes provides (as expected) an excellent discussion and some relevant composite maps.

Reposted from 2008 (!) to update the links and add this composite map, via Digg.

19 Jul 21:49

Wifi vs Cellular

According to the cable company reps who keep calling me, it's because I haven't upgraded to the XTREME GIGABAND PANAMAX FLAVOR-BLASTED PRO PACKAGE WITH HBO, which is only $5 more per month for the first 6 months and five billion dollars per month after that.
17 Jul 04:31

Face, Meet Palm

by Jen











Thanks to Ellen K., Kathryn E., Julie V., Louise H., Alexander O., Jessica D., and Lauren H. for today's self-confidence booster.


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16 Jul 00:01

Rocketing up to a new home in the sky

by Elspeth De Montes

There’s definitely a creepy feel to this microscale LEGO scene — it seems that a little extraterrestrial tourism has led to a sudden drop in the population, as if something untoward has left a rather full looking graveyard on the ground and a large ‘not of this world’ city in the sky. Kale Frost has left the exact history of events to our own imaginations, but the title “After the Martians Came” suggests a post-apocalyptic exodus from Earth. I love the use of the stud shooter trigger for the headstones in the graveyard, and Rocket Boy’s rocket outfit gives a nice retro 1960s film feel to the scene.

After the Martians Came

A closer look at the ground shows that a surprising number of parts have been utilised to make this microscale scene. The street lamp is cute and the damage to the streets is another sign that all is not well in town.

Graveyards and rockets

The post Rocketing up to a new home in the sky appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

13 Jul 21:14

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Espresso


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Best suggestion for another point will receive 12 Internet Points.

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12 Jul 22:27

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Dear God


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Later, God starts to wonder if he can trust his own self-perception.

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11 Jul 21:40

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - It Doesn't Look Good


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His socks and sandals are, on the other hand, exquisite.

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11 Jul 01:43

Elevator buttons

by Minnesotastan

There may be a perfectly valid logical reason for the ordering of these elevator buttons; several suggestions are offered in the CrappyDesign subreddit.

Image cropped for size from the original.
11 Jul 00:44

A turtle with a "Corvette body"

by Minnesotastan
"Several years ago, a client brought me a box turtle that had been hit by a car. I used fiberglass to repair his broken shell and then released him in my woods. Recently, while walking on my hillside, I spotted an odd pattern in the leaves. To my amazement, there was my old patient with the fiberglass still on... years later! Sometimes, being a vet is the best thing there is."
From the Facebook page of the Hocking Hills Animal Center, via Bored Panda.

Addendum: There is relevant information re repairing turtle shells in this discussion thread.
10 Jul 21:39


If you draw a diagonal line from lower left to upper right, that's the ICP 'Miracles' axis.
10 Jul 21:37

High Court Vomits Truth in Frozen-Guru Case

by Kevin

Big news out of India: the High Court has finally reached a decision in the case of His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Ji Maharaj (The GuardianBBC).

Not that the case was especially time-sensitive, because, as you may recall, His Holiness has been frozen solid since 2014.

Ashutosh was the leader of a religious group until January 2014, when—depending on who you ask—he either died or got really serious about meditating. See Court to Decide Whether Guru Is Dead or Just ‘In Deep Meditation” (May 29, 2014). Either way, his physical form was deteriorating, so his followers changed the locus of meditation to a large commercial freezer unit. Later that year, a court held that he was, in fact, dead, and that his son should be allowed to have him cremated. That order was stayed pending appeal, which has been pending for years. See Frozen Guru Update” (Jan. 5, 2015); “Frozen Guru Update II” (June 18, 2015); “Frozen Guru Update III” (Sept. 7, 2016); andFrozen Guru Update IV” (Apr. 3, 2017).

On July 5, the appeals court held in favor of the guru’s followers.

As you may also recall, figuring out what an Indian court is saying can be nearly impossible. See, e.g., Luxuriate in the Octopoid Embrace of These Legal Postulations” (Feb. 15, 2017). The order here isn’t that octopoid, but still requires decryption. The lower court’s summary of the issues, at least, was relatively clear:

This Court has been called upon to adjudicate … whether the belief and practice of the followers of spiritual personality Shri Ashutosh Ji Maharaj that he has been in the state of “Samadhi” despite having been declared clinically dead, would constitute an essential and integral part of religion for claiming the protection under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India. Dalip Kumar Jha, petitioner, has approached this Court for enforcement of his religious belief that being son of the above said Godman, he has got to dispose of the body as per the religious rituals.

So both sides invoked freedom of religion. In societies that care about that kind of thing, disputes like these can be very difficult. Courts are not supposed to take sides or rule on whether a religious belief is “true,” and they usually try hard to avoid that, even when the group in question is Scientology, for example, the core beliefs of which are hilariously false. There is also a general principle, at least here in the U.S., that courts should avoid deciding constitutional issues if possible. And that’s what should have happened here.

That’s because Mr. Jha has yet to come up with any solid evidence that he is actually the son of the above said Godman. Fortunately or not, you can’t just go around having random people set on fire. And the State is supporting the status quo, at least for now, so if Jha doesn’t have standing, it sounds like nobody does. But the High Court decided it wanted to write more words:

There is indeed a tempting argument [it conceded] that once the learned Single Judge concluded that Dalip Kumar Jha … had no locus [standing], there was an occasion for the Court to give a quietus to the controversy…. Tempting it may be, but we are of the opinion that the learned Single Judge was right in seizing the moment when constitutional issues of practices, personal beliefs and the shield of Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution were raised….

Again, if nobody has a locus, a court really should be quietus. This court’s refusal to do that makes the opinion about 40 pages longer than it needs to be, but of course I have mixed feelings about that. Because having decided to go on, the court then said some ridiculous things.

First, it criticized the lower court for finding that Ashutosh was dead. “[S]uch facts need more scientific inputs,” the court wrote, “than an examination of a body in post-mortem or autopsy can alone determine….” Really? I think most would agree that even if a guy isn’t dead before the autopsy, he’s pretty much dead afterwards. Here the guru had been declared clinically dead, autopsied, and then frozen solid for almost a year (at that time), so I personally would have been comfortable taking judicial notice of his deadness. But let us not be too hasty, says the High Court.

Its real concern, though, is the constitution’s protection for freedom of conscience and religion, similar to our First Amendment. This is important stuff. Indeed, the court says, Article 25 “is the most fragrant in the bouquet of fundamental rights.” (I will pay $100 $1 to the first lawyer to send proof he or she filed a brief describing the First Amendment that way.) Is samadhi fragrant enough to be protected? Here’s some of what the court says about that:

It is known to be the “Final Initiation” also termed as “ascension” where the practitioner abandons the physical body to achieve an elevated stage…. There would be examples where … practitioners … would [enter] this state albeit for a limited period and while being in Samadhi would offer no symptoms that the medical practitioner [would] acknowledge as essential to life.

The Court does not wish to be seen as an advocate or an adherent to the concept of Samadhi to propagate its acceptability. Suffice it to say that the concept and belief of Samadhi in fact, does form an essential part of mythology and religion around which a large part of Hindu/Indian philosophy revolves. One cannot therefore, accuse the [followers] of harboring or practising a belief which is shockingly deviant from the generally accepted societal beliefs or as seemingly absurd to a rational mind.

Well, there are plenty of not-shockingly-deviant beliefs out there that are still “absurd to a rational mind.” I guess what the court is doing here is asking whether the asserted religious belief is “sincerely held” (as a U.S. court would say). The answer to that is surely yes, at least where samadhi is concerned. But again, here we have a guy who has been in a freezer for three years, not just really quiet for “a limited period.” And the court admits that enfreezement is not a “core belief” even of this particular sect:

It is also to be understood that preservation of a body is not the core belief of the … followers of the Maharaj, who live and die as ordinary mortals, with their bodies being disposed of in the customary Indian way. Their belief is in the word of their spiritual Guru that he has taken Samadhi and is in a state of ‘ascension’ and equanimity, but the Guru intends to return to live in the same body for which preservation is essential. Destruction of the body will render this course impossible…. Their belief stems from their unshakeable and unimpeachable faith in their Guru which is foundational…. The outside world in turn would never learn about the truth of Maharaj’s proclamation of being in Samadhi unless someone from the [group] vomits truth to the contrary.

Hold up—what was that last part?

I think the court is trying to say that, since Jha doesn’t have standing, whether the Guru is “meditating” or “dead” is something only the followers have the right to determine. We wouldn’t even know they were wrong unless one of them were to admit it by “vomiting the truth.” But again, I think we have enough facts to make a call there. In short, if there were anyone with standing, I don’t think it would violate freedom of religion to hold that the freezing part—not the concept of samadhi itself—isn’t something entitled to protection. But if nobody has standing, the courts should just butt out.

Ultimately, that’s what the court does anyway, by saying it won’t get involved unless the legislature passes a relevant law, or something else changes:

The courts would thus be wary of wading into the correctness of beliefs and decline an invitation to a circus if they do not wish to drown themselves in the vastness and boundlessness of a sea of speculation unless there is a law or a statute which permits them such evaluation….

We thus find ourselves in a piquant situation where in the absence of any law or obligation flowing therefrom, to give any directions to dispose of the body even if one were to venture considering to do so, without impinging on the belief of the [followers] and violating the provisions of Article 25 of the Constitution of India.

Arguably, the court should have stopped writing well before this last sentence, which isn’t a sentence, and also I don’t think “piquant” is the word they want there. But again, I will cut these judges some slack because of this sentence, on page 40:

We would hence decline to invade the sacred territory of personal beliefs and faiths and disagree with the learned Single Judge and his mandate to dispose of the body unless there is cogent material to show its degeneration or the issue snowballs into one of public health, order or morality.

Snowballs! I think there is some hope for the Indian judiciary after all.

Is this the end of the matter? Of course not. Both sides will appeal, which means there will one day be an absolutely splendid and probably baffling opinion by the Indian Supreme Court. In the meantime, though, the court has ordered that Mr. Jha get the opportunity for DNA testing, and if that proves his claim, then I think this case comes out differently. So, ironically, it may be science that ultimately vomits forth the truth in this matter.

10 Jul 21:23

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Advanced


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If I had a PhD in humanities, by God I would wear a labcoat and goggles all day long.

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09 Jul 23:38

Sunday Sweets: Robots Rock

by john (the hubby of Jen)

Here's a little known fact: Nothing makes Jen as happy as adorable robots.*

(*Except our cat Lily. And Disney. And chocolate cake. Okay, so a lot of things make Jen happy.)

So this week, I thought we'd look at adorable robot cakes. Because I love my wife. And because she picked the cakes. And then said, "GO WRITE SWEETS."


Oh look! Here's an adorable robot cake now:

(By Yummies)

Love the primary colors. And I don't know about you, but I like figuring out how some of these support structures work. For instance, the balloon - which I assume is NOT filled with helium, and is actually edible - must weigh quite a bit, but it's only held up by that little string. How cool is that?


Here's one in Jen's favorite colors:

(By Way Beyond Cakes)

Love that it's balancing on one wheel. Jen and I made a full sized Claptrap from Borderlands once, and easily the hardest part was getting him to stand on one wheel. (I'm not saying we failed, buuuut... it does make a lot of noise when he falls over. O.o)


Now for something vintage:

(By Paul Bradford Sugarcraft School, inspired by GinnyPenny's plush robots.)

Did they put a just put a corset on a robot? Yes. Yes they did.


(By Sweet Disposition Cakes)

D'awww, Wall-E looks so sad. He must have just watched any Pixar film ever. (I firmly believe there is a task force at Pixar with the sole purpose of making you weep uncontrollably during all of their films.)


This one is deceptively simple...

(By Couture Cupcakes)

But look how perfect that piping is! I would be terrified piping blue icing on clean, white fondant.


And check out the airbrushing on this one:

(By Michael Almeida)

I love how they captured its little robot emotions. I like to think it just escaped from a lab somewhere after gaining a soul, and now it's discovering the beauty of nature for the very first time.

Or it's thinking about soup. Definitely one of the two.


This next one is channeling the little green aliens from Toy Story:

(By Sweet Disposition Cakes)


 [Update: According to the comments, he's actually from a show called Team Umizoomi. So... no claw?]


And this groovy 'bot looks like it's wearing headphones:

(By The Violet Cake Shop)

Plus more Jen-approved colors. Excellent.

Totally unrelated but kinda related, when I first started dating Jen 18 years ago we discovered we both used to love rollerskating to Don't Stop The Rock as kids. If you don't know it, it's a song sung by a robot, so yeah, this tangent is totally related.


And finally, my favorite cake of the week:

(By Roses & Bows Cakery)

Because it makes me happy just looking at it. Wow.

And in case you really want to have a catchy robot song stuck in your head all day:

  Don't stop the rock OR the robots - and have a great Sunday!


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07 Jul 21:32

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Neoliberal


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Oh please oh please don't let anyone take this as for or against any position.

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06 Jul 21:40

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Honest Discussion


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The neat part is how everyone reading this will assume it's a judgment on someone else.

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01 Jul 01:51

Emoji Movie

Some other studio should do the Antz/A Bug's Life thing and release The Dingbats Movie at the same time.
01 Jul 01:35

To be frank, it’s a nice house

by Peter

Chris Eyerly has built an excellent model of the Laurent House, a lesser-known work by Frank Lloyd Wright, built in 1951 for Kenneth and Phyllis Laurent. Chris has used some unorthodox techniques to capture the flowing curves of the house, particularly “brick bending”, in which many 1×2 plates are connected to form a wall, then the wall is bent into a curve, taking advantage of the tiny gaps between each piece.

Laurent 5

It can be challenging to capture curves with a system based on squares, much less integrate the curves with the square sections without ugly gaps between the bricks, but Chris has done a perfect job here, all while staying true to the original design.

Laurent 2

The post To be frank, it’s a nice house appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

01 Jul 01:33

Canadian Animals

by Robot Hugs

New comic!

UPDATE: more informed readers have pointed out that not all these creatures are Canadian, which is unfortunate! Teaches me for using wikipedia. Sorry for the misinformation. However, I’m fairly confident that my actual renderings of the creatures are not incorrect.

I am like 98% sure this is accurate so teachers, please feel free to print this out to use in ecology class. You’re welcome.


29 Jun 23:55

You can't argue with this

by Minnesotastan

See here if explanation needed. 

Via the Miss Cellania humor blog.

Image cropped for size and emphasis.
23 Jun 21:49

Refresh Types

The hardest refresh requires both a Mac keyboard and a Windows keyboard as a security measure, like how missile launch systems require two keys to be turned at once.
21 Jun 21:30

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - A Reason


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And the further back in time we go, the shittier it gets!

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21 Jun 10:03

Hey, listen!

by Jennifer

You there! Stop smashing those clay pots. Stop riling up those cuccos. Stop everything and check out this breathtaking LEGO creation by Jonas Kramm. Even if you don’t spend your weekends taming wild horses and searching for spirit orbs, you still have to admit that Kramm’s rendition of Impa’s House from Breath of the Wild is pretty amazing.

Impa's House

Kramm says it took him a month and 10,000 LEGO pieces to recreate the Sheikah character’s home. And the end result is instantly recognizable. The color palette, roof shaping, rockwork, and all the tiny details are spot on. The building has a fully-built interior and custom Link and Impa minifigs. There are even a couple of apples out front that you can pick up on your way through the village. After all, you never know when you might need to refuel.

Impa's House - Interior

The post Hey, listen! appeared first on The Brothers Brick.