Shared posts

29 Jun 02:13

50' chain of beads leaps and cavorts its way out of a jar

by Cory Doctorow

Steve Mould, Britain's Brightest's "science guy," showed that if you put coil a 50' chain of magnets in a jar and then casually toss out one end, the whole chain goes berzerk leaps and cavorts like an innocent colt on crystal meth, defying gravity and gravitas. In this video, Earth Unplugged gets Steve to explain what's really happening.

Amazing bead chain experiment in slow motion - Slo Mo #19 - Earth Unplugged (via IO9)


31 May 16:41

Apple's next connector?

A couple of years ago, Apple computers started appearing with a “Thunderbolt” interface to connect to monitors and disks. Some time after that, new iPhones appeared with a smaller connector called “Lightning”. Should we thus conclude that Apple’s next connector will be called “Very, Very Frightening”?

30 May 15:58

Shambling Towards Affordability: May 2013

by Rich Toscano

With recent robust price increases has come a resurgence of talk about a bubble.  Whether a given investment is in a bubble or not may depend on many factors, but in my mind, the most important of these is valuations.  If valuations (properly measured) do not show the asset to be extremely overvalued, then you probably aren't dealing with a bubble.  This is not to say the asset can't go down in price -- not at all.  It's just to say that it's not a proper "bubble."

So what are valuations telling us about the state of the San Diego housing market right now?  Let's have a look at the two most important ratios that have guided us through this boom and bust: the home price to income ratio, and the home price to rent ratio.  These ratios compare home prices with two real-world fundamental underpinnings: how much potential home buyers earn, and how much it costs to rent (put another way, how much it costs to not buy).  Over time they have tended to "mean revert" around a middle of the road value which we can roughly say represents the fair value for San Diego housing.

Let's start with the price-to-income ratio:

read more

29 May 23:38

“The Man With the Golden Arm”

by Greg Ross

When James Harrison had chest surgery at age 13, he resolved to begin donating blood to help others in need. When he did so, doctors realized that he carries a rare immune globulin that can prevent unborn babies from suffering attacks by their mothers’ antibodies, a condition known as Rhesus disease.

In the 59 years since this was discovered, Harrison has given blood more than 1,000 times, an average of once every three weeks for five decades, and his donations have saved an estimated 2.4 million babies.

This has earned Harrison a spot in Guinness World Records. He calls this “the only record that I hope is broken.”

19 May 03:09

Short Subjects

by Greg Ross

When PLAFSEP magazine asked its readers to nominate the silliest library subject heading, the hands-down winner was BUTTOCKS (IN RELIGION, FOLK-LORE, ETC.). Other highlights, gathered by columnist John R. Likins:


That’s from Likins’ article “Subject Headings, Silly, American–20th Century–Complications and Sequelae–Addresses, Essays, Lectures,” in Technical Services Quarterly, vol. 2, no. 1/2, Fall/Winter 1984, using data from the Library of Congress and Cataloging in Publication. In The Library at Night (2006), Alberto Manguel gives these:

Banana research
Bat binding
Boots and shoes in art
Chickens in religion and folklore
Sewage: collected works
Sex: cause and determination
Tic: see also toc

And the Whole Library Handbook (1991) offers these, collected by the Library of Congress Professional Association:

Adult children
Beehives; see Bee–Housing
Diving for men
Drug abuse — Programmed instruction
Feet in the Bible
Hand — Surgery — Juvenile literature
Lord’s Supper — Reservation
Low German wit and humor
Monotone operators
Running races in rabbinical literature
Standing on one foot; see One-leg resting position
Stupidity; see Inefficiency, Intellectual

I think some of these may now be out of date, but there’s certainly no shortage of curious headings — in doing research for this site I recently ran across “Raccoon — Biography.”

14 May 23:25

#937; The Tramp Stamp of Advertising

by David Malki !

Just tell us this...What is the simplest thing we can do to both: justify our jobs, AND pawn off responsibility for all decision-making

14 May 18:53

Grandson explains reddit-restored, 60-y-o navy portrait to amazed Grandad

by Cory Doctorow

Stephen sez, "I recently helped set my grandad get set up on his new PC and spotted a photo of him from when he was about 20 years old. It was in a sorry state, so I emailed it to myself and posted it on Reddit, where the community came together and restored it beyond its original state! It was amazing what they did, and so I printed off everyone's contributions and framed my favourite. I then got my girlfriend to record the moment I gave my Grandad, so that I could share it with the people who did the work! The result is a funny, yet heart-warming video."

Reddit and I give my 87yo Grandad a wonderful gift! (Thanks, Stephen!)


06 May 05:23

Huge head found floating in Hudson River

by David Pescovitz
NewImage Did you lose your head? The crew team of Pouhkeepsie, New York's Marist College spotted this seven foot sculpture floating in the Hudson River last week. The men's crew head coach described the scene as "something out of a post-apocalyptic movie.” They dragged it to shore but nobody has called to claim it. (Poughkeepsie Journal)

06 May 04:55

Just look at this whirling maglev banana.

by Cory Doctorow

Just look at it.

Mag Lev Banana (Thanks, Philip!)


29 Apr 16:44

Is It Worth the Time?

Don't forget the time you spend finding the chart to look up what you save. And the time spent reading this reminder about the time spent. And the time trying to figure out if either of those actually make sense. Remember, every second counts toward your life total, including these right now.
24 Apr 23:52


by Greg Ross

“What is patriotism but the love of the good things we ate in our childhood?” — Lin Yutang

15 Apr 15:52

Rendered stack of rubbery penile noodloids, falling

by Cory Doctorow
Jon Bristow

Oh penile noodleoids. Never stop.

Logitech4873 spent 62 hours rendering an interlocking, Jenga-like stack of tumbling, penile, rubbery thinngums falling in slow motion: "The reason for the excessively long rendertime was the use of high quality indirect lighting, SSS materials (Sub-Surface Scattering) and the high quality of the motion blur."

I'm so sorry (via JWZ)


15 Apr 15:48

Abuse of Power

by Greg Ross

One hot summer day in 1904, Speaker of the House Joe Cannon of Illinois visited the House dining room and asked for a bowl of bean soup. He was told that, in view of the sultry weather, it had been omitted from the menu.

“Thunderation!” Cannon roared. “I had my mouth set for bean soup! From now on, hot or cold, rain, snow, or shine, I want it on the menu every day.”

And so it has been, ever since. The recipe was published on the menu in 1955:

2 lb. No. 1 white Michigan beans.
Cover with water and soak overnight.
Drain and re-cover with water.
Add a smoked ham hock and simmer slowly for about 4 hours until beans are cooked tender. Then add salt and pepper to suit taste.
Just before serving, bruise beans with large spoon ladle, enough to cloud. (Serves about six persons)