Archive for Entirely Too Cool

This is acting

I wasn’t even close to imagining this:

I admit it, when I first heard about this casting, I imagined that the pony might look more like Maddie Ziegler. Apparently not.

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It’s weaponized!

With bacon, the question always is “What can’t it do?” See, for instance, this oh-so-British incident:

On her way to the market, an 86-year-old woman stopped by an ATM, according to the Greater Manchester Police’s Facebook page via Time, and when she started off home, she wasn’t alone. As she pushed her cart full of groceries out of the store, she was “challenged by an unknown female who grabbed her trolley and demanded the money she had withdrawn.” Instead of handing over the pounds, the elderly woman beat the thief with meat until her attacker ran away. Who knew bacon was so lethal?

[insert “meat beating” joke here]

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Compatibility ho!

Yes, of course, let’s do this:

And why not make 802.11 work with something that existed two decades before 802.11 itself?

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The Fortress is still Super

Between 1943 and 1946, 3,888 B-29 Superfortress aircraft were built. Two are now considered airworthy, including this big fellow:

B29 in 2016

At approximately 8:30 AM CDT on Sunday morning, the worldwide fleet of flyable B-29s doubled when Doc lifted off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas culminating a restoration project that began sixteen years ago at the factory where the airplane was built initially in 1944. Piloted by the Commemorative Air Force’s (CAF) Charlie Tillman and co-pilot David Oliver, Doc joined the CAF’s Fifi as the only two Superfortresses of the 3,888 produced between 1943 and 1946 which are airworthy. Doc returned to the air 60 years after its last flight in 1956 when it was ferried to China Lake in California, decommissioned and hauled into the desert where it was used as a target for Naval bomber training until 1987 when Cleveland, Ohio printing executive Tony Mazzolini discovered it, largely intact, acquired it and moved it to Wichita.

It was a short flight — about 15 minutes before the first warning light — but it’s nice to know that the old stuff still has the right stuff.

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Eventually you’ll see the light

From the “How is this possible?” files:

Researchers recently made the surprising discovery that a special class of materials called “hyperuniform materials” can be both dense and transparent. This work demonstrates a new way to control light and could lead to novel materials for many light-based applications including solar photovoltaics. These so-called “hyperuniform materials” can be made of plastic or glass that contains light-scattering particles spaced in a disordered, but not completely random, pattern.

In The Optical Society’s journal for high impact research, Optica, researchers led by Rémi Carminati, Institut Langevin, ESPCI Paris and CNRS, France, detail the transparency properties they discovered using computer simulations and outline a theory to explain the wavelengths of light for which hyperuniform materials appear transparent.

Glenn Reynolds caught on to this quickly:

I read a story when I was a kid about glass where the speed of light was measured in years per inch. Looking out a window, you saw what was on the other side of the glass years before.

Yep. Bob Shaw’s “Light of Other Days” (1966), eventually expanded into the novel Other Days, Other Eyes.

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Eye of beef

And the back eye at that. It’s just crazy enough to work:

Scientists have come up with a solution that will reduce the number of lions being shot by farmers in Africa – painting eyes on the butts of cows.

It sounds a little crazy, but early trials suggest that lions are less likely to attack livestock when they think they’re being watched — and less livestock attacks could help farmers and lions co-exist more peacefully.

The new technique is being tested by scientists from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia, after they noticed that lions tended to back off when their prey, such as impala, looked at them.

An early trial:

[I]n a small trial in Botswana last year…when the researchers stamped painted eyes onto a third of a herd of 62 cattle, and counted the returning cows over a 10-week period, no painted cows were killed by lions, while three unpainted cows were.

Should this show up in a Chick-fil-A ad — on second thought, never mind.

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Beat ya, kid

The following story has not yet made it to the pages of the Orange Street News:

Scholastic has acquired the worldwide rights to four books by 9-year-old Hilde Lysiak — to be co-written with her father, reporter Matthew Lysiak — and now the film/TV rights are being sold off. Lysiak, who rides around on her pink bike in search of stories, recently rose to fame for being the first reporter to break a story on a murder in her hometown in Pennsylvania. She scooped the local paper on it and, as a result, was awarded the Tribeca Disrupter Award at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Maybe she’ll have something to say about it later.

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Make yourself a meal

An idea by Roberta X takes root, and a tasty root it is:

There would probably be limits on second helpings, purely for logistical reasons.

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Sporting of them

From the days when people’s eyes didn’t bug out at the sight of an ordinary rifle:

Vintage ad for Colt AR-15 Sporter

Aimed at the “hunter, camper or collector.” Solid citizens, the lot of them.

(Via Jessica Alent.)

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Mine eyes grow moist

So what happens when you base a Japanese commercial on a song by a Canadian singer, a song which incidentally was my favorite song of 2015?

You get this spot for Moist Diane (!) shampoo:

They’ll never know unless you say so.

(Via Paper Magazine.)

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Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?

This European ad for the Dacia Duster is, um, killer:

Although there’s always the question of whether Freddie would have approved. But then, Mercury’s dead, and so is Freddie.

(Via The Truth About Cars.)

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And all that it entails

As the phrase goes, first you have to get their attention:

Project Mermaids was started in 2012 by celebrity fashion photographer Angelina Venturella and acclaimed underwater photographer Chiara Salomoni who share the same passion for photography and preserving the ocean. The goal of Project Mermaids is to bring awareness as to how precious the ocean and beaches are and to keep this beautiful environment healthy and clean. 50% of the proceeds are going to be addressed to the save our beach foundation.

To help raise awareness, Project Mermaids is capturing celebrities in mermaid form working with The Mertailor Eric from Florida, which is making and donating the tails for our models. The Foundation has gone viral with over 221,000 followers on Instagram and has continuous growing awareness of their efforts.

My attention was gotten Friday night, with the appearance on Instagram of actress Paris Berelc, top and tail intact:

Paris Berelc as a mermaid

Suddenly I feel I ought to reach out to Tom Hanks.

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Say yes to address

Spring 2015, on a practice at meh.com:

One’s order “number” is not a number at all, but three random words. Harder to fake, I’m guessing.

Last week, on trying to make addresses in Florence make sense:

“It has a unique address system with two number systems running side by side. Generally speaking, residences have a number in black or blue, while businesses have numbers in red (rosso in Italian), which is usually written with a little ‘r’ following the number.”

Amazingly, there is a point of convergence for these two situations, and it’s in Mongolia, where something remarkable is happening:

Mongolia will become a global pioneer next month, when its national post office starts referring to locations by a series of three-word phrases instead of house numbers and street names.

The new system is devised by a British startup called What3Words, which has assigned a three-word phrase to every point on the globe. The system is designed to solve the an often-ignored problem of 75% of the earth’s population, an estimated 4 billion people, who have no address for mailing purposes, making it difficult to open a bank account, get a delivery, or be reached in an emergency. In What3Words’ system, the idea is that a series of words is easier to remember than the strings of number that make up GPS coordinates. Each unique phrase corresponds to a specific 9-square-meter spot on the map.

For example, the White House, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, becomes sulk.held.raves; the Tokyo Tower is located at fans.helpless.collects; and the Stade de France is at reporter.smoked.received.

And nine square meters is pretty efficient at defining a point. Consider the palatial estate at Surlywood, which all by itself sprawls over a thousand square meters; I could theoretically have several different phrases for different parts of the house or the yard.

Some places around Oklahoma City on the What3Words system:

Kyle Singler used to play the modest onion flute in his spare time.

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Buying American

A legendary “assault weapon,” often imported into the States, might some day be manufactured here:

AK-47s may soon be made in the United States, as the U.S. government is looking for sources of the ubiquitous assault rifle within the American manufacturing base.

The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) announced in May it was conducting market research into making the Kalashnikov rifle on U.S. soil. In a notice placed on a federal opportunities website, SOCOM said it is soliciting manufacturers for the weapons or requesting proposals — which means it’s just looking, but not ready to buy.

The U.S. military does not regularly use AK-47s, but many of its allies and foreign partners rely on the weapon, along with similar arms developed by the Soviet-bloc.

“A U.S.-based source would be a good use of taxpayer funds, while also delivering the weapons our partners not only need to fight extremists, but also the ones they know how to use, know how to fix and have the supplies in their regions to maintain,” Lt. Cmdr. Matt Allen told the Tampa Bay Times Thursday.

The AK-47 is something less than a precision instrument: its 1940s Soviet design is the epitome of cheap and disposable. Probably explains why it’s still around after all these years.

(Via @Lee Harvey Griswold.)

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Future pejorative

“You … you frozen Elsa head!”

What? You say I should let it go?

(Via James Del Rey.)

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And oh, what heights we’ll hit

What we have here is “a story about a pair of flats that wanted to be a heel”:

Kind of heartwarming, or at least footwarming. There’s even a video on how it was done.

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And yet it stays

Quoted without comment, because it really doesn’t need one:

Didn’t say a word.

(Via Ute Gerhardt, who did say a few.)

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Next time don’t be so silly

And now, a can of silly string subjected to a hydraulic press:

Don’t try this at home, especially if you live in Southington, Connecticut.

(Via HelloGiggles.)

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No choke

If you’re choking on a chunk of food, this is where you want to be sitting:

The 96-year-old retired chest surgeon credited with developing the namesake Heimlich maneuver has used it to save a woman choking on food at his senior living center.

Dr. Henry Heimlich was in the dining room at the Deupree House in Cincinnati, where he lives, when an 87-year-old woman sitting next to him began choking Monday night.

The dining room maitre d’, Perry Gaines, told The Cincinnati Enquirer that Heimlich dislodged a piece of hamburger from the woman’s airway and she quickly recovered.

Heimlich said he was having dinner when he looked over at the woman sitting next to him and could see that her face was growing pink and she was obviously choking. He said he got up behind her and began the technique.

“As soon as I did the Heimlich maneuver, a piece of meat with a bone in it immediately popped out,” he said.

Rare company she’s in; very few people — two at the outside — can say that they’ve had the Heimlich manuever done on them by Heimlich himself. It’s probably even better than having Woz come by to clean up your MacBook.

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Neutral shift

Have you ever picked up a garment labeled “nude” and then put it back down, muttering “Yeah, right”?

It’s probably past time for this:

Advertisement for Naja nude undies

Naja have launched their “Nude for All” range, a collection including seven shades to suit women of all skin tones.

Naja CEO Catalina Girald first got the idea while watching the 2012 Olympics and seeing Gabby Douglas wearing “nude” coloured shoes that didn’t match her skin.

“I used to be a gymnast so I’m always sensitive to those things, and it was the first time that it dawned on me that the wrap didn’t exist in other colours,” she told Cosmopolitan.

They apparently will ship to the States, which is a good thing, considering how slow we’ve often been to adopt trends along these lines.

(Via @MoxieBeautiful.)

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Blink while it’s ink

Most people I’ve talked to on the subject [caution: small sample] expressed no regrets about their body art, and that’s fine. (I have occasionally been put off by it, but it’s not like anyone is required to do things for my benefit, and God help us if they were.) Still, if permament ink seems awfully, well, permanent, the answer may be on the way:

Temporary tattoo stickers are a bit of fun and you can even try out virtual tattoos now, but it’s not the same. A company started by New York University students thinks they can provide the perfect compromise: real ink tattoos that eventually fade.

Ephemeral Tattoos claim to have invented a new ink that makes tattoos easy to remove with a simple solution. Without the solution, our own bodies will get rid of the tattoo after a year. Tattoo ink uses large pigments that the body can’t dispose of. Ephemeral’s ink uses smaller pigments contained in a sphere of biomaterials that the body can break down over time.

Predicted main beneficiaries of this technology: people who have yet to find out why others are laughing at some string of Chinese characters.

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A sweet little car

Literally so, it would seem:

Now I wonder what a High Fructose Corn Syrup conveyance might look like. (Probably a slammed Civic with fart-can exhaust and a wing the size of a slab of drywall.)

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Na

Rather early in chem lab that first year, we were told to keep water away from metallic sodium, because the resulting reaction, which produces both free hydrogen and caustic sodium hydroxide, is, um, not something you want to see.

Well, of course we want to see it, ya numbskulls…

The only thing missing is “Here, hold my beer.”

Clearly calmer instruction methods are called for:

There should be no further questions.

(Via Fark.)

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Pointillist but never pointless

It took two years or so for Georges Seurat to paint Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte:

A Sunday on La Grand Jatte by Georges Seurat 1884

And it took about eight hours for Jane Labowitch, sitting in front of Seurat’s painting, to turn it into an Etch A Sketch drawing:

A Sunday on La Grand Jatte by Georges Seurat for Etch A Sketch by Jane Labowitch 2016

The device has only so much resolution, so she didn’t get every last square inch of it, but her editing points seem well chosen to me.

Oh, and she says she’s not going to shake this one — we all know what happens when you shake it — and I don’t blame her.

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Now that’s a destroyer

The very first of the Zumwalt-class destroyers is, duh, the USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), due to be commissioned in mid-September. It’s an impressive beast, to say the least:

USS Zumwalt stealth destroyer

The Zumwalt has stealth capabilities of a sort:

Although it’s huge, the Navy says this thing is surprisingly stealthy. Much of the ship is built on angles that help make it 50 times harder to spot on radar than an ordinary destroyer. “It has the radar cross-section of a fishing boat,” Chris Johnson, a spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command, told CNN last year.

Captain James A. Kirk, commander of the USS ZumwaltIt’s not exactly a Romulan cloaking device, but it will do for now. Certainly you’ll get no argument from Captain Kirk.

Wait, what?

Capt. James A. Kirk will be commander of the Navy’s new USS Zumwalt, the first of the DDG-1000 class of destroyers. It is longer, faster and carries state-of-the-art weapons that will allow it to destroy targets at more than 60 miles away, according to the Navy.

You can’t tell me this isn’t nominative determinism, once removed.

Elmo Zumwalt (1920-2000) was Chief of Naval Operations in the early 1970s, appointed by Richard M. Nixon; Admiral Zumwalt had previously served as Commander Naval Forces, Vietnam.

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Meanwhile on Orange Street

Last month, I extolled the manifest virtues of nine-year-old journalist Hilde Lysiak, editor/publisher of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania’s Orange Street News, and announced that I was going to take out an actual subscription — one year, $14.99 — to help support her effort. An issue, number 18, arrived this week, and it looks serious: eight pages, professionally printed and bearing a proper presorted postage inscription. (The mailing service is in Lewisburg, one county over.) Page 7 contains Community Announcements and about three-quarters of a page of actual advertising.

And there’s an editorial:

The front page story for the May issue of the Orange Street News is about how the vandal who has been terrorizing our community may have been caught. The police did a great job in catching the suspect and hopefully ending his reign of terror, but why did it take police so long to just give the suspect’s name to the media? […] The police in Selinsgrove need to remember that they work for the people. The people don’t work for the police.

Ms Lysiak appears to have been seriously ticked off.

Oh, and now she has a Wikipedia page, which reveals that despite her deep Pennsylvania roots, she was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York. Her dad used to work for the New York Daily News, and he “talks with Lysiak about her stories and occasionally helps tighten up a lede, but mostly leaves her in the driver’s seat.”

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The Enucleator

Sounds like a straight-to-video semi-thriller, doesn’t it?

Oh, it doesn’t? Well, never mind then.

One thousand dollars Canadian

Pinicola enucleator, the pine grosbeak, is a Very Big Finch, and this is a very high-value banknote, as seen in a Guardian article on, um, high-value banknotes. Says the caption to this picture:

A Canadian $1,000 dollar note (£499), issued in 1988. It stopped being printed in 2000, but despite requests to return them to banks, nearly 1m of them are still unaccounted for.

“It stopped being printed.” Imagine the cry of the grosbeak: “Stop printing me!” The actual story is more humdrum:

The Bank of Canada will no longer issue $1,000 bills as of this Friday [29 September 2000] in an effort to fight organized crime and money laundering.

The bill’s extinction was made official Monday after formal approval from the federal government. It was the final step in a February proposal by the the Finance Department, the central bank and the RCMP to get rid of the bills which are favoured by criminals.

Nicknamed “pinkies” for their reddish-purple hue, $1000 bills were an easy way for criminals to hide and carry their earnings.

Of course, you’re looking at the back of the bill: Queen Elizabeth is on the front.

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Mere “stick” seems inadequate

I mean, this sucker might be a full-fledged rod:

A long silhouette found wriggling on a mountain road in south China has proved to be the world’s longest insect, authorities said Thursday.

Zhao Li, with the Insect Museum of West China (IMWC) in Chengdu, found the 62.4-cm-long stick insect during a field inspection in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in 2014, breaking the record for length for all 807,625 insects discovered so far, according to the IMWC.

This is over two feet of six-legged bug.

(Okay, it’s technically not a bug.)

Zhao took the insect back to the IMWC, and it laid six eggs. After hatching, Zhao found the smallest of the young insects’ bodies measured at least 26 cm, almost twice the size of those at the Natural History Museum.

The insect has been named Phryganistria chinensis Zhao, and a thesis about it will be published soon.

(Via Fark.)

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Right across from the Sofa King

If this doesn’t actually exist, it should:

Radio announcers can practice this along with “She sells sea shells by the seashore.”

(Via Tabitha St. Germain.)

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Didn’t need this after all

From page A5 of yesterday’s Oklahoman:

Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan is giving campaign donors their money back.

The District 2 commissioner secured a third term earlier this month when the deadline passed without an opponent filing for the seat. Maughan says he returned $75,810.11 to 372 donors after deducting expenses.

Maughan had geared up for a challenge after others announced plans to run. Maughan says each donor got back about 79 percent of what they contributed.

I suppose the scary aspect of this is that it takes about a hundred grand to run for County Commissioner, at least in a county this size. (There are 77 counties in Oklahoma, each divided into three districts.)

Still, this is a far better return on investment than a donor normally gets without Actual Graft.

Maughan’s campaign Web site is still up, though it probably doesn’t cost a whole lot.

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