Archive for Entirely Too Cool

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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Scraping by

And doing it well, one would think:

Custom Dental sign in Newcastle, Oklahoma

Newcastle is the city at the north end of McClain County, Oklahoma; it has about 10,000 people.

(From Dorkly via Miss Cellania. Originally I was going to set this piece to the Bee Gees’ “New York Mining Disaster 1941” — “Have you seen my ass, Dr. Jones? Do you know what it’s like on the inside?” Taste prevailed, kinda sorta.)

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How do they work, anyway?

We’ll presume you already understand farking magnetism, or at the very least can recognize it at a glance. Now comes the question: how do you ship a fair-sized (six inches across, weighing 6.5 kg) magnet without causing difficulty for other parcels being delivered in the same vehicle?

The answer, of course, is “Very carefully”:

Biggest magnet I have around the place sits under the subwoofer in the car, and I’m pretty sure it’s nowhere near that big, or it would have planted itself on the headliner by now.

(A @SwiftOnSecurity special.)

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Cultural artifact

There’s always going to be something to make me grin on the Architecture Tour. Often as not it’s something Trini says, inasmuch as she has a sense of humor warped in the same general directions as mine. But sometimes it’s something I see on a wall:

Come on, get happy

Somehow suitable for the 1920s, this is in fact a message from the 1970s. Then again, what does it say that I recognized it immediately?

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Protection without racket

After wearing them pretty consistently for 40 years or so, I think I (mostly) understand seat belts. And despite having never seen them deploy, I have a reasonable grip on the concept of air bags, four of which can be found in my current car. But some of the new safety gewgaws simply astonish me. Eric Tingwall, in the May ’16 Car and Driver, reveals a couple of options for the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class:

The optional Pre-Safe Impulse system adds radar units to the front corners of the car and inflatable bladders in the outboard bolsters of the front seats. It predicts an imminent side-impact collision, and inflates the bladders — without damaging the seats — two-tenths of a second before impact, pushing the occupant inward, away from the B-pillar and the intruding car.

Spiffy. But this goes beyond:

Pre-Safe Sound plays pink noise (it sounds like a TV that’s lost its signal) through the speakers to contract the stapedius muscles in your ears prior to a crash, reducing the risk of hearing damage during an accident. This is what a successful civilization looks like: fixes for problems you never even knew existed.

An E-Class with these goodies will likely cost around $60,000: base price, guesses C/D, will be $52k. Still, you know these things will gradually start showing up in cars within my budget.

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Someone planted a page in the score

Led Zep meets Ludwig Van:

Of course, the cello is a quintessential metal instrument — see, for instance, Apocalyptica — but it also works well on that classical-era stuff.

(Via Laughing Squid.)

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Future journalist

What am I saying? She’s already a journalist, and she’s already paid more dues than some of the pros in the business. Admittedly, her beginning was less than auspicious:

Hi. I’m Hilde Lysiak. I’m the publisher of the Orange Street News. I believe it is important to write this newspaper because I believe people need to know what is happening around Orange Street. I’m eight years old and love to play outside and also love holidays and birthdays. I hope you enjoy this issue of the Orange Street News and pick up the next issue.

But that was over a year ago. Last week:

A man is suspected of murdering his wife with a hammer at 9th Street in Selinsgrove, sources told the Orange Street News.

Law enforcement sources will not confirm.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” an officer told the Orange Street News.

Residents reported seeing a person taken out on a stretcher but were told by police not to talk to media.

“They told us we can’t talk about anything,” one neighbor told the Orange Street News.

The woman is a former Selinsgrove borough employee. Many neighbors remembered her fondly.

“This is terrible. Just terrible,” one neighbor told the OSN. “I can’t believe this happened. She was such a wonderful woman. Very kind.”

The suspected murdered was a retired school teacher at Selinsgrove and the victim also worked as branch manager at a local bank manager on Market Street, according to neighbors.

Amazingly, she caught some flak for reporting on this. She ably defended herself in the Guardian (yes, the actual Guardian):

Here’s what happened. On 2 April, there was a homicide in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. It took place just a few blocks from my house, where I run my newspaper.

I acted on a tip from a good source that I was able to get through some of my other reporting. After confirming with the police department, I then went straight to the scene and spoke to neighbors and got more information. I worked very hard.

Because of my work I was able to keep the people of Selinsgrove informed about this very important event hours before my competition even got to the scene.

In fact, some other news sites run by adults were reporting the wrong information or no information at all while the Orange Street News was at the scene doing the hard work to report the facts to the people.

Consider yourselves called out, haters.

Me, I’m now subscribing to the Orange Street News, because this sort of enterprise needs to be supported. (As Robert Stacy McCain would say: “Hit the freaking tip jar!”)

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The apocalypse is at hand

And apparently it’s going to be the left hand:

Some of these may be a little disquieting; some others may be more so.

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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Shazamination

Shazam is one of those smartphone apps that is supposed to be able to recognize an unknown song and tell you what it is. Saturday night — into Sunday morning, because that’s how dumb I am — I put it to work on my tablet.

And, of course, I tested it on stuff in my own collection first. Correctly identified on the first try:

On “Kaiser Bill’s,” the title was rendered in German, but that makes a certain amount of sense.

I did manage to stump Shazam on “Mr. Turnkey,” Zager and Evans’ followup to “In the Year 2525.”

And there’s one track it consistently misidentified, the unknown backing track from this video:

I got two different answers, one “Kompression” by Albion, one “Ethno Love” in the Vaffa Superstar Mix, for which I found no link. (Shazam did play a few seconds for me for comparison purposes.)

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A kinder, gentler hive mind

It could come from only one place in the universe:

Canadian Borg, eh?

Yes, I know, it’s a cultural stereotype. But it’s not really an unfavourable stereotype.

(Via the TREKYARDS group on Facebook.)

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Na, not really

The medical profession has long put the “odium” in “sodium.” I seldom add salt to anything, but I have a tendency to read while I eat, which detracts from the actual eating experience. So I’m probably not a candidate for this swell gadget, but I can think of lots of people who will be:

Japanese scientists are working on a solution in the form of a fork which is able to generate a salty taste by stimulating the tongue with electricity. The fork is being developed in Tokyo University’s Rekimoto Lab and is intended to allow those who must eat salt-free diets for their health to at least be able to enjoy the taste. It was trialled earlier in March as part of a project called “No Salt Restaurant” where a venue was offering a completely salt-free five course meal and proved to be a success.

The fork’s handle contains a rechargeable battery and electric circuit and when the user puts the fork into their mouth they simply have to press a button on the handle which applies a small electric charge to their tongue.

I suggest you not try it out on pizza.

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From the book of Romans Go Home

Monty Python’s Life of Brian turned out to be so gosh-darn amusing that several multitudes at the time, the time being 1979, assumed the film must be blasphemous, and some of them got actual form letters from Python, which closed this way:

We are aware that certain organizations have been circulating misinformation on these points and are sorry that you have been misled. We hope you will go see the film yourself and come to your own conclusions about its virtues and defects. In any case, we hope you find it funny.

This statement is not approved by the Judean People’s Front People’s Front of Judea.

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Someone remind me of this later

One of the reasons I continue to maintain this unauthorized autobiography, as it were, is that I don’t want all this stuff to be forgotten when I’m gone — or, perhaps worse, while I’m still here but unable to remember any of it. So this bit of news maybe lets me breathe a little better:

Researchers at MIT may have made an important breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease.

The school announced Wednesday that it may be possible to retrieve recent memories of Alzheimer’s patients that were thought to have been “lost” to the disease.

Neuroscientists reached that conclusion after extensive tests on mice that have been genetically modified to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms.

First, the Alzheimer’s mice were put in a chamber with normal mice and all received a foot shock. When the mice were put back in the chamber a few days later, only the normal mice demonstrated fear while the Alzheimer’s mice didn’t seem to remember the shock.

But when scientists shined light on the specific brain cells that encode the unsettling event, the Alzheimer’s mice immediately showed fear.

This approach has its limitations, mostly contained within the word “recent.” Still, it’s a beginning:

“It’s possible that in the future some technology will be developed to activate or inactivate cells deep inside the brain, like the hippocampus or entorhinal cortex, with more precision,” neuroscientist Susumu Tonegawa said.

And the prospect of inactivation? Are we on the verge of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?

Joel [Jim Carrey]: Is there any risk of brain damage?

Dr Mierzwiak [Tom Wilkinson]: Well, technically speaking, the operation is brain damage, but it’s on a par with a night of heavy drinking. Nothing you’ll miss.

Just a thought. Nothing more.

(Via Daily Pundit.)

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For certain values of “retro”

From The Seattle Times, yesterday:

Pizza perfectionist Brandon Pettit has done it again. Dino’s Tomato Pie opened just last week on the curve of Capitol Hill’s Olive Way, and it’s already a mob scene. Unlike Pettit and partner Molly Wizenberg’s revered, restrained Delancey in Ballard, Dino’s is also a scene fit for the mob: old-school, East Coast all the way, with pebbly-textured red plastic water glasses, booths with fake-marble Formica tables and a custom-carved oak bar back. (The figures on the latter are Bacchus and Venus, not Pettit and Wizenberg, though some might say, same difference.) Specialty cocktails include Long Island iced tea, and even the website is a retro eyesore/delight.

A word about that Web site: it says it’s best viewed with Netscape 4.72. Don’t have Netscape 4.72? There’s a download link. Which works.

With my own 20th anniversary coming up, I am sorely tempted to retrieve one of the yecchy designs that used to exist here, because retro.

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A Teutonic for the troops

Germans, at least, seem to respect their adversaries:

(Via Martin Spencer.)

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For best results, follow directions carefully

Now $59.95 might seem high for a fan, but it’s not just a fan you’re getting:

What? No, Linux doesn’t do this. I think.

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Kabong!

A latter-day guitar hero, and he didn’t have to play a note:

Yishay Montgomery, a 26-year-old street performer, was playing for money on Jaffa’s beachfront promenade when he came face to face with a terrorist on a stabbing spree. Without thinking twice, the young musician grabbed the first thing he had, his own acoustic guitar, and engaged the stabber.

“I just grabbed the neck of my guitar and rammed it into the guy’s face. It disoriented him a little, and he started to run away. I felt I had to end this incident and started chasing him down, hitting him with my guitar and yelling ‘terrorist, terrorist’ until security forces showed up,” Montgomery told Tazpit Press Service.

The incident occurred on Tuesday night, March 8, when a 22-year-old Israeli Arab from Qalqilya went on a lethal stabbing spree that claimed the life of a 29-year-old American tourist and ended with 11 wounded.

You may be absolutely certain I am not the only one who immediately thought of this:

Said Kevin Walsh: “Quick Draw [McGraw] spent more on guitars than Pete Townshend.”

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Venetians less blind

This is, I suppose, one of those things you don’t think about, that turns out to be important to someone else:

With its many arched bridges, Venice cannot claim to be among the world’s most wheelchair-friendly cities. But a pair of gondoliers is challenging that image.

A new private-public project, dubbed gondolas4all, on Friday unveiled the first access point for wheelchair users to board one of Venice’s storied black-lacquered gondolas.

It will take about six weeks to complete the logistics and train gondoliers in the use of the wheelchair lift. The patrons, I’m thinking, will happily wait a little longer:

Gondolier Alessandro Dalla Pieta said that over 20 years he had seen “people in wheelchairs dozens of times looking at us as if we were the last Coca-Cola in the desert. It tugged at my heart.”

As my own mobility declines, I can more easily see what they’ve been missing, and appreciate their plight.

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The shape of rooms to come

I have yet to see one of these in a hotel room, but I figure they’re bound to spread, at least at some of the price points I can handle:

This would almost, though not quite, make up for the absence of a desk.

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