Archive for Entirely Too Cool

Emotions definitely under control

The occasion is sad, but I still wish I’d come up with this:

(Via Twisted Spinster.)

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Measure for measure

On one level, I absolutely adore this:

Then again, my sight-reading is already questionable without the presence of, um, distractions.

(Via pianist Wayne McEvilly, who wouldn’t have such problems. I think.)

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This being Derpy Day

I’m not entirely sure how the first of March became Derpy Day, though Know Your Meme says it was this way:

March 1st has become known as the “Derpy Day” due to a group started on Facebook. It can be celebrated by:

  • Eating muffins
  • Wearing gray
  • Making derpy eyes in mirrors and photos
  • Delivering letter by hand

Or any combination thereof:

Derpy Hooves Logistics by SukiStar

(The original by SukiStar on deviant Art.)

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One of the cooler jobs

A tour of duty in Antarctica today isn’t quite the death-defying adventure it was in Sir Ernest Shackleton’s day, but it’s hardly a sinecure either:

It is freezing, smelly, and you may be gone some time. Applicants to run the world’s most southerly post office have been warned about the harsh realities of the life they would endure in the Antarctic.

The successful candidates will spend five months on Goudier, an island “the size of a football pitch” just off the Antarctic peninsula, sorting the mail at Port Lockroy, a former British scientific base.

There is little danger of being savaged by a stray dog while handling the mail, but the post office workers must be able to “dodge” the island’s colony of 2,000 penguins.

For £1,100 a month, they will be expected to dig out snow, keep smiling in temperatures that dip below 5F (-15C), and go for a month without taking a shower, as there is no running water.

One takes a job like this, I suspect, to amaze the grandchildren thirty-odd years later. The image of the Antarctic appears on the television; you shrug and say “Been there.” The kids will be either utterly awed or completely dismissive, and if the latter, the generation in between will be all “No, really, he was.” (Or else, right?)

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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Double whammy at least

“I don’t like spiders and snakes,” said the girl in Jim Stafford’s 1974 hit, “and that ain’t what it takes to love me.” I suspect she’d be even less impressed by a snake with its very own spider, kinda sorta:

In western Iran there lives an endangered snake that preys on birds and carries its own lure at the end of its tail. The Spider-tailed Horned Viper (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides) has an appendage that looks just like a spider. The rest of its body is camouflage colored, particularly the thin end of its tail leading to the “spider.”

And better yet, it acts like a spider [warning: 1.5MB animated GIF], enabling the snake to attract its prey, birds who see spiders and think “Lunchtime!”

It does not, however, attract girls, so far as I can tell.

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Spot on

We’ve put up enough bizarre TV-news captioning errors over the years to make us wonder if anyone even bothered to get the darn things correct anymore.

Assuming the guest’s name is right, the BBC evidently does:

Doesn’t have that deer-in-the-headlights look that you see on so many TV interviews, either.

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Sentimetal

STFU necklace by Wendy BrandesThis week being, well, the week it is, I am keeping a lower profile than usual — not that I want to discourage any potential girlfriends, of which there are exactly none on the horizon — but simply because one popular topic this time of year is the difficulty of communication between the sexes, a discussion I would just as soon avoid. I am delighted, therefore, to note that seriously stylish jewelry designer Wendy Brandes is offering this silver necklace which conveys a straightforward message without any possibility of misinterpretation, at least if everyone involved speaks English.

Also available: “GTFOH”; “IDGAF”; “SRSLY?”; and many others.

(Via Nancy Friedman.)

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The Weather Patrol reports in

Record heat yesterday: seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit, 2° warmer than the old record, set in 1999. (Then again, it’s February; only last Thursday it dropped into the teens and barely made it above 40 that afternoon.) I got outside and trimmed a holly. Meanwhile, Michael Eberharter went to Quail Springs Mall, specifically to Candyopolis:

Rainbow Dash for Candyopolis

Can’t argue with that, Dashie.

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It goes with your milk-white complexion

Mascara made from Oreo cookies:

She has also made eyeliner from M&Ms.

(Via Finestkind Clinic and fish market.)

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Quatre-vingt

A Monopoly set in France contains €20,580. (This is consistent with the US version, which as of 2008 contains $20,580, thirty of each denomination.) However, this being the 80th anniversary of Monopoly in France, Hasbro has decided to drop actual euros into 80 boxes:

Only one set will land the major jackpot, in which every game note is replaced by real money — for a total windfall of 20,580 euros ($23,268).

In addition, 10 sets will contain five real 20-euro notes, two 50-euro notes and one 100-euro note.

A lesser prize can be scooped in 69 sets, which will have five 10-euro notes and five 20-euro notes.

Oh, that “as of 2008″ reference? Before that, the standard American set contained $15,140, or about sixty quadrillion old-style Zimbabwean dollars.

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How many roads must a man walk down?

If he has to walk several hours a day to and from work, you may assume rather a lot of them. And he’s been doing it for for more than ten years [warning: autostart video]:

The story of a Detroit man who has been walking 21 miles a day to get to and from work for over a decade inspired a Michigan college student to launch an online campaign to buy him a car. Thanks to the generosity of strangers, the campaign has raised more than $60,000 in a day.

Since buses don’t cover the entire 23-mile route, 56-year-old James Robertson spends nearly all of his free time during the week commuting to his $10.55 an hour factory job in Rochester Hills. According to the Detroit Free Press, which published a front-page story about him Sunday, Robertson begins his trek at 8 a.m. to catch buses that take him to a Troy, Mich., mall before he walks 7 miles to Schain Mold & Engineering, where he begins his 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. shift. And according to his boss, Robertson has a perfect attendance record.

And after work, it’s more of the same, and the operative word is “more”:

His commute home takes even longer. Leaving work after 10 p.m., Robertson walks the 7 miles back to the mall, where he catches the last bus of the day, just before 1 a.m., taking it as far as it goes: the State Fairgrounds on Woodward, just south of 8 Mile. From there, he walks roughly 5 miles back to home through what he describes as a dangerous section of town.

Not only did the GoFundMe campaign raise over $60k, a local Chevy dealer has offered Robertson a car:

“He gets to choose,” Angela Osborne, customer service specialist at Rodgers Chevrolet in Woodhaven, Mich., said. “We were just impressed with his determination.”

He’d had an ’88 Accord, which died on him in 2005.

Still undetermined: why a guy with this track (and attendance!) record is working for $10.55 an hour.

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Hey, defrost this

On the 25th of November, I went out to the garage and located my ice scraper. Amazingly, it was right where I’d left it back in March. Maybe someday I won’t have to do this sort of thing anymore:

Fed up with the dismal winter ritual of chiselling ice off their car windows, a group of engineering students from Waterloo, Ont. came up with a way to ensure they never have to scrape another windshield again.

What began as university project two-and-a-half years ago to solve a pet peeve has evolved into Neverfrost, a startup company that’s developed a transparent film for vehicle windows to prevent frost and deflect harsh elements like snow and freezing rain.

The concept has already grabbed the attention of the trucking industry and its founders are so confident in Neverfrost’s future that one of them brushed off a job at Facebook and another sidelined plans for grad school, to chase their dreams of making the ice scraper obsolete.

And this isn’t some crummy plastic like your neighbor’s kid has stuck on the inside of his windows so you can’t see him picking his nose at the wheel, either:

The film incorporates nano technology, or the manipulation of objects on a molecular level, to prevent the windshield surface from reaching the conditions necessary for condensation and temperatures low enough to freeze.

Neverfrost also claims to be resistant to the impact of stones and insulates the vehicle cabin from outside elements, which its founders say can lessen the scorching heat of the summer sun.

Heck, it’s too bad they can’t make a whole car out of the stuff.

(“The Nobel Prize is such a lock this year,” says the Fark submitter.)

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It’s all about keyboard feel

For the touch-typists among us, there is a little raised section on the F and J keys, so you’ll always know where your home row is. (Those of us who never learned to type that way and still worked up a modicum of speed, well, we pay no attention to it.) But that’s only two keys. What if you could distinguish every key by feel? If this is your desire, Michael Roopenian has something for you: wood-grained key tops, sliced from actual wood, with a distinct grain pattern on each key.

Okay, maybe not for you. This is available only for Apple wired keyboards with the integral keypad, and for two different Apple wireless keyboards. And I suspect it’s probably cumbersome to install. But you get a whole new set of tactile sensations, and the distinction of clicking away on a genuine, if quotidian, objet d’art.

(Via Pergelator.)

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Your coordinates had better be exact

Because we have a transporter now, kinda sorta:

In case all of the recent talk about artificial intelligence wasn’t enough of a technologically-driven existential crisis for you, we now have a 3D printer that will “teleport” objects by beaming their specifications to another printer and then destroying the original object. But why destroy the original? Well, we don’t want any Thomas Rikers running around, do we?

Not multiple Rikers, no.

The 3D printer, which was named “Scotty” by its inventors at the Hasso Plattner Institut because of course it was, is like Star Trek’s transporter in that it doesn’t teleport so much by moving matter as it does by accurately reconstructing it in another place. 3D printers aren’t capable of reproducing living creatures (yet), but Scotty can already easily transport simple objects.

Don’t think Starship Enterprise; think Ship of Theseus, as discussed here and here.

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There’s no face like Noam

The downside, of course, is having to explain him to visitors:

Though the descriptor sounds like something generated by a game of Mad Libs, Just Say Gnome is a purveyor of artisanal garden gnomes. Their flagship product, Just Say Gnome sculptor Steve Herrington explains, was first thought up over a decade ago but is newly getting attention online. Gnome Chomsky The Garden Noam, named, naturally, for linguist, philosopher, and political activist Noam Chomsky, runs between $75 and $195, plus shipping, depending on which of two versions a buyer wants and whether it’s ordered unpainted or painted. Gnome Chomsky sports its namesake’s appearance, but the proportions, cap, and boots of a standard-issue garden gnome.

You’ll have to wait, though:

Both versions are currently out of stock, though Herrington says on the Just Say Gnome website that interested buyers can e-mail him to see about getting one once he prepares more.

Buy one for your transformational grandma.

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set syllables = 17

This has serious charm, given its alleged mechanical origins:

The AIs are coming for us.

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Ludicrous speed

Tesla has brought out a P85D version of the Model S, with a smaller motor out back but an auxiliary motor up front for all-wheel-drive use. Apparently it also provides something of a performance boost, as suggested by this shot from the car’s touchscreen:

I don’t think I’d want both Insane and Slip Start pressed at the same time, though.

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And I thought I was observant

So this appeared in my tweetstream (it’s from someone in protected status, so no embed):

Just watched Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” vid for the 1st time. Anyone else notice she throws a Galaxy S5 into the water? It’s waterproof!

“Migawd,” I thought, “that’s brilliant.” I was all ready to go frame-by-frame through the video, when this popped in:

Taylor Swift dangles a Galaxy S5

Yep! Just watched it again & paused. That’s a Galaxy S5! Oh, Taylor.

I’m not sure who impressed me more in this incident: Taylor Swift, for being shrewd enough to trash a fairly pricey phone without actually trashing it, or my correspondent, for having a really good eye for detail.

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C plus

I remember, from way down the timeline, a bumper sticker to this effect: “186,000 miles per second. It’s more than just a good idea. IT’S THE LAW.”

But apparently it’s not as ironclad as I’d heard:

Turns out you can, in fact, move faster than light, and when you cross that threshold you create a “photonic boom” the way a jet does when it crosses the speed of sound. The only problem is that in order to do so you must have zero mass, and that state is probably not going to be reached by switching from ranch to vinaigrette on your lunch salad.

Still, it’s worth the shot, if only because you’re no longer eating ranch. And keep in mind: Hidden Valley Ranch brand, which started it all, is owned by Clorox.

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One would certainly hope so

You may actually need this service more than you think:

We are a full laundry service that includes free pickup and delivery. Yes, you read correctly. Full. Delivery. Laundry. Service. No half jobs here! We will pick up your messy, wrinkled, and dirty laundry. All you have to do is throw them into a large bag(s) and schedule a pickup online or give us a call. We will come by and pick up your items. At our discussed delivery time, we will then return your items washed, folded and smelling fresh; all at a low rate.

And, as noted, no poop stains. The rate, at this writing, is a buck and a quarter per pound; there is a 30- to 60-lb minimum load depending on where in Los Angeles (hey, I know from 310) you happen to be. The driver does have a scale, but here’s a rule of thumb:

13 gallon (home) trash bags full of random clothes such as jeans, shirts, towels, and shorts … each bag weighed approximately between 10-13 lbs. So, roughly 2-3 full bags should typically meet our minimum in certain areas.

More than you’d spend feeding a laundromat, probably; but your time is worth something, is it not?

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Title(s) of the year

Someone thought this one through, and nailed it:

Scan from People Magazine: Rock's papers scissor union

Once in a while I approach these heady heights. Maybe. I can’t claim credit for this one either:

Scooby Doom

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Noodle used

I have a medium-size stockpot, used mostly for boiling water into which pasta will be dumped. The diameter of this pot is approximately 0.3 inch less than the length of typical spaghetti-like substances. In days of old, I would break the rods in two in an effort to get them to fit. The trouble with that, of course, is that you can’t actually break them in two: invariably a third piece is formed, and sometimes a fourth. Unable to explain this phenomenon, I started pushing one end of the handful of spaghetti against the bottom of the pot while the water was boiling, and when the rods bent enough, following through with the rest. The results were slightly less satisfactory at precisely al dente, but it was better, I thought, than dealing with segments of random length, given my tendency to roll the stuff onto the fork.

At long last, there’s an explanation for where that third piece comes from:

Maybe I should just get a bigger pot and be done with it.

(Via Sploid.)

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Mails of the unexpected

Generally, you get Christmas cards from the people who always send you Christmas cards. The loan officer who set me up with my current mortgage, whom I’d probably have remembered for purely superficial reasons anyway, has sent me a card every year since 2003.

I was not expecting a card from singer Sabrina Lentini, whose previous EP I’d bought, and whose next EP is made possible by an indiegogo campaign that I’d backed. Apparently she addressed all these by hand: the shapes of the letters are sufficiently irregular to suggest so, and mine, at least, is non-lavishly festooned with a seasonal but nonetheless stock Forever stamp from the Postal Service. (The Santa Ana, California, post office did come up with a Santa image for the cancellation.)

I doubt she sent one of these to every one of her 2,473 Facebook fans. The seventy or so backers of the EP? That I’d believe.

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Yet so far from Walley World

This is actually Clark/Westfield. Like anyone’s going to remember that now.

And yes, it would work better, or at least look better, if it had been Photoshopped, but you wouldn’t be able to see it from the Garden State Parkway.

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Thirty days of juke

A suitable introduction:

It’s like those “#1 on your birthday” sites, except this gives you only ten songs for the whole month. But you can hear all ten of them by pushing the appropriate buttons. The list runs out at December 1989, and if the World Wide Web were in existence in 1989, this page would look like it was that old; but don’t let that stop you.

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Accounting crows

They learn fast, they do:

[Researchers] trained two hooded crows (Corvus cornix) to identify items by color, shape, and number in what’s called “identity matching-to-sample” (IMTS). The birds were placed in a wire mesh cage with a plastic tray containing three cards and two cups. The card in the middle served as the sample card. The cups on either side were covered with the other two cards: One matched the sample (in the color, shape, or number of items pictured), while the other didn’t. The cup with the card that matched the sample card contained two mealworms as a reward.

Once the birds mastered this scheme, the researchers stepped up the game:

In the second part of the experiment, the birds were tested with relational matching pairs. A sample card with two same-sized circles, for example, means they should pick the test card with two same-sized squares — and not two different-sized circles.

How did they do?

The birds picked the correct card more than three-quarters of the time.

There are humanoids out there who can’t pick the correct card more than three quarters of the time; it’s been many years since I’ve seen a ballot that didn’t mention at least one such.

(Tweeted in my general direction by GLHancock.)

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Everybody knows that the bird has the word

However well our Weather Guys do at locating tornadoes, they’ve got a long way to go to catch up with these birds:

US scientists say tracking data shows that five golden-winged warblers “evacuated” their nesting site one day before the April 2014 tornado outbreak.

Geolocators showed the birds left the Appalachians and flew 700km (400 miles) south to the Gulf of Mexico. The next day, devastating storms swept across the south and central US.

In 2013, researchers tagged 20 of the birds; after flying to Colombia for the winter, ten of them showed up the next spring, and after the storms broke, five were recaptured and their tracking devices opened up.

In this case, all five indicated that the birds had taken unprecedented evasive action, beginning one to two days ahead of the storm’s arrival.

“The warblers in our study flew at least 1,500km (932 miles) in total,” Dr [Henry] Streby said.

They escaped just south of the tornadoes’ path — and then went straight home again. By 2 May, all five were back in their nesting area.

Dr Streby and his team suspect infrasound:

The most likely tip-off was the deep rumble that tornadoes produce, well below what humans can hear.

Noise in this “infrasound” range travels thousands of kilometres, and may serve as something of an early warning system for animals that can pick it up.

“It’s very unlikely that this species is the only group doing this,” Dr Streby said.

Now to find a species that (1) can utilize infrasound and (2) can exhibit some serious TV presence.

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Out to launch

Would you like to swing on a star?

And yes, those are real NASA interns.

Meghan Trainor can probably retire next spring.

(Via Miss Cellania. See also this earlier example of Johnson [Space Center] Style.)

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As he nibbled at her ear

And can you blame him, really?

Sushi earrings by Hatanaka

The backstory:

My husband asked me a few days ago what I wanted for the holidays and I told him I didn’t know. But after seeing these fake food jewelry designs by Japan-based company Hatanaka, I think I just may want a Beef Bowl necklace, dammit!

I hate these and I kind of love them at the same time. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with wearing a bowl of fake beef around your neck, okay? I mean it’s not like they’re selling something weird, like salami necklaces or bacon earrings…

(From Caitlin D.’s contribution to the Saturday Links yesterday at Rookie.)

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Upward mobility

So, Lisa Quam, you’ve won $90 million playing Powerball. Do you quit your job?

She said she would quit her job at plane maker Boeing Co.

Do you buy new wheels?

Quam said she expected to travel more and had already identified her next new car: a Subaru Forester.

Which, for Washington state, will fit right in.

Although this is the part that gets me:

Quam and her husband bought two Powerball tickets on a Thanksgiving Day run to buy a newspaper and pumpkin spice.

For those of you who thought pumpkin spice, barely spice and not even close to being pumpkin, was the creation of Beelzebub — well, even the devil has an off-day now and then.

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