Archive for Entirely Too Cool

Sim sala bim

Dealing with material from right off Funk & Wagnalls’ porch as only he can, it’s Carnac the Magnificent:

[current late-night host] was never like this.


Call her Junior

It’s easier, believe me:

Amber Tamblyn and David Cross just welcomed a brand-new baby girl into the world earlier today, and we are so excited for this new family. Amber shared the big news on Instagram, introducing their new daughter to the masses, while also disclosing her name. We think. Maybe? This lil’ Tamblyn-Cross might have the most unique baby name ever … or the Tamblyn-Cross family is seriously messing with us.

As Amber wrote on Instagram, their daughter’s new name is [deep breath]:

Dauphinoise Petunia Brittany Scheherazade Von Funkinstein Mustard Witch RBG Cross Tamblyn-Bey jr.

Now of course, we could be suffering here from the Transcontinental Chain Pull, but I’m inclined to view this name at face value. (Well, except “RBG.”)

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Twisted, sister

So far, we’ve seen Mirjana Kika Milosević as a thinly-disguished ashtray and a headless body on a coat hanger. She continues to find new ways to amaze and/or frighten:

And it’s all paint: no computer assistance.


Want with a capital W

And not entirely out of reach, either:

Giant Robotic Twilight Sparkle

EqD’s Sethisto has the scoop:


(Ages 3 years & up/Approx. Retail Price: $129.99/Available: Fall 2017)

Discover the magic of friendship with the interactive MY MAGICAL PRINCESS TWILIGHT SPARKLE figure, a pony with Pegasus wings and a unicorn horn that lights up! While interacting with her, she can move her head and hoof, say 90+ phrases, and light up her horn. Fans can press the star button on her hoof to hear her talk about spells, tales of friendship, stories or songs. She has poseable legs so kids can help her sit or stand and has moving wings. Princess Twilight Sparkle also has a beautiful mane and tail and a tiara to complete her look. Requires 4 C batteries, not included. Available at most major retailers and on

My current Twilight simulacrum says maybe six things and cost — well, never you mind what she cost.

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A change of hands and feet

The late Aubrey McClendon’s last enterprise, American Energy Partners, decided last year to liquidate, which prompted this question from me: “What happens to that supercool fitness center the company owned?”

Now we know:

The intricate dance to allow professional dancers, young students and their parents to fit into Oklahoma City Ballet’s 8,000-square-foot building won’t be necessary much longer.

The nonprofit organization announced Wednesday that [it] is acquiring two facilities that will help it expand its mission of bringing high-quality classical and contemporary dance to Oklahoma City.

The organization is under contract to purchase the former American Energy Partners Fitness Center, 6800 N Classen Blvd., and convert it into the new home for the professional company, its administrative offices, and its school, The Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet.

In addition, Chesapeake Energy Corp. recently donated the current OKC Ballet building, 7421 N Classen Blvd., to the arts organization. It will become overflow for dance classes and house the company’s costume and prop shop.

Next production is The Sleeping Beauty, music by Tchaikovsky (via the OKC Philharmonic), beginning a week from today.

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Not so noble after all

The so-called “noble” gases occupy the right-hand column of the periodic table; their “nobility,” as it were, derives from their general disdain for forming compounds. Which doesn’t mean it can never happen: when I was still a lab rat, stuff like xenon hexafluoride (XeF6) was known to exist, and krypton was considered a reasonable shot for the occasional compound. But neon and especially helium? Not gonna happen.

Helium’s staunch stability is due to its closed-shell electronic configuration — its outer shell is complete, which means there’s no room for it to bond with other atoms by sharing electrons.

But that’s assuming the conditions are consistent with what we experience on Earth’s surface.

Ay, there’s the rub:

Being one of the most abundant elements in the Universe, responsible for forming stars and gas giant planets, helium could play by very different rules out in space and deep within our planet, and researchers have just found the first evidence yet of that weird behaviour.

“[E]xtremely high pressure, like that found at Earth’s core or giant neighbours, completely alters helium’s chemistry,” one of the team, Alex Boldyrev from Utah State, told Mary-Ann Muffoletto at

The researchers used a “crystal structure-predicting” computer model to predict that under extreme pressures, a stable helium-sodium compound could form.

They then physically created the never-before-seen compound, Na2He, in a diamond anvil cell experiment, which allowed them to subject helium and sodium atoms to pressures of around 1.1 million times Earth’s atmospheric pressure.

“These findings were so unexpected, Boldyrev says, that he and colleagues struggled for more than two years to convince science reviewers and editors to publish their results,” says Muffoletto.

Sodium, of course, is darn near hyperactive, as anyone who’s dropped it into water has found out terribly quickly; you’d need something that fierce to get helium out of its shell, so to speak. Still, these aren’t your standard chemical bonds; they’re Something Else Entirely.

(Via Glenn Reynolds.)

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But does it play backwards?

Heavens above, it’s a turntable called LOVE:

I question that “No weight on the grooves” claim; if you don’t have tracking force, the stylus — looks like a standard Audio-Technica — doesn’t stay in the groove. I’m sure they worked to minimize the tracking force, though even old-fashioned turntables like mine can manage a force of one gram or so.

Still, it’s kind of neat-looking, and in the first few days of the Kickstarter, they’ve raised about six times their original goal.

The LOVE will retail at $599 when it’s released to the general public: backers who put up at least $319 should get one in October.

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Right for the heartstrings

This is about two years old, but the story it tells is timeless:

Further comment would probably be superfluous.

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Caduceus wild

Number One granddaughter — this would be Laney, Russ’s oldest — apparently maxed out some tests they give to students on the cusp of high school.

Laney accepts an academic award, 2 February 2017

Explained her mom:

She was recommended for Honors English, Honors Biology, and Honors Geography for next year, as well as Principles of Biomedical Science. I’m so proud of her!

Wait, what? Biomedical science?

[S]he’s actually taking the pre-med academic path for high school.

It’s a long and torturous path, I’m sure, but I’m liking the way this sounds.

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Strike up the band

It’s a very small band, as it would have to be if you’re going to attach it to a migrating butterfly.

(About ten minutes long.)

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Black lung, as it were

The last time we looked in on Mirjana Kika Miloşević, she was a headless body dangling from a coat hanger.

This is scarier:

Um, point taken.

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Welcome to the jungle

We mow it day by day:

You can try for weedless, but you won’t get there for free.

(Via Sarah Rumpf.)

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I think she wears a Small

I’ve seen some pretty remarkable examples of the art of body painting, but this one draws socks on me and then knocks them off.

If you have twelve minutes to spare, watch this one. It will astonish you.

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That’ll show ’em

Please note what Fark has done to the Politics tab:

That's 'Politics' in Russian, or at least in Cyrillic

This is worth about six hundred fifty paragraphs from the likes of Vox.

Update, 9 pm: And sensibly, they didn’t allow the joke to go on too long; the tabs have been, um, normalized.


Roughly half of fifteen

Xia Vigor is Taylor Swift, half-sized:

Background, sort of:

Hailing from Exeter in England, Xia is a proper star in the Philippines, with a big social media following and a career in movies and TV. In fact, this isn’t her first turn on Your Face Sounds Familiar. Xia previously did a performance as Selena Gomez, covering the singer’s hit “Love You Like A Love Song.”

For some reason, this girl of seven makes me think of a Tom Lehrer pronouncement: “It’s people like that who make you realize how little you’ve accomplished. It is a sobering thought, for example, that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years.”

Professor Lehrer was thirty-seven at the time.


Appropriate to the date

This won’t happen again until October, and possibly never again after that.


Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs

It had to happen eventually, I suppose:

Loren Ipsum was not available for comment.

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Prank level: expert

I have to admire the way this unfolded:

David Trott wrote about this in Creative Mischief.

Then there was the middle-management type I worked with who was visibly disturbed that maintenance had hung a ceiling fan directly over his desk: he just knew it was going to fall and decapitate him.

How would you exploit this fear?

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If you’ve had your fill of fillings

Perhaps they’re on the way out:

Researchers at King’s College London found that the drug Tideglusib stimulates the stem cells contained in the pulp of teeth so that they generate new dentine — the mineralised material under the enamel.

Teeth already have the capability of regenerating dentine if the pulp inside the tooth becomes exposed through a trauma or infection, but can only naturally make a very thin layer, and not enough to fill the deep cavities caused by tooth decay.

But Tideglusib switches off an enzyme called GSK-3 which prevents dentine from carrying on forming.

Scientists showed it is possible to soak a small biodegradable sponge with the drug and insert it into a cavity, where it triggers the growth of dentine and repairs the damage within six weeks.

The tiny sponges are made out of collagen so they melt away over time, leaving only the repaired tooth.

This wasn’t what they had in mind when Tideglusib was developed: it’s also been investigated as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. But hey, it’s not the first time a drug intended to treat A ended up treating B.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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And Ken never knew

This Barbie typewriter has Hidden Talents:

Barbie typewriter with encryption

Slovenia’s Maheno corporation manufactured a series of Barbie-branded and white label typewriters for kids, with a hidden feature that allowed their owners to use them to produce messages encrypted with a simple substitution cipher.

That’s fairly sophisticated stuff for the presumed target market.

The devices came with four ciphers, and went through several iterations before being discontinued.

(Via @JenLucPiquant.)


Gimme an E-6

Ektachrome has been given the Lazarus treatment:

It’s not every day that you hear about a classic film line being brought back from the dead, but that’s what’s being announced today. Kodak Ektachrome film is coming back for film photographers.

The announcement was made [Thursday] at CES in Las Vegas by Kodak Alaris, the separate company owned by the Kodak Pension Plan in the UK that runs Kodak’s old Personalized Imaging division.

The original Kodak Professional Ektachrome color reversal film line was killed off by Kodak back in 2012 after years of sales declines and a drop in usage by photographers. It seems that trend has reversed.

“The reintroduction of one of the most iconic films is supported by the growing popularity of analog photography and a resurgence in shooting film,” Kodak Alaris says. “Resurgence in the popularity of analog photography has created demand for new and old film products alike.”

It’s like vinyl, except for color slides.

(Title explained.)


It even smells better

This may be the cleanest coal yet:

In the southern Indian city of Tuticorin, locals are unlikely to suffer from a poorly risen cake. That’s because a coal-fired thermal power station in the area captures carbon dioxide and turns it into baking soda.

This is elementary chemistry: you can combine sodium hydroxide with carbon dioxide and end up with baking soda and water.

Like most carbon-capture schemes, this one involves a proprietary solvent. Unlike most carbon-capture schemes, this one comes close to being cost-effective:

The Guardian reports that a system installed in the Tuticorin plant uses a new proprietary solvent developed by the company Carbon Clean Solutions. The solvent is reportedly just slightly more efficient than those used conventionally, requiring a little less energy and smaller apparatus to run. The collected CO2 is used to create baking soda, and it claims that as much as 66,000 tons of the gas could be captured at the plant each year.

Its operators say that the marginal gain in efficiency is just enough to make it feasible to run the plant without a subsidy.

Inveterate coal-haters will hate this too, but perhaps not as much. And as Dave Schuler notes:

I expect that we’ll see a lot more solutions like this coming out of India. They have a lot of clever, educated people, probably as many engineers per 100,000 population as anywhere in the world and they don’t have a lot of money to mess around with diseconomic schemes.

I wonder if I should send this to Scott Pruitt.

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I can’t see over this damn truck

In Ukraine, they’ve solved this problem:

Traffic lights from Ukraine

(From the Pics subreddit via TYWKIWDBI.)

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A dream come true

Saturday morning, the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes were feeling a roster pinch: backup goalie Eddie Lack was not feeling well. Call someone up from the minor hockey leagues? Both their affiliates were long out of town. General Manager Ron Francis thought about it for a moment, then acted: he signed Jorge Alves, the Hurricanes’ equipment manager, to a tryout contract.

It wasn’t that bizarre an act; Alves had occasionally practiced with the team. But actually play in a real-life game? Couldn’t possibly happen.

And then Saturday evening, it did. With 7.6 seconds left and Tampa Bay long since having won, 3-1:

No strategy involved here; it was just good old-fashioned Give the Guy a Chance. And if Alves never mans the net again, well, by gum, he got himself a place in the record books.


And Manhattan yields

Three in the morning on the 6th of December in the City of New York, and here’s a guy who makes 240 green lights in a row:

Noah hits 240 green lights. from Shawn Swetsky – Post Producer on Vimeo.

Which says something about NYC, too:

The fact that this feat is possible at all say a lot about the New York City system’s efficiency. Fewer stops means quicker travel times and better fuel mileage. Yes, [Noah] Forman’s drive happened during off hours in order to avoid traffic, but sometimes those are the best times to get out and drive.

I don’t think I’ve ever made ten in a row here in the Okay City.

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Millions of cats

“Cats here, cats there, Cats and kittens everywhere. Hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, Millions and billions and trillions of cats…”

Wanda Gág’s 1928 picture book, still in print, is the tale of an elderly couple who decide they want a cat, and subsequently find rather more of them than they’d anticipated.

I mention that because of this: “How loud would it be if all of the cats in the world meowed at the same time?”

There is an answer, kinda sorta:

(Via Miss Cellania.)


The A-list for bees

An operation called “Killer Bees Honey” invites questions, most of them connected to that first word:

Like most Americans in our diverse nation, Killer Bee ancestry traces back to other continents.

In 1956, Brazilian beekeepers, faced with low honey productivity, imported African honeybee queens to breed with their own Old World bees. Apis mellifera scutellata, or just scutellata (Killer Bees), were the progeny. This cross-bred honeybee was a highly productive, albeit petulant, subspecies.

Underwhelmed with their new digs and despite stern warnings from their human handlers, rebellious scutellata escaped from “managed” labs and established large, self-sustaining feral populations throughout South America. Soon, scientists discovered that the Killer Bee queens reproduced at up to five times the rate of European queens. Plus, the local virgin European queens preferred scutellata males.

Never mind that. Are these really Killers?

Invariably, I’m asked if we really have Killer Bees. My answer: Yes and no. Recent analysis of honeybee mitochondrial DNA reveals that most bees in America possess a small percentage of scutellata genetics. My apiary’s Old World bees are mostly Italian and Carniolan. But when I’m stung, I see and feel the scutellata in them.

Fair enough. “Killer,” after all, is more noun than adjective, or so it seems to me.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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In which Shkreli is shkrewed

You gotta love this:

The man who sparked outrage last year by hiking the price of a life-saving drug may have met his match in some Australian schoolboys.

US executive Martin Shkreli became a symbol of greed when he raised the price of a tablet of Daraprim from $13.50 (£11) to $750.

Now, Sydney school students have recreated the drug’s key ingredient for just $20.

Daraprim is an anti-parasitic drug used by malaria and Aids patients.

The Sydney Grammar boys, all 17, synthesised the active ingredient, pyrimethamine, in their school science laboratory.

“It wasn’t terribly hard but that’s really the point, I think, because we’re high school students,” one boy, Charles Jameson, told the BBC.

The students produced 3.7 grams of pyrimethamine for $20. In the US, the same quantity would cost up to $110,000.

In response, Shkreli issued the following statement:

(Via Fark.)


Mr. Hill goes to Washington

Meet Jackson:

Jackson Hill up a tree

Jackson is a fifth grader at Luff Elementary School in Independence, MO. He has been recognized as a student who has achieved academic excellence and possesses strong leadership potential and was nominated by his art teacher to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JrNYLC) to be held the summer of 2017 in Washington, DC.

Jackson is the older son of Russell Hill, the one and only son of, um, me.

This will cost close to $3000, so naturally, there’s a GoFundMe.


Take away his name already

It’s the Daily Double!

Elapsed time: eight minutes.

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