Archive for Entirely Too Cool

The Certs of fonts

Yes, it’s two, two, TWO fonts in one!

Presenting Comic Papyrus. You heard right — COMIC FREAKIN’ PAPYRUS! Your two most favoritest fonts ever have FINALLY been smooshed together typographically, just as Darwin intended. Cross-bred. Cross-awesomified.

So stop wasting hours switching back and forth between your two old favorites, and just use your new favorite instead. Comic Papyrus combines the timeless rustic qualities from centuries past with the hilarious fun-loving wit of today’s funny pages. It’ll make you laugh (like a joke) and cry (like a mummy). Simultaneously!

This wondrous example of typographic hybridization can be yours for a mere five bucks. Admit it: you’ve paid more and gotten less.

(Via Fark.)

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Class personified

Quite apart from putting a permanent crease in the phrase “throwing like a girl,” Mo’ne Davis has demonstrated maturity far beyond some of us:

Mo’ne Davis, heroine of the Little League World Series, said the college baseball player who was dismissed from his team for posting an offensive tweet about her should get a second chance at playing.

Bloomsburg (Pennsylvania) University’s Joey Casselberry, a junior first baseman, was thrown off the team after tweeting: “Disney is making a movie about Mo’ne Davis? WHAT A JOKE. That slut got rocked by Nevada.”

Davis told SportsCenter on Monday that she wrote an email to the school asking officials to reinstate Casselberry.

The university confirmed that they received her request. She explains:

“Everyone makes mistakes,” Davis said. “Everyone deserves a second chance. I know he didn’t mean it in that type of way. I know people get tired of seeing me on TV. But sometimes you got to think about what you’re doing before you do it.

“It hurt on my part, but he hurt even more. If it was me, I would want to take that back. I know how hard he’s worked. Why not give him a second chance?”

Oh, and despite her formidable baseball prowess, she wants to play in the WNBA some day. Heck, she might be able to play in the NBA. (Yeah, she’s five-foot-four — now.)

The Disney Channel original movie, incidentally, is called Throw Like Mo.

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A warm byte or two

I have every confidence this scheme will work:

A Dutch energy company is joining forces with a tech startup to harness computing power to heat homes.

Eneco said Tuesday it is installing “e-Radiators” — computer servers that generate heat while crunching numbers — in five homes across the Netherlands in a trial to see if their warmth could be a viable alternative for traditional radiators.

The technology is the brainchild of a company called Nerdalize, whose founders say they developed the idea after huddling near a laptop to keep warm after their home’s thermostat broke.

“Nerdalize”? Okay, if you insist.

But I don’t see how this can fail. My particular IT job puts me right next to the server tower, in a room which is deliberately not connected to the office heating system. With temperatures in the single digits Fahrenheit, the typical temperature in the shop is 67° F. (Of course, there is massive A/C for the warmer periods.)

And the proponents see it as a win/win:

Eneco and Nerdalize say the idea cuts costs for companies using the servers as they no longer need to pay for housing computers in data centers and will provide free warmth for Eneco’s customers as Nerdalize pays the energy bill for the e-Radiator.

You know, we should have patented the damned idea.

(Via Costa Tsiokos.)

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Permanent exhibition

If you were a fan of the rollicking space opera Temporary Duty by the late Ric Locke (my review is here), you’ll be pleased to know that a fansite-plus-sort-of-wiki is being built at temporaryduty.org. The site is officially titled “Peters Pa’ol,” of course a reference to protagonist John Peters. For now, Under Construction applies, but progress is being made.

If you haven’t read the book, it’s still available for your Kindle from Amazon: link at the site. And at the very least, you ought to look at the cover art, by the estimable S. Weasel, who wrote thusly about this project:

It sold well enough that he spent his last days arguing with the IRS. Yes, sadly, that rat bastard cancer got him in the Summer of 2012.

Welp, I got an email earlier this week from a dude called Yuris Daudish, who read Ric’s book and thought it deserved a public fandom. He put out the call for anybody who might have had dealings with Ric who could share anecdotes or insights into the man or the book. Or might want to join the discussion forum. I promised to go through what emails we traded back in the day to see if anything interesting turns up — and to spread the word to any reader here who might have had some interaction.

And I’m happy to provide a signal boost.

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A nightmare dressed like a sugar rush

The little girls sell lots of cookies, but they’re not too proud to tap the resources of a big girl:

(Via Hello Giggles.)

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Flattening news

And another piece of the dumb-jock stereotype is chipped away:

John Urschel recently co-authored a paper in the Journal of Computational Mathematics. It is titled “A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians” and apparently includes “a cascadic multigrid algorithm for fast computation of the Fiedler vector of a graph Laplacian, namely, the eigenvector corresponding to the second smallest eigenvalue.” I understand close to none of the words in that sentence, which comes from the paper’s abstract. I probably never will. The rest of the study is similarly accessible.

For what it’s worth, a Laplacian is a differential operator given by the divergence of the gradient of a function on Euclidean space, while eigenvectors point in a direction which is invariant under an associated linear transformation. I have at best a vague idea about those two words, not so much about some of the others, and it did not become less vague after looking through the actual paper [pdf].

Mr. Urschel, associated with the Pennsylvania State University, is currently an offensive lineman with the Baltimore Ravens.

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Shadier than ever

Five years ago, I was telling you this:

Now we have ShadyURL, which says: “Don’t just shorten your URL, make it suspicious and frightening.”

As often happens, this service fell into disuse and was abandoned. It has now been revived through the kindness of @snipeyhead:

What’s more, it’s been substantially improved:

So if you need, for whatever reason, to give someone a scary-looking URL like http://www.5z8.info/inject_worm_m2p9wg_stalin, this is your first choice.

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Some day all transit will be like this

Dave Singer shows us the next step in public-transit noise control:

This is an STFU carriage

Well, actually, this is the next step, but it’s a logical progression, am I right?

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Creative pre-destruction

The following clip deals with two of my Favorite Things as a lad aged in single digits: dominoes and the Etch-A-Sketch. The results are as satisfying as you, or at least I, could possibly want:

There’s even a blooper reel, kinda sorta.

(Found over at Miss Cellania’s place.)

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I don’t care if it’s one-way

Then again, it’s almost certainly too early to start packing:

Then again, where would they put an airport? Canterlot’s built onto a mountain, fercryingoutloud: no place for a runway. Cloudsdale? Naw, the planes would just crash through the clouds. Or perhaps that long stretch of nothing southwest of Canterlot on the way to Ponyville…

(Via Equestria Daily.)

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Foiling photographers

The “candid” celebrity photo is not yet a thing of the past, but perhaps this scheme will catch on:

Thanks to DJ Chris Holmes, celebrities can now ward off those pesky paparazzi and their intrusive photography with ease. They just need to wear pieces from Holmes’ new “Anti Paparazzi Collection” — a line of clothing made from a reflective material [that] completely ruins flash photographs.

The collection currently consists of a hooded jacket, an infinity scarf, suit pants, a blazer, and a hat. While they look like regular clothes, the fabric is actually coated with glass nanospheres. This coating makes the clothes act like mirrors when hit with bright light, so the resulting images are horribly underexposed and the wearer is practically invisible.

For example:

Result of photographing a chap in the Anti-Paparazzi Blazer

The line is actually being crowdfunded, and not all the items are currently completely funded yet.

(Via American Digest.)

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Eight arms, one shutter

This had to be the experience of a (fairly quiet) lifetime:

Ben Savard was photographing an octopus at Middlebury College in Vermont on Monday when the animal suddenly grabbed the camera and snapped some photos of its own.

Savard, a digital media producer, wanted to capture some photos of the octopuses the school’s neuroscience students have been studying.

“I put a GoPro in a waterproof casing, set it to take a rapid number of photos per second and, with the help of the neuroscience student behind me in the photos, placed the camera in the octopus tank,” he told MNN. “We did this a few times with different octopuses and one of the more cheeky cephalopods grabbed the camera and turned it around on me for a quick couple of pictures.”

The cephalopod in question is Octopus bimaculoides, the California two-spot octopus, renowned for its friendly temperament:

Middlebury neuroscience students have been observing to see if the species can open boxes of food more quickly after seeing other octopuses do it.

I’m guessing they’re probably fast learners.

(Via Fark.)

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Longevity bonus

Then again, you can only take advantage of this special offer once a year:

A 101-year-old New Hampshire man had breakfast on the house at a Manchester restaurant that rewards customers dining on their birthdays with a discount based on their age, reports WMUR.com.

So for example, if you’re turning five years old, the restaurant covers 5% of your bill. If you’re 85, you get 85% of your tab paid. That means that at 100, your birthday meal is free — and at 101, you actually get 101% of your meal paid for — or a 1% refund.

Thus, after chomping on scrambled eggs and ham and a piece of chocolate cake for free, the World War II veteran got $0.07 back from the restaurant.

Heck, scrambled eggs and ham with a piece of chocolate cake for $7 sounds like a pretty decent deal on those other 364 days.

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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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