Archive for Entirely Too Cool

You still need sunscreen

I have a stack of about ten years’ worth of The Bulletin, the monthly magazine of the American Association for Nude Recreation, and if I pop open any issue at any point, there’s a good chance I’ll see a picture of someone, and that someone will be naked, fortyish — God forbid anyone should see a twelve-year-old — and white. People of color, one might reasonably assume, have no particular need to get a tan.

That said, there exists something called the Black Naturists Association, and, as always with proper nudists, they have their own towels.

Woman wearing the signature towel of the Black Naturists Association

From their Facebook page:

Eight friends formed BNA (Black Naturists Association). Who are we?!?! We are an association that advocates nudity through naturist environments and activities to help promote healthy body images and self-esteem for those in the black community.

And they travel: a November expedition to Labadie, on the northern coast of Haiti, is already sold out.

BNA functions as a non-landed club under AANR rules; the annual dues ($90) include AANR membership. I can’t help but think this is a swell idea; there’s no reason The Lifestyle (so to speak) should be restricted to us pastier folk.


You may ask yourself

“Well, how did I get here?” wondered this collection of critters.

Fortunately, someone was there to get them out of there:

Which is not to say that we Bigger Critters are necessarily any smarter. (See just about any tab in Fark, for instance.)


No more cold showers

There will never be a water heater like this available to us civilians, and it’s almost certainly hazardous to your health, your plumbing, or both, but damn, it’s impressive:

[A]n international team of researchers hit a tiny jet of water with a flash from an X-ray laser called the Linac Coherent Light Source at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in the US. Needless to say the thin stream of water got hot fairly quickly.

“It is not the usual way to boil your water,” says physicist Carl Caleman from Uppsala University in Sweden. “Normally, when you heat water, the molecules will just be shaken stronger and stronger.”

Instead, the flash of X-rays punched the electrons right off the water molecules, setting them off balance. “So, suddenly the atoms feel a strong repulsive force and start to move violently,” says Caleman.

That violent jiggling — for all purposes what we refer to as “heat” — is equal to a scorching 100,000 degrees Celsius, way hotter than Earth’s core. What’s more, it takes less than 75 femtoseconds to accomplish this, which doesn’t give the molecules making up the trickle of water much time to escape.

The last person to shower in a seven-person household, a position I have held and did not enjoy, will look at that “75 femtoseconds” and think “If only”; the fact that this water-like substance will vaporize one’s skin won’t even be considered.

(Via Glenn Reynolds.)


Better than “Wear sunscreen”

(Via Miss Cellania.)



Double-barreled AR-15

Okay, that’s not the formal designation. But think in terms of the power of two:

In following the grand tradition of “if one is good, then two must be great” thinking, Israel’s Silver Shadow firearms manufacturer is marketing this double-barreled AR-15 for sale in the United States. Check out this double-barrel rifle no one asked for that the military will never, ever use.

But just because the military won’t ever use it doesn’t mean civilians won’t try to have fun with it. After all, this isn’t the first time someone thought two barrels was better than one.

Isn’t that, um, illegal?

Originally marketed as an AR variant under a company named Gilboa, Silver Shadow makes this line of double-barreled weapons here in the U.S., where the 16-inch barrel, twin-trigger rifle is legal for civilian use. The twin trigger is how the company avoids the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms’ definition of a machine gun.

Each barrel of the Gilboa Snake has its own independent gas block and tube, meaning it can fire multiple rounds with each trigger without the delay and recoil of the weapon cycling between trigger pulls. It also has two separate ejection ports, so hot brass can go down the shirt of the person laying prone to your left and right.

Otherwise, it’s an AR-15, it shoots the same varmint-rated .223 round, and depending on where you live, it might scare the neighbors twice as much.

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Proven design is proven

If your definition of “better mousetrap” includes a specification for Less Cruelty, this design, patented in 1876 and replicated here on a 3D printer, might be just what you’re looking for:

I’m not sure what’s keeping the entrapped rodent from pushing the lid upwards, unless that lid weighs a lot more than I think it does, but it seems kinder than gluing him to a sheet of cardboard.

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The summer school of your dreams

Or at least, the dreams of Number One granddaughter, who’s been accepted for the 2018 session:

Last I looked, she was a violinist, but her mom reports she’s going in for Creative Writing. And she’s got to be better at it than I was at her age.

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Eight arms to hold you

That was the working title for the film that eventually was released as Help!

Yes, really:

Capitol 5407 single of the Beatles Ticket to Ride

Anyway, that wasn’t an octopus reference. Cephalopods generally do not embrace:

Octopus t-shirt: I can slap 8 people at once

(Swiped from Fillyjonk, who’s been tempted to slap some people of late.)

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Where to take that Instapicture

Surely you’ve seen some of them before. Fashion blogger Wendy Nguyen has completed a two-part article on “NYC Best Instagrammable Spots,” because (1) geez, it’s New York, and New York is full of That Which Is Scenic and (2) a lot of such places are not obvious.

So in the first set you’ll find Casa Magazines (22 8th Ave., West Village), and in the second, Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park (45 Dock St., Brooklyn). Of course, she’s styled herself to go with the pictures. I’m thinking she could probably get ten or fifteen articles out of this series without so much as breathing hard.

In the meantime, here’s one I could conceivably have thought of, but didn’t. Among the cherry blossoms at exactly the right moment in Central Park:

Wendy Nguyen among the cherry blossoms

This was, I suspect, one of those moments when you can’t imagine being anyplace other than New York. Maybe some day I’ll have such a moment.


One does get weary of flying

And so the crow decided to buy a train ticket:

Sensibly, the bird carries the Corvid Express card. (“Don’t fly home without it!”)

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A goddess for our times

This just utterly floors me:

The deity in question:

It’s a long thread, so you might want to read it here courtesy of the Thread Reader App.


No explanation needed

What makes a sunset better than a sunrise? You can sleep until noon and still see a sunset.

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Dining in

And you were welcome, especially if you were edible.

(Via Ima Khivar.)

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Finishable by almost everyone

It’s spring — for real this time, I think — and it’s time for all the runners to hit the road. For those of us who can’t run to save our souls, there is this event:

The inaugural Boerne .5K will be held on May 5 and will benefit the Blessings in a Backpack organization. According to the Facebook event, the race will be a “very fun, tongue-in-cheek event that will lampoon the typical 5k.”

Dodging Duck will be providing a free pint of beer to runners who arrive early at the start of the race at River Road Park. The race will then head to the Cibolo Creek Brewery where participants will receive another free pint of beer.

Special features:

  • All finishers will receive a pretentious oval Euro-style 0.5k sticker that you can attach to the rear window of your car to show everyone what a cool hipster you are.
  • T-shirts of course
  • Participation medals (everyone gets recognized for their achievements at this event, no matter how bad they are, because we are all about positivity and self-worth).
  • Coffee and donut station at the halfway point for carb-loading and energy. This will also be where the designated smoking area is located.
  • Finish line photos
  • Individual and group costume contests with prizes. Cool sunglasses, cowboy hats, short shorts, Spurs gear, pajamas, you name it. Come dressed for fun!
  • Safety First! A possibly fully staffed, or not staffed at all, medical tent will be in place, you know, just in case. 546 yards is nothing to take too lightly.
  • The race is being sanctioned by SLACR, the Society for Lazy and Carefree Runners.
  • Awards Presentation at CCB
  • Much, much, much more (as we think of things).

There’s just one issue: they’ve maxed out on actual participants. Still:

Introducing the Procrastinators Prize Pack! For a limited time only, for only $25 you too can pretend like you participated in the race. You’ll get a t-shirt, the participation medal and the super pretentious oval 0.5k bumper sticker.

Of course, all the money goes to Blessings in a Backpack — Boerne, TX so pull out those wallets people and donate to a great cause!

Surely they’ll do this again in 2019.

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Gravity works

Cats, as we all know, delight in pushing stuff off the table:

If you’ve had to endure a great deal of this, you might have thought of getting a less-destructive companion, such as a bird.

You might want to think again:

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Getting the shaft

A single sentence sums it up:

Archaeologists near the Swiss city of Basel are trying to definitively establish if mysterious shafts discovered at Switzerland’s extensive Augusta Raurica site in 2013 could have been ancient refrigerators.

And the most sensible way to deal with this conjecture is to get those ancient fridges to work:

The Romans used shafts like the four-metre deep examples at Augusta Raurica — some 20 kilometres from Basel — as cool stores during summer.

The shafts were filled with snow and ice during winter and then covered with straw to keep the space cool well into the summer months. This then allowed for everything from cheese to wine — and even oysters — to be preserved during warm weather.

Two previous attempts produced reasonable cool, but not what you’d call cold. This time:

Now, however, researchers plan to use methods developed by the so-called “nevaters” or ice-makers on the Spanish island of Majorca. This will see [Peter-Andrew] Schwarz and his team placing 20–30-centimetre-thick layers of snow into the shaft. These individual layers will then be compacted down with a straw cover placed on top of each one.

“With this method, people in Majorca could keep food cool in summer before the arrival of electric fridges,” Schwarz told regional daily Basler Zeitung in 2017.

Which, of course, doesn’t prove these particular shafts were bad mothers actually used for refrigeration, but there’s a lot to be said for proof of concept.

And Dave Schuler cracks: “What amused me about this story is that, if they had been found in the UK, they’d still have been in use.”

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To save a life

You’re looking at Interstate 696 at Coolidge Highway, north of Detroit, early Tuesday morning:

Suicide prevention on a Michigan freeway

What you’re not seeing is the guy up on the overpass who had intended to jump to his death:

He had either climbed over or around the protective fence and was standing on the top of the bridge’s side barrier, above eastbound traffic, near the median.

There happens to be a Michigan State Police post just a half mile away, so response was both quick and massive. While negotiators from the MSP, Oak Park, and Huntington Woods PDs talked to the man, the state police began shutting down eastbound traffic on the interstate highway. Well, they didn’t shut down traffic entirely. While cars and light trucks were rerouted off the freeway, about a half dozen tractor-trailer rigs were let through to the overpass, where police directed them to line up closely, side-by-side, directly under the bridge. The idea was to shorten the fall if the man decided to go ahead and jump. The same was done on the westbound side of the overpass. A total of 14 truckers apparently volunteered to help save the man’s life, though only 13 fit under the bridge.

It’s about a 30-foot drop from the ledge to the pavement, an almost guaranteed splat into the next world. A semi-trailer reduces that distance by about half, which would give the guy a fighting chance.

Police negotiators from the three departments talked to the man for hours, finally convincing him to accompany them to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. I-696 was reopened to traffic around 4:00 a.m.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 1-800-273-8255. Put it on speed dial if you ever think you have to.

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Not on your diet

But who’s gonna stop you? Not I:

Yeah, you’re right. The heck with mere seed.

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The careful shopper

If you’re not sure exactly which product most directly meets your requirements, ask the merchant. It’s in his best interest to give you the information you need.

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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Since u been gone

Prince never did release a studio version of “Nothing Compares 2 U”; in 1985, The Family cut the song under Prince’s supervision — Prince, in fact, provided most of the instrumentation himself — and Sinead O’Connor got the hit in 1990. Prince occasionally would perform the song live, though, and his estate turned up a 1984 rehearsal tape, live audio synced with various bits of video, and released it this past week.

I miss this man. A lot.

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Sibling revelry

Ah, siblings. Mine have checked out from this world, but I begrudge no one their inclination to celebrate theirs, even if they happen to be, as the phrase goes, sold separately:

But you knew that, right?

Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. In a series of novels published by Random House in the 1960s, her parents’ names are given as George and Margaret Roberts from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin. In the Random House novels, Barbie attended Willows High School; while in the Generation Girl books, published by Golden Books in 1999, she attended the fictional Manhattan International High School in New York City (based on the real-life Stuyvesant High School).

And she looks pretty good for 59, wouldn’t you say?

(Via HelloGiggles.)

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Neutering PET

It’s always been a mouthful: polyethylene terephthalate. Understandably, it’s been shortened to PET. Unfortunately, its lifetime is as long as it ever was. But maybe it doesn’t have to stay that way:

Scientists have improved a naturally occurring enzyme which can digest some of our most commonly polluting plastics.

PET, the strong plastic commonly used in bottles, takes hundreds of years to break down in the environment.

The modified enzyme, known as PETase, can start breaking down the same material in just a few days.

This could revolutionise the recycling process, allowing plastics to be re-used more effectively.

The tricky part of this is that this particular bacterium, Ideonella sakaiensis, actually evolved, over about half a century, to dine on this plastic. The scientists are just improving on the original design:

A high definition 3D model of the enzyme was created, using the powerful x-ray beamline at Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire.

Once they understood its structure, the team noted that they could improve the performance of PETase by adjusting a few residues on its surface.

A more efficient shape. And the best part is this: the plastic it eats isn’t going to evolve in the slightest. (We think.)

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Sort of like full-service

You remember full-service gas stations, don’t you?

A metro Atlanta gas station is going retro in an effort to quell customer fears of theft and carjackings.

A Shell station in the new city of South Fulton is offering a gas-valet service, Channel 2 Action News reported.

“They pump your gas. They go get your receipt,” customer Sarah Cainion said. “They come and clean your windows for you and everything.”

It means customers don’t have to get out of their cars. In an area where thieves “slide” into cars to steal the vehicle or items inside while people pump gas, it’s important for business.

It’s also reminiscent of the days of full-service gas stations.

A manager at the station on Cascade Road near I-285 recently had an increase in such incidents, Channel 2 reported. So he brought in the full-service feature.

For now, all this extra service is at no extra charge, though the station says it will shortly impose a fee of $2 per visit. If it takes 20 gallons to fill up your road-crushing SUV, you’re paying an extra 10 cents a gallon. Better deal than you were getting from actual full-service stations during the summer when I was a pump jockey.

(Via Fark.)

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Might as well jump

Scene: A sidewalk in downtown Seattle. How many people will take advantage of this mild form of amusement?

Perhaps, um, more than you think?

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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The First Merch of Equestria

Now this is enthusiasm:

About the time this video hit half a million views, Twilight Sparkle took matters into her own hooves:

“You know all about this, don’t you?”

You bet I do.

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Moosic lovers

Yeah, they’re grazing. But that was before she started playing:

As William Congreve never said, “Music hath charms to soothe the savage pot roast.”

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In case of emergency

An NHL team has a goalie and, should circumstances demand, a backup goalie. Once in a very blue moon, they play the theme from The Third Man:

Chicago was doing the sensible thing here, since (1) amateur tryout contracts cost zilch in salary and (2) the emergency backup guy will be at the game anyway and (3) starting goalie Corey Crawford was already ailing. I mean, it’s not like this 36-year-old accountant who fools around with the game on weekends is gonna be playing in the National Hockey League, fercryingoutloud.

And then:

And if he never gets the call again, he finishes with a save percentage of 1.000. You can’t beat that with a hockey stick.


How doth the little busy bee

Answer: She had help from a human:

And because I needed an excuse, here is your background music: “Bumble Boogie” by the pseudonymous B. Bumble and the Stingers, from those hyperactive days of 1961.

The actual Stingers were studio musicians at a Los Angeles record label and weren’t able to tour to support the hit, and a group of teens from Ada By God Oklahoma was anointed as the touring version of the band. “Bumble” himself was guitarist R. C. Gamble, later professor of economics at Fort Hays State University in Kansas.

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Just a kid

Baby goat emitting cute baby goat sounds:

This is, after all, what cute babies do, if they’re goats.

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Nor is it pink

Eight-year-old girl gets in some target practice:

I understand her frustration toward the end.