Lisa Katayama's Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks from Japan is a perfectly charming, utterly 21st century household hints book that is sure to surprise you at least five times, in a most delightfully useful way.
The household ingenuity captured herein really caught fire in the post-war period, when Occupied Japan's poor economy made a virtue out of frugal and clever homebrew products. The name Urawaza comes from gamer slang, referring to the programmers' back-doors that let players gain points, levels and advantage by doing something unexpected, and it's the perfect appellation for the surprisingly satisfying knowledge that you can keep your cut flowers longer by dropping a copper penny in the water, carry a heavy box more readily if you stack it atop a lighter one, and so on.
Each of these Urawazas comes with a technical explanation of why it is believed to work, and the book itself is framed as a kind of commentary on the dying away of ingenuity in our era of cheap, specialized products. The writing is great, and Joel Holland's infographic-style illos are the perfect complement to the text.
The Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook is a 1965 classic: Famous Monsters of Filmland founder Forrest Ackerman tapped movie makeup legend Dick Smith to create guides for turning yourself into any of three Martians, two kinds of werewolf, a “weird-oh,” a “derelict,” a ghoul, a mummy, Frankenstein’s monster, Quasimodo, Mr Hyde, “split face,” and more.
These Japanese robots’ performance of “Robot’s Delight” — an extended, braggadocios riff on the state of AI learning-through-imitation research, with break-dancing — won Best Video at the 2017 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction. (via 4 Short Links)
Jonathan Coulton is known for a myriad of distinct accomplishments. The tech professional-turned-musician once conducted a Thing a Week experiment, in which he recorded and published a new song every Friday for a year, produced a cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” infamously adopted by the Fox series Glee, regularly contributes to the NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another” as its very own one-man band, and runs his own fan cruise aptly called the JoCo Cruise.
Maybe it’s entirely because of podcast ads, but drag-and-drop tools like Squarespace have gotten immensely popular in recent years. While it’s definitely a great tool for any non-coders who want to get a small website up and running quickly, managing content with a primarily visual interface can become a pain once you have more than […]
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]