Hand-cranked penny-dispenser allows anyone to work for minimum wage

Blake Fall-Conroy's "Minimum Wage Machine" is a penny-dispensing Rube Goldberg machine that "allows anybody to work for minimum wage."
Custom electronics, change sorter, wood, plexiglas, motor, misc. hardware, pennies (approx. 15 x 19 x 72 inches)

The minimum wage machine allows anybody to work for minimum wage. Turning the crank will yield one penny every 5.04 seconds, for $7.15 an hour (NY state minimum wage). If the participant stops turning the crank, they stop receiving money. The machine's mechanism and electronics are powered by the hand crank, and pennies are stored in a plexiglas box.

Minimum Wage Machine (Work in Progress) (via Make)

Virtuoso cocktail shaker does his thing

Here's Japanese mixologist Kazuo Uyeda demonstrating his "hard shake" technique. Whatever he's mixing looks delicious.

ginza hard shake (via Kottke)

Charity jewelry auction for Interstitial Arts Foundation

Author Ellen Kushner writes in on behalf of the lovely Interstitial Arts Foundation, saying

To celebrate the release of Interfictions 2, their (our?) second original anthology of interstitial writing (edited by Delia Sherman & Christopher Barzak), the Interstitial Arts Foundation (promoting "art made in the interstices between genres and categories...disciplines, mediums, and cultures") invited artists & crafters to create original pieces based on stories in the book. (We did this months in advance, so all the artists got sneak peeks at the unpublished stories they chose.)

The results include a bookmark sewn with little bits that "make alien things seem oddly familar" like Theodora Goss's story "The Child-Empress of Mars," a glass bottle containing fragments of Shira Lipkin's story "Valentines" recorded in multiple mediums, and a cocktail hat embellished with semi-precious stones, refrigerator magnets, sequins, and an origami frog, all caught in a net along with words, inspired by Camilla Bruce's "Berry Moon."

Bidding runs through December 8th, and stuff will be shipped in time for the holidays. All funds raised will go toward further interstitial art projects, including anthologies, exhibitions, and salons. The IAF is dedicated to supporting and inspiring art that crosses, falls between, or breaks apart borders -- such as the pieces in this year's auction! We were amazed at just how interstitial the actual works turned out to be - and many of the artists have thanked us for giving them space to experiment and stretch their usual boundaries.

Interstitial Arts Foundation Auctions (Thanks, Ellen!)

Washington State to Microsoft: why aren't you paying your taxes?

Jeff sez,

Last week, Microsoft told Seattle's KUOW: 'We pay all our tax obligations everywhere we are, properly.' Today, Microsoft Tax Dodge, a new website focused on the company's royalty tax dodge, challenged CEO Steve Ballmer today to live up to his spoken commitment to transparent business practices: 'At this point, I think it's reasonable to ask Microsoft to back up that claim with a public explanation of the company's licensing operations. In that spirit, will you tell the public how it is that Microsoft has avoided paying Washington State's B&O Royalty Tax for the past 12 years?' Washington State currently faces a projected $2.6 billion deficit. In addition to the ethical and public relations issues that crumbling bridges and overcrowded schools (Seattle recently considered making D a passing grade) present to the state's most profitable company, the compa ny also faces deeper scrutiny of the legality of its tax practice.
An Open Letter to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: Quit Dodging Washington Taxes (Thanks, Jeff!)

(Image: WEB DEVELOPERS!, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from Nick, Programmerman's photostream)

Disused call-box turned into world's smallest lending library

Steve sez, "A traditional red phone box has been recycled into one of the UK's smallest lending libraries - stocking 100 books, CDs, and DVDs. The phone booth was bought from British Telecom for £1, and it looks like something right out of a Doctor Who episode." [ed: technically, the Tardis is a police call box, which is green blue, not red] [/comicbookguy]

Users simply stock it with a book they have read, swapping it for one they have not...

"This facility has turned a piece of street furniture into a community service in constant use."

A resident dreamed up the idea when the village lost its phone box and mobile library in quick succession.

Phone box has new life as library (Thanks, Steve!)

(Image: Phone box and bus stop, Cheriton, Hampshire, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from Mike Cattell's photostream)

Juggling is good for you in lots of ways

Here's Scot Nery's list of eight reasons why normal people should learn to juggle. My old roommate, Possum Man, was a hell of a juggler, and though he took it up as physiotherapy for an arm injury, it quickly built to an avocation. Flaming torch and machete juggling was always a favorite at our parties.
#2 Got The Hunchies?
The average person spends 312 hours per day at a computer. Your back and neck get outta whack, your wrists start hurting and your legs fall asleep. You can combat this crappy feeling by doing light exercise - juggling is perfect. To hone the art of juggling, you need to think about standing up straight, relaxing, and using your hands correctly.

#3 I can't de-stress you with my eyes
It's nice to learn something new, do something active and get away from what seems important in your life. You can lose your tension through tons of hobbies, but juggling is a great combination of physical activity, brain stimulation, joy of success, and visual stimulation. Here's another scientific study...

8 Reasons Normal People Should Juggle

(Photo: WJD2008 - 7 JUGGLING BEANBAGS, a Creative Commons Attribution photo from madaboutasia's photostream) (via Kottke)

Change, alright -- at Little Green Footballs

"An extraordinary moment in the political blogosphere," noted @Greatdismal on Twitter, and I agree. "Feels like some rare astronomical event, something we hear about but don't bother hoping to see," he added -- "somebody changing their mind." Why I Parted Ways With The Right, at Little Green Footballs (yeah, you read that correctly).


Good news! Climate change means better wine, with a higher alcohol content. From the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Chapter 1, "The consequences of warming are already detectable in wine quality, as shown by Duchêne and Schneider (2005), with a gradual increase in the potential alcohol levels at harvest for Riesling in Alsace of nearly 2% volume in the last 30 years. On a worldwide scale, for 25 of the 30 analysed regions, increasing trends of vintage ratings (average rise of 13.3 points on a 100-point scale for every 1°C warmer during the growing season), with lower vintage-to-vintage variation, has been established (Jones, 2005)."

Sherrifs speak on "Pulp Fiction" screenwriter's jailhouse tweets

"He really messed up. He could have done nine months out of a year sentence, and not even in lock up for killing someone. Now he is going to do the remainder of that time in county jail." Ventura County Sheriff's spokesman Ross Bonfiglio on the matter of Roger Avary's jailhouse tweets, previously blogged on BB first here and later here.

Racist driving book written by Balloon Boy dad

1031_richard_heene_book_02.jpg Richard Alan Heene, best known for orchestrating the Balloon Boy hoax in October, once wrote a really bad supposed-to-be-funny book called The Official Offensive Driving Handbook. It includes racial stereotypes illustrated by exaggerated photos of buck-toothed "Orientals," turbaned "Towelheads," and "Bros" in Cadillacs. The book appears to be no longer in stock on Amazon. Balloon Boy's dad — not smart, not funny [TMZ]

Energy Literacy 3: Energy, Power, Carbon.  The basic concepts of energy literacy.


Saul Griffith is an inventor and entrepreneur. He did his PhD at MIT in programmable matter, exploring the relationship between bits and atoms, or information and materials. Since leaving MIT, he has co-founded a number of technology companies including www.optiopia.com, www.squid-labs.com, www.instructables.com, www.potenco.com, and www.makanipower.com.

How do we measure energy and power?

If you would like to quantitatively understand the relationship between your lifestyle, global energy use, and climate change, you need to establish the language with which you can translate between these things. There are many different ways we use energy, many different ways we produce energy, and many different consequences environmentally. Power and energy are being measured around us all of the time. You get your electricity bill in kilowatt hours (kWh), your gas bill in Therms or British Thermal Units (BTUs), your car's performance is measured in horsepower, and your lightbulbs are rated in watts. To compare these things you need a common set of units, and we've already encountered 4 different units (kWh, BTU, Hp, W), and two different concepts - energy and power -- and we've only just started.

The first problem with comparing these things is that some of them (BTUs and kWh) are measures of energy consumed, and some of them (horsepower and watts) are measures of power. To add to this confusion, some of them are measures of primary energy (barrels of oil equivalent, or metric tons of coal), some are measures of net electrical power at your outlet (W), some are measures of thermal energy or heat, and some are measures of net mechanical power (Hp at the wheels of your car). To wade your way through all of this, you need an intuition for the difference between energy, and power. Energy can actually be an abstract concept, while people often have a more intuitive understanding of power-- "my car has 200 horsepower!˝

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Sophie Madeleine plays "Don't Think Twice It's All Right" on ukulele

Here's Sophie Madeleine (aka Balls of the Rocky and Balls duo) playing Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice It's All Right" on the ukulele.

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Latest Improv Everywhere perfomance: man gets "lost" at Knicks game

Charlie Todd says: "For our latest mission, Agent Lathan pretended to get lost during a Knicks game. Throughout the second half he kept appearing further and further away from his assigned seat with a confused look on his face." After a while, a bunch of people started calling out to Rob.

Where's Rob?

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Cute Apple parody from The Sun

This seems a great illustration of why taking a positive, light-hearted tone makes the message. If there'd even been a hint of resentment or mean-spiritedness in this ad (for one of Murdoch's papers!), it would just invite ridicule.

Drew Friedman draws Frank Sinatra

My favorite living portrait artist Drew Friedman offers his take on Frank Sinatra. The fine art prints, in an edition of just 35, are $165 each. From Drew's site:
 Drewfriedman Images 7047575999-1 This portrait of Frank Sinatra by Drew Friedman captures the Chairman of the Board during the 1950s, when his persona defined sophisticated swinging. Frank knew how to hold a note, his liquor, and a dame. In button-down mainstream America, Sinatra oozed free 'n easy; on the opposite side of the cultural divide, Ol' Blue Eyes didn't have to behave like a beatnik to convey cool....

Sinatra performed with the élan of an artist who had no serious competitors. The nonchalant gestures never undercut the passion in The Voice, and his smooth delivery always hinted at power in reserve. Ten years after Frank's passing, his recordings continue to enchant old fans and seduce new ones. A personality larger than life, a legacy bigger than death. "Whatever else has been said about me personally is unimportant," he claimed. "When I sing, I believe. I'm honest."

Frank Sinatra by Drew Friedman