Hipster to-do list

 Wp-Content Uploads 2011 04 Checklist According to Mission Mission, this to-do list was found in a San Francisco bar. Click to see it larger. Mission Mission's headline is "Busy hipsters have epic to-do lists." (Thanks, Jess Hemerly!)

Police medic wields magic wellness stick

Police_Medic_-_Hell_Beat_You_Well_With_His_Magic_Wellness_Stick.jpg "Primum non nocere." Unless you have a cool-looking baton and you just can't help yourself.

Stolen Camera Finder

Matt Burns created this website to help you find your stolen camera. It looks on the web for other photos with the same EXIF ID.

Stolen Camera Finder

Friday Freak-Out: The Rolling Stones' "2,000 Light Years From Home" (1967)

[video link]

Friday Freak-Out: The Rolling Stones perform "2,000 Light Years From Home," from Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967).

Jay Rosen: What I Think I Know About Journalism

Jay Rosen's "What I Think I Know About Journalism" is a four-point mini-manifesto for the future of reporting and newsgathering. Rosen indicts the current notion of reporting with the "View from Nowhere" which Peter Goodman describes as "the routine of laundering my own views [by] dinging someone at some think tank to say what you want to tell the reader." Rosen also celebrates public participation in newsgathering, and decries commodity factual accounts of current events, calling instead for "narratives" that provide frame and context for the facts.
The more people involved in flying the airplane, or moving the surgeon's scalpel during a brain operation, the worse off we are. But this is not true in journalism. It benefits from participation, as with Investigate your MP's expenses, also called crowd sourcing, or this invitation from the Los Angeles Times: share public documents. A far simpler example is sources. If sources won't participate, there often is no story. Witnesses contribute when they pull out their cameras and record what is happening in front of them. The news system is stronger for it...

To feel informed, we also need background knowledge, a framework into which the relevant facts can be put. Or, as I put it in 2008, "There are some stories--and the mortgage crisis is a great example--where until I grasp the whole I am unable to make sense of any part. Not only am I not a customer for news reports prior to that moment, but the very frequency of the updates alienates me from the providers of those updates because the news stream is adding daily to my feeling of being ill-informed, overwhelmed, out of the loop."

What I Think I Know About Journalism (via Memex 1.1)

Scratch-built "freedom press"

Artist Shawn HibmaCronan scratch-built this beautiful printing press for San Francisco International Airport's Terminal 2, working in steel, bamboo, oak, cork, and rope.
I cut the bamboo gears with a CNC router. A few of the steel parts -- namely the counter weight and head arms, as well as the FREEDOM text -- I waterjet cut from 3D SolidWorks files. (I like SolidWorks because it lets me run the gears and get the tolerances perfect.) The steel frame is made out of 3" I-beam that I cut and welded together in my studio. I had to buy a bigger saw and a nice welder for it.

This build was great. Problem solving and finessing things into place for months = happiness. One of the toughest things was keeping all of the components aligned, greased, and square with all of the welding I was doing. Welding and heat makes steel move and do weird things. There are so many tight tolerances and chunky pieces of steel that had to be spot on. It made for lots of fun moments with a big mallet.

The Press (Shawn HibmaCronan)

Building the Freedom Press (Craft)

Pocket Fresnel Lens

Wallet Magnifier Twin Pack.jpeg I'm a maintenance electrician and sometimes need to read tiny serial numbers in dark dirty places, or the color code of a resistor or some other value or rating that is difficult to accurately read with the naked eye, and for the past six months I have found that this wallet lens to be the perfect solution. Outside of magnifying small text, I have even used this to start a fire. The pocket Fresnel makes a brilliant addition to my kit of tools at my job but also is a useful survival tool when I'm outdoors. It fits in my wallet which I'm never without. Even when my kids play with my keys and I can't find them afterwards (or use the tools on my keyring) I know I've still got one tool tucked away. Best part of this lightweight super practical EDC? It's super cheap! I got mine in a 6-pack from Lee Valley, but you can get similar ones elsewhere online. --John Love Wallet Fresnel Lens $2 Don't forget to comment over at Cool Tools. And remember to submit a tool!

Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-134 launch: snapshots from media camp

Some iPhone snapshots by Xeni.

Giddy delight at technological progress

My Make column "Memento Mori" talks about the giddy, delightful vertigo I experience when I realize how fast and how far technology has come, and how fast it's moving:
I'm often puzzled by how satisfying older technology is. What a treat it is to muscle around an ancient teletype, feeding it new-old paper-tape or rolls of industrial paper with the weight of a bygone era. What pleasure I take from the length of piano roll I've hung like a banner from a high place in every office I've had since 2000.

How much satisfaction I derive from the racing works of the 1965 mechanical watch I received as a Father's Day present this year, audible in rare moments of ambient silence or when my hand strays near my ear, going tick-tick-tick-tick like the pattering heart of a pet mouse held loosely in my hand.

The standard explanation for the attractiveness of this old stuff is simply that They Made It Better In The Old Days. But this isn't necessarily or even usually true. Some of my favorite old technologies are as poorly made as today's throwaway products from China's Pearl River Delta sweatshops.

Take that piano roll, for example: a flimsy entertainment, hardly made to be appreciated as an artifact in itself. And those rattling machine-gun teletypes and caterpillar-feed printers -- they have all the elegance of a plastic cap gun that falls apart after the first roll of caps has run through it.

Memento Mori

Untouchable blood-camera goes to Africa for HIV portrait series

Wayne Martin Belger created the blood camera, which incorporates HIV-infected blood that acts as a red filter for portraits of HIV+ people. Now he's taking the project, which is called "Untouchable," to Africa:

I'm taking the untouchable to Sierra Leona, Liberia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Calcutta and 5 locations in Cambodia to do portraits of people living with HIV. I'm working with a major international HIV Health organization to make it all happen and they are really excited about the possibility of this project creating a new view of the global HIV community. So far, I've photographed about 60 people all over the US. With the Africa/Asia photos it will give a world contrast on how your geo location makes all the difference in your well-being and how major pharmaceutical profits need are at the heart of life and death.

I have a publisher that wants to do a book on the project and two major venues that are excited about exhibiting the finale work next year.

Bloodworks: Africa (Thanks, Wayne!)

Poop into power

"If you look at fecal matter, what is it? It's carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and minerals -it's a great source of stuff for doing this." — Ian Gates, associate professor in chemical engineering at the University of Calgary. He's working on a method to turn human poop into a source of renewable energy. (Submitterated by hughadam)

Great Moments in Pedantry: Parsing the language of porn


In a post that would be horribly NSFW were it not all just a block of text, linguist Arnold Zwicky blogs about how the vagaries of English allow you to interpret the same line from a gay porn in multiple ways.

The story begins with a young man crying out, (1) "Oh yeah, shoot my ass!," at the climactic moment of a segment in the gay porn compilation video A Bronco Named Brad (on the video, see here). The speaker is asking his partner to (2) "shoot [your cum] on my ass, ejaculate on my buttocks" [ONTO reading].

In other contexts, (1) could convey (3) "shoot [your cum] in(to) my ass, ejaculate in(to) my anus" [INTO reading]. Note the two different senses of ass here— 'buttocks' or 'anus', with the anus being the centerpiece of the buttocks, so to speak—related metonymically.

But now for the main linguistic point, shoot 'ejaculate' used, exceptionally, as a transitive verb ...

From there, the post rises to a level of technical language analysis that almost, *almost* distracts from the fact that we're talking about the use of language in a porn that seems to be targeted at Brad-fetishists.

Submitterated by Sam

Image: Some rights reserved by johntrainor

Will SETI close? No, but ...

The good news: It doesn't look like SETI Institute itself is going to shut down for lack of funds. The bad news: Budget cuts do mean SETI might have to mothball its Allen Telescope Array, which searches the far off corners of the Universe for signs of extraterrestrial life. SETI had hoped to use the Array to scan the "Earth-like" planets identified by the Kepler space observatory. But, to do that, they need to raise $5 million. (Submitterated by IanWalker)

That's what she said

Good news, everyone! They've finally programmed a computer capable of getting "That's what she said" jokes! It's called Double Entendre via Noun Transfer, or DEviaNT. (Via Tom Raftery)

Animal-sex Friday

It's Friday, and you know what that means. Yes, blogger Scicurious (who brought us the whale threesome) has another post about animal sex research.

This time, it's about chicken sperm. Specifically, whether roosters alter the quality of their sperm depending on how many other roosters they think have been, uh, laying with their hen—and what social status the hen, herself, has.


Believe it or not, studies in various species have shown that males in more dominant roles often produce a LOWER quality and quantity of sperm than those in subordinate roles. This is presumably because the dominant males don't have to compete as much as the subordinates, they get first pick of the females. But this hasn't been tested before, because the animals being studied understandably get annoyed when you try to get between them and their chosen female to get a sample of the semen.

In this case they decided to try again, using chickens. But not your normal chickens, these were Swedish fowl that live in social groups of up to 16 animals. The males form a dominance hierarchy for access to the females. The most dominant males are obviously going to get first crack at the hens, but the hens will often have multiple matings, and sperm competition is intense. Not only do the females go multiple times, the males can ejaculate up to 40 times within a few hours, which often results in quantity over quality, as the sperm quality decreases over time.

They took males of high and low status, and put them through randomized mating trials over several females, ALSO of high and low status. They took the ejaculate and measured the number of sperm, as well as the velocity, or how good their little swimmers were doing.

And the result? Well, you'll have to go read it. There are graphs that are integral to the story, and I don't want to spoil it. Suffice to say, chicken sperm is a lot more interesting than I would have previously guessed.

Image: Some rights reserved by quinn.anya