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 Read the rest

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).  Friday Freak-Out: Julie Driscoll's "Season of the Witch" (1968) Friday Freak-Out: It's A Beautiful Day's "White Bird" (1971) Friday Freak-Out: The Golden Dawn's "Evolution" (1968) Friday Freak-Out: Arthur Brown's "Nightmare" (1968) Friday Freak-Out: Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" (1970) Read the rest

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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) Read the rest

Pocket Fresnel Lens

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! Read the rest

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

Some iPhone snapshots by Xeni. Read the rest

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 Read the rest

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!) Read the rest

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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

Great Moments in Pedantry: Octopuses, octopi, octopodes Great Moments in Pedantry: Pie charts aren't so bad, after all Great Moments in Pedantry: How "Jurassic Park" got Velociraptors wrong Pedantry of the Day: A "parsec" is a unit of distance, not time Read the rest

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) Read the rest

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) Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-134 launch: BB liveblog on-site, SpaceFlightNow webcast with Miles O'Brien

Shuttle Endeavour launch webcast hosted by Miles O'Brien at

[ 1:53pm ET: ] President Obama is en route despite launch scrub, scheduled to arrive Kennedy Space Center at 2:10pm ET. We may see Air Force One overhead shortly. The president is reportedly en route to say hello to astronauts and Gabrielle Giffords.

[ 1:03pm ET: ] Mike Leinbach, Shuttle Launch Director with NASA, is speaking about why the launch was called off. NASA now says Endeavour won't launch before Monday at 2:33pm EDT. My notes:

A thermostat on one of the fuel lines, one of the heater units, failed. We tried to get the line to cool down, to see if thermostat would kick in, and tried other methods to activate -- but failed. We have a hard failure. There was another heater also exhibiting funny behavior. We believe we have a problem in the LCA, load control assemblies, switch box. Maybe a problem in the box, or in the line leading in to the box, or out of the box. But we didn't want to commit to flight with only one of the heaters functioning. Need to be able to heat the fuel [Ed. note: fuel can become very cold in space, you don't want your fuel freezing]. Probably tomorrow afternoon they'll get hands on the assembly. Once we can get in to the avionics bay where the LCA exists, we can do troubleshooting, see if we need to change out that box. We've declared a minimum of 72 hours.
Read the rest

The vitamin rebound effect

I've seen a lot of discussion over the past few years about whether or not taking vitamin pills actually produces any health benefits. Several studies have shown that vitamin-takers are no more healthy than non-vitamin takers. Now, a new study might hold a clue to why that's the case. Turns out, people who take vitamins make less-healthy choices in their daily lives. Read the rest

HOWTO quilt a 3D Mad Tea Party set

This Mad Tea Party tea-set was painstakingly quilted in 3D by Instructables user Technoplastique who documented the whole process in a great (if somewhat daunting) HOWTO:
This tea set is made with quilting done in a dimensional way. It's a set of 4 teacups, 4 saucers and a teapot. This version is made with a striped fabric so that each teacup has a different design, perfect for a mad tea party. The set is entirely hand sewn, so it's a super project for keeping your hands busy in front of the tv.
Quilted Mad Tea Party Set (Thanks, Christy!) Read the rest

Low-energy astrophysics: How scientists are trying to save the Earth

Listen to the scientists. That's what we say. When lots of different scientists, working separately, are turning up evidence that the Earth is getting warmer and human activities are to blame, then we should heed their warnings.

Scientists, from many different disciplines, say that their research shows we should be concerned about climate change. If we want to reduce our risk, we'll have to start using less fossil fuels. That's a big shift in the way the world thinks about energy. It's bound to change our lives—and we may not necessarily like all the changes. And that fact begs a question: Do the scientists who sound the alarm on climate change have a responsibility to take the lead on energy change?

Phil Marshall thinks so. He's an astrophysicist. That may not be a field of science you immediately associate with the study of climate change, but there's actually a surprisingly strong connection. Astrophysicists know a lot about planetary atmospheres. From their work, we've learned more about the greenhouse effect—the way higher carbon dioxide concentrations in an atmosphere make a planet warmer. In 2004, the American Astronomical Society called for policy makers to base their decisions on the weight of scientific evidence. Climate change is real, they said, and politicians need to recognize that fact.

But astrophysicists also use a lot of energy. Like many scientists, they rely on energy-intensive technologies for gathering data. But, for astronomers, using that technology often means traveling halfway around the world on a jet plane, burning fuel all along the way. Read the rest

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