Bees make blue honey by harvesting waste from M&Ms manufacturing

Beekeepers in Ribeauville, France discovered blue honey in their hives. When they investigated further, they discovered that their bees were harvesting M&Ms manufacturing waste from a biogas plant that processes the industrial runoff from a Mars chocolate factory. The blue honey will not be offered for sale. From the BBC:

The plant operator said it regretted the situation and had put in place a procedure to stop it happening again.

"We discovered the problem at the same time [the beekeepers] did. We quickly put in place a procedure to stop it," Philippe Meinrad, a spokesman from Agrivalor, the company operating the biogas plant, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The company, which deals with waste from a Mars chocolate factory, said it would clean out the containers, store all incoming waste in airtight containers and process it promptly, according to a company statement published in Le Monde newspaper.

French beekeepers in Ribeauville abuzz over blue honey (via IO9)

(Image: M&Ms, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from gcourbis's photostream) Read the rest

Talk sophisticated with PronunciationManual

The PronunciationManual YouTube account consists of short clips of clearly enunciated borrowed words and proper nouns that are often uttered by English speakers, including some tricky single malt Scotch whiskey names. These pronunciations are sure to impress your friends with your nous (pronounced "nooo-see") and sophistication.

PronunciationManual's YouTube channel (via Kottke) Read the rest

Ladyada's geeky coloring book for makers of all ages

Phil Torrone sez,

Ladyada's "E is for Electronics" is a coloring book adventure with electronic components and their inventors.

Makers of all ages can learn, color, and share common parts and historical figures throughout history. Explore the world of electronics with Ladyada as your guide!

This is the first ever open-source electronics coloring book! Adafruit's coloring books are manufactured in the USA by a family owned and operated business, we use non-toxic soy based, water soluble and environmentally friendly printing supplies. The equipment used is solar powered! Crayons not included.

Ladyada’s "E is for Electronics" (Thanks, Phil!) Read the rest

Pirate Flix: Video remix contest

On the NYC leg of my Pirate Cinema tour, I'll be stopping at Brooklyn's wonderful indie bookstore WORD. The WORD folks have cooked up a remix video competition for the event, inviting you to make short remix videos, 1-3 minutes long. I'll be judging the finalists, and the winner will be screened at my reading and signing on Oct 15. Submissions need to be in by Oct 12, so get cracking! Read the rest

Why is the sky dark at night?

So, the sky looks blue because of the particular gases in our atmosphere reflect and scatter the blue wavelengths of light from the Sun. Fair enough. But that leads directly to a second question that, I'm ashamed to say, I never really thought to ask — why doesn't the light from all the stars in the Universe reflect and scatter off our atmosphere, producing a blue sky, all the time?

This Minute Physics video provides a great explanation, which is grounded in both the timey-wimeyness of astrophysics and the limitations of our own human biology.

Via BrainPickings

Read the rest

Gay Boy Scout denied his Eagle Scout award

Back in the Summer, I told you about a movement among Eagle Scouts, some of whom have been sending back their awards — in effect, resigning — in protest of The Boys Scouts of America's discriminatory policy banning gay, bi, and trans scouts and troop leaders, as well as atheists.

Here's a great example of the people those men are trying to stick up for: Ryan Andresen is 17, he's been in Boy Scouts for over a decade and has completed all the Eagle Scout requirements, including working with younger kids on a tolerance/anti-bullying project for his community service requirement.

But Andresen isn't going to get to be an Eagle Scout, because he's openly gay.

The Boy Scouts of America sent a statement to several news organizations, including ABC, in which they say they didn't inquire about Ryan's sexual orientation.

"This scout proactively notified his unit leadership and Eagle Scout counselor that he does not agree to scouting's principle of 'Duty to God' and does not meet scouting's membership standard on sexual orientation," Deron Smith, a spokesman for the organization said in a statement. "Agreeing to do one's 'Duty to God' is a part of the scout Oath and Law and a requirement of achieving the Eagle Scout rank."

In an interview with Yahoo! News Ryan said that his scoutmaster knew he was gay.

"He had been telling me all along that we'd get by the gay thing," Ryan told Yahoo News. "It was by far the biggest goal of my life.

Read the rest

Back Yard Air Bubble, 1961

Only $50! Scanned and uploaded to X-Ray Delta One's photostream, and shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool. View larger sizes here. Read the rest

Mark your calendar now for December 2013 comet-viewing party

Provided that the world does not end in December of 2012, you might have the opportunity to view a particularly impressive comet around Christmastime in 2013. The poetically named C/2012 S1 (ISON) will pass at a-safe-yet-great-for-viewing distance from Earth, after first passing close to the Sun — a combination that promises to produce a beautiful tail and fabulous comet-spotting opportunities, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. Read the rest

Physicist dance bombs Stephen Hawking

So, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show they have a thing called a "Dance Dare". The basic idea: Sneak up around somebody when they aren't looking and boogie down, just outside their peripheral vision. If you're caught, stop dancing. Play casual. Wander away.

Which brings us to this video.

Krister Shalm is a postdoc in the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He is also a swing dancer.

A couple of weeks ago, Stephen Hawking visited the University of Waterloo and Krister took the opportunity to do a Dance Dare on the esteemed physicist. The other Ellen Dance Dares are sort of club dance-y in nature, but Krister opted for a little jazz jig more fitting his personal skill set. Read the rest

Kickstarting a free/open adult education book

Dan sez, "Most adult education teachers are subject-matter experts but have no experience teaching. This book, 'How to Teach Adults,' contains everything you need to start, well, teaching adults: How to find a job, plan your class, teach your students and change the world. It's short and eminently practical. The Kickstarter campaign for it ends early morning October 10th, and the book will be FREE (and DRM-free!) to download by January 2013. The author (me) has 10+ years teaching experience and has co-written and distributed free 'Know Your Rights' comic books for youth of color and South Asian immigrants. If you never want to sit through another boring lecture, support this book and download it next January!"

"How to Teach Adults": A Free, Beautiful E-Book (Thanks, Dan!) Read the rest

Astrophysics student with lymphoma makes epic trek

Andy Lyon, an astrophysics student at UC Berkeley, was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2008. He went through chemotherapy, and returned to school, but his cancer returned. He did a stem cell transplant, but remission only lasted a few months. Faced with a now more limited range of options, he chose to forgo medical treatment and instead try and hike the entire 2,600 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. His cancer returned in the form of a tumor on his spinal cord. He is off the trail and back in treatment. It may be hard for people without cancer to get why he'd make the decisions he did, but I get it. And I hope he's back on the trail soon. UPDATE: Oh hey, he's back on the trail. (thanks, Kit Mitchell)

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Mitt Romney agrees with you

Use the RoboRomney service to fill in your positions on issues from abortion to the economy to gun-control, and the system will mine a database of real Romney quotes to produce a position paper in which the candidate agrees with everything you say. Read the rest

Artisanal mayonnaise is giving me a post-modern headache

"These… mayonnaise people. Have I assumed their pretension too harshly? Did I falsely detect a sense of irony so thick they don’t even know when they’re kidding anymore? Why do I assume they aren’t earnest in their love of mayonnaise? They look like nice people." Amber Frost at Dangerous Minds. [I get it, but I'd also like to try some. Maybe they should Put a Bird on It.] Read the rest

Happy 50th, Mr. Bond! Here is the fancy new song that Adele sang for you

The fancy new James Bond theme, "Skyfall," sung by Adele is out, and it's pretty sweet! You can buy it at iTunes and consume it in video form on the singer's YouTube page. Adele has experienced some moderate success this year with both her career and her life, and singing the new Bond theme was a good way of acknowledging she cannot pull off the "melodiously heartbroken" thing anymore. (via Adele on YouTube) Read the rest

Useless Machines in a political struggle

[Video Link] I feel cheated because this Useless Machine video runs out after only 11 minutes and five seconds.

Buy a Useless Machine kit from The Frivolous Engineering Company Inc Read the rest

How to steal the Space Shuttle

Jason Torchinsky of Jalopnik wrote a detailed scenario on how to steal the Space Shuttle in Los Angeles.

Yesterday morning I was at the California Science Center's press conference outlining their plan to drag a massive spaceship across Los Angeles. It was one of those times where logistics can make even the most outlandish plans seem boring, as they went over schedules and road closures and the like. While they were describing the locations where Endeavour would be stopped for viewing or technical reasons, I realized that this was the most exposed this priceless spaceship will ever be. Which, of course, got me thinking. Could someone steal the Space Shuttle?

The LAPD officers in charge of the security portion of the massive moving project were there, but it was pretty clear their responsibilities had to do with keeping people and the city safe, not protecting the Shuttle from theft. I asked both officers if they thought, given Bond supervillian-levels of resources, it would be possible for someone to steal the shuttle.

They made two mistakes in their answers. First mistake was that the first cop told me it was "impossible." The second mistake was that the other policeman told me "I won't say impossible." Now it sounds like a challenge.

How To Steal The Space Shuttle: A Step-By-Step Guide Read the rest

Ticket to hell (and back)

Apparently, this remarkable little coupon was offered up at auction, once upon a time.

This is a souvenir of a visit to a Coney Island Bowery amusement called Darkness and Dawn. It was a Cyclorama, and had been created for an exposition in Omaha, Nebraska in 1898. It was brought to the Coney Island Bowery at the turn of the century. The souvenir is card stock, in the shape of a coffin, and has a skull and crossbones illustration at top. It also has a quote from "The Devil." The same image and text is printed on both sides (shown). The attraction on the Bowery was destroyed by fire in 1903, and was rebuilt for Luna Park several years later.

Anonymous Works: "Darkness and Dawn" (via Morbid Anatomy) Read the rest

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