How to eat a corn in 10 seconds

how to eat a corn in 10 seconds via reddit's "Learn Useless Talents" section

Button making kit for kids

In this short video, Jane shows how to use the Sukie Button Factory to make fabric-covered buttons (also known as badges). The kit comes with a sheet of fabric and 25 metal snap-together buttons.

The first-ever convention celebrating Community is taking place in February!

Attention Community fans who live in or are willing to visit the Los Angeles area: CommuniCon, the first convention devoted entirely to the excellent (but neglected) show is taking place February 9-10, 2013 at Los Angeles City College, where they happen to shoot a lot of exteriors for the show! (Not to be confused with CommuniCon, Inc.) Some of the details have yet to be decided on, but Dan Harmon and the cast are expected to be in attendance. Also worth mentioning: Community is returning to NBC on Thursday, February 7 at 8:00 PM, its old time slot (replacing 30 Rock)! News I missed while I waited for my power to come back on after Hurricane Sandy, but better a whole entire month late than never! (via CommuniCon Tumblr)

XKCD on cancer, and commemorating a biopsy-versary

Today's edition of the webcomic XKCD rings true for me, as I'll be marking the one-year mark from my own diagnosis tomorrow. Randall, much respect. I wish both of you the best.

Hubble Space Telescope Advent calendar

Starting tomorrow, you can visit the Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar for daily pictures of the cosmos.

Coming soon: Dinosaur hotel

A Best Western in Denver is set to begin a remodeling project that will turn it into a dinosaur-themed wonderland. (Via Alexandra Witze)

Real shell as iPhone loudspeaker

Earlier this month, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design kindly brought me out to meet with grad students and attend the annual MCAD Art Sale where I was happily overwhelmed with a fantastic collection of student and recent graduates' work at affordable prices. Within minutes of walking in, I was drawn to two pieces at opposite ends of the building. The first was a painting created by a CNC milling machine outfitted with a pen. (That painting and its brethren in the series will be the subject of a later post here.) The second piece is what you can see above, the Shellphone Loudspeaker. Amazingly, it turned out that both the CNC painting and the Shellphone were created by the same young artist/designer/maker, Andrew Vomhof. The Shellphone Loudspeaker, made by Andrew with collaborator Karl Zinsmaster, is absolutely wonderful and I purchased one immediately. It's a real Whelk shell hand-carved to perfectly sit an iPhone (4 or 5). The shell acts as a natural amplifier for the iPhone's speakers.

Now, this thing doesn't come close to the output of powered speakers. Duh. But it does increase the volume quite a bit and layers the sound with a subtly echoey and organic vibe. But that isn't really the point. It's a wonderful curiosity at the intersection of nature, art, and technology. And it's beautiful to boot. Vomhof and Zinsmaster have launched a Kickstarter to bring their prototype design into full production. Pledge $60 and, if they hit their goal of $10,000, you'll receive your own Shellphone Loudspeaker early next year.

Shellphone Loudspeaker

How monoculture farming changes biodiversity

This image, taken by artist David Liittschwager shows the plants and animals collected in a square meter of South African public park over the course of 24 hours.

This image, from National Public Radio, illustrates the plants and animals found over the course of two nights and three days in an Iowa cornfield.

Robert Krulwich has a fascinating piece about the ways food systems affect ecological systems. How efficient is too efficient?

Via On Earth

Imagine a world in which Nicolas Cage is in every movie ever made

(Video link) It feels like Nicolas Cage is in every single movie, but he actually isn't! He's just in quite a few of them, and I commend him for keeping busy. But what if he really did make his way into some of our most beloved movies? Through the magic of editing, Pleated Jeans has inserted Mr. Cage into a selection of classic movies so we can, for a short time, imagine how much better everything would be with him in it. Because My Girl? Such a downer. But not with Nicolas Cage. (via Flavorwire)

A dreadful hoax!

This rang true to me. The education system I was put through did exactly this... (The South Park-ish style also made me smile.)

The wild rivers above California

Atmospheric rivers are meteorological phenomenon that we humans only discovered in 1998 and which supply about 30-to-50 percent of California's annual precipitation. In the NOAA satellite image above, the atmospheric river is visible as a thin yellow arm, reaching out from the Pacific to touch California. Or, more evocatively, reaching out to slap California silly with a gushing downpour.

An atmospheric river is a narrow conveyor belt of vapor about a mile high that extends thousands of miles from out at sea and can carry as much water as 15 Mississippi Rivers. It strikes as a series of storms that arrive for days or weeks on end. Each storm can dump inches of rain or feet of snow.

The real scare, however, is that truly massive atmospheric rivers that cause catastrophic flooding seem to hit the state about once every 200 years, according to evidence recently pieced together (and described in the article noted above). The last megaflood was in 1861; rains arrived for 43 days, obliterating Sacramento and bankrupting the state.

As you might guess, climate change is also involved. Evidence suggests that warming global temperatures could increase the frequency of atmospheric rivers. That, combined with the 200-year event expected soon and the fact we're learning so much much more about these storms, means that you should expect to hear the phrase "atmospheric river" more often.

Scientific American has two interesting stories on the phenomenon right now. The first, which I quote from above, is a blog post by Mark Fischetti. The second is a much longer feature story that gets into the forces that cause these storms and the climate change connection.

The social science of Middle Earth

The Lord of the Rings Project collects and analyzes data on all the characters inhabiting Middle Earth, to produce statistical comparisons of life expectancy, age distribution, population, and more.

Realistic chocolate baby-heads


The evil bakers at Eat Your Heart Out showcase these custom-made, specially commissioned hyper-realistic chocolate baby heads, suitable for an infanticidal feast. They won't say who commissioned 'em, but I'm guessing whomever it is has plans for a hell of an office Christmas party.

A private commission (that’s all we can say), they are solid white chocolate baby heads, and the same size as the head of your average newborn baby. They also TERRIFY me! As I was tweeting earlier there is something SO disturbing about these heads but I just can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s as they have no body, or maybe it’s just as they are a baby’s head?!? Either way I am so proud to be heading up a movement which leads to the creation of amazing edible works of art just like these. We’ll be using them in a project very soon I am sure!!!

Hyper Realistic Solid Chocolate Baby Heads! MUST SEE!!! (via Super Punch)

Judge considers unusual plea deal for accused WikiLeaks source Manning

The Associated Press has details on the unusual plea deal being considered in the case of Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of passing classified documents to Wikileaks.
On Thursday, a military judge, Col. Denise Lind, accepted the terms under which Private Manning would plead guilty to eight charges for sending classified documents to WikiLeaks.

The judge’s ruling does not mean the pleas have been formally accepted. That could happen in December.

But she approved the language of the offenses to which Private Manning would admit, which she said would carry a total maximum prison term of 16 years.

Private Manning made the offer as a way of accepting responsibility for the leaks. Government officials have not said whether they would continue prosecuting him for the other 14 counts he faces, including aiding the enemy. That offense carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Read more.

Julian Assange on WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, and new Julian Assange book

Democracy Now has an interview with Julian Assange, speaking from inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has been holed up for about six months. Assange speaks about his new book, "Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet," about the EU ruling that credit card companies did not commit a crime in blocking payment to Wikileaks. And, Bradley Manning's pre-trial hearing.