My favorite garlic crusher

I use this rocker garlic crusher several times a week. To use it, you just put a peeled clove of garlic under the crusher and rock the crusher over it a few times. It will smash the garlic through the holes, which you can then add to your food or skillet. When you are done, you can rub the stainless steel rocker underwater and "wash" your hands to remove the garlic smell from your skin. I like using this a lot more than a traditional garlic press, which seems to "juice" garlic more than mince it, as this rocker does. It's $15 on Amazon and will last forever. Here's a cheaper version (which I have not tried):

Explore this 3D model of Dunder Mifflin from The Office

Archilogic made this interactive 3D model of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin from The Office.

You can scan over the entire space under "floor plan view," starting off with Pam’s desk and the office of Michael Scott. Then head past the galley kitchen and men’s and women’s bathrooms.

You can zoom in and get up close into all the nooks and crannies. It’s so accurate even the pictures on the walls are the same. And notice how everything is so perfectly placed, like the scattered coffee mugs and boxes of printers stacked on top of the storage cabinets. If you’re a true fan, you’ll recognize the model is based off the show’s final season (hint: the Cornell flag).

Farmers in Canada are also reduced to secretly fixing their tractors, thanks to DRM

In 2011, the Canadian Conservative government rammed through Bill C-11, Canada's answer to the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in which the property rights of Canadians were gutted in order to ensure that corporations could use DRM to control how they used their property -- like its US cousin, the Canadian law banned breaking DRM, even for legitimate purposes, like effecting repairs or using third party parts.

A mother filmed the very invasive TSA pat-down of her teenage son

Every time you think that this TSA guy has finished rubbing every square inch of a boy's body, he comes back for another rubbing. It seems likes he's trying to discover a bobby pin the boy might have hidden in the seam of his clothing. The boy's justifiably upset mom taped the rubdown, which occurred at the Dallas Fort-Worth airport over the weekend. The TSA told Fusion it's all good:

TSA allows for a pat-down of a teenage passenger, and in this case, all approved procedures were followed to resolve an alarm of the passenger’s laptop.

The video shows a male TSA officer explaining the procedure to the passenger, who fully cooperates. Afterward, the TSA officer was instructed by his supervisor, who was observing, to complete the final step of the screening process.

In total, the pat-down took approximately two minutes, and was observed by the mother and two police officers who were called to mitigate the concerns of the mother.

The passengers were at the checkpoint for approximately 35 minutes, which included the time it took to discuss screening procedures with the mother and to screen three carry-on items that required further inspection

[via]

This mountain inspired a prison break in 1943

Stuck in an East African prison camp in 1943, Italian POW Felice Benuzzi needed a challenge to regain his sense of purpose. He made a plan that seemed crazy -- to break out of the camp, climb Mount Kenya, and break back in. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Benuzzi and two companions as they try to climb the second-highest mountain in Africa using homemade equipment.

We'll also consider whether mirages may have doomed the Titanic and puzzle over an ineffective oath.

Show notes

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Photos from the Body Farm

Texas State University's Body Farm (AKA Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University or FACTS) is a 45-year-old facility where the corpses of medical body donors are left to decompose so that researchers can observe the rate at which human remains are consumed by the elements, scavengers and microbes, allowing them to accurately date the bodies of murder victims and those who died accidentally.

Restoration revealed 1920s roulette table was rigged

Enjoy this simple and surprising tale from The Games Room Company, who were tasked with restoring a roulette table operated in Chicago throughout the 1930s: "we found that it had been completely rigged to defraud people and increase the odds of the house during play."

A button disguised as decorative screw, accessible to the croupier, would cause tiny pins to emerge from the ball track's surface, deflecting balls toward house-friendly ball pockets. Powered by batteries hidden in the legs (and dated by the newspaper used as dampers) the mechanism and its results would be undetectable at speed.

Meet a googly-eyed cuttlefish

The operators of the ocean-floor exploring vehicle E/V Nautilus chanced across this absolutely adorable googly-eyed purple cuttlefish, so what they they do? They spent the next five minutes making fun of it! [via Reddit] The team spotted this Stubby Squid off the coast of California at a depth of 900 meters (2,950 feet). The stubby squid (Rossia pacifica) looks like a cross between an octopus and squid, but is more closely related to cuttlefish. This species spends life on the seafloor, activating a sticky mucus jacket and burrowing into the sediment to camouflage, leaving their eyes poking out to spot prey like shrimp and small fish. Rossia pacifica is found in the Northern Pacific from Japan to Southern California, most commonly seen up to 300m deep, but specimens have been collected at 1000m depth. E/V Nautilus is exploring the ocean studying biology, geology, archeology, and more. Watch http://www.nautiluslive.org for live video from the ocean floor. For live dive updates follow along on social media at http://www.facebook.com/nautiluslive and http://www.twitter.com/evnautilus on Twitter. For more photos from our dives, check out our Instagram @nautiluslive.

Someone should remix this so that when the scientists are mocking it ("it looks like a child's toy!") the camera lurches up to see a giant purple Cthulhu looking in the murk above them. Cthulhu booms: "don't talk to me or my son ever again."

Oh, look! A fidget tool

When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!

While serving a sentence in the conference room can be hellishly dull, you can zen it out by keeping your hands busy under the table (not that kind of busy, gross). This Stress Spinner helps you refocus on what matters most—that weird mole on Dave’s neck. Ahem, productively getting through the meeting, that is. With a smooth ceramic center bearing, you can spin it silently to help ease your wandering mind and hone back in on the waves of corporate synergy.

After enough practice, you’ll be able to pull it out of your pocket already spinning without missing a beat. Pick up this Stress Spinner for 66% off, just $19.99.

Explore other Best-Sellers in our store:Coding + DevelopmentLearn to Code 2017 Bundle (Pay What You Want)Accessories Twisty Glass BluntD-I-Y CourseRaspberry Pi 3 Course

Jenny Nicholson's "Top 10 Reasons I Won't Do ASMR" ASMR

I get a huge kick out of the videos of the always-entertaining nerd whisperer Jenny Nicholson. If you haven't seen her channel, check it out and watch as she sits on her bed, surrounded by sci-fi plushies, and shares her quirky, sometimes labyrinthine, and often convincing theories and opinions on sci-fi and fantasy films, comic books, novels, and other nerd media fodder.

In her latest video, she answers many requests she's apparently had for doing ASMR videos by explaining ten reasons why her answer is no. But she delivers her ten reason AS an ASMR video, right down to tapping, scratching, and scrunching things as she talks. One of her ten reasons made me laugh out loud:

"I just don't know how I'm supposed to take myself seriously when I'm crinkling bags for an hour."

For those unfamiliar, ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, is an intense tingling sensation some people claim they experience when they hear certain soft voices, pleasant repetitive sounds, or while watching someone doing a particularly mundane, repetitive activity.

I'm sure Jenny is going to get a lot of grief from ASMRtists for seemingly making fun of them, but I would hope they'd have a healthy sense of humor about it all. Several commenters who claim to experience ASMR said that they laughed at her reasons for not doing it. I do not have ASMR, but I do enjoy listening to some ASMR audio as I'm going to sleep and I'm fascinated by the whole phenomenon and the numerous, surreal, and just plain bizarre videos people are producing in the genre. An hour of nothing but crinkling bags? Andy Warhol would be so proud.

Louis Grabher's personalized auto license plate deemed too offensive to renew

Mr. Grabher's personalized plate, GRABHER, has never been a problem until this year's renewal. The BBC reports that the Nova Scotian motorist was refused permission to plate up his own name—of fine German vintage—by the local transport department. He blames Trump.

"I've never once had anybody come up to me and say they were offended," Mr Grabher told CBC News.

"They would look at it and say, 'Am I reading this right?' And I would go, 'Yes.'

"And they would go, 'Is this your last name?' And I would go, 'Yes.' And they would always just give a little chuckle."

Mr Grabher said he thinks he's being punished for Donald Trump's obscene language.

Gaff card deck has 40 magic tricks

Gaff cards are playing cards that have been doctored ion one way or another so you can do magic tricks that would be very difficult or impossible to do with an ordinary deck. I got The Blue Gaff Deck a few months ago and I love it. There are some amazing tricks you can do with it, and because they have the familiar Bicycle backs, no one will know that you are using gaff cards (as long as you don't flub).

You can do 40 different tricks with the deck (and it comes with a DVD so you can learn them all). My favorite is the B-Wave, which is worth the price of the deck:

Tokyo travel tips, day 2: Yoyogi park

Carla and I took a one-week trip to Tokyo. It was my sixth visit to Japan's capital, and it was my favorite so far. For the next few days, I'll be writing about recommended things to do there. See them all here.

I don't think you're supposed to fry onigiri, at least not the triangle-shaped ones that you buy at convenience stores in Japan. But that's what I did when I made breakfast in our Airbnb on our first morning in Tokyo. The onigiri weren't wrapped in seaweed, and they didn't have a filling. Instead, they were mixed with "mountain vegetables" and pressed into triangles. I heated them up in a skillet with butter, and the outside got crispy brown. They went well with the scrambled eggs I made. (I ended up buying this rice mold on Amazon so I can make them at home.) One thing about Japanese eggs - the yolks are a deep orange color. I don't know why, but they were delicious.

After breakfast we walked to Yoyogi Park in Shibuya. This 40-foot torii gate was just a few minutes' walk from our Airbnb. As soon as we passed under it, we felt like we were far away from the hubbub of Tokyo and had entered a quiet forest. As it was early in the morning (the time difference between LA and Tokyo made it easy to wake up at 5am) there were few people in the park. We walked along a wide, tree-lined path until we reached the huge Meiji shrine. This Shinto shrine was built in 1921, destroyed in WWII air raids, and rebuilt in 1958. Visitors are invited to write prayers on small wooden placards and hang them on hooks in the courtyard

We also visited the Meiji Jingu Inner Garden, which is in the park. It costs about $6 to enter, and is well worth the price. It's been around since the early Edo period (1603-1867) and was the garden of various lords and the Imperial Family. Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) liked the garden so much he wrote a poem about it:

Deep in the woodland of Yoyogi, the quietude creates the illusion of seclusion from the city.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

There's also a pond, a teahouse (closed), and a well that was made by Katō Kiyomasa (1561 – 1611), a famous samurai and a playable character in Pokémon Conquest.

After that, we walked to Harajuku and strolled through the narrow winding streets. I'll write about that tomorrow!

Crowdfunding a subscription to Ms. for every state official in Wyoming, home of America's worst wage-gap

Rudy Rucker writes, "Isabel Rucker and friends are promoting a GoFundMe project to give an Ms. subscription to each of the elected officials in Wyoming. Why? To raise awareness of women's issues. Wyoming has the largest gender pay gap in the country, has the smallest percentage of women in its state legislature, is among the costliest for childcare, and faces continuing cuts in publicly funded family planning and in women's health services."

Shaun Cassidy sings "Rebel Rebel" (1980)

Today, Shaun Cassidy is a successful TV producer. In the 1970s he was better know as the little brother of David Cassidy. In 1979 Shaun hired Todd Rundgren to produce his album Wasp. I don't think the album did well, but is has some great tracks on it, including a cover of David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel," "So Sad About Us' (Pete Townshend), "The Book I Read" (Talking Heads) ,"Once Bitten Twice Shy" (Ian Hunter), "It's My Life" ( Animals) and "Shake Me Wake Me" (Four Tops).

It was his last album.

Here's the whole album:

"I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here's why I left"

Megan Phelps-Roper was born into the Westboro Baptist Church. In this TED Talk, she explains what ut was like in the church and why she left. What's it like to grow up within a group of people who exult in demonizing ... everyone else? Megan Phelps-Roper shares details of life inside America's most controversial church and describes how conversations on Twitter were key to her decision to leave it. In this extraordinary talk, she shares her personal experience of extreme polarization, along with some sharp ways we can learn to successfully engage across ideological lines.

Trip out on Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" concert screen projections

When Pink Floyd took the stage on their mid-1970s "Dark Side of the Moon" tour, they performed in front of a stunning video cut-up created by British animator Ian Emes. Above are screen projections from the 1974 French tour. Below, a reel from the 1975 North American tour. (The album audio was added by someone else later.) From Wikipedia:

Emes' first major work, 'French Windows', was started while he was subsequently a student at Birmingham College of Art and finished while he was unemployed. It was set to the Pink Floyd recording "One of These Days". After it was shown at Birmingham's Ikon Gallery, it was screened on the television programme The Old Grey Whistle Test, and thereby came to the attention of Pink Floyd. The band invited Emes to give them a private screening, and afterwards to make films to be projected during performances of The Dark Side of the Moon. His animation for their song "Time" is on Pink Floyd's Pulse DVD. He subsequently worked with Roger Waters, making live action film for his performance of The Wall – Live in Berlin.

As a result of his work for Pink Floyd, Linda McCartney asked Emes to animate Wings' "Oriental Nightfish". He has also made animations for concerts by Mike Oldfield, and directed The Chauffeur for Duran Duran.

(via r/ObscureMedia)

How America's obsession with hula girls almost wrecked Hawai'i

Over at Collectors Weekly, Lisa Hix has just written an incredibly in-depth history of the hula, from its roots as a sacred dance to its kitschy personification as a dashboard doll. For her piece, Hix spoke with Constance Hale, a hula dancer herself, whose new book, The Natives Are Restless, focuses on authentic, 21st-century expressions of the hula.

Snip:

In his journal, Captain Cook described the Hawaiians’ hula: “Their dances are prefaced with a slow, solemn song, in which all the party join, moving their legs, and gently striking their breasts in a manner and with attitudes that are perfectly easy and graceful.”

In The Natives Are Restless, Hale explains, “To be sexually adept and sensually alive—and to have the ability to experience unrestrained desire—was as important to ancient Hawaiians as having sex to produce offspring. The vital energy caused by desire and passion was itself worshiped and idolized.”

Cook and his men—and the merchants, whalers, artists, and writers who followed—mistook the hula’s sexually charged fertility rituals as a signal the Hawaiians’ youngest and loveliest women were both promiscuous and sexually available to anyone who set foot on their beaches. In her 2012 book Aloha America: Hula Circuits Through the U.S. Empire, historian Adria L. Imada explains how natural hospitality of “aloha” culture—the word used as a greeting that also means “love”—made Hawaiians vulnerable to outside exploitation. To Westerners, the fantasy of a hula girl willingly submitting to the sexual desires of a white man represented the convenient narrative of a people so generous they’d willing give up their land without a fight.

Contrary to this fantasy, the people populating the eight islands of the Hawaiian archipelago weren’t so submissive. In fact, the chiefs reigning the islands of Mau‘i and Hawai‘i had been attacking and raiding each other since the 1650s. But contact with the Western world was something they were unprepared for, and the introduction of Western diseases like smallpox and measles began to weaken and decimate the islands’ native populations.

Escalator malfunction leads to injuries and arrests

After an escalator malfunctioned and reversed its course at high speed, sending shoppers sprawling into a mall concourse, two engineers called in to investigate were themselves arrested and charged with tampering with evidence.

Why were the men arrested?

Officials had called in the two technicians, who work for Otis Elevator Company, to assist in investigations hours after the incident. The escalator had been shut down and all personnel involved in the investigation were ordered not to touch it. Late on Sunday night however, officials discovered that the escalator's auxiliary braking system had been reactivated, reported local media. Newspaper Apple Daily said the reactivation could have affected the escalator's computer data records. Officials ordered police to arrest the two men on the spot.

It's important that we realize there's nothing remotely funny about that video of screaming humans piling up at the foot of a haywire escalator.

Monkeys helped man who mysteriously vanished in the Bolivian Amazon

Tourist Maykool Coroseo Acuña, 25, was lost in the Bolivian Amazon for nine days. He says that he was only able to survive thanks to "a group of monkeys, who dropped him fruit and lead him to shelter and water every day." And that isn't even the strangest part of the story surrounding Acuña. From Elizabeth Unger's fascinating article in National Geographic:

(Tour organizer Feizar Nava) had invited the tourists at the lodge to participate in a Pachamama ceremony—a tradition involving coca leaves, candles, and cigarettes—to thank Pachamama, or Mother Earth, for giving them permission to enter the forest.

When Maykool was asked to join the ceremony alongside the group, he had refused, Feizar said. And when a guide had returned to his cabin to check on him, he was nowhere to be found. The amount of time that had passed between when Maykool was last seen and when someone went back for him was only five minutes.

Panicked, Feizar and his guides checked every inch of the lodge. Maykool wasn’t there. The group headed out into the rainforest with flashlights. They searched until five in the morning, to no avail. Maykool seemed to have completely vanished.

“It’s because he offended the Pachamama.” Feizar said. “He didn’t want to participate in the ceremony.”

"Lost Tourist Says Monkeys Saved Him in the Amazon" (Nat Geo)

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