See this odd "ouroboros" robot roll right along

Researchers from Germany's University of Bielefeld presented their OUROBOT, a "Self-Propelled Continuous-Track-Robot for Rugged Terrain," at the recent IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. From their technical paper:

Adapting the concept of continuous tracks that are propelled and guided by wheels, a self-propelled continuous-track-robot has been designed and built. The robot consists of actuated chain segments, thus enabling it to change its form, independent of guiding mechanisms. Using integrated sensors, the robot is able to adapt to the terrain and to overcome obstacles. This allows the robot to “roll” and climb in two dimensions. Possible extensions of the concept to three-dimensional navigation are presented as an outlook.

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Public Enemy action figures by Ed Piskor

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Boing Boing comic artist Ed Piskor, creator of the stupendous Hip Hop Family Tree, designed this set of Public Enemy Action Figures! They're sculpted by Tomohiro Yasui and stand around 4" tall. They're articulated at the neck, shoulders, hips, elbows, and knees.

Pre-order them from Presspop Toy for $60/set: PUBLIC ENEMY Action Figure Set (via Dangerous Minds)

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Apartment complex evacuated due to man cooking urine

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The Amherst, Mass. fire department evacuated an apartment complex on Wednesday due to a nasty smell coming from one of the units. They saw what appeared to be chemicals cooking on the stove and called in the Hazardous Materials Response and bomb squad. Turns out, the tenant was actually cooking up urine.

According to police, it was distilled urine the tenant was using for unspecified medical purposes.

From Wikipedia: "In alternative medicine urine therapy or urotherapy, (also urinotherapy or uropathy or auto-urine therapy) refers to various applications of human urine for medicinal or cosmetic purposes, including drinking of one's own urine and massaging one's skin, or gums, with one's own urine."

Police aren't charging the tenant with anything, but the building is still locked down until health inspections are complete.

(MassLive) Read the rest

McDonald's will not be making burgers called "Ron's Creamy Surprise" or "Rektal Prolapse"

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I'm loving it. McDonald's New Zealand created a site for people to "build your own unique burger" and name their creations. Problem is, the submissions appeared on the site without moderation. Read the rest

King of Kong also the Prince of Pac-Man

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Remember Billy Mitchell, the star of excellent videogame documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters? In 1999, the Donkey Kong champ was also the first person confirmed to attain a perfect score on Pac-Man.

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Incredible camouflage truck for sale

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Available for $1800 OBO in Lynchburg, Virginia:

1984 Chevy shorted in great shape with a perfect camouflaged paintjob. 4 wheel drive like new interior, very clean windows. low miles.

(Craigslist)

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What does a car crash-proof human look like? Odd. Very odd.

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Melbourne, Australia's Transport Accident Commission commissioned an artist, trauma surgeon, and road safety engineer to imagine and design a human built to survive car wrecks. The result is Graham, seen above. From Road & Track:

"The truth is, our cars have evolved a lot faster than we have," says David Logan, a team member on the project and road safety engineer at the Monash University's accident research center. "Our bodies are just not equipped to handle the forces in common crash scenarios."

To deal with these forces, the team came up with Graham. Protecting his brain is a much larger skull intended to absorb forces and fracture upon impact. His face, concave and fatty, is less likely to be damaged. Instead of a silly wobbly neck, he doesn't really have one at all, reducing the potential for spine and back injuries. His skin is also thicker to prevent lacerations, and his ribs have a layer of external air sacks for maximum protection

Videos:

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This month, Japan will manufacture its last VHS video cassette recorder

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Funai Electric Company, maker of VHS video cassette recorders for its brands like Magnavox, Emerson, and Sanyo, has announced that they will stop production on new VHS video cassette records this month.

According to the newspaper Nikkei, it's difficult to source the parts and, surprise, sales of new units have continued to plummet.

Expect a VHS-only store to appear in a hipster neighborhood near you soon. Y'now, the image just looks... warmer.

(Anime News Network) Read the rest

See this fellow test a 20,000 watt light bulb

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Most of the lightbulbs in your home are probably equivalent to 60 to 100 watts and emit around 800 to 1600 lumens. Above, "electrical overload" fan Photonicinduction fires up a 20,000 watt halogen bulb in a small lab space. Such bulbs are most frequently used on massive film sets. As the gent says, "Mmmm... that is a light bulb." If we had one in our home, my family would still forget to turn it off before leaving the house.

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Video of one year on Earth, from one million miles away

One million miles from Earth, hanging in space between Earth's gravitational pull and the sun's, is the DSCOVR satellite and NASA's incredible EPIC camera. Every two hours, EPIC takes a photo of Earth "to monitor ozone and aerosol levels in Earth’s atmosphere, cloud height, vegetation properties and the ultraviolet reflectivity of Earth." The above video combines one year of those images.

From the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center:

The primary objective of DSCOVR, a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Air Force, is to maintain the nation’s real-time solar wind monitoring capabilities, which are critical to the accuracy and lead time of space weather alerts and forecasts from NOAA.

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Elderly woman beats mugger with bacon

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Police in Greater Manchester, UK report that an 86-year-old woman withdrew cash from an ATM before entering a supermarket where she was confronted by a mugger.

"The lady then defended herself by repeatedly hitting the female offender over the head with a packet of bacon," according to a GMP Trafford South post on Facebook. "The offender then retreated and made off from the supermarket." Read the rest

Watch this side-by-side video of Los Angeles in the 1940s and today

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A drive through downtown Los Angeles in the 1940s and today. Spoiler: Less traffic then! Uglier now!

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See this inventor's odd bicycles from the 1930s

This engineer, active in Kidderminster, England in the 1930s, appears to be the artistic ancestor of San Francisco's Cyclecide bike rodeo. (British Pathé via Weird Universe)

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Preteen robbers throw dummy through window

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On Monday, five kids, around the age of 10, reportedly used a CPR dummy to bash in the window of a convenience store in Peoria, Illinois. They were foiled by bars that prevented them from entering. From the Peoria Journal Star:

According to Peoria police reports, the children, three girls and two boys, all about the age of 10, were at the Jackpot Supermarket, 200 N. MacArthur Highway, about 11:30 p.m. When officers arrived, the children weren't there but the CPR dummy was.

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Why did the Concorde supersonic plane fail?

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The Concorde is a supersonic commercial airliner that took people from New York City to Paris in around 3.5 hours. It's heyday was in the 1970s and it finally stopped operation in 2003. Learn why in the Vox video above and in Lawrence Azerrad's magnificent Boing Boing classic feature "Flight of the Concordes!"

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Gorgeous teeny-tiny pencil drawings

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Mexican artist Mateo Pizarro draws these beautiful and insanely tiny illustrations using just a pencil. (via Juxtapoz)

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The healing power of ayahuasca

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Michael Costuros is an "executive coach" in California's Marin County (birthplace of the hot tub) who every year takes a group of entrepreneurs to South America on a trip within a trip. Each spends $10,000 to hopefully leverage "the healing power of ayahuasca," Costuros says. From Chris Colin's feature in California Sunday:

Chris Hunter, co-founder of the company behind the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko, signed on in hopes that it would help him navigate some sticky professional relationships. Jesse Krieger, publisher of Lifestyle Entre­preneurs Press, wished for insight into growth strategies. Other participants included the founder of a financial technology company, the scion of a footwear empire, and a firearms executive looking for a pivot. Under the guidance of Costuros and a local shaman, they would participate in a San Pedro ceremony — San Pedro is another powerful plant-based psychedelic — followed by two separate ayahuasca ceremonies....

The participants — all men this year — spent their first day traveling to the retreat center, getting situated, and enjoying massages. At 8 a.m. the next day, they assembled in a small, open-air structure. Following an initial cleansing ceremony, they drank their first batch of medicine (fermented wheatgrass and dirt is how Krieger described the taste) and lay down on thin mats under a thatched roof. There they’d remain for ten hours.

The first 60 minutes of the ayahuasca ceremony felt like two weeks for (AirHelp CEO Henrik) Zillmer. Uncontrollable vomiting and feverish shivering aside, he was unable to move and watched helplessly as his mind departed his body and descended into a vast black hole.

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