What a Google News Alert for "Satanic" can teach you

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Religion blogger Fred Clark is fascinated with the urban legends and panic surrounding "satanism," so years ago he set up a Google News Alert for the word "Satanic." Over at Pathos, he posted the funny, ridiculous, and fascinating things he's learned. Here's a sample:

• Every year, dozens of filmmakers try to recapture the magic that made The Exorcist so unsettling. Most fail.

• Pat Boone is still alive.

• The political performance art of the Satanic Temple is both hilarious and pointedly effective. They’re defending the First Amendment the way that we Baptists are supposed to.

• Adolescent legend tripping is happening all the time, every day, somewhere in the English-speaking world.

• Adults who should know better are freaking out and over-reacting to adolescent legend tripping all the time, every day, somewhere in the English-speaking world.

• Censorious adults worried about Kids Today listening to satanic heavy metal aren’t really keeping up with the satanic heavy metal acts trying hardest to gain their condemnation.

• Same goes for video games.

"Things I Have Learned Due to My Google News Alert for the Word ‘Satanic’" (via Daily Grail) Read the rest

Scientists wirelessly transmit high-speed data through, um, pork loin

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Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign used ultrasound to transmit high-speed data through pork loin and beef liver. Why? They're developing a system for controlling wireless medical implants and also stream high-definition video from inside the body.

"You can imagine a device that is swallowed for the purposes of imaging the digestive tract but with the capability for the HD video to be continuously streamed live to an external screen and the orientation of the device controlled wirelessly and externally by the physician," says engineering professor Andrew Singer.

Singer and his colleagues posted their results on arXiv in a paper titled "Mbps Experimental Acoustic Through-Tissue Communications: MEAT-COMMS."

“To our knowledge, this is the first time anyone has ever sent such high data rates through animal tissue,” Singer said. “These data rates are sufficient to allow real-time streaming of high definition video, enough to watch Netflix, for example, and to operate and control small devices within the body.”

That's a whole new spin on dinner and a movie.

(Engineering at Illinois)

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India trying out optical illusion speed bumps

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In India, 11,000 people die each year in automobile accidents tied to potholes or speed bumps, presumably because drivers fly over them, often on purpose. India's minister of road transport, Nitin Gadkari, hopes faux speed bumps will help by encouraging drivers to slow down while reducing the risk when they don't. "We are trying out 3D paintings used as virtual speed breakers to avoid unnecessary requirements of speed breakers," Gadkari tweeted along with the image above.

The optical illusions have been tried in other countries, including the US, as I posted back in 2008.

"Initially they were great," Phoenix, Arizona police traffic coordinator officer Terry Sills said at the time. "Until people found out what they were."

(Irish Examiner) Read the rest

These are the new Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers' suits

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No spandex in the Power Rangers reboot coming to theaters next March.

“It’s tricky finding a new language for a superhero costume,” production designer Andrew Menzies (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) told Entertainment Weekly. “Ours is an alien costume that grows on them, that’s not man-made. You can’t win everyone over, but we are trying to appeal to a more mature audience and gain new fans.”

Below, the title sequence from the 1993 television show:

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How to wake up without coffee

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Fascinating, now gimme a double latte. (AsapSCIENCE)

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Fantastic space-age "tube turntable" from 1968

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Behold the space age beauty of the Paam Tube turntable, created by French designer Yonel Lebovici in 1968. On eBay, they appear to be listed in the $700 range or less if they're non-functional.

(via Discogs on Instagram and Paddle8)

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Dig this Star Wars Disco from 1977, and May the Fourth be with you

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From the classic Meco album, Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk (1977).

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Sex doll mistaken as angel by Indonesian villagers

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After a solar eclipse last month, a fisher in Indonesia's Banggai island region found a female figure floating in the sea. He brought the figure to his remote village where some believed it to be a bidadari, a kind of angel.

Police noticed images of the figure on social media along with reports that the fisher spotted the angel "stranded and crying." The police investigated and quickly determined that the angel was in fact a sex doll. According to the BBC, the police confiscated the doll. What a shame.

"They have no internet, they don't know what a sex toy is," the police chief said.

(BBC)

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Amazing GoPro video of rocket launched into near space

UP Aerospace Inc. launched a 20-foot tall rocket nearly 400,000 feet into the upper atmosphere to test the re-entry of the capsule. Eventually, such a capsule could bring biological samples back to Earth from space.

More details on the capsule at NASA.

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Prince died just before addiction treatment doctor arrived

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According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Prince died the day before he was to meet with a California physician who specializes in opioid addiction:

Dr. Howard Kornfeld, a national authority on opioid addiction treatment, was called by Prince representatives the night of April 20 because Prince “was dealing with a grave medical emergency,” said William Mauzy, a prominent Minneapolis attorney working with the Kornfeld family.

Kornfeld, who runs Recovery Without Walls in Mill Valley, Calif., could not clear his schedule to meet with Prince the next day, April 21, but he planned to fly out the following day.

So he sent his son, Andrew Kornfeld, who works with him, to Minnesota, with plans for him to go to Paisley Park to explain how the confidential treatment would work, Mauzy said...

When Andrew Kornfeld arrived at Paisley Park at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Prince’s representatives could not find him, Mauzy said. Andrew Kornfeld was one of three people at Paisley Park when the musician’s body was found in an elevator a few minutes later — and it was Andrew Kornfeld who called 911

"Prince died amid frantic plans for drug addiction treatment" Read the rest

New study: Air rage triggered by walking through First Class

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A new scientific study reveals that air rage is much more likely on airplanes where inequality is obvious -- that is, airplanes where there's economy and first class sections. The University of Toronto researchers published their results in the journal Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. From CNN:

It found that passengers in economy seating were 3.84 times more likely to have an incident of air rage if they were on a plane that had a first-class section. They were 2.18 times more likely to have an outburst if they had to walk through first class to board the plane, as opposed to boarding in the middle of the plane, directly into the economy section....

"Psychology (research) tells us that when people feel a sense of deprivation and inequality, they are more likely to act out," said Katherine A. DeCelles, associate professor of organizational behavior at the University of Toronto....

There was also a nearly 12-fold increase in the rate of air rage among first-class passengers on flights where all passengers boarded through the first-class section, compared with flights that had separate entrances for first class and economy.

"When people from higher social class backgrounds are more aware of their higher status, they are more likely to be antisocial, to have entitled attitudes and to be less compassionate," DeCelles said.

"Air rage triggered by walking past first-class seating, study says" (CNN) Read the rest

A 15-year-old's new Apple museum

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Alex Jason, 15, used his lawnmowing money to acquire what Cult of Mac says "is becoming one of the most significant private collections of Apple devices in the United States." Jason converted his family's basement into a museum, called the Apple Orchard, and in a couple years he plans to move it into a former library that he and his father plan to convert into the Maine Technology Museum. From Cult of Mac:

His collection includes every big Apple computer model except a rare Lisa 1. He has early portable computers, prototypes of Powerbooks, a green-plastic prototype of a Color Classic and Japanese models of early Macs. The orchard also includes Apple’s failures while Jobs was in exile as well as a computer from the company he started after, NeXT.

Alex showed off his Apple 1 (only around 170 sold and about 60 have surfaced), its keyboard adapted to a briefcase, which provided protection and may explain why all the original chips still work. The original owner, according to a story passed onto Alex, supposedly went to an IBM conference with his briefcase, opened it up and began typing. When curious conference-goers asked what he was doing, he said, “I’m typing on my personal computer.”

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Incredible miniature recreations of iconic photos

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Swiss artists Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger recreated iconic photos from history in miniature, from cardboard, cotton wool, and other craft supplies. Above, "Making of AS11-40-5878 by Edwin Aldrin, 1969, 2014."

"Making of Nessie by Marmaduke Wetherell, 1934, 2013":

"Making of Concorde by Toshihko Sato, 2000, 2013":

"Making of Tiananmen by Stuart Franklin, 1989, 2013":

"War and fleece: DIY recreations of iconic photographs – in pictures" (The Guardian, thanks Plastic Ants!)

Previously:

• "Hoax photos of real events" Read the rest

Scientists built the world's smallest nano-engine

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University of Cambridge researchers have built the world's smallest working engine. The device, powered by light, could be the basis of future nanoscale machines that are just billionths of a meter in size. Fantastic Voyage, here we come! From the University of Cambridge:

The prototype device is made of tiny charged particles of gold, bound together with temperature-responsive polymers in the form of a gel. When the ‘nano-engine’ is heated to a certain temperature with a laser, it stores large amounts of elastic energy in a fraction of a second, as the polymer coatings expel all the water from the gel and collapse. This has the effect of forcing the gold nanoparticles to bind together into tight clusters. But when the device is cooled, the polymers take on water and expand, and the gold nanoparticles are strongly and quickly pushed apart, like a spring. The results are reported in the journal PNAS.

“It’s like an explosion,” said Dr Tao Ding from Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory, and the paper’s first author. “We have hundreds of gold balls flying apart in a millionth of a second when water molecules inflate the polymers around them.”

“We know that light can heat up water to power steam engines,” said study co-author Dr Ventsislav Valev, now based at the University of Bath. “But now we can use light to power a piston engine at the nanoscale.”

"Little ANTs: researchers build the world’s tiniest engine" (Thanks, Brad Wieners!)

"Light-induced actuating nano transducers" (PNAS) Read the rest

This is Radiohead's new song/video, "Burn the Witch"

Burn the witch. (Radiohead)

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Funny "meeting speak cheat sheet"

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Remember Sarah Cooper's brilliant "10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings"? Here are a few choice bits from her new "Meeting Speak Cheat Sheet":

• “This wasn’t on my calendar” = I deleted this from my calendar

• “To your earlier point…” = I’m kissing your ass

• “That said…” = We’re still not changing anything

• “Let’s circle back later” = I need this to be over

Previously:

• "15 tricks to appear smart in emails" Read the rest

Stunning visualization of Kung Fu motion capture data

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Tobias Gremmler created this magnificent visualization of motion data he captured of a person practicing Kung Fu.

(via Laughing Squid) Read the rest

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