The Bat Bot, a new flying robot with silicone bat wings

In a beautiful example of biomimicry, researchers at Caltech and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed the Bat Bot, an autonomous flying robot with silicone wings that change shape as it flies, just like a real bat. From Caltech:

The Bat Bot weighs only 93 grams and is shaped like a bat with a roughly one-foot wingspan. It is capable of altering its wing shape by flexing, extending, and twisting at its shoulders, elbows, wrists, and legs. Arguably, bats have the most sophisticated powered flight mechanism among animals, which includes wings that have the capability of changing shape. Their flight mechanism involves several different types of joints that interlock the bones and muscles to one another, creating a musculoskeletal system that is capable of movement in more than 40 rotational directions.

"Our work demonstrates one of the most advanced designs to date of a self-contained flapping-winged aerial robot with bat morphology that is able to perform autonomous flight," (UIUC researcher Alireza) Ramezani says.

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Why do cartoon characters wear white gloves?

The short answer is efficiency! But it was also an artistic choice that became a creative convention...

"We didn't want (Mickey Mouse) to have mouse hands, because he was supposed to be more human," Walt Disney wrote. "So we gave him gloves. Five fingers looked like too much on such a little figure, so we took one away. That was just one less finger to animate."

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This Bad Lip Reading of "NFL 2017" is absolutely hilarious

I don't follow football, but Bad Lip Reading hit a grand slam with this one! I'm literally LOLing over here, people...

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After Texas mosque burned, Jews gave Muslims keys to synagogue

After the one mosque in the small town of Victoria, Texas mysteriously burned to the ground on Saturday, representatives of the single Jewish synagogue gave keys to the mosque founders so their community could have another place to pray.

“Jewish community members walked into my home and gave me a key to the synagogue,” mosque co-founder Shahid Hashmi told the New York Times.

From The Forward:

Religious leaders in the town of about 65,000 have done other interfaith work, including a three-week event a few years ago during which the synagogue, mosque and a church hosted each other’s members.

“This is sad for everyone in the community and as Jews we especially have to feel for the Muslim community. When a calamity like this happens, we have to stand together,” (said Robert Loeb, president of the Bnai Israel synagogue).

Also, Loeb added, sharing the space just made sense: “We have probably 25 to 30 Jewish people in Victoria, and they probably have 100 Muslims. We got a lot of building for a small amount of Jews.”

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UFO found in Google Earth image of Antarctica

A flying saucer was spotted on a Google Earth image near the South Pole in Antarctica. You can see it right here. Mysterious Universe claims that "melting ice could have formed a round depression as it sank into the surrounding snow, or wind could have created a small whirlwind effect as it blew into alcoves in the rock wall." Screw that though. I want to believe.

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Captain America sworn in as Bay Area councilman

Last night, Lan Diep held Captain America's shield during his swearing in as a San Jose, California city councilman. From NBC Bay Area:

Diep, a Republican legal aid attorney, received cheers after he said "I do solemnly swear" when the clerk asked if he would defend his oath of office. His final vote of his first meeting? Joining the council in unanimously banning the communist Vietnamese flag from flying in San Jose.

In an interview after the meeting, the proud comic book geek and Houston-born son of Vietnamese refugees said that Captain America stands for the "kinds of things I strive for: equal justice, fair play and democracy."

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David Bowie Royal Mail stamps now available for pre-order

The Royal Mail's David Bowie Special Stamps are now available for pre-order. The 10 stamps -- six featuring his iconic album covers and four with concert images -- will be available on March 14. A stamp with cover art from "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" was previously issued in 2010. The only other groups that Royal Mail has honored with a dedicated stamp issue like this are The Beatles and Pink Floyd. Read the rest

Comic about how we're living in a 1990s cyberpunk dystopia

Andy Warner says:

A comic by Maki Naro that I edited for the Nib just came out which I thought you'd dig. It's about how we're actually living in a 1990s cyberpunk dystopia.

Fun fact: the hacker character in this strip is based off the "R.U. a Cyberpunk?" article in Mondo 2000, a publication which I think shared early DNA with Boingboing.

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Watch Trump unable to find Giuliani sitting directly across from him

Where is Rudy? There's Rudy! Read the rest

Awesome wildlife photos shot indoors on a tabletop

Egyptian photographer Amr Elshamy takes beautiful wildlife photos inside on a tabletop. From PetaPixel:

The project started a couple of months ago when Elshamy got in touch with a Chinese company called MOJO FUN, which makes highly detailed animal figures.

To create underwater shots, Elshamy filled a tank with water and added blue coloring to create a tint. To add specks of dust to the shots, he dropped tissues into the water and moved it around. He also uses a black background, fishing line to hold the animals, and a single flash head with a snoot with a blue gel.

To create scenes of the snowy arctic, Elshamy uses a white background, 2 flashes heads (a softbox above and one for the background), and cheap snow that you can find at gift shops.

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Watch a Marie Antoinette automaton play the dulcimer

In 1784, cabinetmaker David Roentgen (1743-1807) made this astonishing automaton of Marie Antoinette playing a dulcimer as a gift for King Louis XVI to give to his queen. This fantastic contraption is in the collection of the Musée des arts et métiers de Paris. From Atlas Obscura:

When wound up, the music box mechanism moves the figure’s head and arms, making them dance across the strings and chime out a ping-y tune. The player has a repertoire of eight songs...

It’s said that the beautiful lace dress was made from fabric of one of Marie Antoinette’s dresses, and that mannequin even has some of her real hair.

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This fish hunts by spitting water at its prey

The Archerfish of Southeast Asia and Australia spit at perched insects to knock them into the water for an easy meal. From KQED's "Deep Look":

“When the fish fires the shot,” (Wake Forest University biologist Morgan) Burnett explained, citing the work of other researchers in Germany who first used high-speed cameras to observe the projectiles in 2014, “the water leaves the mouth as essentially a very long stream. But during flight, the stream merges into a ball.”

The fish accomplishes this feat of timing through deliberate control of its highly-evolved mouthparts, in particular its lips, which act like an adjustable hose that can expand and contract while releasing the water.

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Weasel electrocuted at CERN to go on museum display

Last April, a weasel-like stone marten jumped a substation fence at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland and was promptly electrocuted. Now, that same poor creature's corpse is going on display at the Rotterdam Natural History Museum in an exhibition titled Dead Animal Tales. From The Guardian:

The stone marten is the latest dead animal to go on display at the museum. It joins a sparrow that was shot after it sabotaged a world record attempt by knocking over 23,000 dominoes; a hedgehog that got fatally stuck in a McDonalds McFlurry pot, and a catfish that fell victim to a group of men in the Netherlands who developed a tradition for drinking vast amounts of beer and swallowing fish from their aquarium. The catfish turned out to be armoured, and on being swallowed raised its spines. The defence did not save the fish, but it put the 28-year-old man who tried to swallow it in intensive care for a week....

“We want to show that no matter what we do to the environment, to the natural world, the impact of nature will always be there,” (museum director Kees) Moeliker said. “We try to put a magnifying glass on some fine examples. This poor (stone marten) literally collided with the largest machine in the world, where physicists collide particles every day. It’s poetic, in my opinion, what happened there.”

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Luxury nuclear bunkers in Kansas

Larry Hall is developing luxury nuclear bunkers underground at an old nuclear missile site in Kansas. Hall says the Survival Condos, starting at $1.5 million, are "nuclear-hardened bunkers that are engineered… to accommodate not just your physical protection but your mental wellbeing as well." From BBC News:

Mr Hall says he has spent millions on providing the complex with every possible feature to keep residents safe both now and for an indefinite period, should a catastrophic event occur.

These include air and water filtration systems, a range of energy sources (including wind power), and the capacity to grow plants and breed fish for food supplies. Armed guards patrol the entrance.

There are many other features too, such as a cinema, swimming pool, surgery, golf range, and even a rock climbing wall. "It's like a miniature cruise ship," says Mr Hall.

He believes that luxury touches like these could help to explain a development that may seem a little surprising.

At first, he says, clients saw owning an apartment as "like life insurance", just something to be used in case of an emergency. But now some purchasers have come to regard their apartments as second homes, making regular use of them for weekends or longer breaks.

"Everyone comments on how well they sleep here," he adds.

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Stranger Things' David Harbour's fiery SAG Awards speech and Winona Ryder's fantastic facial expressions

At last night's SAG Awards, Stranger Things star David K. Harbour used his acceptance speech opportunity to deliver a killer rant about fighting for freedom, the meek, disenfranchised, and the marginalized. Meanwhile, the wonderful Winona Ryder had all of the feels.

Here's Harbour's full speech:

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Watch "Smells Like Teen Spirit" performed by 1000 people

Rockin'1000, who claim to be "the biggest rock band on Earth," performs Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in Cesena, Italy.

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Massive T-rex made from balloons

World champion balloon artist Mark Verge twisted up this huge Tyrannosaurus rex from 700 balloons. He calls it the "the coolest thing I’ve ever made.”

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