Real life clown car of commuters in Russia

I'm glad the fellow found room for his accordion. Video titled "Bashkir team goes to work."

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How an L.A. printer kept the art of the album cover alive


For half a century Los Angeles's Stoughton Printing Company has been considered one of the highest-quality printers of vinyl record packaging in the world, manufacturing album art for the likes of The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Jack White, Blue Note, and countless other artists and labels who value exquisite quality. Indeed, that's where my partners and I intend to produce the lavish packaging for our “Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition” vinyl box set! Our pal Ben Marks writes about the artisans at Stoughton for Collectors Weekly:

If there’s a secret sauce to Stoughton, one of the ingredients is certainly its people, many of whom have been with the company for a long time, which means the institutional memory at Stoughton runs deep. “Some of our employees have been with us for decades,” Jack (Stoughton) Jr. says. “They’ve seen it all.” Just as important is the fact that for every Led Zeppelin or Jack White, there have been countless other musicians of lesser acclaim who have turned to Stoughton to print their album art and design the packaging encasing their vinyl.

“When we started out,” Jack Jr. says, “we appealed to independent labels and artists. That was our niche. We had one customer, way back when, who sold his car to help pay for his record pressing. We had printed his jackets, so he came out here on the bus from Hollywood to City of Industry, which was about 25 miles eastbound. He probably made five or six bus transfers to get here.

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Ancient corpse found in "burial shroud" of marijuana plants


In northwest China, archaeologists dug up an ancient corpse in a burial shroud of cannabis plants. The fellow was buried approximately 2,400 to 2,800 years ago. Archaeologist Hongen Jiang and colleagues described the discovery as an "extraordinary cache" of well-preserved plants. From National Geographic:

Thirteen cannabis plants, each up to almost three feet long, were placed diagonally across the man's chest, with the roots oriented beneath his pelvis and the tops of the plants extending from just under his chin, up and alongside the left side of his face.

This discovery adds to a growing collection of archaeological evidence showing that cannabis consumption was "very popular" across the Eurasian steppe thousands of years ago, says Jiang.

...This is the first time ever that archaeologists have recovered complete cannabis plants, as well as the first incidence of their use as a "shroud" or covering in a human burial, says Jiang.

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How to design your life


While "design thinking" has become an overused catchphrase among consultants, it is also a real thing, a formal methodology for solving difficult problems. Bill Burnett, the executive director of Stanford's Design Program where they take design thinking very seriously, and his colleague David Evans, who co-founded Electronic Arts and teaches a very popular Stanford course called "Designing Your Life," have written a new book based on the class titled "Designing Your Life: How To Build A Well-Lived, Joyful Life". Above is the trailer for the book. From the New York Times:

They say the practices taught in the class and the book can help you (in designing-your-life-speak) “reframe” dysfunctional beliefs that surround life and career decisions and help you “wayfind” in a chaotic world through the adoption of such design tenets as bias-for-action, prototyping and team-building....

The book includes things that are not in the class, like what Mr. Burnett and Mr. Evans call “anchor problems” — overcommitted life choices that keep people stuck and unhappy. A common mistake that people make, they said, is to assume that there’s only one right solution or optimal version of your life, and that if you choose wrong, you’ve blown it.

That’s completely absurd, Mr. Evans said: “There are lots of you. There are lots of right answers.”

"Designing Your Life: How To Build A Well-Lived, Joyful Life" (Amazon)

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Amazing photo of sprite bursts over Hurricane Matthew


Photographer Frankie Lucena captured the strange beauty of red lightning sprites above Hurricane Matthew near Aruba and Colombia. From Smithsonian:

Like aurorae, sprites happen when charged particles interact with gases in the atmosphere, likely nitrogen. As ice particles high within thunderclouds bash against one another, an electrical charge builds. An opposite charge builds up on the ground, and eventually both charges connect, creating a spark of light—lightning. When the lightning strike has a positive charge, it can spark a sprite—a kind of electric field that shoots out from the top of the lightning strike—that flashes above the cloud.

They’re also not easily spotted by the human eye. As Matt Heavner of the University of Alaska explains, bright lights make it nearly impossible for the eye’s retina to spot the flashes, and the bright clouds that can surround them also distract would-be sprite spotters. It’s even more difficult to catch these flashes in action because when you’re beneath the sprite-sprouting cloud, you can’t see the flash at all. You either need to be flying above the clouds or far away to get the perfect shot.

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Twin Peaks tarot cards


Last year, Benjamin Mackey designed an inspired collection of digital Twin Peaks Tarot cards. Now, Mackey is making the deck real through an Indiegogo campaign! From the project description:

The Magician Longs to See Tarot is a complete 78-card deck with 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana in full color. The deck combines the mystical world of Twin Peaks with visual evocations of Pamela Colman Smith's iconic tarot illustrations. The Major Arcana have manifested as some of the primary movers and shakers in Twin Peaks, while the Minor Arcana tend towards depicting infamous scenes and moments in the series. My goal is to strike a delicate balance between accurately representing the respective characters while still maintaining readability as a deck.

"The Magician Longs to See Tarot" (via Daily Grail)

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Donald Trump's online resume


My multitalented friend Kate Harmer and her colleagues at Hum Creative generously built an online resume for Donald Trump. It's funny because it's true. (And it's also not funny because it's true.)

Hire the Donald!

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Video for Radiohead's "The Numbers" directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood) delivers another Radiohead video from their latest album Moon Shaped Pool. Once again, it stars Jonny, Thom, and the Roland CR-78 drum machine from 1978.


"Watch the new Radiohead video by Paul Thomas Anderson"

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Watch Stranger Things, the 8-bit version

Directed by David Dutton, music by Henry Dutton. (8-Bit Cinema)

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Amazing glitch in the matrix caught on camera


"Glitch in matrix at my local coffee shop today," posted by oldmontgomeryflange at /r/pics.

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Robots 3D-printed with shock-absorber skins


MIT researchers developed a method to 3D print robots with soft, shock-absorbing materials that can be "programmed" to desired elasticity to protect bouncing bots, drones making hard landings, and eventually phones, shoes, helmets and other materials. From MIT News:

For example, after 3-D printing a cube robot that moves by bouncing, the researchers outfitted it with shock-absorbing “skins” that use only 1/250 the amount of energy it transfers to the ground.{? “That reduction makes all the difference for preventing a rotor from breaking off of a drone or a sensor from cracking when it hits the floor,” says (MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory director Daniela) Rus, who oversaw the project and co-wrote a related paper. “These materials allow us to 3-D print robots with visco-elastic properties that can be inputted by the user at print-time as part of the fabrication process...”

“It’s hard to customize soft objects using existing fabrication methods, since you need to do injection moulding or some other industrial process,” says Lipton. “3-D printing opens up more possibilities and lets us ask the question, ‘can we make things we couldn’t make before?”

Using a standard 3-D printer, the team used a solid, a liquid, and a flexible rubber-like material called TangoBlack+ to print both the cube and its skins. The PVM process is related to (CSAIL Director Daniela) Rus’ previous 3-D printed robotics work, with an inkjet depositing droplets of different material layer-by-layer and then using UV light to solidify the non-liquids.

The cube robot includes a rigid body, two motors, a microcontroller, battery, and inertial measurement unit sensors.

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Voices from the on-demand economy


Over the last year, my colleagues at Institute for the Future's Workable Futures Initiative conducted ethnographic interviews with more than 30 people across the country who use on-demand work platforms to make ends meet. There's Seda, who runs her own small business selling women’s clothing and accessories, but makes ends meet as a professional “lab rat” who participates, sometimes illegally, in clinical trial studies all over the country; Nichelle, a Ph.D. who crafts communications courses on an online learning platform while she takes it easy as an expat in Costa Rica; Jan, a homeless veteran who is using the pet-sitting site to make a little money while she works with Swords to Plowshares to find a place to live and earn a degree; and many other fascinating people.

These ethnographic interviews informed IFTF's synthesis of "7 new archetypes of workers” whose input will be critical to creating better policies, technology platforms, and systems for people to have sustainable and successful livelihoods in the future, instead of just maximizing revenue for the platform companies. The research is presented in a new report, Voices of Workable Futures.

From a Fortune magazine article about the research:

The overarching goal of the Institute’s report is to help create what it calls “positive platforms”—ones that “not only return profits to investors but also . . . provide dignified and sustainable livelihoods for those who use them.”

To that end, Gorbis says she’d like to see more support mechanisms—paid for by the platform companies—through which gig workers could access tax and financial assistance, physical gathering spaces for “social connectedness,” and a rating service capturing the employee experience on a range of sites.

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This is competitive indoor skydiving

It's quite surreal and feels rather retro-futuristic. "1st FAI World Indoor Skydiving Championship - Silver Medallists - Czech Team "MAD RAVENS" (FAI Parachuting)

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Friday in Berkeley, CA: Pop-Up Magazine and NoisePop's live stories and sound extravaganza


Right now, The Voyager Golden Record, containing a message from Earth for any extraterrestrials that might encounter it, is traveling on two spacecraft through the cosmic ocean at almost 40,000 miles per hour. But as we approach the 40th anniversary of Voyager, that beautiful gold phonograph record is also barreling through popular consciousness! Last week, I launched a Kickstarter with two friends, Timothy Daly and Lawrence Azerrad, to release the Voyager Golden Record on vinyl for the first time. We are blown away and humbled by the support our project has received!

While we were secretly developing our project, the good people at Pop-Up Magazine, California Sunday Magazine, and NoisePop were also quietly orchestrating their own homage to that magnificent golden artifact! The Golden State Record, taking place this Friday (9/30) at Berkeley's Greek Theater is an exquisitely-curated performance of "stories and sounds of California and the West from some of our favorite musicians, writers, filmmakers, radio producers, and artists." (We only found out about each others' efforts in July!)

The, well, stellar Golden State Record lineup include musicians like Lil B, Thao Nguyen, Mark Kozelek, and Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino, the Center for Investigative Reporting's Al Letson, music critic and "MacArthur Genius" Josh Kun, Jace Clayton aka DJ/rupture, and so many more.

I'll be there enjoying the scene under the stars.

Attend the Golden State Record at Berkeley's Greek Theater

Support the "Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition" on Kickstarter

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Understanding Musk's plan for colonizing Mars


Over at National Geographic, Nadia Drake's feature on Elon Musk's plan for millions of people to live on Mars is the best explanation (and contextualization) of this far out vision that I've read. From Nat Geo:

The rocket would deliver the crew capsule to orbit around Earth, then the booster would steer itself toward a soft landing back at the launch pad, a feat that SpaceX rocket boosters have been doing for almost a year now. Next, the booster would pick up a fuel tanker and carry that into orbit, where it would fuel the spaceship for its journey to Mars.

Once en route, that spaceship would deploy solar panels to harvest energy from the sun and conserve valuable propellant for what promises to be an exciting landing on the Red Planet.

As Musk envisions it, fleets of these crew-carrying capsules will remain in Earth orbit until a favorable planetary alignment brings the two planets close together—something that happens every 26 months. “We’d ultimately have upward of a thousand or more spaceships waiting in orbit. And so the Mars colonial fleet would depart en masse,” Musk says.

The key to his plan is reusing the various spaceships as much as possible. “I just don’t think there’s any way to have a self-sustaining Mars base without reusability. I think this is really fundamental,” Musk says. “If wooden sailing ships in the old days were not reusable, I don’t think the United States would exist.”

"Elon Musk: A Million Humans Could Live on Mars By the 2060s" by Nadia Drake (National Geographic, thanks Tom Andres for the video tip!)

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Hypnotic breast enlargement


In the early 1990s, former professional wrestler and police officer Michael Stivers launched a career as a hypnotist, but with the unusual specialty of "breast enlargement hypnotism."

According to his pitch, "The larger-breast style of self-hypnosis relaxes the subject, then allows her to will an increased blood flow into the fatty tissues of the breast, much like that during menstruation or pregnancy. Daily conditioning through self-hypnosis allows what amounts to a permanent enhancement."

As George Constanza once said, "It's not a lie if you believe it."

It may comes as a surprise then that according to an article from the Des Moines Register posted by Weird Universe, not all of Stivers' customers were satisfied.

"A 58-year-old Tampa woman who wouldn't give her name said her bust measurement grew 3 inches through hypnosis in April, but then shrank 1 ½ inches," reads the article.

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Adam Savage's portable movie theater

This summer, BB pal Adam Savage of MythBusters and Tested modified a pick-up truck into a mobile movie theater!

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