Google's Larry Page is trying to make flying cars

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Businessweek reports on Larry Page's not-secret-anymore efforts to make the perpetually-futuristic vision of flying cars a reality. Turns out, Page is funding two flying car companies, Zee.Aero and Kitty Hawk. Apparently the latter's president is Sebastian Thrun, the pioneering roboticist who drove Google's autonomous vehicle efforts. From Ashley Vance and Brad Stone's Businessweek feature:

Zee.Aero now employs close to 150 people. Its operations have expanded to an airport hangar in Hollister, about a 70-minute drive south from Mountain View, where a pair of prototype aircraft takes regular test flights. The company also has a manufacturing facility on NASA’s Ames Research Center campus at the edge of Mountain View. Page has spent more than $100 million on Zee.Aero, say two of the people familiar with the company, and he’s not done yet...

The (Hollister) airport is open for business from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, but Zee.Aero employees frequently run test flights when no one else is around. Nonetheless, people working at the airport have caught glimpses of two Zee.Aero craft in recent months. Both have a narrow body, a bulbous cockpit with room for one person upfront, and a wing at the back. In industry lingo, the planes are pushers, with two propellers in the rear. One of the prototypes looks like a small conventional plane; the other has spots for small propellers along the main body, three per side.

When the aircraft take off, they sound like air raid sirens.

The people at the airport haven’t heard Page’s name ­mentioned, but they long ago concluded Zee.Aero’s owner is super rich.

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This is not a wolf. It's three naked women.

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Another incredible body painting masterpiece by Johannes Stötter. And just for kicks, take a close look at this "frog":

Want more? Check out the trippy video below (previously posted on BB) and, of course, the artist's site: Johannes Stötter Art

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Watch this very funny parody of a TED Talk, any TED talk

"Now that doesn't sound important, and it's not, but if I repeat it three times I'm making you believe that is important."

"Let's look at a picture of the planet for no reason. It's nice isn't it. That's where we live. What happens if I put some words over it? How about a number? What if I pose a question? By doing this, I've now made you think that I know what I'm talking about."

(via DIGG) Read the rest

Ingenious idea for a Thor toolbox

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If you were a Norse god/superhero who moonlighted as a carpenter, this Thor Hammer Tool Kit would hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately right now it's just a concept design from Dave's Geeky Ideas!

When not being carried around for Asgardian cosplay, this hammer opens up to reveal all the tools stored inside. The handle is shared with an actual hammer, which is fastened into a removable tray. Beneath the tray is a reservoir for loose tools and nuts/bolts.

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MacBook customized to resemble 1980s Apple IIe

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The hardware customizers ColorWare are now offering new MacBooks reskinned with an Apple IIe vibe. They're $3,000 and limited to an edition of ten.

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Shocking video of an electric eel leaping from its tank

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This intense slow-motion video, depicting an electric eel jumping from a tank to zap a faux alligator head, accompanies a new scientific paper by Vanderbilt University biologist Kenneth Catania. From Nature:

Catania first spotted the behaviour during earlier laboratory experiments with electric eels (Electrophorus electricus), when they would leap upwards to attack a metal-rimmed net as he was trying to fish them out of their tanks. He analysed it by presenting the eels with carbon rods and aluminium plates at which they struck; the video’s plastic alligator, with its flashing light-emitting diodes that are powered by the eel’s electrocution, is his dramatic demonstration of the effect...

The behaviour allows eels to directly shock their opponents, rather than having their voltage dissipated by water.

It is the first time that this has been recorded in a research paper, Catania says — although he argues that his discovery supports a widely disbelieved observation made more than 200 years ago by the Prussian explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. In a paper published in 1807, von Humboldt recounted that he had seen South American native fishermen herding horses into a pool of electric eels; the eels would discharge themselves against the horses and could be fished safely when they were exhausted.

According to Catania, there are other mysteries of the electric eels left to be solved, like how it can electrocute another creature without zapping itself in the process.

"Leaping eels electrify threats, supporting Humboldt’s account of a battle with horses" (PNAS)

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Visit the last cassette factory in the U.S.

Yes, cassettes are making a comeback,but there's only one factory in the US that manufactures them: National Audio Company in Springfield, Missouri. And they're having a banner year.

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One Got Fat: deeply weird bicycle safety film with kids in monkey masks

"One Got Fat" is a surreal bicycle safety film from 1963 where the gang of freewheeling bicycling kids in monkey masks suffer brutal fates, one by one. (Thanks, UPSO!)

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Watch Death Cab for Cutie on last night's Late Show

On last night's Late Show with Stephen Colbert, our pals Death Cab for Cutie delivered a lovely performance of "No Room In Frame" from their magnificent album Kintsugi. They're co-headlining shows with CHVRCHES tonight in Cleveland and tomorrow in Canandaigua, New York, followed by more US dates through the summer. And yeah, I'm biased, but hot damn do they put on a tight live show. Trippy too.

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Amazing photo of fish inside a jellyfish

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Ocean photographer Tim Samuel captured these startling photos of a fish swallowed by a jellyfish off Byron Bay, Australia's Pass Beach.

"(The fish) seemed to be struggling a little bit, as it would swim around, it would try to swim in a straight line but the jellyfish would knock it off course, would send it in little circles or loops," Samuel told CNN. "It was a tough decision, I definitely thought about setting it free, but in the end decided to just let nature run its course."

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Ultra-rare unopened Leica camera for sale with X-ray to prove what's inside the box

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The Leica KE-7A is a very rare camera manufactured for the US military in the early 1970s. It's essentially a hardened and dust-resistant version of Leica's popular M4 camera. With around 500 produced, it's nearly impossible to find one in good condition. That's why this unopened specimen up on eBay right now is so special, and so expensive, priced at $45,300 or best offer. The listing includes an x-ray of the package.

According to the listing, the image below depicts another example of the same camera outfit as the one in the sealed package. But then again, how can you know for sure what's inside until you open it...

"Although I do not advise I can open the bag to inspect the camera for you at a Euro 5000 nonrefundable deposit," says the seller. "If you decide not to buy at any reason the deposit will not be refunded as the value will then be less."

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The time the BBC News reported that "there is no news"

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I suppose no news was good news on April 18, 1930. At 6:30pm during the regularly scheduled news bulletin slot, the BBC News announcer turned on the mic and said:

"Good evening. Today is Good Friday. There is no news."

Piano music followed.

(BBC News History via r/todayilearned) Read the rest

This is either a petrified Bigfoot skull, or a rock

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Todd May of Ogden, Utah discovered this object that he says is a fossilized Bigfoot skull. May previously spotted Bigfoot in Ogden Canyon. Twice. In fact, he says the creatures have thrown rocks at him. Hiking again in the area, he found the fossilized skull.

"It had the same facial structure as the creatures I had seen," he told the Times Record News.

"There's haters out there, other Bigfoot enthusiasts that don't like that I found something first," May said.

On the other hand, Jesse Carlucci, a geoscience professor at Midwestern State University, insists that the object is absolutely a rock. Sure it is, professor...

(Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest

Stunning drug ads from a 1930s French magazine

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Ridendo was a French medical and humor (!) magazine launched in the 1930s. Recently, illustrator Jérôme Dubois found his great-great-grandfather's collection of the magazine and shared some of the fantastic pharmaceutical ads that ran in its pages. See more at Flashbak.

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Video montage of Kurt Cobain's visual art

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"Aberdeen" is a montage of journal doodles and visual art, including animated excerpts from the documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.

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Living room "wallpapered" top to bottom in books

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Deece27 bought 4,000 random books from Books by The Foot and fastened them to the wall by nailing each one to the book underneath followed by two nails angled into the wall. Check out more images of the project here. (via r/DIY)

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Hear Muhammad Ali sing out against tooth decay

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In 1976, Muhammad Ali collaborated with Howard Cosell, Frank Sinatra, Jayne Kennedy, Richie Havens, and others on an LP titled "Ali and His Gang vs. Mr. Tooth Decay." Listen below! Apparently, there was a planned sequel titled "Ali and His Gang vs. Fat Cat the Dope King" but sadly it never appeared.

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