Crazy "Slip N Slide"-esque contraption made from clothesline and electric motor

Daniel Jacob and friends "built a spinning water slide ride for Australia Day down at the river in Canberra."

Below, a 1980s TV commercial for the original Slip N Slide. Which one looks more fun?

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Masaya Nakamura, "father of Pac-Man," RIP

Masaya Nakamura, the founder of Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company (Namco) who unleashed Pac-Man fever on Japan and the United States, has died at age 91. Under his leadership, Namco built its business on Galaxian (1979) and Pac-Man (1980) and later console games like Ridge Racer (1983) and Tekken (1994). In 2007, the Japanese government honored Nakamura with an "Order of the Rising Sun" decoration. From Ars Technica:

Nakamura originally founded the company as Nakamura Manufacturing, selling coin-operated children's rides to a department store in Yokohama, Japan. He later changed the name of the company to Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company (NAMMCo!) and began producing electromechanical arcade machines like 1976's Namco F-1.

Namco hit the big time when Nakamura shrewdly purchased the struggling Atari Japan from owner Nolan Bushnell for $500,000—far higher than the $80,000 offered by Sega. The deal granted Namco an exclusive license to distribute Atari's games in Japan for ten years and led to the development and release of original games such as Gee Bee and Galaxian.

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Watch backcountry skier accidentally fly off a cliff! (He's fine)

Devin Stratton, 25, was backcountry skiing in Utah's Wasatch Range when he accidentally glided right off a 150-foot cliff. It was unmarked. Above, his Instagram post with the video evidence.

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Get chai: Israel moving toward marijuana legalization

Yesterday, the Israeli government announced major steps toward legalizing marijuana. Medical cannabis is already a big thing in Israel and permitted by traditional Jewish law. According to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, the new policy is part of a "shift to decriminalization with responsibility." Progress! Yet, the focus on "treatment" for offending minors seems a bit ridiculous. From CNN:

The new policy would apply to users carrying up to 15 grams, roughly a half-ounce. If passed, first-time offenders would face a fine of 1000 shekels (about $265), with the offense not appearing on their criminal record. Those caught for a second time would see the fine double. If caught a third time, the punishment would be at the discretion of the police. On the fourth offense, the suspect could face criminal prosecution.

Minors caught for the first time with marijuana would be criminally prosecuted only if they refused to take part in a treatment program. The second offense would be closed with a special settlement. The third time could trigger criminal proceedings.

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Adam Savage shows how to build a Ping Pong Machine Gun

Adam calls it a one-day build but it would take me a week and at least 23 trips to the hardware store. (Tested)

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Watch: David Bowie's first TV appearance at age 17 was a delightful prank

In November 1964, 17-year-old David Bowie (then Jones) appeared on BBC's "Tonight" to talk about his new Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men, a PR stunt cooked up by his dad. Bowie was already a veteran rocker, having played with The Konrads,Tthe King Bees, and The Manish Boys. From Wendy Leigh's Bowie: The Biography:

He might have been part of the Manish Boys, but inside, David had always seen himself as a star who stood on his own. So he was heartened when his father came up with a masterstroke.... John Jones swung into action and, applying his well-honed PR skills, along with David's input, concocted a cause designed to thrust David into the limelight....

Consequently, in November 1964, at John Jones's behest, the ever-obliging Leslie Thomas [a music columnist and former Barnardo's boy who'd previously written about the King Bees, also at John Jones's behest] published an article in the Evening News titled "For Those Beyond the Fringe," announcing the formation of a new society, the International League for the Preservation of Animal Filament, whose founder and president was none other than David Jones.

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Watch this college basketball player's Oscar-worthy fake flop after he's "fouled"

Yesterday, the Oregon Ducks' Dillon Brooks and Utah Utes' Sedrick Barefield slightly bumped one another while Barefield had the ball. Hoping for a call against Barefield, Brooks then launched himself into one of the greatest, fakest flops of all time.

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Stunning 23-foot wall chart of human history from 1881

Sebastian C. Adams's Synchronological Chart from the late 19th century presents 5,885 years of history (4004 BCE - 1881 AD) on a magnificent 27 inch x 23 foot illustrated and annotated timeline. What a stunner. You can zoom and pan through the whole thing at the David Rumsey Map Collection or order a scaled-down print.

According to the book Cartographies of Time: History of the Timeline, the Synchronological Chart "was ninetheenth-century America's surpassing achievement in complexity and synthetic power."

(via Clifford Pickover)

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Meet the dog with the world's longest tail

This is Keon the Irish wolfhound from Westerlo, Belgium who broke the Guinness World Record for the longest on a dog. Keon's tail is 76.8 cm (30.2") long, beating the previous record-holder also a wolfhound, by 4.5 cm (1.7"). (Guinness World Records)

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Watch this fellow's amazing daily photo video of his weight loss

The best part of the video is the increasing happiness and confidence you can see on his face as his body transforms. (Isou Dw)

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How the Nintendo NES Zapper gun worked (and why it doesn't on today's TVs)

My 10-year-old son Lux is a retro videogame historian who collects and studies 1980s consoles and games with the gravitas of a PhD student working on his thesis. Last year he acquired Nintendo's NES Zapper gun controller from 1984 that was used to play shooting games like Duck Hunt. (Below, a TV commercial for the NES Deluxe Set including the Zapper and R.O.B. The Robotic Operating Buddy.) Unfortunately, the NES Zapper doesn't work with modern LCD televisions. The video above from "Today I Found Out" explains the clever technology behind the NES Zapper gun. And here's a great text explanation from How-To Geek about why it doesn't work on non-CRT screens, something my son already knew but, of course, wanted the Zapper anyway for, er, display purposes:

First, it requires extremely precise timing between the trigger pull on the Zapper and the response on the screen. Even the slightest difference (and we’re talking milliseconds here) between the signal sent to the NES and the signal displayed on the screen can throw it off. The original timing sequence was based on the very dependable response time of a CRT hooked up to the analog NES signal. Whether the old tube TV was big, small, cutting edge or 10 years old, the speed of the signal via the CRT display standard was reliable. By contrast, the latency in modern digital sets is not reliable and is not the same as the old consistent delay in the CRT system. Now, this doesn’t matter in most situations.

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The (Oval) Office, a new TV comedy

If I don't laugh, I'll cry. (Brandon Smith)

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Boeing's new spacesuit is far out

Boeing revealed its new sleek and chic spacesuit designed for astronauts aboard the Boeing/Bigelow CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. Launched on Atlas V rockets the Starliner capsule will shuttle commercial crew members to and from the International Space Station and other low-Earth orbit locales. From Boeing:

The Starliner spacesuit provides greater pressurized mobility and is about 40 percent lighter than previous suits. Its innovative layers will keep astronauts cooler as well. The touchscreen-friendly gloves allow astronauts to interact with the capsule’s tablets while the boots are breathable and slip resistant. Zippers in the torso area will make it easier for astronauts to comfortably transition from sitting to standing. In addition to protecting astronauts during launch and the return to Earth, the suit also helps connect astronauts to ground and space crews through the communications headset within the helmet. The suit’s hood-like soft helmet sports a wide polycarbonate visor to give Starliner passengers better peripheral vision throughout their ride to and from space.

Video from Boeing:

Photo from Boeing:

Photo from NASA/Cory Huston:

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Hüsker Dü cover the theme from The Mary Tyler Moore Show

In memory of the late Mary Tyler Moore, I present to you Minneapolis punk pioneers Hüsker Dü's killer 1985 cover of "Love Is All Around," Sonny Curtis's theme song to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The Hüskers' rendition was the flipside to their "Makes No Sense At All" single.

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Survive the coming apocalypse inside a big pipe buried underground

Atlas Survival Shelters sells huge corrugated pipe shelters outfitted for living with air filtration systems, Co2 scrubbers, and power generators. A 10' x 20' shelter goes for $30-$40,000 and the "Hillside Retreat," a 10' x 51', runs as high as $109,000. Options include a big screen TV, electric fireplace, oak flooring, hatch camouflaged as a boulder, and many other fine amenities. From their pitch:

The only bunkers manufactured today that has actually been tested against the effects of a nuclear bomb and has passed, is the round corrugated pipe shelters (used in the 1950s) by the U.S. Army Corps of Enginneers..

The round shape worked then and still works today! There is little difference between the bunkers made 50 years ago and the bunkers made today except the addition of modern interiors, NBC air filtration systems, Co2 scrubbers, generators, and high-tech electronics. There is no other shape other then round that will allow you to reach the depth underground that you need for maximum protection for your family and to allow the climate to be controlled underground.

"Beware the Square". No pre-manufactured square metal bunkers passed the nuclear test and should only be regarded as a fallout shelter or tornado shelter at best!

Atlas Survival Shelters (via Uncrate)

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Watch this Bad Lip Reading of Trump's inauguration day

'Bad Lip Reading: Inauguration Day.' Read the rest

Artist tied one beautiful knot every day of 2016

San Francisco artist Windy Chien made one new knot every day last year and many of them are exquisite string sculptures. She learned from The Ashley Book of Knots, Clifford W. Ashley's 1944 tome of 4,000 knots.

“I like the repetition of knots—it lets me get into a state of flow,” Chien told Wired. “But what I’m primarily interested in is how our eyes follow a line. The line is one of the six building blocks of art, and I’m obsessed with it.”

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