See a coffee maker rebuilt into a "bionic" hand

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Maker Evan Booth transformed a Keurig K350 coffeemaker into a "bionic" hand. As William Gibson once wrote, "the street finds its own uses for things."

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Freight train goes off tracks and hits perfectly-named bar

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Last night in Charles City, Iowa, a freight train car separated from the track as it was changing connections and tipped right into the back of a bar. The name of the trackside tavern? DeRailed.

Nobody was injured.

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New brand empowers teen fashion designers through creativity and business

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My wife Kelly Sparks is design director at Epic Sky, a new fashion brand that's all about empowering young teen and tween girls. Rather than just trying to guess what young people want in clothes, Epic Sky is working with hypertalented teenage designers to develop the collections, and a wide network of teens and tweens to vet the products and contribute content to their site. This past Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a big spread about the company. Congrats to co-founders Monika Rose and Marian Kown, Kelly, and all the badass women at Epic Sky! From the SF Chronicle:

“We’re all about empowerment and positivity,” says Kwon. “There are a lot of media messages about girls being perfect — that they’re not smart or pretty enough, while our mission is to inspire the epic in every girl. You don’t have to have a perfect body or be the most athletic, which is the pressure a lot of middle school girls face. Snapchat and Instagram put a lot of pressure on girls, too.”

“We offer clothes that fit girls and go beyond stereotypes,” says Rose. “As a mom, I want a brand I can say yes to — clothes that are appropriate for girls’ changing bodies and don’t promote early sexualization. On the market now, you go from a one-piece Speedo to a Brazilian thong, and there’s no option in-between for these girls.” Whereas Epic Sky bikinis, designed by Sausalito 17-year-old Antje Worring, actually look like they’d be comfortable and fun to swim in, not just lie around and look glamorous...

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World's longest aircraft looks like ass, literally

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The Airlander 10 hybrid airplane-airship, the world's longest aircraft at 302 feet long, has emerged from its hangar at Cardington Airfield, Bedfordshire, England.

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Meth lab found underneath a Walmart parking lot

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We've heard countless stories about people brewing up meth in Walmart bathrooms, but now police have found a meth lab underneath a Walmart in Amherst, New York! They discovered the underground lab inside a culvert below the store's parking lot and a crew in hazmat gear is now clearing out the tunnel. From WIVB:

“We’ll talk to the proper authorities to figure out what we need to do to make sure that’s not accessible anymore,” said Captain Scott Chamberlin.

He said they did not receive any tips. The culvert was checked during a random preventative patrol.

“Routine patrol, that’s what we do every day,” said Captain Chamberlin.

We asked him if it’s routine to check underground.

He said, “We check in various areas that people who might be up to no good, might be using for no good.”

Members of the NYSP Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team passed buckets of evidence up from the manhole.

“Spray paint can, some various chemicals, a liquid we believe is methamphetamine,” said Captain Chamberlin.

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UC Berkeley chancellor installs office "escape door" as security measure against protesters

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UC Berkeley, birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, installed an emergency exit door between Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ office and his conference room so he can escape if protestors violently storm his suite. From the Daily Californian:

Construction of the door was requested about a year ago in response to a protest in April 2015 when protesters stormed the chancellor’s suite (photo above).

During the protest, students staged a sit-in outside Dirks’ office where they banged on desks and chanted loudly. They were eventually escorted out of the building, some in handcuffs, by UCPD officers.

Later that day, protesters marched from Sproul Hall to the area in front of University House, the chancellor’s residence.

ASUC Senator-elect Chris Yamas said there have been many protests on campus throughout the tenure of several different chancellors, but no instances when a chancellor was physically harmed.

“There has to be other ways to handle student concerns and protests than simply building ways to avoid them,” Yamas said. “The chancellor seems elitist and out of touch and inaccessible to the students.”

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Tiny business card sculptures of the profession on the card

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Paper engineer Petrina Case creates miniature sculptures from business cards that, if so desired, may depict the profession listed on the card. She accepts commissions via her Etsy shop: Petrina Case Studio (via Neatorama)

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"Scary Lucy" statue of Lucille Ball now accompanied by new lifelike sculpture

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"Scary Lucy," the freakishly grotesque statue of Lucille Ball by sculptor Dave Poulin that for several years stood in her hometown of Celoron, New York, was joined this weekend by artist Carolyn Palmer's lifelike statue.

"People gasped when she was unveiled and everyone looked so happy," Palmer said.

In a 2015 letter to the Hollywood Reporter, Poulin stated that he meant no harm with his more creative depiction.

"I take full responsibility for 'Scary Lucy,' though by no means was that my intent or did I wish to disparage in any way the memories of the iconic Lucy image," Poulin wrote.

According to Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost, Scary Lucy will stay put "because it has been such an attraction.

"We've had thousands of people here over the past year from all over," he said. "...Even though the other statue is called 'Scary Lucy' or 'Ugly Lucy,' whatever the people want to call it, it's still artwork and not all artwork is beautiful."

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Electronic temporary tattoo measures how drunk you are

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University of California San Diego nanoengineers developed a flexible, wearable sensor that measures the blood alcohol level of its wearer and transmits the info to a mobile device. From UCSD News:

The device consists of a temporary tattoo—which sticks to the skin, induces sweat and electrochemically detects the alcohol level—and a portable flexible electronic circuit board, which is connected to the tattoo by a magnet and can communicate the information to a mobile device via Bluetooth.

The device could be integrated with a car’s alcohol ignition interlocks, or friends could use it to check up on each other before handing over the car keys, he added.

“When you’re out at a party or at a bar, this sensor could send alerts to your phone to let you know how much you’ve been drinking,” said Jayoung Kim, a materials science and engineering PhD student.

"Noninvasive Alcohol Monitoring Using a Wearable Tattoo-Based Iontophoretic-Biosensing System" (ACS Sensors)

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Making a real Star Wars Speeder Bike

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Vintage Works built this fantastic motorcycle that is exactly like a Star Wars Speeder Bike. Only it doesn't fly. Sadly.

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Calling bullshit on "leapfrogging"

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Technology cheerleaders love to talk "leapfrogging," the idea that developing regions that haven't adopted traditional technology (like an electrical grid or banking systems) can jump straight to the newest, "better," thing more quickly. Occasionally, that's true, like in parts of Africa where empowering mobile phones took off long before most people had landlines. Now the big idea is that drones will negate the need for roads, and save lives in the process. The Economist presents a more measured view:

...Such caveats hardly dampen the mood at business conferences in Africa, where you find hundreds of investors gushing about their plans to help the poor with new technology and make big profits while doing it. “Within the next few years you’ll really see leapfrogging taking off,” says Ashish Thakkar, a British-born, Ugandan businessman whose Mara Group, a business-services firm, is setting up tech businesses across the continent. Perhaps, but tech booms based on leapfrogging have been wrongly anticipated in the past. Americans who turn up in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam with millions of dollars hoping to buy startups that have risen as part of the so-called “Silicon Savannah”, an east African cluster, for example, frequently leave empty-handed because there isn’t all that much to buy.

African tech types often think they can quickly copy rich-country products and sell them to the urban middle class. But then they discover that there is no getting around complex tax laws, a dearth of engineers and fragmented markets. The Western investors who back them have even less grasp of just how dysfunctional basic infrastructure can be, notes Ory Okolloh, a Kenyan investor and a political activist.

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Los Angeles: Freaky "Boogeyman"-themed occult art show (opens Saturday!)

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Tomorrow night, the Boogeyman descends on Los Angeles's Nicodim Gallery for an eerily compelling group art show, titled Omul Negro ("The man in black"). The theme is an exploration of evil, madmen, monsters, darkness, and the faceless (and multi-faceted) "Boogeyman" as a cultural archetype.

Above is Los Angeles artist/filmmaker/occultist Brian Butler with his "Circle and Triangle of Art for the Evocation of Bartzabel, the Daemon of Mars" that's included in the show. Brian says that the artwork was designed "in the tradition of the late British occultist Aleister Crowley" and first used in a ritual performance in 2012, of which you can enjoy the video evidence below. Brian promises that he has "activated the Work, and the demon Bartzabel will be in full effect for the opening reception tomorrow - Saturday, August 6th." The show will be on view until August 20.

Curated by Aaron Moulton, Omul Negro also includes work by:

Daniel Albrigo, Will Boone, Mike Bouchet, BREYER P-ORRIDGE, Gunter Brus, Church of Euthanasia, John Duncan, Damien Echols, Brock Enright, Bob Flanagan, John Wayne Gacy, Ed Gein, Adrian Ghenie, Douglas Gordon, John Houck, Jim Jones, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Ted Kaczynski, Daniel Keller, Mike Kelley, Marco Lavagetto, Lazaros, Lionel Maunz, Asger Kali Mason Ravnkilde Moulton, Alban Muja, Ciprian Muresan, Steven Parrino, Hamid Piccardo, Ana Prvacki, Jon Rafman, Sheree Rose, Sterling Ruby, Benja Sachau, Max Hooper Schneider, Richard Serra, Robert Therrien, Ecaterina Vrana, and Zhou Yilun.

From the show description:

Spanning forty artworks, Omul Negru is an anthropological occurrence, one comprised of both cultural enactment and ritual embodiment, invoked to explore the varied notions of the Boogeyman.
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Watch GOP strategist Liz Mair call Trump a "loudmouthed dick" on live TV

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THIS is CNN. (Thanks, UPSO!)

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Airbus designed and 3D printed a motorbike inspired by a skeleton

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Aerospace corporation Airbus's Light Rider concept motorbike looks a bit like something HR Giger would draw (although his, of course, would be much cooler). In reality, the 3D-printed frame was inspired by skeletal structures that enable its bare-metal frame to weigh just 13 pounds but support a 220 pound rider. From the BBC News:

To design the bike's frame and swingarm rear section, (Airbus's) APWorks team collaborated with Altair Engineering, a US-based consulting company whose structural-design software works through the principle of "morphogenesis" — which in biology refers to process of environmental forces defining a natural organism's form and structure. Morphorgenetic software is written to create forms that achieve maximum strength with minimal mass, and Altair's system has contributed to the designs of such boundary-pushing machines as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Volvo Ocean 70 racing yacht, and the jet-powered Bloodhound SSC, which next year will attempt to break the land speed record...

The 3D-printing process employed to produce the Light Rider's frame is a marvel unto itself. The system uses a laser to melt powdered aluminium alloy in thousands of layers, each only 60 microns thick — about the width of a human hair. Airbus Group Innovations, the company’s research arm, developed the frame's aircraft-grade alloy, called Scalmalloy, which it claims matches the specific strength of titanium. The fabrication process — and the strength of the material — allows the morphogenetic software to specify finer and thinner structures than traditional tooling or moulding methods of manufacturing can produce. In fact, notes Gruenewald, the Light Rider’s frame even features hollow branches that hide cables and other components.

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The occult magick of Pokemon Go

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At the Daily Grail, Greg Taylor posted a fascinating essay about the Pokemon Go experience seen through the lens of medieval occult practices in which "incorporeal entities have sometimes been as much a part of the landscape as the everyday physical objects surrounding us that we can touch and see." As Gregory Benford once said, riffing on Arthur C. Clarke, "Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology." From the Daily Grail:

The modern, scientific view has these entities as products of the imagination; our pattern-seeking minds combining with our evolutionary survival instincts and desire to feel in control, to create phantoms out of nothing. The 'other world' does not exist; its imaginary denizens therefore cannot invade our own world and affect us, as they don't exist in the first place.

How ironic, then, that the modern scientific world has now created its own 'other world' - the world of computer-generated, virtual realities - and the creatures that populate any of those worlds can now manifest within our own plane through augmented/mixed reality. For those with phones to see...

This month, the infernal gates to this other world were thrown open. Within a week of its release, the game Pokémon Go amassed a similar number of active users to that of Twitter - with all those players running about their neighbourhoods, seeking the incorporeal monsters now inhabiting our environment, that can only be seen through a special, magical scrying device.

"Walkers Between Worlds" (Daily Grail) Read the rest

Neural Dust: tiny wireless implants act as "electroceuticals" for your brain

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UC Berkeley researchers are developing "Neural Dust," tiny wireless sensors for implanting in the brain, muscles, and intestines that could someday be used to control prosthetics or a "electroceuticals" to treat epilepsy or fire up the immune system. So far, they've tested a 3 millimeter long version of the device in rats.

“I think the long-term prospects for neural dust are not only within nerves and the brain, but much broader,“ says researcher Michel Maharbiz. “Having access to in-body telemetry has never been possible because there has been no way to put something supertiny superdeep. But now I can take a speck of nothing and park it next to a nerve or organ, your GI tract or a muscle, and read out the data."

Maharbiz, neuroengineer Jose Carmena, and their colleagues published their latest results on "Wireless Recording in the Peripheral Nervous System with Ultrasonic Neural Dust" in the journal Neuron.

From UC Berkeley:

While the experiments so far have involved the peripheral nervous system and muscles, the neural dust motes could work equally well in the central nervous system and brain to control prosthetics, the researchers say. Today’s implantable electrodes degrade within 1 to 2 years, and all connect to wires that pass through holes in the skull. Wireless sensors – dozens to a hundred – could be sealed in, avoiding infection and unwanted movement of the electrodes.

“The original goal of the neural dust project was to imagine the next generation of brain-machine interfaces, and to make it a viable clinical technology,” said neuroscience graduate student Ryan Neely.

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Watch this killer Sammy Davis Jr. TV commercial for Suntory Whisky (1974)

Long before Suntory boosted its brand awareness thanks to Bill Murray in Lost in Translation (2003), the inimitable Sammy Davis Jr. really did pitch the Japanese whiskey in 1974. Amazing. (Thanks, UPSO!)

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