FBI surveillance van from the 1980s on eBay

Ginter Senfeldas of Cary, North Carolina, says he purchased this 1989 Dodge Ram 350 "FBI surveillance van" from a government auction site. It's apparently outfitted with vintage A/V tech, external microphones, pinholes for cameras, and other interesting modifications. Apparently when he purchased it, there were handcuffs, binoculars, "and even leftover video from an old FBI stakeout" inside.

From the auction listing, details of the "interesting" features:

3 Extra Batteries + onboard charger/adapter Toilet in the back 2 LCD Screens Video recorders/Players with all the gadgets Tape Recorder/Player INTERCOM Rear AC/Heat Unit Propane Tanks Radars Amplifiers A lot of 110V Sockets * You can turn off/on the engine from the back * Every door has extra locks!

"Vintage FBI surveillance van listed for sale on eBay" (CBS News)

Read the rest

Experience the Voyager Golden Record at San Francisco's Exploratorium, August 3

On August 3 in celebration of the 40th anniversary month of the Voyager interstellar mission, please join me at San Francisco's Exploratorium to experience the Voyager Golden Record with two of the brilliant minds behind it -- SETI pioneer Frank Drake and science writer Timothy Ferris.

In August and September 1977, NASA launched two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2, on a grand tour of the solar system and beyond, into the mysteries of interstellar space. Mounted to each spacecraft is a golden phonograph record, a message to introduce our civilization to extraterrestrials, perhaps billions of years from now. Ozma Records, the label I co-founded with my friend Timothy Daly, is releasing the Voyager Golden Record as a box set of vinyl LPs so those on Earth can hear it as it was meant to be played. The accompanying book contains all of the images encoded on the Voyager record, an original essay by Timothy Ferris, and a gallery of photos transmitted back from the probes. As our co-producer/designer Lawrence Azerrad has said, "It is the ultimate album package of the ultimate album package." (The limited edition super-deluxe Kickstarter edition will not be repressed but please keep an eye on our Twitter feed @ozmarecords for announcements from us in the next few weeks.)

At the Exploratorium's August 3 After Dark event, themed around "Our Place in Space," we'll play the Voyager Record on the museum's incredible Meyer Sound system while projecting the images encoded on the disc. Then, at 8pm, Frank Drake and Timothy Ferris will join me on stage to discuss this incredible artifact that was a gift from humanity to the cosmos, but also a gift to humanity. Read the rest

See this incredible full circle rainbow

Someone on a crane captured this stunning video of a full circle rainbow. Unfortunately most of us never get a chance to see circle rainbows because the ground interrupts. Here's an explanation from Phil "Bad Astronomy" Plait in Slate:

...To see a rainbow, you face away from the Sun (180°), then look about 42° away from that point (180°–138°). The drops in an arc along that angle will then bend the light back toward you, and you get a rainbow, with the colors spread out a bit because they bend by different amounts.

Oh, wait. Did I say “arc”? Because technically, any raindrop 42° away from the anti-solar point (ooh, fancy science-speak again) will bend the light back to you. We see rainbows in the sky because in general the ground is close to you. When we look up toward the sky we see for a long way, and there are lots of raindrops along your eyeline that can add their light together to make the rainbow. When you look down, the ground gets in the way, there aren’t as many drops, and you don’t see a rainbow.

(via DIGG)

(image above via WoahDude) Read the rest

Stately and elegant "Fuck You" pinstripe suit

Boxer Conor McGregor recently wore this custom pinstripe suit with a subtle "Fuck You" pinstripe. Now you can sport this handsome suit yourself! From tailor David August, the made-to-measure 3-piece wool suit is $6500, perfect for people with "fuck you" money in their bank account. Produced in an exclusive woven Super 130's wool in navy twill, this pinstripe effect is created with explicit fighting words presented in a vertical repeat. This couture label suit features details like:

French-facing construction

Stacked 'kissing' working buttons on sleeve cuff

purple camouflage silk lining

1/16" hand-stitched detailing

two-button, side vent jacket

Vest available in single- or double-breasted (image shown with double-breasted vest)

Numbered and signed by David August Heil

Limited quantities

"Limited-Edition 'Eff You' Pinstripe 3-Piece Wool Suit Made-to-Measure" (via Uncrate)

Read the rest

Old NASA computers and space probe data tapes found in dead engineer's basement

A scrap dealer cleaning out a deceased engineer's basement in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania found two massive 1960s computers, magnetic tape data storage systems, and hundreds of tape reels, all of which was marked as the property of NASA. The scrap dealer called NASA to report what he found and the agency's Office of the Inspector General investigated. It turns out that the fellow was an IBM engineer who worked for NASA in the early 1970s and was given permission to save the stuff as it was being discarded. One space agency's trash is another maker's treasure... From Ars Technica:

"Please tell NASA these items were not stolen," the engineer's heir told the scrap dealer, according to the (Office of Insepctor General's) report. "They belonged to IBM Allegheny Center Pittsburgh, PA 15212. During the 1968-1972 timeframe, IBM was getting rid of the items so [redacted engineer] asked if he could have them and was told he could have them...."

NASA investigators picked up the 325 magnetic data tape reels on December 8, 2015. The cassettes measured 14 inches in diameter and were filled with half-inch magnetic tape. The tapes "were in poor condition and almost all were affected by moderate to severe mould."

Most of the tapes were not labelled, but "of the tapes that were labelled, the content appeared to be space science related with missions including Pioneer and Helios and the inclusive date range was 1967-1974."

NASA told the family of the deceased that it was not in the junk removal business.

Read the rest

Creepy and amazing tattoo and haircut combo

(youdontknowimadaog via /r/ATBGE) Read the rest

Typewriters transformed into incredible sculptures of machine guns

Montreal artist Eric Nado transforms vintage typewriters into stunning models of machine guns. As a William S. Burroughs fan, I have great appreciation for this intersection of objects. From Galerie COA:

Through sculpture-assemblage, Éric Nado transforms and reorganizes certain objects to reveal other possibilities through their forms or intended functions. Using iconic metal objects such as typewriters and sewing machines, Nado materializes concepts such as labor and memory.

Read the rest

Watch: The Magic of Oz, the "worst cartoon ever"?

The Magic of Oz, most likely from the early 1960s, is sometimes referred to as "the worst cartoon ever." I think that is hyperbolic but I appreciate the sentiment.

Animation historian Jerry Beck had this to say about it: "The film is a real mystery... and real awful."

(via /r/ObscureMedia)

Read the rest

Star Wars lightsabers with Owen Wilson saying "wow" as the sound effect

This is deeply weird but also makes perfect sense. Wow. Read the rest

Watch George Lucas tell off professional autograph hounds

Above, George Lucas has no time for professional autograph hunters out for a quick buck. Below is another recent clip of Lucas grumpy at the autograph hounds because they're "here to make money. They're not fans." I think he's right!

Read the rest

Two people drowned in river baptisms

Two adult men drowned during their baptisms in the Ungwasi River in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania in Africa.

“Following the incident, we have agreed on some measures that will ensure the safety of our followers during baptism in the rivers,” Victory Christian Center pastor Samuel Kamigwa was quoted as saying.

From Religion News:

Kamigwa said churches were considering increasing the number of ministers at one baptism event. They would also baptize one person at a time, while others are kept at a safe distance, and will choose a time when the water is calm enough for the ritual....

Last year, six children died in Zimbabwe’s eastern province of Mashonaland during an early morning baptism in a stream by a self-styled prophetess.

And in January 2015, two elderly Pentecostal church pastors drowned in Mutshedzi River in Limpopo Province of South Africa, where they had gone to baptize four junior church members.

Read the rest

Watch "Raiders of the Lost Darth"

Fabrice Mathieu delivered this fantastic new cut of his Raiders of the Lost Darth mashup.

Cast: Harrison Ford, Alfred Molina, Paul Freeman, Carrie Fisher, Fred Sorenson, Warwick Davis, and C-3PO as "The Idol".

Films and Characters created by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

Films used: - "Raiders of the lost ark" - "Star Wars": episodes IV, V, VI, VII. - "Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure". Music by John Williams.

Read the rest

Security robot drowns during patrol

The Knightscope K5 security robot was patrolling a Washington DC office park on MOnday when it met its untimely demise. Apparently the robot rolled too close to the fountain stairs for its own good. From The Guardian:

Stacy Dean Stephens, vice president of marketing and sales at Knightscope, told Cnet that it was an “isolated incident” for the K5 unit and that “no people were harmed or involved in any way..."

Since taking the streets in limited numbers, the K5 patrol bot, which is apparently packed with sensors to be the smart eyes and ears for its human law enforcement colleagues, has had its fair share of incidents. In April, a K5 patrolling the mean streets of Google-home-town Mountain View, California was allegedly involved in a carpark altercation with a 41-year-old man, while in July 2016 another K5 unit was accused of running over a 16-month-old child in a Stanford shopping centre.

Read the rest

How caffeine keeps you awake

TedEd tackles the question of "How does caffeine keep you awake?" The answer is fascinating but I care less about how it works and just thank my lucky stars that it does.

Read the rest

This boat is a hot tub and vice versa

The Hot Tub Boat is both at the same time. You can rent one to float around Seattle's Lake Union or custom order your very own from HotTubBoats.com.

"Well, the hot tub boat is fifteen feet over all, she's about six feet wide, about close to 400 gallons of water in the hot tub,” says (Seattle-based co-inventor Adam) Karpenske. “It can take six people on the boat at any time."

"She does her haul speed at about three-and-a-half knots. It's controlled by a little joy stick. Kind of like a lot of people have equated it to ‘if you ever played Pac-man, you can drive the hot tub boat.'"

"Hit the water in a Hot Tub Boat" (King5 via Weird Universe) Read the rest

Watch: A new NASA documentary narrated by William Shatner

NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia turns 100 this year. In celebration, the space agency produced this short documentary and enlisted Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, to narrate. Here are just a few highlights from NASA Langley's incredible history:

• In times of peace and war, NASA Langley helped to create a better airplane, including unique wing shapes, sturdier structures, the first engine cowlings, and drag cleanup that enabled the Allies to win World War II.

• Langley broke new ground in aeronautical research with a suite of first-of-their-kind wind tunnels that led to numerous advances in commercial, military and vertical flight, such as helicopters and other rotorcraft.

• Langley researchers laid the foundation for the U.S. manned space program, played a critical role in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, and developed the lunar-orbit rendezvous concept that made the Moon landing possible.

• Development by Langley of a variety of satellite-borne instrumentation has enabled real-time monitoring of planet-wide atmospheric chemistry, air quality, upper-atmosphere ozone concentrations, the effects of clouds and air-suspended particles on climate, and other conditions affecting Earth’s biosphere.

• Protecting astronauts from harm is the aim of Langley’s work on the Orion Launch Abort System, while its work on materials and structures for lightweight and affordable space transportation and habitation will keep future space travelers safe.

• Helping to create environmentally benign aeronautical technologies has been a focus of Langley research, including concepts to reduce drag, weight, fuel consumption, emissions, and lessen noise.

NASA Langley: Innovation at 100

Read the rest

Dissociative psychedelic Ketamine may help suicidal children

Ketamine is a short-acting dissociative anesthetic commonly used on animals and sometimes people. Of course it's also beloved by many psychonauts for its unusual dreamlike or "out of body" psychedelic effects. While Ketamine has been shown for years to help treat depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder in adults, researchers at Yale School of Medicine now report that it has great promise as a fast-acting intervention for children in crisis. From Scientific American:

It was less dramatic to watch than I expected, but the kids were definitely high. There was a lot of giggling involved, and they often said that they felt like time was changing and that their bodies felt ‘funny’ and sometimes numb. Nicole, (a suicidal 14-year-old,) admitted, “I’m not gonna lie. I like the feeling of it.”

Perhaps more dramatic than the trips themselves, which happened in a carefully controlled procedure room with a psychiatrist and anesthesiologist ready to intervene if needed, were the interviews that came after. I could see the weight of depression lifted from these patients within hours. Adolescents who were previously ready to end their own lives became bright and hopeful. Psychiatry has never seen a drug intervention so powerful and fast acting. While most anti-depressants take weeks to work and offer modest improvement, ketamine offers dramatic improvement in less than a day...

Dr. Michael Bloch, Yale child psychiatrist and principal investigator of several controlled trials for ketamine for adolescents, points out that the drug is only used for select patients who have severe mental health problems that have not responded to other medications.

Read the rest

More posts