Perhaps the best cleaning motivation I've ever seen, and fortunately the lyrics are not McDonald's-specific. Using the trademark white glove to check for dust was a nice touch.
The combination of a huge wheel of cheese, lots of specialized knives, and this cheese expert's unusual manner of speaking makes this a really entertaining watch. If you want to skip straight to the action, the cheese is "broken" about 7 minutes in.
"We have already explained to the cheese where he must broken." "This is the only way to cut such a cheese."
In this infuriating video, Colin Nederkoorn records his computer streaming Netflix's test video over his Verizon FiOS connection. Then, via a VPN on the same home network, he receives a nearly ten-times faster stream.
Get out of town. Forcing your internet traffic through a VPN should slow your connection, not speed it up. But here, something (presumably Verizon) is preventing Colin from getting normal speeds without hiding his traffic usage from his provider. So much so that he's installing a router to run all his traffic at home through the VPN.
Hold onto your bots: tomorrow is the fourth annual Robot Film Festival in San Francisco! Join the crowd of robotics researchers and enthusiasts in an all-day marathon of robot-related films, followed by the Botskers award ceremony hosted by Veronica Belmont.
Above, Moonbot In the Hood, my personal favorite film from last year's Robot Film Festival and winner of the "Most Uncanny" award. "Malt liquor!"
My favorite San Francisco event of the year is coming up this weekend. Here's why you can't miss the fourth annual Robot Film Festival:
- It's held in Bot & Dolly's studios, the robotic cinematography company that did the special effects for Gravity and was recently acquired by Google. David wrote a profile about them for Business Week, it's an incredible place.
- People bring their own robots, and it's a total blast. Bot & Dolly demonstrates their massive robotic arms throughout the festival. See the above video for some of the robots crawling and skating around last year.
- Dirty Robot Brew Works will be serving up their special brewed-by-robots beers!
- And of course, the films! Lots of creative and brilliant robot-starring and robot-related movies were shown last year, and I can't wait to see what comes up this year.
This segment from the documentary "The Cocaine Route" shows the picking, mashing and eventual reduction of coca leaves into a raw form of cocaine powder. The head of the production outfit, Pablo, grinds up the leaves with a weed whacker, mixes in some cement and dissolves everything in petrol. It's a pretty interesting watch!
Digging a well is a TON of hard work, but the four men in this video make it look easy and even kind of fun. In one day they dig four meters down, break up a bunch of rocks at the bottom, haul it all out and brick up a really nice well. Their coordination and determination is mesmerizing.
Caleb Brown's oil paintings bring us into a bizarre end-of-days scenario where super sharks, massive insects and towering otters take over humanity from every angle. They're beautiful, meticulously-crafted photorealistic representations of an unbelievable surreal world. I found Caleb's work through Reddit's Art section, where it regularly tops the charts. You can easily get lost in each painting. What makes them so captivating? Read the rest
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Quirky is helping inventor Trisha Cleveland develop the dreams of everyone with a second floor into a foldable and practical product. The foam pieces fold up into a nice little chest when not in use, and velcro helps set it up easily. (via Incredible Things)
If you can disassemble and remove this fifty-foot-long, century-old barn from some dude's property, it's yours. Probably a great source of beautiful old wood, as well as a substantial pain in the butt.
In his weekly homily on Monday, the Pope explored the idea that extraterrestrial beings might want to join the Catholic church and determines that they should be accepted with open arms.
From the Vatican:
"That was unthinkable. If – for example - tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here... Martians, right? Green, with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them... And one says, 'But I want to be baptized!' What would happen?"
"When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, 'No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, lets do it this way'... and Peter in that first diocese - the first diocese was Antioch - makes this decision: ‘Who am I to admit impediments?' A nice word for bishops, for priests and for Christians. Who are we to close doors? In the early Church, even today, there is the ministry of the ostiary [usher]. And what did the ostiary do? He opened the door, received the people, allowed them to pass. But it was never the ministry of the closed door, never."
Automattic, the company that makes WordPress, announced today that they have raised $160 million– more than ten times their total investment in their decade-old company. This is their first capital injection in six years, somewhat of a surprise for a company that only recently stated it was healthy and making profit. The purpose of raising this money is to accelerate growth, a pretty common reason to pile money on yourself.
Two things are interesting about this: First, that Automattic can raise this kind of money at this stage in the game, and second that they might actually have to. With companies like Tumblr and Facebook focused on blogging-related activities and supplied with nearly endless war chests, it's nice to see that open-source WordPress can still have a fighting chance. How they'll manage that absurd amount of money has yet to be seen.
New Funding for Automattic on Matt Mullenweg's blog
Recently, I spent a weekend out of town with some friends. We rented a geodesic dome vacation house in the woods. One exciting part of renting someone else's house is exploring some of the things they leave out for their renters--like their book collections. This house was throughly outfitted for children to visit, set up with loads of toys, tree houses, playgrounds, and children's books. Peter Pan: A Pop-up Adaptation by Robert Sabuda was far and away the best book there.
Read the rest
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Brooklyn women who have bathing suits, are down for a 30 minute soak in a tub full of ramen noodles, and are looking to make a quick $175: Look no further.
There's got to be an anime about this already.
Facebook is buying VR headset company Oculus for $2 billion. The paycheck gets the founders a massive payday, but leaves a bitter taste for its Kickstarter backers, not least the indie game developers who thought they could be a bigger part of that future.
For decades, the idea of living inside a virtual reality has captivated developers' imaginations. People inspired by the dream have literally devoted their lives to making virtual reality a reality. It's a simple pursuit with a glorious promise: escape from this world, and into another designed just for you. But there's always been a dark cloud over that endeavor: The possibility that these virtual worlds might become tainted or be misused. It's a major concern, a warning regularly beaten into the minds of those who believed.
At long last, a hero emerged. Oculus made it possible to dip your head into the simplest of these worlds, to really feel like you had escaped our shared reality into another. The poetry written about its promise flowed deep and strong. Rabid fans clamored to throw their support and money at the project. They crowded around booths at trade shows to catch a glimpse, and built complicated software programs for the new platform-- sometimes without even being able to try it out themselves. Suddenly, users were booting up and creating any virtual world they wanted, and that power made them think they might be able to influence the real world a bit. Hopes were high! Oculus seemed untouchable; the white knight of VR.
Well, fuck it. Facebook just bought the thing. Read the rest
Read the rest
The Winter Olympics offer us a great lesson in GIFs--specifically, the power of a well-made GIF to condense much longer-form content into its highest-impact few seconds. Where you've got weeks of serious content and coverage, the GIF has to focus on what brings you the most oomph. Wipeouts.
4chan's worksafe GIF section has been collecting the best of the wipeouts from the 2014 Winter Olympics for the last week. It's an impressive thread. Not only is it emotionally wrenching to see these athletes try so hard and fail, but the wipeouts highlight the magnitude of what they're trying to do. One big crash puts all the perfect runs and tenths-of-a-second into perspective. Here are some of my favorites.
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Robot Turtles– the board game for little programmers –is the most-sold board game on Kickstarter, and it's still going crazy as it nears 25,000 sales! All the backer copies have been sent out and the last thousand or so copies are available on Amazon, with just enough time to snag one for Christmas. I'm a huge fan of the game: the first backer on Kickstarter and an advisor on the project, grab it while you still can.
For those unfamiliar, Kerbal Space Program is a realistic spaceship building and flight simulator game based closely on real rocket engines and physics. It's an open-ended game with lots of asteroids and planets to explore, and some people develop a Minecraft-esque obsession to accomplishing wilder and wilder feats. My rockets mostly just make the Hindenberg look like a damp sparkler.
In the spirit of Hanukkah, CupcakesLanders flew to another planet, built a custom menorah out of rocket engines and fuel tanks, then ferried in a collection of Kerbins to watch the lighting ceremony. Now that's some real chutzpah!
This puzzle– a whopping seventeen-foot-long, forty-two-pounder that comes with its own hand truck –is clearly meant to be used for some form of existential penance. If you carry deep-seated hatred for yourself or are planning on departing from your sanity, you might take on the "extra challenge" of a puzzle that only has six colors, not counting black and white. And it's only $194.
This dramatic video from Bot and Dolly shows off their robotic camera systems by projection mapping a 3D animation onto two screens as they're waved around by one and a half ton robotic arms. In July, Boing Boing co-sponsored the Robot Film Festival held in their incredible studios. There I learned that while this film appears to be shot from a hand-held camera, it's probably made with a camera on a robot arm following a recorded path made by motion tracking a hand-held camera to a tenth-of-a-millimeter precision. Bot & Dolly had no comment on whether or not that's the case in this film.
Robot Turtles is "a board game you play with your favorite 3 to 8-year-old that sneakily teaches programming fundamentals." Created by entrepreneur Dan Shapiro and inspired by classic kids' programming language Logo, the board game lets kids ages 3-8 write programs with colorful playing cards. The game is brilliantly simple: kids play a row of action cards to control their turtle on the board, as moved by the adult game master.
Dan designed the game for his 4-year-old boy/girl twins, because "people who can program are going to be writing the future, and everybody else is going to be reading it." With 10,000 backers, Robot Turtles is nearly the most-backed board game on Kickstarter. It's available until Sept 27 for $29 and is scheduled to ship in time for Christmas.
Dan's a good friend of mine (I'm Robot Turtles' first backer), and we spent months discussing the strategy behind both Robot Turtles and my recent Kickstarter. If you're interested in some of the lessons Dan and I learned, he's got a great post up on the subject.
The following photos were taken from 1914-1918 by my great-grandfather Lt. Walter Koessler during his time as a German officer in the first World War. They're part of a collection of over a thousand photos, stereographs and their negatives that my family has been saving for a century. This is an unusually large and complete collection, and I've taken on the task of preserving it and sharing it with you as I believe it deserves.
These photos have never been published before.
NOAA's Arctic division maintains a couple of webcams at the North Pole, and one of them is showing a pretty impressive meltwater lake forming around it. Previous years show small ponds forming and refreezing throughout the summer, but this year nearly all the snow in view of the camera has melted into a lake-sized slush.
Ardent Industries, the crazy people behind such large art installations as Dance Dance Immolation and SYZYGRYD, are building a giant 3D Mario cloud stuck to the top of a forklift so they can rain on people's parades. Their Kickstarter is fully funded and they're starting production and getting their forklift licenses! Rad!