My favorite sketchpad: Strathmore Series 400


Both of my daughters like to sketch, and so do I. One of our favorite things to do is sit around the dining room table and spend the afternoon drawing. The sketchpad I typically use is the 9 in. x 12 in. Strathmore Series 400. A pad of 100 sheets costs $9 on Amazon. I use a variety of pencils and brush pens, but I really like the Black Prismacolor colored pencil (PC935), which is what illustrator Mark Crilley uses to "ink" his pencil drawings. It produces a dark black line that stays put when you erase the pencil marks around it.

Here are a few of our sketches:

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Good stuff from the Gregory Brothers. Read the rest

Apple's London headquarters to be housed at Battersea Power Station


I spent the summer and fall of 1984 in London (living in this council flat in Elephant and Castle), and I loved hanging out at a park near the Battersea Power Station. Built in the 1930s, the coal-fired power station in South London had ceased operations a year earlier, and I was spellbound by the combination of its almost incomprehensible massiveness, utter stillness, and the emptiness around it.

I haven't seen new photos of it for many years, and I was surprised to discover that a lot of commercial development has taken place next to it. Encroached upon by other large buildings, it no longer has mysterious grandeur. It looks like it has been caged and subdued. I hate it.

From The Standard:

[Apple] will move 1,400 staff from eight sites around the capital into what it calls “a new Apple campus” at the Grade II* listed former electricity generator.

Its employees will occupy all six floors of office space in the brick “cathedral of power,” which is being painstakingly restored after 33 years standing derelict on the banks of the Thames.

Image: Battersea in 2008 Wikipedia Read the rest

Watch bacteria become resistant to antibiotics in a matter of days


In this time-lapse video from Harvard Medical School, you can watch “bacteria [Escherichia coli] develop resistance to increasingly higher doses of antibiotics in a matter of days.”

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Canadian Home Depot removes "peeping tom" halloween prop


After a customer in Canada complained about the Tapping Creeper, Home Depot removed the Halloween prop from its shelves.

From Fortune:

Breanne Hunt-Wells, who is a mother of two, told CBC that she feels the decoration downplays voyeurism, which can often lead to sexual assault or rape. She also said that she ”failed to see the humor in it.”

“It makes light of a very serious crime,” she said. “Voyeurism is a crime in Canada.”

It's still available in Home Depots in the US and online. Read the rest

Testimony: Chris Christie laughed when told of bridge closures

Image: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Earlier this year, Chris Christie appointee David Wildstein pleaded guilty to ordering lane closings on the George Washington bridge in 2003 to punish a New Jersey mayor for not supporting Christie's gubernatorial bid. Wildstein is now a star witness against two other people in Christie's inner circle who've been charged with conspiring to close the bridge lanes. Testifying in federal court today, Wildstein said that when Christie was told about the plot, Christie laughed and joked about it.

From New York:

"Mr. Baroni said, 'Governor I have to tell you about something,'" Wildstein testified, saying that Baroni and Christie often adopted a "very sarcastic tone" when they were talking politics. "Mr. Baroni said to Governor Christie, 'Governor, I can tell you there's a tremendous amount of traffic in Fort Lee this morning, major traffic jams, and Mayor [Mark] Sokolich is very frustrated." He alleged that Baroni then added, "You'll be pleased to know that Mayor Sokolich is having trouble getting his telephone calls returned."

According to Wildstein, Christie replied with similar sarcasm, "I imagine he wouldn't be getting his phone calls returned." ... The governor still called Wildstein by the pseudonym he used on the [influential political blog] website, "Wally Edge." So Christie surely understood the import of what Baroni allegedly told him next: "Mr. Baroni said to Governor Christie that I was monitoring the traffic, I was watching over everything," Wildstein testified. "Governor Christie said in the sarcastic tone of the conversation, 'Well. I'm sure Mr. Edge would not be involved in anything political." Then, Wildstein said, "he laughed."

"This was our one constituent.

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Locksmith scammer caught on video


Locksmith scammers are in every city. They advertise on Google, promising to unlock your house or car for $29 or so. Read the rest

Gentleman ejected from Uber car for smoking "medicine"


The fellow who posted this video said, "I wanted to get medicated, so I asked the driver if I could smoke. He clearly said 'yes,' so I did. In New Orleans, marijuana has been decriminalized, so I didn't see the problem. But he did, so I got ejected." Read the rest

Bad Little Children's Books


Bad Little Children's Books by "Arthur C. Gackley" darkly reimagines innocent kids' books from the mid 20th century.

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John Park's PZ-1 Pizza Box DJ Controller


My friend John Edgar Park made this cool MIDI controller in a pizza box with a conductive ink surface. Read the rest

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” played on a 1929 Theremin


Dan Colman of Open Culture says, "Watch Peter Pringle perform on the theremin “Over the Rainbow,” the song originally written for 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. Read the rest

What's inside toothpaste


Chemist George Zaidan makes homemade toothpaste using the same ingredients in commercial toothpaste. It includes abrasives, humectants, sweeteners, flavors, foaming agents, thickeners and binders, sodium fluoride, and a few other things. He uses chalk, xylitol, peppermint oil, and glycerine. Read the rest

Stephen Colbert on last night's debate


Clinton "was so prepared my new name for her is Preparation H," said Colbert about last night's debate between Clinton and Trump. "It's a compliment." Trump's strategy, as reported by the Washington Post, was to sit with his advisors "over bacon cheeseburgers, hots dogs, and glasses of Coca-Cola [and] test our zingers..."

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This scientist wants to crowdfund a cure to the common cold


The Rider Institute has launched an Indiegogo campaign to develop DRACOS, which are broad-spectrum antivirals. If it doesn't work, Dr. Todd Rider (Ph.D. from MIT) could enjoy a great career as a charmingly nerdy YouTube star.

Currently there are relatively few prophylactics or therapeutics for viruses, and most that do exist are highly virus- or even strain-specific or have undesirable side effects or other disadvantages. We have developed a radically new, broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutic/prophylactic that has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of viral infections.Our Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizer (DRACO) approach selectively induces apoptosis (cell suicide) in cells containing viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). DRACO should recognize virus-infected cells and rapidly kill those cells without harming uninfected cells, thereby terminating the viral infection while minimizing the impact on the host.

He is asking for $100,000 to fund his research. Read the rest

This man filmed himself annually for 35 years and made a video going backwards to 1977


This video from 2011 inspired a 2015 documentary called Sam Klemke's Time Machine.

In 1977, Sam Klemke started obsessively documenting his entire life on film. Beginning decades before the modern obsession with selfies and status updates, we see Sam grow from an optimistic teen to a self-important 20 year old, into an obese, self-loathing 30-something and onwards into his philosophical 50s. The same year that Sam began his project, NASA launched the Voyager craft into deep space carrying the Golden Record, a portrait of humanity that would try to explain to extra terrestrials who we are.

From director Matthew Bate (Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure), Sam Klemke’s Time Machine follows two unique self-portraits as they travel in parallel – one hurtling through the infinity of space and the other stuck in the suburbs of Earth – in a freewheeling look at time, memory, mortality and what it means to be human.

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This guy collected 5 million travels miles


Travel writer Ben Schlappig uses something called "mileage running" to accumulate lots of travel miles.

Mileage running works by collecting miles on cheap flights and spending them on expensive ones. Over a week, Ben might take over 30 discounted flights. They only cost him $800 and he'll earn over 62500 air miles. He then uses those miles to buy a first class ticket to Japan, which would have cost him $13,000.

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$3 illuminated magnifier


I bought this illuminated handheld magnifier on Amazon for $3 (free shipping) last year and I use it a lot. It's a great splinter and lice checker. I've gotten my $3 of value from it just looking at tiny bugs and skin abnormalities. It has two built in LEDs and uses two AA batteries. Read the rest

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