My favorite garlic crusher

I use this rocker garlic crusher several times a week. To use it, you just put a peeled clove of garlic under the crusher and rock the crusher over it a few times. It will smash the garlic through the holes, which you can then add to your food or skillet. When you are done, you can rub the stainless steel rocker underwater and "wash" your hands to remove the garlic smell from your skin. I like using this a lot more than a traditional garlic press, which seems to "juice" garlic more than mince it, as this rocker does. It's $15 on Amazon and will last forever. Here's a cheaper version (which I have not tried): Read the rest

Explore this 3D model of Dunder Mifflin from The Office

Archilogic made this interactive 3D model of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin from The Office.

You can scan over the entire space under "floor plan view," starting off with Pam’s desk and the office of Michael Scott. Then head past the galley kitchen and men’s and women’s bathrooms.

You can zoom in and get up close into all the nooks and crannies. It’s so accurate even the pictures on the walls are the same. And notice how everything is so perfectly placed, like the scattered coffee mugs and boxes of printers stacked on top of the storage cabinets. If you’re a true fan, you’ll recognize the model is based off the show’s final season (hint: the Cornell flag).

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Little girl mistakes discarded water heater for a robot

"I wuv you, wobot." Read the rest

A mother filmed the very invasive TSA pat-down of her teenage son

Every time you think that this TSA guy has finished rubbing every square inch of a boy's body, he comes back for another rubbing. It seems likes he's trying to discover a bobby pin the boy might have hidden in the seam of his clothing. The boy's justifiably upset mom taped the rubdown, which occurred at the Dallas Fort-Worth airport over the weekend. The TSA told Fusion it's all good:

TSA allows for a pat-down of a teenage passenger, and in this case, all approved procedures were followed to resolve an alarm of the passenger’s laptop.

The video shows a male TSA officer explaining the procedure to the passenger, who fully cooperates. Afterward, the TSA officer was instructed by his supervisor, who was observing, to complete the final step of the screening process.

In total, the pat-down took approximately two minutes, and was observed by the mother and two police officers who were called to mitigate the concerns of the mother.

The passengers were at the checkpoint for approximately 35 minutes, which included the time it took to discuss screening procedures with the mother and to screen three carry-on items that required further inspection

[via] Read the rest

Woman wears heavy bomb suit, can't get up

Like being on a planet with 3X Earth's gravity. Read the rest

Twin Peaks theme song gets the Seinfeld treatment

[via] Read the rest

Gaff card deck has 40 magic tricks

Gaff cards are playing cards that have been doctored ion one way or another so you can do magic tricks that would be very difficult or impossible to do with an ordinary deck. I got The Blue Gaff Deck a few months ago and I love it. There are some amazing tricks you can do with it, and because they have the familiar Bicycle backs, no one will know that you are using gaff cards (as long as you don't flub).

You can do 40 different tricks with the deck (and it comes with a DVD so you can learn them all). My favorite is the B-Wave, which is worth the price of the deck: Read the rest

Tokyo travel tips, day 2: Yoyogi park

Carla and I took a one-week trip to Tokyo. It was my sixth visit to Japan's capital, and it was my favorite so far. For the next few days, I'll be writing about recommended things to do there. See them all here.

Image: Wikipedia/Pawel Loj

I don't think you're supposed to fry onigiri, at least not the triangle-shaped ones that you buy at convenience stores in Japan. But that's what I did when I made breakfast in our Airbnb on our first morning in Tokyo. The onigiri weren't wrapped in seaweed, and they didn't have a filling. Instead, they were mixed with "mountain vegetables" and pressed into triangles. I heated them up in a skillet with butter, and the outside got crispy brown. They went well with the scrambled eggs I made. (I ended up buying this rice mold on Amazon so I can make them at home.) One thing about Japanese eggs - the yolks are a deep orange color. I don't know why, but they were delicious.

Torii gate at Yoyogi Park

After breakfast we walked to Yoyogi Park in Shibuya. This 40-foot torii gate was just a few minutes' walk from our Airbnb. As soon as we passed under it, we felt like we were far away from the hubbub of Tokyo and had entered a quiet forest. As it was early in the morning (the time difference between LA and Tokyo made it easy to wake up at 5am) there were few people in the park. Read the rest

Orson Welles interviews Andy Kaufman (1982)

I was expecting this to be a train wreck, but Orson Welles (in an unusually ungrumpy mood) did a terrific job of interviewing Andy Kaufman, who was always a tough nut to crack. Welles basically took over and did most of the talking and was very funny. Read the rest

Shaun Cassidy sings "Rebel Rebel" (1980)

Today, Shaun Cassidy is a successful TV producer. In the 1970s he was better know as the little brother of David Cassidy. In 1979 Shaun hired Todd Rundgren to produce his album Wasp. I don't think the album did well, but is has some great tracks on it, including a cover of David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel," "So Sad About Us' (Pete Townshend), "The Book I Read" (Talking Heads) ,"Once Bitten Twice Shy" (Ian Hunter), "It's My Life" ( Animals) and "Shake Me Wake Me" (Four Tops).

It was his last album.

Here's the whole album: Read the rest

"I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here's why I left"

Megan Phelps-Roper was born into the Westboro Baptist Church. In this TED Talk, she explains what ut was like in the church and why she left.

What's it like to grow up within a group of people who exult in demonizing ... everyone else? Megan Phelps-Roper shares details of life inside America's most controversial church and describes how conversations on Twitter were key to her decision to leave it. In this extraordinary talk, she shares her personal experience of extreme polarization, along with some sharp ways we can learn to successfully engage across ideological lines.
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Trump approval hits new low

Gallup's latest poll reveals that Trump's approval rating is at an all time low of 36%. This is probably his bare rock base, who would cheer him for repealing the Bill the Rights (except for the 2nd Amendment) on the grounds that it was Unconstitutional. Read the rest

Russian cat won't let go of bread bag

YouTube description translated from the Russian: "Cat Boris lives in a shelter. He and the other tails looking for a home! Dear friends, we are a haven for cats. We are located in St. Petersburg."

[via] Read the rest

Celebrity voice impressionist switches actors in famous roles

Ross Marquand (Walking Dead) is also a great voice impressionist. Here he is impersonating actors delivering lines for movies they never appeared in: John C. Reilly in Taxi Driver, James Gandolfini in The Godfather, Jack Nicholson in Taken, Brad Pitt in Jaws, and so on. Read the rest

Cast of Twin Peaks revival talk about how their characters have changed in revival series

The first mind-blowing episode of Twin Peaks aired in 1990. On May 21 this year, Showtime will debut a two-hour episode of the revival series, produced by creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, and starring the original crew. In this video, Kyle MacLachlan, Sherilyn Fenn, Peggy Lipton, Everett McGill, and Wendy Robie talk about what it's like to play characters for the first time in 25 years. Read the rest

Excellent USB microscope on sale for $30

I wrote about the terrific Plugable USB Handheld Digital Microscope in 2015. It's on sale for $29.70 right now.

I had the earlier version of the Plugable USB Handheld Digital Microscope and liked it a lot. The second version just came out and I love it. Smaller than a prescription pill bottle, the microscope has a USB cord that can be plugged into any computer. Download the software here and start looking up close at money, leaves, circuit boards, bugs, skin, hair, and anything else.

The scope has a built-in, adjustable-brightness LED for illumination. The brightest setting is not always the best - try different levels of illumination and let the software auto-adjust the contrast. I also learned that in order to see things at the maximum 250X magnification you need to follow the instructions in the FAQ.

The scope comes with a suction-cup gooseneck mount that is very stable, and a plastic board with a grid pattern, which helps you align and locate the thing you are looking at. You can also simply hold the scope against things. The software takes still photos and movies, and hasn't crashed on me yet (the earlier version was buggy).

At this price, the microscope is an amazingly entertaining device and I find myself grabbing it to check out all sorts of things, including splinters, skin cuts, bugs, and playing card designs.

Top row (left to right): One black whisker and many white whiskers on my chin, strawberry seed, George Washington’s eye on a $1 bill at 250X Middle row: Snap blade knife at 250X, pixels on an iPhone 6 Plus display, seal from $1 Bottom row: Nickel, George Washington’s eye on a $1 bill at 50X, Snap blade knife at 50X,

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Favorite tools of Danielle Applestone, CEO of Other Machine Co.

Our guest this week on the Cool Tools Show is Danielle Applestone. Danielle is a material scientist, co-founder and CEO of Other Machine Co., the leading manufacturer of high-precision desktop CNC milling machines. Formerly, Danielle ran a DARPA project to develop digital design software and manufacturing tools for the classroom. Danielle's team took that technology and launched Other Machine Co. in 2013.

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Show notes:

Monarch Instrument Examiner 1000 ($1,200)

"I came across this electronic stethoscope as part of our manufacturing process. We would get motors from a manufacturer that looked balanced and met a spec, but once we put the whole machine together, sometimes a machine would have a lot of vibration and we didn't know how to quantify that vibration or to know what was good or what was bad. … There’s a lot of intuition when you're putting something complicated together like "Well, it feels right," or "It doesn't feel right." That's really hard to do so we found this amazing thing, which cut a ton of time out of our manufacturing process and now we have beautiful graphs of everything. We know exactly what things vibrate and which ones don't. You can use it on musical instruments. It's an amazing tool. Once you have one you realize how much you needed one in your life.”

Bicycle inner tubes with holes in them

"I came across bicycle inner tubes with holes in them through a friend who had made a sail boat that was attached only with these bicycle inner tubes —it was a catamaran. Read the rest

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