Bose locks down central London to shoot commercial


In this commercial for headphones, a young woman dances in an eerily empty Piccadilly Circus, London's famously crowded tourist attraction. The creative director of the ad explains how it was done:

"We never quite believed we would actually be able to lock down central London in such heavily populated and high security areas," Grey London executive creative director Dominic Goldman tells AdFreak. "We used a helicopter for the ariel shots, which had understandably strict airspace rules. We held back traffic and people for a few minutes each take. This wasn't easy to produce. Most of this was captured in camera with minimal clean-up in post."

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What kind of electronics crap can you buy for $50 in Shenzhen?


A USB light (above) for $0.11. A USB fan for $0.45. A 32GB Micro SD card for $2.13. A Smart watch for $9.74. An iPhone-controllable camera drone for $9.74. These were just some of the things this guy bought in the Huaqiangbei electronics market area of Shenzhen.

While most vendors in the markets will (grudgingly) sell you one of something, that’s not really why they’re there. HQB is where you go to buy new products in volume. The price for one of something is…a little bit higher than the unit price if you’re buying a bunch of something. Up until now, we’ve had only the vaguest sense of what volume purchase in the markets was really like. We, of course, were never going to be in the business of buying smartwatches, drones, or SD cards in volume. Or were we? About a month back, Jesse asked friends on Twitter if they’d pay fifty bucks to get a box of random crap from Shenzhen. It quickly became clear that we weren’t going to have any trouble finding customers for this one.

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Waitress receives tip: God wants you to go home and cook


A waitress employed at a Cracker Barrel in South Carolina sent this "tip" written on a napkin that she got to The Bitchy Waitress website.

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Time Lapse: 52 thousand books reshelved at NYC Public Library


From the YouTube description: "In preparation for the reopening of the Rose Main Reading Room, watch 52,000 books being just two minutes. Video credit: Max Touhey Photography. Music credit: As Colorful As Ever by Broke For Free Read the rest

Utility knife reviewer loses his cool


The first few seconds of this video promises to be an insightful look at utility knives. It soon becomes clear that we will learn less about knives and more about the reviewer's prejudices, grudges, and anger control issues. Read the rest

128GB SanDisk Cruzer Flash Drive for $22


Last week I bought a 64GB SanDisk Cruzer Flash Drive for $15.49. Today I found out that the 128GB model is on sale for $22. Shoot. Read the rest

Clay mugs that look like old cardboard


Ceramic artist Tim Kowalczyk makes clay mugs that look like distressed cardboard. From Colossal:

Kowalczyk is drawn to objects of little material value — crushed tin cans, ripped up cardboard, and Polaroids that have been damaged during development. It is in these typical throw aways that he finds beauty, an attraction to the history embedded in their wrinkles and folds. To memorialize these items Kowalczyk creates their likeness in clay, creating works that look exactly like mugs haphazardly formed from cardboard with “Please Handle With Care” stickers still stuck to their sides.

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Industrial shredder eats a car


This is what happens to cars that misbehave. Read the rest

Three-Body Problem/Google Trips/Puzzles


Followable: Cartoonist Danny Hellman did a lot of illustrations for Boing Boing when it was a zine in the 1990s. His Instagram feed reveals his fascination with European cemetery statuary (pictured above), and his photos reveal some striking examples. — Mark Frauenfelder

Readable: A science fiction novel I really liked is The Three-Body Problem. It is the first Chinese-written novel to win a Hugo award, and it is making waves in China and, in a new English translation, with the rest of the world. Complicated, deep, and seeped in a different view of China, it’s a masterpiece. — Kevin Kelly

Watchable: I watched the new movie The Jungle Book all the way through without realizing that EVERYTHING in it, except the little boy, was a computer fabrication — a virtuality way beyond Avatar. Incredible. Hundreds of wild animals, hundred of species of plants, the rivers and jungles, were all computer generated and the whole movie “filmed” on a blue-screen stage in LA. It’s a good movie, but even better evidence of where virtual production — and all films — are headed. You can catch it now on Amazon. — KK

Travel: Google Trips is a brand new app (for iOS and Android) that scans my Gmail for travel and dining reservations to build an itinerary and offer things to do at your destination. It’s worked like a charm so far, identifying every upcoming trip I have planned. It even created summaries for past trips. — MF

Bingeable: Netflix just released the trailer for the new season of Black Mirror, which comes out Oct. Read the rest

US woman describes getting detained in Turkey for visa error


Mary Forgione, a US citizen, was stopped and detained by Turkish border patrol when she attempted to reenter Turkey while on vacation. She wrote about her interesting experience for the LA Times. Takeaway: the State Department won't help you if you get detained in another country because a border agent forgot to stamp your passport.

Were's your other passport?" the border agent at Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen airport snapped as he waved my U.S. passport.

He was annoyed, but so was I. I didn’t have another passport. The one in his hand was it.

"You came to Istanbul, you didn't exit and now you are re-entering,” he said slowly, his tone serious. “Where were you?"

But I had exited. Eleven days earlier, I had sailed from the city’s Karakoy port with a group of college friends on a Mediterranean cruise bound for Rome, I told him.

He shook my passport again and said, "Show me! Where does it say that?"

I looked in vain at the pages as he kept hold of my precious U.S. passport. He was right. I didn’t see any stamp that showed I had left Istanbul.

I didn’t understand how this had happened, but he did — or at least he thought he did: He decided I had a second, secret passport that I was hiding. But I didn’t.

Image: Wikipedia Read the rest

Fellow plays a tiny drum kit


This is even smaller than the compact drum kit Charlie Watts used when recording Exile on Main Street. Read the rest

Woman surprised to be arrested after pushing over cop


This woman ran up to a police officer in Melbourne and pushed him over, possibly on a dare. She seemed perplexed when she was arrested shortly after. Read the rest

Interview with Ron Hale-Evans, author of Mind Performance Hacks


Our guest on the Cool Tools Show this week is Ron Hale-Evans, the open source software blog, Planeta Diego: Linux Y Software Libre, once described Ron as "writer by profession, game designer by vocation and psychologist by training." He’s the primary author of the 2006 book Mind Performance Hacks and co-author of its 2011 spiritual successor Mindhacker.

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Show notes:

WhiteCoat Clipboard ($31)

"The WhiteCoat Clipboard [are] folding clipboards and they're all medical editions of one sort of another and, one morning a few years ago for some reason, I woke up with the idea that I just had to have a folding clipboard to fit in my bag. I searched for folding clipboard on Amazon and 'The WhiteCoat Clipboard' was pretty much it. It folds up so it will fit into a doctor's or nurse's coat pocket. ... You can put stickers on it or decorate it in some other way, but I keep mine plain, because it's kind of fun to look at. … It's also good for when you just throw it in your bag, if you have notes in it, they don't get all creased and crumpled, because the folder protects it."

Alphasmart Neo - Handheld ($27, used)

“It's kind of like a calculator screen, but bigger. It's just great, you just type in it all day and then at the end of the day, you plug it into your laptop or whatever via USB and it pretends it's a keyboard, and it essentially simulates typing into whatever document you got open and it dumps it that way. Read the rest

Bodum pour-over coffee maker with permanent filter


"With the Chemex, even a moron can make good coffee.” Those were the memorable words of inventor and bon vivant Peter Schlumbohm, praising his creation. A Chemex costs $40 on Amazon, but you can buy what appears to be a functionally identical semiknockoff from Bodum for half the price. Unlike the Chemex, which requires a paper filter, the Bodum has a permanent stainless steel mesh filter. It's made from borosilicate glass, and is "mouth-blown" as opposed to being blown with another orifice capable of producing pressurized gas. Read the rest

Mondo Mod - 1967 documentary of Sunset Strip scene


An exploitation documentary that looks at Los Angeles youth culture in the 1960s. Without mobile phones they had to amuse themselves with sex, drugs, music, surfing, and motorcycles.

From the YouTube description:

Greasers, Mods, Beehived Go-Go girls, and pre-Hippie "Mod Generation" run wild in MONDO MOD, a lunatic look at the Hollywood Youth Scene of 1966 that's so hilariously dated it's almost breathtaking! From discotheques to dirt bikes, political protests to pot parties, MONDO MOD takes you to the Neon Neverland of the Sunset Strip, peers into an underground drug den, and even rides with an outlaw motorcycle gang!. Before there was Woodstock there was MONDO MOD, complete with mini-skirts, surfer dudes, narration by L.A. deejay Humble Harve, photography by Laszlo Kovacs (Easy Rider) and Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters Of The Third Kind) and non-hit title tune "It's a Mod Mod World!"

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Looney Tunes Anti-Drug PSAs from the 1970s

Screen Shot 2016-10-13 at 10.37.58 AM

Here's Mel Blanc channeling Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester, and other Looney Tunes characters decrying the use of hard drugs. Read the rest

How to make selfies look like portrait photographs


There's nothing wrong with "big noses, weak chins, and sloping foreheads" but if you want to adjust your selfies to make them less distorted, give this a try. It's based on a research project called "Perspective-aware Manipulation of Portrait Photos" by Ohad Fried, Eli Shechtman, Dan B Goldman, and Adam Finkelstein. And was created by Brian McSwiggen and John Morone, advised by Ohad Fried and Adam Finkelstein.

paper introduces a method to modify the apparent relative pose and distance between camera and subject given a single portrait photo. Our approach fits a full perspective camera and a parametric 3D head model to the portrait, and then builds a 2D warp in the image plane to approximate the effect of a desired change in 3D. We show that this model is capable of correcting objectionable artifacts such as the large noses sometimes seen in "selfies," or to deliberately bring a distant camera closer to the subject. This framework can also be used to re-pose the subject, as well as to create stereo pairs from an input portrait. We show convincing results on both an existing dataset as well as a new dataset we captured to validate our method.

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