Watch: nature documentaries are phony

Nature documentaries: the sound is fake, the scenes are concocted, some of the animals are computer animations, and the music is emotionally manipulative. But that's the only way we will sit through them, says Simon Cade, host and creator of this explainer video. Read the rest

Muji is selling a hut

Every time I go to a Muji store I load up on these fat little newsprint notepads:

They cost just $1.25. I bought 10 when I was at JFK a couple of weeks ago. I've also bought a bunch of other Muji items, because they are high quality and reasonably priced. Now Muji has announced that it is going to sell a Muji Hut. It'll cost $28,000 (which includes costs of materials needed for construction, and operating costs of the construction contractor.) and will be sold in Japan only.

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Uber secretly identified and tagged iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased

The more we learn about Uber and its founder, Travis Kalanick, the less we like them. The NY Times reports on the ride company's sleazy tactics.

For months, Mr. Kalanick had pulled a fast one on Apple by directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers. The reason? So Apple would not find out that Uber had been secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased — a fraud detection maneuver that violated Apple’s privacy guidelines.

But Apple was on to the deception, and when Mr. Kalanick arrived at the midafternoon meeting sporting his favorite pair of bright red sneakers and hot-pink socks, Mr. Cook was prepared. “So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules,” Mr. Cook said in his calm, Southern tone. Stop the trickery, Mr. Cook then demanded, or Uber’s app would be kicked out of Apple’s App Store.

For Mr. Kalanick, the moment was fraught with tension. If Uber’s app was yanked from the App Store, it would lose access to millions of iPhone customers — essentially destroying the ride-hailing company’s business. So Mr. Kalanick acceded.

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World's best jar lid opener

The reason it's hard to open jar lids is because the vacuum seal is pulling the lid tightly against the jar. Once in a while, the vacuum seal is so strong that I can't open it. That's when I grab my Jarkey, a $6 plastic lever that effortlessly breaks the seal, making it easy to open. I always try to open jars with my bare hands, then use the Jarkey after I strain my wrist. My wife goes straight for the Jarkey, because she's smarter than I am. Read the rest

7-pack of disposable fountain pens in assorted colors for $12

I got this set of 7 fountain pens last year for my daughter, who is studying art in college. She's been incorporating them into her work. The pens have a stainless steel nib and come in seven different ink colors. I just ordered set for myself. Read the rest

This is your brain on drug policy - remake of classic PSA with Rachael Lee Cook

In 1998 actor Rachael Lee Cook starred in the "This is your brain on heroin" PSA, smashing up a kitchen with a frying pan: Read the rest

McDonald's new employee uniforms look like Logan's Run

Good catch by Gizmodo's Matt Novak.

Matt doesn't care for the new uniforms ("mandatory gray-on-gray with a dash of black is pretty much universally recognized as the standard uniform for bleakest of futures"), but I want to replace my current wardrobe with them. Read the rest

Kottke's list of the web’s best hidden gems

Jason Kottke asked his readers to tell him "what were the best web sites that they knew about that most people have never heard of." I've been going through his curated list of the top 56. My favorite so far is Pink Trombone, a human voice synthesizer. While playing it, I felt my own throat moving to match the cartoon throat. Freaky! Read the rest

The Insect Magnet

Luckily, I'm not an insect, because the packaging for this poison free bug trap appeals to me. I've been using this product for years and it works as advertised. From my 2010 review: "Even if we didn't have a cricket infestation problem I would have bought this box of insect traps, because the packaging is so terrific. My 7-year-old daughter couldn't take her eyes of it. My wife was repulsed by it and made me remove the box from the kitchen, but admitted that its design was striking."

A 12-pack is just $6 on Amazon. Read the rest

Woman smokes pot 100 different ways in 2 minutes 31 seconds

From YouTube description:

In honor of the High Holy Day, 4/20, we asked Ella to get high using 100 different pipes, bongs, other instruments, pieces of produce, and edibles. Filmed over eight hours, we watch her achieve higher and higher consciousness by drinking cannabis soda, smoking out of a gas mask, a shoe, a block of cheddar cheese, a baby bottle bong, and way more. It’s with gratitude, good vibes, and joy that we puff, puff, and pass this video onto you.

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Trippy endless GIFs

An Instagrammer named Motion Magic uses an app called Plotagraph Pro to create this captivating endless GIFs.

From Core77:

"When creating this effect on still images, I take great care in the small details that help to add a more realistic feeling in the movement," the designer writes. "It's as if the moment captured is brought back to life with an endless mesmerizing motion effect."

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Man is so happy about his burrito that he dances on restaurant counter

Where is this place? I want to go there. Read the rest

Animal silhouettes in negative space between people

I found this on reddit. There's no link to the source. The OP said it was part of a campaign "to promote pet adoption." Read the rest

Somali pirates VS cargo ship's security guards

I subscribe to the Humans at Sea YouTube channel because it often has interesting videos like this one about a cargo ship's security team firing on Somali pirates trying to board. Read the rest

Tokyo travel tips, day 4 (part 2): pork guts and fighting robots

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.

We got back to Shibuya after our day on Mt. Takao at about 5 pm. That gave us enough time to get cleaned up and have dinner in Shinkjuku's "yakitori alley" before heading to Kabukicho for the Robot Restaurant show.

The official name for the yakitori alley is Omoide Yokocho (memory alley). It's also known as Piss Alley, but I didn't smell any piss. The grid of narrow pedestrian alleys, crammed with tiny bars restaurants, was as clean as Disneyland's Main Street USA. We got there around 6:30pm and it was already crowded with people ready for beer and grilled meat.

We found a place with a couple of available seats around the counter. It was called Ucchan. We sat down and were greeted by a busy staff. We asked for sake and they served it in glasses of crushed ice. This was the first time I had it served that way, and it was wonderful. I noticed that the glasses of beer that people were drinking had ice in it, too. One of the staff spoke a bit of English and I asked for a combination of grilled meats. He said it was pork only, and I said that was fine. Carla is not a huge fan of pork, though. Read the rest

Dolly Parton sings death metal version of Jolene

Dolly Parton is a fantastic songwriter and singer. I got a kick out of Andy Rehfeldt's death metal version.

[via] Read the rest

Seal doesn't recognize property rights, tries to steal man's shark

"The men who attempt to survive, not by means of reason, but by means of force, are attempting to survive by the method of animals." -- Ayn Rand Read the rest

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