Impossible rooftop illusions

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Kokichi Sugihara makes 3D optical illusions. He is the creator of the ambiguous cylinders optical illusion that won the 2nd Prize of the 12th Best illusion of the Year Contest 2016. Here's his entry for 2015, which also won second prize. Read the rest

Pac-man ghosts embroidered iron on patch - $2 with free shipping


Our family has been going to the Neon Retro Arcade in Pasadena. It's a blast. $10/hour gives you unlimited free play on 50 classic arcade games and pinball machines. My daughter now loves Ms. Pac-Man. I bought this Pac-man ghosts embroidered iron on patch for $2 with free shipping on Amazon. It's about 4 inches long. Now we have to figure out where to put it. Read the rest

School forbids clapping, allows "silent cheering," face pulling, and air punching

Image: Rob/Flickr

In recognition of students who are “sensitive to noise,” a Sydney primary school has banned clapping and cheering at school events. Instead of clapping and cheering, students will be prompted by teachers when it is appropriate for “silent cheering,” “pulling excited faces,” and “punching the air.”


In its July 18 newsletter, the Elanora school has published an item under the headline “Did you know” that “our school has adopted silent cheers at assembly’s” (sic).

“If you’ve been to a school assembly recently, you may have noticed our students doing silent cheers,” the item reads.

“Instead of clapping, the students are free to punch the air, pull excited faces and wriggle about on the spot.

“The practice has been adopted to respect members of our school community who are sensitive to noise.

“When you attend an assembly, teachers will prompt the audience to conduct a silent cheer if it is needed.

“Teachers have also found the silent cheers to be a great way to expend children’s energy and reduce fidgeting.”

Read the rest

New gig economy job: on demand dog poop scooper


Pooper is an app for dog owners willing to pay to have other people pick up their dog's poop. Just snap a photo of your dog's poop, and a scooper (paid per scoop) will drive, walk, bus, or bike over and collect it for you. It's $15 a month for 2 scoops/day in a 15-mile radius. An unlimited plan is $35 a month. Read the rest

US congressman Steve King thinks white people are the most awesome "subgroup"


Iowa congressman Steve King Steve King of Iowa loves his "sub-group" of people. Here's what he said on a televised panel on MSNBC:

“This whole ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie. I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

“Than white people?” Mr. Hayes asked.

Mr. King responded: “Than Western civilization itself that’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America, and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”

Even if King's proudly ignorant statement was true, which it most assuredly is not, the fact remains that King himself hasn't invented anything, other than fabulist history. To be proud of someone else's invention because you have the same color skin as them is just about the stupidest thing a human being could think. It's unfortunate that this nincompoop has enough admirers to vote him into office.

Quartz put together a list of things not invented by white people. I wonder if Rep King sullies his hands by touching any of them? numerals mathematics religion Christianity irrigation novels paper ink dance music gunpowder guns bombs time bombs the seismograph the compass just-in-time manufacturing CD players MP3 players Pokemon calculators karaoke lithium ion batteries yoga martial arts silk umbrellas tea noodles instant noodles shampoo punk futurism futures markets Read the rest

Designers of Glif smartphone tripod mount announce completely new version


It's hard to believe it's been nearly six years since Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt introduced the Glif tripod mount for the iPhone 4. I bought one and liked it a lot. Now they have introduced a new Glif. This one works with all kinds of smartphones, has 3 tripod mount points, and comes with a couple of accessories. It looks great. Read the rest

Charges dismissed for cop who paralyzed innocent grandfather on a stroll

Image: GoFundMe

Charges were dismissed for the Madison, Alabama police officer who body slammed a 58-year-old man from India walking on the sidewalk last year. Sureshbhai Patel, who does not understand English, was seriously injured and needed an operation to fuse two vertebrae.

From NBC News:

Hank Sherrod, Patel's attorney, told NBC News in an email that the state's decision to drop the assault charge is deeply troubling, though not entirely surprising.

"This decision illustrates how difficult it is to hold law enforcement officers accountable under the criminal laws for brutal acts that would send an ordinary citizen to jail," he said.

[Former Madison, Ala. police officer Eric Sloan] Parker, 27, still faces a civil lawsuit in connection with the incident. Parker encountered Patel last Feb. 6 while responding to a call of a suspicious black man looking at garages and walking near houses. Patel, in from India to visit his son and grandson, testified that he did not understand English or the officers who confronted him while he was out for a walk.

Nice people around the world gave $209,000 to Mr. Patel's GoFundMe account. Read the rest

Marie Osmond presents a brief history of Dada, recites Hugo Ball poem


In 1985, Marie Osmond energetically recited Hugo Ball's 1916 poem "Karawane" on the TV series "Believe it or Not." I believe Mr. Ball would have loved this.

(Thanks, Gareth!) Read the rest

A di Alessi Lily Bird soy sauce container


This bird soy sauce container makes me happy. Perfect for my gluten-free soy sauce. Read the rest

Employees at Silicon Valley start-up fast 36 hours each week


Nootrobox is a Silicon Valley company that sells nootropics (aka "smart drugs'). The employees there stop eating Monday night and don't eat again until Wednesday morning. From San Jose Mercury News:

[Nootrobox co-founder and CEO Geoffrey Woo], his Nootrobox co-workers and other techies interested in the same question break their weekly fast with a meal at San Francisco restaurant Elmira every Wednesday morning. The purpose of the fasts is to achieve a state of ketosis, which means the body has run out of carbohydrates and instead is burning fat for fuel. Ketosis has been shown to affect the brain in various ways -- it helps prevent seizures in children, for example -- and some biohackers say it keeps them focused and alert.

"By the end of the day I just have way more energy," said Katie Fritts, founder of San Francisco-based Underclub, an underwear subscription service.

But fasting isn't for everyone. San Francisco-based software engineer Yan Zhu, who breakfasts with the Nootrobox group but isn't employed at the company, gave it up after a few weeks.

"It was just endless suffering and wanting to die," she said.

Read the rest

Woman uses nose as twerking puppet

Shake that money maker!

This clever person turned her nose into a twerking puppet. Read the rest

Pointer Pointer finds a photo of people pointing at your pointer


No matter where you place it, has a photo with someone point at your pointer. Read the rest

Caterpillar mimics a snake


This Ecuadorian caterpillar not only looks like a scary snake, it will also "strike" at curious creatures. Read the rest

Recomendo - a new email newsletter of recommendations and tips


I run a website with Kevin Kelly and Claudia Lamar called Cool Tools. The three of us have started a weekly email newsletter of things (experiences, tips, entertainments) we personally use and recommend. It's called Recomendo. Here's what Kevin says about it:

We'll be recommending 6 items in an extremely short email every week. Mark, myself, and Claudia — the entire staff of Cool Tools — will suggest good stuff we have personally used, consumed, or experienced. We'll try to keep each recommendations light and fast, to no more than a sentence or two. They won't be definitive reviews; rather they'll be quick recommendations. Going back again to our roots, we've named it Recomendo — which, believe it or not, was the name of this site before I renamed it Cool Tools.

If you want great tools, stay on (or sign onto) the Cool Tools newsletter. To get all the other kinds of things we encounter and enjoy sharing, sign up for Recomendo here. As usual, we don't do anything with your info except send you short and sweet one-screen news once a week.

Read the rest

The story of the train that broke through a building in Paris in 1895


This famous photo of a crashed train engine leaning against a building is often seen on posters warning people to plan carefully. The photo was taken on 22 October 1895 at the Gare Montparnasse in Paris. It is commonly referred to as the Montparnasse derailment.

At 4:00pm that day the Granville–Paris Express ran through the bumper at the end of the track. (Here are photos of track bumpers, also known as buffer stops.) The train was running late, so the driver was going faster than usual. Unfortunately, the Westinghouse air brake failed. After breaking through the bumper, the train skidded across the concourse and broke through the two-foot thick station wall. The engine fell 30 feet to the street, ending up as you see in the photo. None of the 131 passengers died, but six people were injured and one woman in the street died when she was hit by falling debris. The woman was working at a newsstand at the time. The railway company supported the woman's two children.

The passenger cars were completely undamaged. Ten men used a winch to lower the locomotive, which was taken to a repair station. An inspection revealed only minor damage.

The crash was beautifully recreated in Martin Scorsese's Hugo. Here's the clip, along with some behind the scenes footage of the making of the models and special effects:

A similar train accident occurred around the same era in Hartford, CT.

Read the rest

Man shoots at frozen pond, bullet spins like a top

This never happens to me when I shoot at a frozen pond! Read the rest

Gentleman accused of illegally owning human brain, using embalming fluid to get high


On June 21, Joshua Lee Long's aunt was cleaning her trailer in Carlisle, Pennsylvania when she found a department store bag containing a human brain under the porch. She called the police, who interviewed Mr. Long. He admitted that he sprayed his marijuana cigarettes with the formaldehyde-based embalming fluid used to preserve the brain before smoking them. The 26-year-old was charged with abuse of a corpse and conspiracy. Read the rest

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