Guy saves skateboard from falling in water, ends up falling into it

On a rainy day, a girl fell off her skateboard, and the skateboard started to roll toward the water. A guy on a bike (holding an umbrella!) saved the board, but ended up going over the edge himself. It looks like it was quite a drop. I hope he's OK!

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Kansas inmate freed after doppelganger found 17 years later

In 1999 Richard Jones was found guilty of aggravated robbery and sentenced to 19 years in prison. During trial, his lawyer said his client was innocent and that a man who closely resembled Jones was the real culprit. It turns out the lawyer was right.

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How astrophysicist and Queen musician Brian May made his own guitar

Brian May, the lead guitarist and composer for Queen, is a multitalented guy. A Guitar World readers poll ranked him as the 2nd greatest guitarist of all time. He also has a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College London was on the science team for NASA's New Horizons Pluto mission. He also made his own guitar with his father in the 1960s, which he called The Red Special. Hackaday has the build notes.

Every part of the Red Special was a process of trial and error. This is the true hacker spirit behind the guitar. Most trials didn’t work the first time, but Brian and Harold iterated until they reached their goals. An example of this is the pickups. Brian’s experimentation with pickups started with his Egmond guitar. He bought some Eclipse Magnetics button magnets from the local hardware store. These formed the core of the pickup. Harold then helped him build a coil winding machine, which allowed Brian to manually wind thousands of turns of fine copper wire around the pickups. It even had a wind counter built from a bicycle odometer.

Brian didn’t have an amplifier yet, so he plugged into the family’s radio. The pickups worked! They were very bright sounding, but had one flaw. When bending notes, Brian found there would be an odd sound as the string moved across the pickup. He attributed it to the North-South alignment of the disk magnet poles. Cutting the magnets was beyond the tools he had, and custom magnets were out of the budget.

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Woman kicked out of mall for wearing Finding Nemo tank top and shorts

Woodland Mall in Kentwood, Michigan made Hannah Pewee leave because they claimed her outfit was inappropriate. Meanwhile, the posts on Woodland Mall's Facebook page feature posts advertising tank tops.

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Interview with Nick Bilton, author of new book about The Silk Road, American Kingpin

In this week's Cool Tools Show podcast, Kevin Kelly and I interviewed Nick Bilton. Nick is a Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair and author of three books, including Hatching Twitter and his latest, American Kingpin, which chronicles the rise and fall of the Silk Road and the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Here's a bit from the interview:

Mark: I feel, in a lot of ways, the story of the Dread Pirate Roberts, aka Ross Ulbricht, is kind of like Breaking Bad.

Nick: Yeah, it's a kid who was the sweetest, nicest kid, who decided to build this website where you could buy and sell drugs, because he believed they should be legal and it spiraled out of control. Next thing you know he's running an empire that's making hundreds of millions of dollars, and ordering hits on people from the Internet, and selling guns and drugs and you name it in between.

Mark: And every three letter acronym government agency after him and competing with each other to get him.

Nick: Yeah, every single one. IRS, DHS, HSI, FBI, you name it.

Kevin: Sounds like a movie.

Mark: Yes. More than one of those agencies going rogue too. It's got everything. The way you tell it too, it's like a novel. The amount of research you must've put into this is incredible, because the conversations you have, there's stuff ... Kevin and I were saying, we follow this story, but it's like your other book, Hatching Twitter, it's being there ... Read the rest

Man paves road with unwashed clam shells, neighbors are sickened by stench

A fellow in Tiverton, Rhode Island paved his access road with tons of unwashed clam shells, which still had chunks of meat attached to them. His neighbors saw him doing it, and warned him that the meat would rot and lead to problems, but the man couldn't be dissuaded. Rain fell on the shells for three days. When the sun came out it brought maggots and the smell of death.

The town has issued a cease and desist order to no avail. Residents have erected signs that read “Honk if it Stinks,” and “Stop Unwashed Clam Shells.”

From Oddity Central:

“Everything is sort of taken over by this stench of decaying,” says Blair Moore, who lives close to the decaying clam road. “The smell. The smell is atrocious”

“It’s like bodies decaying,” Sharon Moore, another local, added.

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This toy is called a wooden penguin bomb

When you drop this flat-pack penguin on the floor, it "explodes" into a 3D penguin, like a Nintendo character come to life.

[via Dooby Brain] Read the rest

Free MIT video lecture series: Introduction to Python

Interested in learning Python? You can watch all 38 videos for MIT 6.0001 Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Python from Fall 2016, for free on YouTube.

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4-pack of LED lanterns for $15

Amazon has a good deal on this four-pack of LED lanterns. They take 3 AA batteries and collapse to a compact size. With 350 reviews, they've got an average rating of 4.7/5 stars. Read the rest

Delta and BoA pull funding for production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" with Trump-like character

New York City's famous Shakespeare in the Park lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from Delta Airlines and Bank of America after conservatives complained that Caesar character is modeled after Trump. In the play, Caesar is assassinated, . From Vulture:

While responding to customer complaints on Sunday, the airline tweeted, “No matter what your political stance may be, the graphic staging of Julius Caesar at this summer’s Free Shakespeare in the Park does not reflect Delta Air Lines’ values.” Delta continued, “Their artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste. We have notified them of our decision to end our sponsorship as the official airline of The Public Theater effective immediately.”

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Using centrifuge tubes to organize hardware

I bought a 50-pack of plastic centrifuge tubes for $14 on Amazon a couple of years ago. I was planning to use them to do geocaching with my daughter but we both lost interest. I left the tubes in a bag in the garage.

A couple of weeks ago I needed a screw to fix something. I have a plastic bin filled with loose hardware - nuts, nails, screws, picture hangers, wire nuts, and so on. When I reached in, I poked my finger with a thumbtack. It wasn't the first time that a sharp thing in the box had poked me, so I decided to sort the stuff into separate containers. As I thought about what kind of containers I should use, I remembered the centrifuge tubes. I used those.

I could have just kept the tubes in the same plastic bin that I'd used to hold the loose hardware, but since I have a new Original Prusa I3 MK2S 3D printer (which is amazing), I went ahead and made a wall-mountable tube holder. I used Tinkercad to design it. Here's the model.

I used double sided foam tape to mount the tube holder on the wall. I'll need to print out 10 of these to hold all 50 tubes. Read the rest

Binky is a fake social network where nothing is real and nothing matters

Binky is an app equivalent of a baby pacifier. It presents an endless scroll of image posts that you can "like" or "re-bink" (which does nothing). It's easy to comment on a post, too. You just press random letters on your keypad to automagically generate words that write out coherent sentences.

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Trailer for surreal sci-fi flick, Quadrant

I'm looking forward to Quadrant, an upcoming, utterly fantastic-looking movie created by Woodrow White and David Lauer. It looks like a collaboration between Devo and Alejandro Jodorowsky. I met Woodrow on a plane a few years ago. He's a fantastic painter (who happens to be the son of artists Wayne White and Mimi Pond). Read the rest

This week in the Recomendo newsletter

Recomendo is a weekly email newsletter I do with Kevin Kelly and Claudia Dawson. We have 11,000 subscribers. Subscribe here! This week's recommendations:

Kanji tutor: In the last six months I’ve learned over 500 kanji characters and Japanese vocabulary words using WaniKani, a “spaced repetition system” flashcard website. The first 3 levels are free, after that you can pay by the year or buy a lifetime account. (Disclosure, my wife used to work at WaniKani’s parent company). — MF

Authentic bling: My wife picked a small cubic zirconia synthetic diamond for her engagement ring. Because it is just one carat it looks like a diamond. Nobody can tell it is synthetic. Really. It cost $24. Real diamonds are a ripoff. — KK

Watchable: I enjoy the occasional Joe Rogan rant, because he can be very enlightening. Thankfully, his video on Happiness is short and straightforward, and surprisingly uplifting. Personally, I struggle with “[Happiness is] not having all your ducks in a row on paper,” so this video is a good reminder.  — CD

Near future must read: The juiciest source I know for what’s new in the world of artificial intelligence, biotech, and the near future is the free weekly newsletter from Azeem Azhar called Exponential Review. His succinct list of links, annotated with his remarks and degree of confidence of its importance, are a telegraphic way to keep up easily and quickly. I’ve found more good stuff from him that no one else is pointing to. Read the rest

Cool art show in LA tonight:Pat Riot, David Buckingham, and Matt Aston

If you live in Los Angeles, here's an art opening that's worth checking out. It's called Looks Like Chicken and takes place at the Castelli Art Space tonight and tomorrow.

What you’ll be seeing is the brilliant work of Los Angeles Pop Artists Pat Riot, David Buckingham, and Matt Aston: Three well-established artists with chops, intelligence, and razor- sharp wit. These artists are uniquely distinct from one another, and now together, their Pop Art points a collective finger at the fractured culture of modern America…and it does so in Technicolor.

In his series Crystal Lies, Pat Riot reassembles used puzzles of America at its iconic, serene, and fluffy white best, then seamlessly fuses them with hand-crafted resin commentary that is so clear, it’s almost too clear.

Pat Riot will also be unfurling his masterful, large scale, multi-media collages, each of which bears thousands of hand-cut and applied details-- each applique integral to the grand, critical theme.

David "Kook" Buckingham combs the deserts of California and her junk yards in search of abandoned metal tractors, cars, 55-gallon metal drums, car doors, etc. After he’s carted them back to his studio, sparks fly as he welds and muscles the scrap into beautifully outrageous robots, giants, designs, over-sized objects, and his signature array of metallic linguistics. Each letter is expertly hand cut and used in wall-mounted quotes, slogans or just simple expletives that re-enforce the fact that David Buckingham has no in none.

Matt Aston will be exhibiting his large-scale figurative paintings showcasing a technique that combines the mediums of epoxy, resin, and acrylic which culminate in powerful, direct and unapologetic work.

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This doorlock from 1680 has lots of cool security features

This brass-and-steel "detector" doorlock, on display at Holland's Rijksmuseum, was made in 1680 or so. It has lots of clever features. To open and close the latch, you have to fiddle with the man's hat. The keyhole is hidden under the man's leg. It has a dial counter that lets you know how many times it has been unlocked, so the owner can tell if someone else opened it. When the lock has been opened 100 times as indicated on the dial, the main bolt can be locked, but not released until a tiny button on the man's chest is pressed, which resets the counter.

The inscription on the lock reads: "If I had the gift of tongue I would declare and do no wrong who you are that come by stealth to impair my master's wealth."

I hope they share the Arduino code for this.

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Our brains tell us to avoid people who are sick, even when they don't show obvious symptoms

People tend to avoid sick people, even if they don't consciously now that they are sick, according to a new study published in PNAS.


In the perpetual race between evolving organisms and pathogens, the human immune system has evolved to reduce the harm of infections. As part of such a system, avoidance of contagious individuals would increase biological fitness. The present study shows that we can detect both facial and olfactory cues of sickness in others just hours after experimental activation of their immune system. The study further demonstrates that multisensory integration of these olfactory and visual sickness cues is a crucial mechanism for how we detect and socially evaluate sick individuals. Thus, by motivating the avoidance of sick conspecifics, olfactory–visual cues, both in isolation and integrated, may be important parts of circuits handling imminent threats of contagion.

David DiSalvo from Forbes has more:

Researchers injected one group of people with a harmless bacteria that triggers an immune response for a few hours, causing mild fever and fatigue, but without any really obvious signs of being sick... The researchers exposed the smell samples, photos and videos to another group of people, along with the same set of samples from healthy people... The brain scans showed a signaling effect cutting across the senses when someone looked at a photo or video of a sick person, along with being exposed to the smell samples. The overall effect is a multi-sense brain alarm telling us that someone is sick and should be avoided.

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