Louis Grabher's personalized auto license plate deemed too offensive to renew

Mr. Grabher's personalized plate, GRABHER, has never been a problem until this year's renewal. The BBC reports that the Nova Scotian motorist was refused permission to plate up his own name—of fine German vintage—by the local transport department. He blames Trump.

"I've never once had anybody come up to me and say they were offended," Mr Grabher told CBC News.

"They would look at it and say, 'Am I reading this right?' And I would go, 'Yes.'

"And they would go, 'Is this your last name?' And I would go, 'Yes.' And they would always just give a little chuckle."

Mr Grabher said he thinks he's being punished for Donald Trump's obscene language.

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Miele's networked disinfecting hospital dishwasher has a gaping security flaw

The Miele PG 8528 is a "washer-disinfector" intended for hospitals and other locations with potentially dangerous pathogens on their dirty dishes; it's networked and smart. And dumb. Read the rest

Gaff card deck has 40 magic tricks

http://amzn.to/2mKmut5

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 minute's 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

Crowdfunding a subscription to Ms. for every state official in Wyoming, home of America's worst wage-gap

Rudy Rucker writes, "Isabel Rucker and friends are promoting a GoFundMe project to give an Ms. subscription to each of the elected officials in Wyoming. Why? To raise awareness of women's issues. Wyoming has the largest gender pay gap in the country, has the smallest percentage of women in its state legislature, is among the costliest for childcare, and faces continuing cuts in publicly funded family planning and in women's health services." 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

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

How America's obsession with hula girls almost wrecked Hawai'i

Over at Collectors Weekly, Lisa Hix has just written an incredibly in-depth history of the hula, from its roots as a sacred dance to its kitschy personification as a dashboard doll. For her piece, Hix spoke with Constance Hale, a hula dancer herself, whose new book, The Natives Are Restless, focuses on authentic, 21st-century expressions of the hula.

Snip:

In his journal, Captain Cook described the Hawaiians’ hula: “Their dances are prefaced with a slow, solemn song, in which all the party join, moving their legs, and gently striking their breasts in a manner and with attitudes that are perfectly easy and graceful.”

In The Natives Are Restless, Hale explains, “To be sexually adept and sensually alive—and to have the ability to experience unrestrained desire—was as important to ancient Hawaiians as having sex to produce offspring. The vital energy caused by desire and passion was itself worshiped and idolized.”

Cook and his men—and the merchants, whalers, artists, and writers who followed—mistook the hula’s sexually charged fertility rituals as a signal the Hawaiians’ youngest and loveliest women were both promiscuous and sexually available to anyone who set foot on their beaches. In her 2012 book Aloha America: Hula Circuits Through the U.S. Empire, historian Adria L. Imada explains how natural hospitality of “aloha” culture—the word used as a greeting that also means “love”—made Hawaiians vulnerable to outside exploitation. To Westerners, the fantasy of a hula girl willingly submitting to the sexual desires of a white man represented the convenient narrative of a people so generous they’d willing give up their land without a fight.

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Excellent beer bottle blowing cover of Michael Jackson's "Beat It"

The Bottle Boys blow like nobody's business. (via Laughing Squid)

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Escalator malfunction leads to injuries and arrests

After an escalator malfunctioned and reversed its course at high speed, sending shoppers sprawling into a mall concourse, two engineers called in to investigate were themselves arrested and charged with tampering with evidence.

Why were the men arrested?

Officials had called in the two technicians, who work for Otis Elevator Company, to assist in investigations hours after the incident. The escalator had been shut down and all personnel involved in the investigation were ordered not to touch it. Late on Sunday night however, officials discovered that the escalator's auxiliary braking system had been reactivated, reported local media. Newspaper Apple Daily said the reactivation could have affected the escalator's computer data records. Officials ordered police to arrest the two men on the spot.

It's important that we realize there's nothing remotely funny about that video of screaming humans piling up at the foot of a haywire escalator.

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Monkeys helped man who mysteriously vanished in the Bolivian Amazon

Tourist Maykool Coroseo Acuña, 25, was lost in the Bolivian Amazon for nine days. He says that he was only able to survive thanks to "a group of monkeys, who dropped him fruit and lead him to shelter and water every day." And that isn't even the strangest part of the story surrounding Acuña. From Elizabeth Unger's fascinating article in National Geographic:

(Tour organizer Feizar Nava) had invited the tourists at the lodge to participate in a Pachamama ceremony—a tradition involving coca leaves, candles, and cigarettes—to thank Pachamama, or Mother Earth, for giving them permission to enter the forest.

When Maykool was asked to join the ceremony alongside the group, he had refused, Feizar said. And when a guide had returned to his cabin to check on him, he was nowhere to be found. The amount of time that had passed between when Maykool was last seen and when someone went back for him was only five minutes.

Panicked, Feizar and his guides checked every inch of the lodge. Maykool wasn’t there. The group headed out into the rainforest with flashlights. They searched until five in the morning, to no avail. Maykool seemed to have completely vanished.

“It’s because he offended the Pachamama.” Feizar said. “He didn’t want to participate in the ceremony.”

"Lost Tourist Says Monkeys Saved Him in the Amazon" (Nat Geo) Read the rest

Site turns any image into an animated waving flag

Flag Waver accepts uploaded images or URLs and turns them into an on-screen waving flag. There are advanced options for wind and hoisting! Sadly, you cannot export or save animations. Read the rest

How many towns in the world have the same name as yours?

A weirdly fascinating single-serve site: How many places are named Pittsburgh? (Spoiler: three!)

There are 15 New Yorks, 29 Londons, 53 Parises, 248 San Franciscos and 320 San Antonios. But there is only one Truth or Consequences. Read the rest

Enjoy a startling "vintage cigarette commercial" from Japan

This is presented on the viral internet as a clever 1991 cigarette commercial for "Sutaffu" cigarettes, but it appears to be from Topknot Detective, an Australian entry in the annals of Steve Oedekerk-style problematic remix humor. Note: includes child subjected to offscreen slapstick violence.

Here is an indisputably real Japanese cigarette commercial from 1991, introducing Sir Charles Sheen as himself:

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A slingshot loaded with tiny glowing airplanes

What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.

Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer endless entertainment. With three included, you can get into some midnight shenanigans with your two best friends (or with kids if you're into sharing or whatever). Launch them through the air with the rubber band sling, or just toss them by hand to see who has the strongest aviator arms.

Each member of the fleet is complete with red-hot flame decals to ensure that you’ll be the reddest baron at the park. Pick up these LED Toy Planes for $19.99, reduced from $24.99.

Explore other Best-Sellers in our store:Coding + DevelopmentLearn to Code 2017 Bundle (Pay What You Want)Accessories Twisty Glass BluntD-I-Y CourseRaspberry Pi 3 Course Read the rest

Watch how NASA trains astronauts with VR

NASA has always been an early adopter of technology like virtual and augmented reality for training. Here's a cool glimpse into how they train future ISS and landing party astronauts. Read the rest

Watch some free diving beneath ice for your daily dose of NOPE

Johanna Nordblad holds the world record for free diving under ice. This gorgeous film captures the beauty and danger. She can stay under for more than 6.5 minutes with no gear of any kind. Read the rest

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