When I was a kid, I devoured Frank Edwards' 1959 book of weird "true" stories, Stranger Than Science, and C.B. Colby's book of "hair raisers and incredible happenings," called Strangely Enough. The story about the Inuit village that mysteriously became a ghost town (with cooking fires still burning), and the one about the man who vanished on his front lawn in front of his wife and kids enthralled me and my friends.
Unfortunately, most of the stories weren't even "true." They were flat-out false, as I learned in recent years when I googled them.
A couple of months ago I received a review copy of Dan Lewis' Now I Know, which has 100 strange phenomena stories that are just as fun as Stranger than Science and Strangely Enough, with the bonus of being true. (UPDATE: It's on sale as a Kindle ebook for just $2.99)
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The hunt for an effective, reversible, and socially acceptable male birth control continues. The newest target: The smooth muscle that makes up the tubes connecting the testes to the urethra. This needs to contract in order for sperm to reach their final destination. Now, scientists have shown that you can make mice sterile by eliminating their ability to contract that muscle. The result: A mouse with a dry ejaculation but which is still "pelvis thrusting with appropriate vigor and frequency".
This is a long way from becoming reversible treatment for human gentlemen, though. Right now, probably the most promising male birth control is RISUG, in which a clear polymer gel is injected into the vas deferens. The gel doesn't block the tube up completely, but it does seem to prevent sperm from successfully reaching the urethra and being capable of fertilizing an egg. RISUG is in Phase III clinical trials in India, but, even then, there are still safety questions about it and, so far, it's only been proven to be reversible in tests on non-human primates.
Image: Some rights reserved by Iqbal Osman1
[Video Link] Heather's breakfast, Saturday, was eaten in the company of an unexpected visitor. Below, a 45-second time lapse version of the full 15-minute feast, to Moment Music's remix of Ravel's Bolero (download).
The sock monkey above is called "Rooster Monkburn," and he was created by Phillis May, who makes a sells sock monkeys. When Ms May and her husband traversed the TSA checkpoint at
SEA-TAC St Louis airport, an eagle-eyed TSA operative noticed that Rooster was sporting a sub-two-inch toy pistol, which she seized, threatening to call police. Altogether, now, everyone: U! S! A! U! S! A! U! S! A!
May said the TSA agent went through the bag, through the sewing supplies and found the two-inch long pistol.
“She said ‘this is a gun,’” said May. “I said no, it’s not a gun it’s a prop for my monkey.”
“She said ‘If I held it up to your neck, you wouldn’t know if it was real or not,’ and I said ‘really?’” said May.
The TSA agent told May she would have to confiscate the tiny gun and was supposed to call the police.
“I said well go ahead,” said May. “And I said really? You’re kidding me right, and she said no it looks like a gun.”
“She took my monkey’s gun,” said May, who has retained her sense of humor.
TSA agent confiscates sock monkey's toy pistol
[Susan Wyatt/King 5 News]
(Image: Phyllis May)
These "game-scented" soaps shaped like SNES cartridges are £13, available for pre-order now for 2014 delivery. They come in a replica dust-cover, are suitable for (dirty) vegans, and celebrate the following games: Donkey Kong Country; Street Fighter II Turbo; Super Mario Kart; and
The Legend of Zelda.
Super Nintendo Gamer Soap Cartridges
(via Geeks Are Sexy)
Caffeine has a potential role in marathon deaths by heart attack at or near the finish line. Jen A. Miller explains the state of research and the concerns of medical directors at races.
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Dave Hill: "This is me caught completely offguard by the great photographer Dale May. My martial arts skills are unparalleled. Seriously, no one can believe it. It's nuts."
Recommended if You Like is Boing Boing's weekly podcast of conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers, and other creative types.
For this special two-part extended episode we invite you to kick back and enjoy some light jazz trumpet at a Greenwich Village coffee shop with musician, actor, and comedian Dave Hill, a frequent on-air correspondent on HBO and Cinemax, and a contributor to This American Life. The Tasteful Nudes author discusses his upcoming WFMU radio show, gentlemen's suits, cable talk shows, and piloting a pedicab through the streets of New York.
RiYL: RSS |
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Download part 2 |
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Antarctica's Organic Lake is 8 degrees Fahrenheit, but the water doesn't freeze, thanks to a heavy concentration of salt. But wait, it gets more awesome. Despite the cold and the salt, Organic Lake is also home to a diverse array of life
. — Maggie
Mark Hill found this Internet Radio Product Ltd-branded "Internet" radio from the late sixties in a Dutch junk-market. It's an interesting find, not least because it suggests that the official etymologies of "Internet," dating to the seventies and the Arpanet crowd, is a bit muddier than previously thought.
Was ‘Internet’ First Used For A Transistor Radio?
A new Snowden leak details how the NSA and GCHQ tasked agents to infiltrate Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other MMOs to find jihadis and spy on them. The battalions of undercover orcs did indeed take much of gamespace, but there's no evidence they ever spotted a plot. I was once questioned by members of an "unnamed branch of the State Department" at a games and public diplomacy event about the likelihood that jihadis were playing MMOs; and I said something like, "Sure, of course. Everyone plays MMOs." I didn't realize they'd take it all quite so much to heart.
The absurdity of sending spies to infiltrate Warcraft can best be understood as a natural outflow of the doctrine that holds that if any two bad guys, anywhere in the world, can communicate in such a way that the NSA can't listen in on them, all of society will crumble. Once you set yourself the insane task of eavesdropping on all conversations, everywhere, always, it's inevitable that you'll send Secret Squirrel and his pals to Azeroth.
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My friend Austin took this photograph last week, looking out his office window near the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. That flare in the distance isn't Photoshop. Nor is it the nuclear annihilation of St. Paul. Instead, it's a sun dog — an atmospheric phenomenon that happens when light from the Sun is refracted off of ice crystals in the air. The light gets bent as it passes through the crystals and we see the bright flash of a "false sun" to the side of the actual Sun. The same process can also form rings around the Sun. Whether you get a halo or a sun dog depends on which way the ice crystals are oriented in relation to you.
Rocky Morphology breaks down the critical story components of each movie in the Rocky series: the opening fight, the training, the epic montage, and the final in-the-ring showdown. It's interesting how the massive 1980s-era sequels saw long mid-movie bouts and multiple montages, while the recent (and well-received) Rocky VI structurally resembles the original and its 1979 sequel. The sole 1990s entry, Rocky V, is the worst of the lot—so it's no surprise that it has the most jumbled set of essential boxing-movie scenes. Training immediately after a montage? What were they thinking?
With procedurally-generated game content being the hot issue of the weekend, what better time to get a closer look at how indie hit Spelunky used the programming technique to generate its endlessly-explorable caverns? A perfectly tuned mix of apparent randomness and clever structural design, Derek Yu's game yields its secrets thanks to Darius Kazemi, who hacked the code to show entire levels at a glance. (Note that the generator works only on Chrome).
If you're unfamiliar with Spelunky, well, kiss goodbye to your morning.
"Police are still trying to figure out why a group of unknown suspects would break into a Vaughn Street home," writes Marie Kemph of the Murfreesboro Post, "just to smoke marijuana and dye their hair
." — Rob
This weekend, the trailer for No Man's Sky lit up the indie gaming scene. Why is it so special? Because the developer, Hello Games, appears to have completely nailed three things. First, it looks like a straight-up fun space sim. Second, it has a gorgeous look inspired by paintings by legendary science fiction artist Chris Foss. Thirdly, most excitingly, the whole game world is procedurally-generated. A sandbox universe of unpredictable, explorable wonder, but with top-knotch graphics and a decisive sense of style.
Indie Statik warns about the traditional problem with procedurally-generated games, going all the way back to Elite: an underlying sameness to all the apparent variety.
Procedural generation is great for natural features--caves, trees, geography--but is often a poor substitute for design when it comes to man-made things like cities, buildings and dungeons. I'm going to be there on day one with No Man's Sky, though.