Dahon Speed D7 folding bicycle

Of all the ways to navigate cities, I find I get to know them best on a bicycle: not too slow, not too fast, just high up enough to observe, and quasi-meditatively conducive to thought.

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The Cosmic Tourist: Visit the 100 Most Awe-Inspiring Destinations in the Universe

Open the pages of Cosmic Tourist and journey across the universe with 100 thrilling pit stops along the way. Your itinerary starts with Planet Earth, makes stops on the moon, the sun, a comet, Mercury, resting spots through the asteroid belt, and many other cosmic sites until you end up 13,700,000,000 light years away at “Infinity and Beyond.” Each stop offers spectacular photography and fascinating outer space facts that are written by the BBC’s “Sky at Night” astronomers Patrick Moore, Chris Lintott, and Brian May (who also happens to be the guitarist and founding member of Queen).

If you’ve often sat under the black twinkling canopy of the night sky and wondered… What is that mysterious glow on the night side of Venus? Or… Why is the Delta Cephei, which is 887 light years away from Earth, one of the most important stars in the sky? Or… What are those beautifully bright beaded interlocking rings that are floating 167,000 light-years away from us? … then it’s time to buy your passenger ticket, er, this visually stunning book, which will captivate you with space travel for many moons to come.

The Cosmic Tourist: Visit the 100 Most Awe-Inspiring Destinations in the Universe by Brian May, Patrick Moore, and Chris Lintott

Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

Kickstarting another season of the outstanding Relatively Prime math podcast

Samuel Hansen's fantastic math podcast is everything a technical program should be deep but accessible, thoughtful but funny, and free for all; the new season is on Kickstarter for a few more hours! I put in $35.

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Anti-corporatist protesters seize town hall, citing Magna Carta

Joly sez, "On October 10 2014 UK activists, concerned about EU-US TTIP and EU-Canada CETA agreements that could make it possible for corporations to sue governments for banning fracking, invoked Article 61 of the Magna Carta to temporarily seize control of Glastonbury Town Hall. They claim that the 1215 Magna Carta's Article 61 - the Lawful Rebellion clause, which some say was later was later revoked in 1297, was validated by 25 Barons in 2001. A full video, including negotiations with the police, is posted on Youtube."

Plants can tell when they’re being eaten

From the excellent Modern Farmer: an article about how new studies show that "plants can tell when they’re being eaten, and they don’t like it."

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WATCH: Musician arrested for legally singing in subway

xac branch says: "One of NYPD's finest arrests a man for playing in the subway after he recites the law word for word that allows him to perform for donations. He continues to sing as he is being handcuffed."

Interesting to see the two undercover officers appear during the arrest.

Cat enters building


San Francisco: Tested, the theatrical experience


Our pals at Tested -- Adam Savage, Will Smith, Norman Chan, and Jamie Hyneman -- are bringing their site to the stage for Tested: The Show on Saturday, October 25, at San Francisco's historic Castro Theatre.

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Music: "I Don't Wanna Grow Up," Tom Waits (1992)

My favorite music video of all time.

Far-right UK party releases excruciating, racist comedy song

Mike Read, a former BBC disk jockey, has recorded "UKIP Calypso", a song named for the British anti-immigrant party and a style of music stereotypically associated with the mid-century immigrants of his generation. Yes, complete with terrible "Jamaican" accent!

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 9.35.29 AM

If nothing else, it's a reminder of the talentless mediocrity of 20th century Britain's light entertainment monoculture; the lyrics, as transcribed by Us vs Th3m, are posted below.

Note the cover of the song proves that UKIP leader Nigel Farage is approximately 3 feet tall.


Tax payers money where does it go?
Not even George Osborne knows
When we’re in power and we engage
There will be no tax on minimum wage

Our leaders committed a cardinal sin
Open the borders let them all come in
Illegal immigrants in every town
Stand up and be counted Blair and Brown

Oh yes when we take charge
And the new Prime Minister is Farage
We can trade with the world again
When Nigel is at number 10

The British People have been let down
That’s why UKIP is making ground
From Crewe to Cleethorpes to Outer Hendon
They don’t believe Cameron’s referendum

Coalition could be a fact
With any party we could make a pact
Stop telling lies about us too
And we’ll stop telling the truth about you

Though our pension scheme is in a mess
We need money for the NHS
With Jean-Claude Juncker we’re giving away
55 million every day

Oh what a farce, he won the vote
This is my favourite Juncker quote
He looked the reporters straight in the eyes
“When things get serious it’s time to lie”


The EU live in wonderland
Tried to ban bent bananas and British jam
We don’t want jam the EU way
Jam yesterday, tomorrow and never today

The daily polls suggest somehow
UKIP are the third party now
In the Euro elections we were so immersed
We weren’t the third party, we were the first


When the government’s sitting on the fence UKIP policies make more sense Get out of Europe, is our target Common wealth and not common market

Other parties please take note
UKIP is not a protest vote
So mark your cross and by word of mouth
Tell them what to do in Thanet South


With the EU we must be on our mettle
They want to change our lawnmowers and our kettles
Our hairdryers, smartphones and vacuum cleaners
But UKIP is wise to their misdemeanours

Farage he likes his fags and beer
But there’s one thing I want to get clear
Now I like Nigel he’s a friend of mine
He appears on Dimbleby on Question Time


The other parties will count the costings
In Eastleigh, Thurrock and Bow they’re lost in
Labour and Tories shaking in their boots
When UKIP kick them up the grassroots

Meanwhile down on Clacton-on-Sea
UKIP are making history
Douglas Carswell is quite adamant
Will be the first MP in parliament


Carved radish animals


Excellent daikon oroshi animal sculptures from a Japanese book about the best artists in this curious business.

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Man convicted over "illegal" cartoons


A man in Middlesborough, England, was jailed for possessing "prohibited images of children" -- even though the images in question were cartoon drawings.

His barrister Richard Bennett said: “These are not what would be termed as paedophilic images. These are cartoons.”

And Mr Bennett revealed that such banned images were freely available on legitimate sites.

He said: “This case should serve as a warning to every Manga and Anime fan to be careful. It seems there are many thousands of people in this country, if they are less then careful, who may find themselves in that position too.”

Police found the images when they seized Hoque’s computer from his home on June 13, 2012, said prosecutor Harry Hadfield. He said officers found 288 still and 99 moving images, but none were of real people.

The judge made clear that no victim was harmed, and that this fact was immaterial to his conviction:

“It is important to emphasise that there were no actual children or perpetrators involved. ... This is material that clearly society and the public can well do without. Its danger is that it obviously portrays sexual activity with children, and the more it’s portrayed, the more the ill-disposed may think it’s acceptable.”

Do you live in England? The anime schoolgirl at the top of this post has hidden somewhere in your computer. Can you find her before the thought police do?

Correction: An earlier version of this article's headline said Mr. Hoque was jailed; his sentence was suspended.

Familiar film scenes in Lego

A film by Morgan Spence.

Clowns menace France

Coulrophobia and chaos in Sin-le-Noble, where "a girl told police she was chased by an armed person in a clown costume", among other unsettling incidents [Previously].

Gimp suit accidentally bought

mer A 71-year-old Rotary Club president planned to appear in costume as a mer-man to raise money for an Air Ambulance, but ordered a BDSM costume by mistake. His wife hacked it into shape, however, resulting in the sexiest Merman tail ever to grace a Rotarian charity event.