We live in a world of backgrounded miracles, entire worlds of wonder and beauty that we either can’t see or stopped noticing a long time ago. Look closely at the wings of a fly on your window sill, stare into a bisected piece of fruit, or look carefully at a growth of mold on a dish. Millions of such micro worlds surround us, breathtaking examples of design, engineering, and evolutionary artistry. When we bother to look.
Feathers is a photographic examination of one such overlooked natural wonder, the lowly bird feather. A single bird has thousands of feathers, of different types, and there are some ten-thousand species of birds. Feathers takes a broad view of the evolution of the bird and its feathers while focusing its lens on the plumage of 75 or so notable species. Each species gets a few pages, with one or two impressively photographed feather close-ups and a brief explanatory text.
This book reminded me a lot of Rose Lynn Fisher’s BEE (which I loved). Both books are minimal in content and feel, but that only helps to narrow and maintain your focus on the world under examination. The text in Feathers doesn’t try to tell you everything about the species of the bird and feather that you’re looking at, but the bits of fascinating science it does contain are probably far more memorable. Like BEE, I felt like I got to peer into a world I don’t normally see and came away greatly enriched by the experience. Read the rest
When I was in Hawaii I took a photo of a photo of a peg-legged man holding a monkey wearing clothes and keeping a parrot on his shoulder. I had to shoot it through glass so the quality is terrible. Does anyone have a high quality copy? I'd love to get a print and frame it. Read the rest
This fellow recorded his dog barking. Then he duplicated the video into a 3x3 grid and played the sound of his dog barking nine times. He repeated the procedure until the dog bark 376,572,715,308 times. (It's OK to skip to the end). Read the rest
Bruce Francis transferred some money to his dog walker to pay for services to his pit bull, and wrote the dog's name, "Dash," in the notes field.
Cool Tools reader Joe Stirt recommended the Durascoop cat litter scoop. I bought one, because the little plastic scoop I’d been using for a couple of years had gotten flimsy from use and would often buckle at the handle. This one is made from cast aluminum and will never bend. It easily shaves hardened clumps of litter from that litter box that would cause a plastic scoop to fold in half. It’s actually a beautiful looking tool, too. If Raymond Loewy designed a scoop, it would look like this (maybe the handle wouldn’t be covered with textured plastic). Cleaning cat litter is an unpleasant daily chore for me, but the DuraScoop makes it much less unpleasant. I’m surprised it is only $13. It’s easily worth three times the price. Read the rest
NC State University researcher Max Scott and colleagues have engineered a strain of transgenic blueflies whose maggots secrete human growth factor, which they hope to use to fight infections in patients with non-healing wounds for whom antibiotics do not offer any hope. Read the rest
Sreedharan Subramaniam shot a video of impatient waterfowl walking over to the tardy man who feeds them every morning. Read the rest
There are only five “pages” in each of these books despite their 3-inch thickness. That is because each page is stuffed with layers and layers of ingenious interacting bits of printed paper, which magically assemble themselves into an alternate reality when each page is opened. Yes, it is a pop-up book, but a pop-up raised to an exponential level. A pop-up on steroids, or acid. Pop-up as extreme sport. The engineering is astounding. As a page is opened a 3D apparition appears, often with its own narrative, first one part and then another. The resulting paper sculpture is the story made real. The textual story is minimal; all the action is in the structures. Kids love to see how they work. The only downside to these books that belong on paper is not letting children paws tear the mechanics. These two books feature all kinds of pre-historic dinosaurs, and sharks of all types. But the artist behind them, Robert Sabuda, has half a dozen other books with the same kind of extreme pop-up-ness.
Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart Candlewick 2006, 12 pages, 7.8 x 9.9 x 2.1 inches $1 - $50 Buy a copy on Amazon
From Brent Watanabe:
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San Andreas Deer Cam is a live video stream from a computer running a hacked version of Grand Theft Auto V, hosted on Twitch.tv. The hack creates a deer and follows it as it wanders throughout the 100 square miles of San Andreas, a fictional state in GTA V based on California. The deer has been programmed to control itself and make its own decisions, with no one actually playing the video game. The deer is ‘playing itself’, with all activity unscripted… and unexpected. In the past 48 hours, the deer has wandered along a moonlit beach, caused a traffic jam on a major freeway, been caught in a gangland gun battle, and been chased by the police.
For more information about the San Andreas Deer Cam project, click here.
Rgraves says: "I literally had JUST built this fence to keep Stella in the yard and was admiring it..."
Step 1: Buy a catnip banana for $3 on Amazon.
Step 2: Give the catnip banana to your cat.
Step 3. Record a video of the cat playing with it.
Step 4: Edit the video, using the song "Whats It To Ya Punk" by Audionautix (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license)
Step 5. Upload the video to YouTube.
Step 6. Enjoy the mean-spirited YouTube comments, many of which will begin with "Step 7...." Read the rest
It's hard to tell if this baboon is astonished or angry about the behavior of the tailless primate on the other side of the glass. Read the rest