Pool trickshot artist proves his shots aren't fake with live audience

Florian Kohler, aka Venom, may look like an unassuming guy, but he's one of the greatest living pool trickshot artists. Tired of claims that his videos are faked, he gathered an audience and compiled his five most viewed trickshot videos. Read the rest

Hypnotic video of dropping liquids into an aquarium

Photographer Brian Tomlinson creates beautiful stills of liquids dropped into an aquarium. Some of the results are below: Read the rest

Watch steelworkers forge enormous steel anchor chains

This industry video from Korean steelsmiths Dai Han Anchor shows workers forging and testing the largest anchor chains in the world. A fascinating mix of forge technology and cutting-edge quality control awaits. Read the rest

There is only one man with the gold, and that man is Mr. T

On the infrequent occasion I am asked for life advice I refer folks to Mr. T: The Man with the Gold: An Autobiography. It has all the answers.

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Do the Star Wars sway to this 1977 country song, "May the Force Be With You Always"

Tom T. Hall's "May the Force Be With You" always was the first single from his November 1977 album New Train Same Rider. The song hit number 13 on Billboard's "Hot Country Songs" chart and went to number 5 in Canada. Sing along with me now, sweetheart:

There is a force that moves our lives from place to place There is a force exchanging smiles from face to face If we must go and we must go then we will be apart May the force be with you always sweetheart.

There is a force that moves the wind and changes tides Not that we would but if we should we couldn't hide The force is all and we as one are but a tiny part May the force be with you always sweetheart.

The force is bigger than the little plans we made The force picks winners in the little games we play If we are part of something bigger we can face the dark May the force be with you always sweetheart

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Boston school district switches to a more accurate world map, blows kids' minds

The Mercator projection maps we're all familiar with dates to a 16th-centry Flemish cartographer who wanted to emphasize colonial trade routes; as a result, it vastly distorts the relative sizes and positions of the world's continents, swelling Europe and North America to absurd proportions and shrinking South America and Africa. Read the rest

Experiments with thermochromic hair dye

Lauren Bowker's UK-based firm The Unseen is currently working on a bunch of cool thermochromic textile and dye applications, like this hair color that responds to heat. Read the rest

Gorgeous Mars flyover video rendered from real photos

Mars enthusiast Jan Fröjdman painstakingly composited a fictive flight above real Mars, based on actual images of the surface of Mars. The goal was to make some of Mars' fascinating topography feel more real. All that work paid off. Read the rest

People who identify as lucky really are different than others

This nice little explainer covers the nebulous concept of luck in a fun way. It summarizes the work of Richard Wiseman, who researched self-identified lucky and unlucky people. He found four key distinctions. Read the rest

Watch Colin Furze mod a bumper car with a huge engine

Bumper cars are fun, but what if you could ride one in the wild, with a massive engine under the hood? That's what Colin Fuze is finding out as he mods a vintage bumper car. Read the rest

Cheap, simple strap for therapeutic stretching of my lower back

I need to stretch out my hamstrings and lower back, a lot. This $9 PT strap helps.

I ceased being super active and spent much of the last year or so in "avoid backpain" mode. Slowly, I lost more of my range of motion. When I did go and do supremely dumb things like ride a motorcycle 600 miles in 2 days, or nearly strand a VW bus in a not-so-dry Mexican lake bed, I hurt real, real bad for a real long time.

I decided to start doing something about it! Fancy that. Stretching is job one. Refusing to use a pants belt, I got a strap just like the one I used in physical therapy. It helps. Having a dedicated stretching tool right where I'll use it is a good idea in my book.

I will not recommend exercises! I use some my PT/pilates folks gave me a few years ago (before I stopped going and slowly began down the road to atrophy,) as I think you need to find what works for you and won't make things WORSE. Google and YouTube offer a ton of help, if you wanna go it alone.

Next up is a spinning bike for lower-impact-on-the-back cardio that I enjoy.

Therapist’s Choice Stretch Strap via Amazon Read the rest

Colorful children's respirators make breathing poisoned air fun

The WOOBI is a sad sign of the times. It's a toylike respirator system designed for the 300 million children living in severe air pollution. Read the rest

Wishbone breaks: massive leak of popular survey site reveals millions of teens' information

Wishbone is an online survey creation tool that's popular with teens, who use it to post quizzes, one of the top ten social Iphone apps in the USA. All of its records have leaked: millions of records, including millions of email addresses and full names, as well as hundreds of thousands of cellphone numbers. Read the rest

Fancy flashlight finds first fluorescent frog

South American polka dot tree frogs are pretty cool, but Julián Faivovich and Carlos Taboada found out they are even cooler when an ultraviolet flashlight is trained on them. They fluoresce.

Many animals can see beyond the spectrum visible to humans, and these frogs adapted with this trait. From the abstract:

Fluorescence, the absorption of short-wavelength electromagnetic radiation reemitted at longer wavelengths, has been suggested to play several biological roles in metazoans. This phenomenon is uncommon in tetrapods, being restricted mostly to parrots and marine turtles. We report fluorescence in amphibians, in the tree frog Hypsiboas punctatus, showing that fluorescence in living frogs is produced by a combination of lymph and glandular emission, with pigmentary cell filtering in the skin. The chemical origin of fluorescence was traced to a class of fluorescent compounds derived from, here named hyloins. We show that fluorescence contributes 18−29% of the total emerging light under twilight and nocturnal scenarios, largely enhancing brightness of the individuals and matching the sensitivity of night vision in amphibians. These results introduce an unprecedented source of pigmentation in amphibians and highlight the potential relevance of fluorescence in visual perception in terrestrial environments.

I'd make a Wikipedia article about dihydroisoquinolinone, but it would probably be an annoying and demoralizing fight.

Naturally occurring fluorescence in frogs (via Nature) Read the rest

Triangle — a new book about some very sneaky shapes

Triangle is a rascally shape with a trick up his sleeve. Well, it would be, if he had any arms. Mac Barnett’s wily story and Jon Klassen’s eyes-tell-all illustrations make Triangle a really fun read-aloud for preschoolers, early elementary kids, and their adults.

Both the grown-ups and the kid in my house were eagerly awaiting this book — the latest collaboration between Barnett and Klassen. Both are crazy talented picture book makers who have consistently put out silly, thoughtful, beautiful books over the past few years, together and apart. This is the third book they’ve done as a duo (the previous two are Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, 2014, and Extra Yarn, 2012) and it feels a little different.

Aesthetically, in the tone of the text and the images, Triangle is much more reminiscent of Klassen’s Hat books than of Extra Yarn and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. The main characters are shapes (keeping with Klassen’s typical non-human subjects) and the setting ranges from sparse snapshots to a simple yet stunning landscape of “shapes with no names.” (The brief traipse and chase through this land that lies between the neat, pointed places made of triangles and squares adds something magical to the book. That feeling is made even nicer when realizing that the magical place is the one most like our own.)

Amidst Klassen’s illustrations, Barnett’s voice is still quite present, especially in the dialogue. The reader can’t help but deliver Triangle's lines with a mischievous sneer and Square’s with a tight-throated hand wringing, and that despite the characters’ lack of mouths or hands. Read the rest

The joy of troubleshooting the Raspberry Pi

In his Lifehacker essay looking back on his five years of tinkering with the Raspberry Pi, Thorin Klosowski says one of the desirable features of the Pi is the fact that it's not easy to use right out of the box.

Snip:

The joy I get from finding a solution to some dumb problem is one of the main things that drew me to the Raspberry Pi to begin with. Thankfully, Raspberry Pi projects have gotten easier over the years. Where it was once a complicated process to build an SD card, it’s now pretty much automatic. Still, the Raspberry Pi is far, far away from being as user friendly as a PC or Mac. That’s a feature, not a bug. The Raspberry Pi is built to force you to learn troubleshooting, and that’s still one of my favorite things about it.

Before hobbyists latched onto the Raspberry Pi, it was a computer for learning how to code targeted mainly at kids. Since then, the appeal has broadened, but it’s still impossible for a project to “just work” out of the box. You will have to tweak something, dig into the command line, or spend a few hours buried in an obscure internet forum to find solutions to problems that only you seem to be having. You will slam your head against the wall, yell a little, and throw your Raspberry Pi at least once for every project you attempt to make.

For every project you complete, for every bug you squash, and for every typo you correct, comes a small, glowing feeling inside your stomach that is well worth the trouble of it all.

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A kid-friendly electronics board that you can program from the web

Peegar is an Arduinio-style electronics kit that you design programs for by dragging and dropping Scratch-style objects around in a browser; when you're done, the program is converted to a brief snatch of sound that you transmit through the board by plugging a standard audio cable into your device's headphone jack. Read the rest

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