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Indian minister baffled by milk bath


A scandal in Maharashtra: A disgruntled worker from the Indian Nationalist Congress Party poured ink all over Hasan Mushrif, the party's Labour Minister. The scandal redoubled when the Minister's supporters surprised him at a party meeting with a "milk bath," sitting him in a chair and pouring milk all over him to purify him. The Minister described himself as being equally baffled by the milk as he had been by the ink.

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Hanes's threat to Hanes Hummus: people might mistake chickpeas for underwear!

Canada's Hanes Hummus has received a legal threat from Hanesbrands, Inc, who make underwear and other textiles, demanding that the four-person company change its name lest the public begin to tragically confuse chickpea paste with undergarments. Hanes Hummus's lawyer wrote a spirited and funny letter explaining why Hanesbrands shouldn't be worried about a separate Hanes trademark over dips and spreads, but given the relative size of the two parties, it seems likely that Hanes Hummus will lose its fight if Hanesbrands continues to play the bully.

"Hanes" is short for Yohannes. Hanes Hummus's founder is named Yohannes Petros. He filed for a trademark on "Hanes Hummus" in Canada and the US.

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Kickstarting a cardboard CNC mill for mixing drinks, drawing circuit boards and frosting cookies

Ryan Wistort is an MIT roboticist (we covered his dancing bird robot while back) with a new project up on Kickstarter. He sez, "I am a MIT nerd/robot maker and just released a CNC Robot for Makers on Kickstarter. It's like a Shopbot or other CNC mill, but made for doing things like drawing, painting, frosting cookies, and mix drinks."

This is one of my favorite kinds of Kickstarter projects. It embodies the greatest of Eno's oblique strategies: "Be the first person to not do something that no one else has ever thought of not doing before." In this case: build a super-cheap CNC mill by constructing it out of flimsy materials that won't manage any of the usual milling projects, and then find other use cases for it: frosting cookies and painting pictures, mixing cocktails and drawing circuit boards with conductive ink.

Wistort's had some successful business experience before, suggesting that he has at least a fighting chance of shipping something here. Kits start at $250.

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3D printer that draws pictures in jello shooters

Jeroen Domburg's friend was having a 25th birthday party at which jello shooters were to be served. Jeroen decided to liven these up by creating a 3D printer that inserted a needle into each shot and injected an ink made from banana liquor, food colouring and corn starch in 3D patterns like cubes and spirals. Even cooler: the main body of the electronics in the printer were harvested from superannuated DVD and CD drives, and the firmware for the printer is free software (TGZ) for your pleasure.

Jello 3d printer

Gingerbread Optimus Prime

Caroline Eriksson's gingerbread Optimus Prime was constructed for Norway's Gingerbread Gallery contest. It really is the standout of the competition, though this ramshackle house Stave Church from Runar Solbern is pretty impressive.

Science of the perfect chocolate-chip cookie


J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, chief creative officer for Serious Eats, delved very, very deep into the science of making the perfect chocolate chip cookie. He's got a very specific definition of "perfect" ("...Barely crisp around the edges with a buttery, toffee-like crunch that transitions into a chewy, moist center that bends like caramel, rich with butter and big pockets of melted chocolate... with crackly, craggy tops and the complex aroma of butterscotch...that elusive perfect balance between sweet and salty").

But the food science in his piece is deep and fascinating, and provides a kind of road-map for any definition of cookie-perfection. If you've ever wondered about the chemistry of eggs, sugars, flours, rising agents and butter, and how they interact with mixing, cooking, "resting" and cooling, this is pretty much the ultimate, definitive guide thereto. I also defy you to read this without developing a craving for chocolate chip cookies.

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Alternatives to Sriracha during the Great Shortage

As Xeni posted yesterday, there is a serious shortage of Sriracha sauce a-brewing. Jason Kottke suggests some of his favorite alternative brands of the red stuff, singling out Shark Brand ($7/bottle).

Not that this stuff affects me. I'm happy so long as my pockets are stuffed with tiny catering-sized sachets of Tobasco, which I import the UK by the grosslot. Best thing about these: the TSA doesn't register them as liquids on their scanners, so you can go through airport security without worrying about digging them out, packing them into a moisture-terror baggie, and then restoring them.

What are your Sriracha alternatives for the Great Shortage?

What to do about The Great Sriracha Shortage of Early 2014 

Cthulhoid Coca-Cola tee


The bad news is that Tee Fury hasn't sold this smashing Obey Cthulhu/Coca Cola tee since July. The good news is that you can vote for them to bring it back. Vote!

Obey Cthulhu (via Seannan McGuire)

HOWTO make gingerbread polyhedral dice

Our Nerd Home has a great guide to the finicky, difficult, but ultimately incredible art of constructing gingerbread polyhedral dice, with a little help from our old friends, graham crackers.

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Spork multitool


The Eat'N Tool is a spork/multitool that integrates a bottle opener, screwdriver/pry tip and metric wrenches -- it costs $8 and comes with a caribiner, weighs 1.5 oz, measures 4" long, and has a nonstick coating.

"Spork" is the one blade all my multitools to date have lacked, and now that I think of it, it's kind of a glaring omission. Needs its own portmanteau, though: sporkdrivench?

Eat'N Tool Dark Edition

D20 ice-molds


Thinkgeek sells a set of silicone D20 ice-molds for $12. I've never had good luck with two-part molds, but that product-shot is pretty spectacular, and the documentation makes reference to an ingenious-sounding interlock system that has you freezing the bottom half of the mold, locking the top on, filling it up and refreezing. If that works for you, you can also get a Death Star ice-mold.

Critical Hit d20 Ice Mold (via Geeks Are Sexy)

Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership sucks: short, funny animation

Spocko sez, "Here's a short animated video explaining why the Trans-Pacific Partnership sucks. starring my imitation of Ross Perot! Remember, Ross knew all about the 'Giant sucking sound from the South' that became NAFTA. I pulled concepts from both the left and the right to inform this video."

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Creepy kids in vintage ads


The current contest at the Vintage Ads LiveJournal Group is "Creepy Kids" and there's some pretty amazing entries. Shown here, the always-reliable noluck-boston's 1953 Van Camp's Pork and Beans ad.

Charity sends Amazon a cake celebrating 3d anniversary of unpaid invoice


Metabrainz is the charity that oversees Musicbrainz, a free/open music metadata service that has gained in popularity since Gracenote took all the audio metadata its users keyed in by hand and enclosed it, denying all but the top bidders access to it. Musicbrainz is free to use, but has a premium, higher-availability service for commercial operators, like Amazon.

For three years now, Metabrainz has been chasing an unpaid invoice at Amazon. Metabrainz is a tiny, charitable nonprofit that relies on grants and donations for the majority of its operating capital, but commercial operators are also key to its survival. And Musicbrainz is an integral part of the plumbing of the Internet at this point, a powerful check against one player achieving dominance through a chokehold on a key resource.

So Metabrainz sent Amazon Headquarters a birthday cake, celebrating the third birthday of good ol' invoice #144. As a volunteer board member for the charity, I'd mightily appreciate it if someone at Amazon would take the time to nudge this invoice through the system.

We just delivered this to @amazon HQ in honor of a 3 year overdue invoice. Can we please get this mess fixed? --ruaok

Venn menu


Spotted this morning at London's Giddyup Coffee in Fortune Park (near the Barbican): this terrific Venn diagram/grill menu. Haven't tried Giddyup's grill, but it's my daily morning coffee, and it is spectacular.