Reddit user Lumpytuna found a trunk of wonderful old junque in her attic and videoed the unboxing, as well as posting a great inventory set to Imgur. The ensuing discussion is lively and funny.
Redditor Ventachinkway caught a photo of a homeless man conducting a clever exercise in behavioral economics disguised as an inquiry into the levels of spontaneous generosity as determined by religious creed or lack thereof.
Daniel Ryan describes his music as "a mix of Japanese folk music and glitch hop." This isn't normally my sort of thing -- I pretty much only listen to music with words -- but I played this one three times in a row this morning. There's a lot of clever stuff going on here that I lack the vocabulary to describe but possess the aesthetic apparatus to appreciate. According to one redditor, the folk song is this track off the Samurai Champloo soundtrack.
Reddit co-founder calls Larry Page to get Google to join the anti-CISPA fight -- your help needed too!
Sign the petition, kill CISPA, save the Internet (again!).
A specialty food store in Brisbane, Australia posted this sign, demanding a $5 deposit from people who enter the shop, refundable with your purchase. They are trying to curb "showrooming" -- when customers of online businesses use brick-and-mortar competitors as showrooms to check out goods before they order them. As Consumerist points out, this is likely to be a self-defeating strategy:
If customers aren’t buying, the seller needs to figure out why and adapt accordingly. If this store’s prices are truly the best, then maybe it should be offering a price-match guarantee. If it truly offers products that aren’t available elsewhere, then how are these showrooming shoppers buying these items from someone else? Perhaps people are just curious and want to see the prices and have no intention of buying anything anywhere? Think of how many times you’ve looked at Amazon just out of curiosity. Window-shoppers are part of the retail equation; it’s up to the retailer to either ignore them or turn them from looky-loos into bona fide buyers.
I'd go further than this. It takes a lot of retail exposure to turn some browsers into buyers -- you might see something in a shop, think about it, and go back.
Further, getting people into the shop is a significant expense for most businesses. Once a person is in your business, you have lots of opportunities to try to convert that person into a buyer, in an environment that you control (see NYC Fifth Ave retailers, who run their escalators in an alternate-reverse pattern so you have to wind your way past all the high-impulse goods and displays to get to the top floor; or grocers who put the milk at the back of the shop). Adding literal barriers to entry is utterly self-sabotaging.
Finally, the idea of imposing a head-tax on everyone entering the shop is especially misguided. It means that a customer who thinks he can talk his wife/kids (or husband, friends, whatever) into accompanying him into the shop while he grabs something on the way past is doomed to not making a purchase. What's more, the retailer loses the chance to convert some of those tag-alongs into customers.
Store Combats Showrooming With $5 ‘Just Looking’ Fee [Consumerist/Chris Morran]
(Photo: BarrettFox on Reddit)
Redditor Volpinazzurra made her own reversible hoodie inspired by the hero of the indie-game smash Journey. Alas, the labor that went into this makes it uneconomical for wider production and sale ("it took me way too long to be profitable!") but Volpinazzurra says she's considering offering the pattern for sale.
An epic Reddit thread entitled "These fucking scissors" has lab-techs and scientists compiling an exhaustive, definitive list of all the weird, useless crap that has accumulated in their labs, and the reasons why none of it can be thrown away. A couple of my faves:
Specialized Glassware of Uncertain Use
You don't know where it came from. You have no idea what it does and you can't find it in a lab catalogue anywhere. Even your advisor doesn't know who bought it or what it's for. It eats up space that could be put to better use for graduated cylinders or Erlenmeyer flasks, but in a way, it commands a sense of respect, even reverence. It has always been there and always will. You are sure it was unspeakably expensive when it was purchased, whenever the hell that was, and for that reason no one in the last 30 years has had the heart to throw it out. Your advisor thinks maybe someday someone will use it again. You think maybe someday you'll steal it and make a sweet bong or something out of it. But you ultimately find you can't. It's a piece of history, it is beautiful, and even though you don't know what the fuck it is for, you want future generations of laboratory serfs to have the opportunity to ponder its purpose.
Expensive, Useless Stuff From Back When The Group Had Money
Years ago somebody needed 10mL of a super-expensive reagent. Having just gotten some grant money, they bought 2L of it. Now you have $2000 worth of something you will never use, but you can't throw it away because it's too expensive.
Vintage Liquid Chromatograph
It used to belong to the Plant Biotech department, but they got funding for a new one, and your professor is sure he'll fix it up as good as new and get great GPC results out of it. The white elephant has successfully migrated into another two years of idleness.
Redditor bogus_wheel is a physicist in Sydney, Australia. Her boyfriend of seven years submitted a marriage proposal in the form of a physics paper that tracks their relationship (with a graph!). It is a beautiful piece of physics romance!
A redditor called joelikesmusic reported that a friend of his had been checked into a weird, narrow dungeon-like theme room at the Hotel Zaza in Houston (it's got lots of theme suites -- I once stayed in their awesome space-themed one with my family, on the way to my honeymoon). When he complained, the front desk apparently told him that it was a mistake -- no one was supposed to use that room.
The ZaZa's management told the press that it was a "prison" themed room, and that there was no mystery, but intrepid redditors have been examining the pictures (especially the portrait of Jay Comeaux, a banking exec from the disgraced Stanford Banking Executive, and have been spinning out theories about secret societies and rituals in the comments.
However, one commenter called lejefferson makes a plausible case that the room is a sex-dungeon with a one-way voyeur's mirror, used by rich weirdos:
What person that you know keeps a creepy picture of a guy over their television. This is obviously a secret room either personal or for a small group of people for sexual liasons/ S&M prostitution or worse. The mirror and small space of the room also indicates there is a good chance that the mirror is two way and that people could pay to come watch the sexual/S&M events occuring. The photo of a Stanford Banking Executive, (Jay Comeaux), on the wall further indicates that this is a high society sex room. The fact that the clerk said, "This room isn't supposed to be rented out" indicates that there was a big mistake and they didn't want anyone to find out about the room. The bricks on the wall line up exactly with the placement of the mirror suggesting that they do not continue behind it but that this is a two way mirror.
This beautiful, rainbow hued igloo was designed by Edmonton's Brigid Burton, who wanted to entertain her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend (an engineer student), visiting from New Zealand over winter break. Burton froze cartons full of colored water and left the boyfriend, Daniel Gray, to do the rest, building the structure out of 500 ice-bricks.
Medicalert bracelets can apparently be had with any arbitrary string for about $50. This gag-gift from an anonymous redditor is a rather funny choice.
Redditor Jasonp55 has a neat demonstration of the perils of confusing correlation with causation, and his well-chosen example makes this a potentially useful chart for discussing this issue with friends who won't vaccinate themselves and their kids.
This handmade custom Super Mario belt, depicting the final level, was apparently created by Etsy seller SalukiFeathers, though the belt is not actually available through that store. The corresponding Reddit thread is kind of a mess, with the poster claiming that the belt was made as a Christmas gift for himself and/or his brother, by his sister, and so forth. Nevertheless, this definitely falls into the category of "awesome nerdcraft," and also, "shut up and take my money."
Redditor Ellepea27 painted this great Calvin and Hobbes illustration on a guitar she's refurbishing with BigWiggly1. She painted it over the course of six hours in one sitting. The idea is to put a clear-coat over it and make it into a playable instrument.
Darrell Issa proposes 2-year ban on Internet legislations, will appear in Reddit AMA today to discuss
Rep Darrell Issa (R-CA) has pretty good credentials as a friend of the Internet, being one of the early Congresscritters to stand up to SOPA and PIPA (though there's the little matter of sponsoring a corporatist bill to limit open access for state-funded research). He's introduced a bill called the "The Internet American Moratorium Act (IAMA)" which proposes a two-year moratorium on Internet-related legislation. Presumably, this would give Internet freedom activists a couple years to prepare an offense game, rather than having to always be reacting to pro-surveillance and pro-censorship proposals from Hollywood and the DHS.
Issa's appearing in a Reddit AMA today at 1030h Eastern to discuss the bill.
Liammmin, a redditor, caught this incidental eyeball in a swirling drain. The origin story has a good moral: "My friend said something around the lines of 'Liam, you take too many photos.' So I ran around the room taking photos of everything and showing him all of them, then this happened and we got spooked." -- the moral being, "If you want to double your success rate, triple your failure rate."
The science behind the story of how Reddit saved yet another life.Read the rest
Matt sez, "Here's a link for the Herobrine costume I made for my son. After a bunch of requests, I put up the PDF files and instructions to make your own. It was a huge hit with the kids at his school. Even bigger than when we went as Finn and the Ice King last year!"
Some lovely unsourced pumpkin-carvery for you, courtesy of a Reddit post that stirred up controversy when someone else posted the same image, claiming to have carved it him (or her) self, and made the front page. Near as I can work out, though, neither of the posters are actually behind the work.
Update: It was carved by Jon Neill.
The above structure is allegedly a greenhouse surrounded by a safety perimeter to keep the children away from said greenhouse. Redditor Syyraxus's post is called "So my brother in law built this... thing, I had no idea what it was until my sister told the children to keep away from the greenhouse as it wasn't safe. Greenhouse..."
Redditor Aspirin742 and his six-year-old daughter Elissa are both contenders in a hard-fought election for President of their house. The campaigning has gotten really ugly.