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.
These fucking scissors
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!
My boyfriend of 7 years and I are both physicists. Here's how he proposed to me. (imgur.com)
(Thanks, Mark M!)
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.
ZaZa insiders question - what's up with room 322? (self.houston)
(via Super Punch)
Behold: the StrawBEARy, a miraculous mutant fruit discovered by Redditor Taybow, and put into the Internets for the greater glory.
Found a strawBEARy! (imgur.com)
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.
Made a coloured ice igloo while visiting my gf in Edmonton, Canada. The local news station did a story on it. News article in comments (imgur.com)
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.
A medic-alert bracelet like this might be sensible. (i.imgur.com)
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.
/r/skeptic, I was practicing GraphPad and I think I may have discovered the 'real' cause of autism... (imgur.com)
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
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."
Super Mario Leather Belt with the exact layout of the final level in the original Super Mario :) (imgur.com)
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.
My girlfriend and I are refinishing my old guitar. She did the paint job. (i.imgur.com)
Breokz uploaded a photo of "Xmas at the lab of Avans University of Applied Science." Chemistry may all be "pretty colors and things that go bang," but it sure makes for a festive tree.
True Chemistree (imgur.com)
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.
The Internet American Moratorium Act (IAMA)
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."
Tried taking a picture of a sink draining, wound up with a picture of an eye instead. (X-post r/mildlyinteresting) (i.imgur.com)
(via Super Punch)
The science behind the story of how Reddit saved yet another life.
Read the rest
There've been plenty of Disney/Star Wars mashups since the merger announcement, but this one wins for simplicity and execution.
You, are just, a toy. (i.imgur.com)
(via The Mary Sue)