Mentalist and conjurer Derren Brown got a hell of a shock during his Saturday night show: a woman pushed her husband off a 45' balcony "for a joke," sending him over the edge. He caught hold of a light-rig about halfway down and was pulled to safety.
Derren Brown describes man's 'terrifying' fall from theatre balcony [Press Association/The Guardian]
(via Dan Hon)
Back in 2010, Jason and Melissa -- a pair of haunters who got engaged in their Hallowe'en front-yard haunt -- had an amazing Haunted Mansion-themed wedding, with elaborate props and keepsakes and centerpieces, each finer than the last. Naturally, they held the wedding at the Forest Lawn Cemetery chapel, a Gothic confection; and they served a 3D Haunted Mansion wedding-cake.
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A redditor called EquinnoxX wanted to propose to his girlfriend, so he hacked an NES console-game cartridge called Contra so that it delivered the proposal in the course of the gameplay. He changed the character names' to his and his girlfriend's, and then modded the end text to be a marriage proposal (she said yes).
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Randall Munroe has finally finished Time, his 3,000+ frame slow-motion animation that began life as wordless, enigmatic single-panel XKCD installment. Since then, the panel has been slowly, slowly updating itself, running out its course over several months. Geekwagon has collected the whole series in an easy-to-control window, and the story, taken as a whole, is a beautiful and odd existentialist parable touching on the discovery of geographic knowledge; cultural first contacts; environmental disaster, friendship and ingenuity.
On the subject of book-scanning bringing the 19th century to life, Clive Thompson reviews "Wired Love," a novel from 1880 about telegraphic romance that features some amazingly contemporary themes. As Clive says, "This book is 130 years old, but it could have been written last week."
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Deanne Smith recorded this lovely little nerdy and rude and sexy lovesong, accompanied by her kitten, who adds rather a lot. She's available for live performances at "your town/school/bed/wedding." She's provided a handy lyrics guide:
I wanna be your abacus baby
you can count on me
and I won't say that I love you or I heart you,
but I will say less than 3, I less than 3 you
Your molecules must be moving really quickly
'cause girl, you're hot.
Are you igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary?
All I know is, baby, you rock.
Nerdy Love Song with Added Kitten Bonus!
These grave markers -- pressed up against either side of an imposing wall, with a pair of clasped hands reaching over the wall's top -- date to a time in Dutch history when Catholic and Protestant graves were strictly segregated. A Catholic and a Protestant married couple, separated in death, arranged for this unique workaround in order to rejoin one another:
In 1842, a colonel in the Dutch cavalry, JWC van Gorkum, married a woman known as JCPH van Aefferden. The union was controversial — van Gorkum was Protestant and van Aefferden was Catholic. Despite the prevailing culture at the time, the two remained married for decades, only separating when van Gorkum died in 1880. He was buried in a cemetery near the Dutch town of Roermond called Begraafplaats Nabij de Kapel in ‘t Zand (“the cemetery near the chapel in ‘t Zand”). Pillarisation was taken very seriously — each community had its own schools, media, and graveyards — and Begraafplaats was no different. It took this segregation literally, with each religion having its own section. Van Gorkum was buried in the Protestant section, as would any other Protestant during that era.
But when van Aefferden passed away eight years later, she couldn’t be buried with her late husband; even in death, Catholics needed to stay with their own. While alive, she made her wishes clear — she did not want to be buried in her family tomb, and, instead, wished to be as close to her husband as possible. The solution, seen above, is her grave site. (Here’s a bigger version of her tombstone, and here’s his.) The two tombstones, separated by a wall and by religions, feature a pair of hands connecting over the brick divider.
Until Death Do Us Reunite
[Now I Know]
(via Super Punch)
Lisa Wade and Gwen Sharp, two sociologists (who also work on the excellent Sociological Images blog) have advice for this year's college grads that goes beyond "find your passion, follow your dreams" (something that actually doesn't work for most college grads, statistically). Instead, they offer research-grounded advice in how to lead a happy, full life:
2. Make Friends
Americans put far too much emphasis on finding Mr. or Ms. Right and getting married. We think this will bring us happiness. In fact, however, both psychological well-being and health are more strongly related to friendship. If you have good friends, you’ll be less likely to get the common cold, less likely to die from cancer, recover better from the loss of a spouse, and keep your mental acuity as you age. You’ll also feel more capable of facing life’s challenges, be less likely to feed depressed or commit suicide, and be happier in old age. Having happy friends increases your chance of being happy as much as an extra $145,500 a year does. So, make friends!
4. Don’t Take Your Ideas about Gender and Marriage Too Seriously
If you do get married, keep going with the flow. Relationship satisfaction, financial security, and happy kids are more strongly related to flexibility in the face of life’s challenges than any particular way of organizing families. The most functional families are ones that can bend. So partnering with someone who thinks that one partner should support their families and the other should take responsibility for the house and children is a recipe for disaster. So is being equally rigid about non-traditional divisions of labor. It’s okay to have ideas about how to organize your family – and, for the love of god, please talk about both your ideals and fallback positions on this – but your best bet for happiness is to be flexible.
Advice for College Grads from Two Sociologists
(Image: Graduation, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from ajschwegler's photostream)
Laura sez, "My sister, who works for how about we & is an avid gaming fan, got an amazing proposal from her now-fiance. Pete, with the help of a crafty friend, created a new development card and sat playing for 2 hours until he could purchase the 'proposal' development card and play it! (fyi, they were playing the 2 person version so there was no chance that someone other than the future bride or groom could accidentally play that card!)"
“He said, ‘I hate playing two-player Catan because I feel like I’m being really aggressive and attacking you.’ So I assumed he had a monopoly card and was going to steal my brick (a crucial game-winning resource) from me. So of course I called him an asshole and literally said ‘I can’t believe you’re about to do this.’ And then he laid down the proposal card – which I really didn’t believe he was going to do. I then dove across the board to kiss him, he managed to get the ring out, and eventually I remembered to say yes (many kisses and tears later).”
How to Propose to a ‘Settlers of Catan’ Fan [Chiara Atik/The Date Report]
Ben Kokes wanted to give a ring to his sweetheart, and to make it interesting, he decided to create a ring with an inductive loop that would cause the stones to light up when they were close to a power-source. He documented the tricky technical problems that cropped up during the build, and it sounds like the romance part came out well, too:
The final idea was to embed a LED and copper coil assembly inside the titanium ring, illuminating it from under the stones when it was in close proximity to an induced alternating magnetic field (henceforth called 'the transmitter'). Autodesk Inventor helped me develop all of the dimensions and constraints for the design. Having some help, I was able to obtain her ring size and the rest of the measurements were based from there (15.72mm if anyone was wondering)...
Of all the challenges presented in making the ring, affixing the stone is the most difficult. Traditionally, stones are affixed by mechanical means -- prongs, groves or snaps. Epoxies will delaminate from the attachment surfaces due to microstresses, thermal cycling, and other unmentioned movements. The stone may be attached now, but eventually it will fall out. It's just a matter of time.
With that in mind, I had 4 initial ideas for affixing the stone: thermally expanding the hole, hole deformation, point expansion deformation, and epoxy. Ultimately, I went with the epoxy method for attaching the stones.
The first test was to try and heat the ring, expand the hold and drop in the stone. When the hole cooled and contracted, it would hold the stone in place. Not only does the hole not expand enough, if I was lucky enough for it to happen (it did once), the stone would fracture along pre-existing crack lines.
(via Hacker News)
This amazing retro-gamer wedding cake was made by Wedding Cakes By Nicole of Bunbury, Australia. The cake pays homage to many of the arcade greats:
I created a 3 tier square cake, with each of the sides representing a popular retro platform game. Topped off with a game off Pong, with the score depicting Stephen's "30" years. The board had a joystick, buttons and coin slot.
Pacman (my favourite), Donkey Kong, Frogger & Tetris
Dimity asked me to create a cake for her Fiance, Stephen, who loves "old school" computer games.
(via Geeks are Sexy)
Here's a fun set of instructions for baking anatomical heart-shaped bread that you rip apart and gorge upon:
Nothing says romance like ritual cannibalism. Use this anatomical heart pull apart loaf to pretend you’re vampires feasting on the heart of that asshole in HR who gave a promotion to Brad. Alternately, you could engage in a little Indiana Jones cosplay where the sexy archaeologist in your life can rescue you from having your heart ripped out by any other man. Gentlemen bakers, you could show up at your vegetarian girlfriend’s house triumphantly holding this and declaring you were successful in the hunt, so tonight you feast. There are so many ways to express your doughy love.
Bitchin’ Bread Battle Day 13: Valentine’s Day Anatomical Heart Pull Apart Bread
Baker Anna at Eat Your Heart Out Bakers made this astounding skull wedding-cake.
Food artist Annabel de Vetten, also known as Conjurer’s Kitchen, created this incredible skull wedding cake for the Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza in Birmingham this weekend. Her theme being ” ‘Til Death Do Us Part”.
It features solid chocolate skulls of 16 carrion crows, 12 domestic kittens, 3 Vervet monkeys, and 4 barn owls, all of which the artist sculpted by hand. Made from White Chocolate Mudcake, the cake took her over 100 hours to complete in total. There are two options of toppers: a chocolate conjoined kitten skull, or dried flowers from an actual wedding bouquet (ones shown here from her own).
The Ultimate Skull Wedding Cake
FabCafe, a 3D printed confectioner in Shibuya, Tokyo, is offering nine lucky blokes the chance to have their bodies 3D scanned and rendered in gummi, the most wondrously magical of all the edible substances. It's in honor of White Day, the Japanese give-your-female-lover-a-present holiday on March 14 (they also did custom chocolate-lollies of one's 3D scanned head for V-Day). These are so amazingly amazing and they point the way to a future where cheap scanners will render entire rooms as voxels to be output in gummi, wherein you can pay to be encased while you slowly, deliciously eat your way out. Coming soon to a Shibuya Love Hotel near you (maybe).
Chew on this: FabCafe lets you create a gummy replica of yourself for White Day
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!)
Scarecrowoven has revisited his "Skele Gore" image, and just in time for St Valentine's Day! Of the new version, Mr Scarecrowoven sez, "It's pretty insane. In person, the colors are so bright and fluorescent they actually work under a black light."
Skelegore "TRIP AT THE BRAIN EDITION" giclee print
Disney's posted the short feature "Paperman" to YouTube. It's an utterly charming and stylishly drawn animated film about love at first sight, and the perverse uncooperativeness of inanimate objects. We saw this as the short before "Wreck It Ralph" (another great one), and loved it.
Paperman - Full Animated Short Film
Last month, I blogged the new Bruce Sterling book, Love is Strange, an ebook-only paranormal romance. I haven't had a chance to read it yet (it's in my queue), but Warren Ellis has, and he's written up a review that makes me want to read it RIGHT NOW:
Bruce likes breaking things in his fiction. I often see things his characters love getting ruined somehow. It’s hard to think of anyone else who enjoys the casual harrowing of his characters so much.
It is a romance. Bruce does in fact have fun playing with old romance-fiction tropes. There are points where you can almost hear him cackling as he rattles around a LOVE BOAT port of call and scatters poison romances across the sun-kissed trattorias and streets. There is the paranormal: or, at least, people who think they’re paranormal, and people who call each other paranormal. It’s also, to some extent, about the delusions around these things. The female romantic lead is a loon, the male romantic lead is a Silicon Canal alpha-drone, the supporting cast are grotesques and I’ll be surprised if Mr Sterling is ever again invited to a European futurism conference.
booklist 2013: LOVE IS STRANGE, Bruce Sterling [Warren Ellis]
Love is Strange [Kindle edition]
The wonderful, edible weirdos at the Eat Your Heart Out blog are throwing an anatomical heart pop-up shop for Valentine's day in east London, at the site of this month's edible horror installation on Bethnal Green Road:
Very excited to share more information about the anatomical heart pop up in London for Valentine’s Day. Indicative of the way Eat Your Heart out has become a cultural leader, the shop is 60% gifts and art 40% cakes and chocolate treats. It’s being run under the guise of Anatomical Snuff Box, a venture from myself and Emily Evans promoting the education of anatomy using cultural channels. You can see all of the gifts here (more being added daily). The wonderful Kraken Rum are also supporting the event so expect lots of free rum shots and rum soaked cakes – if you have not tried this amazing drink yet here is your chance.
Throb – anatomical heart gifts for Valentine’s Day
Boing Boing favorite Brian Ewing (Ghosbusters in a Rat Fink car, Anatomical Frankenstein) has a line of Valentine's cards with scratch-off secret messages:
I collaborated with animator CRANKBUNNY to create a nerdy and awesome Valentine scratch-off card.
The card reveals one (of four) secret messages* underneath a heart within a skeletal chest cavity. It can be used for more than just a traditional Valentine's card. Use the card to break up with someone. Quit your job. Or just to pay your rent late. Great for someone you love or hate any time of the year. Soften the blow or sweeten the deal...and be awesome while doing it!
*1. Your Coffin Or Mine
*2. Your Heart Belongs To Me
*3. My Body's A Zombie For You
*4. I've Got A Heart On For You
VALENTINES!!! IT'S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR...SO TRY TO BE RAD FOR ONCE!
Eclectech sez, "UK artist Phillip Blackman is creating fantasic and gruesome zombie bears (undead teds), including this excellent valentines bear offering you his heart."
Valentine UnDeadTed offering you his heart
DiominicMR sez, "This past weekend, Occupy Wall Street and Reverend Billy put on one of the largest, most elaborate pieces of street art I've ever seen: a mass wedding between humans and corporations on Wall Street, to mark the third anniversary of Citizens United. This video captures it perfectly. Enjoy!"
A Citizens United Wedding
Matthew wanted Lori to marry him, so he secretly dissected a Kinder Surprise Egg and loaded it with a custom toy containing a down-on-one-knee robot version of himself complete with tiny toy engagement ring, resealed it, and gave it to Lori. She said yes, because of awesome.
We used to buy Kinder Surprise Egg candies for each other all the time. If you aren’t familiar, it is a chocolate egg that contains a tiny, whimsical toy with assembly instructions inside. They are so much fun — maybe too much fun — sadly, the US banned them from import a few years ago.
Matthew painstakingly took apart the chocolate egg and replaced the toy inside with a small robot figure and illustrated instructions on how to assemble him into a tiny MatthewBot on bended knee. Also inside was my amazing ring! He then reassembled and rewrapped the egg to look virtually untouched.
Kinder Surprise Egg Marriage Proposal
Angela Potter, a teacher in Waikato, NZ, has a funny definition of "vindictive":
"My ex-boyfriend is an avid and very successful fisherman who asked me to protect his collection of GPS fishing spot co-ordinates [with my life no less]. Not a problem," she wrote on the auction.
And sold secrets tend to make for an angry man - Miss Potter said her ex was less than pleased to find out they had been shared.
Miss Potter said she would never have sold the co-ordinates had it been an amicable breakup, however, the man packed his belongings into her suitcase, which had sentimental value, and fled the country.
"When he refused to return my suitcase that's when I sold his co-ordinates," she said. "I didn't list them to be vindictive. I listed them as a bit of a laugh."
OTOH, she's now dating a new fisherman and says that she has not shared her ex's fishin' holes with him.
Fishing spots sold on Trade Me after breakup [Jenna Lynch/Stuff.co.nz]
Bruce Sterling has written a new paranormal romance (!), Love is Strange, and in honor of its publication, many hands have been recruited to ask weighty questions of the wise fellow:
Cory Doctorow: Do you feel that the world is, on balance, improved by technology?
Well, if you ask that question from the point of view of almost anything in this world that's not a human being like you and me, the answer's almost certainly No. You might get a few Yea votes from the likes of albino rabbits and gene-spliced tobacco plants. Ask any living thing that's been around in the world since before the Greeks made up the word "technology," like say a bristlecone pine or a coral reef. You would hear an awful tale of woe.
Love is Strange
Bruce Sterling: The Complete Interview, 2013 « 40kBooks
Lauren Beukes sez, "My South African writer friend Sam Wilson proposed to his scientist girlfriend Kerry Gordon using a comic that he's been secretly collating for the last three months featuring quirky, sweet, wonderful, funny artwork to illustrate the possible futures that might occur depending on whether she says yes or no.
In the yes column were wonders like riding on dinosaurs, bountiful kitties and becoming rock stars, or the horror of bad parking spaces, squalor and tomatoes on EVERYTHING if she says no (she really doesn't like tomatoes).
It was adorable and of course she said yes."
Best Christmas Present Ever
Etsy seller BandScapes offers this lovely, makerish wedding-ring featuring a sterling silver adjustable wrench, clutching a sapphire:
The jaws are pinching a .06ct medium-blue natural sapphire. Overall, the profile is low to be comfortable, not too wide and not heavy, but sturdy. A ring that can be worn continuously as any wedding band would be.
Jenny and Charles are making their own wedding program, and to do so, they made their own printing press. From a set of IKEA drawers. Because they are awesome.
The printing press is made of an Ikea Kullen chest of drawers, several pieces of wood, and several iron pipes... The cabinet is upside down, but with a drawer placed facing upwards. The drawer slides back and forth, and there is a piece of plywood attached to the back side of the drawer with a hinge, so it can swing up and down. The paper being printed is placed on this piece of plywood.
On the back of a cabinet is another piece of plywood which is attached to the sides of the cabinet. This back piece holds the engraved printing plate, which is inked to create the impression.
(via IKEA Hackers)
Walter sez, "The Carousel of Progress is a classic Walt Disney World attraction consisting of an Audio-Animatronic stage show that follows a family throughout the technological progress of the 20th century. The Carousel of Progress also happens to be my wife Carrie's favorite Disney attraction. Carrie turns 30 this month, and as a surprise, I want to put together a big enthusiastic audience to join her in a viewing of the show. The Carousel is obscure and unpopular with most Disney guests, so a big enthusiastic audience would make Carrie overwhelmed with happiness. If you can make it out to Magic Kingdom this Saturday at 11:30AM, please join in."
The Carousel is one of my all-time favorites, too. I named a book after its main theme. I always sit in the front row, and sing along. My wife sings too, but her words go, "There's a great big hairy Cory Doctorow, sitting in the front row every day." She is less enthusiastic about scenes of animatronic technological progress than I am.
But she is a patient woman.
Dragonslorefury posted this wonderful D10 RPG-player's engagement ring to DeviantArt, along with these notes:
My Engagement Ring
My engagement ring, designed by myself and a reality thanks to my amazing jeweller father.
Yes that is a D10 (10 sided dice for those not used to the lingo XP), me and my partner are quite frequent roleplayers and I'm a huuuge geek and odd-ball. I wanted my ring to be one-of-a-kind and personal to me any my amazing finace so I eventually came up with this idea.
If I want the dice can also be removed and replaced with a stone of my choice ^_^
Happy to be engaged to my amazing partner and to have my awesome engagement ring. <3