Bifocal safety goggles

Dewalt's bifocal safety goggles come in strengths from 1.0 to 3.0 and at $10/pair, you can't go wrong, especially if you, like me, are losing your vision as you hurdle towards senescence -- better Mother's Day present than flowers, better Father's Day present than a tie. (Thanks, Ian!) Read the rest

Motorcycle Jeans and Adventure Pants


Most jeans outfit for motorcycling look bad and fit worse. I tried two popular options, Hood Motorcycle Jean's G8 Evo and Bohn's Adventure Pants. Seriously: Adventure Pants. Read the rest

Plane safety cards, explained

(moar) Read the rest

Lego slippers

They're $12.50/pair from Thinkgeek: one size, red or blue, 3X2 only, and have thick enough soles to cushion even the most violent Lego/bare-foot impact. (via Geeky Merch) Read the rest

"Stranger Danger" to children vastly overstated

Oft-cited stats about child abduction puts kidnappers behind every bush. But the numbers are old and frequently mangled, distorting our understanding of genuine risks to children.

The issue with arsenic


Arsenic. Hearing the word in America usually brings up black and white mental images of the film "Arsenic and Old Lace." Yet, it is not an old issue. People around the world are exposed to dangerous levels of arsenic in their water.

Speaking today at the American Geophysical Union, Lex van Green discussed the issue of arsenic in well water in the Asian sub-continent, primarily in Bangladesh and Bihar, India. His concern is that even though people are aware of the problem, very little is being done to address it.

People continue to drill new wells without determining their safety (safe levels are set at less than 10 micrograms per liter of water). Van Green's data, collected from 2012-13, show that 50% of people in the area assessed drink water containing arsenic at unsafe levels. However, 100% of people live near safe wells. Additionally, only about a third of people who become aware that their wells are contaminated switch to new wells by either drilling new wells or using their neighbor's wells.

The difference between a safe well and an arsenic contaminated well is depth. Sedimentation by ancient arsenic rich waters along river deltas left layers of arsenic containing soil near the surface of the Earth. To get past the arsenic to clean aquifers, one has only to drill deeper than 100 meters down. However, wells are expensive to drill, and the deeper the well, the more expensive it will be.

So, the problem in these areas where there is no infrastructure to deliver treated water to people boils down one of inequality. Read the rest

Predictable: bare-rotored flying misletoe-copter at T.G.I. Friday's slices up bystander's face

A newspaper photographer reporting on a TGI Friday's flying "Mobile Mistletoe" drone had her face sliced open by the 23" drone's six bare rotors, and Friday's blamed her for the injury, saying she flinched when the restaurant's drone pilot landed a smaller copter on her outstretched hand. Read the rest

Spies can't make cyberspace secure AND vulnerable to their own attacks

In his Sunday Observer column, John Naughton makes an important point that's hammered home by the escape of the NSA/GCHQ Regin cyberweapon into the wild: spies who make war on the Internet can't be trusted with its security. Read the rest

National Response Center: now THAT's a logo

via Bruce Sterling Read the rest

Brazil's amazing, underground hot-air balloon subculture

An exquisitely researched and endlessly fascinating long article tells the history of Brazil's centuries-old baloeiro craft, whereby painstakingly handmade paper balloons are lofted trailing ladders of pyrotechnics and long banners, powered by melted-down candle-stubs from churches and graveyards, cheered on by sometimes violent gangs who labor over them for months before releasing them. Read the rest

Buster Keaton narrowly avoids certain death

As Millionmovieproject puts it: "Crew members threatened to quit and begged him not to do it, the cameraman looked away while rolling. A six ton prop, it brushes his arm as it comes down, and he doesn't even flinch." Read the rest

How to stay safe in the workshop

Steve Hoefer still has all his fingers.

Tangled Fox cub rescued, massaged

"I'm quite surprised how cute he is". [via Arbroath.] Read the rest

The Cobra Effect: law of unintended consequences, squared

In British-ruled, cobra-infested India, a bounty was offered for cobra-skins, so enterprising folks started breeding cobras, leading to the program's cancellation, whereupon all those farmed cobras were released into the wild, a net increase in cobra population. That's not the only example, either.

(Image: Cobra, Kamalnv/Wikipedia, CC-BY) Read the rest

Moral dilemma: rescuing the miners, rescuing the babies:

On Crooked Timber, Ingrid Robeyns presents a tough moral calculus: if you can save 50% of a group of trapped miners with 100% certainty, knowing the remainder will die; or you can try to rescue all the miners, with a 50% chance that they'll all die, which would you choose (And then: what if they were babies, not miners?) Read the rest

New FAA rules class toy UAVs as illegal drones

The latest FAA rules on UAVs are so broad that they class adorable toy quadcopters as drones and require special permits to operate them. Meanwhile, hot air balloons and unpiloted model aircraft are fair game for unlicensed play. The drone hobbyists are pissed: Read the rest

How GM silenced its whistleblowers

The cover of Bloomberg Businessweek this week riffs on a classic Vietnam-era Esquire cover. Sometimes, words speak louder than pictures. Read the rest

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