The SBUV3 is a self-balancing, motorized electric unicyle that you steer by shifting your center of gravity. They cost about $1800, feature regenerative braking, and have a top speed of 12.5mph. The steering software adapts to you (and vice-versa), fine-tuning its responsiveness based on your riding-style.
One Wheel. ∞ Fun
The likely source of a strange hum that has been disturbing residents of Hythe, near Southampton, England, has been identified: horny fish. The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) investigated the low-frequency noise and think it may be the sound of male midshipman fish eager to mate in a nearby estuary. "It's not beyond the realms of possibility," SAMS scientist Ben Wilson told The Telegraph. "There are certainly 'sonic fish' in the north Atlantic and the approaches to the English Channel."
Pierre Chevalier's "EMMA" is a curious online art/code project that grabs random images from Google Street View and juxtaposes them with random text snippets from the DreamBank database of dream reports. (via Waxy)
Boing Boing reader Molly Block shot a wonderful set of photos documenting The Beer Can House in Houston, Texas. She shared them in our Boing Boing Flickr Pool.
Native Houstonian John Milkovisch started the project in 1968. Following Mr. Milkovisch's death in 1988, and the death of his wife Mary, the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, a Houston-based non-profit arts organization, purchased the house and later restored it.
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"Four in the morning" appears with strange frequency in movies, TV, art, and culture. The Museum of Four In The Morning collects such references. Submit yours!
Leandro Granato is an Argentine painter whose talented sinuses allow him to snort liquid into his nose and squirt it out of his tear-ducts. He works by inhaling watercolor paint and spraying it on canvas.
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"Sometime during September, the Twitter account @tofu_product
came online," writes Robinson Meyer at The Atlantic. "Its cryptic bio reads: “Tofu absorbs flavor. Follow me, then tweet at me. I'll try my best to write like you do.
”" — Rob
I'm a guest of honor this weekend at the Dallas's Fencon this weekend, and I've just learned that some of the other speakers won't be able to talk, thanks to the government shutdown. They're government space scientists, and the 143-year-old Antideficiency Act makes it a crime (punishable by fines and imprisonment) for government employees to volunteer to do their own jobs (which, in their cases, includes talking about science to the public). The law dates back to the Lincoln administration, and was aimed at stopping fraudsters who did "government" business, then presented a bill for services that hadn't been contracted but had nevertheless been performed -- a kind of Civil War era version of red-light windscreen squeegeeing.
Science finally came up with solid evidence that animal behavior can be a predictor of weather events. But it's not exactly the behavior (or the animals) you might expect. Instead of dogs barking, think beetles f#*$ing
. Or, rather, beetles not copulating, as the drop in atmospheric pressure that precedes a storm seems to result in less sexual behavior among several species of insects. Particularly interesting were the curcurbit beetles, who might still mate in the face of an oncoming storm, but seem to dispense with all foreplay. — Maggie
From a National Geographic story by Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato, the quote of the week:
“I lift up the animal’s tail,” said Joanne Crawford, a wildlife ecologist at Southern Illinois University, “and I’m like, ‘Get down there, and stick your nose near its bum. People think I’m nuts,” she added. “I tell them, ‘Oh, but it’s beavers; it smells really good.’”
Crawford is talking about castoreum, a naturally occurring anal secretion found in beavers. The furry animals use it to mark their territory. We humans, however, have also found uses for castoreum. Most notably, as an ingredient in vanilla-flavored and vanilla-scented products.
Pictured: Hardened lumps of beaver anal secretions, as stored in the Deutsches Apothekenmuseum, Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Germany. Photo by H. Zell via CC
Johannes from Monochrom writes, "Hard to believe, but Arse Elektronika is in its 7th year! The annual festival about sex and technology will start Thursday in San Francisco - with talks, machines, games, workshops and performances!"
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The USPS is planning a rare, above-inflation postage stamp price-hike on Jan 26, 2014; and they're also selling "forever-stamps" that can be used at any time. Allison Schrager and Ritchie King show how these two facts in combination offer a significant arbitrage opportunity, and set out a plan to buy 10 million stamps at $0.46 and sell them at $0.48, netting $200,000 in profit, at 4.3 percent.
It's pretty thoroughly thought-through, with a detailed finance and distribution plan. I'd love to see them try it.
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Drakegoodman scanned this 1917-ish photo of Soviet planespotters in exotic headgear; according to a commenter, the binox are focused at infinity "so that when you found the source of the sound by turning your head, you could see the aircraft creating that sound."
(via Bruce Sterling)
Thankfully, no humans were harmed by last week's explosion in Aaron Fechter's warehouse in Orlando, FL, but it did leave "robots scattered around burning rubble."
Fechter invented both the Whac-a-Mole machine and the animatronic, coin-operated Rock-A-Fire robot musicians who delighted audiences in Chuck-E-Cheeses around the world. Lately, he had been experimenting with carbohydrillium, a cleaner-burning alternative to propane, which was apparently the culprit in yesterday's explosion. His warehouse was described by one witness as a "Joker's lair," and a video tour posted to YouTube shows it full of computer models, animatronic creatures, and carbohydrillium gear.
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The Grand Haven Tribune's Kevin Collier reports on the Dogman, a cryptid that apparently rears its ugly head from time to time in West Michigan. "Legendary Dogman seen in Ottawa County?"