Matt sez, "Maya Weinstein is an artist who just finished her MFA at Parsons, with the awesomest thesis ever: a DIY kit for making your own High-Fructose Corn Syrup, the industrial sweetener that is, well, let's say problematic these days.
"Amazingly, HFCS is not available for consumers to buy, and as Weinstein discovered, making it yourself requires some pretty unusual (and expensive) components, like Glucose Isomerase. But it's a totally fascinating process, and only the first in what Weinstein hopes will be a series of 'citizen food science' kits."
DIY High-Fructose Corn Syrup by Artist Maya Weinstein
Four mayors of Danish towns have been targeted by Universal Music and threatened with lawsuits unless they pay the media giant $42,000 within 24 hours -- because they made a Gangnam Style parody and posted it to YouTube. The video features the mayors dancing and illustrating the difficulties faced by entrepreneurs in their cities. Universal says that the mayors' use of the actual soundtrack in the video was a step too far.
The argument appears to stem from the use of the track. While the mayors believe their contribution to the Psy phenomenon was entirely for parody purposes and therefore fair use, Universal sees things very differently. They insist that the mayors were actually attempting to increase their own profiles and used the video – and Universals copyrights – in order to boost their political careers.
“It is clear that we have in mind that there are local elections in a minute,” said Universal’s Dennis Ploug in a statement.
As a result, Universal say that the mayors will have to pay a bill of almost $42,000 ($10,500 each) to obtain a license to use the music in the video – and they have just 24 hours to stump up the cash.
“We have given them a payment deadline of Friday, but if they do not pay before then it becomes a real action for infringement, and so the amount will be completely different,” Ploug concludes.
Universal Music Tells Gangnam Parody Mayors: Pay $42,000 By Tomorrow, Or Else
Here's a short video of a woman parkour team from Lahijan, Iran, practicing in hijabs and mantos. The sport apparently spread through illicit satellite TV viewing:
Despite having to practise in unwieldy clothing – not to mention having to stay on the lookout for police - Iranian women are getting into the sport of parkour. Some even create videos in which they show off their skills, and post them online. One of these brave women tells us about the challenges of practising parkour in an Islamic republic.
Parkour involves moving around urban obstacles as quickly as possible. Athletes run up walls, scale fences, jump between roofs, do back flips, and much more. The sport first originated in the 1980s with a small group of athletes in the suburbs of Paris, but only rose to fame in the 2000s with the film “Yamakasi.” Parkour has since spread throughout the world thanks to the Internet, everywhere from Gaza to Egypt to Iran.
Headscarves and long tunics don’t stop Iranian women from practising parkour
If you're outside of Canada, you might not have heard about the expenses scandal rocking the government. A Conservative senator with a reputation as a killer Party fundraiser named Mike Duffy, appointed by the Prime Minister, was caught claiming $90,000 in fraudulent expenses from the government. Before the auditor could conclude a probe into Duffy's actions, Duffy repaid the sum and took the position that he was no longer obliged to cooperate with the audit. Then it emerged that the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Nigel Wright, had written a personal cheque for $90,000 to Duffy, allowing him to escape the probe and to continue to support PM Harper's policies in the Senate.
Now comes this: a grilling of the PM by the leader of the opposition, the NDP's Thomas Mulcair. It's a textbook example of how the opposition should call the government to question. As Joey DeVilla puts it:
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair did an excellent job grilling the Prime Minister by dealing with him as one would deal with a petulant adolescent who’s been caught lifting the scotch from the liquor cabinet: ask short, simple questions, and if the answers aren’t satisfactory, ask again. The video below shows the outcome: Mulcair does a killer job as our weaselly Prime Minister dodges, weaves, misdirects, and like that petulant adolescent, wishes he could tell Mommy and Daddy to “eff off”, but for all his vainglorious claims to being the boss of himself, can’t.
In Which Thomas Mulcair Takes the Prime Minister Behind the Shed for a Much-Needed Spanking
Have you seen a video floating around showing a guy on the hood of a moving pickup truck, begging people to call the police? When I saw it, I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on, but thankfully, some context is now in hand: it's all down to Baton Rouge's notorious "sign guy," a hoarder who confiscates roadside signs put up by local businessmen and fills his backyard with them:
BATON ROUGE, La. - A man pleaded for help after jumping on the hood of a moving truck on Coursey Blvd. after his sign was picked up, according to Baton Rouge Police Cpl. Tommy Stubbs.
Stubbs says the man was on Coursey selling shrimp when another man driving a pickup truck pulled over and picked up his sign.
When the man in the truck went to pull off with the sign, the man selling the shrimp jumped on the hood of the pickup.
Man pleads for help on hood of truck in Baton Rouge [Troy Gaulden/WBRZ]
Journeyman Pictures' short documentary "Naked Citizens" is an absolutely terrifying and amazing must-see glimpse of the modern security state, and the ways in which it automatically ascribes guilt to people based on algorithmic inferences, and, having done so, conducts such far-reaching surveillance into its victims' lives that the lack of anything incriminating is treated of proof of being a criminal mastermind:
"I woke up to pounding on my door", says Andrej Holm, a sociologist from the Humboldt University. In what felt like a scene from a movie, he was taken from his Berlin home by armed men after a systematic monitoring of his academic research deemed him the probable leader of a militant group. After 30 days in solitary confinement, he was released without charges. Across Western Europe and the USA, surveillance of civilians has become a major business. With one camera for every 14 people in London and drones being used by police to track individuals, the threat of living in a Big Brother state is becoming a reality. At an annual conference of hackers, keynote speaker Jacob Appelbaum asserts, "to be free of suspicion is the most important right to be truly free". But with most people having a limited understanding of this world of cyber surveillance and how to protect ourselves, are our basic freedoms already being lost?
World - Naked Citizens
Mat Ricardo sez, "Here's what happened last time Piff The Magic Dragon (and Mr. Piffles the dog!) was a guest on Mat Ricardo's London Varieties.
What's going to happen when he pays us a return visit, this Thursday night at London's Leicester Square Theatre?
Find out by coming!"
Ricky sez, "At Spooky Emipre's May-Hem convention in Orlando this weekend, Pat Carroll, the original and only voice of Disney's Ursula, read from The Haunted Mansion script that the Paul Frees originally spoke as the ride's ghost host. Of course, she perfectly performed it as her famous 'The Little Mermaid' character, complete with spine-chilling cackles."
Ursula voice Pat Carroll does The Haunted Mansion Ghost Host lines at Spooky Empire's May-Hem
Don sez, "This guy has over a hundred excellent videos of Old School AV and other electronic equipment. The world's first Credit Card Calculator! The first (pre-BetaMax) VCRs! Wacky little tape recorders that they blew up on "Mission Impossible"! All that stuff that was once futuristic but is now only of the nostalgic future that was."
MKKIANI - YouTube
Universal Studios Florida is opening a Simpsons themed area this summer. It'll mostly consist of facades and restaurants serving food inspired by the horrible cuisine of Springfield, as well as a pair of rides:
The expansive, new area within Universal Studios will be anchored by the mega-attraction, The Simpsons Ride, and will allow guests to enter the world of The Simpsons like never before. It will be the only place in the world where guests can walk the streets of Springfield. It will include a brand-new outdoor attraction, places and foods pulled right from the show and two new Simpsons characters who will make their debut with the new area – Krusty the Clown and Sideshow Bob.
And yes – there will be Duff Beer, brewed exclusively for Universal Orlando.
For the first time ever – anywhere – fans will be able to walk down Fast Food Boulevard and visit the places that helped Springfield stake its claim as “Shelbyville by the Sea.” They will be able to grab a Krusty-certified meat sandwich at Krusty Burger, snatch the catch of the day at the Frying Dutchman, get a slice at Luigi’s Pizza, go nuts for donuts at Lard Lad, enjoy a “Taco Fresho” with Bumblebee Man and imbibe at Moe’s Tavern.
The new attraction – called Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl – will take “foolish humans” on an intergalactic spin designed to send them into orbit.
Springfield Comes to Life at Universal Orlando This Summer
Caleb sez, "I wanted to try making something in the style of "Q" from the James Bond movies.
My idea was to make an emergency self destruct system for laptops and portable hard drives. It turned out pretty well, it is always fun to watch stuff melt!"
I wanted to implement thermite as a self destruct mechanism inside the device. To do this, I had to come up with a way to ignite the thermite. This stuff is very difficult to light. You have to get it really really hot. The easiest way is to use magnesium, which itself isn’t the easiest thing to light.
What I finally landed on was an ignition system that uses model rocket igniters, gun powder, and magnesium to light the thermite. The model rocket igniter can be set off from the 12v line inside your computer. However, it isn’t hot enough to light magnesium shavings, much less thermite. To get it to work, I needed to add some gunpowder. A small amount of gun powder would get hot enough to light the magnesium shavings, which in turn were hot enough to light the thermite. I had to be careful though, because too much gunpowder would cause a rapid expansion, blowing the thermite everywhere instead of lighting it. You can actually see some red thermite being blown out of the external hard drive and the laptop as the gunpowder ignites.
Laptop vs Thermite: Slow motion destruction
Here's a video from last week's Maker Faire showcasing technologies for printing out 3D-ish objects using 2D printers: ModelBox turns a 3D model into a series of 2D images you print on acetate and set into a frame to cheaply and quickly prototype/simulate the 3D object; Zebra Images turns 3D models into holograms; and Lynx Laboratories demos its all-in-one 3D scanner.
3D Printing on a 2D printer?! - Maker Faire 2013
Elijah sez, "Recent news has been all about the commercial use of 3D printing - from food to weaponry. But recently, doctors at the University of Michigan used quick thinking and 3D printing technology to save the life of a 2-month-old child with a rare disease."
The scaffold was made of a bioresorbable material, polycaprolactone, so it would dissolve and be absorbed by the body after about three years. At this point, his airways should be fully developed and no longer need the stent.
The doctors used high-resolution X-ray scans of one of Kaiba's healthy windpipes to design a computer model for the life-saving brace.
Laser-equipped 3-D printers crafted the device in a few hours, and the university obtained emergency clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to implant it on February 9, 2012 at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor.
"It was amazing. As soon as the splint was put in, the lungs started going up and down for the first time and we knew he was going to be OK," said Green.
3-D Printing Saves Baby's Life [VIDEO]
(Thanks, Elijah Wolfson!)
As the 3D printed gun story unfolds, many (including me) have noted that you can't print ammo. However, you can print shotgun slugs on a 3D printer, but they suck:
Heeszel was surprised at the first two. “I didn’t think it would go through the first piece of wood at all, much less hit anything,” he says. But he also called them more of a novelty than a practical bullet. “I thought the thing was kinda lame, but I realize there’s a lot of novelty with the 3-D printed gun, and I thought it was kind of timely. But overall I think they’re kind of crappy little rounds,” he adds...
“I might be a redneck from Tennessee, but I love the technology,” Griffy says. Griffy, who runs a YouTube account ArtisanTony — where he also shows off a printable knife and buckshot rounds — tells Danger Room he printed the slugs more for their own enjoyment. “Because a real gun shooting plastic bullets is more fun than a plastic gun shooting real bullets,” he says. “You have to spend six hours printing a barrel that you’re going to use one time, and it’s not as much fun. It’s more about the enjoyment and the sport. And if you’re having to labor that much, then the enjoyment goes away.”
Griffy says he printed the slugs with a Solidoodle 3 3-D printer — which retails for $800 — using ABS thermoplastic using dimensions from one of Heeszel’s non-printed slugs. Griffy then created the computer-aided design files, converted them to a stereolithography format, and checked the files for inconsistencies with the 3-D printing software Netfabb. He also designed slugs in three sizes. The largest slug takes about an hour to print. The others take about 30 minutes. He also added a lead ball to each slug to give them more weight. The final step was mailing them to Heeszel, who fitted the slugs into hollowed-out — non-printed — shotgun cartridges.
Watch 3-D Printed Shotgun Slugs Blow Away Their Targets [Robert Beckhusen/Wired]
A mechanical engineer (awesomely) named Anjan Contractor has won a NASA grant to prototype a 3D printer for food -- specifically pizza. It will lay down layers of food and flavor powder and melt them together; the powders are room-temperature stable for long periods and can be made from relatively abundant, sustainable foodstocks like insects and soylent green. He prototyped the concept with the 3D chocolate printer in the video above, and he holds out hope that food-printing could solve world hunger by allowing billions to feast on low-wastage, low-energy-input, low-carbon-footprint foods that are printed to order.
Contractor's printer is RepRap based, and is open source hardware; he promises to keep the plans open and free.
I suspect that there's a lot of nutritional subtleties lost when you turn food into processed elements that are recombined (in the same way that beta-carotene in carrots is reliably shown to have health benefits, while beta-carotene supplements are far more questionable). But as a form of food processing, it certainly is exciting!
Pizza is an obvious candidate for 3D printing because it can be printed in distinct layers, so it only requires the print head to extrude one substance at a time. Contractor’s “pizza printer” is still at the conceptual stage, and he will begin building it within two weeks. It works by first “printing” a layer of dough, which is baked at the same time it’s printed, by a heated plate at the bottom of the printer. Then it lays down a tomato base, “which is also stored in a powdered form, and then mixed with water and oil,” says Contractor.
Finally, the pizza is topped with the delicious-sounding “protein layer,” which could come from any source, including animals, milk or plants.
The audacious plan to end hunger with 3-D printed food
(Thanks to everyone who sent this in!)