Washington Post asks readers to remix it

Chris sez, "The Washington Post has created a blog for highlighting mash-ups of Post content. Current remixes include: a news keyword cloud viewer, a world map interface to Post stories, and a dynamic news quiz. Although a bit skimpy on implementation details (or implementations, for that matter), the idea's surprisingly hip."


(Thanks, Chris!) Read the rest

Coffee table with integrated book-shelves like hanging files

This Turkish coffee table has integrated bookshelves beneath sliding surfaces; the books slot into vertical slots, like hanging files. Ingenious!


(via Cribcandy)

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Royal Society: rent-seeking is more important than science -- UPDATED

Update: Man, did I ever screw up. I confused the Royal Society with the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA). The RSA is and continues to be a sterling organization that does good works -- the Royal Society is the villain here. I've edited my post below. My sincere apologies to the RSA for blackening its good name -- I should have known that it was wiser than that. Thanks, Ian Brown, for pointing this out.

The Royal Society has issued a call for restricting access to scientific publishing. They claim that free journals, such as the ground-breaking, field-leading Public Library of Science will undermine the ability of nonprofit societies to publish their own journals.

The Public Library of Science and other open access journals have proven a new model for science publishing, one that is both commercially sustainable and that delivers more science to more researchers who do better science as a result.

Arguing the need to sustain the Royal Society's now-outmoded publishing model despite its inferiority at advancing science relative to PLOS and others (like BioMed Central) is an embarrassment to the Royal Society.

The five-hundred-year Dark Ages were a period when alchemists labored in secret. Every alchemist jealously guarded his research outcomes, so whenever an alchemist discovered the hard way that drinking mercury was poison, that knowledge died with him (literally). The Enlightenment accomplished real alchemy: converting research into knowledge through the application of full disclosure. Once alchemists began to share their research outcomes, they became true scientists, and the hundred years that followed made more progress than the half-millennium that preceded it. Read the rest

Pong clock plays one round of Pong every 60 secs

The Pong Clock from Buro Vormkrijgers plays games of Pong that last for exactly one minute each, with alternating sides winning. The clock in the middle keeps time/score. Link (Buro Vormkrijgers site, 10MB Quicktime video) (via Digg)

Update: Hijinx Comics sez, "It actually scores the time, with the left side only scoring once per hour and the right scoring every minute." Read the rest

Free 1200-page physics textbook

Motionmountain has a free, 1,200-page physics textbook that loads of great examples. I haven't had a chance to do more than skim, but this looks like a great basic text, and it's fully searchable, which makes it perfect to dip into when you have a particular subject you want to get up to speed on.


(via Digg) Read the rest

If hackers ruled the Earth photoshopping contest

Today on the Worth 1000 photoshopping contest: hackerish versions of everyday objects. I love the Vegas sign (pictured here) and especially the ASCII Bits cereal.


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Bat Bombs on BBC Radio

BB pal Paul Saffo is quoted in this excellent BBC Radio 4 piece about a batty idea during World War II to attach explosives to one million bats and have them dive-bomb Japanese cities. (The story of Project X-Ray is also documented in Jack Couffer's book "Bat Bomb: World War II's Other Secret Weapon.") From the BBC site:

The programme treks deep in to the wonders of the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, where every evening, hundreds of thousands of bats emerge from deep in the caves to forage for insects over the surrounding countryside.

This awesome sight was the inspiration for Dr Adam's project. Adams happened to be a friend of President Franklin Roosevelt's wife Eleanor. Adams wrote to the President suggesting that bringing the war with Japan to an early halt was exactly what bats had been created to do.

Intrigued, Roosevelt sent him a letter which became the passport to getting the military to support the amazing plan. "This man is not a nut" wrote the President, and so Project X-Ray started rolling.

Link Read the rest

Moscow wax museum's gruesome figure of a dead glue sniffer

If you sniff glue, you'll die in this undignified manner, according to the Moscow Wax Museum. Now, that's entertainment. Link (via Neatorama) Read the rest

Man accused of stealing vast number of Lego kits from Target stores

A 40-year-old Reno man has been arrested for stealing lots and lots of Lego bricks from Target. Authorities say his M.O. is to paste a cheaper bar code over more expensive kits and then resell them. It appears as if he's been doing this for a number of years.

Target officials contacted police after noticing the same pattern at their stores in the five western states. A Target security guard stopped Swanberg at a Portland-area store November 17, after he bought 10 boxes of the Star Wars Millennium Falcon set. In his parked car, detectives found 56 of the Star Wars sets, valued at $99 each, as well as 27 other Lego sets. In a laptop found inside Swanberg's car, investigators also found the addresses of numerous Target stores in the Portland area, their locations carefully plotted on a mapping software.

Records of the Lego collector's Web site, Bricklink.Com, show that Swanberg has sold nearly $600,000 worth of Legos since 2002, said Dolyniuk.

Link (thanks, Shawn!) Read the rest

Xeni on NPR Day to Day: handheld video gadgets

For today's edition of the NPR program "Day to Day," host Madeleine Brand and I demo a bunch of gadgets for watching video on the road. The video iPod, the Sony PSP, the Palm TX, and the PocketDISH from DISH Networks.

Oh, and one more which has nothing to do with video, but which we couldn't resist: an MP3 player built in the shape of a Pez dispenser (Link).

Archived audio (in Windows and Real) is here.

In related news, Glenn Fleishman has a Seattle Times story on handheld video gizmos here: Link Read the rest

The Power Strip of Love (via China and Iraq)

Photographer and geek Jake Appelbaum is carrying one of these things around with him on the road: a power strip with lots of different electrical plugs for different parts of the world. And, the port of love (upper left). We don't know much else about it, other than the fact that it's made in China, and comes by way of Iraq. Link

Update: Jake tells Boing Boing,

These things are super popular in Iraq. My friend in London brought about 7 of them back from Iraq. They're made in China and they've basically every plug outlet in the world on a single strip. It's made by a company called Zhong Sheng, AFAIK. It does variable voltage depending on input and tells what it's getting. So at the moment it's showing 220v and if you plugged it into a US outlet, it'd show 110v and apparently it goes to 300v which I assume is what's used somewhere... Where I have no idea. China perhaps? I think it's like $1 or $2 in Iraq. I'm not totally sure about the price in Iraq though, that's just a fuzzy memory. Online I think you can get them here.

And that prompts the question, do you know about alibaba.com? Perhaps you'd like to buy a ship, or a "Sell Vibration Sexy." You may not be able to find that damn power outlet on there but you can get something like it I'm sure.

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Transformers costumes that turn into cars and jets

Mark of Marksprojects has built a series of working Transformers costumes. They can transform from robots to cars/jets while you wear them. No build-logs but he sells the transformable versions for nearly four grand (!). Someone needs to deliver a set of open source plans for these! Link (Thanks, Marsolais!)

Update: To clarify -- There's an audience for these things who will pay $3,750 for this. They're cash-rich and time-poor. There's another audience who will never pay $3,750 for one of these, but might happily spend a year putting one together in their basements: time-rich and cash-poor. The time-rich people would likely never avail themselves of a set of plans for this, so a set of open plans would not displace sales of the costumes, but it would encourage a generation of cardboard hackers who'll go on to deliver new and better costumes in years to come -- it's the best of both worlds. Read the rest

Israeli defense gizmo translates dog barks

Defensetech has an item today about odd defense gadgets developed in Israel -- including a Dog Translator (which sells for upwards of $10K). Snip from Forbes product review:

Worn on a collar or mounted on a wall, the Dog Bio Security System translates barking into alarms for police or military. Bio-Sense Technologies spent two years capturing the sound waves of woofs and arfs, encoding them to be read by a digital signal processor. All dogs emit the same type of bark when they sense trouble. The device can distinguish this bark from a dog's "Hello." A consumer version costs $100. A high-end version costs tens of thousands of dollars but is still 25% the cost of video surveillance.

Link Read the rest

Woman charged for refusing to show ID on a public bus

Bill Scannell says: "On the 9th of December 2005, a Denver woman is scheduled to be arraigned in U.S. District Court. Her crime: refusing to show ID on a public bus. At stake is nothing less than the right of Americans to travel freely in their own country.

"The woman who is fighting the good fight is named Deborah Davis. She's a 50 year-old mother of four who lives and works in Denver, Colorado. Her kids are all grown-up: her middle son is a soldier fighting in Iraq.

"One morning in late September 2005, Deb was riding the public bus to work. She was minding her own business, reading a book and planning for work, when a security guard got on this public bus and demanded that every passenger show their ID. Deb, having done nothing wrong, declined. The guard called in federal cops, and she was arrested and charged with federal criminal misdemeanors after refusing to show ID on demand.

"She hasn't commuted by public bus since that day." Link Read the rest

Web Zen: Dining Out Zen

the chubby vegan

in-and-out burger secret menu

mcshoarma (screenshot, above)

mcdonald's worker

shameless restaurants

bitter waitress

waiter rant

our specials

waiters nauseated by food

web zen home, web zen store, (Thanks, Frank). Read the rest

Animated "walk-don't-walk" man on Taiwan's traffic lights

The little "walk-don't-walk" man on Taiwan's traffic lights appears in a grid of green LEDS. As the countdown timer ticks down to zero, the little man "walks faster and faster and breaks into a trot in the last seconds." Link Read the rest

QTVR of Large Hadron Collider at CERN

Here is a QTVR photo panorama -- with sound! -- of the Large Hadron Collider ATLAS experiment, currently in construction at CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland. Link. (Thanks, Will; via Wikipedia). Read the rest

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