Here's an Oobject gallery of "Depressing million-dollar London property" -- houses and flats for sale at or above the million dollar (£650K) range. It's true that London's residential property hasn't fallen as precipitously as the US equivalent, but commercial property is sure down a big notch; today I'm signing the lease on a new office in the same building as the London Hackspace, next to a train station and a public bicycle lockup, with a loading bay, lift, balcony, sink, etc, that's twice the size of my old office in a shitty Clerkenwell building -- and paying the same as I've been paying to date for all those extras (added bonus: it's only 10 minutes' walk from the (grotesquely overvalued) flat!).
Shown here: "Near the Arsenal football club, this utilitarian looking squat box was originally designed for blue collar workers, now it probably contains a lawyer."
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Its October 2010 and Chinese property booms while most of the Western world's houses have shrunk to more realistic levels. In the US, homes have ceased to be ATMs to buy oriental barbecues, but in Britain, a crowded island with a cultural attachment to carving out a personal defensible space Englishmen's homes are still castles, with prices to match.
As US housing prices adjusted, UK ones, faltered then regained their losses smack in the middle of the recession. This time things look different, with last month seeing the largest dip in housing prices in history. Perhaps prices in Britain will go up forever, or perhaps Britain will be like Japan, another crowded island which had the same phenomenon and where eventual capitulation resulted in a crash where property is worth less than a decade ago?
Genius pancake dude Jim (of Jim's Pancakes) raises the bar for pancake virtuosity with this 3D dinosaur skeleton puzzle made of delicious pancakestuff: "During our recent trip to New York we visited the Museum of Natural History. We got to see some really cool dinosaur skeletons. Allie thought they were pretty cool, so I thought I'd see if I could recreate one in pancake form."
3D Dinosaur Bones Pancake
HOWTO Make a giraffe pancake
Cooking with Salt & Fat
Robot learns to flip pancakes
Eating IHOP's cheesecake-stuffed pancakes
Grinning caterpillar silver dollar pancakes
Pancakes in a pressurized can Read the rest
Russia has invited the BBC to inspect its new inflatable arsenal -- a complete range of decoy weapons and entire military installations made of inflatable plastic, intended to fool radar and satellite spy-systems and confuse the "enemy" (um, Belarusian gas pipeline hardcases? Chechen guerrillas? Kleptocrats who've lost Putin's favor? Gangsters?) whoever that might be.
On goes the pump, in goes the air and the plastic sheet begins to rise and take shape.
A turret appears, then out pops a long plastic gun barrel. This is an inflatable Russian tank.
When the men pump up their next piece of plastic, this one expands into a S-300 rocket launcher, complete with giant truck and inflatable rockets. It is a cross between a ballistic missile and a bouncy castle.
And waiting to be blown up are inflatable MiG fighter jets - even entire Russian radar stations...They are also very realistic. They are made of a special material that tricks enemy radar and thermal imaging into thinking they are real weapons.
Russia inflates its military with blow-up weapons
Soldier from "Collateral Murder" company speaks out
Russian Fortress of Brick Icicles
Tickling the Dragon: Nuclear accidents in the US and Russia ...
Russian mobsters taking over French Riviera
Russia: Journalist and Human Rights Lawyer Slain in Double Murder ...
Unusual Soviet Army stamp and plaque Read the rest
Ohsolazysusan sez, "John Waters narrates the tiny world of big time murder in Of Dolls and Murder, a documentary film about dollhouse crime scenes (the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death), real life death investigation, and the body farm. Of Dolls and Murder just won best documentary film at the ThrillSpy Film Festival."
Of Dolls and Murder Documentary Film Trailer
(Thanks, ohsolazysusan, via Submitterator)
Details interview with John Waters
John Waters on his friendship with Manson Family murderer Leslie ...
BB Exclusive: John Waters on the Origins of Teabagging.
John Waters interviewed in Independent Weekly Read the rest
In 2000, the US National Recording Preservation Act mandated the Library of Congress to conduct an in-depth study on the state of audio preservation and archiving. The Library has finished its study and one of its most damning conclusions is that copyright -- not technical format hurdles -- are the major barrier to successful preservation. Simply put, the copyright laws that the recording industry demanded are so onerous that libraries inevitably have to choose whether to be law-breakers or whether to abandon their duty to preserve and archive audio.
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"Were copyright law followed to the letter, little audio preservation would be undertaken. Were the law strictly enforced, it would brand virtually all audio preservation as illegal," the study concludes, "Copyright laws related to preservation are neither strictly followed nor strictly enforced. Consequently, some audio preservation is conducted."
While libraries supposedly have some leeway in preserving audio recordings, they find it "virtually impossible to reconcile their responsibility for preserving and making accessible culturally important sound recordings with their obligation to adhere to copyright laws". The problem is that the current provisions in law for audio preservation are "restrictive and anachronistic" in our current digitial age.
There are more problems. While the recording industry undertakes some preservation, they will only preserve those recordings from which they think they might profit in the future (what a surprise). For instance, consider a researcher working on vaudeville who may be interested in vaudevillian recordings on cylinders.
"These performers may have been headliners in their time, but today their names are virtually unknown," the study details, "While scholarly interest in these recordings is high, their economic value to the property holder is negligible.
"It's ok to be yourself and love twirly buff men that get slapped lightly in the face with feathers because it's your life and don't let anyone tell you how to live it. Do your best and don't worry. Happy Coming Out Day!"—El Rich. (via Sean Bonner) Read the rest
So, Die Antwoord's $O$ album comes out Tuesday October 12. The item description over at Amazon is hilarious. You have to read this. I'm guessing Ninja typed this in himself, and is having the time of life fokkin with everyone, in what's become a spectacularly epic media hack of grand scale. (thanks Sean, fok!) Read the rest
Attorney Steven Eggleston is suing his employer, saying the top partner at the law firm pressured him to participate in a weekend all-male retreat that amounted to a New Age self-discovery/male bonding sausage-fest—or a naked lawyer dildo party, depending on your point of view. Participants were sworn to secrecy, says Eggleston, and that was what he saw as the first sign something hinky was afoot at the "The New Warrior Training Adventure." Snip from AOL News:
Men would be holding hands and walking naked, blindfolded, through a forest. Then they would sit nude in groups of 30 to 50, passing around a wooden dildo and giving lurid details of their sexual history. Eggleston said he found out that the men will grab each other's penises if they wish.
Eggleston didn't like what he read and refused the invitation. Now he's suing the firm and his bosses, saying he was badgered, yelled at and ultimately had his pay slashed to zero for not attending the retreat, held at a Santa Barbara, Calif., mountain campground and sponsored by the ManKind Project, according to a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court.
The AOL News article goes on to detail the response from ManKind Project (Wikipedia), the organizers of the "bonding retreats. Their website describes the events as "a modern male initiation and self-examination. We believe that this is crucial to the development of a healthy and mature male self, no matter how old a man is. " And, "You will see men mentor other men, support each other, play together and form a safe, authentic container where men are free to be exactly who they are, without defenses or masks. Read the rest
If you'd told me a year ago that the City of Los Angeles would close off almost 8 miles of primary city streets to let cyclists have free rein for a day I never would have believed it. If I hadn't seen it actually happen with my own eyes yesterday, I'd still be suspicious. But it's true: thanks to the amazing efforts of the die-hard volunteers behind the project, yesterday the first ever CycLAvia (a riff on the South American Ciclovía idea) took place and some 100,000 residents took to their bikes and got a glimpse of what the city might be like if at least some parts of it were car-free.
As an avid cyclist living in LA, I've long said this is an amazing city to bike in and that it takes on a whole new life when you see it from a bicycle. But most often the reaction I get from non-cyclists is that I must be crazy to ride a bike in LA. I'm not, and judging by the photos on flickr and reactions on twitter a ton of people now see the city a little differently. With any luck this is just the first of many upcoming bike-friendly events in the city. I know I can't wait to see where this leads! (Follow @Cyclavia for future details)
Photos by Tara Brown and Jory Felice Read the rest
From Strand, July 1908
I send you a photograph showing the untimely fate which befell a too inquisitive rat. It had managed to force its way into an ostrich egg, but then found that getting out was quite another matter, and so perished in the miserable manner shown in the following picture, which was sent to me by Mr. William Fisher, Mahalapye, B. Bechuanaland. – Miss G. Gardiner, 78, Guilford Street, W.C.
An Egg as a Rat-Trap Read the rest
Remember the recent Nobel Prize winner who had previously been a recipient of the IgNobel Prize? Turns out, in 2001, the same Andre Geim published a paper in the journal Physica B that was co-authored with his pet hamster, Tisha. (Thanks to Dr. Paul Tinnemans for the tip!) Read the rest
By 1964 there were 1.5 million mobile phone users in the US.
No, really. That's not a joke. It comes directly from a report by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. (And got to me via Atlantic magazine technology guru Alexis Madrigal.) In fact, the first landline-to-mobile service was offered in St. Louis in 1946! Now, granted, we're talking about a radio-based system of car phones which were such energy hogs that headlights noticeably dimmed when people used them. But still. Mobile phones.
That bit of history seemed like a nice way to lead into this equally mind-blowing collection of astounding facts from Reddit—in which we learn that Cleopatra lived closer in time to the moon landing than to the construction of the Great Pyramid, and other tidbits certain to be a hit at your next stoner gathering (or just make you feel a bit like you're already there).
Fair warning: Not all these facts come with sources. One I really, really want verified: "Duck Hunt is two player. A controller in port 2 controls the ducks." (!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!)
Image: Some rights reserved by stallio
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Here's a mindblowingly complex and exhaustive info-chart outlining the 193 documents that govern the activities of the Pentagon's geek squads.
Developed by the DASD CIIA (that’s the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber, Identity & Information Assurance), the goal of the chart is to “capture the tremendous breadth of applicable policies, some of which many IA practitioners may not even be aware, in a helpful organizational scheme.” And what a breadth it is: dozens and dozens of directives, strategies, policies, memos, regulations, strategies, white papers, and instructions, from “CNSSD-901: National Security Telecommunications and Information Security Systems Issuance System to “CNSSP-10: National Policy Governing Use of Approved Security Containers in Information System Security Applications to SP 800-37 R1: Guide for Applying the Risk Management Framework to Federal Information Systems.
The chart is two feet long. More at Danger Room, where you'll also find a larger copy of the image.
(thanks, Noah Shachtman). Read the rest