Visit to the aquarium does not go as expected

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Lumsing's Powerbank, a $23 10400 mAh USB battery charger

I really like Lumsing's Powerbank for its fast charging 5v/2.1amp USB slot. Just yesterday, Pesco was struggling with a slow charging battery and asked for one with a faster charging port! Here it is.

This harmonica sized and shaped battery is about 5.5" long and 2.5" wide. The Power Bank easily fits into a jacket pocket and won't be a burden to carry around. At 10400 mAh you should get one and a half charges of an iPad or many of smaller devices.

Lumsing 10400mAh Harmonica Style Portable Power Bank External Battery Pack Backup Charger Read the rest

The Yes song that spawned The Art of Noise

In 1983, Trevor Horn, JJ Jeczalik, Gary Langan, and Anne Dudley, who would eventually become The Art of Noise, were applying their production magic (and Fairlight sampler wizardry) to the Yes album 90125. Below, you can clearly hear the birth of Art of Noise's pioneering style in Yes's "Owner of a Lonely Heart (Red And Blue Remix)."

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Magic mushrooms "amplify brain's dreaming areas"

A new study reveals not merely what millions of Americans already knew—that shrooms expand your mind—but how it happens.

Cotton Candy art in China

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Biohackers making "real vegan cheese"

The biohackers at BioCurious and Counter Culture Labs are seeking support in their effort to bioengineer baker's yeast to make Real Vegan Cheese!

Real Vegan Cheese is a not a cheese substitute! It all begins with regular old baker's yeast. Through synthetic biology, we engineer our yeast to become milk-protein factories, churning out real milk proteins (known as caseins). These milk proteins are then combined with water, vegan sugar and oil to make a kind of milk which is ultimately converted into Real Vegan Cheese using the age-old cheese-making process.

Real Vegan Cheese (Thanks, Eri Gentry!) Read the rest

What would the world be like if America lost the revolutionary war?

The Atlantic asks Harry Turtledove, writer of counterfactual histories. He points out that, in fact, the alternatives are written not to be realistic, but to throw interesting dramatic light on the world we do inhabit.

Alternate history isn't really about the world you're creating," he added. "It's about the world in which you live, and gives you and your readers a funhouse mirror in which to see the real world." It's a reflection, he says, that we can't get any other way.

In other words, it's SF. When pressed, his suggestion isn't particularly edifying:

"If the British Empire included all of North America north of the Rio Grande as well as India, it would be incontestably the strongest state in the world," he responded. "The French Revolution wouldn't have happened, both for lack of example and because it began when a political crisis and a famine coincided with a government bankruptcy that sprang from the money the government paid out helping the American colonists gain their independence—and giving perfidious Albion a shot in the eye."

Or perhaps it would merely have been delayed, because the causes of the French Revolution ran deep.

Sans American revolutionary success, my money is that the world would be much as it is now. America would just have become independent anyway, as Canada did, in a slower and less constitutionally dramatic way. How awesome would THE DOMINION OF AMERICA have been? Quite.

Here's one for the mental hopper: a comedy where, the morning after dropping a twinkie wrapper in a new particle accelerator, U.S. Read the rest

Blogging History: North American Lake Monsters; Desperate to leave Linkedin; Shape-shifting rolling robots

One year ago today

North American Lake Monsters: short fiction with every delicate flavor of sorrow: Some of Ballingrud's very best work has been collected in a moving, sorrowful volume called North American Lake Monsters.

Five years ago today Desperate-to-leave LinkedIn users rename accounts "delete delete delete": I came across a Mr. Delete This Account from the San Francisco area, who turns out to have company, as there are three other Mr. Delete This Account's on the service (San Diego; Enid, OK; and Liege, Belgium). There are also two users named Delete My Profile, four named Delete This Profile, and no fewer than ten named Unsubscribe Unsubscribe (the Humbert Humbert of the 21c.) There is also some unintentional hilarity on individual profile pages -- one of the Unsubscribe Unsubscribes is a Relationship Manager, while a user with the first name of 'delete delete delete' and the last name of 'delete delete delete' is a Hospitality Professional in Australia. LinkedIn is very solicitous about asking "Would you like to add delete delete delete delete delete delete to your network?

Ten years ago today

Shape-shifting rolling robots: The rolling robots perform well on flat surfaces and can even scale 20-degree slopes. Read the rest

Baby Boeings Emerge From Aquatic Birthing Environment

Enjoy Kyle Massick's amazing photos of 737 fuselages that fell in a river when the train transporting them derailed Read the rest

Mesmerizing animation of transatlantic and european flights

Britains' NATS, an air-traffic control management company, commissioned these beautiful visualizations of flights over the Atlantic ocean (above) and Europe (below). The animation itself was created by 422, whose website contains many similar animations. From The Guardian:

An animation by the National Air Traffic Services (Nats), the UK air traffic control service, demonstrates the flight paths of the 2,000 to 3,000 aircraft that fly across the North Atlantic on a daily basis. This animation shows 2,524 flights that travelled between Canada, the US and Europe on a single day in August 2013

From the video description:

Sequence was produced for NATS - the UK based global air traffic management company. NATS says: 'This data visualization was created from real flight data taken from a day in July 2013. It highlights the intensity of the operation in Europe - an operation which runs 24 x 7 x 365. NATS and the UK are at the heart of the operation. With Heathrow as the busiest international airport in Europe, and Gatwick as the busiest single runway airport in the world, we play a key role in ensuring air traffic under our control in European airspace is as safe and efficient as it can be.'

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The spiral arms of galaxy M106

From Nasa:

The spiral arms of bright, active galaxy M106 sprawl through this remarkable multiwavelength portrait, composed of image data from radio to X-rays, across the electromagnetic spectrum. Also known as NGC 4258, M106 can be found toward the northern constellation Canes Venatici. The well-measured distance to M106 is 23.5 million light-years, making this cosmic scene about 60,000 light-years across. Typical in grand spiral galaxies, dark dust lanes, youthful star clusters, and star forming regions trace spiral arms that converge on a bright nucleus. But this composite highlights two anomalous arms in radio (purple) and X-ray (blue) that seem to arise in the central region of M106, evidence of energetic jets of material blasting into the galaxy's disk. The jets are likely powered by matter falling into a massive central black hole.

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Kremlin offers Silicon Valley a Russian Internet with Chinese characteristics

A new Russian law requires companies to store Russians' data within Russia's borders, out of reach of the NSA, and in reach of Russia's own secret police. It's China all over again, writes Cory Doctorow.

Crocheted Fourth Doctor dress

Tom Baker's Doctor Who scarf has inspired many textile projects, but Rebel AT's crocheted Fourth Doctor dress is a literal prize-winner. Read the rest