Foolproof tool sharpening

Any chef will tell you, a sharp knife is the most important tool in the kitchen. I have tried many different types of sharpening methods, from stones to steels, electric to manual. Stones are hard to use because you need to maintain a very consistent angle while using it, and other gimmicky sharpening tools are just not good enough to give you a good edge. And very, very few can sharpen a serrated blade. I won’t lie — I can’t use a manual sharpening stone to save my life.

My dad got me the Work Sharp WSKTS Knife and Tool Sharpener and I swear I’ve never seen its equal. It is approximately the size of an electric drill and uses sanding belts of three different grits: 80 for repairing blades, 220 for sharpening, and 6000 for putting on that smooth polish. The sanding belts are very easy to change and last long enough for you to sharpening everything in the house, from your scissors and kitchen knives to axe and lawnmower blades. The head of the tool swivels so you can use it free-hand to sharpen very large items, like shovels.

One of the best features is the guards that attach to the tool that keep the sharpening angle perfectly consistent. The first guard offers a 50° angle for large hunting and butchery knives, and a 40° angle for thinner knives. The second guard allows you to sharpen serrated blades and heavier outdoor blades.

Best of all, this sharpening system only costs around $70 and packs of 6 replacement belts cost around $9. Read the rest

Video: flying through a pneumatic tube system

A camera flies through a pneumatic tube system like those found in libraries, banks, or in government buildings (such as this one in Norway.) It's fun to imagine that this is what it will be like riding in Elon Musk's Hyperloop. For more on pneumatic tube systems, check out this talk below by Molly Wright Steenson:

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T-shirt printer spits them out in seconds

Epson's SureColor F2000 can print a t-shirt in just a few seconds. At Comic-Con in New York, they had one on display: I emailed a picture, rested my iPhone on its transparent lid, and recorded this real-time video of it running one off in less than a minute. Like a goddamn office memo! It does full color tees, too. Specs:

• 5-color Direct-to-Garment Printer • All new Ultrachrome® DG inks • Revolutionary EPSON PrecisionCore® TFP® Print Head for extreme print quality and production speeds • Maximum resolution of 1440 x 1440 dpi for white ink and 1440 x 720 for color inks • Large garment imaging area up to 16" x 20" • Designed for simple maintenance and high reliability • Garment Creator imaging software included

It was on special at the show, but you'll have to pay the full $20,000 price now, suckers. Another caveat: you have to prep the tees chemically, and with a heat press, before using it. Here's some more video from a different show: Read the rest

Music: "Mongoose," Elephant's Memory (1970)

In elementary school our rainy day movie was always a cute movie about a mongoose, Riki Tiki Tavi. This songs takes me back. Read the rest

Documentary about an artist's relationship with extraterrestrials

Brad Abrahams is making a documentary about a 70-year-old man named David Huggins who has had a lifetime of close encounters with extraterrestrials (including losing his virginity to one) and shares his experiences through oil paintings. Above, the trailer for "Love And Saucers: The Far Out World Of David Huggins" Read the rest

A brief history of coonskin caps

Pioneer Haute is hot again, but never as hot as it once was: "At its peak, the coonskin cap nearly ubiquitously adorned the heads of American children, made manufacturers [$2.6bn in 2014 dollars], and became one of the defining ‘it’ products in United States history." Read the rest

Bootstrapping an offworld civilization

Can we "bootstrap" a solar system civilization by making what we need in space from stuff we find in space? BB pal Tom Kalil in the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, interviewed former NASA research physicist Dr Phillip Metzger about this very idea. From the White House blog:

In a recent article, you and your co-authors called for “affordable, rapid bootstrapping of a solar system civilization.” What do you mean by “bootstrapping” in this context?

If we want to want to create a robust civilization in our solar system, more of the energy, raw materials, and equipment that we use in space has to come from space. Launching everything we need from Earth is too expensive. It would also be too expensive to send all of the factories required to manufacture everything necessary to support a solar system civilization.

Ultimately what we need to do is to evolve a complete supply chain in space, utilizing the energy and resources of space along the way. We are calling this approach “bootstrapping” because of the old saying that you have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Industry in space can start small then pull itself up to more advanced levels through its own productivity, minimizing the cost of launching things from Earth in the meantime. Obviously, this isn’t going to happen overnight, but I think that it is the right long-term goal.

"Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization" Read the rest

Umbrella with no support frame

The Sa umbrella is said to use the "principles of origami" to maintain its shape. Read the rest

WATCH: Savage fox eats man alive

[Video Link] via Read the rest

If you think you've anonymized a data set, you're probably wrong

Using some clever computing, Atockar took the NYC Taxicab Dataset and not only calculated the annual income of every hack in New York, but also figured out who goes to strip clubs, what celebrities' home addresses were, and how they tipped. Read the rest

How Microsoft hacked trademark law to let it secretly seize whole businesses

The company expanded the "ex parte temporary restraining order" so it could stage one-sided, sealed proceedings to take away rival businesses' domains, sometimes knocking thousands of legit servers offline. Read the rest

Intro to measuring tools

As Steve Hoefer's uncle would say, "I cut it twice and it's still too short."

Prog rock: the sound of history's future

In the 1970s, a new wave of bands looked beyond the drugginess of psychedelia to classical music as the true guide. Peter Bebergal explores the occult roots of the prog-rock genre.

Scarfolk: creepy blog is now an amazing book

Back in August, I blogged the announcement of the forthcoming Discovering Scarfolk, a book-length adaptation of the brilliantly creepy Scarfolk Council blog, which chronicles the government publications of a English town that is forever trapped in a loop from 1969-1979, a town that's like Nightvale crossed with Liartown USA, written by John Wyndham. Today, it's out! Read the rest