• PayPal "Return Shipping on Us" program to end November 27, 2022

    Like all great things that swing in the consumer's favor never last like they should, like Netflix's OG free streaming service accessed via special disc's for PS3, XBox 360 and Wii, or Google Reader back when RSS was all the rage, or any number of anecdotal instances.

    Image: Andrew Yi

    Sadly today marks the beginning of the end for PayPal's "Return Shipping on Us" program that saved customers an incredible amount of money and made online transactions more convenient, and environmentally damaging at the same time. For fans of FCP Euro's Lifetime Replacement Guarantee, this means that the virtually free oil change days are numbered, and perhaps now is a good time to change that oil while PayPal is still willing to foot the return shipping cost.

  • Nissan making replacement parts for select classics

    Nissan brings the love for select models like the venerable R32 Skyline GT-R, using modern metals and fabrication techniques like using two opposing industrial robots with tungsten dies to form body panels out of flat metal sheet stock.

    Nissan has teamed up with HP and SOLIZE to 3D print metal parts as NISMO Heritage Parts expands it's offerings beyond sheet metal.

    In the motoring world, the term "Body In White" (BIW) has many connotations, but to keep this about NISMO, BIW typically describes a bare chassis that may or may not have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), sold for racing applications.

    The video below is NISMO flexing like a JDM Year One where folklore says every part needed to fabricate a whole muscle car can be had for the low price of an arm, a leg and one's everlasting soul.

    Considering the price range Nissan R32's have been fetching on Bring A Trailer, this level of manufacturer love for a halo product and by extension the owners at every stage from the kids looking through the showroom glass or growing up virtually driving an R32 to the vaunted few who get to attain their dreams and own a piece of motoring history, redeems humanity just a smidge in my book.

  • How Canada's pedestrian-controlled intersections actually work

    Traffic signal lights in British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and other parts of Canada feature a flashing green traffic light to indicate it as a "pedestrian-controlled" intersection; meaning the traffic signal has a request to cross button that has not been pressed by a pedestrian yet, drivers should proceed through the intersection as normal but be ready to stop if the light turns into a "stale" green.

    steady green light — green means go only if the intersection is clear, and it is safe to do so.

    • stale green light — a stale green light is one that has been green for a long time, and is about to turn yellow. If you didn't see the light turn green, then it may be stale. Look for additional clues:

    – are there a lot of cars lined up on the cross street waiting for the light to change?

    – in many areas, the crosswalk signal will change from a white figure to an orange hand just before the light turns yellow, or will show how many seconds are left before the traffic light will change.

    Learn to drive smart | ICBC

    flashing green light — watch for pedestrians, who may activate the pedestrian traffic light to change to yellow and then to red. Even if the pedestrian traffic light is not activated, traffic on the side street is facing a stop sign, and may be waiting to move into the intersection when it is clear and safe to do so.

    Learn to drive smart | ICBC

    While digging through a healthy chunk of Canadian provinces and territories Handbook/driving guide/manual, I found it interesting that while some provinces like Alberta define how pedestrians should and shouldn't function, Saskatchewan goes a step further and pushes for tough love on Jaywalkers.

    Jaywalking is when a pedestrian crosses a roadway in violation of traffic laws, typically when crossing outside of a marked or unmarked intersection.

    You must always be prepared to stop if you see a pedestrian who is about to step out in front of you. But don't encourage jaywalking by stopping and inviting pedestrians to cross. The car behind you may not be expecting you to stop and may collide with you. Also, drivers in the other lanes might not see the pedestrian crossing in front of your vehicle and may hit them.

    Jaywalkers | Saskatchewan Driver's Handbook

    All this talk about flashing lights brings Kanye West's "Flashing Lights" to the fore to help start you week:

  • Sally Schmitt and the genesis story of The French Laundry

    Recognized with 3-Star culinary acclaim by the Michelin Guide since 2006, The French Laundry is one of the rarest of gastronomic gems with a genesis story that extends back to the rustic beginning of Napa Valley's ascendency. Sally and Don Schmitt were instrumental in helping not just the fledgling community erupting around them, but it was their investment into Thomas Keller in 1994 that allowed Keller to refine The French Laundry into his first 3-Star accolade a full Chinese Zodiac later, from Rat to Pig.

    "He intends to keep the name," Sally continues. "He wants to build on what is here. Sure, he'll take the mom and pop out of it, but he'll continue the country style cooking. We're thrilled to turn it over to him."

    Hearing Sally Schmitt talk about balance, made me think of David Sedaris' Melbourne friend Pat who said, sometimes you have to turn off two burners to be really successful, only in Sally's case, turning off the work burner enabled the Schmitt's to enjoy what they had worked so hard to achieve. Sally and Don Schmitt would go on to enjoy retirement together for another 20 plus years, with Don Schmitt passing February 6, 2017 and Sally Schmitt following on March 5, 2022.

  • Slow-mo fountain at Nanzen-ji temple in Kyoto, Japan

    With the recent announcement of projected border easing measures including visa-free travel, discussions about where to go when next in Japan lead to thoughts about our last trip to Kyoto.

    We had wandered into the Nanzen-ji temple, where every facet revealed carefully arranged elements made powerful through the weathering of time and veneration.

    Motion sends incense smoke curling up into the inner sanctum, as the quiet chamber amplifies the sound of one's own heartbeat, till it thrums deeply like a Star Trek warp core on impulse.

    The sight of so many items to photograph, created a tidal wave of elation and frustration to the point I had forgotten a bag of gifts purchased earlier that day as I exited, stage right. By the time I realized the bag had been lost, we were in a taxi headed to Nishiki Market as the sun dipped towards the horizon, too late to double back and retrieve the bag.

    After figuring out where the bag was, then a quick consultation with our hotel host who contacted the temple and arranged for us to pickup the parcel the next day, the questions went from "What if someone steals it?" and "Do you think it's still there?" to embarrassed declarations of "what kind of piece of trash would steal from a Zen Buddhist temple?" and "I guess it really is that different in Japan." If you're ever in Kyoto, I highly suggest giving Nanzen-ji temple a visit, but you don't have to take my word for it:

    Photos: Andrew Yi (all rights reserved)

  • 2022 Arnold Classic Slap Fighting Champion knocks out competition to remain undefeated

    Dawid "Zales" Zalewski (pronounced "ZAHL-esh") knocked the everlasting Scheiße out of Koa "Da Crazy Hawaiian" Viernes to win the 2022 Arnold Classic Slap Fighting Championship. The winning slap's reportly sounded like a clap of thunder, as it violently snatched Da Crazy Hawaiian's consciousness away, who promptly locked-up like a Westworld host hearing the "Freeze all motor functions" command, right before collapsing to the floor.

    Some of the key rules for SFC events, which air live and free on streaming service Fanmio, include: 

    – All strikes are delivered with an open palm to the opponent's cheek.

    – Each bout is three rounds, with one slap per fighter per round.

    – Winners are determined in three ways: knockout, a TKO if a fighter cannot continue after the 30-second time limit between slaps, or a judges' decision.

    – Judges can order extra time if they believe there's a tie after three rounds.

    – A slapper's feet must be parallel to each other, no farther than shoulder-width apart, and must remain stationary during and after the slap.

    – Fighters cannot tuck their chins, lean back, or otherwise block or avoid the slaps.

    'An Out-of-Body Experience': What Being a Slap Fighter Is Actually Like | Bleacher Report
  • Watch the Tuned Mass Damper inside a Taipei skyscraper react to this weekend's 6.9-magnitude earthquake

    The 660 metric ton Tuned Mass Damper within the Taipei 101 skyscraper moves effortlessly in the video above as a 6.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Taiwan on September 18, 2022, but the Taipei 101 skyscraper has weathered worse, like the time the Tuned Mass Damper traveled 100 centimeters during Typhoon Sudila on August 8, 2015:

    Essentially acting as a giant pendulum, the enormous steel sphere moves slightly back and forth to counter any motion of the building itself. It is an engineering marvel meant to limit the vibrations of the 1,667-foot tall building.

    The 18-foot diameter, 660- metric ton steel sphere is suspended by eight cables in the upper stories of the tower, and is visible between the 88th and 92nd floors. The Taipei 101 Tuned Mass Damping were built and tested by A&H Custom Machine. The fabrication of the components took approximately a year to complete.

    Tuned Mass Damper of Taipei 101 | Atlas Obscrura

    Here's video from the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that happened April 18, 2019, where the Tuned Mass Damper moved 20 cm:

  • Microneedle patch tattoos provide painless pixelated possibilities

    Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have repurposed a Microneedle drug manufacturing and delivery method to painlessly apply tattoo inks in pixel perfect arrays. Song Li, Youngeun Kim, Jeong Woo Lee, and Mark R. Prausnitz recently published their paper "Microneedle patch tattoos" in the journal iScience.

    Image: Microneedle patch tattoos – Figure 1 (CC BY 4.0)

    Medical tattoos provide medical information, guide radiotherapy, and improve cosmetic outcomes of medical interventions. These tattoos are administered by repeated needle injection that causes pain, bleeding, and risk of infection, which limit more widespread use. Here, we developed single-use microneedle (MN) patches to deposit tattoos in the skin in a simple, rapid, painless, and bloodless way without biohazardous sharps waste. MN patch tattoos were designed with numbers, letters, symbols, environmentally responsive inks, and QR codes. Colored tattoos, and tattoos only visible with ultraviolet illumination for increased privacy, were developed and retained in the skin for at least one year. These MN patch tattoos recorded medical conditions such as diabetic medical alerts and vaccination status, responded to biophysical cues for possible physiological monitoring, and encoded complex personal health information. MN patches may increase safety and access to medical tattoos for improved fiducial marking, medical information storage, physiological monitoring, and cosmetic outcomes.

    Microneedle patch tattoos – Song Li, Youngeun Kim, Jeong Woo Lee, Mark R. Prausnitz | Cell Press/Elsevier
    Image: Microneedle patch tattoos – Figure 3 (CC BY 4.0)
  • Seakeeper stops "hole in the water you throw money into" from rolling around

    Ironically, the first time I experienced seasickness was after cackling with schadenfreude while layering smoked salmon and cream cheese on a bagel as our captain with 2 metal hooks for hands announced: "Seasickness is a state of the mind, but it comes out of your mouth." I've never liked smoked salmon since that day, and just the idea of seasickness makes a copper penny taste materialize in my mouth as if the Enterprise had beamed it there. I've tried just about every solution I could find with varying degrees of success, and had thought I'd found a solution using an earplug wadded into one ear + Dramamine recently, that is until the boat stopped for snorkeling and immediately began to roll around like Katamari Damacy. Watching the video above makes me wonder if that boat had been fitted with a Seakeeper, would I have still gotten sick?

    Seakeepers apply the physics of gyroscopes to the age-old problem of boat roll. And while we're not the first to solve this problem with a gyroscope (large ships had large gyroscopes more than a century ago), we're the first to do it in a way that makes gyro stabilization a realistic option for everyday boaters.

    So, how does it work?

    Inside a vacuum-enclosed sphere, a steel flywheel spins at speeds of up to 9,750 rpm. When the boat rolls, the Seakeeper tilts fore and aft (precesses), producing a powerful gyroscopic torque to port and starboard that counteracts the boat roll.

    How does a Seakeeper work? | Seakeeper

    Every boat owner I've known gleefully co-signs on the statement: "a boat is a hole in the water you throw money into", so stopping that hole from rolling around like Tommy Callahan singing "Fat guy in a little coat" sounds like a brilliant idea to me.

  • How Marie Kondo folds a fitted sheet

    As a self-diagnosed hoarder, having a cultivated taste for some aspects of Marie Kondo's method is an odd amalgam that somehow works for me. Prior to finding this folding technique, fitted sheets were always a bother; even with Jess's Mean-AF approach, Cory's Tar-J-J-Jay Down Under Maneuver, and Mark's March of Dimes solution, I've never been happy with the chaotic semaphore'ish-arm's-akimbo process, unhappily ending up with a meh shape resembling Lumpy Space Princess. Marie Kondo's method however cuts all the calisthenics out of the process and ends with a clean symmetrical package ready for your preferred storage method.

  • The Chupa Chups logo in your mind's eye is probably a remix of Salvador Dalí's remix

    Looking back towards the past, the stories told over the years about the Chupa Chups logo have woven themselves into the tapestry of society like half truths told with good intentions and a lack of fact checking that can happen in the art world, which helps explains why the Chupa Chups logo you know is probably a remix of Salvador Dalí's remix. Scroll back through time, and one can see the subtle changes in the Chupa Chups logo from it's humble start in 1958, crystalizing into a distinct identity wrapped in an iconic daisy shape created Johnny-on-the-spot in a single design consultation by Salvador Dalí.

    It was then that Enric Bernat traveled to Figueres (Girona) to commission the redesign of the Chupa Chups logo from Salvador Dalí himself, who at that time was one of the most influential international figures in the world.

    The job was to make a good logo to achieve business goals. The peculiar artist agreed in exchange for a millionaire fee, which Enric accepted. Unsurprisingly, the quirky surreal artist thought for a while and began scribbling until he designed the daisy logo on a paper napkin. It took him less than an hour to create one of the most iconic logos of all time.

    Although it may seem like a reluctant job, the truth is that the changes were smart. The first novelty was the use of a single red color on a yellow background, eliminating the three colors red, black and yellow. The second is to introduce one of the most emblematic elements of the logo and one of the clearest signs of identity of Chupa Chups: the flower shape that surrounds the logo. The last contribution was a recommendation from the artist to Enric, to place the logo on the upper part of the packaging to favor its visibility and give it its own personality.

    How Salvador Dalí created the Chupa Chups logo | eslogan

    After so many years of seeing the current single font logo design, looking at the Salvador Dalí progenitor feels asymmetrical and properly vintage with the text portion of the logo centered a little too high for my design aesthetic. To me, this is yet another example of how on point Kirby Ferguson is with his Everything is a Remix series.

  • Watch Cunningham's Law fail when used in real life

    Cunningham's Law: "the best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it's to post the wrong answer."

    The concept is named after Ward Cunningham, the inventor of wiki software. According to Steven McGeady,[1] the law's author, Wikipedia may be the most well-known demonstration of this law.[2]

    Cunningham's Law can be considered the Internet equivalent of the French saying "prêcher le faux pour savoir le vrai" ("preach the falsehood to know the truth"). Sherlock Holmes has been known to use the principle at times (for example, in The Sign of the Four.[3]) In "Duty Calls," ("Someone is wrong on the Internet") xkcd references a similar concept.[4]

    Cunningham's Law | Wikimedia

    While not an actual law, Cunningham's Law does make for a nice tangent to those moments when wrong answers are the only answers available at that moment, and one must power forward knowing the answer clutched in their grasp is 100% wrong, like this girl who resignedly reveals a portrait sketch of her parents:

    Kudos to mom for holding that laugh in, and pivoting with a Mr. Poopy Butthole "Ohhhhhh" before explaining that "Daddy don't know what he's doing anyway. That's how you say 'that's a great drawing' in French."
    Then there's Torio Van Grol, who learned what an Affogato was by winging it with an Avocado:

  • For delicious corn, boil water, add corn, turn off heat, and cover for 10-30 min

    Julia: So, corn's in the hot water. The water's off the heat. Put the lid on.

    Becky: That's right, we're going to let it sit for 10 minutes.

    Julia: And that's it.

    Becky: How hard was that?

    Julia: Barely a recipe, Becky.

    The Foolproof Way to Make Boiled Corn on the Cob – America's Test Kitchen | YouTube

    My love for corn has led me down this rabbit hole search through the years for a favorite way to prepare fresh corn on the cob that treads the fine line of cooking convenience vs. quality has led me to try microwaving w/ husk on, pellet-smoking w/ husk on, grilling w/ husk on, frying, boiling, steaming, poaching in foil pouches, I've tried just about every variant including just eating the corn raw. Out of all the methods I've tried, the above video is by far my favorite way for simplicity, repeatability and delicious results.

  • How Cadbury's "Gorilla" Ad Campaign got the love back

    One of the most epic advertising campaigns of all time, "Gorilla" rescued Cadbury Schweppes in 2007 after a "leaking pipe at Cadbury's Marlbrook plant, near Leominster, Herefordshire and this was discovered in January with samples sent to an independent laboratory where a rare strain of salmonella was identified" leading to a recall of over a million chocolate bars, and 37 affected people in the UK.
    The genesis story of Gorilla starts with a group of people talking about the raw animalistic energy that Phil Collins channels into his drums:

    Cabral's original idea wasn't actually intended to for an ad; it began as a heated discussion between colleagues. "We were discussing who did the best drum solo of all time, someone said, 'it's this one', another said, 'no, it's this one' and then I said, 'no, no it's definitely Phil Collins'.

    "I started to tell them why. I said 'He's animalistic, he's like a gorilla drumming' and as soon as I said it that image of a gorilla stuck with me." That night Cabral went home with a "burning desire" to write what he imagined would be a short film script. A week later Cadbury came to Fallon.

    Rumbol had joined Cadbury a year earlier, tasked with restoring the nation's love for Cadbury's chocolate. The confectionery giant had been caught up in a salmonella scare in 2006 leading it to recall more than a million bars of chocolate so consumers were understandably a little wary.

    "The brief was to get the love back to that lost generation and reconnect with the brand emotionally. I told the agency I wanted an ad that was as enjoyable to consume as a bar of Cadbury's chocolate," Rumbol explains.

    Why Cadbury's 'Gorilla' ad nearly didn't get made | Marketing Week

    A lot of back and forth ensued, and through the persistence of Phil Rumbol, the Ad campaign gets the green light to shoot:

    The director went on the hunt for an animatronic gorilla costume that would be realistic enough to give the "documentary" feel for which he was looking. The advert was written very seriously, he says: "Watching it, you know it's a joke, but there's 60 seconds where nothing happens – just a gorilla and Phil Collins."

    A lot of the gorillas they saw were terrible and with computer-generated imagery (CGI) still in its relative infancy, there wasn't much margin for error when it came to the costume itself. The director finally found what he was looking for at Stan Winston Studio in Hollywood, a company with success on films including Predator, Jurassic Park and Aliens.

    There was a very promising gorilla costume knocking around that had appeared in the 1995 film CongoIt was female, but they beefed up the chest to get the look they wanted and added distinctive details such as the gold tooth you see when the gorilla grimaces at the camera for getting too close.

    The next question was: who goes inside it? "You don't see anything with those suits, so you have to just learn the scene," says Cabral. They hired Garon Michael, an actor with experience in costume work, but not drumming. He practised the Phil Collins solo endlessly to get the right sense of a creature that – as Cabral describes – "has been waiting for this moment all its life".

    How we made Cadbury's Gorilla Ad | The Guardian

    Gorilla would go on to win an impressive series of awards, and catapult Phil Collins' In the Air Tonight back onto the charts, peaking at the Number 1 position for 2 weeks on the New Zealand 2008 Top 40 Singles Chart.

    The campaign was a success. The ad went viral. On launch night the video was also released on YouTube with 100,000 hits the following day.

    The ad was such a huge hit that Wonderbra decided to create a spoof which also went viral but was taken down after few days due to copyright infringement. ( I think that ad would have created a massive uproar if it got released now

    Cadbury's stopped the decline in sales and market share and sales. In the months after the transmission it regained and exceeded the lost 5% in the previous 12 months.

    Fallon and the advertisement won a clutch of awards, including the top prize at Cannes Lions, the advertising industry's biggest celebration, in 2008.

    A Case Study on Cadbury's Award Winning Gorilla Ad Campaign | Medium

    Seeing Amy from Congo get recast in one of the greatest advertisements of all time is akin to seeing video of Butcher and Homelander when they were one degree of Zena the Warrior Princess close.

  • Watch comedian Sean Millea steal 1½ Beeples

    There's a line in Altered Carbon where Rodrigo Bautista fills in some backstory on Elias Ryker over drinks in the Hendrix:

    "Ryker." The cop jetted smoke out of his nostrils and sat back. "Was working with the Sleeve Theft boys until a couple of years ago. They're quite a sophisticated bunch compared to us. It ain't so easy to steal a whole sleeve intact, and that breeds a smarter class of criminal.

    Altered Carbon | Richard K. Morgan

    Sophisticated is what Sean Millea managed to pull off over the course of 2 well planned, out of the box, and equally well documented modern art heists pulled on Mike "Beeple" Winkleman:

    In the art world, narrative like this typically equals value, like for instance, Banksy's "Girl With Balloon" which sold for $1.4 Mill in 2018 right before partially self-destructing, and subsequently earning the new title "Love Is In The Bin", which would sell for $25.4 Mil in 2021.

  • Watch Simon Taylor use his ethnic Aussie Accent to save some scratch

    I had a friend that once told the story of how she got pulled over by a cop the same day she flew back to Seattle from Korea, and when the cop asked for her license she got out of the car and said "Today fly Korea" while pointing at the sky. Every question was answered with "Today fly Korea", and after 4 rounds, the cop told her to drive safer and simply walked away. I would call that story bullshit if I hadn't seen with my Mk 1 eyes from the back seat, another friend who performed a "rolling" stop, and every answer to the cop was: "stomach ache", while cradling her tummy; I swear on a stack of Gideon's a mile high, the cop gave up after asking 5 times if she knew that she hadn't come to a complete stop, and exasperatedly said: "Just drive safely, please.", turned then walked back to his cruiser. So yeah, I've seen how powerful an accent can be when applied at just the right moment with the proper amount of conviction, like Simon Taylor does in this video:

    Hearing the Australian version of an Italian accent blew my mind, and now I want to see what Australian and American Italians think of each other's accents.