"Jesus Shoes" are Nikes laced with holy water

MSCHF told CBS that it customized a pair of Nike Air Max 97 sneakers by attaching a crucifix as a shoelace charm, and adding to the soles "holy water from the River Jordan, which was blessed by a priest in Brooklyn."  The resulting "Jesus Shoes" are available for purchase at shoe speculating site StockX for $4000:

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Reply All interviewed the 30-50 feral hogs guy and learned he had a point

If the Webbys have any legitimacy, than a content of the year award should go to Willie McNabb for his famous tweet.  It generated endless brilliant mockery online.  But Reply All interviewed Willie and learned two things: (1) he's a terrific sport; and (2) he had a point.

The first part of episode #149 features an interview with Willie, in which he acknowledges how goofily he phrased his tweet and thus invited mockery.  He then describes the genuinely frightening time feral hogs swarmed his children as they were playing outside.  The second part of the episode explores the widespread and seemingly hopeless nature of the feral hog problem.

You can listen here. Read the rest

Power plant looks like it's holding a giant cigarette (and features its own year-round ski slope)

In California, we're looking at power outages in the North and South as the only way to avoid massive wildfires.  Meanwhile, in Copenhagen, there's a new power plant "embodying the notion of hedonistic sustainability."

Known both as Amager Bakke and Copenhill, the site is a waste to energy plant designed to convert enough tons of waste to provide clean energy for 150,000 homes. The giant chimney was intended to blow giant smoke rings, but that plan was abandoned.

The interior looks ready to star in a Bond movie:

And the exterior features enough facilities to host the X-Games, including a ski slope, freestyle park, climbing wall, and running trail.

The project is the work of Bjarke Ingels Group.  Ingels promoted the project, and several other clever designs, way back in this 2011 Ted Talk:

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The Washington Post convinced a bunch of hockey players to draw self portraits

In a brilliant move, the Washington Post convinced several Washington Capital players to draw self portraits, most-used emoji,

favorite memory, first thing bought after signing their rookie contract,

And whatever this is:

Check out the rest of the gallery here. Read the rest

Dice containing bloody teeth and other oddities

Monstrous Incantation makes dice containing items ranging from ghoulish, to beautiful, to adorable:

You can peruse the shop or order a commission here. Read the rest

You can read beautifully illustrated novels in the New York Public Library's Instagram account

In an effort to get more people reading, the New York Public Library set out to take advantage of Instagram's huge user base.  Mother New York designed "Insta Novels" as a way to read entire novels in Instagram Stories.  The books feature carefully selected fonts, beautiful animations, and some clever hacks to allow such an unorthodox use of the Instagram app:

one challenge was that the pages would turn themselves after 10 seconds. But the solution of the Thumb Rest gave us a simple way-finding element and let us add illustrations to every page for a more engaging reading experience.

...

Knowing the active story would only be live for 24-hours, we also launched a teaser post with each title to let readers know they could find a new title in our highlights. These posts served as mini-movie trailers for each book to bring the audience to the title.

You can read Alice in Wonderland, A Christmas Carol, The Raven, and more now.

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Deluxe edition of Philip K. Dick’s Ubik

Folio Society has produced a special illustrated edition of Philip K. Dick's novel Ubik, featuring several illustrations and a foreword by Kim Stanley Robinson:

This video describes the creation of the edition, including hiding a secret in the slipcase:

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The Deep Dark is an art installation that asks "why do we fear the dark?"

The Deep Dark is a recurring art installation by Caitlind Brown and Wayne Garrett:

To develop the installation, the artists conducted interviews, asking: why do we fear the dark? Is darkness a presence or an absence? What separates real fears of nighttime from imaginary fears of things we cannot see? By unearthing commonalities between interviewed participants, a loose narrative emerged, exposing a collective insight into our human relationship with the deep dark.

The Deep Dark uses domestic doorways as an entry point, inviting you to move through ghostly architecture. As you pass through each frame, you are blinded by intense white light that overexposes your eyes. The darkness beyond the frames is magnified to blackness, much darker than before. As your eyes adjust to the dark, the next illuminated doorframe becomes visible in the distance, beckoning you onward. From an outward perspective, as viewers step through the gates, they disappear completely. Intended to impose artificial light into the wild darkness, The Deep Dark is light by which the darkness grows darker and disillusions the night.

You can get a glimpse of the eerie effect below:

View this post on Instagram

The Deep Dark on Citadel Hill for @responsive_lightart. #Halifax, come see it tonight until Sept 28, 8 pm - midnight. . . . #TheDeepDark #lightart #darkarts

A post shared by Caitlind R. C. Brown (@incandescentcloud) on Sep 26, 2019 at 12:29pm PDT

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Storyboards, concept art, and more from Netflix's excellent new horror film In the Tall Grass

Netflix's big movie release this past week was In the Tall Grass, based on a short story by Stephen King and Joe Hill, and directed by Vincenzo Natali. To say much about the plot would spoil the fun of a first viewing, but there is already an incredible amount of information about the making of the film online.

Natali told SyFy about acquiring the option from King and Hill for a dollar, only to see the project seemingly reach a dead end:

Usually, these kinds of high-profile options run can five to seven figures, but that's not how they do it in Maine.

“You option the material for a dollar, but you have to reach certain benchmarks,” Natali said. “It's a very clever thing he does, because he avoids getting his projects trapped in development hell. You have to reach certain benchmarks, and if you don't then you can lose the option.”

One of those benchmarks is a tight turnaround time on the writing of the script. Natali was given three months to deliver a draft, but the timing of the deal was problematic for the writer/director. He had already committed to some TV projects, which meant that he had to bang out the first draft in just about three weeks.

“The very thought that Stephen King would read something I wrote, let alone something I had to write in three weeks, was really, really frightening,” he said.

But he met his deadline, and while he'll never know for sure if either King or Hill actually read the script, the option continued to the next step, which was to get it set up at a studio or production house in a timely matter.

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These sculptures are like The Matrix code given solid form

Terumasa Ikeda uses lacquer and bits of mother of pearl to create surreal sculptures.  He demonstrates the painstaking process in this video:

The results look like code given solid form:

(H/T @MasakiSe.) Read the rest

Someone is draining the blood from cattle, leaving them looking like "deflated plush toys"

NPR reports a real life X-File: someone (or something!) drained the blood from cattle at Silvies Valley Ranch in eastern Oregon:

The bull looks like a giant, deflated plush toy. It smells. Weirdly, there are no signs of buzzards, coyotes or other scavengers. His red coat is as shiny as if he were going to the fair, but he's bloodless and his tongue and genitals have been surgically cut out.

Over the course of a few days, more mutilated bulls were discovered:

four more Hereford bulls were found within 1.5 miles in the same condition. There were no tracks around the carcasses.

To date, the investigation has mostly just eliminated possibilities such as poisonous plants or bullets being the cause of death. Perhaps overlooking the public's enthusiasm for Westworld-style adventures, the ranch does not seem to have added the ongoing investigation to its list of activities. Read the rest

Clickhole spent a day slandering Cap'n Crunch

Follow your muse where it takes you, even if it leads to a day's worth of articles trashing Cap'n Crunch in outlandish and disturbing ways. Read the rest

Nike really wants Skechers to stop "Skecherizing" its designs

Nike, which already has two lawsuits pending against Skechers, filed a third complaint for patent infringement last month. This time, the complaint targets the Skechers version of the VaporMax and Air Max 270. Aside from the Nike's actual chances of winning, the lawyers filing the complaint on Nike's behalf made the curious decision of highlighting a video that says Nike's VaporMax "looks like garbage":

Among other things, the reviewer identifies the VaporMax as one of his "least favorite sneakers of all time, at least visually" and adds, "it also looks like football payers should be wearing this--and not on their feet. In their mouths." He certainly calls the Skechers version a "blatant knockoff," but mostly because he doesn't understand why Skechers wouldn't have "at least tried to make [a shoe] that looked better." Presumably, Nike will not emphasize that part of the video at trial. Read the rest

The target date for eradicating Guinea worm has been delayed 10 years, and that may be overly optimistic

Humans contract the Guinea worm parasite by ingesting water containing fleas infected with guinea worm larvae. The devastating and nightmarish symptoms don't show up until around a year later:

a stringy worm that is 60 to 90 centimetres erupts through the skin on the leg or foot. Its excruciatingly painful journey out of the body can take weeks. To relieve the burning sensation, many people wade into the nearest body of water — often the same pond from which they drink. When an adult worm enters the water, it releases larvae, and the cycle starts anew.

Because scientists thought the parasite required on humans for transmission, it was believed that Guinea worm could be eradicated. In 1986, The World Health Assembly endorsed a plan targeting the parasite for extinction through the use of larvicides, and by educating people to use water filters and stay out of bodies of water if infected. The plan largely worked:

An international partnership — led by the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia — has reduced the number of new infections from 3.5 million per year in 1986 to just 28 in 2018.

Unfortunately, new cases indicate that animals might be able to transmit guinea worms after all. Cases in Chad may be related to dogs in a way scientists don't yet understand. Other pockets of contamination have also been discovered:

The discovery in 2013 of infected baboons — a first — in a small forested area in southern Ethiopia also has researchers scratching their heads.

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This scientific paper about black holes includes a 1:1 image of a black hole

I can't speak to the scientific value of the paper--actual quote:

We focus on a more exciting possibility: if the OGLE events are due to a population of PBHs then it is possible that the orbital anomalies of TNOs are also due to one of these PBHs that was captured by the Solar System.

But the writers of "What if Planet 9 is a Primordial Black Hole?" get an A for showmanship. Page 5 includes an "exact scale image" of the black hole discussed:

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This bot automatically entered Twitter giveaways, won four times a day

Hunter Scott decided to design a bot to enter Twitter giveaways that asked for follow/like/retweets. He wrote a Python script that searched for and retweeted giveaways, and manually followed accounts when needed. Soon, the problem was not getting banned by Twitter:

They have rate limits which prevent you from tweeting too often, retweeting too aggressively, and creating “following churn”, by rapidly following and unfollowing people. Twitter doesn’t publish these numbers, so I had to figure them out by trial and error. Twitter also limits the total number of people you can follow given a certain number of followers. If you have below a few hundred followers, you cannot follow more than 2000 people. Since a lot of contests required following the original poster, I used a FIFO to make sure I was only following the 2000 most recent contest entries. That gave me long enough to make sure the person I unfollowed had already ended their contest and it kept the follow/unfollow churn rate below the rate limit.

Over the course of nine months, he entered 165,000 contests, winning around 1000. The most valuable prize was a trip to New York Fashion Week, which he did not accept. And his favorite prize was suitably random:

My favorite thing that I won was a cowboy hat autographed by the stars of a Mexican soap opera that I had never heard of. I love it because it really embodies the totally random outcome of these contests.

Eventually, he transformed his bot into one that sought out and retweeted accounts raising money for charity. Read the rest

For the first time, pigs have been filmed using tools

At a zoo in Paris, ecologist Meredith Root-Bernstein noticed a Visayan warty pig pick up a piece of bark in its mouth and then use it to move soil. Over the following years, she and colleagues observed the adults pigs and offspring in the enclosure using bark to build their "nests":

Although the behavior occurred in captivity, there is at least some evidence pigs have used tools in the wild:

It’s very possible that wild Visayans use tools, too, she adds. Fernando “Dino” Gutierrez, president of the Philippine conservation nonprofit Talarak Foundation, Inc., which works to protect warty pigs, agrees.

A few years ago, Gutierrez witnessed a group of wild Visayans pushing rocks toward an electric fence to test it. “As soon as they push and the rocks make contact, they would wait for the clicking sound or absence thereof,” he said by email.

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