Put an inexpensive gel refill in your fancy Fisher Space Pen

I've used the same fountain pen and Fisher Space Pen for years: I used to constantly lose disposable pens, costing me scads of money every year. The two refillable pens I own now cost enough that I'm always a little paranoid about their whereabouts, so I've yet to lose them. Filling the fountain pen costs pennies. To snag a refill for my Space Pen up in Canada, I can expect to spend around eight bucks, plus shipping. That's 12 different kinds of BS.

Earlier today, I ran across this video. After watching it, I picked up the Zebra refills at Office Depot. It worked!

With my ink budget sorted out, I can spend more money on fancy paper. Read the rest

Parents pull the plug on kids playing Fortnite in latest Jimmy Kimmel prank

Jimmy Kimmel can be kind of a dick. You may remember that he's had parents lie to their kids, saying that they stole and ate all their Halloween candy -- all caught on camera, of course. That gag's been running for a few years now. Well, he's got a new prank. This time he's got parents unplugging the TV when their kids are playing the video game Fortnite. As you'll see, like with the "missing" candy bit, the kids don't take too kindly to it. Read the rest

The Bleeding Edge: a terrifying, enraging look at the corrupt, deadly world of medical implants

Prior to 1976, the FDA did not regulate medical implants, and so shoddy and even deadly devices proliferated, inserted into Americans' body. Read the rest

Starrkeisha’s Christmas Carols, an insanely great Holiday music video

This is my new favorite holiday video, forever. Read the rest

A baboon-proof garbage can can't keep a honey badger from its late night snack

No one bothered to tell this honey badger that the garbage can it's digging was designed to be baboon-proof. Not that it would matter: A honey badger isn't a baboon. In just a few minutes, it manages to yoink out a brag-worthy late night feast. Read the rest

Fantastic film of Paris in the late 1890s

This late 1890s Lumière film of Paris is amazing. The image is clear and the motion is smooth. Sound was added, which makes the film come alive (I wish they would have colorized it, too). No cars in sight - just horse-drawn carriages, pedestrians, and the rare bicycle (why not more bikes?). People are dressed in elaborate outfits - how long did it take them to dress up in the morning? The horse-drawn fire trucks at 3:35 are a highlight. Read the rest

The incredible story of Susan Potter, the "immortal corpse"

In the year 2,000, Susan Potter, then 72, donated her body to medicine. After Potter died, scientists froze her corpse, sliced it into 27,000 slivers thinner than a human hair, photographed each slice, and created "the world’s most advanced virtual cadaver using the highest-quality imagery of an entire human body in existence." Not only is the virtual cadaver an incredible accomplishment but so is National Geographic's story about Potter and the lead researcher, Dr. Vic Spitzer Ph.D., director of the Center for Human Simulation at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Why? Because National Geographic followed this incredible story of the Visible Human Project for almost two decades, from before Potter died through the completion of the simulation. Watch the documentary above. From National Geographic:

Are you interested in working with us before you die? (Spitzer) finally asked (Potter). Are you interested in giving us more than just your body—in giving us your personality and knowledge?

Spitzer wanted to videotape her while she was living and record her talking about her life, her health, her medical history. Your pathology isn’t that interesting to the project, Spitzer told Potter. But if I could capture you talking to medical students, when they’re looking at slices of your body, you could tell them about your spine—why you didn’t want the surgery, what kind of pain the surgery caused, and what kind of life you led after the surgery. That would be fascinating.

“They’ll see her body while they’re hearing her stories,” he explained, adding that video and audio of her would make her more real and introduce the element of emotion to students.

Read the rest

Watch a child magically materialize in the background of this BBC News clip

In this BBC News clip, a child seems to materialize just behind the woman speaking. WTF. Unfortunately this isn't likely a fun glitch in our simulated reality but rather something with much more insidious potential. From WAXY:

If you watch the woman’s face at the same time the boy appears, you can see her expression morph into a smile.

This technique is known as a Morph Cut, a feature added to Adobe Premiere Pro in 2015, intended to smooth transitions in interview footage, removing unwanted pauses, stutters, and filler words (“like,” “um,” and “uh”) without hard splices and cuts.

The results, when used appropriately in interview footage without a changing background, can be nearly seamless.

It’s likely that BBC News used a morph cut in the clip above to tighten up the interview without changing its meaning. But it’s also ripe for abuse and fully capable of altering the meaning of an interview, and in many cases, undetectable.

Another demonstration of the technology:

Read the rest

The story behind The Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York'

One story pegs Elvis Costello as the original impetus for The Pogues' Fairytale of New York. Another points to the band's manager. Either way, it took Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan two years to write the now-classic anti-Christmas Christmas song. The story behind it is an interesting one. This Polyphonic video tells it.

(Nag on the Lake, Open Culture) Read the rest

Crowdfund campaign for a 500-kilometer walk across rural Japan

In January 2019, Peter Orosz plans to live broadcast his snowy trek across the Japanese island of Shikoku. He will also produce a printed field report.

The story is that last year I walked 2,700 miles from one end of Japan to the other, and now I will go back to walk the most interesting 300 miles in the winter, then write and print a large format Field Report about it. You will also be able to follow it live on YouTube and Instagram.

It costs $45 to support the expedition, for which you get a copy of the Field Report, an extra $20 will get your name in it as a Patron, and there’s also some cool hand-crafted stuff from my collaborators: a watercolor map, a book of essays on Japan by Alan Booth, an indigo-dyed towel. It’s shipping worldwide in Spring 2019.

Read the rest

Make this scale model of the Dr. Nim digital game

Dr Nim is a plastic, gravity powered computer from the 1960s that plays the game, Nim, against a human player. Recently Michael Gardi made a 3D scale model of Dr Nim, which you can download and print on a 3D printer.

The Amazing Dr. Nim is a toy invented by John Thomas Godfrey and manufactured by Education Science Research (E.S.R., Inc.) in the mid-1960s. It consists of a marble-powered plastic computer capable of playing the game of Nim. The machine selects its moves through the action of the marbles falling through the levers of the machine.

The "game board" is a based on the mechanical Digi-Comp II digital computer (also a Godfrey creation). It has memory switches that hold bits of data. The unit is programmed by lobed levers that affect and are affected by marbles that are released from the top of the game. Three of the levers set the start position. The fourth lever is the 'equalizer' option; if set, the player can win if they play perfectly. The last lever is used to indicate who's turn it is, the human or Dr. Nim's.

Game play is described in the manual that was bundled with the game and can be found here:

The Amazing Dr. Nim Manual

There are many good online references for the game. The following video is especially informative and entertaining:

The Unbeatable Game from the 60s: Dr NIM

And this article speaks to the relevance of a game like Dr. Nim in today's digital world:

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories - Dr.

Read the rest

New music video by Dominque Pruitt: "High In The Valley"

Six ago I posted singer Dominique Pruitt's first music video, "To Win Your Love." Since then, she's released a number of country-inspired tunes and I like them all. Her latest is "High In The Valley." Read the rest

All Is True could make for a great superhero movie detox

If you can't stand the thought of sitting through another superhero movie, All Is True looks like a fabulous alternative option.

With a stellar cast that includes Dame Judy Dench, Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Kenneth Branagh (who also directs the flick), All Is True is a story about the life of William Shakespeare, his family and hangers-on, after he steps back from his life as a writer. Read the rest

Touching video tribute to Burning Man founder Larry Harvey

After Burning Man founder Larry Harvey died in April of this year, a special storytelling event was held in his honor a few months later at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. I attended "The Man With the Hat" event and can attest that it was a lovely, heartfelt evening. Of note, his brother Stewart and nephew Bryan shared their stories set to a backdrop of personal photos from Larry's childhood in Nebraska and from his early "bohemian scene" (pre-Burning Man) days in San Francisco. It was a delight to see them then, as it is now in this lovely video tribute of Larry that was created and gifted to the community by the Profiles in Dust group.

Screenshot via YouTube Read the rest

Money spills out of Brink's truck on highway, causing cars to crash as people stop to grab the cash

Cash came pouring out of an armored Brink's truck this morning in New Jersey, causing much excitement and chaos – including car crashes – on the morning drive.

Apparently, the back door of the truck wasn't working properly and opened during the drive.

According to NBC:

Police said they received a call about 8:30 a.m. ET about an armored truck spilling cash along Route 3 West in East Rutherford.

Several drivers got out of their cars and attempted to grab cash off the road, causing two separate motor vehicle crashes, police said. But at least one person tried to help the Brink's driver, who was seen on video posted to social media running through traffic trying to collect the scattering cash.

Here's another video from someone who risks her life on the highway to grab (steal) some cash before taking off.

Read the rest

Favorite 2018 tool finds under $10

Here are Cool Tools' favorite sub-$10 tools for 2008:

CANARY Corrugated Cardboard Cutter

Makita Impact Gold Ultra-Magnetic Torsion Insert Bit Holder

Pacer Technology (Zap) Flexy-Tips

Komelon Speed Mark Gripper

3M Virtua CCS Protective Eyewear w/ earplugs

Engineer SS-02 Solder Sucker

Favorite Tool Finds Under $10 (2017 Edition) Read the rest

The strange and complex world of flame-effect LED bulbs

To my delight and awe, I have discovered a whole, new-to-me universe of "realistic flame" effect LED lightbulbs, which produce the illusion that you have a goblet of raging flame sticking out of your lightsocket: the bulbs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes (and can also be had in fanciful colors, for about $6-8/bulb (via Red Ferret) Read the rest

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