"Whale Hello" magnet

This essential purchase is only a dollar, but you have to pay shipping: a 1.25" magnet featuring a suave cartoon whale saying "WHALE HELLO." (Amazon) Best buy a dozen, then, just to be sure. We've been arguing all day about whether this is better than the "snailed it" magnet, and, frankly, things are getting kind of heated.

Read the rest

Optical illusion tights and swim shorts give you the junk of Michaelangelo's David

The yoga pants are $42, and the swim shorts are $45; either one will turn you into a Renaissance hunk. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Old NASA computers and space probe data tapes found in dead engineer's basement

A scrap dealer cleaning out a deceased engineer's basement in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania found two massive 1960s computers, magnetic tape data storage systems, and hundreds of tape reels, all of which was marked as the property of NASA. The scrap dealer called NASA to report what he found and the agency's Office of the Inspector General investigated. It turns out that the fellow was an IBM engineer who worked for NASA in the early 1970s and was given permission to save the stuff as it was being discarded. One space agency's trash is another maker's treasure... From Ars Technica:

"Please tell NASA these items were not stolen," the engineer's heir told the scrap dealer, according to the (Office of Insepctor General's) report. "They belonged to IBM Allegheny Center Pittsburgh, PA 15212. During the 1968-1972 timeframe, IBM was getting rid of the items so [redacted engineer] asked if he could have them and was told he could have them...."

NASA investigators picked up the 325 magnetic data tape reels on December 8, 2015. The cassettes measured 14 inches in diameter and were filled with half-inch magnetic tape. The tapes "were in poor condition and almost all were affected by moderate to severe mould."

Most of the tapes were not labelled, but "of the tapes that were labelled, the content appeared to be space science related with missions including Pioneer and Helios and the inclusive date range was 1967-1974."

NASA told the family of the deceased that it was not in the junk removal business.

Read the rest

Interactive map of every satellite in orbit

David Yanofsky and Tim Fernholz created an interactive chart showing the weight, national origin and position of more than 1,300 active satellites orbiting the planet Earth. The data was sourced from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

It goes out in bands: there's a cloud in low-earth orbit bulked up with the International Sapce Station and surveillance satellites. Satellite phone networks such as Iridium and Globalstar form conspicuous rings about 800 and 1500 km up. 20km up are the navigation networks GPS and Glonass. 37km up is a mess, with so many geostationary satellites clustered together that they become a rainbow blur in the graphic. Read the rest

Hear William S. Burroughs read the most depraved bits of Naked Lunch atop beautiful music

Let Me Hang You is a collection of unreleased recordings of William S. Burroughs reading Naked Lunch accompanied by lovely and trippy music from psych-garage-soul player King Khan, experimental guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Wayne Horvitz, violinist Eyvind Kang, and other guests. Listen below! The album will be released on Friday (7/15) from Khannibalism/Ernest Jenning Record Co. From the album announcement:

Twenty years ago, William S. Burroughs was asked to record an audio version of his favorite parts of Naked Lunch. Longtime associates and producers Hal Willner and James Grauerholz produced several sessions, and they recruited a team of world class musicians to help. Famed for their Naked City involvement, Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz contributed their genius, as well as Eyvind Kang, just to name a few. The recordings were then abandoned and collecting dust on a musty shelf, as forgotten as a piece of rancid ectoplasm on a peepshow floor.

In 2015, Hal Willner decided to reopen this unfinished masterpiece and asked help from King Khan (a musician that he and Lou Reed admired and became fast friends with). Hal sent Khan all of the recordings and asked him to add his gris gris to this extremely perverted gumbo... and history was made and the scum began to rise!

King Khan recruited M Lamar, the creator of the "Negrogothic" movement and the identical twin brother of transgender actress Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), and The Frowning Clouds, a band of young Australian boys who have mastered the sixties garage punk sound...

Read the rest