You've probably been using your can opener the wrong way

I feel like such a chump. Several years ago, I hadn't planned on buying anything at a Tupperware party that I had agreed to take place in my home (yes, they still exist). But then the hostess told us about this special black-and-white can opener that was available. It didn't cut the top of the can, it popped it up leaving no sharp edges. Well, I immediately imagined all the fake products** I could make with those now-reusable empty cans and bought it for $35. Cut to today: this video shows that any old ordinary can opener can essentially do this same thing by using it horizontally! Ok, to be fair, I haven't tried this new method (mainly because I no longer have ordinary can openers). It could be that it leaves sharp edges but I don't think so. I think my life has been a lie.

**On my website, there's an example of one of my empty can pieces. It's called "Mermaid in a Can."

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The climate change generation gap

October 2012 was the 332nd month in a row with a global average temperature that is higher than the 20th-century average. Put it another way: If you are younger than 28, then you have never experienced a colder-than-average month. In your entire life. (Via Chris Tackett) Read the rest

The world's first audio recording is creepy, not made by Edison

At the French site Anecdote du Jour you can listen to the world's first audio recordings, made in 1859 and 1860 by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville. The recordings, one of a tuning fork being struck and two of de Martinville singing, are scratchy and thoroughly eerie. All the more so because de Martinville himself never heard them. In fact, nobody heard them until 2008.

The reason we credit Edison with the invention of recorded audio and not de Martinville is that de Martinville failed to invent a way to play back his recordings.

De Martinville's phonautograph turned sound waves into 2-dimensional squiggles on soot-blackened paper or glass. It was meant to be a lab instrument, to help study acoustics, not a method of recording and playing back sound. Apparently, several decades passed before anybody even realized the sounds could, theoretically, be played back.

Via Greg Gbur

Image: One of de Martinville's phonautograms. A recording of a tuning fork made in 1859.

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