Everyone these days seems to have one of those fancy programmable pressure cookers known as the Instant Pot (IP). Now I've learned that people are decorating their IP's stainless steel exterior with decorating decals and wraps. In fact, over on Etsy, there are whole shops dedicated to beautifying your IP. One shop, in particular, has a magnetic, easily-removable wrap that will make your IP look like R2-D2. If this is your jam, head over to InstantWraps to get one. They offer them in a variety of IP sizes with prices starting at $11.
(Technabob) Read the rest
Unmute the video below. You need this, in all its glory. Read the rest
Dan Hon (previously at BB) noticed that Star Trek's meetings and conferences always involve military officers, usually occur with ample time for preparation, yet invariably has them just talking to one another. If there are any graphics involved, they are simple, concise and expressive.
This is of course nothing whatsoever like any military on earth or off it. So Hon decided to photoshop what such meetings would actually entail: PowerPoint, and lots of it. Read the rest
The excellent "Then & Now Movie Locations" visited the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley National Park where some of the Tatooine shots were filmed for Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977). It's a beautiful locale but I can understand why Luke would want to be teleported off this rock.
For more shots of terrestrial locations used for Tatooine, here's a 2015 article from The Guardian about the remains of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's homestead in the Sahara desert.
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As you may have noticed, a number of bird species have proven capable of mimicking snippets of sound they overhear, be it a melody, the wail of an ambulance or a dirty phrase taught to them by some drunk fella at a party. But here's the thing: most mammals suck at it. Not so seals. They're able to reproduce the sounds they hear, even if they're outside of their regular vocal range.
In this video, these seals, who were schooled by scientists from the University of St. Andrews, are captured barking out the Star Wars theme song and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It's adorable! It's also a part of some pretty important research that could eventually lead to a greater under standing of speech disorders in humans.
This sort of stuff's beyond me, but Gizmodo's George Dvorsky does a damn fine job of breaking down why the work has the potential to be so important.
“First, knowing how seals use sounds is important to assess how they are affected by noise created by human activities such as shipping or marine construction,” he explained. “This, in turn, will help us to manage wild populations more carefully. Second, studying how vocal learning works in seals and how it might be naturally impaired in some individuals can help to understand vocal development and its limitations in other mammalian learners that use similar structures, such as humans.”
It's a lengthy story, but it's fascinating stuff--if you've got a few minutes to kill, taking a read of it is definitely worth your time. Read the rest
Na-nu, na-nu fellow trekkies! The Kenneth Cobonpue Star Wars Collection features Dark Side-themed chairs and end-tables, a wookie "rocking stool" (hot tip: ask for a sample before you get the whole stool!), and the standout, a powder-coated metal light-saber-battle lamp in two sizes.
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Look closely at that hanging lamp.
Big Star Wars fanatic? Then, these are the furniture pieces you are looking for.
There’s never been a shortage of officially licensed Star Wars furniture on the market; most pieces, however, have been intended for kids’ rooms. But that changed in the fall of 2018, when designer Kenneth Cobonpue launched his own higher-end, higher-design Star Wars furniture collection, initially for sale only in Cobonpue’s native Philippines. Now these pieces are available for the first time in the United States, at select retailers and showrooms in 11 states across the country plus the District of Columbia. (Alas, online ordering is not yet an option.)
$2700 TIE Fighter chairs, anyone?
See the entire collection, which includes a Chewie rocking stool and a Vader armchair, at the Kenneth Cobonpue site.
images via Kenneth Cobonpue
Thanks, Heather! Read the rest
Always check for droids. Read the rest
This 'Star Wars Millennium Falcon approaches the Death Star' sunshade gets me a lot of compliments.
I have found notes under my wiper blades telling me everything from "That's no moon!" to "Let the Wookie win!"
I love this sunshade and it has mostly held up for 4 years. There has been some fading and separation of the plastic layers, but it works just fine to keep the car cool and entertaining.
Plasticolor 003700R01 Star Wars Accordion Sunshade via Amazon Read the rest
While shooting a scene in "Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back," the late Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) talks to Harrison Ford (Han Solo) in his own Cockney English so Ford can respond more naturally. Read the rest
Q: Which website did Chewbacca get arrested for creating? Read the rest
Peter Mayhew, the actor who played Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, died on April 30. Read the rest
100 photos from the Chicago mega-convention
In this wonderful video, Ben Burtt, sound designer for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, reveals the secrets behind the fantastic zaps, beeps, and growls in that first film in the series. His first task was to figure out Chewbacca's voice that, ultimately, came from a pet bear on a farm in Tehachapi, California.
Also, I distinctly remember when I was a kid hearing for the first time that Burt discovered the blaster sound during a hike when he accidentally banged his backpack on a guy-wire anchoring a radio tower. After I learned that, I hammered on any guy-wire I came across for at least a week.
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Thrawn begins the backstory of Grand Admiral Thrawn, perhaps the most fearsome non-Force user in the Empire.
Timothy Zahn's Heir the the Empire series introduced Grand Admiral Thrawn. The blue-skinned, red-eyed, master of strategy and tactics inspired decades of speculation and debate.
Then Star Wars Rebels re-introduced Grand Admiral Thrawn as the super villain intended to crush the nascent Rebellion. I was thrilled. Sadly, Thrawn was kind of a doofus and not nearly as tough for the Rebels to get around as I'd hoped.
That said, Thrawn was still fascinating. A blue-skinned non-human who appears a peer with Darth Vader? I wanted to know more and luckily Timothy Zahn was brought back to flesh out the story.
Marooned on a deserted planet for simply suggesting a non-standard approach to solving his people's problems, Thrawn is discovered by the Empire. The blue-skinned alien who outwits dozens of Imperial Troopers is taken to Coruscant to meet the Emperor and enlisted to help subdue the dangers of the Outer-Rim.
This adventure is a fantastic story, but learning Thrawn's motivations and backstory have set me down the path of reading the entire trilogy.
Thrawn (Star Wars) by Timothy Zahn via Amazon Read the rest