And yet I can barely get mine to walk down the stairs. (KumaFilms via Kottke)
And if you're not hip to the fantastic story of the Slinky's invention:
In 1943, Richard James, a naval mechanical engineer stationed at the William Cramp and Sons shipyards in Philadelphia, was developing springs that could support and stabilize sensitive instruments aboard ships in rough seas. James accidentally knocked one of the springs from a shelf, and watched as the spring "stepped" in a series of arcs to a stack of books, to a tabletop, and to the floor, where it re-coiled itself and stood upright. James's wife Betty later recalled, "He came home and said, 'I think if I got the right property of steel and the right tension; I could make it walk.'" James experimented with different types of steel wire over the next year, and finally found a spring that would walk. Betty was dubious at first, but changed her mind after the toy was fine-tuned and neighborhood children expressed an excited interest in it. She dubbed the toy Slinky (meaning "sleek and graceful"), after finding the word in a dictionary, and deciding that the word aptly described the sound of a metal spring expanding and collapsing.
Read the rest
Shu Takada, 20, is the 2017 2A (Two Handed Looping style) World Yo-Yo Champion. He took the title last week at the global tournament in Reykjavic, Iceland.
Read the rest
Ah, that classic party trick! Can you punch a bear trap and withdraw your hand before it closes?
Read the rest
Convenience always carries costs. In the case of e-commerce, the surge in residential deliveries is causing in urban gridlock. Citylab goes out on delivery routes for their interesting report: Read the rest
Every now and then I meet people who seem to possess superhuman powers. Elliott Terral is one of those individuals and his official title is Director of Magic at a company called Art of Magic.
How cool is that?!
After speaking with Elliott for a few minutes, I asked if he was a performing magician to which he didn't answer. Instead, he began patting down his pockets for a deck of cards. I beat him to the punch and handed him my very own deck of Erdnase 1902 Green Acorn Playing Cards. One thing to know about this deck, is that you either own it because you're a genius with a deck of cards, or you're a poser.
And for the record, I am not a genius with a deck of cards.
Elliott took my fancy cards and did the impossible. He showed me a King of Hearts and slowly flexed it back and forth as the card changed from king to an ace and then back again. His movements were slow and it was real magic to everyone that was with me. If you'd like to see the effect performed by the guy who invented it you can watch it here.
And if you'd like to purchase the method, it's only $5.00 but you need to know it isn't a trick you can do just because you bought it. There's a reason an "EXPERT LEVEL" descriptor is attached. But the good news is that there are other effects and concepts on the website that are far more approachable and equally satisfying. Read the rest
I could watch this all day.
Read the rest
Mirko Hanßen puts inline skates on his hands and insanity ensues. (YouTube via Laughing Squid)
Read the rest
This sidewalk sweets vendor in Istanbul loves playing tricks on customers. Watch one of them turn the tables on him.
Some lower-quality eateries are actually passing off 'formed steaks' melded from lower-quality scraps as the real deal. Here's how they do it.
Amazing trick shots by Ziemowit Janaszek. Read the rest
Last weekend, my family had a wonderful meal at Casa de Fruta, an RV resort, motel, candy shop, wine store, gas station, and restaurant in the Pacheco Valley of Northern California. There is also an operational scale model train for the kiddos to ride. The terrific painting at right hangs in the restaurant. I posted it to my Instagram feed and included the full caption of the plaque above it: "Eugene A. Zanger, co-owner of Casa de Fruita, flipped over 3 million cups 1969-1999. Appeared on David Letterman Show 12/23/87. Enjoying retirement." Above is video of Mr. Zanger's appearance on Letterman. Read the rest
ISP throttling YouTube half the time? Proxy IP-blocking tricks not working anymore? Here's the latest incantation to get video running
. [Lifehacker] Read the rest
We've all played one of those arcade "claw" games where a mechanical lobster claw is rigged to let go of prizes. But have you ever played with the prizes being live lobsters?
[The Atlantic] Read the rest
How do they capture slow-motion footage of beer as it sensually swirls in a glass? Where do videos of liquid chocolate splashing in dark ripples come from? Smithsonian has an answer, with a long video about a company that builds the high-speed cameras (and fake stage food) behind the commercials that make you thirsty and hungry
. Read the rest
This morning, NPR brought on Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, of the depressingly small House Civility Caucus, to offer advice on how to defuse the now-traditional Thanksgiving political spat. As you might suspect, given the Civility Caucus' record of success, this was not the world's most helpful interview.
Probably the best bit of advice Congresswoman Capito had was to offer up a distraction when things get too tense. "It may be the perfect time to bring in dessert, she says, or to announce that someone should take the family dog out for a walk."
I've got a better suggestion. Every year, Richard Wiseman releases a set of easy-to-do and highly impressive science stunts that you can perform using things you probably already have around the house.
My suggestion: Combine Capito's awkward segue with Wiseman's awesome tricks. Not only will you actually get your family focused on a new topic, they might even be delighted enough that they decide to ignore the fact that you just passive-aggressived them out of a heated debate. Happy holidays! Read the rest