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Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Best Beards & Moustaches in the World

[AH! So amazingly inspiring! -egg]

The Best Beards & Moustaches in the World: "

Official Wondermark beard correspondent Pat Race writes in to share this stirring highlight video his team shot at the 2009 World Beard & Moustache Championships in Anchorage, Alaska. If you would like to see three minutes of amazing beard after amazing beard after amazing moustache after amazing moustache, are you ever in luck.

He’s also got a longer video account of his and his cohorts’ trip to the WBMC up at his blog. Thanks for sharing, Pat!

#677, Much musing about Pumpkin

#677, Much musing about Pumpkin: "

Do you even know what a metaphor is


Friday, November 26, 2010

Brick-road-laying machine

Brick-road-laying machine: "

Tiger-Stone makes this enormous, unlikely and quite marvellous road-laying machine that semi-automatically sets down neat sets of interlocking bricks, ready to be sealed with a light dusting of sand.

The machine consists of an angled plain that workers feed with paving stones or bricks. As the electric crawler inches forward along a sand base layer, the bricks are automatically packed together by gravity. A small telescoping forklift feeds the hopper, allowing the Tiger-Stone to lay out an impressive 400 meters of road day, and the span can be adjusted up to six meters wide. Here's a stereophonic video of the machine in action.

Amazing Brick Machine Rolls Out Roads Like Carpet

(Thanks, Mark!)


Housecat attacks alligator

Housecat attacks alligator: "

A tourist visiting a Florida Louisiana tourist dump caught this intense scuffle between a cat and an alligator at a swamp. To see who won, click the play button above, where arketron's rare and excellent video can be viewed. 'Housecat Attacks alligator'


Misprinted prefab houses

Misprinted prefab houses: "

These weird, blobular forms (orignally featured in the Swiss magazine Hochparterre) are misprinted houses generated by automated prefab concrete machines: 'Based on iconic housing shapes, these buildings were intended as prototypes for mass-customization. Yet, as things go with computerized manufacturing, there have been misplots. The cartridge was not loaded properly. The concrete was set to the wrong parameters or scale. The printer module falsely translated a data set...

These misprints are the rejects of this early process, and they are now being used as shared homes by elderly people from the former squatter scene.'

Concrete Misplots

(via BLDGBlog)


Amazing street freestyle bicycling

[Wow and a half. Most amazing freestyle biking I've ever seen, by far. -e]

Amazing street freestyle bicycling: "

Bike trials is a form of mountain biking where the rider attempts to go over an intense obstacle course without putting her feet on the ground. Scottish cyclist Danny MacAskill is a master at street trials. In this demo video, he rides around Scotland's Edinburgh Castle, bunkers on the island of Inchgarvie, and a power station in the Scottish Highlands. (Thanks, Sean Ness!)


Thursday, November 25, 2010

The best scientific theories (that later turned out to be wrong)

The best scientific theories (that later turned out to be wrong): "4039789138_82035be33f_z.jpg

Science can contradict itself. And that's OK. It's a fundamental part of how research works. But from what I've seen, it's also one of the hardest parts for the general public to understand. When an old theory dies, it's not because scientists have lied to us and can't be trusted. In fact, exactly the opposite. Those little deaths are casualties of the process of fumbling our way towards Truth*.

Of course, even after the pulse has stopped, the dead can be pretty interesting. Granted, I'm biased. I like dead things enough to have earned a university degree in the sort of anthropology that revolves around exactly that. But I'm not alone. A recent article at the Edge Foundation website asked a broad swath of scientists and thinkers to name their favorite long-held theory, which later turned out to be dead wrong. The responses turn up all sorts of fascinating mistakes of science history—from the supposed stupidity of birds, to the idea that certain, separate parts of the brain controlled nothing but motor and visual skills.

One of my favorites: The idea that complex, urban societies didn't exist in Pre-Columbian Costa Rica, and other areas south of the Maya heartland. In reality, the cities were always there. I took you on a tour of one last January. It's just that the people who lived there built with wood and thatch, rather than stone. The bulk of the structures decayed over time, and what was left was easy to miss, if you were narrowly focused on looking for giant pyramids.

What's your favorite dead theory?

The Edge: Wrong Scientific Beliefs That Were Held for Long Periods of Time

*Likewise, just because some ideas have turned out to be wrong doesn't mean it's safe to assume all the scientific truths we hold today will be disproved somewhere down the line.

We've spent several hundred years now carefully collecting data about our lives, our planet, and the wider Universe. But we don't have all the information. Sometimes, new research comes in and confirms our previous picture of reality, and sometimes it doesn't. It's not random. It's often easy to see how facts are stacking up and get a good idea of likely reality even when you don't yet have all the pieces perfectly in place. But the point is: You can't generalize.

Image: The cover of Laurie Anderson's 1982 album Big Science, as photographed by kevindooley. Some rights reserved.


Glass globe doorknob is a whole-room fisheye for the other side of the door

Glass globe doorknob is a whole-room fisheye for the other side of the door: "

Hideyuki Nakayama's glass globe doorknob refracts the scene on the other side of the door in its depths, giving you a preview of what's going on in the next room before you turn the knob.

A Room in the Glass Globe by Hideyuki Nakayama

(via Make!)


Happy Turkey Day, from the angriest, most savage toddler in the world

Happy Turkey Day, from the angriest, most savage toddler in the world: "

Nothing says Thanksgiving like a bloodthirsty, masked toddler holding a huge, lethal cleaver.

(via @JSCarroll)


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Crumple-friendly maps printed on fabric

Crumple-friendly maps printed on fabric: "

Crumpled City maps are printed on a lightweight fabric that can be squished into a tiny bag, obviating the need for fiddly, tricky map-folding-wrestling while you're trying to get where you're going. Designed by Emanuele Pizzolorusso, released by Palomar of Florence.


(Thanks, Emanuele!)


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dancing with Invisible Light: portraits shot with Kinect's infrared structured light

Dancing with Invisible Light: portraits shot with Kinect's infrared structured light: "5197397707_fd7694356a_o.jpg

Shown here, images from Audrey Penven's photography series 'Dancing with Invisible Light: A series of interactions with Kinect's infrared structured light.' From her description of the project:


With these images I was exploring the unique photographic possibilities presented by using a Microsoft Kinect as a light source. The Kinect - an inexpensive videogame peripheral - projects a pattern of infrared dots known as 'structured light'. Invisible to the eye, this pattern can be captured using an infrared camera.

The Kinect uses the deformation of this dot pattern to derive 3D information about its subjects (an ability which has already spawned an explosion of incredible digital art).

As a photographer I am most interested in the nature and quality of light: how light behaves in the physical world, and how it interacts with and affects the subjects that it illuminates. For this shoot my models and I were essentially working blind, with the results visible only after each image was captured. Together, we explored the unique physicality of structured light, finding our way in the darkness by touch and intuition. Dancing with invisible light.

View the full set here (prude alert: contains both portraits and nudes). To purchase a print, contact the photographer at 11x14 for $60, 16 x 20 for $120.

Dig the crazy lens flares the Kinect light creates in the shot below!


Related coolness at


Models: qtrnevermore, C. King, Mike Estee, Sloane Soleil, Helyx, Star St. Germain, Ian Baker, Annetta Black, Josh St. John.

Assistants: Aaron Muszalski, Ian Baker, Mike Estee

An earlier photo set is also online here.

(Thanks, sfslim!)