Aug 30, 2010

Meticulously Crafted Lightsaber

Bradley W. Wilson builds excellent replicas of lightsabers. He also provides exhaustively detailed instructions on how you can, too, along with large, high-resolution photographs showing the process step by step. If you’ve ever wanted to make your own lightsaber, this is the place to start.

Crocodile Cage of Death

Old and busted: Shark Cage
The new hotness: Croc Cage

Here’s a new tourist attraction: The Cage of Death over at the Crocosaurus Cove park in Darwin, Australia.

Fearless participants climb into the clear container – nicknamed the Cage of Death – which is suspended on a monorail track that runs above four crocodile enclosures. Two grated doors lock into position on the top of the 10ft tall box which is then lowered into the water and comes to rest 2ft beneath the surface.

To ensure that the paying customers get their money’s worth, chunks of meat are tied to the bottom of the cage. The crocodiles instantly drawn to it when it enters the water. The results vary from the crocs ‘eye-balling’ the swimmer, rubbing against the cage or going into a full on ‘aggressive attack’ against it.

Ladder Racing

Participants run with ladders toward a wall, climb up one segment, hook the ladders on a higher segment, and repeat the process. It certainly appears to be physically demanding.

Star Wars Explosion More Realistic Than Star Trek Explosion

On the left, you can see the destruction of Praxis, the moon of the Klingon homeworld. It blows up in the beginning of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. On the right, you can see the end Death Star from the 1997 re-release Star Wars: A New Hope. One astronomer, Phil Plait, argues that the rings appearing in both explosions show a poor understanding of physics, but the one appearing in Star Wars is somewhat more plausible.

In his 2002 book Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions And Misuses Revealed, From Astrology To The Moon Landing ‘Hoax’, Plait casts doubt on the verisimilitude of Industrial Light And Magic’s seminal CGI effect depicting the explosion of the Klingon moon Praxis in Undiscovered Country. Since explosions in space tend toward a spherical shape unless impeded, Plait concludes that the blast pattern resulting from the explosion of the Klingon mining operation has no credible reason to resolve into a ring form, even if everyone thinks the effect is far cooler here than in 1997’s revised New Hope.

Conversely, the surface integrity of the Death Star hull is interrupted by a perfect ring in the form of the gargantuan maintenance trench which encircles it, meaning that at this point of interrupted stress, a growing explosion would find the least resistance. This makes the highly criticised ‘ring effect’ far more plausible in New Hope (v2.0) than its predecessor in Star Trek VI.

Dumb and Dumber: Inception Style

 Add Hans Zimmer’s music for Inception and you can turn any movie into a cool trailer. Take, for instance, Jim Carrey’s Dumb & Dumber. Andrew Fischer of Nurv turned the silly comedy into an adrenaline-packed thriller:

Aug 27, 2010

Oregon Trail Cake

Jackie was moving away to Oregon. So her cousin, reddit user thetwaddler, made this cake in reference to the classic computer game The Oregon Trail:

Aug 26, 2010

Scientists Discover Tiny Frogs

Scientists have discovered a frog the size of a pea, the smallest found in Asia, Africa or Europe, on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo. Adult males of the new micro-species range in size from 10.6 and 12.8 millimetres and the pea-sized amphibian has been named Microhyla nepenthicola after the plant on Borneo on which it lives, according to taxonomy magazine Zootaxa.

Dr Indraneil Das of the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak said the sub-species had originally been mis-identified in museums. "Scientists presumably thought they were juveniles of other species, but it turns out they are adults of this newly-discovered micro species," he said.

Das published the paper with Alexander Haas of the Biozentrum Grindel und Zoologisches Museum of Hamburg, Germany. The mini frogs were found on the edge of a road leading to the summit of the Gunung Serapi mountain in the Kubah National Park in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The scientists said they tracked the frogs by their call, a series of "harsh rasping notes" that started at sundown. They then made the frogs jump onto a piece of white cloth to study them.

The find was part of a global search being undertaken by Conservation International and International Union for Conservation of Nature's Amphibian Specialist Group to "rediscover" 100 species of lost amphibians.

Vader Rules the Galaxy and the Dance Floor

These are from Disney's Hollywood Studios during Star Wars Weekends:

U Can't Touch This:


Aug 25, 2010

Trees Dead for 900 Years Still Standing

Trees in a desert is an unusual enough sight but there is always the occasional oasis. Sometimes, though, the water dries up completely and given the right conditions, reminders of life can be left behing. It is estimated that these acacia trees have been dead for more than nine hundred years.
It is little wonder that Deadvlei, a clay pan in the Namib-Naukfluft Park in Namibia attracts many photographers willing to risk the arduous journey in order to capture its intense beauty. Deadvlei derives its name from two languages. Self evidently, the first syllable works as an adjective and one that is instantly recognizable to any English speaker. The second, vlei, means lake or marsh in Afrikaans. The clay pan does give the impression of a lake – and that its trees are quite dead beyond argument. They last lived when William the Conqueror invaded England.
The pan was formed when the nearby Tsauchab River flooded. This created pools and allowed the acacia and camel thorn trees to grow and flourish. Then, nine hundred years ago, the climate changed and the area was h it by drought. The sand dunes encroached on the pan, effectively cutting off the trees from the river.
What happened next is something quite amazing. The trees did not, as you might expect, become petrified which is where the organic materials of a tree are slowly replaced by minerals. Rather, the sun scorched the trees, rendering them as black as charcoal. The dryness of the area was such that the wood could not decompose because it was so dry. The trees of Deadvlei are desiccated rather than petrified.
Deadvlei is situated near the more famous salt pan of Sossusvlei, the name of which spookily translates in to the place of no return. It also happens to be surrounded by the biggest sand dunes in the world, the largest of which is known as Big Daddy.  These dunes have no doubt contributed to the conditions needed to preserve the trees in their dried out state, a scorched testament to their own destruction.

Super Mario Xylophone

New Glass Could Save Millions (of Birds)

Ornilux, a new type of glass made by the German company Arnold Glas, has an ultraviolet coating that birds can see (but humans can’t) under normal conditions.
The glass was developed in conjuction with the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, which tested Ornilux on Central European garden birds and found they recognize it better than ordinary glass. The coating reduces bird strikes by an estimated 75 percent, is more effective than stickers and also helps insulate a building, Arnold Glas says.

Private Company Will Launch A Person Into Space...Soon

Over the last 18 months, Copenhagen Suborbitals has led a team of volunteers in creating the HEAT1X rocket and the micro spacecraft it will launch, the Tycho Brahe-1.

Tycho Brahe-1 will carry one human passenger, in a half-seated position, into space and back down again. The seat is designed to minimize strain on the passenger’s spine. Whoever is on board will also have to wear a pressure suit, like those worn by fighter pilots, to make sure they don’t pass out.

At the top of the module is a see-through polymer plexiglass dome, giving the astronaut a once-in-a-lifetime view of the journey. It’s planned that the spacecraft will travel in an arc, jettisoning the rocket about halfway up and eventually peaking more than 100km above the Earth before coming down.

After it re-enters the atmosphere, parachutes will be deployed to slow it before it hits the water.

What Color is Chewbacca's Fur?

Ever wonder what the color of Chewbacca’s fur is? It’s pink, according to this JC Penny listing for a ladies top:

Aug 24, 2010

Hello Kitty Crossovers

Joseph Senior photoshopped Hello Kitty into a variety of pop culture crossovers in his series titled "Hello Kitty Model Kit".

These are all pretty cool, but you can’t beat the Darth Kitty with a ribbon bow helmet! Check out the gallery on ToysREvil for more cool renders. Here's some more examples of the Star Wars theme:

Gong Golf

Forget the greens! The action in this little friendly golfing competition is on the lake.

Challenge: Could David Howell, Paul McGinley, Marcel Siem or Rhys Davies skim a ball 200 yards across a lake and hit a 9 inch gong?

Answer: Yes! (It'd be a pretty boring video if they couldn't...)

Star Wars MIMOBOT USB Flash Drives

Just landed at the NeatoShop from a galaxy far, far away are the Star Wars MIMOBOT USB Flash Drives. From Darth Vader to Darth Maul, Yoda to Wampa, there are no cooler protectors of you digital data than these Star Wars licensed drives:

The drives sell for $29.95, hold 2GB of data and are available in many different characters - here are some of my favorites:

Aug 23, 2010

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren Divorce...In PANAMA CITY!!

Tiger Woods and his wife Elin Nordegren Woods were officially divorced at the Bay County Circuit Court House shortly after noon Monday. The question most people are asking tonight is "why Bay County?"

Bay County Courthouse officials say the couple showed up for a hearing room at the Bay County juvenile justice courthouse on East 11th Street with their lawyers to file divorce papers. Usually this takes 20 days to become final, but immediately after filing the Woods' then went to the main courthouse on 4th Street, where Circuit Judge Judy Pittman Biebel expedited the case.

"This afternoon Elin and Tiger Woods came into the courthouse and filed their petition of dissolution of marriage to get there started for divorce (?) and they went up to the judge's office and the final judgment was signed, so they are officially divorced," said Bill Kinsaul, Bay Clerk of Courts.

The court papers do not give any details about the monetary settlement, but it has been widely reported Elin will receive $100 million. The couple are to have joint custody of their two children.

Elin's lawyers released a statement on behalf of the couple saying they are sad their marriage is over and wish each other the very best for the future. It goes on to say the happiness of their two children will be of paramount importance to them. And, once again, they're asking for privacy - and that may have something to do with the reason they filed for divorce here in Bay County.

"There has been speculation on why they came to Bay County. We think they were trying to get in and out an keep it quiet and not get much media attention," said Kinsaul.

Officials say the couple will not have to return to Bay County to file anymore paperwork and that this marriage is officially over.

Life-Size LEGO Car

Aug 22, 2010

Seedy Birdhouses

These beautiful avian abodes are a collaborative effort by San Francisco artists Luke Bartels & Jeff Canham. Combining immaculate craftsmanship with a wry sense of humor, these amazing objects present a whole village of bird houses, or rather bird businesses:

Aug 21, 2010

If Facebook Had Existed...

The Senator

A tree 3500 years old - sounds like something out of a J.R.R. Tolkien novel. 'The Senator' is a Bald Cypress situated at Big Tree Park in Longwood, Florida. For years, travelers have flocked to the tree - jumping log to log in the swamps to catch a glimpse of this world wonder.

The Senator measures close to 18 feet in diameter and stands 118 feet high. The Senator’s age is estimated between 3,400-3,500 years old, making it the fifth oldest tree in the world.

Burger King's New Pizza Burger

The New York Pizza Burger ($12.99) is a 9-and-a-half-inch wide burger made with four Whopper patties topped with pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce, and Tuscan pesto sauce.

Apparently, it tastes kinda like pizza, but also like a burger. (Go figure!) The sharable NY Pizza Burger is a Times Square New York Whopper Bar exclusive and doesn’t come out until September. It looks to be an attraction not only for tourists, but also for locals who love crazy ideas like donut burgers and Double Downs. It’s not quite as wacky, but still fun …I just don’t know how they lay four Whopper patties on it and cut it into six slices without noticeable meatless gaps!

Neptune to Complete Its First Orbit Since Discovery in 1846

In 1821, French astronomer Alexis Bouvard reasoned that the eccentricities in the orbit of Uranus might be caused by the gravitational pull of a nearby planet. 45 years later, that planet, Neptune, was directly observed for the first time. Because it takes 146 years for Neptune to complete one orbit of the Sun, its orbit has until now not been fully observed.

Uranus, a planet discovered by Herschel in 1781 — approximately 10 AU closer to the sun than Neptune — completed its first orbit after discovery in the year 1865 (it completes one orbit of the sun every 84 years). And Pluto, the newly designated dwarf planet discovered by U.S. astronomer Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 — approximately 10 AU further away from the sun than Neptune — won’t complete its first orbit for another 168 years. We’ll have to wait until 2178 to see Pluto complete its first 248 year orbit around the sun.

Human vs Rat: The Maze Challenge

Who can negotiate a maze faster, a human or a rat? Another round of lunacy from Tom Scott.

Horse Boy on Google Street View

There's some strange stuff in Google Street View, but this one has an air of mystery: what exactly is that man in Aberdeen, Scotland, doing?
The strange figure with a horse’s head, purple shirt and black jeans can be seen watching the Google camera car drive past as it traveled down Hardgate in Aberdeen. It was spotted by Twitter user Russell Moffat, who told his four hundred and sixty followers about the unlikely passer-by. The story was quickly picked up by media around the world.
 "It’s all gone a bit mental," Mr Moffatt told his followers. Despite appeals to reveal their identity, no one has come forward to admit they were the man (or woman) behind the mask.

ATMs in Antarctica?

Wells Fargo has confirmed that there are two ATMs at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. David Parker said they were installed around the year 2000 and are largely maintained by the staff because Wells Fargo can only visit once every two years. The ATMs are wheelchair accessible, and open 24 hours (for your convenience).

What's For Lunch?

"Where should we go for lunch?" If you’ve ever had to ask this simple question to a group of indecisive co-workers, then you know how frustrating it can be.

Well, no more! With this handy What’s For Lunch? Decision Spinner, you can get rid of the stress of deciding. Just leave lunch to the fickle hand of fate!

Aug 20, 2010

The OOoo Chair

Old and busted: sitting on the floor
The new hotness: sitting on a hole in the floor!
The OOoo chair is the brainchild of the design firm Decker Yeadon. It’s basically a set of holes in the floor where you can slip your legs into and, well, sit down:

You can easily make your own OOoo Chair if you have a wooden floor and a basement. The OOoo Chair, you see, is accomplished by drilling O-holes in your floor, so if you live in an apartment the OOoo Chair would likely be intrusive to your downstairs neighbor.

Taking A Bite Out of Apple

Etsy seller apjam made this clever albeit unauthorized Homer Simpson sticker for your Apple iPhone.
The next time your iPhone G4 drops a call, don’t blame AntennaGate – it’s probably Homer nom-nom-nomming the connection. Or it could be an evil spell:

Double Rainbow!!

Ever since Paul "Yosemite Bear" Vasquez launched the viral Internet meme, double rainbow has become the web’s gold standard for awesomeness.

 Here's the YouTube video that inspired it all: 

Flash Theater

One cold rainy day, Dan and Will decided to cheer people up with nothing but old socks and their cunning use of theater. Behold, the Flash Theater and its clever use of moar puppets:

Vintage Dachshund Ads