Dec 17, 2010

Hybrid Apple

deviantART user wolkentanzer split two apples and stapled sections together. Presumably this was part of some junior mad scientist research!

Earthquake Twists Railroad Tracks

On September 4th, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand. Pictured above is a railroad track that crossed the fault line near Rolleston. Geographer Dave Petley of the American Geophysical Union writes that the buckling may be the result of compressional deformation across a broad zone. The compression on the very strong railway line was accommodated when a weak point was found, leading to a comparatively rapid deformation to form the main buckle on the left. This then concentrated stress on both sides of the buckle, allowing the other (right side) bends to form.

Dec 15, 2010

Typewriter Art

British artist Keira Rathbone uses the letters and punctuation marks on typewriters to create landscapes and portraits. The 27-year-old begins by selecting the image she wants to capture and then decides which of her 30 typewriters is best for the job. By turning the knob attached to the platen – the roller onto which the paper is loaded – she can deftly move the page around and line up where the typebars hit the paper and make the character mark in ink. Because she uses old manual typewriters, she can control the shades by hitting the keys softer for lighter colors and harder for darker shades. You can view more images from here gallery by clicking here.

Dec 13, 2010

Man Carves Wooden Declaration of Independence

Charlie Kested of Johnstown, NY spent 10 years carving a wooden replica of the Declaration of Independence. For the last decade, Kested has regularly sequestered himself away in his basement workshop, carefully carving, letter by letter, every single line of the document. The massive piece, which is nearly as tall as Kested himself, was finally completed several months ago. It’s an exact wood model of the Declaration of Independence, right down to the flourish of John Hancock’s signature at the bottom. The dark walnut words are a stark contrast against the Baltic birch background.

Dec 10, 2010

10 Obsolete English Words That Should Make A Comeback

The following words have sadly disappeared from modern English, but it’s easy to see how they could be incorporated into everyday conversation. If we all start using them, these words can be resurrected!

1. Jargogle verb – “To confuse, jumble” – First of all this word is just fun to say in its various forms. John Locke used the word in a 1692 publication, writing “I fear, that the jumbling of those good and plausible Words in your Head..might a little jargogle your Thoughts…” You could use it next time someone ttempts to explain complicated physics concepts to you: “Seriously, I don’t need you to further jargogle my brain.”

2. Brabble verb – “To quarrel about trifles; esp. to quarrel noisily, brawl, squabble” – Brabble basically means to argue loudly about something that doesn’t really matter, as in “Why are we still brabbling about who left the dirty spoon on the kitchen table?” You can also use it as a noun: “Stop that ridiculous brabble and do something useful!”

3. Kench verb – “To laugh loudly” – This Middle English word sounds like it would do well in describing one of those times when you inadvertently laugh out loud while reading a text message in class and manage to thoroughly embarrass yourself.

4. Deliciate verb – “To take one’s pleasure, enjoy oneself, revel, luxuriate” – Often I feel the word “enjoy” just isn’t enough to describe an experience, and “revel” tends to conjure up images of people dancing and spinning around in circles – at least in my head. “Deliciate” would be a welcome addition to the modern English vocabulary, as in “After dinner, we deliciated in chocolate cream pie.”

5. Corrade verb – “To scrape together; to gather together from various sources” – I’m sure this wasn’t the original meaning of the word, but when I read the definition I immediately thought of copy-pasting. Any English teacher can picture what a corraded assignment looks like.

6. Brannigan noun – “A drinking bout; a spree or ‘binge’” – Brannigan was originally a North American slang word, but it is now rarely used. “Shall we go for a brannigan on Friday?” can be a more sophisticated way to discuss such activities.

7. Widdendream noun – “A state of mental disturbance or confusion” – I can start using this obsolete Scottish word right away: “While working on writing my thesis, I find I am constantly in widdendream.”
8. Twitter-light noun – “Twilight” – Used in the early 17th century, “twitter-light” sounds like a romantic way to refer to the hours as the sun goes down.

9. Yemeles adjective – An Old English and Middle English word meaning “careless, heedless, negligent” – Pronounced as “yeem-lis,” this is another word that could prove useful for teachers around the world: “Handing in messy and incomplete work just shows me you are being yemeles, and I won’t hesitate to give you a zero for the assignment.”

10. Hoddypeak noun – “A fool, simpleton, noodle, blockhead” – This one doesn’t need any explanation as to how you could use it; you may already have someone in mind who fits the description.

Corraded from Heather Carreiro's recent article on MatadorNetwork.

Giant WWI Crowd Pictures

Over 90 years ago, Arthur Mole and John Thomas created a series of amazing images to inspire American patriotism.  They photographed these enormous ‘Living Photographs’ at military bases throughout the country by carefully positioning up to 30,000 officers, nurses and men to capture the familiar and patriotic subject.
"The Human U.S. Shield, 1918" 30,000 officers and men, Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Michigan
One hundred years ago there was no way that photographs could be ‘pixellated’; yet a pair of inventive snappers managed to achieve something very much like the effect, creating a series of images that would help Americans feel good about themselves and boost patriotism.
The 11th Division Seal
It was in the time just prior to the outbreak of WWI that Arthur Mole and John Thomas came up with the idea of using an eleven by fourteen inch view camera to produce what they called ‘Living Photographs’ on an enormous scale. This involved the careful positioning of many thousands of men in ways that would suggest familiar and patriotic images when photographed from far enough above.
"The Human Liberty Bell, 1918" 25,000 officers and men at Camp Dix, New Jersey 
The two ‘pixel pioneers’ decided to construct a wooden tower tall enough that they could take their pictures from as far as 80ft up in the air. Mole often resorted to using a megaphone to position the crowds below. He would mark out the required patterns on the ground by pinning thousands of yards of lace materials to the ground. Each single project called for a great deal of careful planning and preparation - working out correct numbers of men required was not easy.
"The Human Statue of Liberty" 18,000 officers and men at Camp Dodge, Des Moines, Iowa
During his time in pursuit of these endeavours, Arthur Mole visited many military bases, and the servicemen involved were only too happy to help. The secret of getting the images just right lay in finding exactly the right perspective from which to snap them, and Mole was a master at this. Though a ground level view of one of these crowds would have given nothing away, from 80ft up the outlook was completely different.
"Living Emblem of  the US Marines" 9,100 officers and men at Paris Island, South Carolina
Mole and Thomas had no desire whatever to profit from their pioneering photography. Though obviously deeply moved by the patriotic fervor they encountered, they felt it appropriate to donate all income from their work to helping government schemes for rebuilding the lives of soldiers returning from active service. 
It takes a special kind of vision and talent to pull off these types of pictures, and it seems all the more amazing because of the time in which it all took place. Arthur Mole was an extraordinary talent, and deserves to be remembered.

Dec 9, 2010

Amazingly Detailed 360 Degree Panorama of London

Jeffrey Martin shot 8,000 photographs of London and then spent six weeks stitching them together to create this amazing seamless 360-degree panorama of the city. You can zoom in and lose yourself looking at details, or zoom back and admire the city as a whole. The quality of this panorama was impossible to achieve only a year ago - and at 80 gigapixels, it is the largest 360-degree panorama in the world! Open the map to find specific landmarks, or take the tour to see places you’d never think to look for on your own. This is the next best thing to traveling to London, and you don’t even have to leave your desk!

Song of Healing Played on Wine Glasses

YouTube member Sp0ntanius performs the “Song of Healing” from the video game The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Not only does he play all the parts on wine glasses well, but as you watch the video, weird things start to happen!

Dec 7, 2010

Two Square Meters of Sunlight Can Melt a Rock

Bang Goes the Theory is a popular science show on BBC One. In this clip, host Jem Stansfield visited the Solar Furnace Research Facility in France and witnessed how much power can be generated from 2 square meters of sunlight when it’s all focused on one small spot.

The Fastest Classic Video Game Character

Animator Steve Williams imagined a race between classic video game characters. The winner was surprising, but it makes sense:

Shop Vac - Typographic Video

“Shop Vac” is Jonathan Coulton’s song about life in a suburban paradise. This music video for it features the clever typographic animation of Jarrett Heather. Words and corporate logos flow across the screen as the narrator embraces a lifestyle of prosperity symbolized by the Shop-Vac in his basement workshop:

Hottest Pepper in the World: The Naga Viper

Jalapeño peppers rate about 2,500 to 5,000 on the Scoville scale of pepper hotness. The new Naga Viper, however, measures 1,359,000 Scovilles. It was developed by researchers at Warwick University in Britain who crossed the hottest peppers in the world. The Naga Viper is so hot that it’s actually dangerous to eat.
“It’s painful to eat,” one researcher told the Daily Mail. “It’s hot enough to strip paint.” Indeed, the Daily Mail reports that defense researchers are already investigating the pepper’s potential uses as a weapon. 
But the researchers — who make customers sign a waiver declaring that they’re of sound mind and body before trying a Naga Viper-based curry — insist that consuming the fiery chili does the body good.

Dec 6, 2010


Be honest - does this picture look like it belongs in the Arctic Circle? This is a view of an island in the archipelago known as Lofoten, a part of Norway north of the Arctic Circle. Lofoten experiences the biggest temperature anomaly in the world, thanks to the Gulf Stream that blows in from the southwest. Fish take advantage of the mild temperatures to spawn and the human inhabitants take advantage of the spawning fish. Tourists also enjoy outdoor sports during the time of the midnight sun.

Reverse Mermaid

The Photo of the Day at National Geographic is a snorkeler in Thailand -or is it a reverse mermaid? The photograph was submitted by Nick Kelly.

Ready Set Bag! - Official Trailer

People who bag groceries for a living have to work quickly and efficiently without breaking anything. Not everyone is good enough to make it as a bagger, but some are superb at the task. And they can enter the world of competitive bagging. The below video is a trailer for Ready, Set, Bag!, a documentary about this sport:

Seuss Wars

Cartoonist Adam Watson took two of my favorite fantasy worlds and melded them in drawings of Star Wars characters as imagined by Dr. Seuss! In addition to Jabba here, see Yoda, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and more at his site.

3D Panoramic Camera

The Electrical Engineering Institute at the École Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne, Switzerland, has developed a camera that can see 3D images in all directions. The design is based on insect eyes, which are hemispherical and contain many individual photoreceptors. Potential applications include gaming, media production, and robot navigation systems.

Dec 3, 2010

Building on San Francisco's Russian Hill

Photographer Håkan Dahlström snapped this picture in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. He tilted his camera so that the building would be appear to be tipping over instead of lying on a steep incline. If you don't want to strain your neck trying to figure out what it really looks like, I've rotated the image 16 degrees counter-clockwise for you:

Girl Goes from 0-10 Years in 1.5 Minutes

Natalie’s family took a picture of her everyday, from birth up until she turned ten years old, and cut all the photographs together into this impressive time-lapse video clip:

Real Life Wiley E. Coyote and Road Runner Cartoon

Apache Pictures made a short film that imagines Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner as human beings. It's called Wiley Vs. Rhodes. The special effects are impressive for an independent short film.

If Web Browsers Were Celebrities

Shane Snow decided to give it a thought and shared his conclusions in this infographic:

US Air Force Builds Supercomputer with 1,760 PS3s

US Department of Defense engineers and Sony built the most powerful computer in the Department’s inventory by linking 1,760 PlayStation 3 gaming consoles. The supercomputer, nicknamed the Condor Cluster, will allow very fast analysis of large high-resolution imagery — billions of pixels a minute, taking what used to take several hours down to mere seconds. Its sophisticated algorithms also will allow scientists to better identify objects flying in space, where movement and distance create blurring, with higher-quality images than possible before. Its capacity makes the PlayStation 3 cluster about the 33rd largest computer in the world, and it's currently housed at the US Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, New York.

Hierve el Agua

Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca, Mexico looks like a beautiful waterfall, but it’s not moving. Ice? No, this illusion is actually a rock formation, made of minerals left behind by dripping water. The white that makes it look like water is calcium carbonate, just one of many minerals that make up Hierve el Agua, which means “the water boils”. Click here to read about how this happened and see many more pictures at Kuriositas.

Star Wars Paper Snowflakes

When Ethan cut a paper snowflake that faintly resembled a Storm Trooper, his mother took the idea and ran with it. The result is this Darth Vader snowflake and another with Bobba Fett and a Clone Trooper:

Dec 1, 2010

Duct Tape Duck

Instructables user seamster made a duck model out of tape, cardboard, newspaper, marbles, and dowels. He used colored packing tape to cover the head. Black tape was used first and then covered with green. He used yellow electrical tape to cover the beak, and black marbles were glued into small holes cut into the head above the cheeks.