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25 August 2014

Pipe Guy

Nice to see flip flops have a better use than to just fall off feet while walking.

20 August 2014

Maude White Art

Handcut paperworks by Maude White. I am in awe, as no matter how closely I attempt to cut correctly, inevitably, I'm going to cut through a line.

I Confronted the Man Whose Crime Put Me in Prison

He told me he would “be facing 99” if he turned himself in, as if I needed to be reminded of that fact. “You just put yourself in my shoes in a situation like that,” he told me. “I mean, I can understand how hurt you is, and I can understand the part of your life that you lost because I had went through the same thing.”

That was too much for me to take. “But you didn’t lay in a prison bed day in and day out being innocent for a crime you didn’t commit,” I told him. “No. You have not been in my position. Because all the positions you done been in, you brought that on yourself.”

It felt real good to tell him that. And I kept talking. I told him about the years I spent away from my kids. I cried at that point and was glad he got to see that. And I told him I would never recover from what he did to me. I told him that I wish he had been given life in prison for the crime, instead of getting a deal that only added five years to his sentence.

Alonzo just responded each time, “I understand.” He never apologized.

Texas justice at its best.

Computer Vision Correction

New technology under development at the University of California-Berkeley and MIT automatically corrects people's vision defects without glasses. Plug a glasses prescription into the new software, and the system calculates how to display the image so it won't look blurry. Basically, by adjusting the light from each pixel on a device and then passing it through a tiny mesh attached to a monitor or phone screen, the system personalizes the image so it's crystal clear.

I wonder how that would work with astigmatisms.

24 July 2014

Word of the Day


Tombstone tourist (otherwise known as a "taphophile", "cemetery enthusiast", cemetery tourists or "grave hunter" or "graver") describes an individual who has a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries.[1] This involves epitaphs, gravestone rubbing, photography, art, and history of (famous) deaths. The term has been most notably used by author and biographer Scott Stanton as the title of his 2003 book and his former website[2] on the lives and gravesites of famous musicians.

..via Wikipedia


Social scientists first started studying marriages by observing them in action in the 1970s in response to a crisis: Married couples were divorcing at unprecedented rates. Worried about the impact these divorces would have on the children of the broken marriages, psychologists decided to cast their scientific net on couples, bringing them into the lab to observe them and determine what the ingredients of a healthy, lasting relationship were. Was each unhappy family unhappy in its own way, as Tolstoy claimed, or did the miserable marriages all share something toxic in common...?

Contempt, they have found, is the number one factor that tears couples apart. People who are focused on criticizing their partners miss a whopping 50 percent of positive things their partners are doing and they see negativity when it’s not there. People who give their partner the cold shoulder—deliberately ignoring the partner or responding minimally—damage the relationship by making their partner feel worthless and invisible, as if they’re not there, not valued. And people who treat their partners with contempt and criticize them not only kill the love in the relationship, but they also kill their partner's ability to fight off viruses and cancers. Being mean is the death knell of relationships.

How to Clean Your House in 10 Easy Steps

Step Three: Toss in some laundry. I hate laundry. Hate isn’t even a strong enough word for it. I have to do 4 loads of laundry every day. Every. Single. Day. Don’t bother sorting. Who cares about sorting. Just toss in as much as will fit in the damn washer, because girl, you are running out of time. Caillou is about to come on and you will lose your shit if you hear that whiney voice belting out of the TV. You gotta hustle and get the next kid friendly distraction ready.

Is it irrational to hate laundry just as much without kids? Or Caillou?

10 July 2014


Much more humane idea than installing metal spikes to keep homeless people from having places to sleep. Considering as a society we already like to pretend that all homelessness is due to personal choices and they should be punished for it, it is nice to see a city take even a small measure to make that less of a hardship for the person on the street.

Math Nerd or Bookworm?

Here, teachers are a bit like farmers, Detterman says. And children are a bit like corn. "You have corn plants that do well in certain environments, and don't in others. And the farmer's job is to get the corn plants into the right soil."

Article doesn't really highlight anything particularly surprising, but for that quote, it had to be shared. Make Children of the Corn a much different concept.

05 July 2014

Drone Flying in Fireworks

Definitely a better show than what I watched last night. Plus, you get the 'bonus' of Andrea Bochelli, and who can ever have enough of listening to this song over and over again?

30 June 2014

The Fermi Paradox

We're rare, we're first, or we're fucked.

Just read it. It's compelling. And my money is on rare and fucked. Accidents happen, doesn't mean they turn out well.

Creativity/Intelligence/Mental Disorder

While my workshop study answered some questions, it raised others. Why does creativity run in families? What is it that gets transmitted? How much is due to nature and how much to nurture? Are writers especially prone to mood disorders because writing is an inherently lonely and introspective activity? What would I find if I studied a group of scientists instead?

These questions percolated in my mind in the weeks, months, and eventually years after the study. As I focused my research on the neurobiology of severe mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and mood disorders, studying the nature of creativity—important as the topic was and is—seemed less pressing than searching for ways to alleviate the suffering of patients stricken with these dreadful and potentially lethal brain disorders. During the 1980s, new neuroimaging techniques gave researchers the ability to study patients’ brains directly, an approach I began using to answer questions about how and why the structure and functional activity of the brain is disrupted in some people with serious mental illnesses.

As I spent more time with neuroimaging technology, I couldn’t help but wonder what we would find if we used it to look inside the heads of highly creative people. Would we see a little genie that doesn’t exist inside other people’s heads?

Really long but interesting article about what links the creative brain to personality/mood disorders. Too small a study to count as entirely applicable across a broad spectrum, but a good start nonetheless.

19 May 2014

Red Bull 400

Red Bull 400 is the steepest uphill race that takes place in Europe. It’s a tough 400-meter vertical sprint up the face of a ski-jump slope in Planica, Slovenia. 300 male and female contestants competed in this year’s 2013 event and pushed their muscles to the absolute limit, in an attempt to reach the top first.

I think I could crawl up it. In like, an hour.

Bubble Football

I so very, very much want to try this.

Carl Kasell Retiring

Carl has put up with endless travel, silly jokes, countless assaults on his dignity, and my stumbling and stuttering away through shows right next to him, and all he ever has to say about it is, "I can't complain." He actually can't. After one of our tapings I challenged him to do it. I said, "Go ahead, Carl, you have a pass: Complain. Whine. Piss and moan about something. Nobody will hold it against you."

And Carl thought for a minute, he hemmed and hawed — it was the first time I ever saw him for a loss for words — and then he looked thoughtful and said, "You know, I really enjoy just about everything I do."

And so he does. This page has a small sample of what he's talking about, a tiny sliver of what makes Carl public radio's most dashing and beloved personality. - Peter Sagal

I can't even imagine Wait Wait without him. Next week will be strange. I hope he has a fantastic time doing whatever it is he chooses to do.

07 May 2014

Kowloon City 20 Years Later

The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong was once the densest place on earth, a virtually lawless labyrinth of crime, grime, commerce and hope. A Wall Street Journal documentary tracks its colorful legacy 20 years after its demolition.

Really interesting video. I was too young to ever know this place even existed before it was gone, but the stories from the people that lived there are intriguing.

Valley of Dolls

The tiny village of Nagoro on Shikoku, Japan, used to be home to a large company and hundreds of people. Now, there are only 37 inhabitants — or at least, only 37 living inhabitants. Nagoro is also home to scores of life-size stuffed dolls made by 64-year-old Ayano Tsukimi. Tsukimi sews and dresses the dolls and positions them around town to replace her neighbors who have moved away or died.

Tsukimi started her doll project about 10 years ago, after she moved back to her hometown from Osaka. She says she’s made about 350 dolls in that time, though they only last about three years before they need to be replaced. There are now many times more dolls than humans living in Nagoro, and Tsukimi wryly imagines a future where she’s outlived all her neighbors and only dolls remain.

Personally, I don't find them creepy at all. I think they are adorable, and it's the neatest idea ever.

05 May 2014

Molten Lave Meets Can of Coke

Photographer Bryan Lowry wondered (as so many of us do): “What would happen if a can of Coke crossed paths with molten lava?” He decided to stage an experiment on a volcano in Hawaii. One can had a small hole punctured in the top too prevent the aluminum can from exploding. The second can was left perfectly sealed. Lowry used a GoPro to capture the video and was not in any personal danger.

Really, I'm just obsessed with the beauty of lava.

I'm the Worst. Sorry.

What are jerk balloons? They’re balloons for jerks. Obviously. You can’t see us, but we’re totally rolling our eyes at you right now.

The only thing I don't like is you can't just buy a set of 25 of one design.

Flu Pandemic of 1918 Explained

“Ever since the great flu pandemic of 1918 it has been a mystery where that virus came from and why it was so severe,” says Professor Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona. Between 50 and 100 million people died from the outbreak dubbed “the Spanish flu”, several times more than World War I, yet history books generally relegate it to a footnote.

While most of those who die from normal flu outbreaks are the very young or the elderly the 1918 outbreak was different – the heaviest death toll was among young adults, including those that had been in good health beforehand...

However, Worobey also turns the idea on its head by proposing exposure to a very different version of the flu virus primed the immune system to misread epidemic version. The finger of suspicion is pointed at an H3N8 virus common between 1889 and 1900. Tens of millions of people would have been exposed to this virus in childhood and recovered, but Worobey said, “A person with an antibody arsenal directed against the H3 protein would not have fared well when faced with flu viruses studded with H1 protein. And we believe that that mismatch may have resulted in the heightened mortality in the age group that happened to be in their late 20s during the 1918 pandemic."

Mount Baldy to Remain Closed

Officials at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore announced Thursday that scientists still do not know what caused holes to appear in Mount Baldy last summer, and the popular attraction will remain closed for further study.

Nathan Woessner, 6, of Sterling, Ill., was swallowed by a hole July 12 and rescued by firefighters.

“Mount Baldy is one of the most visited sites in the national lakeshore, attracting thousands of visitors each year” said Acting Superintendent Garry Traynham in a press release. “But the continued development of these holes in the dune surface poses a serious risk to the public. Our first obligation must be to the welfare of our visitors who are here for an enjoyable outing.”

I am so glad that I got to visit in 2012. No one fell in a hole, it was really cold given it was October, and the Dunes are some of my favorite memories ever.

21 April 2014

Japan Gets the Best of Everything

Tomatoes and carrots are no longer reserved for your salad. Häagen-Dazs will be unleashing two new vegetable flavors in Japan on May 12, Rocket News reports. The new ice creams are part of a “Spoon Vege” series that includes Tomato Cherry and Carrot Orange.

While the flavor combinations may perplex you, they aren’t too different from the juicing mixes here in the States. The Tomato Cherry blends tomato’s subtle sweetness with cherry’s distinct sweet-sour taste, while the Carrot Orange delivers citrus notes to the savory carrot flavor. Both flavors will contain 8.5 percent milk half, just over half of Häagen-Dazs usual milk fat content.

For those in Japan looking to try these the veggie desserts, they’ll be available in 100 ml servings for 284 yen (US $2.77). If you’re a bit dazzled on what you’d top these with, try reaching for the vinaigrette.

I would totally eat the carrot orange ice cream. That sounds amazing.

Amuck Amuck Amuck

Private joke via Hocus Pocus, 1993. One of the best terrible movies from my childhood ever.

A Little Late.....

Little hard to read, but click and see the wonderful results. Also, I am really bad at updating my blog anymore.

Falafel Waffel

They do exist! In their completely horrific manner, they exist.

Altering how we taste our food

What can you taste when you swirl a mouthful of malt whisky around your mouth? Peaty flavours, honey, sea salt? Talk to any whisky drinker and they'll be happy to discuss at length.

But it turns out that not all you are getting is down to your taste buds - or even your nose.

If you drink a glass of single malt in a room carpeted with real grass, accompanied by the sound of a lawnmower and birds chirping, and all bathed in green light, the whisky tastes "grassier".

Replace that with red lighting, curved and bulbous edges and tinkling bells and the drink tastes sweeter.
These studies are intriguing. On one hand, I am expecting the large food companies like Nestle to start just advertising the pizza on the box with only a shake of the cheapest chemicals possible inside. On the other, it pretty much is like brain synesthesia for your mouth without your knowledge. Sit back and just let it happen.

04 April 2014

This is a Trent Reznor song

Earlier this year, comedian Freddy Scott released the Nine Inch Nails parody track, "This Is a Trent Reznor Song," encapsulating frontman Trent Reznor's penchant for odd percussion, eerie pianos and shifting vocal dynamics ranging from hushed to screaming. Now, he goes one step further, releasing a music video lampooning Reznor's mid-Nineties Lynchian-meets-Victorian visual style.

Love on NPR

You are at a table for two, sitting with your girlfriend or boyfriend, when, for no good reason (you can't help it, you didn't mean to do it), you yawn. It's a big, gaping, jaw-extending, embarrassing yawn and because you didn't cover your face, oh, God, she/he sees it. A second or two goes by, and then ... something doesn't happen. Your girlfriend/boyfriend doesn't yawn back.

Should you be alarmed?

Walmart Prices vs. Living Wages

In the series “The Secret Life of a Food Stamp,” Marketplace reporter Krissy Clark traces how big-box stores make billions from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps. What’s more, the wages of many workers at these stores are so low that the workers themselves qualify for food stamps—which the employees then often spend at those big-box stores.

This video crunches the numbers on how much Walmart, the single biggest beneficiary of the food stamp economy, might have to raise prices across the board to help a typical worker earn a living wage.