Archive for January, 2008

Lest We Forget: Remembering 1/31/07

January 31st, 2008 No comments

Image at Boston University last night, via pt.
It was exactly a year ago today when the Aqua Teen Hunger Force marketing team from Catroon Network’s Adult Swim caused a panic in the streets of Boston (and later, a few other US cities) with their infamous LED “Mooninite Marauders”. The lit, bird-flipping signs were placed all over in high — yet viewable — spots, and were of course mistaken by police to be bombs or terrorist devices, causing panic and shutdown in many parts of the city (that link has complete coverage, plus video).
Today is the year anniversary, and as you can see by the above image from Flickr, people in Boston are re-creating the event in a wonderful pranky memorial. Early in the month, kits to make your own were being sold by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories so this isn’t a total surprise, but it’ll be fun to see how tonight plays out.
Make Blog has this great post about how the “memorial” is unfolding today, and a terrific commemorative post that — you guessed it — has a lot of DIY in it.
Three Mooninite Marauders were found here last year in San Francisco; images of the now ultra-collectibles (and their adorable rescuers) are here, I’ve got video here, and we’ve got this great GETV episode, Holy Blinky Devices of Terror!

A Gun and A Girl: A Girl and Her Gun (The Film)

January 30th, 2008 No comments

Director Cathryne Czubek is making a full-length feature documentary about girls and guns, specifically the significantly growing number of teen girls who love guns (and are damn good at using them). Embedded above is the short version of the doc from Current, which is still in progress — and OMG they have the prettiest guns! Rainbow grain rifles, shot wearing turquoise nail polish. I especially like the parts where they talk about how boys at school don’t take them seriously — and then they do. These young women clearly have no issues with equality or empowerment.
See also: A Girl and Her Gun (official site)

Wrong Number Generator

January 25th, 2008 No comments

wrongnumber.jpgFrom OhGizmo via the Museum of Hoaxes coms a link to my dream prank… the Wrong Number Generator.
The $89 box has modular plugs (damn… it’s been a while since I saw one of those things) and can be plugged in anywhere on the victim’s landline — like for instance, inside the wall so he or she will never find it. (Serves ‘em right for still using a landline!) It makes all calls from that phone line reach wrong numbers unless the mark dials 911, which always goes through. Replacing the telephone won’t do any good since the pranker has cleverly placed the thing inside the wall. Best of all, it allows one-quarter of the calls to go through correctly, encouraging victims to believe that they’ve gone totally insane.
At press time SpySite, sadly, is out of stock on this badboy. The evil muthas out there will have to satisfy themselves with the Disconnected Number Generator or Dead Ring Generator, both of which only affect incoming calls.
Link to

100 Weirdest Amphibians List

January 21st, 2008 No comments

salamander.jpgNew Scientist has an article and awesome gallery about the 100 Weirdest Amphibians List, as designated by the Zoological Society of London. Ninety percent of the top 100 predate the dinosaurs – and therefore survived whatever killled the big reptiles.
The motiviation of the ZSL is to raise awareness of how endangered many of these creatures are; because they tend to absorb things through their skin, amphibians tend to be extra vulnerable to environmental poisons, and the ZSL says 85 of the top 100 weird amphibians have no conservation efforts directed at them.
Image: Chinese Giant Salamander, the world’s largest amphibia at 1.8 meters. Via.

MS Beluga Skysails: The New Age of Sail

January 20th, 2008 No comments

The German container ship MS Beluga Skysails began its maiden voyage from the port of Bremerhaven to Venezuela on January 1. The ship is the first commercial use of the “skysail” technology, in which a sail much like a paraglider is deployed on a cable to reduce the fuel consumption of the ship and thus reduce carbon emissions. The height of the sail gives it an advantage over a traditional sailboat or sailing ship because it’s deployed at a greater height, giving it access to stronger winds.
The technology is proposed by use not only by container ships but by superyachts — promising to ease the fuel-cost anxieties of multizillionaires worldwide, I’m sure. National Geographic has a video featuring interviews with Beluga Shipping officials and animation of the ship under sail on the high seas, and has an interesting article on the topic.
Image via.

Literature as Cyclone

January 19th, 2008 No comments

Image via Moon River.
These images represent four texts analyzed by a program by JK Keller. As described on Bioephemera:

Red cubes represent non-unique words, with size depending on number of occurrences; blue cubes are unique words. The X-axis represents the order of the text, from beginning (top) to end (bottom). The diameter of the column is determined (somehow) by length of paragraph.

With the ability to analyze text in such away, why hasn’t someone tackled the task of subject, type, style or any other useful search or organization tools for the various free e-books flying about the net? Perhaps Project Gutenberg needs to add a tagging feature, which is now available for many Library of Congress and National Museum of Health and Medicine photos via Flickr.
A belated goodnight to Laura Huxley and a happy 102nd birthday to Albert Hofmann.

Gun Pr0n for the Film 1337

January 19th, 2008 No comments

This mash-up, via High T3ch, gives so much more meaning to the phrase “shooting a film.” Want.

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Your Package is Safe

January 16th, 2008 No comments

The Department of Homeland (In)Security is considering three different anti-missile systems for commercial airplanes. All three of these systems are ground-based technologies, most of which are tied to sensors either on the plane or on the ground. We can ignore the fact, for now, that a missile has never been fired at a commercial flight domestically, because a DHL plane was struck. In Iraq. Five years ago. Which landed safely. We must have this technology at all costs. Which is about $600 million up front.
Read the great Threat Level post on the subject here.
I have enough trouble flying without my government aiming things up in the skies at me, thank you.

Among My Wunderkammer

January 16th, 2008 No comments

The Bioephemera blog has a great post today on The Bowes Silver Swan, a clockwork swan, swimming, fishing and preening in a clockwork stream. An amazing automaton supposedly built by a man named Merlin in the 18th century.

The Write of Your Life

January 15th, 2008 No comments

Image via.
If you are in the habit of signing your soul away, Bob Parington invented this lovely blood pen just for you. Victims and spare souls not included.

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