Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"At MIT Shetty earned her synthetic-biology chops by helping engineer a strain of E. coli bacteria that smelled minty fresh"

"eliciting praise from experimental biologists who hated the outhouse stench of unadulterated E. coli."

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Cow tipping is the purported activity of sneaking up on any unsuspecting or sleeping upright cow and pushing it over for entertainment"

The practice of cow tipping is generally considered an urban legend, and stories of such feats viewed as tall tales


Cows routinely lie down and can easily regain their footing unless sick or injured. Scientific studies have been conducted to determine if cow tipping is theoretically possible, with varying conclusions. All agree that cows are large animals that are difficult to surprise and will generally resist attempts to be tipped.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"women have a complicated relationship with sweetness"

Fast Company article about Cargill's creation and marketing of the sweetener Truvia:
TRUVIA HAS ITS OWN tribute message, an ode to the comfort Cargill wants to provide. "Have you ever cured bad news with hot choc-olate? Ever snuck downstairs to eat a cookie before breast-feeding the baby at 3 a.m.?" If the answer is yes, you are part of Cargill's new demographic, the Yoga Momma, the company's name for the typically harried but well-intentioned working woman.

On a recent day, McFerson and Truvia's marketing director, Ann Tucker, explain the tao of Yoga Momma-ism. "The Yoga Momma wears yoga pants but may never make it to class," Tucker says. "It's more about a mind-set," McFerson adds. Both readily admit this sounds like them. "I've never been to class, but I have the pants," McFerson deadpans.

The brand homage was conceived by mothers at Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago. "What is cool about Cargill is it's a pretty female-based group," says Donna Charlton-Perrin, one of the campaign's architects. "There is a line in there about how women have a complicated relationship with sweetness. Everyone just had this autobiographical understanding of how that goes." Not surprisingly, Yoga Mommas tend to be prime spenders on health-related supermarket goodies. To reach them, McFerson spent lavishly to secure a name (which sounds like true plus stevia, and was devised by Lexicon Branding); a logo (light green type with a tiny stevia leaf, by Pentagram); and clever print and TV ads designed by Ogilvy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Alice: Madness Returns Hysteria Mode

The Empty Chair

"The Empty Chair" by Maarten Baas for Amnesty International in honor of imprisoned artist Liu Xiaobo.

Blade Runner polaroids

Sean Young posted a few dozen Blade Runner polaroids.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Royal de Luxe has placed a giant frozen dog in front of the Cathedral of Nantes

Royal de Luxe has placed a giant dog in a block of ice in front of the Cathedral of Nantes. It's melting and presumably a harbinger for this show.

"Seventeen lost pyramids are among the buildings identified in a new satellite survey of Egypt"

"More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements were also revealed"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Meeting Randy Savage

A story about meeting Randy Savage:
We were met backstage by some WWF people who were leading us into the locker room area, and we were brought to Randy to say hello. There were a bunch of other wrestlers around, which was really cool but there was one problem: the good guys were hanging out and being cordial to the bad guys! Seeing good guys like Brett Hart sharing laughs with bad guys like Jake "The Snake" Roberts was almost traumatic to see; like seeing your Dad french kiss your aunt. It simply wasn't supposed to happen.

I was sad, scared and confused. I gathered up the courage to ask why the Good Guys were friends with the Bad Guys. Randy said, "We're not. We're just tricking them. You'll see."

After this, a WWF rep was showing us some other areas of the backstage. I don't remember what we saw, but I know when we circled back to the area where Randy was, all of the wrestlers I had seen before were back in character. Bad guys were yelling at Good Guys about how they were going to kick their butt and Good Guys were holding each other back from attacking the bad guys.

This. Was. Awesome. It IS real! Of course it is!

Randy didn't know me too well, but he cared enough about a young fan and professional wrestling to keep the illusion and innocence alive.

Clue homage

Aaron Perry-Zucker:
Photographed as publicity for a RISD senior illustration show; every participant in the show dressed as a character from the board game/movie Clue.

The Information Blanket

The Information Blanket - - designed for parents in Uganda. You can donate one here. They have versions in English, too:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Disney imagines the future of highway transportation

From the 1958 Disneyland TV Show episode entitled Magic Highway USA.

Giant Lego Maleficent (as a dragon)

One of the Lego creations at Downtown Disney Marketplace.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Photo series based on asking KMart staff for help picking an outfit

Portrait series:
I went to all of the Kmart department stores in and around Los Angeles and asked employees there to help me chose an outfit for a family picture saying, "All of my cousins are taking a picture for my grandmother, and I don’t know what to wear. They always say I look frumpy and like a lesbian, and I don’t want to look that way, I don’t want my grandmother to think I’m a lesbian. Can you help me choose an outfit?"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rapture photos

Gallery of Rapture photos.

Alone and Unafraid military patch

Trevor Paglen has a companion site for his book "I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Black World" that includes various patches that didn't make it into the book.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pimp My Ride constant AMA

A participant on Pimp My Ride participated in an ask me anything:
I actually had to sign a contract that prohibited me from listing their final product on eBay, which I did. I was contacted by Viacom about 3 hours later, ordered to take it down. I then got the contact info of the company that made the Jackhammer woof and made a deal. The problem with the show is, they don't fix any of the mechanical issues, and my car was a piece of shit. What they did was make my piece of shit sound exceptionally awesome, which is great. Just not great enough to drive on roads.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

7-Eleven open in an area destroyed by the tsunami

Photo of a 7-Eleven open in an area destroyed by the tsunami. Via.

Relatedly, here's an interesting story about the tsunami:
In the rubble of Japan's northeast coast, one small village stands as tall as ever after the tsunami. No homes were swept away. In fact, they barely got wet.

Fudai is the village that survived — thanks to a huge wall once deemed a mayor's expensive folly and now vindicated as the community's salvation.

Mechanical whale rodeo

Project Ocean mechanical whale rodeo.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The worst baseball cap in history

The 1969 Seattle Pilots - - ESPN's pick for the worst baseball cap in history. There's ten more here.

"All the Dogs Want to Kill Me"

A mailman photographed the various dogs on his route that would like to kill him.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MtEverClimb — Continuous Rope Climbing System

MtEverClimb — Continuous Rope Climbing System: "MtEverClimb is a revolutionary, continuous rope-climbing machine that simulates actual rope climbing, one of the oldest forms of successful physical training."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Solid Snake by Olly Moss

Solid Snake by Olly Moss. And here's a 360 panorama from his Gallery 1988 show.

"Taco Bell's proprietary tool, the BPT, or beef portioning tool"

From an article about Taco Bell and how much effort is put into getting reliable food to customers fast:
Every Taco Bell has two food production lines, one dedicated to the drive-thru and the other to servicing the walk-up counter. Working those lines is no easier than wearing the headset. The back of the restaurant has been engineered so that the Steamers, Stuffers, and Expeditors, the names given to the Food Champions who work the pans, take as few footsteps as possible during a shift. There are three prep areas: the hot holding area, the cold holding area, and the wrapping expediting area. The Stuffer in the hot holding area stuffs the meat into the tortillas, ladling beef with Taco Bell's proprietary tool, the BPT, or beef portioning tool. The steps for scooping the beef have been broken down into another acronym, SST, for stir, scoop, and tap. Flour tortillas must be cooked on one side for 15 seconds and the other for five.

When I take my place on the line and start to prepare burritos, tacos, and chalupas—they won't let me near a Crunchwrap Supreme—it is immediately clear that this has been engineered to make the process as simple as possible. The real challenge is the wrapping. Taco Bell once had 13 different wrappers for its products. That has been cut to six by labeling the corners of each wrapper differently. The paper, designed to slide off a stack in single sheets, has to be angled with the name of the item being made at the upper corner. The tortilla is placed in the middle of the paper and the item assembled from there until you fold the whole thing up in the wrapping expediting area next to the grill. "We had so many wrappers before, half a dozen stickers; it was all costing us seconds," says Harkins. In repeated attempts, I never get the proper item name into the proper place. And my burritos just do not hold together.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Nerf is an acronym

NonExpanding Recreational Foam.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A look at the Portal 2 ARG

Long article about the Portal 2 ARG:
Even a player who chased after a red herring had a good story to tell. One guy got the idea in his head that he was supposed to find a clue at The Couch Potato, a furniture warehouse in Santa Cruz, California. Team Meat learned about this by monitoring the IRC channel, so Edmund McMillan of Super Meat Boy fame intercepted him at the warehouse and surprised him with a signed copy of Super Meat Boy.
And also:
The second big mistake we made was pulling the ARG champions away from their communities too early. Based on contributions in various games, on the fan wiki and in the IRC channels, we hand-selected a few individuals who had contributed disproportionately to the ARG and offered to fly them to Valve.

In order to give sufficient time to notify them and make travel arrangements, Valve contacted them a few days before the start of the crescendo. We didn't require them to sign any NDAs, but to maintain the fiction, we encouraged them to take a step back from the ARG and claim that they had been kidnapped by minions of GLaDOS.

We failed to realize just how influential these few individuals had been in keeping the ARG running like clockwork. The wiki stopped getting updated, leaving other players confused as to what was going on.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cemetery frequented by kangaroos

The cemetery at Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park in Australia is frequented by kangaroos.

Barbecue taken over by bees

A Reddit user realized he had a bee problem and set off a smoke bomb near his barbecue.

When he investigate further, he found that they were honey bees and had built a hive: