March 1, 2015

Len Deighton (left) teaches Michael Caine how to break an egg

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Circa 1964, on the set of "The Ipcress File".

Below, director Sidney J. Furie and editor Peter Hunt, in an extended (107 minutes) commentary, discuss the history and production of the film.

Deighton was 33 at the time the book, his first, was published in 1962.

Caine, born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite in 1933, was 31 when the film was shot.

March 1, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

February 23, 2015

Meccano Home Furnishings

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"Meccano transforms their time-honored kid assembly toy

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into a home furniture line."

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[via wolfliving and Bruce Sterling]

February 23, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

February 22, 2015

Customers line up at the first McDonald's hamburger stand, circa 1948

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"Customers line up at the first McDonald's hamburger stand which was opened in 1948 in San Bernardino, California."

[via History in Pictures]

February 22, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

February 21, 2015

Map Marker Push Pins

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Silicone and stainless steel.

5.5" long x 0.25" deep.

6 for $4.95.

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[via The Green Head]

February 21, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

February 20, 2015

The chemical compounds behind the aroma of coffee

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[via Compound Interest]

February 20, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 19, 2015

Bath Air Pillow Smartphone Holder — "Waterproof, inflatable cushion for mobile devices"

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From the website:

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Take your phone or other mobile device into the bath without having to hold it in both hands for fear of dropping it in the water. You can lean back on the inflatable cushion and enjoy browsing on your phone. You only need to use your hands when you want to change the screen.

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The arm hooks around over your shoulder and lets you look at your mobile device, safely sealed in a waterproof case. The arm length is adjustable and the splash-proof cover should hold most standard-sized smartphones. 

All you need do is blow it up with air and then slide your device into the case. Out of the bath, you can also use the air pillow as a head cushion for taking a nap. You can even use it like some of Thanko's other handy "lazy" gadgets, lying down flat on the cushion so you can read or look at the screen hands-free while relaxing.

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Features and Details:

  • Colors: white, pink, gray
  • Pillow: 460 x 220 x 90mm (18.1 x 8.7 x 3.5")
  • Arm: max. extension: 560mm (22")
  • Device holder case for smartphones max. 160 x 82mm (6.3 x 3.2")
  • Instructions: Japanese (but easy to use)

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$39.

February 19, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

February 18, 2015

Meteor over Pittsburgh early yesterday morning (Tuesday, February 17, 2015)

"A 500-pound space rock about two feet in diameter entered the Earth's atmosphere outside of Pittsburgh early Tuesday morning, according to NASA. The object, detected by three NASA meteor cameras, was moving at a speed of 45,000 mph."

"Visibility was lost at an altitude of 13 miles, but the agency speculates that meteorite fragments might be found on the ground east of Kitttanning, Pennsylvania."

[via YouTube

February 18, 2015 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

February 13, 2015

Experts' Experts: What to do if your car is caught between railroad crossing gates

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Excerpts from a February 5, 2015 Associated Press story follow.

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Your car is trapped between the crossing gates, and a train is speeding down the tracks, its horn blaring, its lights blazing in your direction.

What do you do?

Hit the gas pedal and crash through the gate, or ditch your car and start running, experts say. And don't waste any time deliberating over it.

The fiery collision between a train and an SUV that killed six people in suburban New York this week has no doubt left drivers contemplating such a chilling question — one that many of them may not know how to answer.

Experts say that lack of awareness has led all too many times to hesitation, panic and death.

"Bash through the gates," said Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for AAA New York. "They're like breakaway gates. They're usually wood or some sort of heavy foam material, and they'll easily snap away."

If the car is stalled or you can't move it for any reason, abandon the vehicle and run, experts say. Many people make the fatal error of worrying about wrecking their car or trying to retrieve important items before escaping, Sinclair said.

And move away from the tracks, in the direction from which the train is coming [my italics], said Libby Rector Snipe of Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit group that educates the public about safety at rail crossings.

"It may seem counterintuitive to run toward the train," she said. "But if you run in the same direction as the train, you could be hit by flying debris."

In the crash this week in Valhalla, New York, Ellen Brody, 49, was driving home Tuesday night when, according to a driver behind her, the crossing gates descended around her Mercedes SUV and one of them came down on the back end of her vehicle.

She got out to check on her vehicle, then got back in and, with no apparent urgency, pulled forward on the tracks just before she was struck by the train, according to the witness. Brody and five train passengers were killed.

Exactly what was going through her mind is unclear. Investigators are still trying to figure out how she ended up on the tracks and why she didn't exit quickly.

The crash happened in the dark, in traffic backed up because of a nearby accident. Investigators said there were no immediate indications of any problems with the crossing gates.

Every year, 230 to 250 people die in collisions at highway-grade rail crossings in the U.S., according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

Sometimes the cause is driver confusion: A 2012 study for the Florida Department of Transportation said that signs and traffic signals sometimes confused drivers so much that they turned onto railroad tracks instead of roads.

In other cases, the problem can be mechanical. A 2005 report for the Texas Department of Transportation noted there can be lags in synching up track signals and traffic lights, so sometimes crossing gates come down around drivers. Then the human element kicks in: "panic, confusion or other unsafe actions."

And sometimes the problem is foolish driver behavior — ignoring the warning lights and bells and trying to drive around crossing gates, for example.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said safe driving at rail crossings needs to be addressed through public education campaigns similar to the ones waged against drunken driving.

"Drivers need to know that these lights and bells and crossing grade rails are not a drill. They're the real thing," Blumenthal said. "And that trying to get around them or beat them can cause death, tragedy, not only for themselves but for innocent victims on the train."

Drivers have died in railroad crossing crashes just in the last month in Macungie, Pennsylvania; Holgate, Ohio; and Kelso, Washington, among other places.

Just a day after the tragedy in Valhalla, a commuter train hit an 18-wheeler stuck in the snow at a crossing in Braintree, Massachusetts. The truck driver jumped out of the cab seconds before impact, and a few train passengers suffered minor injuries.

In December, an 80-year-old woman was killed by an Amtrak train after her minivan became boxed in by the crossing gates in Mebane, North Carolina. Witnesses said they called to her to get out of the car, but she froze up and didn't even try.

Ultimately, the goal is to avoid getting stuck on the tracks to begin with, Sinclair said. Assume whenever approaching railroad tracks with flashing lights that a train could be on the way. Stop well before the gates and wait.

"Turn off your radio, roll down your windows. At this point, you're listening," he said. "You're listening to see if you hear that train whistle."

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February 13, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

February 8, 2015

Bottleloft

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From websites:

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The Bottleloft frees up shelf space.

The set includes 2 strips that attach to the ceiling of a fridge, with each strip having 3 super-strong neodymium magnets to hold bottles by their caps. 

Strips adhere to any spot with heavy-duty peel-and-stick adhesive. 

Each strip measures 8" L x 1.5" W.

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$38 (bottles not included).

[via The Green Head]

February 8, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 7, 2015

Kandinsky and his cat, Vaske

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[via History in Pictures]

February 7, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

February 6, 2015

Hourei Lift Bra — "Face smile lines nasolabial folds beauty strap"

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From the website:

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Contrary to what you might expect from its name, you wear the Hourei Lift Bra on your face and it helps fight the smile lines that sadly grow more prominent with age. The band slides over the back of your head and then the frame fits easily onto your nose. Its soft silicone rubber curves will feel comfortable on your skin while the "wire" design will place only gentle pressure on your cheeks.

If you worry about your smile or laugh lines (nasolabial folds), then a simple but effective device like this that you can wear daily is your ticket to combating the signs of aging. The makers also suggest doing mouth exercises while wearing the frame, as below.

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Features and Details:

• Size: around 73 x 152 x 94mm (2.9 x 6 x 3.7")

• Band length can be adjusted

• Place the band in line with the main facial frame (see picture below).

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• Do not have the band wrapped around the lower half of your head

• Be sure that the frame is fitted firmly on the nasolabial folds for best results

• Materials: silicone rubber, ABS

• Instructions: Japanese

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$39.

February 6, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

February 5, 2015

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko superimposed on Los Angeles

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On November 12, 2014, the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe, launched in 2004, having traveled over 4 billion miles in 10 years, after closely approaching Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, then launched the robot Philae (about the size of a washing machine) which became the first man-made device to land on a comet when it touched down.

Matt Wang created the graphic up top, which portrays the comet sitting behind Los Angeles and offers a sense of the size of the comet on a human scale. 

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is 2.5 miles wide: you could walk its length in an hour.

The comet rotates every 12 hours and travels at 40,000 miles per hour.

[via Night Rooster]

February 5, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

February 2, 2015

Drone Detection Cookie Dough

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[via Bruce Sterling]

February 2, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

January 31, 2015

World's most tricked out ninja throwing star

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Apply within.

[via Bruce Sterling]

January 31, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

January 29, 2015

Moby Whisk

Moby-Whisk

$17.60.

January 29, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

« February 6, 2015