August 31, 2015

Glider Spiders — "Arachnids that glide to safety may mirror the evolution of insect flight"

From The Economist: "As as biologists can tell from the fossil record, only four groups of animals have evolved sustained, powered flight. These are the insects, the pterosaurs, the birds and the bats. Many others, though, can manage powered flight's precursor, gliding. The more researchers look into the matter, the more sorts of glider they find. And the latest to be added to the list is, scarily for arachnophobes, a type of spider."

How?

"First, regardless of its orientation when shaken out of the box it was being kept in, each spider rapidly righted itself and spread its legs so that its body acted as a parachute. It then used its forelegs as rudders, to guide it through the air until it reached the tree it was aiming at."

"Why, of all the spiders Dr Yanoviak has tossed out of trees, only Selenops can do this, is mysterious. But if he is right, and gliding was the precursor to flying among insects, then arachnophobes can thank their stars other spiders have not followed suit — and then gone on to evolve wings."

August 31, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 30, 2015

"Back to the Future" Desktop Hoverboard

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From websites:

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The definitely retro "Back to the Future" Desktop Hoverboard is a miniature working version of Marty McFly's iconic levitating hoverboard.

The tiny hoverboard itself is made from pyrolytic graphite that hovers naturally over a slightly curved base made from 5 powerful rare Earth magnets. 

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$39.99.

[via The Green Head]

August 30, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 21, 2015

Grand Central Station, New York City, 1929

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"The sun can't shine through like that now due to the surrounding tall buildings."

[via History in Pictures]

August 21, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

August 20, 2015

Rurudo Fan Shade — "Cooling fan parasol-umbrella"

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From the website:

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A fan, parasol and rain umbrella in one!

The Rurudo Fan Shade is your ultimate cooling gadget, cutting UV rays by 99%.

Inside the black canopy are three fan blades that spin and generate a gentle breeze.

And because the parasol is also coated with water-repellant, it even functions as an umbrella too.

Ideal for use when spending periods of time out in the sun watching sports and events, the refreshing breeze generated by the Rurudo Fan Shade can keep on cooling you down for two hours straight.

Just press the button on the handle to start the fan and close the parasol canopy to turn it off.

Features and Details:

  • Size (open): 39" x 31"
  • Power: 4 AA batteries
  • Materials (canopy): cotton, polyester
  • Instructions: Japanese (but easy to use)

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$106

August 20, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 19, 2015

J.R.R. Tolkien's personal book cover designs for "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy

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[via Open Culture and Bruce Sterling]

August 19, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 13, 2015

Stress Release Squeezy Foam Brain

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From the website:

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Squeeze this foam brain to relieve yours.

Nicely squishy, light gray and measuring 2-3/4" x 2" x 1-1/2", it's stamped (discreetly) DiscoverySchool.com, which is why you get five (5) brains for so cheap.

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Five for $2.95.

August 13, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 12, 2015

What is it?

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Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: Smaller than a bread box.

Another: Not an eraser.

A third: Cheap at twice the price.

August 12, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

August 11, 2015

Coke & Diet Coke: Fact & Fiction

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[via Compound Interest]

August 11, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 10, 2015

Battery-Operated Flickering LED Candle

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Features and Details:

• 6" tall x 3" diameter

• 360-hour LED flame

• Genuine wax covering

• 3 AA batteries required (not included)

• 3 settings: Amber flame, Red/Green/Blue morphing, or both

$5.95.

August 10, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 8, 2015

Jo Nesbø and his powerful creation, Inspector Harry Hole

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I only happened on the work of Nesbø, Norwegian crime fiction author supreme, a month or so ago.

I'd finished reading/rereading the books of the espionage thriller authors I like most (John le Carré, Gerald Seymour, and Charles Cumming — all British, for what that's worth) and was searching the web idly, looking at sites that paired those authors with others said to be similar to them.

Nesbo's name came up a couple times so I noodled around on sites that suggested which of his books was "best" as an introduction to his body of work.

"The Snowman" was the consensus so I bought a copy.

It was just excellent, full of unexpected twists and turns.

Inspector Harry Hole, the protagonist, is a real piece of work, a terribly flawed hero it's impossible not to like.

Long story short: I'll be reading each and every one of Nesbø's Harry Hole novels, which number about ten ("The Snowman" is the seventh in the series).

Don't take my word for it: read the book's opening pages here.

August 8, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 6, 2015

When Octopuses Fight There Are No Holds Barred

[via the New York Times]

August 6, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 5, 2015

Battery-Powered Chocolate Milk Mixer with Integrated Cyclonic Stirring Paddle

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From the website:

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Battery-powered cup with a cow-themed handle stirs your favorite flavor into single servings of milk with a powerful whirling vortex.

Just pour in milk, add your favorite flavored syrup or powder, and press the button on the handle to activate the cyclonic stirring paddle integrated in the cup.

Features and Details:

  • Dishwasher-safe removable tumbler wall
  • Nylon stirring paddle (100% finger safe
  • Requires 2 AA batteries (not included)
  • Capacity: 16 fl. oz. (473.2 ml)
  • Cow-themed motorized mixer
  • Push-button action
  • Includes travel lid

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$14.99 (milk and chocolate not included).

August 5, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 20, 2015

The Great Wall of China is disappearing thanks to decay, erosion, and theft

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"The Great Wall is likely China's most recognizable landmark... but enormous portions of it have disappeared in recent years.

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"The Great Wall of China is actually a series of multiple walls, built, destroyed, and restored at different points in the country's history, with many areas consisting of natural barriers rather than man-made walls.

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"The most prominent portions of the wall that are still standing were built by the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century, located near Beijing.

"According to an article in The Beijing Times, local officials said that 22 percent of what was considered the Ming dynasty Great Wall had disappeared, with around 1,219 miles, or 30 percent, of the total wall disappearing."

[via allday.com and History in Pictures]

July 20, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

July 19, 2015

Anger Management Mug

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Just the thing to surreptitiously place on the desk of that bozo who goes ballistic at the slightest provocation.

Make sure you wear rubber gloves so he or she can't lift your prints and track you down.

$6.99.

July 19, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 18, 2015

The Random User: Mouse Hack Takes You Places You Never Knew Existed

"Hack project by Monobo is a motorized computer mouse which randomly moves and clicks on web pages."

[via Bruce Sterling]

July 18, 2015 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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