April 27, 2017

Magnetic putty comes alive and swallows a cube

Video caption:


Magnetic putty time lapse as it absorbs a rare-earth magnet. Taken over 1.5 hours at 3fps, played back at 24fps. The magnetic putty will eventually arrange itself so that the outer surface is as evenly distributed around the magnet as possible.

Ferromagnetic particles in the putty are strongly attracted to the magnet and very slowly engulf the surface of the magnet. The magnet shown in the picture is a strong neodymium iron boron magnet. It's a very powerful magnet for its size and could erase magnetic stripes found in credit cards and damage electronics!

The putty looks and feels like regular silly putty, but the difference lies in the fact that it has been infused with millions of micron-sized ferrous particles (most often iron oxide powder). The magnetic putty is not actually magnetic by itself, since the infused particles are made of iron powder.

The presence of the strong neodymium iron boron magnet (the silver cube in the video) magnetizes the ferromagnetic particles in the putty. When this happens, the ferrous particles align with each other and this alignment generates north and south magnetic poles, making the putty into a temporary magnet. Once magnetized, the putty will remain magnetized even after the rare-earth magnet has been removed from the putty. This effect persists for a few hours until thermal agitation shakes the particles and they lose their alignment.


[via Reality Carnival]

April 27, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Leather Fortune Cookies


From the website:



With a pair of leather fortune cookies, you can keep one for yourself and share the other with a lucky friend or loved one.

Each cookie is sturdy and flexible, allowing you to repeatedly open it up and slip a message inside.

Or, put in a small stone, trinket, or talisman — there's no limit to where your imagination might take you.

Features and Details:

• Includes 8 blank paper fortune slips

• Cookie dimensions: 2.5" x 2.5" x 2"

• Un-dyed, vegetable-tanned leather

• Handmade in Denver, Colorado

• Set comes in a muslin bag



April 27, 2017 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 26, 2017

Amazon Leadership Principles

• Leaders are right a lot.

• No task is beneath them.

• They accomplish more with less.

• They never say "that's not my job."

• They are not limited by "not invented here."

• They ensure that problems are fixed so they stay fixed.


[from the company's statement]

April 26, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mirrorlite — Ultra-light shatterproof optical-grade glassless reflectivity on the cheap


What's not to like?



Better, cheaper, lighter, easier to install and remove, indoor, outdoor, safer.


No more glass shards, ever.

A zillion sizes and shapes: apply within.

April 26, 2017 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 25, 2017

Earth and the Moon (on the left) from between Saturn's Rings


I wonder what year the first human will take in this view.

I'm guessing 2200.

From Atlas Obscura


The Cassini Orbiter is about 5,000 pounds (minus its fuel, which is all gone, along with the Huygens probe it dropped off on Titan in 2004) of science that's been orbiting Saturn for nearly 13 years.

It is, by any objective take, a vanishingly small speck in the vastness of space, and one of the subtle feats of its 12 sensors — including an ultraviolet imaging spectrograph, plasma spectrometer, and cosmic dust analyzer — is reminding us occasionally that the Earth is, too.

Above, one of the latest composite images that the probe has produced, of the Earth between Saturn's icy rings, from nearly a billion miles away.

Not that you'd be able to tell, but that's the Southern Atlantic Ocean there, and the faint dot on the left is the moon.

Cassini's 20-year journey of scientific discovery and cooperation is almost over and it's currently in its final act, orbiting lower and lower through Saturn's rings.

This September 15 it will go out in a tiny blaze of glory in Saturn's atmosphere.

The probe will continue beaming data back right up until that moment, and its last word — traveling at the speed of light — will arrive on Earth over an hour after it's gone.


Dennis Overbye of the New York Times, in my opinion the finest science writer in the English language on our blue dot of a planet, wrote a wonderful requiem for Cassini which appeared last Friday.

April 25, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

My tricked-out Chemex Coffeemaker


This is how we* do it.


Everyone knows coffee is all about the accessories.

My Chemex is wearing a cozy and resting atop a warming pad, both from MessyMessyMe; topped by a heat lid; and accompanied by a double-wall Bodum cup.

I'd estimate that the last of my morning coffee stays hot at least twice as long using these heat-retaining devices than previously.

Hey, wait a sec — what's that music I'm hearing?

*Gray Cat et moi

April 25, 2017 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

April 24, 2017

The Art of the Peel


From Atlas Obscura:


Wooly sheep emerges

Yoshihiro Okada saw the design of a prawn [top] in a vision. He saw it clearly: Out of a tangerine peel, the crustacean emerged, unfurling its many thin legs, the articulated length of its body, the fan of its tail. Near the eye — the stubby end of the tangerine stem — the prawn waved long antennae that reached out to sense the world around.

After the vision, Okada picked up a tangerine and tried to execute what he had seen. He can peel freehand, but for a design like this, with such delicate features, it helped to use a knife. It came out the way he'd envisioned it on the first try. He was amazed. "The shrimp design is one of the most sophisticated designs among all of my works," he says.

Okada is an unusual artist. His medium is the thin peel of a citrus fruit, which he unwinds into a variety of elegant shapes, most depicting animals from land, sky, and sea. He operates according to a principle of conservation. Each shape must use the entire peel; no part can be removed and nothing can be added. Within this limitation, he has created more than 170 designs. "I am sure that I will be able to make almost any kind of animal or bird if I am asked to," he says. Now he is working on series of symbols — the Juni-shi zodiac, popular in Japan; the Western zodiac; the symbols of the twelve tribes of Israel.


April 24, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

World's most expensive unpowered toothbrush






work for you?

April 24, 2017 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

April 23, 2017

Guide to figuring out the age of an undated world map



[via xkcd]

April 23, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Kathryn Blackmore brings it: new jewellery* to sigh for


FunFact: Some years ago I was smitten by someone and spent some time thinking about how I could make it happen.


I bought her a necklace from Ms. Blackmore's U.K. shop and Bob's your uncle.


Since I happened on her jewellery I've been confounded at how inexpensive her pieces are vis-à-vis their workmanship, design and overall elegance.


Limited editions from her current collection here.

*when in Rome...

April 23, 2017 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 22, 2017

Pavlova's Shoes


Shoes worn by prima ballerina assoluta Anna Pavlova for "Oriental Impressions: A Ballet in Three Miniatures," first performed September 13, 1923.

Made in India, they are in the collection of the Museum of London.

April 22, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: smaller than a bread box.

Another: from the Southern Hemisphere.

A third: inedible.

April 22, 2017 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

April 21, 2017

Google Earth — New, improved, and all in all irresistible

There goes the day.

But don't take my word for it — here's what The Verge had to say:


Just in time for Earth Day, Google has redesigned Google Earth for web and Android.

The new version adds new features that let users see 3D maps of specific locations, learn about random places around the world, and take guided tours from their Chrome browser or mobile devices.

Those tours are interactive, and are led by scientists, documentarians, and other experts, helping users learn about our world.

Google says more than 50 are available already — under the service's new 'Voyager' section — including a tour of the Tanzanian Gombe National Park led by primate expert Jane Goodall and her team.

Also available are video journeys to six different habitats produced by BBC Earth, and a kid-friendly jaunt to Mexico with Sesame Street muppet Lola, to learn about Mayan ruins.

Click it and the service will take you somewhere unexpected, from opera houses in Italy to hot springs in Japan, before showing you a 'knowledge card' of interesting facts.

While you're there, you'll also be able to see the location in three dimensions in your browser or on your mobile device, using the service's new 3D feature.

Press the 3D button in the corner of the UI and you'll be able to get a movable drone's-eye view of historical, geographical, or architectural marvels around the world.

The revamped Google Earth — which the company says was two years in the making — is now available in Chrome or on Android, and will be coming to iOS and other browsers in the future.


And Gizmodo:


Google Earth is one of the purest, most beautiful gifts the company has ever given us.
Tuesday, the globe-trotting software received a major overhaul that will delight hardcore fans and remind others that it's still a great way to throw away hours of your life.
It's been two years since the search giant last gave Google Earth a major update and it seems as if the virtual globe has become a new priority for the company.
Last October, a new virtual reality version was introduced and now several additions have made the application extra sticky.
One of the biggest changes is that it no longer has to be a separate app that you download.
On a desktop, you can just go to the URL in Chrome and start exploring.
This may seem minor but you'll now be seeing a lot more of Google Earth because there's no need to open a separate app and sharing is an emphasized feature.
With the Android app, you can quickly share a digital postcard with your contacts.
The ability to use the service in browser is also a big deal for Chromebook users who were previously locked out.
Above all the other updates, the most significant overall is the new "Voyager" feature, available by clicking the ship's wheel icon.
Google has partnered with organizations like BBC Earth and DigitalGlobe to create little informative experiences.
Clicking on 'Endangered Species Around the World' will show you the locations of various endangered species and give you photos and a 'knowledge card' offers some background about them.
It's kind of like Wikipedia mixed with Google Earth.
'Itineraries' offers guided tours of cities, and a lot more information has been added to major destinations.
So far, there are a little over 50 stories but Google plans to add more every week.
There are also 20,000 destinations with knowledge cards.
It seems all but inevitable that a crowdsourcing model will be implemented eventually to flesh this tool out.
If you want to go off the beaten trail, there's an 'I'm feeling lucky' button.
The first time I clicked it, I got Fukuoka Tower in Fukuoka, Japan —  cool tower.
It was also a great destination for trying out the new 3D features that allow you to explore renderings of major cities and landmarks from any angle.
We're still not close to photorealism yet but it has a lovely SimCity-esque quality.
All-in-all, it's a solid refresh for Google Earth and I probably lost about 45 minutes of my night playing with it.
But 'lost' is really the wrong word.
I visited some far-flung locations, learned some factoids about the lined seahorse, and was once again reminded why Earth is the best planet.
I also learned that my neighbors have a pool that I never noticed before.


Google Earth

April 21, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Smart Cloud — Your own private disco


From the website:



Today's weather report? Cloudy with a chance of songstorms.

Smart Cloud is an interactive speaker and lamp that produces light and sound at your command, or in time with whatever music you're playing.

Functions include streaming music via Bluetooth, music visualization (think: lightning to the beat), motion sensing (clap for color), and ambient light displays.

Features and Details:

• 14 lbs.


• Swag wiring

• 24" x 15" x 14"

• Clear/silver cord

• Remote included

• Motion detection

• Hand made to order

• Embedded thunder sounds

• Hypoallergenic polyester fiber 

• Embedded 2.1 Bluetooth Speaker system w/ subwoofer




April 21, 2017 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

April 20, 2017

How common is your birthday?



[via RealityCarnival]

April 20, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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