May 18, 2024

World's First Scratch-and-Sniff Baguette Stamp

Screenshot 2024-05-18 at 11.54.45 AM

[The celebratory baguette-themed French postage stamp.]


Where else but France could such a stamp originate?

From the Guardian:

'Bakery Scent' Added Via Microcapsules To Postage Stamp Celebrating 'Jewel of French Culture'

The French Post Office has released a scratch-and-sniff postage stamp to celebrate the baguette, once described by President Emmanuel Macron as "250 grams of magic and perfection".

The stamp, which costs €1.96, depicts a baguette decorated with a red, white and blue ribbon. It has a print run of 594,000 copies.

According to the Parisian shop Le Carre d'encre, which sells it, the stamp has a "bakery scent". The ink used on the stamps contains microcapsules which provide the fragrance.

It was released for sale on Friday, after a launch on Thursday, the day of Saint-Honoré, the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs.

"The baguette, the bread of our daily lives, the symbol of our gastronomy, the jewel of our culture", La Poste says on its website.

"This scent is encapsulated. We buy it from another manufacturer," Damien Lavaud, printer at Philaposte, told France Bleu.

"And the difficulty for us is to apply this ink without breaking the capsules, so that the smell can then be released by the customer rubbing on the stamp."

The French baguette was given Unesco heritage status in 2022.

According to the New York Times, "The stamp is intended to be used for international letters of up to 20 grams, or about 0.7 ounces. Thanks to its innovative scratch-and-sniff technology, it will also transport 'bakery fragrances' to those lucky enough to receive a letter from France.

Get yours at post offices and kiosks throughout France.

May 18, 2024 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Exactly how big is Africa?


From Krulwich Wonders: "Africa is so big, you can pack in all of the U.S., all of China, the enormity of India and every bit of Europe and still have room for Japan at the lower right."

Map by designer Kai Krause and Information is Beautiful.

[via Richard Kashdan]

May 18, 2024 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Maze Pen


From websites:

Make your kids excited to do their homework.

School supplies don't need to be boring.

Tiny metal balls moves around the maze.

See how quickly they can get the balls from one end to the other.


Features and Details:

• Set of 8 different color pens

• Excellent fidget toy

• Blue ink



May 18, 2024 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 17, 2024

Catatumbo Lightning

Roughly 160 nights a year, up to nine hours of lightning, visible from up to 285 miles away, illuminate the Catatumbo River basin where it empties into Lake Maracaibo (South America's largest lake) in western Venezuela.

From Slate:

Known as the "Beacon of Maracaibo," the Catatumbo lightning has guided sailors for centuries.

It can sometimes be seen on the horizon from as far away as the Lesser Antilles, more than 200 miles distant.

In his 1597 poem "The Dragontea," which tells the story of Sir Francis Drake's last expedition, Spanish poet Lope de Vega tells how the lightning — "flames, which the wings of night cover" — illuminated the silhouettes of the English privateer's ships, tipping off the garrison at Maracaibo to his surprise attack.

During the last major naval skirmish of the Venezuelan war of independence in 1823, the lightning was said to have helped steer the ships of Adm. José Prudencio Padilla to victory over the Spanish fleet.

The storm is so central to the region's identity that the state of Zulia put a large lightning bolt in the middle of its flag.


The lightning flashes occur 15-40 times per minute and can reach an intensity of 400,000 amps.

Discharging more the 1.2 million times a year, the Catatumbo Lightning has been called the single greatest natural source of ozone on the planet.

May 17, 2024 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

'Hard to Kill: Houseplants for the Inept'



Up top, the headline above Michael Tortorello's New York Times article.

Right about now is when a lot of people's houseplants are looking a little wan so I figured it was the good time for this.

Wrote Tortorello:

When I learned that I would be moving... for the first time in 11 years, I took stock of the survivors. What did I find on the radiator cover? A pair of umbrella plants that counted a dozen leaves between them. A ficus with something like psoriasis and another with a stoop. I felt pity, and I felt shame.

A month after moving into my new home, I phoned three experts [Uli Lorimer, Mike Rimland and Mark Hoover] to ask what new houseplants I should draw close to my bosom and adopt as my own. They suggested plants for shady windows and plants for dry winters. They shared their best tips and their favorite catalogs. They described plants that cannot be killed. Their greatest hits are below.

CAST-IRON PLANT (ASPIDISTRA ELATIOR) Like vending machines and cosplay, Mr. Lorimer said, the aspidistra [below]


is big in Japan. Maybe it's the ground-level flowers that bear an unlikely eight petals — the botanical equivalent of a two-headed goat at the state fair. Or perhaps it's the plant's indifference to light and water. Ultimately, Mr. Lorimer said, you can treat this plant like a piece of furniture. That is to say, remember to dust its foot-long leaves every once in a while.

SAGO PALM (CYCAS REVOLUTA - top) "You could drive a truck over it [top], and you couldn't kill it," Mr. Rimland said. Do we hear a challenge?

STRAWBERRY BEGONIA (SAXIFRAGA STOLONIFERA) The botanical name sounds like a Mary Poppins tongue-twister, and the "round, grayish, scalloped" leaves [below]


are nothing special, Mr. Hoover said. He came to appreciate the survival instinct of this tiny plant when he noticed it sending out runners at the nursery — on the cold floor, beneath a table, with no obvious water or light.

May 17, 2024 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Instant Noodles Pet Bed — 'Udon cup-themed cat and dog nest'



From the website:

Everyone loves cup instant ramen in Japan: they are everywhere, they are tasty, they can be prepared in three minutes with just a couple of cups of hot water, and you can cook them and eat them in the cup they come in.

The Instant Noodles Pet Bed is the proof that even animals love this dish: the moment your cat or (small) dog sees it, they'll rush to get inside and stay there forever!

Like with the cup ramen, the trick in the Instant Noodles Pet Bed is the cup itself: made of cotton, it offers superb heat retention and an amazing level of comfort that any cat (or dog or rabbit) will appreciate the moment they get inside.

The pet nest is available in two sizes, medium and large (see below for exact dimensions), and can accommodate animals up to 10 kg (22 lbs). And as for its appearance, the bed is a perfect copy of one of Japan's most popular types of instant noodles – now with your four-legged friend as the topping!


Features and Details:




May 17, 2024 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 16, 2024

Tiny Sweaters

Above, a video about making the teeny-tiny sweaters seen in the movie "Coraline."

Said artist Althea Crome: "I think knitters are often fascinated by the fact that I use such tiny needles. Some of the needles are almost the dimension of a human hair."


More: "I love the paradox of creating an object that takes the form of something you can wear, yet is impossible to wear."


Above, van Gogh's "Starry Night" as reenvisioned by Crome.

Can she knit one for you?

Apply within.

[via Kottke]

May 16, 2024 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

British Placename Mapper


Wrote its creator, Robin Wilson:

This tool lets you visualize British place names that match certain search terms on a map.

Search terms can be used to match anywhere in the name, at the beginning or end, exactly, or using a regular expression.

Hover (tap on mobile) over a marker on the map to see its name. Click the copy button at the bottom to share your searches with others.

Uses Ordnance Survey Open Names data.

[via @charlesarthur]

May 16, 2024 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Chasaji (Tea Leaf Spoon)

Screenshot 2024-04-26 at 8.09.15 AM

From the website:

Copper chasaji (tea leaf spoon) designed with a modern form and a distinctive patina.

Tokyo-based design studio Sゝゝ( ES) draws on the materials and skills of traditional Japanese craft to produce contemporary objects for daily use.

Features and Details:

12cm L x 3.5cm W (4.7" x 1.4")

Material: Copper

Made in Japan

Weight: 18g


    ¥8,500 ($54.62 USD).

    May 16, 2024 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

    May 15, 2024

    Helpful Hints from joeeze: Spreading cold butter


    [via Cecelia Rooney of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, in the "Quick Tips" feature of the January & February 2011* issue of Cook's Illustrated]

    *Crack Research Team©®™ FTW!

    May 15, 2024 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

    Movie Title Sequences


    Fair warning:


    there goes the day.

    May 15, 2024 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Kroil: World's best penetrating oil


    Here is John Todd's review of Kroil Penetrating Oil as it appeared in Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools:

    Kroil is an extremely effective penetrating lubricant. Almost every professional machine shop I've been in has a bottle of this sitting prominently beside the workbench. I first saw it about eight years ago and asked the mechanic why he used it. His words are the same I now say to those who ask me: It will unstick ANYTHING.

    I frequently take apart antique machinery or general equipment. There is almost always rust, grime, burned grease, metal shavings, and the wear of decades that prevent me from separating bolts from nuts and pins from holes, or keep sliding surfaces from moving. I've used every possible penetrating lubricant on the market. Some worked OK, but nothing really was "magic" until I found Kroil. Not many products make me laugh with glee. But the satisfying twist of an otherwise impossible-to-remove bolt or the turn of a shaft that was rusted solid now make me smile, all because of this little orange can.

    Kroil doesn't work instantly. It takes between a few minutes and a few days (for extremely large bearing surfaces) to work its magic. I once let it sit for a week on a 300-pound flywheel that was being very stubborn, and it came right off.

    Kroil is not for general lubrication purposes. It's very thin (which is part of how it works) and is not very sticky. But that's not the reason I use it; I use it to get things apart. Kroil has a weird creeping capability, it finds its way up and across metal surfaces like some sort of strange science fiction amoeba. After I use Kroil to separate things, I'll typically clean them completely (dip in mineral spirits) air-blast to remove residue, and then re-oil with a more permanent lubricant. The Kroil won't hurt anything if it stays, but I like to get a thicker material in everywhere to avoid having to fix the problem again in a few years.

    If someone asked me what critical items I'd want for my toolbox, this would be among them. It comes at an even higher value than general-purpose sprays like WD-40. Simply put, Kroil is the most useful lubricant I know of.

    10 fl. oz. aerosol can: $25.99.

    Excerpt from another review:

    A recent example of when I have used Kroil came when I bought an Ideal #3 Stencil machine on eBay, which is used for cutting out cardboard or paper letters and numbers for making paint stencils. I purchased the machine for $40, which is about 1/5th the normal price, because the machine was rusty and jammed [below].


    I took the risk because I knew Kroil would work. Indeed, when I opened up the box, the rust was pretty severe. All of the vertical punch letters were rusted in place, and the dial didn't even spin at all to change letters. I liberally doused all of the moving component interface areas I could see with Kroil, and then started to take it apart. After an hour or so of time, I was able to get all of the moving components back into fully operational condition after slowly working them through a few gritty and then progressively smoother cycles with the Kroil finding its way into the nooks and crannies.

    Even the central shaft [below]


    which was frozen solid with several hundred pounds of turning force, after two hours or so I was able to feel a little movement, and after another hour and some huffing and puffing I was able to get the assembly off the shaft.

    May 15, 2024 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

    May 14, 2024

    Evolution of Tech Logos



    [via VisualCapitalist]

    May 14, 2024 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

    EarthCam Live: Dublin, Ireland

    Long story short: if you visit the EarthCam portal in Times Square in New York City, you can see what's happening in real time in Dublin.

    Conversely, if you visit the Dublin portal you can see what's going in in Gotham.

    Even better: from wherever you happen to be, you can visit these portals virtually on YouTube.

    Free, the way we like it.

    The art installation designed by Lithuanian artist Benediktas Gylys went live last Wednesday, May 8.

    Each structure has an 8-foot-wide screen.

    Yesterday's Guardian story brings you up to date on what has transpired in its first five days.

    May 14, 2024 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

    6-in-1 Pen


    From the website:

    Scrybe 6-in-1 Pen: Pen, Ruler, Touchscreen Stylus, Bubble Level, Phillips Screwdriver, Flat Screwdriver

    The pen that is mightier than the sword!

    This is a great pen to keep in your flight bag [Note: website is].


    We'll bet you'll find plenty of uses on the ground and in the air!

    The SCRYBE is a trusty pen, ruler, touchscreen stylus, bubble level and 2 micro screwdrivers.


    The body of the pen has inch and centimeter rulers, as well as a bubble level for quick measurements.


    Remove the cap to reveal a micro driver with a double-sided bit.


    Its all-metal construction is a durable, elegant design that delivers a smooth writing experience with its high-quality German ink.

    Features and Details:

    • Textured grip

    5.875"L x 0.5" x 0.375"

    3 extra ink refills included

    • Anodized aluminum and chromium-plated copper



    May 14, 2024 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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