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December 4, 2009

Repairing High-Voltage Power Cables From a Helicopter


Wrote Bob on The Fiery Source: "You have to be seriously insane to repair high voltage cables from a helicopter, that's exactly what this man is going to do in this video. Just wearing a Faraday Suit to protect yourself from catching on fire is enough to send me to the unemployment line, let alone the height and high voltage. Watching this clip gave me the shivers. Anyway the suit is 75% Nomex to prevent this man from catching on fire — it creates a Farady cage around him, basically the suit transfers the electricity around his body. The steel allows the juice to flow around him completing a circuit. He is not grounded so all is OK, but still! Check out the video, you may better appreciate your job after watching it."

[via Milena]

December 4, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Everything's better with a red cross on it

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Q.E.D. above and below

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by Propaganda.

[via Milena]

December 4, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Duff Beer — Homer Simpson's favorite — is here

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Long story short: Mexican entrepreneur Rodrigo Contreras is producing it as fast as he can at a brewery in Tijuana called Simpson's Brewing Company until Fox takes legal action.

So far, so good.

But if you want some I'd act now because I guarantee it's not a matter of "if" but rather "when" Fox decides to put the hammer down.

According to Adam Thomson's Financial Times story, which follows, "The biggest prize is the U.S., where the beer [top] is available through a couple of businesses that import it from Mexico."

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The last word: Mexican marketing man brings Homer Simpson's favourite beer to life

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Zaida Hernández sits on a small black leatherette sofa with her friend Ana in Mexico City's King's Pub. The lights are low, the music is loud and the special offer tonight is pizza and frozen mojitos, served in a wide-rimmed martini glass.

But Ms Hernández, a round-faced design student, is not drinking mojitos. She is drinking Duff Beer , the preferred beverage of Homer Simpson.

"We were looking for something different," she says, taking a closer look at the label, which is practically the same as the design on the cans in the cartoon. "When someone offers you Duff, I guess you just have to try it."

That is exactly what Rodrigo Contreras, the real-life producer of Duff Beer, wanted to hear. A marketing man, Mr Contreras has always had an eye for a gimmick. The $140,000 (€93,000, £84,000) investment to establish Duff, his company, came from the proceeds of a book he wrote about Vicente Fox, a former president of Mexico, who is remembered for everything he failed to do in office. The book consists of 136 blank pages.

Mr Contreras first thought of producing Duff in 2002 while watching "The Simpsons". "I thought to myself on countless occasions: 'Someone should do that,'" he says. "Then I thought: 'Why not me?'"

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One reason is Fox, the media colossus and owner of "The Simpsons". In one reported case in the late 1990s, the Lion Nathan brewery in Australia was ordered to withdraw its Duff Beer after Fox brought legal action for trademark infringement — even though the product bore no resemblance to that in the series.

Fox would not confirm that report. When asked about Mr Contreras's Duff Beer, the network said it could not comment on any legal action it may or may not be taking. It simply said: " The Simpsons is a Twentieth Century Fox property, and Fox owns the rights to The Simpsons universe. We intend to protect our rights."

Mr Contreras insists he contacted Fox in 2006, and has been ignored since. He also claims he contacted Gracie Films, the series' producer. "I wanted to reassure them I wasn't a thief and I didn't want to steal their ideas," he says. He was looking for a partnership but, with no firm answer, decided to push on.

The beer is brewed in Tijuana by a company called Simpson's Brewing Company, which Mr Contreras stresses is a coincidence.

He says sales in Europe, where he launched the beer, now vary between 25 and 30 containers a month - a container holds 1,716 cases of 24 bottles each - compared with six when he began in 2006.

In Mexico, sales have increased from two containers a month when he started production earlier this year, to about 10.

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This growth is impressive given that Mr Contreras has spent almost nothing on advertising. But as Javier Suarez, the manager of King's Pub, says: "The moment you offer customers Duff Beer from "The Simpsons",they rip it out of your hands."

But the same reason for the drink's success could also be a drawback. Most consumers know the fictional drink is a parody of the kind of mass-produced beer found throughout the US. Besides, its most famous consumer is hardly most people's role model. And Mr Contreras admits: "We love Homer but we don't necessarily want to be like him. My worst fear is that people just buy Duff Beer once to keep the bottle."

Mr Contreras says the next stage is to begin producing Duff in cans, like the ones Homer drinks. The idea is to do an initial run of 300,000 cans in Mexico. He has invested about $400,000 in getting them to market, and the Tijuana brewery has invested an additional $1.1m. Mr Contreras also intends to establish 35 bars throughout Mexico where he will sell the beer.

But the biggest prize is the US, where the beer is available through a couple of businesses that import it from Mexico, but where Mr Contreras has yet to register the trademark.

"I am not going to enter until I know whether they [Fox] are going to fight me or go in with me." he says.

Given Fox's silence, he might have to wait some time.

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According to Wikipedia , "Matt Groening has stated that he will not license the Duff trademark to brew an actual beer, over concern that it will encourage children to drink."

More from Wikipedia: "Since 2006, Rodrigo Contreras, from Guadalajara, Mexico [has been] setting up a business with the purpose of selling Duff beer. He managed to register the 'Duff' trademark in Mexico, as well as the domain name DuffDeMexico.com. Contreras designed the bottle to be identical to the one portrayed on 'The Simpsons.' The bottle can be seen at his website. The beer is currently available at a few bars, but Contreras has stated his intention of selling it at convenience stores and even exporting it to the U.S.

"This case has been featured in several Mexican newspapers and magazines, but most of them focus on the novelty the beer represents, rather than the legal implications of it. The 'Duff' trademark was not registered in Mexico before Contreras registered it; however, Mexican intellectual property law recognizes the concept of 'brand notoriety,' which states that if any brand is well-known by a specific section of consumers or industry due to the commercial activities and/or advertisement done by its owners, they have the right to claim the ownership of the trademark. What seems to be a pirated Duff beer produced by Contreras is about to be released in Colombia. According to its website, he may already have a local trademark over 'Duff,' since it claims that another Duff pirate was jailed in Bogotá."

December 4, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gas Stove Burner-Shaped USB 2 Fans Laptop Cooling Pad

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Clearly above my TechnoDolt™ pay grade 'cause I haven't a clue as to where you're supposed to place this device in relation to your laptop.

Does it go next to the computer and cool it by dissipating the heat via the USB cable?

Huh.

So that's what USB stands for: Unusually Scorching Buss.

It doesn't?

Oh.

"The built-in 2 fans can absolutely help to dissipate the heat-air away from underneath the notebook computer for cooling down the overall temperature of your system."

Oh, now I see: you put your laptop on top of this device.

But what about the flames?

Isn't that kind of dangerous?

They're not flames, they're blue LEDs?

Doh.

$12.69.

I'm still not sure that's right, I mean, wouldn't your laptop be unstable atop this accessory?

No more than you, joe.

Now shut up and move on.

December 4, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Longest Way 1.0 — one year walk/beard grow time lapse

Long story short: Christoph Rehage went for a walk.

[via Milena]

December 4, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Limited Edition Marc Newson x Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos Clock

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"The Atmos, conceived 80 years ago, is... driven by tiny changes in temperature with 1°C providing power for 48 hours," wrote Maria Doulton in a November 13, 2009 Financial Times story.

The clock floats in a Baccarat lead crystal cube.

Edition of 888, individually numbered.

$18,000.

December 4, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Rejecta Mathematica

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Long story (from the July 29, 2009 Economist) short: four Rice University graduate students, after having a paper rejected with reviews saying good work but find somewhere else for it, decided to cut out the middleman and found their own journal, Rejecta Mathematica.

Here's the Economist story.

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Huddled maths

An academic journal provides haven for rejected work

Paul Lauterbur, the father of magnetic-resonance imaging, had his seminal paper rejected when he first submitted it to Nature. Peter Higgs, eponymous predictor of physics’s missing boson, faced similar trouble with Physics Letters. But Lauterbur went on to win a Nobel prize for his work, and Dr Higgs is an odds-on favourite to get one soon. A good, rejected paper, then, is by no means an oxymoron.

And that observation is the basis of Rejecta Mathematica, an open-source academic journal that recently went online. As its name suggests, the new journal publishes only papers that, like Lauterbur’s and Dr Higgs’s, have been previously submitted to, and rejected by, others. With Annals of Mathematics, one of the best, denying entry to more than 300 last year alone, Rejecta could be busy.

Rejecta was conceived three years ago by four graduate students at Rice University, in Houston, Texas. Two of its founders, Michael Wakin and Christopher Rozell, had just had a paper on card counting in blackjack rejected. Good work, said the reviewers, but find some other place for it. When they could not, they, along with Mark Davenport and Jason Laska, decided to cut out the middle man and found their own journal.

If Rejecta is a joke, it is a well-executed one. The serious aim is to highlight papers that, although perhaps flawed, may still be interesting. It manages that well. The inaugural issue includes topics ranging from image enhancement to condition numbers of matrices (don’t ask). All come with an “open letter” in which the paper’s author outlines in lay terms why the work was rejected (extra points awarded for bitterness), what has been done since and why it still has merit.

Rejecta’s larger purpose, then, may be a light jab at academia’s bureaucracy and the rigmarole to which it is necessary to submit in order to get published. Whether conventional journals are necessary in the internet age is a matter of active debate. Refereeing maths papers, in particular, requires serious expertise that few have. Those who do, usually receive no pay for their refereeing services. Mistakes can be made. Academia as a whole, some say, could do a better job. But peer review is still necessary. And yes, the editors claim that they too have had to reject some submissions.

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Here's Rejecta Mathematica's Facebook page.

Nothing to submit?

Me neither.

No problem: do like I do and follow them on Twitter.

December 4, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ice Stopper Glasses

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Designed by Angelo Mangiarotti, the mouth-blown crystal glasses have indentations which not only assist holding them but also stop ice from escaping when you drink.

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Six for $270.


December 4, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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