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December 6, 2011

Cameras in the UK: Ours are OK — but not yours


The UK has more surveillance cameras per capita than anyplace on the planet yet apparently does not cotton to the digital eyes of others.

Witness the sign above.

From PetaPixel: "Photographer Tim Allen spotted this sign outside the Aldwych tube station, an abandoned London Underground station that recently opened up for tours. While photography bans are pretty common, the station has decided to only ban DSLRs due to 'their combination of high quality sensor and high resolution.' Other cameras are allowed in, as long as they don't look 'big' enough to shoot amazing photos."

[via Amateur Photographer and MegaPixel]

December 6, 2011 at 04:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Digital Video Microscope


From the website:


The Digitech-i Video Microscope is a portable magnification device which can easily be operated by plugging directly into the 2.7" LCD unit, enabling you to magnify objects up to 200x.

Enhanced with adjustable light control, video/audio recording and an external SD card slot for storage, it can capture high-quality images (JPG) and videos (AVI).

The full package includes a 2.7-inch LCD screen, 50x~200x microscope, lens cover and a detachable stand.

Additionally, this high-tech video microscope works on 4 AA batteries, which makes it a perfect candidate for outdoor and indoor projects for scientific teaching and research.



[via Wired magazine]

December 6, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Experts' Expert: Hotel check-in tips

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Guy Trebay writes with great wit and flair on fashion and related subjects for the New York Times.

Sunday's Travel section featured his front page story headlined "My Life in Hotels," in which he related his lifelong attraction to them.

He wrote a sidebar titled "Six Ways to Master Your Stay" which I'm betting will provide even the most seasoned traveler with at least one useful thing she or he didn't know.

Without furthur ado, his six check-in tips summarized:

1. See the third room first

2. Empty the mini-bar

3. Declutter

4. Remove the unsightly

5. Swab

6. Quarantine the bedspread

December 6, 2011 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mo-Tool Ax: "The most dangerous object in the office this month"


Wrote Kristina Bjoran of this device in the December issue of Wired: "Multitools generally don’t come with axes — probably because that would be absurd. The only way to make it work would be to combine an ax that’s waaay too small with a multitool that's waaay too big. So, seriously, Brook & Hunter, what were you thinking with this $50 Mo-Tool monstrosity? In addition to a hammer (!), wire cutter, and can opener, it has a 2-inch-long ax head (and a safety sleeve so you don’t open your femoral artery when you shove it into your pocket). It'll really come in handy when we're… um, when we're repairing doll houses? When we're clear-cutting bonsai? Oh, Brook & Hunter, we can't stay mad at you. Look at it — it's a friggin' multitool with an ax. Just don't call it a hatchet."


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or Wood handle.

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December 6, 2011 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The art of nature and the nature of art


Michael Thomas Host and Tanja Hinder of mth woodworking in Vancouver, B.C. start with sections of trees ranging from 60 to 600 years old.


Usually employing sliced tree bases essentially as they are,


the makers decide how best to feature the inherent shapes with a minimalist resin addition.


Apply within.


[via Dornob and a Yinzer]

December 6, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

MorphWorld: Jason Reitman into Jason Lee


The 34-year-old director of, among other films, "Juno" and "Up in the Air" is a dead ringer for the 41-year-old slacker king of Hollywood (that is, he oftimes plays slackeroid — like that? Use it and pretend you made it up) types.


[via reader A. Sasaki — nice call. I'll take more like that, please.]

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: which is which?

Reitman up top, Lee below.

December 6, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Deep water camouflage: Invisibility cloak of the Japetella octopus

Caption for the YouTube video above:

Blue Light Turns an Octopus Red

One thousand meters under the sea, where the red wavelength of sunlight doesn't penetrate, red organisms are effectively invisible. But things are trickier in the middle ocean depths, between 600 and 1000 meters, where sunlight can still reveal the silhouettes of colorful sea creatures. So a couple of mid-ocean-dwelling cephalopods—the animal class including octopuses and squids—have come up with a flexible strategy: Start out transparent, but change colors when certain predators come around. In a new study reported online today in Current Biology, researchers witnessed this behavior in the octopus Japetella heathi (shown) and the squid Onychoteuthis banksii. They exposed the creatures to a beam of directed blue light, as might come from certain bioluminescent predators, as well as to other stimuli such as passing shadows. When the blue light hit them, the cephalopods contracted muscles that stretched their pigment-containing cells, turning their skin red. In the wild, this quick blush hides the cephalopods from their predators, as red objects are imperceptible under blue light. Thus, J. heathi and O. banksii stay invisible, even though they're no longer transparent.

The video up top is narrated by Sarah Zylinski , one of the authors of the study demonstrating the phenomenon.

The paper was published in the November 10, 2011 issue of Current Biology; its abstract follows.

Mesopelagic Cephalopods Switch between Transparency and Pigmentation to Optimize Camouflage in the Deep

Animals in the lower mesopelagic zone (600–1,000 m depth) of the oceans have converged on two major strategies for camouflage: transparency and red or black pigmentation. Transparency conveys excellent camouflage under ambient light conditions, greatly reducing the conspicuousness of the animal's silhouette. Transparent tissues are seldom perfectly so, resulting in unavoidable internal light scattering. Under directed light, such as that emitted from photophores thought to function as searchlights, the scattered light returning to a viewer will be brighter than the background, rendering the animal conspicuous. At depths where bioluminescence becomes the dominant source of light, most animals are pigmented red or black, thereby reflecting little light at wavelengths generally associated with photophore emissions and visual sensitivities. However, pigmented animals are susceptible to being detected via their silhouettes. Here we show evidence for rapid switching between transparency and pigmentation under changing optical conditions in two mesopelagic cephalopods, Japetella heathi and Onychoteuthis banksii. Reflectance measurements of Japetella show that transparent tissue reflects twice as much light as pigmented tissue under direct light. This is consistent with a dynamic strategy to optimize camouflage under ambient and searchlight conditions.

[via Ritchie S. King's November 14, 2011 article in the New York Times Science section]

December 6, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Camera Cookie Cutter Set


From the website:



These fun little molds make edible cameras.

You get three different designs: an SLR, a classic rangefinder, and an old-school twin reflex camera.


The set also comes with a dough stamp, perfect for stenciling out camera details with frosting and sprinkles.


Made from BPA-free food-grade plastic, each measures 3" x 2.25".




[via Svpply]

December 6, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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