Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mount Everest now 'wired' for Internet, ready for Starbucks

TeliaSonera subsidiary Ncell has just completed installation of a 3G base station at 5,200 meters (17,000 feet) that will reach the 8,848-meter peak of Mount Everest. Mind you, we've already seen a cellphone call made from the world's highest peak using a temporary base station in a Motorola publicity stunt. This time, however, it's permanent and faster allowing climbers to surf the internet or make 3G video calls. Why would Ncell want to build a base station in such a sparsely populated area? Because it is there.

Mount Everest now 'wired' for Internet, ready for Starbucks originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 29 Oct 2010 05:04:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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TSA demands testicular fondling as an alternative to naked scanners

The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg has been experimenting with declining the whole-body TSA scanners at US airports -- and now things have gotten more intimate. The TSA has initiated a new, more humiliating pat-down procedure for people who refuse to show screeners their genitals on the naked scanners -- one that involves testicular cupping:
At BWI, I told the officer who directed me to the back-scatter that I preferred a pat-down. I did this in order to see how effective the manual search would be. When I made this request, a number of TSA officers, to my surprise, began laughing. I asked why. One of them -- the one who would eventually conduct my pat-down -- said that the rules were changing shortly, and that I would soon understand why the back-scatter was preferable to the manual search. I asked him if the new guidelines included a cavity search. "No way. You think Congress would allow that?"

I answered, "If you're a terrorist, you're going to hide your weapons in your anus or your vagina." He blushed when I said "vagina."

"Yes, but starting tomorrow, we're going to start searching your crotchal area" -- this is the word he used, "crotchal" -- and you're not going to like it."

"What am I not going to like?" I asked.

"We have to search up your thighs and between your legs until we meet resistance," he explained.

"Resistance?" I asked.

"Your testicles," he explained.

'That's funny," I said, "because 'The Resistance' is the actual name I've given to my testicles..."

The pat-down at BWI was fairly vigorous, by the usual tame standards of the TSA, but it was nothing like the one I received the next day at T.F. Green in Providence. Apparently, I was the very first passenger to ask to opt-out of back-scatter imaging. Several TSA officers heard me choose the pat-down, and they reacted in a way meant to make the ordinary passenger feel very badly about his decision. One officer said to a colleague who was obviously going to be assigned to me, "Get new gloves, man, you're going to need them where you're going."

For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance (via Kottke)

(Image: In Your Face, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from nyc_xmas's photostream)

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Christine O'Donnell's campaign manager offers $1,000 to anyone who can prove "separation of church &

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New "snub-nosed" monkey species discovered, killed, eaten

Photograph: Ngwe Lwin via National Geographic.
Killed for food, an R. strykeri monkey is displayed in Myanmar in early 2010.

The only scientifically observed specimen of a newly discovered monkey species in Myanmar (Burma) was killed by local hunters by the time researchers found it. Shortly thereafter, it was eaten.

This species of monkey in fact so snub-nosed that it is said to sneeze uncontrollably when it rains. But "Snubby" has far greater problems than the sniffles.

Local demand for monkey flesh as a food source is one of many reasons the species is endangered; habitat destruction by Chinese logging companies is a big threat, which in turn leads to more hunting: no forest means fewer barriers to tracking and killing these beautiful, vulnerable beasts.

Read more here at National Geographic News.

(via Submitterator, thanks, Ted and Marilyn Terrell)

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Boyfriend Pillow for $26 + free shipping

Boyfriend Pillow for $26 + free shipping AB Marketers via offers the Boyfriend Pillow (also called a "hug me pillow") for $25.50 with free shipping. That's the lowest total price we could find by a buck. Only slightly disturbing, this pillow mimics a quarter of a human ... for snuggling purposes. And, just like a real man, it's filled with polyester.

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Court Shuts Down LimeWire

LimeWire, the popular decade-old peer-to-peer network, was shut down yesterday after losing its legal battle against the RIAA, Wired reports. A federal judge found that 93 percent of the traffic on Limewire, which drew 50 million users a month, involved the transfer of unauthorized copyright material. Under the judge's orders, ...

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30 Congolese women imprisoned in "dungeon," systematically raped

Thirty Congolese women were held in a "dungeon" on the border of Congo and Angola and systematically raped by uniformed men over a period of weeks earlier this month, say U.N. officials. They were part of a group of 150 expelled from Angola, 3 of whom were killed (one, a woman who died from the physical trauma of repeated rape). Survivors were released on the Congolese side of the border, naked and with no belongings.

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Nordstrom's Employee Handbook — short and sweet

For years, Nordstrom's Employee Handbook was a single 5×8" gray card containing these 75 words:

Welcome to Nordstrom

We're glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.

Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

During this time, Nordstrom had the highest sales per square foot performance in the retail industry – by almost double. [thx Ian]

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Disturbing, delightful and very, very short: Fiction in 25 words or fewer


I love these snippets from Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer, that were published in the New Yorker. An anthology, edited by Robert Swartwood, it includes an eerie piece by my friend and fellow Minneapolitan Jeremy Zoss, called "Houston, We Have a Problem":

I'm sorry, but there's not enough air in here for everyone. I'll tell them you were a hero.

Perfect reading for those winter evenings where you just want to take in a sentence, and then stare out the window for 20 minutes digesting it.

Image of something else disturbing and short: Some rights reserved by Alyssa L. Miller

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Arkansas School Board Member Says Gay Students Should "Get AIDS and Die" - Michael A. Jones - chang

Thanks to InYourFaceNewYorker for the link

It's scary to think that a person who believes gay kids deserve suicide has a position of power within a school district. But sure enough, Clint McCance is a school board member at Midland School District in Arkansas. And he has some absolutely troubling and disturbing views when it comes to homosexuality, according to HRC Backstory.

McCance took to his Facebook page last week, to blast what became known as Spirit Day, a day where all around the country, people wore the color purple to remember those LGBT students who were victims of bullying or suicide. For McCance, this was nothing more than a day of honoring "sin."

"Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. The only way I'm wearin' it for them is if they all commit suicide," McCance said, in one of the most ugly outbursts in recent memory. "I can't believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed themselves because of their sin."

It merits repeating once again that McCance, as a school board member in the Midland School District, is in a position of power where he helps set the education policy for students in the district. It should be more than alarming to administrators that McCance took to his Facebook page to suggest that all gay kids should commit suicide.

But alas, McCance didn't stop there. He started to engage his Facebook followers with even more homophobic rhetoric.

"Being a fag doesn't give you the right to ruin the rest of our lives. If you get easily offended by being called a fag then don't tell anyone you are a fag. Keep that shit to yourself," McCance wrote. "It pisses me off though that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags cant procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other aids and die."

Let's repeat this once again: this is a school board member. Someone charged with upholding the Midland School District's mission of "making a difference" in the lives of students. And his reaction to the recent spate of anti-gay bullying and LGBT students who have committed suicide? To release a diatribe so vile, it makes the Westboro Baptist Church look like Miss Manners.

Please take action and let the Midland School District know that this kind of language from a school board member is exactly the reason we live in a country where schools are toxic for LGBT students. This simply can't be excusable.

... Read more

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'Caprica' Is Cancelled by Syfy

Filed under: , ,

Due to low ratings, Syfy has cancelled the 'Battlestar Galactica' prequel 'Caprica.'

Syfy is pulling the show from its broadcast rotation immediately, and the remaining five episodes of the show's first season will air some time in the first few months of 2011, according to the network.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spanish Hookers Forced To Wear Reflective Safety Vests [LOLCars]

Sex workers in rural Spain are being forced to wear yellow fluorescent safety vests while renting their bodies in traffic or pay a fine. It's just another way the Spanish are embracing the concept of safer sex. [The Telegraph] More » 

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Electronics giant Sony rumored for potential Apple acquisition

A new rumor has pegged Apple and its $51 billion in cash and investments as a potential buyer of Sony, prompting the largest trading volume of the Japanese electronics company in 3 months.

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WATCH: New Daft Punk 'Tron' Track Leaks

Daft Punk have been teasing frustratingly brief snippets of their soundtrack to Tron: Legacy. But the French duo have finally released their most satisfying preview yet, a one-and-a-half minute sample of the epic future-funk track "Derezzed," paired with footage from the movie. The soundtrack drops November 22; the movie hits theaters on December 17. Check out the trailer below.

WATCH: Daft Punk, "Derezzed"

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Lola Dupre's strange photomontage portraits

 1326 5105488836 A3C3086Aaf B  1185 5105488894 Eef3E1C1F0 B
Scotland-based artist Lola Dupre cuts up photographs and collages the snips into mind-bendingly weird and witty deformed portraits. She is a master of scissors, glue, and surrealism. Hi-Fructose posted an interview with Dupre and includes shots of the cutting room floor too. From Hi-Fructose:
 1381 5104892611 Feb65A566A B First an image for manipulation has to be selected and sometimes this is what takes most of my time. Going into a project I often have a very fixed idea of what I want to work with: finding the image with the right background, foreground, resolution, and content can take all day sometimes! I usually search Google images for sources, or alternatively I scan images that myself or my contacts have.

When I have selected the right image to use, I crop and print this at various sizes and edits on various sizes of paper. Working like this, the only limitation is the resolution of the source image. I am currently planning to do some giant paste up art works on buildings and walls, and this requires just the same formula but slightly tweaked...

Originally I would cut up perhaps two or three images or work from a small handful of duplicates. But with time my technique has developed and now I need more! This is just technique development - like how a young painter might begin work with just a few colours of poster paints and one large brush, and years later they are working with multiple colours and honed techniques to blend and create with all the experiences they have learned through practice and exploring their medium.

For me, I take a certain delight in the ready-made colour schemes and the detail of the images I work from.

Lola Dupre interview

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Body Worlds creator now sells bodies and jewelry

Controversial German anatomist Gunther von Hagens, creator of the Body World exhibition of plastinated corpses, has launched a "merch" line. According to the Irish Times, you can now buy an entire plastinated body for €70,000, a torso for €55,644 and a loose head for €22,000 each. Jewelry made from plastinated animal slices is also available, in a section of the online shop called Lifestyle. (Shouldn't that be Deathstyle?) From the Irish Times:
Only "qualified users" who can provide written proof that they intend to use the parts for research, teaching or medical purposes can place an order.

Interested parties who do not fall into this category can buy reproductions of the real body parts - so-called "Anatomy Glass" which the shop's website describes as "high resolution acrylic glass prints of the original body slices".

Jewellery crafted from animal corpses, including necklaces made from horse slices, wristbands made from giraffe tails and earrings made from bull penises, is also available to the general public.

The online shop has outraged leading members of Germany's religious community. In a joint statement, Protestant regional bishop Ulrich Fischer and Catholic archbishop Robert Zollitsch condemned the online body shop, which they said was "breaking a taboo".

Gubener Plastinate (Thanks Kaden, via Submitterator!)

"Anatomist sells body parts online" (Irish Times)

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What if Beethoven had composed Darth Vader's theme?

What if Beethoven had composed Darth Vader's theme?

Today's moment of musical beauty comes courtesy of the Dark Lord of the Sith: Pianist Richard Grayson has taken John Williams' classic "Imperial March" and reworked it into a piano concerto worthy of the Maestro himself.

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Really Bad Belstaff Iron Man Jacket

Ironmanbelstttt As a rule, Belstaff coats are classic, timeless, and Steve McQueen cool. Then there's this -- their, er, Iron Man Jacket. It's handmade, leather, numbered, and $1950.
Iron Man Jacket Man

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We Showed 'Troll Physics' Comics to a Physics Professor. Here's His Reaction.

Filed under: , ,

Troll PsychicsIs it possible to "troll" the very laws of matter and motion that govern the universe for your own kinetic benefit? For example, can one survive a falling elevator by jumping up in the air at the last minute? Also, f*cking electromagnetism - how does it work?

If you've pondered any of those questions before, the blog Troll Physics offers incredibly simple but impossible "hacks" for manipulating the laws of nature to yield infinite energy, money and/or sexual partners. Since this site is pretty much a physics teacher's worst nightmare, I cornered one to get his reaction. David Morgan, a natural science professor with a PhD in physics, was kind enough to bring some logic and rational discourse to this hilariously asinine pile of hot meme trash. Read on for a play-by-play scientific smackdown.
troll physics
DM: "Up" is not "North"...the only reasonable meaning for the word "up" is "in the opposite direction of the Earth's gravitational pull at the surface." So saying "holding the Earth up" doesn't even make any sense. I'm pretty sure I just got a little stupider while explaining that.

troll physics
DM: Jumping off the ground - or even a chair on the ground - is nothing like jumping off a chair while you and the chair are in freefall. Because the chair isn't connected to anything, you'll be pushing the chair DOWN as much as pushing yourself up (via Newton's third law). And since you have much more mass than the chair, the force you and the chair exert on one another will speed up the chair's descent much more than it slows your own.

troll physics
DM: If all the plants on the planet can't currently absorb the human-generated CO2 where they are, moving some of them closer to the cars certainly isn't going to help. Stupid.

troll physics
DM: One look at the bottoms of the two wheels is enough to see that this doesn't amount to "downhill" in any way whatsoever.

troll physics
DM: You don't really need a guy with a PhD to explain to you that bacon isn't a plant, right?

troll physics
DM: This actually makes an interesting point, sort of. Why don't you recoil when you shine a beam of light? The answer is -You actually do! But not at the same SPEED as the light - with the same MOMENTUM as the light. The momentum (p) of a single photon of light is equal its energy divided by the speed of light (E = c p). So how much momentum does a beam of light carry? Well, suppose we shine a 100 Watt spotlight - we are producing 100 Joules of light energy per second (a Watt is a Joule of energy per second). So every second we are giving that light a momentum of (100J) / (300,000,000m/s) = .00000033 kg m/s.

To give a sense of how hard of a push that is, let's assume that the stupid troll thing in the wagon weighs 50 kg. To accelerate the wagon up to a speed of 1 m/s (around 3 feet per second... which is still pretty slow) would take (33 million * 50) seconds, which is 52 years. And that's assuming no friction!

(In reality, it would never move at all because of friction, so we'd have to do it in space. In fact, even though this seems like a feeble form of propulsion, NASA has plans for prototypes of a "solar sail" to push space probes out of the solar system using no propulsion other than that provided by reflected sunlight!)

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Grilled sausage scented iPhone soap


The holiday buying season is around the corner. What do you get that certain someone who has everything? Why, grilled sausage scented iPhone soap, of course! Talk about a gift giving trifecta. Combine supernatural gadget lust with a cardiac inducing appreciation of grilled meats, through in a little improved personal hygiene, and you've got one heck of a stocking stuffer. Boston area maker twoeggplants sums up their creation:

This iPhone soap is roughly the same size as the actual iPhone. It has the black button at the bottom and the "screen icons" in its "flat screen". The top layer of the soap is dark grayish black and the bottom layer is a slightly lighter shade of gray. I must say that this is one of my coolest creations and each feature is meticulously created. I hope you like the result of the many experiments and hours I spent to perfect it!

It weighs about 3.75 oz and it is scented with a fun Grilled Sausages fragrance. (I'm happy to provide a list of available fragrances to customize it as well.) Not only does it look cool, it is also infused with shea butter. It can also be made without fragrances or without shea butter.

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2001 monolith replica machined to 0.001"


SO. It turns out the 2001 monolith (in)action figure I wrote about last week is one of ThinkGeek's prank products. You can't actually buy one. Yet.

It's a clever trick, really: Call it an "April Fool's" product, then count the number of clicks on the buy link, and decide based on that info if you really want to manufacture and sell them, or not.

Me? Bitter? 'Course not.

Anyway, reader Dan Simpson saw that post and commented that

[b]ack in the 70s, I was commissioned to make one of these. I used one inch thick black acrylic plastic, and machined it to a thousandth of an inch accuracy on a vertical mill, then gave it a satin finish. Now, around three decades later, it's in stores. But I still have my prototype, which is a few thousandths off....

I asked, and Dan was kind enough to throw me a bone (sorry) with this photograph of his prototype. If it looks a bit funny, here, it's probably because I couldn't resist the temptation to crop it to 400.0 x 900.0 pixels. Although I am insufficiently evolved to perceive them, Dan assures me that the model's hyperspatial dimensions are equally precise. [Thanks, Dan!]

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Meme-ify Your Home With These 10 Internet Wall Hangings Currently for Sale on Etsy

Filed under: , ,

Etsy is the only place on the internet that might actually induce menstruation within the first thirty seconds of browsing; but don't worry, someone is probably selling homemade tampons.

Some of you might have seen the Xzibit needlepoint that's been floating around the internet these past couple days, and if you're like me you probably found yourself wondering, "Hey, is there any other crazy internet crap that I could be hanging on my walls?"

Well, I've scoured the marketplace and come up with ten of Etsy's finest wall hangings. I promise we'll give prizes to anyone who sends a family Thanksgiving photo taken under a Pedobear cross-stitch.

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There Are 5,000 Janitors in the U.S. with PhDs [Education]

There are 18,000 parking lot attendants in the U.S. with college degrees. There are 5,000 janitors in the U.S. with PhDs. In all, some 17 million college-educated Americans have jobs that don't require their level of education. Why? More »

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What Obi-Wan was REALLY doing between Star Wars Episode III and IV

What Obi-Wan was REALLY doing between Star Wars Episode III and IV

If you ever thought Obi-Wan Kenobi was a dick ... it turns out that he was. A private dick, that is. Check out the adventures of "Ben Kenobi: Private Jedeye," a short film which turns the Jedi into a 1940s noir detective.

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Husband confronts abortion protesters

Jerrycrew writes: "We had to abort our 16-week-old dying baby and were accosted by these zealots."

From Salon:

We're used to seeing videos of anti-abortion activists spewing venom in front of women's clinics, but rarely do we get to see the tables turned. Thanks to Aaron Gouveia, now we do.

He and his 16-weeks-pregnant wife went to a women's clinic in Brookline, Mass. for an abortion after discovering that their baby had a congenital deformity with no chance for survival. On their way in, they were confronted by images of dismembered fetuses and two women yelling, "You're killing your unborn baby!" Enraged, Gouveia decided to confront the protesters while his wife was in surgery, and he caught the whole interaction on his cellphone.

Husband confronts abortion protesters (Via Cynical-C Blog)

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Fauxtoshop: 15 Phenomenal Forced-Perspective Photos

[ By Steph in Architecture & Design, Gadgets & Geek Art. ]

How do you make a full-sized commercial airplane look like a toy, or give the illusion that your human subject is touching a cloud? Photoshop is an easy answer, but a much more low-tech method produces results that are just as amazing: forced perspective photography. Just as in filmmaking when miniatures convincingly stand in for buildings, landscapes or fantastical creatures, the trick is all in positioning, lighting and timing.

The Old Tower of Pisa Trick

(image via: martyportier)

Everyone is familiar with this iteration of the forced-perspective photography trick: pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It's all about where you place your subject in relation to the background. At least this photographer took a different tack, giving his model a 'relaxed' pose.

Pluck a Sphere of Light

(image via: mr. moog)

Take that same idea and apply it in a new way and you've got the kind of photo that makes you look twice. To achieve this effect, photographer Lee 'Mr. Moog' used shallow focus and allowed the lens of his camera to render out-of-focus points of lights as little floating spheres.

Mind Your Step

(image via: maybemaq)

Is that the foot of a giant descending from the sky to crush a priceless historical site into bits of gravel? From this angle, it sure looks like it.

The Scariest Watering Can Ever

(image via: froodmat)

When a watering can is big enough to suck you up into its spout, you'd better run.

Blowing in the Wind

(image via: jeppe olsen)

Photographer Jeppe Olsen took a whole set of forced perspective photos out in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia, which provide a minimalist background ideal for deceptive shots like this one, making both the foreground and background subjects stand out equally.

Fixing the Washington Monument

(image via: mjsmith01)

What kind of monstrous crane would be required to pluck the Washington Monument right out of the ground? The silhouetted crane and illumination of the monument make this photo even more effective.

Miniature Woman

(image via: alexandre duarte)

Forced perspective photography takes more than just selective focus or using the blur/sharpen tool in Photoshop. Clever positioning and light are also crucial elements in a successful photograph.

Tiny Plane Crash

(image via: maybemaq)

In some cases – like this one – timing is everything. No special effects or Photoshop necessary.

Hold On Tight!

(image via: emikw)

One of the famed natural formations in Arches National Park, Utah is in the palm of this photographer's hand when sharp focus is maintained on the entire image.

Giant Jesus and the Toy Plane

(image via: david leeth)

Even 900-foot-tall stone Jesus gets bored sometimes, so having a toy plane to play with is a plus.

Toy Cars, or Giant Man?

(image via: erkannix)

This is definitely one of those photos that make you go, "what?" It's hard to tell exactly how the photographer achieved this effect, but according to his Flickr, there was no Photoshop involved.

Please Don't Fall, Cloud

(image via: p0rg)

The artist says "I kept messing it up and not aligning myself ( I was using tripod & self timer) and did it about 10 or so times. When I was happy with the result, I turned and saw that an old man walking his dog had stopped to watch my bizarre antics. He smiled and walked off. I must have looked completely mad because he was not in line with the cloud, so he would have seen my press my camera, run like a madman to the same spot 10 times and preform a melodramatic pray to god."

Hanging Out

(image via: laura deangelis)

"Three years ago, I picked this guy up, put him in my pocket and claimed him as my own," says photographer Laura DeAngelis.

Splitting Headache

(image via: the moronic inferno)

Believe it or not, this photo wasn't staged. Photographer Dave Brownlee calls it 'serendipity' that the heads and bodies of four separate people just happened to line up so well.

Puzzling Place, Indeed

(image via: richard heeks)

In this case, it's the location that's providing the illusion, not a trick of photography. The Puzzle Museum in Keswick, England contains an oddly-shaped room with a sloping ceiling, walls and floor so that from a certain vantage point, turning one person into a terrifying giant.

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