31 May 2010

Coffee On A Stick

Yanko Design is a web magazine dedicated to introducing the best modern international design, covering from industrial design, concepts, technology, interior design, architecture, exhibition and fashion. It’s about the cutting edge and the classic, the new and the rediscovered.

... The Cappuccino Coffee Stick is a spoon laden with your favorite coffee-fix that dissolves deliciously into a steaming cup of water. Tear away the plastic wrap, dip the instant spoon and a few good swirls later; a piping hot cup of coffee is ready...
Yanko Design via The Daily What

29 May 2010

Edgar's New "Do" | Still A Muppet

A few days ago, Edgar came to stay with us for a long visit. His Mom gave me permission to give him a haircut and a bath to undo the effects of a week of ear cleansings and treatments. (Scroll down to the picture posted on 23 May to see the "before" picture.)

Cat Belt

The Daily What

27 May 2010

Bone Marrow Transplants Cure Compulsive Behavior In Mice

A Nobel Prize-winning University of Utah geneticist discovered that bone marrow transplants cure mutant mice who pull out their hair compulsively. The study provides the first cause-and-effect link between immune system cells and mental illness, and points toward eventual new psychiatric treatments. "We're showing there is a direct relationship between a psychiatric disorder and the immune system, specifically cells named microglia that are derived from bone marrow" and are found in the brain, says Mario Capecchi, a distinguished professor of human genetics at the University of Utah School of Medicine. "There's been an inference. But nobody has previously made a direct connection between the two."

The findings - published in the Friday, May 28 issue of the journal Cell - should inspire researchers "to think about potential new immune-based therapies for psychiatric disorders," says Capecchi, a 2007 Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine.
University of Utah via io9

23 May 2010

Research Study On Anomalous Experiences

Jane Mackay | Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto
from "Sounding Art"
The Study of Human Experiences Project is a research website set up by Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado, Assistant Professor of Research in Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the Division of Perceptual Studies of the University of Virginia. The project involves a random survey of the population of Richmond, Virginia, and an on-line survey ... Dr. Alvarado and his wife and co-investigator Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone are very interested in a wide variety of experiences that people live with every day from fantasy and dreams to life satisfaction and daily habits and beliefs to experiences that many people consider to be paranormal.
The questionnaire only takes a few minutes, and if you provide an email address, you will receive a report on the completed study.

Bisou And Edgar @ (Almost) 10 Months

Bisou and Edgar are about one week shy of their 10-month birthday, and they each weigh about 8.5 pounds. On 22 May, Ed came over for a play date. Ed looks a little worse for wear in comparison to Bisou because he's being treated for itchy ears and she had just had a bath. They are both happy, mischevious, playful little doggies and wonderful companions.

21 May 2010

Factor In Alzheimer's Onset Also Found In Down's Syndrome

A team of researchers has discovered that the protein that forms plaques in the brain in Alzheimer's disease also accumulates in the eyes of people with Down syndrome. The new findings in Down syndrome show that the toxic protein, known as amyloid-β, that causes Alzheimer's pathology in the brain also leads to distinctive cataracts in the eyes. The discovery is leading the researchers to develop an innovative eye test for early detection of Alzheimer's pathology in both disorders.
PLoS One and Science Daily

Via io9

Former New Hampshire Representative Makes Statement About The "Continued Presence Of Extraterrestrial Beings Here In The United States Of America"

Read a transcript at Gateway to Freedom.

YouTube via The Anomalist

18 May 2010

Alabama Geometry Teacher Uses Assassinating The President As Teaching Aid

A Jefferson County teacher picked the wrong example when he used as­sassinating President Bar­ack Obama as a way to teach angles to his geome­try students.
Someone alerted autho­rities and the Corner High School math teacher was questioned by the Secret Service, but was not taken into custody or charged with any crime. "We did not find a credible threat," said Roy Sex­ton, special agent in charge of Birmingham's Secret Service office. "As far as the Secret Service is concerned, we looked into it, we talked to the gentleman and we have closed our investigation."

A Corner High geometry teacher picked the wrong example, President Barack Obama, to use in a lesson on angles. The lesson resulted in a Secret Service investigation. (AP) Sexton said he generally doesn't discuss threat cases, but confirmed his of­fice investigated the inci­dent. No federal charges followed the probe.

The teacher was appar­ently teaching his geometry students about parallel lines and angles, officials said. He used the example of where to stand and aim if shooting Obama.
"He was talking about angles and said, 'If you're in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president,' " said Joseph Brown, a senior in the geometry class.

Efforts to reach the teacher for comment Mon­day were unsuccessful.

 Superintendent Phil Hammonds said the teacher remains at work, and there are no plans for termination. "We are going to have a long conversation with him about what's appropriate," Hammonds said. "It was extremely poor judgment on his part, and a poor choice of words."

Caroline Polk, the parent of a ninth-grader at the school, said she doesn't be­lieve the teacher ought to be fired.
"We all make mistakes, and we should be able to learn from our mistakes," she said. "What he said was just wrong and inappropri­ate. Everyone's got their own opinions, but we have to be aware of our sur­roundings. At this point, it just needs to be handled in a way that it won't be re­peated."
AL.com via Gawker


Amanita Design is an award-winning independent game development studio founded in 2003 by a group of Czech designers. Machinarium is a puzzle-based point and click adventure story, beautifully rendered and packed with visual detail.

YouTube via Laughing Squid

If you like Machinarium, check out Alchemia.

Tiny Self-Disassembling Soviet Sailor Dances On Piano

YouTube via Dark Roasted Blend

17 May 2010

"I Can Do Anything Good!"

Everyone should start the day this way!


Happy Monday

Via Buzzfeed

15 May 2010

Life Of Danbo | Anton Tang

See more at Visboo and here.

Anton Tang

NFB Online Short Film Contest

Love & Theft | Andreas Hykade | Germany
Now in its sixth year, the contest is organized by the National Film Board of Canada in collaboration with the Cannes Short Film Corner and in association with YouTube. It features ten short films from Canada, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Iran, the United States, the Czech Republic, Algeria and Italy, selected from the numerous Short Film Corner entries. The Short Film Corner is the meeting place for young creators at the Cannes Film Festival, attracting entries from around the world. The ten films from last year’s contest were viewed close to 180,000 times on the NFB’s English and French YouTube channels.
YouTube and Animation World Network

14 May 2010

Le Cochon Danseur

From the Internet Movie Database:
A pig dressed in fancy clothes flirts with a pretty girl, but she humiliates him and tears off his suit; she then makes him dance for her affections.

Pathe | France | 1907
YouTube via World Oddities

Fake Science


Happy Friday | Bebe The Smiling Chihuahua

YouTube via Blame It On The Voices

13 May 2010

Programmable DNA Nano-Robots

3D artwork by Paul Michelotti

Two spiders are walking along a track – a seemingly ordinary scene, but these are no ordinary spiders. They are molecular robots and they, like the tracks they stride over, are fashioned from DNA. One of them has four legs and marches over its DNA landscape, turning and stopping with no controls from its human creators. The other has four legs and three arms – it walks along a miniature assembly line, picking up three pieces of cargo from loading machines (also made of DNA) and attaching them to itself. All of this is happening at the nanometre scale, far beyond what the naked eye can discern. Welcome to the exciting future of nanotechnology.

The two robots are the stars of two new papers that describe the latest advances in making independent, programmable nano-scale robots out of individual molecules. Such creations have featured in science-fiction stories for decades, from Michael Crichton’s "Prey to Red Dwarf", but in reality, there are many barriers to creating such machines. For a start, big robots can be loaded with masses of software that guides their actions – no such luck at the nano-level.

The two new studies have solved this problem by programming the robots’ actions into their environment rather than their bodies. Standing on the shoulders of giants, both studies fuse two of the most interesting advances in nanotechnology: the design of DNA machines, fashioned from life’s essential double helix and possessing the ability to walk about; and the invention of DNA origami, where sets of specially constructed DNA molecules can be fused together into beautiful sheets and sculptures. Combine the two and you get a robot walker and a track for it to walk upon.
Read more at Discover

12 May 2010

Military Proposes Medal For Not Killing People

U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan could someday be awarded medals for restraint that prevents civilian casualties in combat. The possibility is under consideration by the staff of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander in Afghanistan, according to Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis, McChrystal's spokesman.

The idea of rewarding battlefield restraint was proposed by British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, who is in charge of the international forces in southern Afghanistan. Sholtis said the idea is still in its "conceptual stage."

"Although no decisions have been made on the award itself, the idea is consistent with our strategic approach," Sholtis said. "Our young men and women display remarkable courage every day, including situations where they refrain from using lethal force, even at risk to themselves, in order to prevent possible harm to civilians. In some situations our forces face in Afghanistan, that restraint is an act of discipline and courage not much different than those combat actions that merit awards for valor."

Sholtis said troops would still have the right of self defense.
More at CNN

Via Gawker

Happy Hump Day

How many hungry weasels could your body feed?

Click here to take the quiz.

The Oatmeal

Illusion Of The Year | Magnet-Like Slopes

"Impossible Motion: Magnet-Like Slopes"
Koukichi Sugihara
Meiji Institute for Advanced Study of Mathematical Sciences, Japan

YouTube via Neatorama

11 May 2010

Schizophrenia Shares Genetic Links With Autism

Schizophrenia involves some of the same genetic variations as autism and attention deficit disorders, a new whole-genome analysis study has confirmed.

Schizophrenia, which affects about 1.5 percent of the U.S. population, can result in a variety of symptoms that include disrupted thinking, hallucinations, delusions and abnormal speech. The disease is thought to have genetic links but usually does not manifest itself until adolescence or early adulthood.

In an effort to assess some of the common genetic variations that might underpin this fairly common but thorny mental illness, researchers sequenced DNA from 1,735 adults with schizophrenia and 3,485 healthy adults. Across the patients that had the disease, the researchers found many frequent variations related to copying or deleting genes, known as copy-number variations. And among the genes that were more likely affected by these changes in schizophrenic individuals were CACNA1B and DOC2A, which help make proteins for calcium signals that regulate neurotransmitters in the brain. Two other more common variations, in RET and RIT2, would likely impact brain development.

"These genes affect synaptic function, so deletions or duplications in those genes may alter how brain circuits are formed," Hakon Hakonarson, director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and coauthor of the new study, said in a prepared statement.
Read more at Scientific American

10 May 2010

R.I.P. Frank Frazetta | 1928 - 2010

Conan the Adventurer
Silver Warrior
Kane On The Golden Sea

Frank Frazatta, a legendary master of fantasy and sf art, was probably best known for his Tarzan and Conan the Barbarian covers.
Few artists have had as mighty an influence on American pop culture, let alone comics, as Frank Frazetta and that makes his passing today a truly significant loss for the world of fantasy art ... His work in comics, pulps, movie posters, album covers and even fine art has influenced generations of illustrators, filmmakers and musicians. His interpretation of Conan the Barbarian set the standard for how the character -- and really, all sword and sorcery heroes -- has been depicted ever since. Indeed, if you look at a piece of heroic fantasy art today, the odds are better than good that it owes a debt to Frazetta.
Comic Vine

08 May 2010

A Man And His (Great) Sword

This is what Dwight Schrute's basement must look like. The pitch comes at 7:25 --
This is why you buy a great sword. Because you can make those HUGE cuts through flesh and bone like that. Man, that thing just sailed through this big thick pig-meat leg. Did you hear the bone crunch as the blade went through? You put one of these by your front door and you’re going to be a power to reckon with. No one is going to be able to take advantage of you when you have a great sword in your house ... That’s what a great sword is all about: deep penetration.
Oh. Now I get it.

Cold Steel via Buzzfeed

Zirkus Knie | Tilt-Shift, Time-Lapse

This timelapse tiltshift movie shows how the Circus Knie tent was put up on April 29, 2010 from 07:00 to 09:00 in Sankt Gallen, Switzerland. Approximately 2000 photos. Music: Les Negresses Vertes, la Valse.
Vimeo via The Presurfer

07 May 2010

06 May 2010

A Meme Is Born | Birthday Cat

Birthday Cat. He's seen it all and done it all ...

Aesthetic Octopus

Bisou @ Nine Months

Neanderthals Live On In Us

Many people alive today possess some Neanderthal ancestry, according to a landmark scientific study. The finding has surprised many experts, as previous genetic evidence suggested the Neanderthals made little or no contribution to our inheritance. The result comes from analysis of the Neanderthal genome - the "instruction manual" describing how these ancient humans were put together. The genomes of 1% to 4% of people in Eurasia come from Neanderthals ...
More at BBC News

Via The Awl

President Of Kalmykia Claims Alien Abduction

Russia has never been immune to spies and informers, but the latest claim must have struck President Medvedev as a little bizarre: he has been urged to investigate whether a regional politician passed official secrets to a group of aliens.

The request came after Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the millionaire President of Kalmykia, claimed on state television that he had been visited by aliens at his Moscow apartment several years ago and had spent hours in discussions with them on board their spaceship.

The head of the republic said that the humanoid figures wore yellow spacesuits and gave him a tour of their craft, which he described as a “semi-transparent half-tube”. They had brought him home in the morning, just as his worried driver and two advisers were about to call a citywide search after finding his apartment empty.

“I am often asked which language I used to talk to them. Perhaps it was on a level of the exchange of ideas,” Mr Ilyumzhinov, who is also president of the international chess federation FIDE, told the Vladimir Pozner programme on Russia’s main First Channel.
More at TimesOnline

Via Gizmodo

Eternal Earth-Bound Pets

You've committed your life to Jesus. You know you're saved. But when the Rapture comes what's to become of your loving pets who are left behind? Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind.

We are a group of dedicated animal lovers, and atheists. Each Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you've received your reward. Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus.

We are currently active in 22 states. Our representatives have been screened to ensure that they are atheists, animal lovers, are moral/ethical with no criminal background, have the ability and desire to rescue your pet and the means to retrieve them and ensure their care for your pet's natural life.

... Our service is plain and simple; our fee structure is reasonable. For $110.00 we will guarantee that should the Rapture occur within ten (10) years of receipt of payment, one pet per residence will be saved. Each additional pet at your residence will be saved for an additional $15.00 fee. A small price to pay for your peace of mind and the health and safety of your four legged and feathered friends.

... Thank you for your interest in Eternal Earth-Bound Pets. We hope we can help provide you with peace of mind.
More here. Via 3 Quarks Daily

05 May 2010

Owl Cam

This is a live feed of a wild barn owl family. Owls are carnivores. They hunt, kill and consume small rodents and other small animals. This is nature and contains scenes of the cycle of life which may occur at any time without warning.
Read more about parents Molly and McGee and their brood at The Owl Box.

The Bone Sculptures Of Francois Robert

Francois Robert was at an auction in rural Michigan. It was the mid 1990s. A school was selling off supplies, and Robert was looking to buy some furniture for his studio. "I was interested in buying some lockers, and they had three for $50." Two of the lockers were empty, but not the third. When Robert opened it up, he found a human skeleton.

The skeleton, fully articulated and in reasonably good condition, must have served as a teaching aid in a science class. Francois Robert is a photographer. He took the lockers back to his studio in Chicago. It took him years to figure out what to do with the skeleton.

"Bones have always fascinated me," says Robert. His portfolio has always included images of animal skulls, recovered from the desert. He once spent five weeks photographing skulls in the collection of the Field Museum of Natural History. By 2007, the recession was taking its toll. "I had so much extra time. What was I going to do with it?" He turned to the skeleton in his locker.
Read more at Design Observer.

Francois Robert's website

Via Neatorama

Easily Amused | Fat Cat


03 May 2010

When The War Came Home | The Shootings At Kent State And Jackson State Universities

Kent State University (Ohio) | 4 May 1970 | Photo by John Filo

Jackson State University (Mississippi) | 14 May 1970 | Photo credit unknown
On May 4, 1970, students on the Kent State University campus in Ohio gathered just before noon on the commons. They demonstrators convened to protest the Vietnam War and presence of the National Guard, on campus to maintain order after an attack on an ROTC building.

Shortly after gathering, professor Jerry Lewis tells NPR's Rebecca Roberts, "the character of the protest changed from anti-war to anti-Guard. And then, about twelve o'clock, the Guard moved out against the students."

At the end of the day, says Lewis, "a total of 28 Guardsmen fired between 61 and 67 rounds over 13 seconds." In its attempt to disperse the unarmed crowds, the Ohio National Guard shot and killed four people, and wounded nine others.

Ten days later, a similar tragedy played out on the campus of Jackson State University in Mississippi. Police there fired on a group of students, killing two and injuring twelve others.
Read a transcript of Rebecca Robert's NPR/Talk of the Nation interview here. Guests include Jerry Lewis, professor emeritus of sociology at Kent State University, Dean Kahler, an undergraduate student at Kent State who was shot and paralyzed during the demonstration, and Gene Young, a former professor at Jackson State University.

01 May 2010

"We Are All Connected"

I Am We | James Sebor
The Global Consciousness Project, also called the EGG Project, is an international, multidisciplinary collaboration of scientists, engineers, artists and others. We collect data continuously from a global network of physical random number generators located in 65 host sites around the world. The archive contains more than 10 years of random data in parallel sequences of synchronized 200-bit trials every second.

Our purpose is to examine subtle correlations that may reflect the presence and activity of consciousness in the world. We predict structure in what should be random data, associated with major global events. When millions of us share intentions and emotions the GCP/EGG network data show meaningful departures from expectation. This is a powerful finding based in solid science.

Subtle but real effects of consciousness are important scientifically, but their real power is more direct. They encourage us to help make essential, healthy changes in the great systems that dominate our world. Large scale group consciousness has effects in the physical world. Knowing this, we can use our full capacities for creative movement toward a conscious future.
Alex Tsakiris of Skeptiko interviews Tamas Borbely of Goldsmiths College and Dr. Peter Bancel of the Global Consciousness Project.


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