29 November 2012

'Contact Mr. Will Vincent'

Terrific 'About' page from graphic designer Will Vincent at CargoCollective.

28 November 2012

Creative Horse Shelter Design

Click image to enlarge | Photo by Jens Meyer/AP | Link
Horses stand in the shadows of a gigantic wooden table and two chairs during mild autumnal weather in a meadow near Doellstaedt, central Germany.

26 November 2012

Best Of Criggo

Protected Gorilla Population Rises

The world’s population of mountain gorillas has increased by more than 10 percent in just two years, most likely thanks to conservation efforts that have successfully engaged the local Ugandan community.

Only a few decades ago ... conservationists predicted that mountain gorillas could be extinct by the end of the 20th century. War, habitat destruction, poaching and disease threatened their population. But since 2010, Uganda’s remaining 786 mountain gorillas have grown their population to 880.

Conservationists think the success story stems from balancing species survival with the needs of local people. Rather than exclude people from the landscape, park managers instead figured out ways to supplement harmful activities with sustainable ones. For example, firewood collection once threatened the gorillas’ habitat, so to get around this conservationists provided communities with access to alternative energy sources so they would no longer have to rely upon forest-harvested wood. They also created jobs for community members to act as ecotourist guides.

Endangered mountain gorillas aren’t out of the woods just yet, however. Habitat loss, disease transfer from humans and entanglement from hunting snares still threaten their populations.

25 November 2012

The Truth About Plain Doughnuts

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FB via Buzzfeed

Alexander Arrangement | 3D Periodic Table

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From Theodore Gray:
The Alexander Arrangement is a three-dimensional paper sculpture of the periodic table designed by Roy Alexander, with whom I collaborated on this version. For the first time this clever form of the table has been combined with my photographs of real element samples, resulting in a quite lovely object.

The Alexander Arrangement deals with the fundamental problem of gaps in the traditional arrangement of the periodic table by wrapping the transition metals and the lanthanides/actinides into loops, so all the elements that are supposed to be next to each other actually are next to each other. You can read it as a complete spiral loop through all the elements without any gaps.
The table is printed on top-grade, heavy paper printed on both sides, and includes detailed instructions for assembly. The result is a sturdy object you can carry around, put on a table, hang as a mobile, or, if you're like me, use as a tree-topper for a festive seasonal science tree. "It takes about 10 minutes to put together if you don't read the instructions," Theodore tells us. "No idea how long if you do read them, that's not the kind of thing I would stoop to."
Via BoingBoing

22 November 2012

21 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

David Farley | December 2003

Thanks, Rick


Click image to enlarge

Stumped about what to cook for the big day? Choose a theme, answer a few questions and the Thanksgiving-erator creates a menu complete with recipes. I chose the Bacon-themed menu. Who knew there was such a thing as Fat-Washed Rum?

Produced for the New York Times by Jacky Myint, Emily Weinstein, Des Shoe and Troy Griggs.

Click HERE to try the Thanksgiving-erator.

20 November 2012

Nose Cell Transplant Enables Paralyzed Dogs To Walk

A 10-year old dachshund named Jasper has regained the use of his hind legs after being injected with cells grown from the lining of his nose — cells that are showing a remarkable potential to replace damaged nerves. The procedure, which was conducted on a total of 23 dogs, is set to revolutionize the way spinal cord injuries are treated in humans.

All the dogs in the study, a collaboration between the MRC's Regenerative Medicine Centre and Cambridge University's Veterinary School, had suffered spinal cord injuries as the result of accidents or back problems (at least one year prior to the study), and none of them could use their hind legs to walk or feel any sensation in their hindquarters. Interestingly, many of the dogs used in the study were dachshunds — a breed that's particularly susceptible to spinal cord injuries.

For the study, which was published in the neurology journal Brain, the dogs had olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) taken from their noses and put into a cell culture for further growth. These cells, which are found at the back of the nasal cavity, are the only part of the body where nerve fibres continue to grow into adulthood. The potential for these cells to help in spinal cord repair has been known for decades. And indeed, earlier studies with rats had indicated that OECs have powerful regenerative potential.

Several weeks after the initial extraction, the cells were injected into the injured part of the dogs' back to help regenerate the damage done to their spine. After one month, the dogs were tested for neurological function, and for their walking ability (which was evaluated on a treadmill). And amazingly, what the researchers saw was significant improvement. Though not perfect, the dogs had regained considerable function of previously unusable hind legs. Some dogs even regained bowel and bladder control after the treatment.

That said, the new nerve connections were only generated over short distances within the spinal cord — what will likely have to be corrected with a supplementary intervention. For now, the researchers are optimistic but cautious about the therapy being used to treat human patients. Looking ahead, the researchers hope to see the procedure used alongside drug treatments to facilitate nerve fibre regeneration and bioengineering to substitute damaged neural networks.

And as for Jasper, his owner told BBC, "Before the treatment we used to have to wheel Jasper round on a trolley because his back legs were useless. Now he whizzes around the house and garden and is able to keep up with the other dogs. It's wonderful."

BBC via io9

19 November 2012

Squee-e-e-e | Streaming Puppies

Live stream videos at Ustream
No other identifying information is available on the site, but these fluffballs look like Bichon or Pomeranian pups or maybe American Eskimo dogs.


Orange Battery

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Photographer Caleb Charland fashioned a battery using orange wedges by rigging the acidic fruit with copper wires, galvanized nails and placing an LED light in the center. Charland used a 14-hour exposure to capture this beautiful photo of it glowing from within.
Colossal via Laughing Squid

World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day is observed annually on 19 November. This international day of action aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge.

Can you imagine not having a toilet? Can you imagine not having privacy when you need to relieve yourself? Although unthinkable for those living in wealthy parts of the world, this is a harsh reality for many - in fact, one in three people on this globe, does not have access to a toilet! Have you ever thought about the true meaning of dignity?

World Toilet Day was created to pose exactly these kind of questions and to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper sanitation that a staggering 2.5 billion people face. World Toilet Day brings together different groups, such as media, the private sector, development organisations and civil society in a global movement to advocate for safe toilets. Since its inception in 2001, World Toilet Day has become an important platform to demand action from governments and to reach out to wider audiences by showing that toilets can be fun and sexy as well as vital to life.

18 November 2012

Parents | Are You A Monster When You're Drunk?

YouTube | Adweek

Folks fortunate enough to have had normal childhoods might find this PSA from Finnish agency Euro RSCG Helsinki for a charity called Fragile Childhood disturbing or unrealistic but I find it totally relatable. It's doubtful that alcoholic parents will recognize themselves or be shocked into changing their behavior, but it may open the eyes of someone else in the life of such a child and inspire them to intervene.

Thanksgiving-Themed Cupcakes

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Make Bake Celebrate via Instructables

Ragin' Rick's Unforgettable Thanksgiving Recipes

Rick's Butterflied Turkey

This is a picture of Ms. Lanny-yap's friend Rick Seaby's butterflied roast turkey, hot and crispy and juicy and fresh from the oven in only two hours. Check out this and Rick's other amazing Thanksgiving recipes (Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes and rich Turkey Gravy) here.

16 November 2012

Obama Voters Not Welcome In Arizona Gun Store

Cope Reynolds, who runs the Southwest Shooting Authority gun shop in the small Navajo County town [Pinetop, Arizona] of 4,000, spent his own (presumably) hard-earned money to take out a full-page ad in the White Mountain Independent, declaring all Obama voters personae non gratae.

Obviously, this is nothing more than a political statement [said Reynolds.] Of course, it would be impossible to enforce. If they don't say anything, we'll never know. They could purchase whatever they wanted and they would probably get a big kick out of thinking that they are rubbing it in our face as they walk out the door. Some folks are easily amused that way.

However, if they own up to it, we will not serve them. This goes way beyond gun control, which many think is why we did this. I should have as much right to post a sign on my door as those that post "No Guns" on their doors.


Fletcher's Dad

Click image to enlarge | Source

I Am Fairly Sure You Don't Really Read These

Click image to enlarge | Source

15 November 2012

Killer Coaster

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“Euthanasia Coaster” is a hypothetical euthanasia machine in the form of a roller coaster, engineered to humanely – with elegance and euphoria – take the life of a human being. Riding the coaster’s track, the rider is subjected to a series of intensive motion elements that induce various unique experiences: from euphoria to thrill, and from tunnel vision to loss of consciousness, and, eventually, death. Thanks to the marriage of the advanced cross-disciplinary research in space medicine, mechanical engineering, material technologies and, of course, gravity, the fatal journey is made pleasant, elegant and ritualistic. Celebrating the limits of the human body but also the liberation from the horizontal life, this ‘kinetic sculpture’ is in fact the ultimate roller coaster: John Allen, former president of the famed Philadelphia Toboggan Company, once sad that “the ultimate roller coaster is built when you send out twenty-four people and they all come back dead. This could be done, you know.”
Julijonas Urbonas via Neatorama


The burial practice of covering graves with elaborate ironwork cages raises the question -- what protective function did they serve? Were they designed to keep something in ... or something out?

From the Columbia County Historical & Genealogical Society Newsletter:
... the cages are mortsafes, structures intended to prevent the theft of a body for use by anatomy instructors, doctors or medical students who at the time had no legal source of cadavers for their work. This was a serious problem, now all but forgotten, throughout most of the 18th and 19th centuries not just in this country but also in the British Isles. Other kinds of mortsafes were used as well and examples of some of them may be seen in [Columbia County, Pennsylvania.]
The iron cage mortsafe was prevalent in Scotland before 1830, but most were removed after passage of the Warburton Anatomy Act provided a legal source of anatomical material and ended the need for body snatching in Great Britain. The few remaining mortsafes in Scotland today are now billed as tourist attractions.
Via Unlacing the Victorians

14 November 2012

PostSecret | Worst Mistake

Sent To Debunk, Reporter Confirms UFO Sightings


When Denver TV station KDVR received footage of UFOs sighted over the city, they sent a reporter to the scene to "verify" the video ... much to their shock, she ended up capturing footage of the same UFO. "That is not an airplane, that is not a helicopter, those are not birds, I can't identify it," aviation expert Steve Cowell told FOX 31's investigative reporter Heidi Hemmat.

Via Gawker

13 November 2012

Ageing And Dissonance

This is a perfect representation of how Ms. Lanny-yap is feeling these days --
young on the inside, decrepit on the outside.
Older people feel, on average, about 13 years younger than they really are, according to a new study of aging from the University of Michigan and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. Researchers surveyed 516 people between the ages of 70 and 104 who were taking part in the ongoing Berlin Aging Study in Germany, asking a series of aging-related questions, including how old they typically feel compared to the age on their birth certificate. Although individual responses varied, the average gap between chronological age and subjective age was 13 years. Among study participants who were particularly healthy and active, the gap between subjective age and actual age was even wider.
Researchers say the data are important because cultural expectations of people during their older years often are at odds with how seniors perceive themselves. "We are somehow aged by the culture we live in," said Jacqui Smith, a psychologist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. "It’s about how we should look, when you should retire – sometimes those stereotypes are a little out of date." As children, we typically feel slightly older than we really are, in part because children long to take part in activities reserved for older teens and adults. But around age 25 to 30, our views of aging fall out of sync with our chronological age, and we begin to think of ourselves as younger than we really are, Dr. Smith said. Other studies have shown that people between the ages of 40 and 70 feel about 20 percent younger than they really are.
But the latest research focused on people generally in the last three decades of life. The aim was to gauge whether the aches and pains of getting older force us to face reality, causing our subjective age to finally catch up with our chronological age. The study showed that even the very old typically feel far younger than they really are. "This concept of how you feel about your age is so important and defines, in a way, how we act," Dr. Smith said. "If you self-define yourself as someone who is old, then you probably act that way."
Although we typically think of ourselves as younger than we really are, the study found that most people are not in denial about the aging process. During the course of the six-year study, people were asked about their perceptions of age three times. The subjective age wasn’t frozen in time, and instead aged with the years. Although the gap typically remained the same, the difference between chronological age and perceived age did begin to narrow as people became less healthy and drew closer to death. "It’s good for us to think we’re a little better than we actually are," Dr. Smith said. "It’s associated with feelings of hope and well-being."
New York Times

Pareidolia | Eyeball In The Sink

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The best optical illusions are often the ones we happen upon unintentionally, which is exactly what happened when redditor Liammm decided that water circling the drain of his sink would make for a nice photographic subject. "Out of boredom, I tried to take a photo of ... my sink draining," wrote Liammm yesterday when he ... posted his photo to reddit's "mildly interesting" forum. "I got a photo of an eye shaped whirlpool instead."

The illusion is even more pronounced when you're looking at a thumbnail of the image.

reddit pics via io9

12 November 2012

Kid President | Healing Power Of Cupcakes

Omote 3-D Printing | Full-Color Replicas Of You And Your Family

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The Omote 3-D photo booth, which opens in the Eye of Gyre exhibition space in the Harujuku district of Tokyo on Nov. 24, features a 3-D scanner and 3-D printer setup that takes the likeness of its visitors and convert them into miniature figurines.

Posers must stand in position for around 15 minutes as the manually operated scanner records a full-body image. The raw data can then be modified and tweaked to achieve a better likeness and fine detail can be added before the 3-D color print is made.

The service offers single, double or group portraits in a variety of sizes, the largest being up to 8 inches. If you’re a fan of the results — or looking to build a miniature army — you can also order reprints of yourself and others ... Prices start at ¥21,000 (around $265) for a small single figurine.

Growing Up Sucks

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First Invisibility Cloak Created

Scientists at Duke University have created the first invisibility cloak that perfectly hides centimeter-scale objects. While invisibility cloaks have been created before, they have all reflected some of the incident light, ruining the illusion. In this case, the incident light is perfectly channeled around the object, creating perfect invisibility. 

... For now, the Duke invisibility cloak only works with microwave radiation — and perhaps more importantly, the cloak is unidirectional (it only provides invisibility from one very specific direction). The big news here, though, is that it is even possible to create an invisibility cloak of any description. It is now just a matter of time before visible-light, omni-directional invisibility cloaks are created.

Extreme Tech

Possessed Toaster

In May 1984, The Today Show aired what can unarguably be described as the greatest televised interview ever: Legendary Weekly World News reporter and future Jerry Springer Show executive producer Richard Dominick's sit-down with a woman whose toaster was possessed by the devil.

10 November 2012

Sourtoe Cocktail

Established in 1973, the Sourtoe Cocktail at the Downtown Hotel has become a Dawson City, Yukon Territory tradition. The original rules were that the toe must be placed in a beer glass full of champagne, and that the toe must touch the drinker's lips during the consumption of the alcohol before he or she can claim to be a true Sourtoer. The rules have changed in the past twenty-seven years. The Sourtoe can be had with any drink now (even ones that aren't alcoholic), but one rule remains the same. The drinker's lips must touch the toe. "You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow -- But the lips have gotta touch the toe."

The Sourtoes are actual human toes that have been dehydrated and preserved in salt. Swallowing one is not suggested.

Nine Circles Of Scientific Hell

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Dante's Inferno: a classic of world literature, the definitive statement of the mediaeval Christian world-view, the first major work in the Italian language, and the basis for a violent videogame. The poem offers a tour through the nine increasingly horrible levels of Hell, in which sinners are tormented forever.

But Dante lived before the era of modern science. I thought I'd update his scheme to explain what happens to those guilty of various scientific sins, ranging from the commonplace to the shocking.

Bear in mind that Dante's Hell had a place for everyone, and it was only Christ's intervention that saved anyone from it; even "good" people went to Hell because everyone sins. But they are still sins. Likewise, very few scientists (and I'm certainly not one of them) would be able to avoid being condemned to some level of this Inferno ... but, that's no excuse.

First Circle: Limbo 
The uppermost circle is not a place of punishment so much as regret. Those who have committed no scientific sins per se, but who have turned a blind eye to them, or encouraged sinners through the awarding of grants, spend eternity on top of this barren mountain, watching the carnage below and reflecting on how they are partially responsible… 

Second Circle: Overselling 
This circle is reserved for those who exaggerated the importance of their work in order to get grants or write better papers. Sinners are trapped in a huge pit, up to their necks in horrible sludge. Each sinner is provided with the single rung of a ladder, labeled “The Way Out—Scientists Crack Problem of Second Circle of Hell.” 

Third Circle: Post-Hoc Storytelling 
Sinners condemned to this circle must constantly dodge the attacks of demons armed with bows and arrows, firing more or less at random. Every time someone is hit in some part of their body, a demon proceeds to explain at length that it was aiming for that exact spot all along. 

Fourth Circle: p Value Fishing 
Those who tried every statistical test in the book until they got a p value less than .05 find themselves here, in an enormous lake of murky water. Sinners sit on boats and must fish for their food. Fortunately, they have a huge selection of different fishing rods and nets (brand names include Bayes, Student, Spearman, and many more). Unfortunately, only one in 20 fish are edible, so the sinners in this circle are constantly hungry. 

Fifth Circle: Creative Use of Outliers 
Those who “cleaned up” their results by excluding inconvenient data points are condemned here. Demons pluck out their hairs one by one, each time explaining that the sinner is better off without that hair, because there was something wrong with it. 

Sixth Circle: Plagiarism 
This circle is empty because as soon as sinners arrive, a demon carries them to another circle and forces them to suffer the punishment meted out to the people there. After their 3-year "post" is up, they are carried to another circle, and so on… 

Seventh Circle: Nonpublication of Data 
Here, sinners are chained to burning chairs in front of desks covered with broken typewriters. Only if the sinners can write an article describing their predicament will they be set free. Each desk has a file drawer stuffed full of these articles, but the drawers are locked. 

Eighth Circle: Partial Publication of Data 
At any given time, exactly half of the sinners here are chased around by demons prodding them with spears. The demons choose which group to chase at random, after ensuring that the groups are matched for age, gender, height, and weight. Howling winds fill the air with a constant torrent of articles announcing the success of a new program to enhance participation in physical exercise—but with no mention of the side effects. 

Ninth Circle: Inventing Data 
Here, Satan himself lies trapped forever in a block of solid ice alongside the worst sinners of all. Frozen in front of their eyes is a paper explaining very convincingly that water cannot freeze in the environmental conditions of this part of Hell. Unfortunately, the data were made up

Neuroskeptic via Neatorama

09 November 2012

TMBG | Playing Cards

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Custom playing cards designed by Paul Sahre.

They Might Be Giants via Laughing Squid

08 November 2012

Japan | Galactic Winter Light Show

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If you ever wondered what it would be like taking a stroll through an intergalactic nebula, Japan has got you covered–since November 3rd, the Nabana no Sato botanical garden has been transformed into a light theme park of cosmic proportions. The park features millions of LED lights spread across the vast grounds of the garden, water and plant alike, and unlike the Christmas light installations we dread seeing around Christmas time in the Rockefeller Plaza, Nabana no Sato installations follow an artistic theme–this year’s being “nature.” The exhibit includes an illuminated rendition of Mount Fuji as well as an Aurora

The most recognized attraction of the park is the light tunnel depicted above, consisting of thousands small floral lights that can glow in different shades, enveloping the park visitors is warm tones as they pass through.
More photos at AnimalNewYork

07 November 2012

Sleeping Dogs

David Simon | Barack Obama And The Death Of Normal

I was on an airplane last night as the election was decided. As the plane landed after midnight on the East Coast, I confess that my hand was shaking as I turned on my phone for the news. I did not want to see dishonesty and divisiveness and raw political hackery rewarded. It is hard enough for anyone to actually address the problems, to move this country forward, to make the intransigent American ruling class yield even a yard of the past to the inevitable future. But going backwards last night would have been devastating. I read the returns in silent elation; a business trip had me traveling in business class and the gnashing of corporate teeth all around precluded a full-throated huzzah on my part. I abhor a gloat.

But the country is changing. And this may be the last election in which anyone but a fool tries to play — on a national level, at least — the cards of racial exclusion, of immigrant fear, of the patronization of women and hegemony over their bodies, of self-righteous discrimination against homosexuals. Some in the Republican party and among the teabagged fringe will continue to play such losing hands for some time to come; this shit worked well in its day and distracted many from addressing any of our essential national issues. But again, if they play that weak-ass game past this point, they are fools. 

America is different now, more so with every election cycle. Ronald Reagan won his mandate in an America in which 89 percent of the voters were white. That number is down to 72 percent and falling. Fifty thousand new Latino citizens achieve the voting age every month. America will soon belong to the men and women — white and black and Latino and Asian, Christian and Jew and Muslim and atheist, gay and straight — who can comfortably walk into a room and accept with real comfort the sensation that they are in a world of certain difference, that there are no real majorities, only pluralities and coalitions. The America in which it was otherwise is dying, thank god, and those who relied on entitlement and division to command power will either be obliged to accept the changes, or retreat to the gated communities from which they wish to wax nostalgic and brood on political irrelevance.

Read the entire essay here. It's not long. Read it. Really. It's good.

Four More Years

Too nervous to watch election coverage earlier in the evening, I couldn't sleep and turned the TV on around midnight. Now my face hurts from crying happy tears. The rape-y guys lost, Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, and Claire McCaskill won, gay people can legally get married in Maryland and Maine, Coloradans can buy pot legally, and Barack Obama is still my president. A big night for the left. No tweets tonight from Limbaugh or Hannity, but Donald Trump and Karl Rove had meltdowns and it seems other conservatives are finally ready to shut down these divisive polemicists.

I'm feeling hopeful and grateful. And ... no more nasty political ads or intrusive robocalls! YAY!

05 November 2012

Pygmy Goats In Sweaters


The only way this could be better is if there were monkeys and I was eating a bacon sandwich.

One Step Closer To Nerve Regeneration

Nerve cell | Source
A gene that is associated with regeneration of injured nerve cells has been identified by scientists led by Melissa Rolls at Penn State University. The team, which includes scientists at Penn State and Duke University, has found that a mutation in a single gene can entirely shut down the process by which axons - the parts of the nerve cell that are responsible for sending signals to other cells - regrow themselves after being cut or damaged. This image illustrates a finding of the research, which is that, in fruit flies with two normal copies of the spastin gene, Rolls and her team found that severed axons were able to regenerate. However, in fruit flies with two or even only one abnormal spastin gene, the severed axons were not able to regenerate. "We are hopeful that this discovery will open the door to new research related to spinal-cord and other neurological disorders in humans," Rolls said.

Read the full paper in Cell Reports.

Via io9.

04 November 2012

02 November 2012

Looking Forward To 2016

We’re looking toward the future. Clinton/Booker 2016. Hillary for prez; she holds it down on a global level. Cory Booker for veep; he’ll save your grandma from a burning house and then invite you over to chill, while quoting Frederick Douglass. America needs this now more than ever: Something amazing to look forward to. Look at that image by the incomparable Jim Cooke. Don’t you feel better already? Clinton/Booker 2016. Pass it on.