Day: July 28, 2016

Tell your cat you're pregnant

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Having a baby requires adjustment for everyone in your home. This includes the cat. Now you can prepare your fur baby for a drooling hairless counterpart that will coo and wail in the dwelling where it was once the center of attention.

Tell Your Cat You’re Pregnant: Baby and Toy Sounds for Preparing Your Cat for a Baby is a set of audio tracks of actual unpleasant baby sounds for your cat to experience, with titles such as “Loud Crying” and “Screaming.” Also doubles as a contraceptive.

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Man arrested for donut flakes that cop insisted was meth

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If you’ve recently eaten a Krispy Kreme donut in your car, make sure to clean up the evidence.

Florida man Daniel Rushing was arrested for possessing donut glaze crumbs on the floor of his car. The retired 64-year-old man had just picked up a church friend from a 7-11 in Orlando and drove through a stop sign going a bit above the speed limit. This prompted the police officer, who was on the lookout for drug activity, to have him step out of his car. And that’s when she noticed the offensive flakes of sugar glaze.

“I recognized through my 11 years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic,” the officer wrote in her report.

The officer conducted a roadside test, which mistakenly determined the glaze to be crystal meth.

He was handcuffed, arrested, taken to the county jail and strip searched, he said.

A state crime lab, however, did another test several weeks later and cleared him.

“It was incredible,” he said. “It feels scary when you haven’t done anything wrong and get arrested. … It’s just a terrible feeling.”

Rushing says he’ll never let anyone search his car again and is now suing the city for damages. Read the full story at the Orlando Sentinel.

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Stunning and weird portraits of musical note vibrations

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Artists Jeff Louviere and Vanessa Brown explore cymatics, the study of wave phenomena and how they are represented visually. Using black-colored water, a laptop computer, and a modified guitar amp, they captured “portraits” of the 12 notes in the chromatic scale. From my sister-in-law Heather Sparks’s profile of their project in Nautilus:

In each (“portrait”), Louviere and Brown saw a distinct image: G looks like a devil, C# is the tree in the Garden of Eden, and F is something like the underbelly of a frog. If you were to repeat this experiment, you would get the same designs.

Pressing further their idea that “sight can be seen and images can be heard,” Louviere turned the 12 sound-induced patterns back into sound using Photo Sounder, a program that assigns sounds to the black and white values it scans along the x and y axes of an image. After applying the program to the 12 portraits, Louviere had 12 very distinct, “odd and bleepy” sound files, which he mixed together into a final soundscape born from the visuals of all 12 notes.

This Is What Musical Notes Actually Look Like(Nautili.us)

The audio is now available on a beautiful vinyl record: Louviere + Vanessa: Resonantia

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Video about using psychedelic drugs to treat anxiety, addiction, and OCD

In the last decade, researchers at Johns Hopkins University and elsewhere have launched new studies investigating whether psychedelic drugs, from shrooms to LSD to DMT, can treat mental disorders ranging from depression and PTSD to anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Vox reporters German Lopez and Javier Zarracina surveyed the state of medical research on hallucinogens:

In a recent study, British researchers used brain imaging techniques to gauge how the brain looks on LSD versus a placebo. They found big differences between LSD and the placebo, with the images of the brain on LSD showing much more connectivity between different sections of the mind.

This can help explain visual hallucinations, because it means various parts of the brain — not just the visual cortex at the back of the mind — are communicating during an LSD trip.

This, researchers argued, may show not just why psychedelic drugs trigger hallucinogenic experiences but also why they may be able to help people. “In many psychiatric disorders, the brain may be viewed as having become entrenched in pathology, such that core behaviors become automated and rigid,” the researchers wrote. “Consistent with their ‘entropic’ effect on cortical activity, psychedelics may work to break down such disorders by dismantling the patterns of activity on which they rest.”

The fascinating, strange medical potential of psychedelic drugs, explained in 50+ studies(Vox)

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Dark Night – Paul Dini's chilling autobiographical Batman tale

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Dark Night: A True Batman Story

by Paul Dini (author) and Eduardo Risso (illustrator)

Vertigo

2016, 128 pages, 6.9 x 10.4 x 0.5 inches

$14 Buy a copy on Amazon

Batman the Animated Series was perhaps the cartoon of my childhood. I remember watching it when it premiered, and followed it through its entire run. While I’ve loved the movies, and the comics, Batman for me will always be the voice of Kevin Conroy, and the Joker will always be Mark Hamill. I owe my love for Batman to this wonderful show that Paul Dini helped create, which is why I was so struck to read his chilling autobiographical Batman tale.

Like myself and many others, Dini too was hugely influenced by Batman through his childhood. The beginning of the book establishes how comics became a coping mechanism for Dini as he navigated through the world with social anxiety. His lonely but successful life is thrown upside down one night when he was mugged and beaten within an inch of his life.

Dini’s story is all about coming to grips with a world that can be cruel, dealing with demons, and finding a way to overcome. It’s a Batman story that doesn’t take place in the Batman universe. I found it tremendously moving, the artwork beautiful, and I highty recommend it.

– JP LeRoux

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Deep-fried Oreos, beer ravioli, chocolate-covered bacon are tabloid favorites

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The lost continent of Atlantis has been discovered, and the grammatically-challenged National Examiner reveals: “descendants of Atlantis still roaming the streets today.”
It’s probably too late for Atlantians to be accredited to compete in the Summer Olympics, but Atlantis survivors will be delighted to know that their homeland isn’t a mythological fiction after all – which is more than can be said for much of the offerings in this week’s tabloids.

Former kidnap victim and 18-year prisoner Jaycee Dugard faces a “new nightmare” and “desperate fight to protect her kids” after learning that her abductor may be eligible for early release . . . in 2026, at the age of 85. That’s actually when kidnapper Phillip Garrido would become legally eligible for parole, but since he was sentenced to 431 years behind bars, the Enquirer’s fears may be slightly overblown.

That’s equally true for Amal Clooney’s “secret pregnancy,” as the Enquirer claims: “George Clooney’s wife hoping a baby will save their rocky marriage.” Has she announced her pregnancy? Of course not! “Insiders have exclusively claimed” that she is expecting, which in reality means that a recent photograph of Amal showed her with the merest hint of a paunch, and in the mythical world of the tabloids that’s as good as a pink + on a pregnancy test strip.

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have “Split!” according to the Enquirer cover, though inside the report backtracks to claim only that they “are on the brink of a nasty divorce.” Why? Because Rita allegedly threw a fit over her wardrobe selection at a photo shoot. Sure sounds like grounds for divorce to me.

Country singing star Kenny Rogers “tells all before he dies,” screams the Globe’s cover, though clearly he isn’t speaking to the Globe, and while he allegedly tells “a friend” of his unconsummated love for Dolly Parton and his obsession with cosmetic surgery, Rogers doesn’t tell us where Jimmy Hoffa is buried, the true identity of Jack the Ripper, or whether aliens built the pyramids – so strictly speaking he’s not telling all.

At least we now know where Atlantis is: at the bottom of the Mediterranean. This will come as a bitter blow to actress Shirley MacLaine, whose latest book ‘My Wild Oats Adventure’ explained at great length that Atlantis was in the Canary Islands off northwest Africa and that she was present when it sank without a trace, but you can’t argue with facts, and according to the Examiner scientists have definitively discovered Atlantis. Or at least, they’ve found remnants of the city. Well, actually, just a 10,000-year-old monument under water off the coast of Sicily. Okay, maybe it was just a lighthouse. Alright, it’s just a large stone with a hole “or an anchoring system,” scientists tell the Examiner. So that’s Atlantis for you: no marble palaces, grand forums or sweeping amphitheaters; just a large stone where you could tie up your ship.

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Fishing trip surprise: Tiger Shark vs. Hammerhead!

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College student Ryan Willsea captured this video a few weeks ago while on a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tiger sharks are “expert at taking advantage of situations when a potential prey item is compromised,” Florida Museum of Natural History shark researcher George Burgess told National Geographic. “And nothing makes an animal more compromised than having a hook in its mouth and being pulled to a boat.”

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Today is the 30th anniversary of REM's "Lifes Rich Pageant"

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Thirty years ago today, REM released the magnificent “Lifes Rich Pageant,” an iconic alternative rock album of the 1980s, and forever. The source of the title is the 1964 film A Shot in the Dark:

Inspector Clouseau opens car door and falls into a fountain.
Maria: “You should get out of these clothes immediately. You’ll catch your death of pneumonia, you will.”
Clouseau: “Yes, I probably will. But it’s all part of life’s rich pageant, you know?”

Above, one of Michael Stipe’s favorite songs from the entire REM catalog, “Fall on Me,” about oppression. Below, “Swan Swan H.”

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How to land a passenger jet without any flight controls

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Allec Joshua Ibay’s flight sim recreation of United Airlines Flight 232’s loss of all flight controls doesn’t skip a second. The unadorned, tick-tock quality of the video makes it surprisingly gripping, not least because of the incredible solution the crew found to their predicament: controlling the plane entirely by raising and lowering thrust from the engines. Even then, they couldn’t turn left at all, meaning the slightest overturn right would require an entire 360-degree swoop to get back on target.

Then they had to land it. (more…)

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Meet the future of audio: the KOAR Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headset is now 48% off

Those of us who love music wish we could listen to it 24/7. But it’s impossible when we’re trying to converse with our friends, or when are swimming in the local pool.

That is, until now. The KOAR Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headset, now 48% off, has changed the audio game.

Made with lightweight titanium memory metal, this headset boasts patented bone conduction technology to transport sound directly to your inner ears. This means you’ll still be able to hear your surroundings even as your music is playing.

There’s a built-in mic so you can talk hands-free, and the Bluetooth technology lets you wirelessly listen to audio from all compatible devices. Plus, the headset is resistant to water and sweat, so you can bump your beats even if you want to take a dip.

Go ahead and get your groove on, no matter where you are—the KOAR Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headset is now 48% off the regular price of $149.99 (just $76.99).

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The Ice Bucket Challenge did not fund a breakthrough in ALS treatment

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Yesterday’s science-by-press-release announcement that a research team had made a “breakthrough” in treating ALS thanks to funds raised in last year’s viral ice-bucket challenge turns out to be vaporware: the gene identified was already known to be implicated in ALS, but only affects 3% of cases, and the new refinement in the research suggests some avenues for further work, but has no immediate therapeutic value.

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Silicon Valley banks offer tech giants' new hires 100% mortgages on 24 hours' notice

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What to do if you’ve just signed up to work in one of the most expensive real-estate markets in the world, with almost all of your net worth tied up in illiquid shares in your employer’s company? Just ask a Silicon Valley bank for a 100% mortgage, which they’ll cheerfully supply on 24 hours’ notice, with all the “white-glove service” trappings you could ask for.
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The Typography of Stranger Things

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Stranger Things is a new hit Netflix show about supernatural goings-on in the mid-1980s. Part of its magic is the excellent production design: it doesn’t just nail the 80s, but it nails the poor midwestern 80s rather than the usual Hollywood middle-class city/coastal/bible-belt 80s. It still feels a bit like the late 70s—not because of 19A0s consumer witchcraft stuff, but because it’s the middle of Indiana and most everything’s at least 5 years old. Even the typography is perfect, from the very first second.

The Stranger Things title sequence is pure, unadulterated typographic porn. With television shows opting for more elaborate title sequences (think GOT and True Detective), the opening of Stranger Things is refreshingly simple. It trims the fat and shows only what is necessary to set the mood. More importantly, it proves a lesson I’ve learned time and time again as a designer: you can do a lot with type.
But how do a few pans of a logo accomplish so much in such a short amount of time? I break down its typographic success to three powerful plays: recognition, scale and palette.

Previously: Superrcut of 80s references in Strange Things

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Sierra Leone is the roundest country

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Gonzalo Ciruelos set out to discover which country was the roundest in shape.

We can define roundness in many ways. For example, as you may know, the circle is the shape that given a fixed perimeter maximizes the area. This definition has many problems. One of the problems is that countries generally have chaotic perimeters (also known as borders), so they tend to be much longer than they seem to be.

For that reason, we have to define roundness some other way. We represent countries as a plane region, i.e., a compact set C⊂R2C⊂R2. I will define its roundness as

That’s about where I tune out! Turns out the answer is Sierra Leone. Click through to see lots of mathy thingies on the screen, the runners-up, the least round countries, and the source code.

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Watch Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, Mike Bloomberg speeches at 2016 DNC (Video)

July 27, 2016. REUTERS

It was a busy night at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, as the party’s leading lights made their case for Hillary Clinton. In this post: Video of the speeches given at the DNC Wednesday night by U.S. President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Clinton’s running mate Senator Tim Kaine, and former New York mayor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg.

“America is already great. America is already strong,” said Obama.

“She’s been there for us — even if we haven’t always noticed — and if you’re serious about our democracy, you can’t afford to stay home just because she might not align with you on every issue,” said Obama, appealing to Bernie Sanders superfans who still can’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton.

On the same day that Donald Trump suggested that Russia should help him conduct cyber-espionage against Clinton to help Trump win the election, Obama described the Republican nominee as a threat to America.

“That’s why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end,” he said.

“She is fit and she is ready to be the next commander-in-chief.”

Below, Obama’s speech as prepared before delivery.

“The America I know is full of courage, and optimism, and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous. Sure, we have real anxieties – about paying the bills, protecting our kids, caring for a sick parent. We get frustrated with political gridlock, worry about racial divisions; are shocked and saddened by the madness of Orlando or Nice. There are pockets of America that never recovered from factory closures; men who took pride in hard work and providing for their families who now feel forgotten. Parents who wonder whether their kids will have the same opportunities we have.

“All that is real; we’re challenged to do better; to be better. But as I’ve traveled this country, through all fifty states; as I’ve rejoiced with you and mourned with you, what I’ve also seen, more than anything, is what is right with America. I see people working hard and starting businesses; people teaching kids and serving our country. I see a younger generation full of energy and new ideas, unconstrained by what is, and ready to seize what ought to be.”

“You know, nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office. Until you’ve sat at that desk, you don’t know what it’s like to manage a global crisis or send young people to war. But Hillary’s been in the room; she’s been part of those decisions. She knows what’s at stake in the decisions our government makes for the working family, the senior citizen, the small business owner, the soldier, and the veteran. Even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and treats everybody with respect. And no matter how daunting the odds; no matter how much …read more