Solar Death Ray

With its incredible heating power, the television solar beam is not for the inexperienced, and should only be built and used by capable adults.

(via inhabitat)

The Principles of True Genius

If you have to read the instructions it’s your failure not mine. I sleep four hours per week. So many great ideas scuttle through my brain; the only things that relax me are red wine and country music. If knowledge is cargo and we’re the conveyance, then I’m a dump truck and you’re a shot glass. My inventions offer you opportunities to improve your life. You’re likely to squander the benefits on candy, bingo, and pay-per-view television. None of those are mine. I simply didn’t have the time.
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Food-packaged food

Food packaged in a container made of food

You’ll be able to peel the shell off and compost the skin like a banana peel or, take a step beyond biodegradable, eat the whole thing like you would chew a grape.

(via Co.EXIST)

Cookie Hardliner Takes Serious Stance Against Creme, Builds “Oreo Separator”

The device severely divides each cookie in half and scrapes off the creme with extreme prejudice. A hatchet is involved.

(via Co.CREATE)

Human-powered helicopter breaks record with 50-second flight

The newest version of the craft weighs only 71 pounds, 30 less than the previous one, which stayed aloft for 11 seconds in 2011. Gamera II harvests power from arm movements as well as pedals, transmitting more power to the four large rotors.

(via NBC News)

Mrs. Herschel Parker


Bain News Service, publisher. Mrs. Herschel Parker. From the Bain Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Mr. Parker (Herschel Clifford Parker) was a Columbia physics professor and a founding member of the Explorers Club. In the spring of 1911 he married Evelyn Naegele. They honeymooned in Alaska.

Mrs. Herschel Parker last saw Professor Parker in 1919. In 1925 she petitioned a Brooklyn court to grant a divorce, citing abandonment and failure to support.

According to Mrs. Herschel Parker, the professor had said, “I am tired of looking after a wife and family. A man with my genius owes himself to mankind in general and cannot be tied down by family routine.”

The secret is applesauce

I thought cake farts were a consequence of over-indulgence and a sensitive digestive system. I now understand that I was mistaken.

Today wasn’t my birthday, but I did poop a candle.

If video of the event existed, thousands of views and hundreds of imaginary dollars would be mine.

Lab coat required, bird nest hair optional

In science today, a genius never works alone

The heroic genius was always something of a myth, convenient shorthand to make it easier to make a narrative out of the act of discovery; an exciting tale, but not a very accurate depiction of how science and scientists operate.

(via The Guardian)

Cosmological Coincidence

Cosmological coincidence: The ratio of the strength of the electric force to that of the gravitational force between two charged particles is very close to the ratio of the size of the Universe to the size of an electron. First noted by Paul Dirac.

[DIRAC and HEISENBERG are wallowing in a springtime meadow.]

HEISENBERG: [Gazes skyward in a distracted fashion. Lifts one arm and slowly undulates hand.] Hey, did you ever think that maybe the ratio of the strength of the electric force to, like, that of the gravitational force between two charged particles is . . . very close to the ratio of the size of the Universe to the size of an electron? Dude?

DIRAC: [Pauses before replying.] Yeah, man. I noted it.

News stories I didn’t read

Iran sends monkey into space

(via The Telegraph)

Lowly Dung Beetles Are Insect Astronomers


Even the humble dung beetle, its life spent barely an inch above the ground, pushing balls of waste, steers by starlight.

“Dung steered by the stars,” as my longtime friend Steve said.

Or, as Oscar Wilde wrote in “Lady WIndermere’s Fan”:

DUMBY. I don’t think we are bad. I think we are all good, except Tuppy.

LORD DARLINGTON. No, we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Kuwait on the Prairie


Light in the North Dakota darkness.

When oil comes to the surface, it often brings natural gas with it, and according to North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources, 29 percent of the natural gas now extracted in North Dakota is flared off. Gas isn’t as profitable as oil, and the energy companies don’t always build the pipes or systems to carry it away. For a year (with extensions), North Dakota allows drillers to burn gas, just let it flare. There are now so many gas wells burning fires in the North Dakota night, the fracking fields can be seen from deep space.


News stories I didn’t read

NASA Beams Mona Lisa to Moon with Laser

Headline of the day

Short Penis No Obstacle for ‘Spermcasting’ Barnacles

Headline of the day 2

Death Star Petition Gets White House Rebuff

What Was Lost

This is where we go when we follow the water. Down it flows—that’s science—and we race it to the ocean. Not quickly enough. The stream dwindles to mud that shines and then dulls. I feel as if I can hear the waves wash the rocks, just past where the pastures rise. We were so close this time. We’ll try again another day. Tomorrow’s weather forecast says rain.

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It’s that time of the year

Just telling y’all that the annual American Science & Surplus sale is on. I think you’ve got four days, and that’s it. I am for sure buying the set of folding cardboard binoculars.

Cats that I made using only MY MIND!

It’s true. AND: I did it in a dream the premise of which was: THIS IS NOT A DREAM.

You know how you have those dreams? Those other dreams? You realize, “Wait! This is a DREAM!”

This was not like that. THIS IS NOT A DREAM was the foundation of the dream.
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What I learned today

Discovered while researching French cooking terms. This is useful, too.

headline of the day

Forest Service may blow up frozen cows

UPDATE: Gruber agrees.

from the moderated comments

Just out of curiosity, how many of you who are skeptical of the benefit or positive effect of what you see demonstrated in this video have actually received ThetaHealing® from a certified, professional ThetaHealer®?

Driftless Regional Yarrow

Our Lucy says they look like dendrites.

Our Bodies, Our Flock: seizures

File this one under “things I wish I had known three hours ago.”

If you are having a tonic-clonic (formerly known as “gran mal”) seizure, there’s not much you can do about it at that time. An observer will see you stiffen suddenly, usually drawing limbs tight to the body or extending them. If you are standing, you will fall. You may vocalize. This is known as the tonic phase. Shortly thereafter your muscles will begin relaxing and contracting rapidly, which may result in small twitches or wild flailing. This can last for seconds to minutes and is known as the clonic phase. You may stop breathing during either phase. Afterwards you will experience disorientation, amnesia to the event, and severe exhaustion. If you are alone, this is the time to call 911.

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Here is a picture of a Yeti Crab

See also Paul Snelgrove’s TED talk on a census of the ocean.

The Provisional Atlas of the UK’s Larger Moths

The Provisional Atlas of the UK’s Larger Moths, published in December, is based on the first 11 million moth records collated by the National Moth Recording Scheme and represents a landmark in moth recording.

I posted this mainly because I love the title of the book, I love the idea of 11 million moth records, and I love the notion of a National Moth Recording Scheme. Also, what’s not to like about a landmark in moth recording?

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