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December 31, 2013

K'nex machine

This is a short teaser for my latest construction project, the world's largest K'nex ball machine, at The Works Museum in Bloomington, Minnesota. http://theworks.org/

The machine stands 23.5 feet tall and 40 feet long, and contains over 100,000 pieces. It has 2 lifts, 3 motors, and 8 paths, including a 20 foot free-fall, an 8 foot tall big-ball-factory spiral, and a 60 foot long path which hangs from the ceiling. It takes 3 and a half minutes for a ball to climb to the top of the tallest tower.

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Famous potatoes

Giant potato ready to drop in downtown Boise on New Year's Eve

BOISE -- New York is preparing for the big New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square.

In Boise, it's going to be a unique New Year's Eve celebration as organizers get ready for the Idaho Potato Drop.

As the clock counts down to midnight, the glowing 16-foot long potato will be lowered from the U.S. Bank building in downtown Boise.

Title ref

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Good question

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December 30, 2013

I don't know either

A South Korean restaurant.

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You deserve a break today

McDonald's employee site bashes fast food

McDonald's employee resources website once again is giving out worker advice that doesn't seem to fit. This time, it's about the industry it helped make ubiquitous — fast food.

"Fast foods are quick, reasonably priced, and readily available alternatives to home cooking. While convenient and economical for a busy lifestyle, fast foods are typically high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt and may put people at risk for becoming overweight," reads one post on the site, which includes a picture of a hamburger and fries, two items that the fast-food giant specializes in selling.

Another post labels a meal with a cheeseburger and fries as the "unhealthy choice" and one with a submarine sandwich and salad as the "healthier choice," noting that it's more of a challenge to eat healthy when visiting a fast-food place.

A separate post writes, "it is hard to eat a healthy diet when you eat at fast-food restaurants often," adding that large portions make it easy to overeat.

H.T. Jeff G

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Dreamscapes

This was shot in Germany, near the Austrian border.

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December 27, 2013

Ice drummers

This appeared on YouTube in March, 2012

Via David Thompson's Friday Ephemera

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Criminal master minds (4)

Bungling burglar left dangling upside down with head on toilet, Hull Crown Court hears

A BUNGLING burglar was left dangling upside down with his head on a toilet for more than an hour-and-half after getting stuck in a bathroom window.

Daniel Severn, 27, dropped his mobile phone in the bath during the attempted break-in, so was unable to call for help.

The owner of the house woke up, ready to go to work, only to find Severn hanging over his toilet.

Severn, who was wearing Marigold gloves and had a bag for his loot and a knife on him, said: "Please help. Call the police."

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Killer cube

A.K.A. Sudokube

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December 26, 2013

What a shot! (5)

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If she's still playing bridge, she's still sharp

Oklahoma woman celebrates 113th birthday

OKLAHOMA CITY, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- An Oklahoma woman who celebrated her 113th birthday Christmas Eve said she passes her days playing bridge and doesn't need help getting up from her chair.

Ora Holland said on her 113th birthday Tuesday she mowed her own lawn into her 90s and purchased her last new car when she was 100, the Oklahoman reported Thursday.

Holland, who the newspaper said is believed to be the oldest living person in Oklahoma, said she spends most of her days playing bridge where she lives at the Heritage Assisted Living Center in Oklahoma City.

"I can't see or hear like I used to, but I'm getting by," she said.

Holland said she sometimes needs a walker or a wheelchair to get around, but she doesn't need any help to get out of her chair to greet visitors.

T.J. Davis, Holland's grandson, said his grandmother's mind is sharp when he visits.

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What a shot! (4)

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December 25, 2013

Christmas dominoes

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Meanwhile in Oz



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December 24, 2013

Christmas doo-wop (2)

This is a repeat from December 2007 - but what's not to like? I don't know who the vocalists are but this version reminds me of Michael Bublé's.

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An early Christmas gift

Driver flung 50 feet off overpass in Revere crash, survives
James Fay got 'Christmas present early,' trooper says

REVERE, Mass. —A driver is lucky to be alive Thursday after falling 50 feet when he was ejected from his SUV in a crash in Revere.

James Fay was driving home for lunch when his SUV crashed at Copeland Circle, which is Route 1 North, in Revere.

According to police, as Fay's SUV rolled over he was thrown out of the sunroof and fell approximately 50 feet from the overpass, landing in the snow below.

"He was conscious, alert, he was talking. And the State Police on scene told us that he had been walking around prior to that," said Lt. William Brown, a Revere EMT.

"That's definitely a miracle. You might even call it a Christmas miracle," said Fay's friend, Will Teleau.

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Clever decorating (4)

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December 23, 2013

Clever decorating (3)

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Ho, ho, ho and No, no, no

Drunk Santa and tipsy helper crash sleigh

A drunk Santa and his pie-eyed helper are both in hospital after falling out of their sleigh during a tipsy ride down a busy high street.

The 51-year-old Father Christmas and his 31-year-old female helper had been singing Xmas carols and waving at locals as they trotted down the busy street in Ustrzykach Dolnych, Poland, when a passing car beeped them, scaring the horse which reared up sending them flying into the road.

Passerby Zdzislaw Molodynski who captured the scene on camera said: "It was quite extraordinary.

"They were supposed to have been an attraction at the local market and lots of people were taking their children there to go and see them.

"But instead they saw these two, who were clearly under the influence, behaving like they had just come out of a nightclub or something.

"Then a car started beeping them which threw the horse into a panic.

"It reared up and sent them smashing into the wall on the corner of the street.

"It was a mixture of 'Ho, ho, ho' and 'No, no, no'," he said.

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The little cube

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December 22, 2013

The Christmas Can Can

The music is by the group Straight No Chaser.

Via Miss Cellania

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Travel advice

Dave Barry writes:

TRAVEL TIP

If you're planning to travel by air today, consider just staying home and stabbing yourself repeatedly in the eyeball with a fork.

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Clever decorating (2)

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December 21, 2013

If you don't bet, you can't lose

Cowboys fan loses bet with Packers fan. The cigar's a nice touch.

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But could he parallel park?

If you made this stuff up nobody would believe you.

Cops: Man Arrested For DWI After Showing Up Drunk To Motor Vehicle Test

A New Jersey man is facing a drunk driving charge after allegedly attempting to take a motor vehicle test while intoxicated, according to cops.

Stephen Goss, 53, was arrested last week at a Motor Vehicle Commission office when a state instructor detected "a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating" from his breath, according to a Randolph Township Police Department statement.

After cops were summoned, Goss underwent a field sobriety test, which indicated that he was impaired. A subsequent Breathalyzer test recorded his blood alcohol content at .13, well over the .08 legal limit.

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Clouds in the canyon

Here's someone else who isn't afraid to use Papyrus.

Via David Thompson's Friday Ephemera

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December 20, 2013

Pixel proposal

Well-played!

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Largest Gingerbread Village?

News from Norway

'My gingerbread village is bigger than yours'

A battle has broken out between Bergen and New York over which city has constructed the world's largest gingerbread village.

On 17 November, a 135-house village constructed in Queen's, New York, was officially named "the world's largest gingerbread village" by the Guinness Book of Records.

But Bergen on Tuesday unveiled a village more than ten times as big, with no fewer than 1,990 trains and buildings spread out over 380 square meters.

"Once again we have the record. It's just totally amazing, we simply have the largest, most beautiful and best gingerbread city in the universe," Steinar Kristoffersen, who leads the city's 'Pepperkakebyen' project said at the opening.

New York immediately rebutted the claim, however, arguing that Bergen falls short on important technicalities.

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Largest Gingerbread House

Gingerbread-covered house would be a more accurate description.

Texas lays claim to the world's largest gingerbread house

Living up to its reputation of largeness, the state of Texas has now become home to the world's largest gingerbread house. Located at the Traditions Golf Club in the city of Bryan, the larger-than-life gingerbread house measures 39,201.8 cubic feet (1,110.1 cubic meters) and officially holds the new Guinness World Record. This defeats the record previously held by the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, with its 36,600 cubic foot (1,036.4 cubic meter) gingerbread house.

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Via Gizmag

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December 19, 2013

Bottle fish

1 of 5 images at imgur of fish sculptures built from plastic bottles at Rio de Janeiro.

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What's in a name? (5)

I hope this lad's named after the revolver and not after the malt liquor.

Colt .45 Stratemeyer

Colt .45 Stratemeyer was born Nov. 26, 2013 at Tillamook Regional Medical Center. He weighed seven pounds, two ounces. He joins his older brother, Hunter Allen Stratemeyer, 3.

Baby Colt’s parents are Joshua and Rebekah Stratemeyer of Toledo.

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Don't drive over any potholes

What next? A passenger-carrying Lego airplane maybe?

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December 18, 2013

Better than roses on your piano

An old joke set to music very competently.

Via Miss Cellania

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The more, the merrier

Maryland woman packs whopping 277 Christmas trees inside her home

Christmas is a huge deal in this Maryland home, whose owners have decorated it with an astonishing 277 trees.

Two decades of fierce sibling rivalry with her Oklahoma-based sister has led Renetta Zanco to stuff her Lothian house full of the festive plants.

And with 28 in the bathroom alone, including one made out of toilet roll, she thinks she's got this year's competition well and truly sewn up.

"I've got her beat now," she told My Fox DC.

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Through the glass

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December 17, 2013

Clever decorating

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Don't be hasty

A couple was Christmas shopping at the mall on Christmas Eve and the mall was packed. As the wife walked through the mall she was surprised to find that her husband was nowhere around. She was quite upset because they had a lot to do. So she called him to find out where he was.

In a calm voice, the husband said, "Honey, you remember the jewelry store we went into about 5 years ago - the one where you fell in love with that diamond necklace that we could not afford? And I told you that I would get it for you one day."

The wife choked up and started to cry and said, "Yes, I remember that jewelry store."

He said, "Well, I'm in the bar next door to it."

H.T. Jeff G

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Full Turn

Full Turn is a kinetic light sculpture by Benjamin Muzzin created as a diploma project for his bachelor degree at ECAL. The piece was constructed from two flat screen monitors placed back-to-back and spun at extremely high speed resulting in three-dimensional light forms that hover in thin air.

Via Colossal

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December 14, 2013

Pentatonix: Little Drummer Boy

These folks always have such great mixes on their videos.

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Snow in Cairo?

I'm trying to picture Cairo drivers in snow... It's not pretty.

Snow in Cairo for the first time in 112 years

WHEN you think Cairo you think heat and sand.

But something unusual happened there overnight - it snowed!

According to local reports it's the first time snow has fallen in the Egyptian capital in 112 years.

Incredible pictures show the normally sweltering city coated in white.

Egyptians took to Twitter to post their amazement in words and pictures.

The Egyptian Meteorological Authority warned on Wednesday the unusual weather will drive down temperatures to between 5 and 15 Celsius.

Snow was reported on Mt. Sinai and Saint Catherine's monastery at the base of the mountain.

A powerful winter storm is affecting parts of the Middle East.

Sections of Israel saw heavy snow up to about a metre.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told The Times of Israel, "We're facing a rare storm the likes of which we've never seen."

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Technology test

Who in the world asks for one of these? That's scary. This sign was in an Ace Hardware store.

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December 13, 2013

Who needs it?

Bar bets used to be a lot more interesting before smart phones & Google got involved.

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First impressions

A Craigslist ad in Seattle.

You farted in Pike Place Market - m4w - 30 (Seattle)

You were the hot brunette with curves that farted near the produce this weekend. I was the tall guy next to you that looked over and asked, "Was that you?" You quickly replied "No... Wasn't me!" You almost seemed insulted I would ask. As the stink grew you continued to deny your flatulence, but it was evident. I tried to get rid of the stench by waving a couple loafs of bread from La Panier. You proceeded to storm off in an angry manner. You are beautiful and even though you are a liar and fart like a Clydesdale, I would love to meet up for a drink sometime.

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Somebody else's troubles

This reminds me of Steve Goodman's song Somebody Else's Troubles.

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December 12, 2013

Drawbot

Here's an interesting way to build an X-Y stage. I'll be really, really impressed when they come up with a printer driver for it. Details at the builder's site.

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Colorful igloo

What This Couple Built In Their Snowy Backyard Made Me Insanely Jealous. Seriously…Wow.

Daniel Gray, a New Zealander visiting Canada with his Canadian girlfriend to meet her family found a very unique way to spend some of his time during their cold December visit.

With the help of his girlfriend (Kathleen Starrie) and her family, he build the most amazing thing in their Edmonton backyard.

"I wanted to keep him occupied, not with my daughter necessarily. I wanted to keep him busy with something else," Starrie's mother Brigid Burton said with a laugh, "I didn't want Daniel to just be twiddling his thumbs while he's here in Canada so I thought, this needs to be something that's got some meat to it."

And so the construction began. The couple, along with help from Starrie's parents and even a friendly neighbour, spent five days building what you're about to see.

1 of 17 images from the article:

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Tiny (3)

We've had occasional photos of tiny animals previously but someone has compiled 108 of them.

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Via David Thompson's Friday Ephemera

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December 11, 2013

Ice casting

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The thought's occurred to me

Harassed boyfriend jumped to his death after his girlfriend insisted on going into another clothes shop

A man jumped to his death after a furious row with his girlfriend who insisted they go into another clothes shop.

CCTV shows Tao Hsiao, 38, escorting his girlfriend around a shopping mall in Xuzhou, Jiangsu
province, east China.

After five hours Tao finally had enough and demanded to go home.

Eyewitnesses say he could be heard saying they already had more bags than they could carry, but she insisted on going into one more shop where the was a special offer on shoes. [...]

The shouting match ended when the man chucked the bags on the floor and jumped over the balcony, smashing into Christmas decorations on his way down before hitting the floor seven storeys below causing shocked shoppers to flee in panic.

H.T. Jeff G

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Animated optical illusions (2)

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December 10, 2013

The Majestic Bellowphone

And the music is recognizable if you listen carefully.

Via The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys

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And what an unusual gift it will make

Michael writes that he found this while 'cruising around looking for presents.'

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No foolin' - Unicorn meat is real!
Excellent source of sparkles!

Unicorns, as we all know, frolic all over the world, pooping rainbows and marshmallows wherever they go. What you don't know is that when unicorns reach the end of their lifespan, they are drawn to County Meath, Ireland. The Sisters at Radiant Farms have dedicated their lives to nursing these elegant creatures through their final days. Taking a cue from the Kobe beef industry, they massage each unicorn's coat with Guinness daily and fatten them on a diet comprised entirely of candy corn. As the unicorn ages, its meat becomes fatty and marbled and the living bone in the horn loses density in a process much like osteoporosis. The horn's outer layer of keratin begins to develop a flavor very similar to candied almonds. Blending the crushed unicorn horn into the meat adds delightful, crispy flavor notes in each bite. We are confident you will find a world of bewilderment in every mouthful of scrumptious unicorn meat.

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High pressure advertising

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December 09, 2013

Winter in Slovenia

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All's well that ends well

Ore. man learns driving tank harder than it looks

GOLD BEACH, Ore. (AP) — Sometimes an owner's manual is not enough.

Oregon State Police say that's what a 58-year-old man learned when he tried to drive a 50-ton battle tank up a steep grade near the coastal town of Gold Beach.

The Oregonian reports that the 1969 Chieftain had been purchased by a local resident, but a truck driver transporting the tank was unable to climb the grade. So he unloaded it at a turnout along U.S. Highway 101.

The owner's caretaker, Jeffrey Glossop of Pistol River, decided he could get the tank up the hill.

State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings notes that Glossop had the operator's manual.

But Hastings says the tank slipped out of gear and rolled back down across the busy highway, crashing through a guardrail. [...]

Glossop was cited for reckless driving and first-degree criminal mischief.

Hastings says the tank is fine.

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Finally: a good use for a Fiesta

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December 07, 2013

Now we know

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It's not the heat...

'Stupidity ran deep' during 'stab-proof' vest demonstration

EDMONTON - A young Edmonton man who grievously wounded his friend while testing a supposedly "stab-proof" vest was sentenced to six months in jail Tuesday.

Court heard that Justin Harder, 18, was bragging to his friend Calvin Wesley Clackson, 21 about a "stab-proof" vest he'd just acquired as they hung out in an apartment suite at 106th Avenue and 116th Street, Crown prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga told court.

Harder was so confident in the vest that night in October 2012 that he believed it would deflect any attack with a knife. Harder eagerly invited his friend to stab him in the chest to prove the vest worked.

"Mr. Clackson foolishly obliged him," Huyser-Wierenga said.

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Fleeting color

A very interesting illusion: the color persists so long as you focus on the dot; when your eyes shift, your perception of the positive image changes. Eye saccades in action.

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December 06, 2013

Keep it rolling

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This is news?

Cats Recognize Their Owner's Voice But Choose to Ignore It

Cats, according to new research, recognize their owner's voice. They just can't be bothered to react to it.

Researchers in Japan arrived at this conclusion after performing experiments with twenty house cats. They played recordings of the cats' owners' calling to their pets in whatever cat-talk voice they typically used. They also played recordings of three strangers calling to the cats, using the same words.

To quantify the cats' reactions, the researchers recorded how often cats moved their head, tail, paws or ears, or whether they meowed or dilated their pupils. While the cats showed a significantly greater response to their owners calling their names than to strangers doing so, they did not bother to get up in either instance, the researchers found.

(And cats don't have 'owners'.)

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Not so pure Michigan

This is one in a series of parodies of the State of Michigan's Pure Michigan ad campaign.(Strong language: mind the volume.)

H.T. Jeff G

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December 05, 2013

Buena parodia

This was a woman's project for a Spanish course - made with help from her brother.

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Good morning! (3)

Tennessee McDonald's serves couple paper bag full of cash instead of breakfast

McDonald's? They're LOVIN' it!

A couple rocked up at a Tennessee drive-thru to pick up a breakfast snack — and ended up being handed a paper bag stuffed full of cash.

Greg and Stacye Terry couldn't believe their eyes when they returned home and found bill-brimmed pouch.

But the honest couple headed straight back to hand in the loot.

Turns out, bumbling workers left thousands of dollars destined for the bank in a bag on a counter.

A staffer then mistakenly picked up the money instead of the customers' grub.

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Your beautfiul eyes

1 of many images in this collection of close-up shots of human eyes by Suren Manvelyan.

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December 04, 2013

FTW (7)

What a priceless comment.

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Condoms of Tomorrow

Vacuum cleaners, eh?

Condom Contest Produces 812 Ideas for Improvement

The condom of the future might be made of cow tendon or fish skin. It might have "shape memory" to instantly mold to a specific man. Or it might come with pull tabs so a man could slip it on with little fuss.

Those ideas are among the winners announced Wednesday by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation of a contest to create a condom that men would actually use. The contest, the foundation said, aimed to decrease unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases with "a next-generation condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure."

The foundation received 812 applications, chose 11 and awarded the winners $100,000 each. They could receive up to $1 million after they develop the ideas. Steven Buchsbaum, a Gates Foundation official, said winners ranged from a longtime condom manufacturer in India to American chemical engineers to British design consultants whose previous work included vacuum cleaners.

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More outstanding geekery

Because you never know when you'll want to sniff a protocol. This is a Kickstarter project.

There seems to be a related Android app too.

Via Gizmag

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December 03, 2013

You'll never see this on an Etch-a-Sketch

Wow.

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The Streisand Effect in action

I think this KlearGear outfit must have been out of its mind. It seems to be learning the same lesson that Ms. Streisand learned.

Utah Couple Fined $3,500 by Online Merchant KlearGear Retains Lawyer, Turns Tables

After an online merchant fined a Utah couple $3,500 for writing a negative review and sparked a financial nightmare for more than a year, a public service lawyer has agreed to take the case and fight back with demands for $75,000 in compensation.

When Jen Palmer of Salt Lake City didn't receive a Christmas gift that her husband ordered for her online, she wrote a negative review of KlearGear.com and moved on with her life. But the company fined the Palmers $3,500, citing bizarre fine print on its website.

"No one would have expected this from doing perfectly normal, everyday and perfectly legal things," Scott Michelman, staff attorney with Public Citizen who is representing the Palmers, told ABCNews.com.

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This, That, and The Other

Amusing street names in Porters Lake, Nova Scotia.

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December 02, 2013

Happy Whatever!

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Yee haw!

Take A Look At The Verrückt Meg-A-Blaster, Soon To Be The World's Tallest Waterslide

"NOPE. NOT A CHANCE." That's what I'd tell a person who isn't nearly as brave and tough as I am if he wanted to go down the Verrückt Meg-A-Blaster waterslide at the Schlitterbahn Kansas City Water Park when it opens next year. The slide is currently under construction, but as you can see in the image posted to Reddit yesterday, this reportedly 140-foot tall project is no joke, as it will eventually become the tallest waterslide in the world.

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iDiots

Via Miss Cellania

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