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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Oregon Trail for Adults (safe for work)

Oregon Trail (wiki) was designed as an educational kids’ game, and a generation of students learned about the settling of the U.S. by playing it. There were many ways to die, but it was still rated for general audiences, meaning kids. There was a lot of not-so-pleasant parts of life on the trail that were completely left out,


A list of resources for further reading can be found at Vox. 

You can play Oregon Trail (the original version) in your browser, along with Ms. Pac-Man, Tetris, Donkey Kong, and Mega Man - more links to old games here and here.

via Neatorama.

Cumberbunny: Chocolate Benedict Cumberbatch Bunnies



Sherlock fans, you'll like this one -
The unique chocolate treat is the brainchild of Jen Lindsey-Clark and her team at New York-based Chocolatician who like to "experiment with chocolate and push the limits of how chocolate can be used as a medium to make art and bespoke gifts".
The Cumberbunnies come in three different flavours, milk, white, and dark chocolate, and are described as "a delicious Belgian chocolate rabbit with a handsome face and a tasty bottom".
The bunnies weigh 400g each, cost £50 and have a shelf life of six months.

This isn't the first time the Brits have made a chocolate version of Benedict Cumberbatch (wiki) - last year it was Chocobatch, a life-sized version of the actor made out of 500 chocolate bars. They called it the “Chocolate Cumberbatch Temptation Experiment” and it involved putting the statue in a mall and telling people they were welcome to give it a taste. A whole bunch of people took them up on their offer, breaking off fingers and taking a few licks. Check the video:


Friday, March 4, 2016

A wearable robot that feeds you tomatoes as you run

This is actually from last year, but I'd never seen it. A Japanese vegetable juice company has designed a new a wearable robot that dispenses tomatoes for people to eat while on the go.

Tomatan is a robot that can be worn as a backpack. Weighing 8kg (18 pounds), it features a tomato shaped head with a mouth that opens to dispense the tomato into circular metal arms that then come down over the person's mouth to feed them a tomato.

Why would anyone need this, you might ask? Well, according to Kagome, which claims to be Japan's largest supplier of tomato juice and tomato ketchup, people running the Tokyo marathon really need this.

Supercut: Cursing Without Cursing

When you want to keep it PG, you need a bit of creativity - modern movies risk an adult rating if there is too much profanity. A complete list of the included films is below the video. 



Film List (in order of appearance):

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Napoleon Dynamite
Johnny Dangerously
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Almost Famous
A Christmas Story
The Surfs
Spy Kids
Serenity
Star Trek
The Empire Strikes Back
The Breakfast Club
Hook
Three Amigos
You Can’t Cheat An Honest Man
Dumb And Dumber
Elf
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
A Bug’s Life
Misery
Never Give A Sucker An Even Break
Splash
Anchorman
Cats And Dogs
Short Circuit
Monty Python And The Holy Grail
The Wizard Of Oz
True Romance
A Clockwork Orange
The Princess Bride
The Sandlot
The Empire Strikes Back
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou 

From BurgerFiction.

March 5 is the anniversary of Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. 
Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow. 

~ Winston S. Churchill (wiki) (1874-1965) (speech, Fulton Missouri, 5 March 1946) 

Communism has never come to power in a country that was not disrupted by war or corruption, or both. 

~ John F. Kennedy (wiki) (1917-1963) (speech to NATO, 3 July 1963)

An uncharacteristically optimistic quote from Dr. Johnson:

Click here to embiggen.
No government power can be abused long. Mankind will not bear it ... There is a remedy in human nature against tyranny, that will keep us safe under any form of government. 

~ Dr. Samuel Johnson (wiki) (1709-1884) (quoted in Boswell's Life of Johnson, 31 March, 1772) 

March 5th is the anniversary of Winston Churchill's epoch-making "iron curtain" speech in 1946, at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri - the most famous acknowledgement of the existence of a "Cold War" (wiki) between Russia and the West, which put an end to the alliance that defeated the Nazis in World War II. The Cold War, which would often became quite hot in places like Korea and Vietnam - and damn near led to a nuclear exchange during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 - continued for 45 years until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. 

Sadly, however, the freedoms regained by the nations of eastern Europe seem now to be threatened by growing authoritarianism, and under Vladimir Putin, a new Cold War is already upon us.

Churchill's "iron curtain" phrase had many antecedents, described fully in a relevant Wikipedia article.

Churchill himself used the phrase a year before in a telegram to U.S. President Harry S. Truman, but perhaps most startling was its earliest appearance in the present context in an article by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels (wiki) (1897-1945) in the Nazi newspaper Das Reich on 23 February 1945: 
"Should the German people lay down their arms, the Soviets ... would occupy all eastern and southeastern Europe, together with the greater part of the Reich. Over all this territory, which with the Soviet Union included, would be of enormous extent, an iron curtain [ein eiserner Vorhang] would at once descend."

Previous related posts:


Churchill on governmental redistribution.

Before there was Laffer: Churchill on the fiscal cliff..

And this: 25 years later, deer on the Czech/German border still avoid the Iron Curtain.

Based on Ed's Quotation of the Day, available only via email. If' you'd like to be added to his distribution list, leave your email address in the comments.

Friday links

Video: The Hand-Cranked Wintergatan Marble Machine Uses 2,000 Marbles to Make Music.

March Forth: Today is National Grammar Day.

Army Candidates Take Exam in Their Underpants to Prevent Cheating.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech.

The Gruesome And Mysterious Case Of Exploding Teeth.

A Complete History of the Millennium Falcon

ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, and include Dr. Seuss' book of nudes The Seven Lady Godivas, why we say 'eleven, twelve' instead of 'oneteen, twoteen', bicycles as a moral threat (in the 1890s), and a 1970s-era Air Force rescue beacon disguised as dog poop (plus lipstick guns and shoe transmitters).

Video: The Hand-Cranked Wintergatan Marble Machine Uses 2,000 Marbles to Make Music

The Wintergatan Marble Machine was built by Swedish musician Martin Molin of the band Wintergaten. It's a hand-made machine that powers a kick drum, bass, vibraphone and other instruments using a hand crank and 2,000 marbles. Per Wired:
Click to embiggen
The machine itself is -- as intended -- programmable. Its central wheel is a 32 bar loop, and the key of the song can be adjusted while playing -- in the published video, it starts in E minor and runs into C major for its second wheel. "In theory you could go on forever," Molin said.

"It's all about the grid," he said. "I grew up making music on Midi, and everyone makes music on a grid nowadays, on computers. Even before digital they made fantastic, programmable music instruments. In bell towers and church towers that play a melody they always have a programming wheel exactly like the one that is on the marble machine." 
As the machine cycles it activates a vibraphone, bass, kick drum, cymbal and other instruments that play a score programmed into a 32 bar loop comprised of LEGO technic parts.

Watch full screen!



Here's a general "making of" video: there is also a series of prologue videos about the building of the machine that shows its individual components as they come together.

This is, of course, reminiscent of the Animusic videos, although were computer generated:



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wednesday links

For Dr. Seuss's birthday, his little-known book of nudes: The Seven Lady Godivas (SFW), plus Private Snafu: The World War II Propaganda Cartoons Created by Dr. Seuss, Frank Capra, and Mel Blanc, and This is Ann... she drinks blood! Dr Seuss Does Malaria.

Why Is It 'Eleven, Twelve' Instead of 'Oneteen, Twoteen'?

Why Being a ‘Black Sheep’ Is a Bad Thing and Other Ag-Idioms Explained.

1970s-era Air Force Rescue Beacon Disguised As Dog Poop, plus lipstick guns and shoe transmitters.


The Moral Threat of Bicycles in the 1890s.

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include that time Columbus tricked Jamaicans using fore-knowledge of a lunar eclipse, Leap Day/Year links, bullet-proof sofas, vintage sexist ads, and historic mad scientists.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday links

On February 29, 1504, Columbus tricked Jamaicans using knowledge of an upcoming lunar eclipse.

Leap Day: The Story Behind This Quirky Calendar Event, Five Weird Facts About Leap Years and the messy math of Leap Years.


ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include fashion advice from a 1980s Stasi (East German secret police) disguise seminar, the accidental invention of the microwave, the next generation of Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot, and a super slow motion video on the chemistry of matches.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Robert Reich on Why Cruz is more dangerous than Trump is the best Cruz commercial EVER!

I have to admit that I've been paying little attention to the details of this election season - I've had the disgusted sense that Hillary is inevitable, and that probably either Trump, Rubio, or Kasich would end up on the Republican ticket, I can't muster any enthusiasm since I'd probably end up holding my nose and voting for the lesser of two weasels. It's the same way I've felt for several election cycles - a plague on both their houses.

But Robert Reich, Bernie supporter and former Labor Secretary under Clinton (at Forbes, read Robert Reich's F Minus In Economics: False Facts, False Theoriesmay just have convinced me otherwise. Reich's attempt to persuade fellow socialists that Cruz in dangerous to their worldview may have resulted in the best pro-Ted Cruz campaign commercial ever made. 


Reich's main point is that, from his socialist perspective, Cruz is much more dangerous that Trump, who he sees as an opportunist with no fixed principles. Cruz, however, to Reich's horror:
Believes the Second Amendment gives individual Americans the right to possess guns! 
Is a strict constitutionalist! 
Rejects immigration reform! 
Wants to repeal Obamacare! 
Is more disciplined and strategic than Trump!
Is willing to destroy institutions (a euphemism for gigantic, bloated bureaucracies)
via Bookworm Room, which also has this excellent post: I don’t like Bernie because he’s a socialist.

Sexist vintage ads

These vintage ads are mostly selling products to/for women who are emitting foul odors from various body parts, but there are some for women who aren't up to snuff in the kitchen, and a few more generally sexist ads thrown in:





















Lots more here, here, here, here and here.