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Friday, February 21, 2014

Speaking of manliness, check out this "miniature winter tank": electric sled/wagon/snow-chainsaw

via Popular Science.

More recent manliness:

Dave Barry's Manliness Manifesto

The manliness test - how manly are you?

Friday links

Advice from 1938: Tips for Single Women.

The Painted Monasteries of Romania.

Dave Barry's Manliness Manifesto.

50 Amazing Finds on Google Earth.

22 Before And After Pictures Of Animals Growing Up.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, including the Viking Apocalypse (it's tomorrow!) bug sex and the best sci-fi guns.

Dave Barry's Manliness Manifesto

Dave Barry, one of my all-time favorite writers, has a new book coming out next week entitled You Can Date Boys When You're Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About; the WSJ has published an excerpt from that book, on the topic of stuff no one knows how to do anymore. Below are excerpts of that excerpt:

We have it pretty easy. But we have paid a price for all this convenience: We don't know how to do anything anymore. 

What really bothers me is that, like many modern American men, I don't know how to do anything manly anymore. And by "manly," I do not mean "physical." A lot of us do physical things, but these are yuppie fitness things like "spinning," and "crunches," and working on our "core," and running half-marathons and then putting "13.1" stickers on our hybrid cars so everybody will know what total cardiovascular badasses we are.

That's not manly. I'll tell you who was manly: The early American pioneers. They set out into the vast untracked wilderness with nothing but a musket and a sack of hardtack and hominy, and they had to survive out there for months, even years, completely on their own, sleeping on the ground in bear-infested forests. That's why they brought the hardtack: to throw at the bears. They had no idea why they brought hominy. Like you, they had no idea what "hominy" means. It sounds like some kind of disease.

These pioneering men did not do "crunches." These men crunched the damn continent—blazing trails, fording rivers, crossing mountain ranges, building log cabins, forging things with forges, etc. We modern men can't do any of those things. We don't have the vaguest idea how to ford a river. We'd check our phones to see if we had a fording app and, if not, we'd give up, go back home and work on our cores.

We American men have lost our national manhood, and I say it's time we got it back. We need to learn to do the kinds of manly things our forefathers knew how to do. To get us started, I've created a list of some basic skills that every man should have, along with instructions. You may rest assured that these instructions are correct. I got them from the Internet.

Things a Man Should Know How to Do

How to Cook a Steak on the Grill

1. Make sure you choose a good steak. The main "cuts" of steak are the Brisket, the Loin, the Round, the Chuck, the Rump, the Groin, the Niblick, the Flanker, the Grommet, the Cosine and the Stirrup. They are all basically the same because they all come from the inside of a cow. You should select a manly-looking steak that is approximately the size and density of a standard manhole cover and does not have too many visible fly eggs.

2. Many people like to enhance the flavor of the steak by soaking it ahead of time in marinade or rubbing it with a blend of herbs and spices.

3. These people are pansies.

4. Place the steak horizontally on the grill oriented along an east-west axis.

5. Drink a timing beer. (VERY IMPORTANT: Not a "light" beer.)

6. When the beer is done, check the steak by prodding it firmly yet gently with your right forefinger. If it feels cold, you need to light the grill. (This should have been Step 1.)

7. Drink another timing beer.

8. Turn the steak over, using barbecue tongs or a No. 2 profilated Phillips screwdriver with a 10-inch titanium-coated shank.

9. Drink another timing beer.

10. Check the steak to determine how done it is, using this chart:

Doneness of Steak – Color of Steak

Rare – brown

Medium-rare – brown

Medium – brown

Medium-well – brown

Well – brown

11. If the steak is covered with molten or flaming plastic, you failed to remove it from the packaging. (This should also have been Step 1.)

12. Spray the steak with a fire extinguisher if necessary and serve it outdoors in a dark area.

13. This might be a good time to switch to tequila.

Previously: The manliness test - how manly are you?

How much is your body worth on the black market?

Need a little extra money? There's quite a black market in organ donation (more information at the links below):

Black Market


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Godzilla size chart: Per poster for the new movie, new Godzilla is much larger than the previous versions

This guy's going to be really hard to take down.  Here's a chart showing all of Godzilla's (fluctuating) sizes through the years:

Here's a poster from the new movie:

One of his previous incarnations:

This is the only available trailer:

Who thinks of this stuff? Baby-Poop Bacteria Help Make Healthy Sausages

The latest in probiotics (wiki), from Live Science.
...professional tasters confirmed all the sausages tasted like regular fuet, even though all were healthier, low-fat, low-salt versions. The scientists detailed their findings in the February issue of the journal Meat Science.
The scientists tried their creations as well.
"We ate them, and they tasted very good," Jofré told LiveScience.

The trick to making sausage healthier may be baby poop, researchers say.

Bacteria from baby poop can help make delicious sausages, which could transform savory meats into health foods much like probiotic yogurts, according to new research.

For millennia, cultures across the globe have relied on microbes to help create a dazzling variety of foods and drinks. The most familiar examples are the yeasts used to make wine, beer and other alcohol.

Many types of sausages — including pepperoni and salami — are made with the aid of bacterial fermentation, which helps give these sausages their characteristic tangy flavor and, in many cases, their chewy texture and intense red color.

Fermented sausages are made from mixtures of ground meat, salt, sugar, spices and curing agents stuffed into casings. They are typically fermented by either bacteria naturally found in the raw meat or commercially available bacteria added to the meat during manufacturing. The lactic acid these fermenting bacteria produce, together with the drying of the meat, suppresses the spread of germs that would otherwise spoil the sausages.

In recent years, scientists have discovered that foods such as yogurt that contain live probiotic bacteria can have a wide variety of health benefits. For instance, these microbes could help burn away belly fattreat depression, lower inflammation, prevent urinary-tract infections and fight infant gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation.

Scientists in Spain reasoned that probiotic bacteria could be used in fermented sausages as well. 

"Probiotic fermented sausages will give an opportunity to consumers who don't take dairy products the possibility to include probiotic foods to their diet," said study co-author Anna Jofré, a food microbiologist at Catalonia's Institute of Food and Agricultural Research's (IRTA) food-safety program in Girona, Spain.

For probiotic bacteria to work, they must survive the acids in the digestive tract. As such, the researchers focused on microbes found alive in human feces.

Baby bacteria

The scientists concentrated on 43 fecal samples of healthy infants up to 6 months old. The samples were taken from diapers, mostly provided by midwives in support groups for new parents.

The two kinds of bacteria used most often in probiotics, Lactobacillusand Bifidobacterium, are far more abundant in infant poop than in adult excrement. In addition, "infant feces are natural samples, easy to obtain," Jofré said.

The scientists tried fermenting six batches of sausages using three strains of bacteria found in baby poop and three other, commercial probiotic strains of bacteria. Studies they had done in the past established the strains they used from infant excrement were safe for people.

Specifically, the investigators made "fuet," a kind of Mediterranean fermented pork sausage commonly found in Catalonia in northeastern Spain. It resembles the Spanish fermented sausage known as "chorizo," although fuet does not contain paprika like chorizo does and is also usually shorter, thinner, less acidic and less fatty. (The sausages the researchers made had no feces in them, only bacteria cultured from the poop.)

Only one of the six strains of bacteria became the main, dominant microbes within the sausages: one of the strains from infant feces. In fact, this strain grew "to levels of 100 million cells per gram of sausage," Jofré said, "enough to produce health-promoting effects to people."

Moreover, professional tasters confirmed all the sausages tasted like regular fuet, even though all were healthier, low-fat, low-salt versions. The scientists detailed their findings in the February issue of the journal Meat Science.

The scientists tried their creations as well.

"We ate them, and they tasted very good," Jofré told LiveScience.

Future research needs to confirm if this strain of bacteria actually has probiotic effects. "Meanwhile, they can be used for the production of tasty fermented sausages," Jofré said.

No companies are currently interested in commercializing these sausages, Jofré noted.

Gently but flamboyantly launching the over-sized walnut down the frozen river: David Attenborough Narrates Women's Curling

BBC Radio 1 asked David Attenborough (wiki) to narrate a few moments with Great Britain's Olympic curling team as if it were a nature documentary.

via io9.

Thursday links

The Strange World of Bug Sex, in Pictures.  And in the Animals Are Just Like Humans category, Elephants Console One Another By Genital Touching and Sympathetic Noises.

Remember - always pillage before you burn. The Viking Apocalypse is coming: Norse myth predicts world will end this Saturday.

High-speed photos of faces made during Olympic Figure Skating.

Top 10 Coolest Guns in Sci-Fi.

Scientific article du jour: How much training does it actually take to beat the Karate Kid?

Has humanity produced enough paint to cover the entire land area of the Earth?

ICYMI, Tuesday's links, including things superheroes do that’d be creepy if you did them and a manliness test, are here.

Deleted And Extended Scenes From Game Of Thrones Season 3 (NSFW - language)

From the Game of Thrones recently-released Season 3:

Related: Game of Thrones has a special 15-minute preview of season 4, plus a new trailer.
via Nerdist.

Scientific article du jour: How much training does it actually take to beat the Karate Kid?

Not as much time as you'd think, actually.  Read the whole article here: Martial arts: time needed for training.

Karate Kid training montage:

“PURPOSE: To measure the time needed to teach a series of martial arts techniques to proficiency.

METHODS: Fifteen volunteer subjects without any prior martial arts or self-defense experience were recruited. A panel of martial arts experts selected 21 different techniques including defensive stances, arm blocks, elbow strikes, palm strikes, thumbs to eyes, instep kicks and a carotid neck restraint. The critical elements of each technique were identified by the panel and incorporated into a teaching protocol, and then into a scoring system. Two black belt martial arts instructors directed a total of forty-five 45-minute training sessions. Videotaped proficiency testing was performed weekly. The videotapes were reviewed by the investigators to determine the proficiency levels of each subject for each technique.

RESULTS: The techniques were rated by the average number of training sessions needed for an individual to develop proficiency in that technique. The mean number of sessions necessary to train individuals to proficiency ranged from 27 to 38.3. Using this system, the most difficult techniques seemed to be elbow strikes to the rear, striking with thumbs to the eyes and arm blocking.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study 29 hours of training was necessary to train novice students to be proficient in 21 offensive and defensive martial arts techniques. To our knowledge, this is the first study that attempts to measure the learning curves involved when teaching martial arts techniques.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This "Guardians of the Galaxy" Trailer is a hoot

Anyone remember Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (wiki) comics?  Well, there will be a movie version released in August: the movie may not live up to the trailer, but the trailer is marvelous.

I have a soft spot for these because the (sort-of) hero is named Starlord, and I have a grandson name Skylor whom I always call Skylord (Defender of the Atmosphere!).

The Viking Apocalypse is coming: Norse myth predicts world will end this Saturday

Another apocalypse to survive.  As always, don't forget to pillage before you burn.
  • Norse mythology states the world will end this Saturday, February 22
  • Ragnarok is last battle between Viking gods, causing Earth to split open
  • After, the Earth will be restored and inhabited by the surviving gods
The Viking apocalypse is allegedly set to destroy Earth, with Norse mythology claiming the planet will split open and unleash the inhabitants of Hel on February 22.

According to the Vikings (wiki), Ragnarok is a series of events including the final predicted battle that results in the death of a number of major gods, the occurrence of various natural disasters and the subsequent submersion of the world in water.

The wolf Fenrir is also predicted to break out of his prison, the snake Jormungand will rise out of the sea and the dragon of the underworld will resurface on Earth to face the dead heroes of Valhalla – who, of course, have descended from heaven to fight them.

Legend has it the sound of the horn will call the sons of the god Odin and the heroes to the battlefield, before Odin and other ‘creator gods’ will be killed by Fenrir.

The Vikings believe the Ragnarok is preceded by the ‘winter of winters’, where three freezing winters would follow each other with no summers in between.

All morality would disappear and fights would break out all over the world, signalling the beginning of the end.

The wolf Skoll would then devour the sun, and his brother Hati would eat the moon, causing stars to fall out of the sky and the Earth subjected to tremendous earthquakes.

Warriors battle at the 2012 JORVIK Viking Festival. 
Should Saturday be the day, the world will then be restored and will be inhabited by the surviving gods and just two human survivors - with the Earth sinking into the sea and paving the way for a new utopian land with endless supplies. 

Another part of the legend claims that the Midgard Serpent, named Jormungand, shall free itself from its tail and rise up from the ocean, with believers claiming this had already occurred when two giant fish washed up on the coast of California last year.

Ragnarok, which is literally translated to mean ‘Fate or Twilight of the Gods’ or ‘Final Destiny of the Gods’ is based on a 13th century poem written by Snorri Sturluson.

People in York dress as Vikings as part of the Jorvik Viking Festival
Modern day Vikings warriors have already begun preparing for the apocalypse by converging on the UK town of York to celebrate the Jorvik festival – an excuse for grown men to dress up and swing wooden swords at each other.

The festival’s finale on Saturday will see about 300 warriors march through the city, before rival tribes participate in an ‘ultimate battle’.

The Jorvik Viking Centre predicted that Ragnarok would occur on 22 February because this is the end of the feast of Jolablot.

Traditionally, the Viking festival of Jolablot marked the end of the winter.

While not a scientific conclusion, they claim that Vikings loved to feast and wouldn't want to miss this event.

And if nothing happens on Saturday, Ragnarok will join a list of hundreds of other failed predictions for the end of the world, including the Mayan apocalypse on December 21, 2012 – which convinced many the Earth would be destroyed by an asteroid – and Y2K on January 1, 2000.

via Daily Mail, NPR (which has an audio version of the story from All Things Considered - here's the transcript) and

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday links

Here Are 17 Famous Movie Homes Built With Legos.

The manliness test - how manly are you?

Forensic Artist Reconstructs Face From A Skull-Shaped Vodka Bottle.

Woman jailed for not returning video she rented 9 years ago.

If superheroes competed in the Olympics what would their events be? Related video: Things Superheroes Do That’d Be Creepy If You Did Them.

ICYMI, last Friday's links are here, including Visual Effects Oscar winners from 1977-2012 and tree-climbing alligators.

Woman jailed for not returning video she rented 9 years ago

At least there was no SWAT team involved:

FOX Carolina 21

Fox Carolina
According to warrants Kayla Michelle Finely rented Monster-In-Law from Dalton Video [in Pickens SC] , which is no longer in business, in 2005 and the tape was not returned within 72 hours." Police say they are justified in arresting Finely because she was sent a warning letter in 2005 and "warrants never expire.

The manliness test - how manly are you?

I took it, and I'm a mewling kitten.  But I'm an old, overweight female, so presumably you'll do better.

Take the test.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Game of Thrones has a special 15-minute preview of season 4, plus a new trailer

The new season of GOT starts April 6.  HBO has a 15-Minute Preview of Season Four called Game of Thrones: Ice and Fire Foreshadowing, A Special, and also a second trailer.

Here's the Foreshadowing:

Here's the second trailer that's been released - the first is below.

Related: The Game of Thrones Travel Guide

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Here Are 17 Famous Movie Homes Built With LEGO Bricks

Find out what it would take to build a full-size Hogwarts, Stark Mansion, and more using LEGO bricks (of course, there are kits for more modest-sized versions).

Famous Movie Houses In LEGO By Movoto Real Estate

Video: Things Superheroes Do That’d Be Creepy If You Did Them

From wearing their underwear outside their clothes to going on adventures with young boys, superheroes do a lot of things that’d be creepy if you did them in real life.