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Saturday, March 29, 2014

3 Ways to Escape Zip Ties: An Illustrated Guide

Zip ties are increasingly being used to restrain innocent folks in home invasion and kidnapping scenarios. With a quick Google search, you’ll see a number of situations where suspects used standard zip ties from the local hardware store to restrain their victims.

We tried out all of these methods, and they all work. We even did it with the heavy duty variety, rated at 175 lbs. With a little bit of practice, it’s actually fairly easy to escape from zip ties, and you should be well-prepared should you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being illegally restrained by a home invader or other criminal with zip ties.

The folks over at ITS Tactical have a great series of videos on how to escape from zip ties that, with their permission, we based this illustrated guide on.

National Institute of Scientific Research in Brussels: Global warming causes erectile dysfunction

IJ Review: The National Institute of Scientific Research in Brussels has identified global warming to be a significant contributor to erectile dysfunction. Dr. Alfvin Schwartz, chief of the study, said:
The evidence is clear! All statistics confirm it, but most scientists would not believe it. However, the data is irrefutable. Global warming makes it go numb! There is no other way to say it.
In related bad news, the Subcommittee on Food Sustainability and Safety, responsible under the Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, is drafting the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines that include concerns for saving the planet.

The stated objective: “The goal is to develop dietary guidance that supports human health and the health of the planet over time.” Bread lines: Coming soon to an ecological co-op near you.
Dr. Miriam Nelson, chair of the subcommittee, specifically added:
Eating fewer animals, but choosing those wisely, and reducing sugar, refined grains, things like that…would actually have a lower footprint than what we are currently doing.
The bottom line: the planet’s fever is giving you ED and your comfort food will have to be a tofurkey sandwich or a veggie burger, rather than a steak or a slab of ribs.

Gearing up for April Fool's Day: How To Create A Realistic Looking Head In A Jar

Start by creating, printing and laminating a cleverly-edited wrap-around portrait of someone’s head (preferably your own). The Instructable has instructions on how to make your own wraparound head photo, but if photo editing is not your specialty, don’t worry – one is available to download in the instructions on Instructables. It needs to be fully laminated (you can buy self-adhesive laminating sheets at Amazon, or at Staples or a similar office supply place, or at Walmart) so that the paper is waterproof. Then, just twist it into a tube and submerge it in a jar full of dyed water.

April Fool's Day idea: Make your own meatloaf donuts

Recipe and directions here.  via Neatorama.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday links

How did autism become the latest fad disorder?

The Walking Disney: If Disney Characters Were in a Zombie Apocalypse.

The Seven Churches of Antarctica.

Physics answers the important questions: Can you drive fast enough to avoid being clocked by speed cameras?

There's an Actual Scientific Reason Not to Pee in the Pool.

Goats are far more clever than previously thought.

Now you can get an exorcism via Skype.

ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, and include really bad book covers and retro toys, and a first-person video taken by Superman as he flies.

The Walking Disney: If Disney Characters Were in a Zombie Apocalypse

It's weird to see Anna from Frozen with an M4 carbine, but, hey, it's all about survival.

Pocahontas and John:

Rapunzel and Flynn from Tangled:

Tiana (from Princess and the Frog):


Anna and Elsa (from Frozen):

More at the artist's page, via Kotaku.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Earthbound shooting stars": Surprisingly gorgeous firefly time-lapse video

Watch full screen:

From Joe at It's OK To Be Smart, who explains the phosphorescence:

Wow. This one is simply stunning. A wonderful new time-lapse from Vincent Brady, with music from Brandon McCoy, captures fireflies like Earthbound shooting stars against the backdrop of the night sky that we usually see in videos like these. Using long exposures and stacked images, this time-lapse operates on two scales: Terrestrial and astronomical.

Ahhh, good ol’ Photina pyralis, those harbingers of warmer days, those bearers of chemical candlelight, those blinking lovers calling out for a mate on long summer nights. 

Photina creates its light using a process called chemiluminescence, mediated by an enzyme called luciferase. The luciferase protein, a name which stirs images of fiery spirits, grabs on to its chemical target, a molecule called luciferin, sitting ready, but dark, in the active site of the protein, like an unlit firework. Luciferase then reaches for a molecule of ATP, every living cell’s energy source, luminescent or not, capturing its chemical energy like a sprinkling of gunpowder on a fuse. It breaks apart that ATP into AMP and pyrophosphate, and with the release of that fiery-sounding byproduct, the invocation of fire begins.

Now oxygen gas, the very fuel fire needs to burn, rips away the AMP and sits down in its place. The fuse is burnt, the fire has food, and it’s time to ignite. Exhaling carbon dioxide, the luciferin molecule is excited into oxyluciferin, its atoms charged full via oxidation. Almost instantly, it relaxes back to a resting state, shooting out a photon like a quantum bullet.

And so it happens, millions of times a minute, in invisible pyralis posteriors that only betray their location in fleeting flashes of chemistry as they streak across the twilight sky.

Dad Adds Special Effects to Videos,Turns 3-Year-Old Son Into Action Movie Star

Enjoy - the longest of these is 16 seconds:

Youtube channel actionmoviekid

Slow Motion Video of 150 Mousetraps Being Triggered In a Chain Reaction

From The Slow Mo Guys

Impossible to overstate how important info in this article is: Red Tape Rising: Five Years of Regulatory Expansion

Go to Heritage and read the whole thing.  Excerpts below (emphasis mine).


The Obama Administration is aggressively exploiting regulation to achieve its policy agenda, issuing 157 new major rules at a cost to Americans approaching $73 billion annually. In 2013 alone, the Administration imposed 26 new major rules. Although slightly below President Obama’s first-term annual average (33), it was still twice the annual average of his predecessor George W. Bush. And much more regulation is on the way, with another 125 major rules on the Administration’s to-do list, including dozens linked to the Dodd–Frank financial regulation law and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. Reforms of the regulatory process are critically needed. Without decisive action, the costs of red tape will continue to grow, and the economy—and average Americans—will suffer.

Regulatory overreach by the executive branch is only part of the problem. Much of the red tape imposed over the past five years has been driven by vast and vaguely worded legislation, such as the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the Dodd–Frank financial-regulation law, in which Congress granted broad discretion to regulatory agencies. Doing so allows lawmakers to claim credit for “doing something” while evading blame for specific regulations.

There are many more regulations to come—agencies have identified 125 additional major rules they intend to work on this year, including dozens linked to Dodd–Frank and Obamacare.

Reforms of the regulatory process are critically needed. Among these: congressional approval before any new major regulation takes effect; analyses of the regulatory consequences of all proposed legislation before a vote is held; sunset deadlines in law for all major regulations; and review of independent agencies’ regulations, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in the White House regulatory review process.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chandelier of lost earrings was made using thousands of donated earrings that had lost their mates

"The Chandelier of Lost Earrings" by architectural glass artists Lauren Sagar and Sharon Campbell is a mass participation artwork created using thousands of orphan earrings, all of which were donated by people who had lost the other half of the original pair. The sculpture is designed to be floor standing. At 2.5 metres high and 1 metre wide, the chandelier is made up of 3,500 earrings, hundreds of lengths of chains, donated necklaces, bracelets, beads, brooches and two watches. “We wanted to gather together the lost and lonely earrings along with the stories of their owners into one beautiful sculpture,” the artists explained. The finished piece is displayed inside a glass house, which Sagar and Campbell created on the grounds of St. Mary’s Maternity Hospital in Manchester.

via junk-culture.

Physics answers the important questions: Can you drive fast enough to avoid being clocked by speed cameras?

University of Leicester physics students have suggested that - theoretically, at least - there may be a way, other than obeying speed limits, of avoiding getting a ticket from a speed camera.

A group of four MPhys students found that drivers could escape detection by driving so fast that their number plates would appear invisible to speed cameras. Any drivers tempted to give this a try should be warned; the car would need to be travelling at 119 million miles per hour to make the number plate invisible.

The students made the calculations in their final year paper (available here) for the Journal of Physics Special Topics, a peer-reviewed student journal run by the University's Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Their calculation is based on the Doppler Effect – the physical effect where the frequencies of light or sound waves emanating from an object increase or decrease when it moves towards or away from you.

This effect is at work when you hear an ambulance – its siren will appear to lower in pitch as it drives past you.

With light, this process creates "red shift" – where the frequency of light from an object travelling away from the observer is shifted towards the red end of the colour spectrum. The faster an object is travelling, the bigger the shift in frequency.

This means it would theoretically be possible for the light from a fast-moving car number plate to be shifted out of the frequency range which speed cameras are able to detect.

The group assumed the camera would be able to detect a similar frequency range as the human eye – roughly 400 terahertz at the "red" end of the spectrum to 790 terahertz at the violet end.

Car number plates are generally yellow – which has a frequency of around 515 terahertz.

To work out the necessary speed of the car for the number plate to be "shifted" past the 400 terahertz boundary of the visible spectrum, the group utilised the equation used by astronomers to calculate how fast stars are travelling away from the Earth.

They found the car would need to be travelling at 53 million metres per second – equal to 119 million miles per hour, or one sixth of the speed of light.

Given that the fastest man-made object – the Helios Probe – is only capable of travelling at one five thousandth of the speed of light, we clearly have some way to go before we would ever be able to see this effect in action.

More at

Science: if Thor's hammer actually had been forged from a dying star, how much would it weigh?

There's a common misconception that Thor's hammer was forged from a dying star. It wasn't! It was forged inside of one, ya dummy. But just for fun, what would happen if Thor's hammer actually had been forged from a neutron star's demise? 

Well, thanks to the newest Vsauce video, we have our answer: Nothing good. Just a sugar cube-sized bit of dying neutron star would have the same mass as roughly all of humanity—or 400 million metric tons. Now combine a bunch of those chunks into a hammer sized to fit the hand of a Norse god, and you're looking at 4.6 trillion metric tons. Or as the video puts it, "97 million Titanics condensed into the size of an American football." In other words, you have a pretty damn heavy hammer.

via Gizmodo

House of Cards and Game of Thrones video mashup: House of Thrones

via Neatorama.

Wednesday links

The 10 Weirdest Marvel Movies That Almost Got Made.

Superman wears a Go-Pro: Excellent 1st person Superman flying video.

Beyond Escher: Optical Illusions in Art.

Fantastically Awful Retro Toys From Your Corrupted Youth.

Fallen behind on Game of Thrones, or want a refresher? Here are all three seasons recapped in nine minutes.

ICYMI, Monday's links, including daily affirmations from Skeletor and the meaning of poop shape and color, are here.

Fallen behind on Game of Thrones, or want a refresher before Season 4? All 3 seasons recapped in 9 minutes

Game of Thrones' new season starts April 6. Can't remember exactly what's going on in Westeros? Check out this video that recaps everything from seasons 1 - 3. Spoilers, of course, if you haven't seen the whole series so far.

Watch full screen.

via Mental Floss.

Previous posts:

Excellent 1st person Superman flying video

Superman flies around wearing a Go-Pro camera while returning it to its owner.

"I'm Too Old For This Sh*t": The Movie Supercut (NSFW - language)

Starting, of course, with the scene from Lethal Weapon when Murtaugh first meets Riggs:


Full list of films featured: "Lethal Weapon," "The Hurt Locker," "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey," "Aces: Iron Eagle III," "Unleashed," "Vampire in Brooklyn," "Frankie and Johnny," "Showtime," "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," "Stripes," "The Art of War," "Blade," "Blame It on Rio," "The Sure Thing," "Death Proof," "The Night Listener," "For Colored Girls," "Lethal Weapon 3," "The Yakuza," "Black Moon Rising," "Racing Stripes," "Ed Wood," "Ladder 49," "To Live and Die in L.A.," "Space Cowboys," "In the Line of Fire," "Father of the Bride Part II," "Chain Reaction," "Dreamcatcher," "Entrapment," "The Rock," "Green Street Hooligans," "The Prince of Tides," "Flesh+Blood," "Bull Durham," "Robin Hood," "The Sting," "Rob Roy," "Loaded Weapon 1," "Beat Street," "Elf," "Nobody's Fool," "North by Northwest," "An Officer and a Gentleman," "Flying Leathernecks," "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope," "Gentleman Prefer Blondes," "Wizards," "Colors," "Lethal Weapon 2," "Out for Justice," "The Ice Pirates," "Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," "Maverick," "Undercover Brother," "Lethal Weapon 4," "In the Loop," "Death at a Funeral," "The Freshman"

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Excellent: Mark Steyn on the tyranny of the hyper-regulatory bureaucracy-for-life

Per SteynOnline: The clip below is from a recent speech in Ottawa. Mark also writes about the tyranny of the hyper-regulatory bureaucracy in After America.

Photo: Game of Thrones Ad Placement Super Fail

It seems someone dropped the ball when they decided to put up this billboard advertising season 4 of Game of Thrones with the slogan “All Men Must Die”, because the billboard is located right above the Santa Monica Pavilion, a building that provides residential care for the elderly.

via Neatorama.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday links

35 Excellent Facebook Fails.

Daily Affirmations from Skeletor, Evil Lord of Destruction.

The Time the U.S. Invaded a Japanese Submarine Base in Alaska.

‘Juden Raus’: Nazi-era anti-Semitic board game where you deport the Jews.

This is a hoot: check out Kevin Bacon's Footloose entrance on the Tonight Show.

What Does the Shape and Color of My Poop Mean?

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, including the gruesome original Pinocchio story and the 500 lb chicken from hell.

Daily Affirmations from Skeletor

If anyone knows about life’s ups, downs and daily challenges it’s Skeletor (wiki), Evil Lord of Destruction and sworn enemy of He-Man (wiki). Although he’s a villain, when Skeletor isn’t menacing all of Eternia (and sometimes while he is), he’s also working on improving himself.

It’s a daily struggle, but he’s making great progress, mostly thanks to the invaluable guidance of his life coach S. Elizabeth, who documents his journey of self-actualization here on Tumblr at an awesome blog called Heal Yourself, Skeletor:

"Skeletor is experiencing the profound emptiness and isolation of human existence. Follow his journey to positive mental health through daily affirmations."

via Cynical-C