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Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday links

For the Game of Thrones return this weekend: 1. Supercut of aphorisms from Game of Thrones seasons one through three, 2. Baratheon and beyond: Fifteen absolutely horrible child rulers, 3. Game of Thrones Wine Map: The Wines of Westeros, 4. The Secrets and Clues of the Official Game of Thrones Maps, and 5. Nine-minute recap of the first three seasons.

Science: Chemical Effect of Beer Marinades on Charcoal-Grilled Pork.

Absurd Creature of the Week: The 6-Foot Earthworm That Sounds Like a Draining Bathtub.

Dubious medical device du jour - the prostate warmer.

24 Animals Sleeping And Cuddling With Stuffed Animals.

13 year old Mongolian eagle huntress.

ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, and include a dolphin-to-English translator, instructions for pooping like a Samurai, and safecracking for dummies.

Geek alert: This video of “Final Fantasy” battles as dance-offs is brilliant

This video takes the Final Fantasy franchise and turns several of the epic battles into carefully choreographed dance-offs.  The moves are designed to evoke what happens during various spells. Here's the video (watch full screen!), and below that is a list of the spells, starting at 1:09:

1) Item: Linoleum – Magic: Castle / Shell / Protect
2) Scan
3) Shadow
4) Kick (Class: Monk)
5) Counter Attack (Weapon: Mop)
6) Ryanimay’s Ultimate Self-Sacrifice Attack
7) Summon : Mr. RAYMOND
8) Blitzball Attack
9) Magic : Rear-Ended Hypnosis
10) Summon : Bahamut
11) Magic : Haste
12) Red XIII Limit Break
13) Fire 1000

The video is by Mike Song, and he has a previous video called Final Fantasy Dance Mode:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Supercut of aphorisms from Game of Thrones, Seasons 1-3

As Tywin Lannister says, "The lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of a sheep."*

Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Johnson:
"A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still."
Previous related posts:

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

Game of Thrones: new trailer and an interview with the actors on who should end up on the iron throne.

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

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

The Game of Thrones Travel Guide.

via Tastefully Offensive.

Game of Thrones Wine Map: The Wines of Westeros

Via Vinepair
If you’re a fan of HBO’s Game Of Thrones or George R.R. Martin’s five (and counting) A Song of Ice and Fire books you know that the wine flows freely in Westeros. Noble men and women pine for sweet Arbor Golds. Strongwines from Dorne are highly sought after. The Brothers of the Night’s Watch slug back hot mulled wine. Daenerys Targaryen, far away on the continent of Essos, sips exotic wines unknown to the masses back in Westeros.
With all that wine being drunk, all the time, we realized that there simply had to be other wines being grown on Westeros. Wine, however, isn’t the easiest thing to grow. Predictable seasons define a grapevine’s lifecycle. The only logical explanation is that in a world where magic stretches winters and summers out over many years, a benevolent hand aids everyone’s favorite grape. And as long as magic is at work, we’ll speculate further that wine can grow in a few climates that would be rather inhospitable back here on Earth. While the Starks weren’t growing any wine in The North, we’ve ‘discovered’ Westeros’s other wines. We’ve put together a map to help you plan your visit to wine country in Westeros.

Previous related posts:

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

Game of Thrones: new trailer and an interview with the actors on who should end up on the iron throne.

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

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

The Game of Thrones Travel Guide.

Woman Tragically Succumbs To Natural Hair Color

LOS FELIZ, CA—After nearly six years of expensive treatments and dozens of visits to top professional stylists, local woman Denise LaMarck, 32, tragically succumbed to her natural hair color, her friends reported this morning. “She fought valiantly against her brown hair for a long time, but no matter how hard she tried to beat it, her roots just kept coming back, month after month,” childhood friend Brittany Smith told reporters, noting that LaMarck would often appear blonde and happy for weeks on end before her natural shade would suddenly reappear, prompting her to rush back to the salon for an emergency touchup. 

“In the beginning she looked great—you would never guess she was a natural brunette unless she brought it up. But all those harsh chemicals and that constant foiling took a devastating physical toll, and she could only endure so much. In the end, she decided to just make peace with her hair color, discontinue her treatments, and let it grow out all the way.” Friends said they will always keep around a picture of LaMarck as a blonde so they can remember her “the way she would have wanted.”

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Professor of surgery at Stanford analyses Rodin's hands

Stanford, CA — James Chang fell in love with the Rodin Sculpture Garden at Stanford when he was an undergraduate. Later, while training in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine, he visited the Cantor Arts Center with his family on Thursday evenings, where they would enjoy dinner in the cafĂ© and then the art. His fascination for the work of the famous French artist Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) (wiki) grew as Dr. Chang saw signs in the sculptures of the medical conditions he was learning to identify. Now as a professor in Stanford’s medical school, he shows images of Rodin’s sculptures of hands to medical students and hand surgery trainees, asking them to make diagnoses and hoping the artworks will make learning more fun and memorable.

Dr. Chang’s enthusiasm for this art has also fueled his undergraduate seminar, “Surgical Anatomy of the Hand: From Rodin to Reconstruction” with students studying the hands that Rodin created and their perceived medical conditions aided by advanced technology. Three-dimensional scans of the sculptures combined with CT scans of patients’ bones, nerves and blood vessels create a new “augmented reality” that reveals the pathologies beneath the bronze and even allows students to perform virtual surgery.

Inside Rodin’s Hands: Art, Technology, and Surgery” opens next week at Sanford's Cantor Arts Center.

Massive Voter Fraud Discovered in North Carolina’s 2012 Election: 35,750 voted in two states

From PJM: The North Carolina State Board of Elections has found thousands of instances of voter fraud in the state, thanks to a 28-state crosscheck of voter rolls. Initial findings suggest widespread election fraud.
  • 765 voters with an exact match of first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in N.C. and the other state in the 2012 general election.
  • 35,750 voters with the same first and last name and DOB were registered in N.C. and another state and voted in both states in the 2012 general election.
  • 155,692 voters with the same first and last name, DOB and last four digits of SSN were registered in N.C. and another state – and the latest date of registration or voter activity did not take place within N.C.
The second point is key, as double voting is election fraud under state and federal statutes. Punishment for double voting in federal elections can include jail time.

In October 2012, Project Veritas produced video showing a Barack Obama campaign worker helping a voter register to vote in both Texas and Florida.

The Interstate Crosscheck examines 101 million voter records in more than two dozen participating states.

The findings, while large, leave open the question of just how widespread double voting might be since 22 states did not participate in the Interstate Crosscheck.

In addition to the above, the crosscheck found that more than 13,000 deceased voters remain on North Carolina’s rolls, and that 81 of them showed voter activity in their records after death.

North Carolina officials are now calling for tighter election security.

Wednesday links

36 Fascinating Baseball Facts to Kick Off the Season, plus some first pitch history: worst ceremonial 1st pitches in baseball history, 100 Years of Presidential first pitches, Bush vs Obama first pitches.

Researchers may have developed a dolphin-to-English translator that works in real time.

Before there was radar: ships with WW1 era "dazzle" camouflage.  Related, how insects relate to that sort of camouflage, and why a zebra has stripes.

Because it's important to always be battle-ready: How to Poop Like a Samurai

Safecracking for dummies.

ICYMI: Monday's links, which were largely a roundup of April Fool's Day history, pranks and hoaxes, are here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

This is What Happens When You Build a Cube Out of One Way Mirrors

Built and designed by Numen/For Use, N-Light Membrane is a giant cube with three out of the six surfaces made of flexible membrane (foil mirror) with an air tank and a compressor connected to it. 

The other three mirrors are semi transparent spy-glass. By inflating or deflating the air tank, the membrane turns convex or concave, deforming the reflections within.

Because it's important to always be battle-ready: How to Poop Like a Samurai

From Art of Manliness, check out this post on the way of the Samurai, in which the author recounts lessons he learned as a kid from the book Autumn Lightning: The Education of an American Samurai:

As part of preparedness for battle, which could come at any time, even, say, when one was on the toilet:

The method his master taught for relieving oneself had been passed down for generations untold. When one would go to the outhouse, he would remove his right leg fully from his clothes. This was to give him full mobility. Yes, it would be odd to fight someone off when you were on the john, but imagine your feet being tied together when you were attacked on said john vs. your legs moving freely.

Secondly was body position and posture. The samurai would sit squarely on the seat, cross his leg so that his right ankle rested on his left knee (his left foot remained on the ground), place a hand on each knee, then straighten his back. Supposedly this aligns the bowels to help one from having to strain. You may think it seems like a bunch of malarkey, but this one actually works. If you have ever felt like there is a plumbing issue when you sit down, then pay attention. Take your time, have some patience, and you will get the yoga version of Draino on your system that has been passed down from samurai warlords of old. I have literally felt a swirling sensation during the act of evacuation. Try it out to see for yourself.

One downside is that our toilet seats are really geared towards sitting with both legs straight forward and on the ground. Another is that rarely is the seat exactly where your thigh is parallel to the ground. Most seats are too low for the average man, so it may be a strain just to get that leg up. Finally, if you really want to be technically correct in what you’re doing, you need to have a bokken in the bathroom with you. This is part of being prepared. Legs free is good. Legs free and armed is better.

More at the Art of Manliness blog.

And speaking of manliness, Dave Barry's Manliness Manifesto is a hoot.

Compilation: worst ceremonial 1st pitches in baseball history, plus 100 Years of Presidential First Pitches, Bush vs Obama

100 Years of Presidential First Pitches

Obama's 2010 First Pitch vs. Bush's 2001 First Pitch:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nice Poster: Tits of the World (SFW)

via io9:
Artist Jada Fitch cheekily invites us to get to know the members of the Paridae family of birds, better known as tits. If this tickles your inner ornithologist, you can buy a print of this poster.
Fitch also has a number of other beautiful bird paintings, many of which are available as prints through Society6.
Watercolor illustration featuring all the members of the of the Tit (Paridae) family of birds.

Hugh Jackman sings 'Wolverine: The Musical', plus the Glove and Boots version

BBC Radio 1's The Matt Edmondson Show convinced Hugh Jackman to perform a Wolverine musical number in the style of 'Who Am I' from Les Misérables.

In spite of the fact that this actually has Hugh Jackman in it, I contend that the greatest of the musical treatments of Wolverine is the Glove and Boots version, below:

Glove and Boots:

And this one:

Awwww... Cats and dogs meeting babies for the first time