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Friday, June 27, 2014

How to Build a Homemade Air Conditioner for Just $8, charge your phone using Gatorade and an onion

I've seen this done before, but it's explained really well here - a styrofoam cooler, cheap fan and two dryer vents:

How to charge an iPod using Gatorade and an onion:

Check out the other stuff at the HouseholdHacker youtube channel. Via Geeks Are Sexy.

Friday links

Tomorrow will mark the centennial of the precipitating event of the First World War: here are a few quotes/videos/links/explanations.

8 Star Trek Technologies Moving From Science Fiction To Science Fact.

As plastic is made from oil and oil is made from dead dinosaurs, how much actual real dinosaur is there in a plastic dinosaur?

Ancient Poop Shows Neanderthals Ate Their Vegetables. Or maybe it's just this: Neanderthals May Have Eaten Stomach Contents of Their Prey.

These gorgeous photographs will make your day: 25 Of The Cutest Parenting Moments In The Animal Kingdom.

China's annual International Buffalo Bodypainting Festival.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include the story behind Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" (plus a Pink Floyd ballet), a supercut of memorable TV catchphrases, a gallery of cars with propellers, and a motorcycle graveyard.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thursday links

Supposed and Filmed Locations of Fictional Places.

The Pink Floyd ballet, plus Pink Floyd: Story of "Wish You Were Here" (with lots of extras).

Man sues British Airways after booking mistake sends him Grenada instead of Granada.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, including brain scorpions caused by basil-smelling, a bug that sucks its prey dry and wears their corpses, and Vonnegut's 1988 letter to the Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088. Plus, pictures of bunnies sticking their tongues out!

Pink Floyd: Story of "Wish You Were Here"

The Pink Floyd (wiki) album Wish You Were Here (wiki), released in September 1975, was the follow up album to The Dark Side Of The Moon. The full remastered version below. It's cited by many fans, as well as band members Richard Wright and David Gilmour, as their favorite Pink Floyd album. The album, the song by the same name, and, specifically, the song Shine On You Crazy Diamond (here's band member David Gilmour performing a live version of all nine parts with Crosby and Nash) was written as a tribute to former/founding Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett, who left the group in 1968, had a brief solo career, and then lived in seclusion until his death in 2006.

The BBC produced, in 2012, a program telling the story of "the making of this landmark release through new interviews with Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason and archive interviews with the late Richard Wright. Also featured are sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson, guest vocalist Roy Harper, front cover "burning man" Ronnie Rondell and others involved in the creation of the album. In addition, original recording engineer Brian Humphries revisits the master tapes at Abbey Road Studios to illustrate aspects of the songs' construction." The video is below, but if you buy the DVD you apparently get a bunch of extra footage.

Remastered song Wish You Were Here:

Remastered full album:

Here's the trailer for the BBC "Story of" program - full program is beneath it:

The full "Story Of":

Bonus: here's a long-lost, recently-rediscovered version of the title song featuring a solo from the French “Grandfather of Jazz Violinists” St├ęphane Grappelli. If for some reason you don't want to hear the whole thing, the violin part starts at ~ 3:08:

More on this lost recording here and here.

Here's the story of how a missing piano track was re-added during the remastering:

More on the missing piano here.

Previous posts:

Pink Floyd fans, here's a nightmare for you: video of a disco version of Comfortably Numb.

Roger Waters conducting a Kids Rehearsal for Another Brick in the Wall.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Queen Elizabeth Visits Game of Thrones Set

Several members of the cast were on hand, and although she inspected the Iron Throne in Belfast, along with Prince Philip, she declined an opportunity to sit on it. Here's a good photoshop of how that may have looked, though:

The Pugs of Westeros:

Previous posts:

For $20K, Game of Thrones Author Will Write You Into Future Novel Then Kill You Off

Valyrian steel, length of the seasons, dragon biology: The Science of Game of Thrones, bonus geological map.

If Game Of Thrones Characters Were Drawn By Disney

Game of Thrones infographic chronology: 4 seasons of the 4 main families and the Night’s Watch.

Video: Hodor (Kristian Nairn) Describes His Awkward Game of Thrones Nude Scene.

Game of Thrones Wine Map: The Wines of Westeros.

Supercut of pithy quotes from Game of Thrones, Seasons 1-3.

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

via Neatorama.

Supercut: Best/Most Memorable Catchphrases in TV History, Parts 1 and 2

via Tastefully Offensive

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday links

Stretch limo made from three bodged-together Deloreans.

Advice from 1799: Take heede therefore ye smellers of Basil: apparently it's been known to cause brain scorpions.

The Bug That Sucks Its Prey Dry and Wears Their Corpses. (insert politician joke here)

From Kurt Vonnegut in 1988, a letter to the Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088.

I wonder if this would keep the deer away from my plants: Scientists use dog sh*t to protect crops from hungry sheep.

Here are 20 pictures of bunnies sticking their tongues out.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include Star Wars: The Disney Musical, a dating site uses facial recognition to find matches that look like your ex, the mathematics of cake-cutting, and a rap battle between Isaac Newton (played by Weird Al Yankovic) and Bill Nye.

Monday, June 23, 2014

From Kurt Vonnegut in 1988, a letter to the Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088

The always interesting but not frequently-enough updated (that was a hint) blog of Letters of Note has this interesting bit of history (it's a bit too man-is-a-plague-upon-the-earth for my tastes, but interesting anyway):
Back in 1988, as part of an ad campaign to be printed in Time magazine, Volkswagen approached a number of notable thinkers and asked them to write a letter to the future—some words of advice to those living in 2088, to be precise. Many agreed, including novelist Kurt Vonnegut; his letter can be read below.
Ladies & Gentlemen of A.D. 2088:

It has been suggested that you might welcome words of wisdom from the past, and that several of us in the twentieth century should send you some. Do you know this advice from Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet: 'This above all: to thine own self be true'? Or what about these instructions from St. John the Divine: 'Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment has come'? The best advice from my own era for you or for just about anybody anytime, I guess, is a prayer first used by alcoholics who hoped to never take a drink again: 'God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.'

Our century hasn't been as free with words of wisdom as some others, I think, because we were the first to get reliable information about the human situation: how many of us there were, how much food we could raise or gather, how fast we were reproducing, what made us sick, what made us die, how much damage we were doing to the air and water and topsoil on which most life forms depended, how violent and heartless nature can be, and on and on. Who could wax wise with so much bad news pouring in?

For me, the most paralyzing news was that Nature was no conservationist. It needed no help from us in taking the planet apart and putting it back together some different way, not necessarily improving it from the viewpoint of living things. It set fire to forests with lightning bolts. It paved vast tracts of arable land with lava, which could no more support life than big-city parking lots. It had in the past sent glaciers down from the North Pole to grind up major portions of Asia, Europe, and North America. Nor was there any reason to think that it wouldn't do that again someday. At this very moment it is turning African farms to deserts, and can be expected to heave up tidal waves or shower down white-hot boulders from outer space at any time. It has not only exterminated exquisitely evolved species in a twinkling, but drained oceans and drowned continents as well. If people think Nature is their friend, then they sure don't need an enemy.

Yes, and as you people a hundred years from now must know full well, and as your grandchildren will know even better: Nature is ruthless when it comes to matching the quantity of life in any given place at any given time to the quantity of nourishment available. So what have you and Nature done about overpopulation? Back here in 1988, we were seeing ourselves as a new sort of glacier, warm-blooded and clever, unstoppable, about to gobble up everything and then make love—and then double in size again.

On second thought, I am not sure I could bear to hear what you and Nature may have done about too many people for too small a food supply.

And here is a crazy idea I would like to try on you: Is it possible that we aimed rockets with hydrogen bomb warheads at each other, all set to go, in order to take our minds off the deeper problem—how cruelly Nature can be expected to treat us, Nature being Nature, in the by-and-by?

Now that we can discuss the mess we are in with some precision, I hope you have stopped choosing abysmally ignorant optimists for positions of leadership. They were useful only so long as nobody had a clue as to what was really going on—during the past seven million years or so. In my time they have been catastrophic as heads of sophisticated institutions with real work to do.

The sort of leaders we need now are not those who promise ultimate victory over Nature through perseverance in living as we do right now, but those with the courage and intelligence to present to the world what appears to be Nature's stern but reasonable surrender terms:
  1. Reduce and stabilize your population.
  2. Stop poisoning the air, the water, and the topsoil.
  3. Stop preparing for war and start dealing with your real problems.
  4. Teach your kids, and yourselves, too, while you're at it, how to inhabit a small planet without helping to kill it.
  5. Stop thinking science can fix anything if you give it a trillion dollars.
  6. Stop thinking your grandchildren will be OK no matter how wasteful or destructive you may be, since they can go to a nice new planet on a spaceship. That is really mean, and stupid.
  7. And so on. Or else. 
Am I too pessimistic about life a hundred years from now? Maybe I have spent too much time with scientists and not enough time with speechwriters for politicians. For all I know, even bag ladies and bag gentlemen will have their own personal helicopters or rocket belts in A.D. 2088. Nobody will have to leave home to go to work or school, or even stop watching television. Everybody will sit around all day punching the keys of computer terminals connected to everything there is, and sip orange drink through straws like the astronauts.


Kurt Vonnegut

Isaac Asimov's 1964 essay predicting life in 2014.