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Friday, July 18, 2014

Harry Potter and the Hopefully Benign Colon Polyp, and more middle-aged Harry Potter books

Years ago some comedian had a skit discussing whether or not Romeo and Juliet could have made it long term instead of, you know, dying when they were fourteen. He had a few scenarios wherein they fought over regular people stuff, like taking out the garbage.  This set of Harry Potter titles reminds me of that:

Yelling goats are so last year: here are goats singing the US national anthem

For reference, or just because you want to watch it again, here's the supercut of goats yelling like humans (Turn the sound down but not off):

via Unique Daily

Friday links

Attempts to patent the wheel: Australia has quietly revoked the patent it granted in 2001.  Kind of related: 25 Useful Inventions That You Never Knew You Needed.

The History of the Egg Cream and How to Make One in the Authentic Brooklyn Style.

Gorgeous illustrations from a book published in 1717 entitled The Miraculous Transformation and Unusual Flower-Food of Caterpillars.

Why is your brain in your head instead tucked away safe and warm down with all your other organs?

After Google Glasses come Smart Contact Lenses.

Science Graphic of the Week: Hummingbird Wing Aerodynamics.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include the special effects of 1954's Creature from the Black Lagoon, skills that you great-grandparents had (and you don't), health benefits of fart-smelling, and Mark Twain’s 1865 children’s book. 

Attempts to patent the wheel: Australia has quietly revoked the patent it granted in 2001

Marc Abrahams of the always interesting Improbable Research (home of the IgNoble Prizes) links to this article in Beta Boston:
Despite the warning “Don’t re-invent the wheel”, people continue to reinvent the wheel. Some of those people file patent applications. Patent offices even approve some of those applications.
I discovered today that the Australian patent office has — quietly — revoked the patent it granted, in the year 2001, for the wheel. The patent office had awarded Innovation Patent #2001100012 to John Keogh of Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia. Keogh’s application called his invention a “circular transportation facilitation device.” I became aquainted with Mr. Keogh when we awarded him — and the Australian Patent Office — an Ig Nobel Prize, in 2001. Here’s a technical drawing from his patent:

Keogh, unlike most of the other inventors of the wheel, was doing it solely to make a point. He felt that the Australian patent office had loosened its regulations in a way that made patents too easy to obtain. For the Australian government, this was an unexpected side effect of reforming the patent system. 

You can see Keogh in the video below (at 1 hour, 30 minutes), accepting the Ig Nobel Prize and briefly telling his story.

Here are four of the many other 21st century re-inventions of the wheel.

German patent application DE20122871, filed July 3, 2001 by Manfred Wanner and Harald Bartol of Eberdingen, Germany for a “wheel for vehicles, especially two-wheeled vehicles of the high performance type, comprising a provided with a rotational axis of hub, spokes and a rim, which is designed to receive a tire, the wheel having an apparatus for aerodynamic optimization…”. This is what it looks like:

World patent application WO 2014012648, filed June 12, 2013 by Roberto Pisacane of Salerno, Italy. Mr. Pisacante invented “a vehicle wheel that has at least one airfoil mounted thereon, the airfoil being arranged on the wheel body between the wheel rim and the central portion of the wheel…. When airfoil is oriented at a suitable angle, the downforce exerts a torque about the central rotation axis of the wheel can be converted directly into driving force.”

US patent 7980335, granted July 19, 2011 to Stephen D. Potter of Bedford, Massachusetts and assigned to Foster-Miller, Inc., a company that subsequently re-invented its name and now calls itself QinetiQ North America. Mr. Potter invented an “omni-directional wheel includes a hub rotatable about a wheel axis and a first row of angled rollers about the hub each rotatably supported by the hub.” Voila:

These omni-wheels, the patent suggests, can be used to make forklifts and other vehicles more versatile, as this drawing demonstrates:

US patent D690249, granted on September 24, 2013 to Mark Finnie of La Palma, California, for a “Motorcycle wheel with seven bifurcated spokes”.

There are many other newly invented wheels, in many countries.

BONUS (only somewhat related): The beetle that, also, invented the wheel.

BONUS (only somewhat related): “Method for transferring chocolates from conveyor to wheel fitted with grippers comprises second wheel with parallel axle which picks up sweets from belt and presents them top end outwards to grippers”, German patent application DE10155599, filed November 13, 2001.

Previous posts based on Improbable Research articles:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Why is your brain in your head instead tucked away safe and warm down with all your other organs

From Joe Hanson at the It's Okay To Be Smart youtube channel:

And this related video: This Is How Your Brain Grows, from Brain Craft:

Tuesday links

Before there was CGI: Behind The Scenes Of 1954's Creature from the Black Lagoon. Interesting contrast to this Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Visual Effects From Game of Thrones Season 4.

11 Skills Your Great-Grandparents Had That You Don’t.

Study: Smelling farts is good for your health.

Advice to Little Girls: Young Mark Twain’s Little-Known, Lovely 1865 Children’s Book. Related, his 1875 letter to his three year old daughter from Your loving Santa Claus and these gorgeous remastered and colorized images from the Civil War era, including Lincoln and Mark Twain.

Even toddlers experience schadenfreude.

Geek alert - Citizen science initiative: science and math hobbyists from all over the world are invited to study the original manuscripts of Sir Isaac Newton.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include giving a giant blue whale a bath, cooking bacon with a machine gun, Questions and signs from The Simpsons, and the making of Last Starfighter.

Video: Top 10 Most Effective Movie Editing Moments of All Time

Made me want to watch The Godfather series again; I think I would have put that sequence at number 2, behind the 2001: A Space Odyssey "Dawn of Man" scene.  Here's the 2001 scene:

The clip above leave out the bone-as-weapon scene - it's here:

And here's the whole Godfather baptism murders sequence from the "best of" video above:

via GeekPress

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Before there was CGI: Behind The Scenes Of 1954's Creature from the Black Lagoon

Creature from the Black Lagoon (wiki) is a 1954 black-and-white monster film in 3-D; the audience wore viewers with gray polarizing filters, similar to the viewers most commonly used today (although by that time the brief 1950's 3-D movie fad had peaked so many audiences actually saw the film "flat", in 2-D). There were two sequels: Revenge of the Creature (1955), which was also filmed and released in 3-D in hopes of reviving the format, and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956), filmed in 2-D. 

IMDB synopsis: A strange prehistoric beast lurks in the depths of the Amazonian jungle. A group of scientists try to capture the animal and bring it back to civilization for study.

Background music from this "making of" video is Sloop John B by the Beach Boys, and is totally stuck in my head. The trailer is below.