February 2011

  1. Weird

    Baby Thinks Ripping Paper is Comedy Gold [Video]

    We already have proof that babies are pretty adorable when they think things are funny. This eight-month-old baby simply adds to the growing bevy of evidence that yes, babies are pretty adorable when they think things are funny.

    (via BuzzFeed)

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  2. Science

    Color Code Reveals When Bread Was Baked

    Because looking for the expiration date on the bag takes way too long: WiseBread tells us that a commonly used (though not legally binding) system among bread makers allows consumers to figure out the day of the week that a given loaf of bread was baked by glancing at the color of the twist-tie that wraps it. Blue is for Monday, green is for Tuesday, red is for Thursday, white is for Friday, and yellow is for Saturday. (Apparently, by custom, fresh bread was not delivered on Wednesdays and Sundays.) The colors proceed in alphabetical order, B-G-R-W-Y. Though this scheme gets the "true" verdict from Snopes, use it to guide your bread-purchasing habits at your own peril: Apparently, the bread color code can vary by region and country. Snopes recommends that you "Contact the manufacturer of your favorite brand and ask what (if any) color-coded tag system they adhere to and what their delivery schedule to your favorite store is, then let your selection be guided by that," though that sounds like it's taking it a little far. (WiseBread via Consumerist)

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  3. Tech

    Could OpenMesh Prevent Government-Imposed Internet Blackouts?

    In the past two months, the world has on multiple occasions seen governments preventing their populaces from accessing the Internet during times of existential political crisis. It's not hard to characterize the Egyptian and Libyan use of an Internet blackout as a direct attack against the groups that sought and still to topple their political leaders, as the protestors in those countries relied on web-based platforms to organize their protests and inform the world of their plight. But Shervin Pishevar hopes to end any further restriction of Internet traffic with his OpenMesh project. On its website, OpenMesh says that the will "find the best of breed Open Source Technologies and to build partnerships with existing technologies that would allow us to create a private citizen owned communications infrastructure." In short, OpenMesh aims to give individuals the tools to remain connected with each other and the world at large without relying on the existing communications infrastructure, that, as demonstrated in the recent unrest in the middle-east, are quite vulnerable. OpenMesh would create an independent, ad-hoc, user-based network that would be far more robust and out of the hands of anyone -- government or otherwise -- that would seek to restrict communications.

    Read on...
  4. Geekolinks

    Geekolinks: 2/28

    What's day-to-day coding work at Microsoft like? (Foredecker) Arrington: How Chris Sacca And J.P. Morgan Acquired 10% Of Twitter Via Huge Secret Secondary Fund (TechCrunch) The 83rd Academy Awards: Kinda meh. (The Mary Sue) "Haunted" Majora's Mask urban legend becomes playable game (Joystiq) Memeopoly (Urlesque) Your favorite children's books translated into Latin (Flavorwire) How to turn a laser into a tractor beam (Technology Review) (title pic of a real, actual opera house recently opened in Guangzhou, China via Dezeen)

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  5. Gaming

    Riding the Video Game Hype Train to Nowhere

    There is definitely something to be said for a moving, cinematic trailer. A trailer that really pulls on the old heartstrings is a rarity in the land of video games. It should come as no surprise, then, that the recent one for Techland’s Dead Island has successfully raised some eyebrows. But what is it that people are being sold here? Is this a conceptualization of a video game or a short film?

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  6. Weird

    The Dogbrella is One Part Hilarious, One Part Genius

    Selling on Hammacher Schlemmer for $29.95, the genius of this combination umbrella and dog leash, the Dogbrella, is almost difficult to see through all the comedy. Anyone who has ever tried to walk a dog in the rain can attest to the usefulness of a way to keep the dog dry without having to go through the battle of strapping the dog into one of those dog raincoats.

    (Hammacher Schlemmer via LikeCOOL)

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  7. Entertainment

    Slicing and Dicing Books for Art

    What Georgia-based artist Brian Dettmer does to books would make any bibliophile or librarian cringe: he cuts and sculpts books into spectacular pieces of art. Using precise surgical tools and a dearth of outdated books, Dettmer makes ordinary volumes explode with images and words. His work takes the ideas and pictures has always been in books, both literally and figuratively, and puts them outside in beautiful stratigraphy. In the artist's own words, via My Modern Met:
    "The richness and depth of the book is universally respected yet often undiscovered as the monopoly of the form and relevance of the information fades over time. The book’s intended function has decreased and the form remains linear in a non-linear world. By altering physical forms of information and shifting preconceived functions, new and unexpected roles emerge."
    But if that's too heady for your tastes, simply enjoy the completely awesome works this artist has to offer.

    Read on...
  8. Gaming

    3D Printer Prints Out Portait Taken With Kinect

    Microsoft's Kinect is becoming a homebrewer's and hacker's dream platform. This time around, as part of the Fabricate Yourself project, the Kinect uses captured 3D models to print the above 3D figures onto puzzle pieces that snap together. Created by Karl D.D. Willis for the Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction conference, the Fabricate Yourself project prints exactly what the Kinect sees, similar to the Kinect and Minecraft megasculpture project, except this time, prints out something tangible. Check out a quick video demonstration of the project after the break.

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  9. Gaming

    3DS Hacked Under 24 Hours After Japanese Launch

    Under 24 hours after its Japanese launch, the Nintendo 3DS has been hacked to play pirated games. This obviously isn't a surprise, as the general rule seems to state that if piracy is possible, then piracy will happen. The unit was hacked to accept R4 cards, a popular way to pirate games on the original Nintendo DS, combined with a modification of a "whitelist," found within the 3DS' firmware, which basically dictates which software the unit can run. Thus, the hack doesn't actually play pirated 3DS games yet, and only applies to DS and Game Boy Color games at the moment, which, considering the current 3DS launch titles, is still a pretty significant step toward having something to do on your new 3DS. Head on past the break to see a video of the hack in action.

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  10. Entertainment

    Every Movie’s Story Can Be Told in a Single Barcode

    moviebarcode is a nifty new Tumblr that consists of a series of "barcodes" made by compressing every frame of a given movie into a single image. These really do give you a feel for the prevalent colors within a given movie (above: The Matrix), and devoted fans may even be able to figure out roughly what is occurring within a given movie during a given band of color: For instance, the seasonal, stylized structure of Hero is very apparent in its barcode. Here's hoping that guessing movies by their barcodes becomes the new parlor game among film geeks. (moviebarcode)

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  11. Weird

    Frank Buckles, Last Living U.S. Veteran of World War I, Dies at 110

    In 1917, a 16-year-old named Frank Buckles, repeatedly rejected for enlistment because he was underage, managed to convince the Army to let him fight in World War I. 94 years later, following a long life that included a stint as a POW in The Phillipines during World War II and a prominent role advocating a national World War I memorial later in life, Buckles has died at the age of 110. NPR reports:

    When asked in February 2008 how it felt to be the last of his kind, he said simply, "I realized that somebody had to be, and it was me." And he told The Associated Press he would have done it all over again, "without a doubt." ... "A boy of [that age], he's not afraid of anything. He wants to get in there," Buckles said.
    The last known survivors of World War I, Claude Stanley Choules and Florence Green, are both British. There are no known French or German World War I survivors. (NPR, CNN via TDW)

    Read on...
  12. Entertainment

    The Oscars, but Autotuned [Video]

    This year, the Oscars weren't, to coin a phrase that is due for a revival, all that and a bag of chips. They are, however, way more fun when autotuned. Also, there are some abs on display at the end to make us feel a little inadequate as we eat our unhealthy morning snack.

    (via BuzzFeed)

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  13. Weird

    Advertisements Pressed Onto Bare Legs by a Bench

    New Zealand clothing store Suprette had this great advertising idea: "Make benches uncomfortable by putting metal plates in the shape of our ad on them, which will then press the ad onto people's skin if their legs aren't covered up." The above picture shows the fruit of that labor. The wacky ad agency behind the campaign explains it a little further:

    We put indented plates on bus stop, mall, and park benches, so that when people sat down, the message was imprinted on their thighs. This meant that as well as having branded seats, a veritable army of free media was created, with thousands of imprints being created and lasting up to an hour.

    There's a bit of skepticism regarding the legitimacy of the campaign, as most people will realize two things: One; a perfect storm of having to sit in the exact spot in a fairly precise position, wearing clothing short enough, and having to press one's legs hard enough against the metal plate without declaring it uncomfortable and moving away from it is required to leave the leg imprints, and two; many people probably won't be too happy with people staring at the back of their legs for the length of the ad's lasting power. But hey, short shorts are on sale.

    (The Presurfer via Neatorama)

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  14. Tech

    The Mary Sue, Geekosystem’s Girl Geek-Geared Sister Site, Is Up and Running

    Behold! Geekosystem's sister site, The Mary Sue, is live as of this morning, and we hope you will give it a look. The site will explore entertainment, fandom, and topics of interest to geek women with a greater depth than Geekosystem has to date. But Geekosystem is not about to become an all-boys club, nor will The Mary Sue be an all-girls club: For a more full explanation of the rationale behind the site, check out what Susana Polo, the managing editor of The Mary Sue (and, until a few weeks ago, my #2 at Geekosystem), has to say. Also check out the story behind The Mary Sue's name.


    [The Mary Sue]

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  15. Tech

    Fake College Clones Real College’s Website, Scams Students Out of Application Fees

    Starting a new university might seem like a huge endeavor: You need to gather many millions of dollars, hire a qualified faculty, find and pay for a campus, and set up an infrastructure capable of serving the needs of thousands of students. But a "school" called University of Redwood found a much simpler way to come into being: Copy every photo and bit of information about Reed College, a (real) liberal arts school in Oregon, replace Reed's name with its own, and watch the application fees roll in. The apparent point of this whole endeavor, according to the Wall Street Journal, is to convince overseas students who are less familiar with American colleges to apply. When they apply, they pay a fee; then, the school sends rejection letters to every applicant and pockets the fees. It's a lot cheaper than hiring professors.

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