Tuesday, 2 September 2014

'Long Ma,' A Massive Fire-Breathing Kinetic Sculpture Of A Horse-Dragon

image credit YouTube

'Long Ma' is a 46-ton fire-breathing kinetic sculpture of a horse-dragon by French artist François Delarozière and his art group La Machine. The nearly 40-foot-tall sculpture features articulating limbs, an expressive face, and the ability to 'breathe' plumes of fire and smoke.

The sculpture recently debuted in Nantes, France, and is destined for China, where it will be presented as a gift to mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China.

Meet Chibatman

Meet Chibatman - a Japanese man who dresses as Batman to make people smile. For the past three years, Chibatman has been spotted flying through the streets of Chiba on his custom three-wheeled Chibatpod.

The 41-year-old, who works as a welder during the day, keeps his identity closely-guarded. But like the famous hero, the reason he keeps putting on his cape is just as honourable.

YouTube link

via BBC

The Evolution Of ATM Skimmers

An ATM skimmer is a keypad overlay that matches up with the buttons of the legitimate keypad below it and presses them when operated, but records or wirelessly transmits the keylog of the PIN entered.

In a little over a decade, ATM skimmers have gone from urban myth to a wildly complex, ever-evolving suite of technologies that has the potential to be the worst nightmare of anyone with a bank account. Here's a look at how quickly skimmers have evolved - and why they're increasingly impossible to spot.

Silver Filigree with Ohrid's Marta Pejoska

One can still find a number of traditional craftsmen toiling away within the picturesque buildings of Ohrid, Macedonia. Craftswomen, too. Marta Pejoska recently opened a downtown studio-gallery dedicated to silver filigree.

Filigree is the art of twisting metal threads and beads into elaborate and finely decorated objects. Silver filigree has a long history in Macedonia, and particularly in Ohrid. It's a time-honored craft, but Marta Pejoska is among a new generation of Macedonian artists who are re-examining the cultural heritage of their country, bringing it into the modern day.

(thanks Juergen)

What's It Like To Own A Tesla Model S?

The Tesla Model S is a full-sized electric five-door, luxury liftback, produced by Tesla Motors. The Model S is equipped with an 85 kwh battery pack and has an official range of 265 miles (426 km). The Oatmeal drives a Tesla Model S and he tells us what it's like.

NASA Will Pay You To Stay In Bed

image credit

Do you like to stay in bed as long as you can? NASA will pay you for that to the tune of $170 per day. But there is a catch. You'll have to be there 24/7 for 70 days, most of the time, with your head tilted down and your feet up. You can play on your phone, read, play with your cat, whatever - as long as you don't get up.

It's part of NASA's 'Bed rest studies,' which mimics the effect of space travel in a gravity-free environment. Results of the study will help with understanding which mission tasks might be affected by changes in physiology during space flight; how physiological changes map to a person's ability to do a particular task, and design countermeasures to prevent or minimize impairment to these physiological systems.

The Mighty Fortress Of Chittorgarh In Rajasthan, India

image credit

The Chittorgarh Fort is located in the town of Chittorgarh in southern Rajasthan, a desert state in the western part of India. The fort is the largest fort in India. It's foundation dates are a bit murky, but by most estimates, it was constructed somewhere in the 7th century CE by a king in India’s Maurya dynasty, Chitrangda Mori.

Monday, 1 September 2014

The Expedition

A space travel story.

Vimeo link

(thanks Cora)

Trovants: The Growing Stones Of Romania

image credit: Daniela Constantinescu

Yes, you read that right. Nature is happy to confirm this fact and guarantees to give you the weirdest things in life as always. Trovants are extraordinary rocks that grow and multiply and you can witness these rocks in Romania.

The growing stones aren't just unique because of its ability to multiply. These rocks are composed mainly by a hard stone core and the rest is made up of sand which forms around the core as its shell. Trovants can only be made by highly-porous sand accumulations and sandstone deposits that are cemented by waters rich in calcium carbonate.


At GifYouTube you can make a GIF from a part of a YouTube video. Fill in the URL of the video, select start time and the length of the GIF. The server could be busy so it might take some moments.

10 Historic Canal Towns To Visit That Aren't Venice

image credit

Venice could well be the world's most famous canal town: it's hard to imagine canals without envisioning the Italian city's winding waterways, gracefully arched bridges, sputtering vaporettos and striped gondoliers.

If you dream of sauntering across picturesque canals, but want to avoid Venice's crowds, you're in luck: canals have been used since Mesopotamia, and there are beautiful canals in nearly every corner of the globe. Here are ten especially wonderful canal towns that aren't Venice.

Cherry Harvesting

The easiest way to pick cherries.

YouTube link

(via Neatorama)

1833 Meteor Storm Started Citizen Science

image credit

The science of shooting stars owes much to a storied episode of crowdsourcing, a new historical report shows, kicked off by a stunning 1833 meteor shower.

Astronomers have increasingly turned to 'citizen science' in the Internet era, setting up everyday folks to look for everything from alien worlds to the Milky Way's galactic gas bubbles. But in a new Endeavour journal report, Mark Littmann and Todd Suomela of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville show that there is nothing new about the practice, with one Yale astronomer pioneering crowdsourced astronomy well over a century ago.

A Beginner's Guide To The Star Trek Franchise

image credit: James Vaughan

Star Trek is more than pop culture; it's 20th century mythology with its own complicated mythos. Where to start and what to skip are up for debate even among the most hardcore Trekkies.

One thing is clear: It all begins with Gene Roddenberry, the visionary who created the original show in the 1960s and presided over the franchise until his death in 1991.
Here's a beginner’s guide to the Star Trek franchise.

(via Neatorama)

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Martha, The Last Of The Passenger Pigeons

image credit

The passenger pigeon is an extinct North American bird. Named after the French word passager for 'passing by.' it was once the most abundant bird in North America, and possibly the world. The extinction of the passenger pigeon had two major causes: commercial exploitation of pigeon meat on a massive scale and loss of habitat.

A captive-bred female passenger pigeon named Martha (photo above) was the last of her kind. On September 1, 1914, Martha died in the Cincinnati Zoo.

Wine, Beer Or Spirits?

How much - and which - alcohol is drunk in the world during a week? When on the map, move over countries to learn it, or use the buttons to show the top wine, beer and spirits drinkers or each country's favorite drink.

Nuclear 'Command And Control': A History Of False Alarms And Near Catastrophe

image credit

Globally, there are thousands of nuclear weapons hidden away and ready to go, just awaiting the right electrical signal. American journalist and author Eric Schlosser's new book 'Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety,' is a critical look at the history of the nation's nuclear weapons systems.

It's also a terrifying account of the fires, explosions, false attack alerts and accidentally dropped bombs that plagued America's military throughout the Cold War.

Portugal Hyperlapse/Time-Lapse

Time-lapse of the Portuguese cities Lisbon and Sesimbra.

Vimeo link

(thanks Cora)

The 100-Foot Sea Critter That Deploys A Net Of Death

image credit

Siphonophores are a class of marine animals belonging to the phylum Cnidaria. Although a siphonophore appears to be a single organism, each specimen is actually a colony composed of many individual animals. Most colonies are long (they can grow to 100 feet long), thin, transparent pelagic floaters.

Siphonophores clone themselves thousands of times over into half a dozen different types of specialized cloned bodies, all strung together to work as a team - a very deadly team at that.

Try Before You Die – Macabre Festival Lets Japanese Try Out Coffins

image credit: Haukur Herbertsson

Trying out a coffin while you're still alive can be a rather unnerving experience. But the Japanese seem to love it. They have a 'try-before-you-die' festival where people can lay down in coffins, try out funeral garments and even get a morbid makeover.

Called 'Shukatsu Festa,' the unique event has become very popular in recent years. Participants can choose their funeral outfit, put it on, slip into the flower-filled casket they like and have a picture taken. That way, they get to know exactly what they'll look like on the day of their funeral.