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  1. Inflatable Obstacle Course!

    July 17, 2012 by Bill

    If you've got $13,000 burning a hole in your pocket, and a desire to have the most kick-ass backyard in the neighbourhood, no swingset or even tree house is going to outdo this mind-blowing 1,850 square foot inflatable obstacle course. The Adrenaline Rush Extreme—as it's been dubbed—features side-by-side lanes chock full of challenges that will have competitors crawling through tunnels, racing down slides, or battling their way past various inflatable obstacles. The entire structure is kept standing by three industrial fans running constantly, but just because it's inflatable don't expect it to be easy to transport. At 1,500 pounds you'll need a hefty ride to haul it around, not to mention a UPS delivery person strong enough to get it off the truck. Gizmodo

  2. Loch Ness Lives? Not So Much.

    June 19, 2012 by Bill

    Some students at private schools in Louisiana are being taught that Scotland's fabled Loch Ness monster is real, a claim that is then held as evidence disproving Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The Times Educational Supplement, a British publication for teachers, published this in 1995:
    Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the `Loch Ness Monster' in Scotland? `Nessie,' for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.Could a fish have developed into a dinosaur? As astonishing as it may seem, many evolutionists theorize that fish evolved into amphibians and amphibians into reptiles. This gradual change from fish to reptiles has no scientific basis. No transitional fossils have been or ever will be discovered because God created each type of fish, amphibian, and reptile as separate, unique animals. Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsmen fashioned them all."
    Bruce Wilson, a researcher specializing in the American political religious right, told the Scotsman that one of the texts also claims "dinosaurs were fire-breathing dragons." "It has little to do with science as we currently understand. It’s more like medieval scholasticism," Wilson told the paper.

  3. Prometheus Movie Reviews Are In!

    June 8, 2012 by Bill

    The highly anticipated Ridley Scott blockbuster -- which lives in the same universe as Scott's seminal 1979 sci-fi film "Alien" -- arrives in theaters with mostly positive reviews and many head-scratching questions. (One of the many your friends at HuffPost Entertainment have: What is David doing?) "The virtuosity on display makes the weakness of the story -- the screenplay is by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof -- all the more frustrating," writes A.O. Scott in his wonderful New York Times review. "I’ll avoid spoilers here, but 'Prometheus' kind of spoils itself with twists and reversals that pull the movie away from its lofty, mind-blowing potential. Geeks and dreamers will hold onto scraps of splendor and wish for more. There are no revelations, only what are called, in the cynical jargon of commercial storytelling, 'reveals,' bits of momentarily surprising information bereft of meaning or resonance. For example: A sequel is coming." The same things that frustrated A.O. Scott seemed to delight film critic Roger Ebert. "Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus' is a magnificent science-fiction film, all the more intriguing because it raises questions about the origin of human life and doesn't have the answers," Ebert writes in his four-star Chicago Sun-Times review. "This puzzle is embedded in an adventure film that has staggering visuals, expert horror, mind-challenging ideas and enough unanswered questions to prime the inevitable sequel." Entertainment Weekly critic Lisa Schwarzbaum mostly agrees with Ebert, boiling down "Prometheus" to its essential core. "All one needs to know to understand 'Prometheus' and honor 'Alien' is that women can be tough fighters," she writes, referring to Noomi Rapace's lead character Elizabeth Shaw. "That the characters with the goofiest accents get killed first. That nothing beats a really primo close-up of a gooey ET creature just before it goes berserk. And that, in the great tradition of the best sci-fi films, space would be a lot more boring without intrepid human idiots who touch stuff even when told 'Don't touch that!'" Those "intrepid human idiots" are the one big flaw for Salon.com critic Andrew O'Hehir, who nonetheless writes that "Prometheus" "damn near lives up to the unsustainable hype, at least at the level of cinematography, production design, special effects and pure wow factor." Still, those humans (played by Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Rafe Spall, Idris Elba and Charlize Theron among others) are troubling: "Do its so-called heroes really have to be such blithering New Age idiots?" O'Hehir writes. "Let’s allow for the narrative possibility that someone or something created human life, and/or all life on Earth. Is traveling to the edge of the universe to ask that entity why they did it likely to yield an interesting answer? If Dolly the cloned sheep had been able to talk, would she have chased those Scottish scientists into their lab and baaed for explanations? 'Because we could, sweetie. Now stop eating my trousers.'" Of course, not everyone is as forgiving of the film's flaws. "Watching 'Prometheus' is like opening a deluxe gift box from Tiffany’s to find a mug from the dollar store. Everything in the film’s first third primes you for what months of hype have promised," writes Ty Burr in the Boston Globe. "Yet somewhere along the way, you begin to detect the odor of thrice-cooked hash." For more reviews check out RottenTomatoes.com.

  4. Office Feng-Shui

    June 1, 2012 by Bill

    Here are the top 5 rules (though they're more like principles, really) to achieve that mysterious "feng shui" thing everyone keeps talking about. OUR TOP 5 RULES FOR FENG SHUI: 1. Function. If anything, you should let functionality guide your decisions on placement of any furniture or technology around the office. Should this printer go here? How much is it really used? Can I reach it easily when I need it? Every item should be placed in the context of use and optimized according to personal subjective preference. 2. Comfort. A primary rule of feng shui is making sure you are comfortable. Doing so suggests maximized productivity and a calming environment to work in at all times. This also means if you have your back facing anything other than a wall, you might need some adjusting. The optimal feng shui setup allows you to face the people coming into the room, creating an affordance for conversation rather than "I'm trusting you not to be a ninja spy, so please don't attack me from behind." 3. Fashion. Even go into a room and say to yourself, "Man, that sofa really throws off this room." In all honestly, there's no scientific measure for something like aesthetic design, but one can always try. If a huge couch needs balancing, try adding a large painting or wall-shelving. An empty corner? Add some potted plants. Or simply rummage through our on-going Perfect Workplace Contest 2010 for some great ideas inspired by your own fellow readers. 4. Rearrange often. Like anything design related, one must accept the fact that rearranging is inevitable. We like to do it at least once every three months to optimize our working environment for upcoming projects. 5. Declutter. One of the original key rules of feng shui involves knowing what you should leave out. A room overstuffed with anything, from office furniture, to unruly computer cords, to overcrowded file drawers, is not acceptable. Get rid of it. Keep only what you need. And for goodness sake, clean up those wires! via Apartment Therapy  

  5. Flashy Trash

    May 23, 2012 by Bill

    It's a sad fact of life that trash cans are necessary. It would be so much better to just never accumulate trash at all. But until we gain another three levels in Wizard, we're just going to have to have trash cans. On the plus side, people out there are getting really creative with garbage cans. Check out these quirky options, and let us know what crazy things you've found. [gallery link="file" orderby="ID"] • R2-D2 Trash Can — $375 Yes, he's $375. But be honest, part of you wants him anyway. • The Tardis Trash Can — £39.99 This trash can seems tiny, but it's bigger on the inside. It makes Tardis noises when it opens and closes, and it'll be in stores this summer. • Chinese Take Out Trash Bin — $19.99 If trash cans shaped like Chinese take-out containers had been around when I was in college, I'd've had the coolest dorm room ever. • Bin Bin Wastebasket — $55 Proving quirky can be classy, the Bin Bin wastebasket looks like crumpled paper, making it an ideal place to throw your crumpled papers. If you miss, just pretend it's a sculpture field. • Amish-made Small Bathroom Trash Bin — $89.95 Sometimes objects are so vehemently normal that they go right out the other end and become kind of odd. This tiny bathroom trash can is solid wood and proudly Amish-made. • Mini Round Retro Step Can — $25.99 Doesn't this retro-cute trash can remind you of Zooey Deschanel? It's just adorkable. • Crusader's Helm Gothic Trash Bin — $49.95 This helm-shaped trash can is perfect for a gaming room. It's just begging to be filled with discarded character sheets. (Images: 1. Proshopjapan, 2. Forbidden Planet, 3. Streamline, 4. Unica Home, 5. Trash Cans Unlimited, 6. Simple Human, 7.Design Toscano)

  6. Fruit Candles – A How To Guide

    May 15, 2012 by Bill

    It's that lovely time of year again, when even though the weather is getting colder (and there are reports of snow), bright little boxes of clementines start popping up in store windows. Now is their season. I learned this fabulous little party trick when I was a school teacher years ago and have been showing other folks how to do it for years. Its ALWAYS a crowd pleaser.

    What You Need

    • One or more clementines
    • Olive oil
    • Sharp paring knife
    • Matches
    Thats all, folks!  Follow the video to get started!

  7. Your Stomach Loves Doublemint!

    April 26, 2012 by Bill

    You've heard the warnings: If you swallow gum, it will stay in your digestive system for nearly a decade. Which would mean there's a decent chance you've got some hanging out in your gut right now. If you look at its ingredients—a delicious mix of indigestible compounds—it certainly seems possible. And if you look at the medical books, swallowed gum has caused some serious problems. Is it possible that your mom's crazy warnings were right? The Worst Cases A 1998 article in the journal Pediatrics discussed three cases in which kids took the act of gum-swallowing to Intervention-like extremes. (Warning: What follows is not for the squeamish!) The first tale was of a four and a half year old boy who had been addicted to chewing since he was two. By the time his parents finally took him to get help, he was up to seven pieces of gum a day—each one he had conveniently disposed of down his throat. When the mass created a blockage, his doctors had to pull the "taffy like substance" from him manually. The next subject, also four, would indulge in gum several times a day as a reward from her parents. The subject was known to gulp down her first piece just so she was allowed another. In the end "multiple spheres of chewed gum congealed into a multicolored rectal mass"—their words, not mine—had to be extracted. The final tale comes from a regular gum-chewing one and a half year old. The girl apparently decided to spice things up by taking in four coins with what she was chewing. The mass had to be pulled out via a special coin-in-body retrieval system. Not good! The History of Gum But these are extreme cases—just three out of possible millions. It's possible that we've been accidentally swallowing gum for centuries. Lumps of tar that date back to 7000 BCE have been unearthed in Northern Europe with teeth impressions in them. And chewing gum was primarily a young people's thing even then; teeth marks show that users typically fell within the 6-15 age range. Later on Greeks chomped on resin from the mastic tree, named for the related chewing action. The right kind of resin could pick up overtly gross things from one's teeth while also serving as a bit of a breath freshener. When the New England colonists settled in America, one custom they picked up from the Native Americans was chewing gum—in this case spruce resin. The modern incarnation of chewing gum actually comes from an engineering mistake. In the 19th century, industrialists lauded chicle, or the latex collected from a tree in the Yucatán, as a promising rubber equivalent. In 1869, Antonio López de Santa Anna, an exiled former president of Mexico living in Staten Island, thought he'd check out the claim. Santa Anna brought in a ton of the stuff from Mexico and hired an inventor, Thomas Adams, to work out its vulcanization process. The only problem was, it didn't work. Not only was the project a failure, but Adams was also left with the remainder of the material. Although the stuff wasn't going to work for tires, Adams did notice that the material had some remarkable qualities. When the resin was dried, for instance, he found it was insoluble in water and quite plastic. Why he then thought to stick it in his mouth, who knows? But what we do know is that he patented his chewable material in 1871. He eventually added of flavors, which allowed his gum to do better in drug stores that the sweetened paraffin sold for the same purpose. A little later, Wrigley's, with the right marketing, made gum famous. What's Really Going On Since then, we've all accidentally gulped down a few varieties of chewing gum, but it's highly unlikely they created a cast off colony our guts. It's possible the rubbery pieces might have lingered a little longer in our digestive system than, say, a milkshake, but even that delay is debatable. The reason: our stomachs are actually remarkably efficient systems for shoving food through, digested or undigested. Most of what makes up gum falls in the "undigested" category. Our saliva takes an early stab at digesting food, and it will penetrate the Chiclets' shell or the sweeteners inside a stick. But the base material—a combo of natural and synthetic gums and resins that make up to 30 percent of what we chew—is mostly impenetrable. Even then, our stomach muscles contract and relax, earthworm style, to force the things we swallow down and out. So no, unless you're replacing meals with the stuff, you're probably OK. That is not to say you shouldn't listen to your mother. Technically speaking, she has a point. Thanks and credit to Gizmodo

  8. RIP Dick Clark

    April 18, 2012 by Bill

    Host and TV producer Dick Clark has died. He was 82. TMZ first reported the news Wednesday afternoon. A rep told the site that Clark underwent surgery Tuesday night and suffered a "massive" heart attack following the procedure. Clark started his career as a radio announcer at WRUN in Utica, N.Y., when he was 17. His long-running show, "American Bandstand," was on the air from 1957-1989. "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" began in 1972 and continues to this day with Ryan Seacrest. Clark launched the American Music Awards in 1973. He became a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee in 1993. Clark suffered a stroke in December 2004. He continued performing even after the stroke, even though it had affected his ability to speak and walk.

  9. Katniss Madniss!

    March 23, 2012 by Bill

    According to Lionsgate, "The Hunger Games" earned $19.7 million from its midnight screenings, the seventh biggest debut in reported box-office history. In addition to that, "The Hunger Games" becomes the highest grossing non-sequel to ever premiere at midnight, and -- wait for it -- "the highest IMAX non-summer, non-holiday, 2D opening of all time." That would put "Hunger Games" in the same economic bracket "Breaking Dawn Part 1" occupied last November; the first installment of the "Twilight" finale grossed $30.25 from its midnight screenings, a franchise record. ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" owns the overall midnight screening record, with $43.5 million in night-owl ticket sales.) Whether "The Hunger Games" can reach the $138.1 million opening weekend that "Breaking Dawn Part 1" did remains to be seen, though it does have much better reviews than any "Twilight" installment. According to Variety Magazine, the film is expected to earn somewhere between $120-125 million.
     

  10. A Real-Life Battlestar Viper

    March 21, 2012 by Bill

    SO SAY WE ALL! 5 high school students from Marin and San Francisco are building a full BSG Viper simulator with 360-degree motion in all directions.  The story itself is pretty amazing.  They found a Piper fuselage in an airplane scrap yard, cut it and installed a racing seat inside with a six-point harness. They used Autodesk Inventor to create the frame for the motion and asked a professional welding to put it together according to their specs. Right now they are developing the software themselves putting the controllers and the motors needed to make it "fly." The simulator will have three front screens, control joystick, thrusters, and a fully working cockpit simulating the one in the real Battlestar Galactica Vipers. It's quite amazing, but they need your help. It's only a $2,500 goal, so this can be easily achieved. Pass it around, because I want to be able to fly this thing at MakerFaire this year!