Tag Archives: cool

What did you learn in 2021? What will you learn in 2022?


Well if you are Tom Whitwell, quite a lot, as he shows here: 52 things I learned in 2021 by Tom Whitwell from Fluxx | Fluxx Studio Notes

His piece is fascinating. Even better, it makes me think I might like to keep a similar log for 2022. Maybe you want to as well! Meanwhile read Tom.

(Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash )

Why beach robots are good

While I am not a fan of most popular robots these days, I will make an exception for this one: This Microsoft-powered AI-enabled robot cleans up cigarette butts littered on the beach! – Yanko Design

It’s sad we need such a robot, but if this problem is going to exist, I am all for such technology. It’s a great project and not unlike a Roomba for the beach. Nice.

Happy 2022!

Happy New Year! Maybe this year will be year we finally see the end of the pandemic!

One of my resolutions this year is to do more with less. In that vein, I am going to share some of my old posts on the new year, rather than recreate another. You can find them here. I think they are still good and still worth revisiting, both by me and you.

All the best to you in 2022.

Profiles on four cool dudes


Here’s links to four cool dudes worth reading about. First up is  Lingdong Huang and his very cool projects. This is a good piece on  how Duro Olowu gets dressed in the morning. This is on  Hanif Abdurraqib and how he cuts through the noise. Finally, this piece is on a man who earned a Ph.D. and fulfilled his dream of being a physicist — at 89.

Each one is a good profile. Enjoy.

 

 

 

Christmas gift ideas: a colourful wireless keyboard with removable emoji keys!


Sure, technically this is aimed at Gen-Z, but I want one too! What you say? Only this:  Logitech designed the perfect wireless keyboard for Gen-Z complete with removable emoji keys! Nice! Comes in lots of bold colours too! Perfect for the emoji lover in your life.

Well done, Logitech.

A virtual tour of Hagia Sophia


A few years ago I was fortunate to visit Hagia Sophia and get a tour of it. If you ever can get a chance, I highly recommend it. For those who cannot visit it, this might be the next best thing: 360 Degree Virtual Tours of the Hagia Sophia .

I think Hagia Sophia is one of the wonders of the world. See it if you can.

(Image via Wikipedia)

Amazing Christmas gift ideas: Lego Titanic

Truly for those who are epic Lego model builders, this Lego Titanic Building Set…

… is made up of 9,090 pieces, including interactive details like turning piston engines, a working anchor, and adjustable tension lines. To fully appreciate the level of care taken, the ship divides into three pieces to allow views of the grand staircase, boiler room, and smoking lounge.

For more on this, check out the link at Uncrate. Not for me, but impressive!

On how to make a cover illustration for the New Yorker

What goes into making a cover illustration for the New Yorker magazine? Well if you are Adrian Tomine, quite a lot. In this piece he breaks down the process he followed to make the above cover, now famous: Making a Cover – by Adrian Tomine – ADRIAN TOMINE. He really puts a lot of thought into making such an image, and a description of the tools and materials that he uses as he works on different versions is interesting, especially to fellow artists, I’m sure.

 

On stopping the next Chelyabinsk Meteor

If you think of meteors hitting the Earth, you might be thinking of ones like the Chicxulub impactor that killed off the dinosaurs. Good news: scientists have been tracking meteors of that size and we are safe for at least the next few centuries.

But what about smaller ones, like the one that hit Chelyabinsk and caused significant damage? Those we may not be so safe from. Indeed, if they hit a major city, the destruction could be catastrophic.

That’s why NASA has launched the DART mission. It’s goal is to see if it could stop an asteroid and prevent an asteroid apocalypse. That piece in Scientific American on what is involved is fascinating. It’s not merely a matter of putting a major explosive on an asteroid and blowing it to bits. Go read the article and you’ll see what I mean.

For more on the. Chelyabinsk Meteor, click here.

Something calming for a Sunday: the Zen Gardens of Yuki Kawae

Over at Colossal they have a good piece on the Zen Gardens by Yuki Kawae. Check it out: it could be just the thing to calm your mind.

For example, practice slow breathing and watch this:

 

The future of delivery might be this e-scooter

One thing that proliferated with the pandemic was food delivery and delivery in general. I’ve seen people delivering via cars, bikes, scooters  and on foot. No doubt Honda noticed it too. Perhaps it was driven by other things, but their  e-scooter with a roof so people can deliver parcels even in the rain seems to be made with the assumption that people will continue to do lots of deliveries and they need a proper vehicle to do it. We’ll see. Right now what you see above is exclusive to Japan. I expect Honda to break out and have these everywhere food and other things are being shuttled from one building to another.

The very cool AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality) section of the New York Times

If you read the Times as much as I do, you know it has a wealth of sections on its web site. So many I can’t read them all. What I didn’t know is that one of those sections is devoted to AR and VR. To see what I mean, check this out:  The Apollo 11 Moon Landing in Augmented Reality – The New York Times.

It’s a great story in itself, but using AR gives you a sense of scale for the photos taken on the first moon landing. It’s great! Great for anyone, but could be especially great for educators covering the moon landing in their courses.

There’s more stories there as well using AR and VR. See what they have by looking for the Immersive (AR/VR) section. Note: you have to access it via a mobile device; I couldn’t find it on the main web site unless I searched for “Immersive”. (Makes sense: you need a mobile device to appreciate it.)

The prison of the Vatican

This is a fascinating story: The Vatican has three jail cells, one prisoner — and suddenly, a surge of people on trial – The Washington Post.

Fans of Dan Brown especially should enjoy it. But it really gives another glimpse in one of the oddest parts of the world. A good Sunday read.

(Photo by David Edkins on Unsplash)

Webcams! Still going! Still a great idea!

If you were around during the early days of the World Wide Web, you remember webcams. People would point a camera at something like the sky or a coffee pot and others would use their browser to check it out.

You might be thinking no one does that any more, but if you did, you’d be wrong!

To see what I mean, go here. That is specifically for the Northern Lights, but if you scroll down you can see many others as well.

Still a nice way to see the world without leaving your room.

 

 

The fascinating history of the word “lox”


I thought this piece was great: The English Word That Hasn’t Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years. It turns out the world “lox” has not changed meaning in all that time. As the linguist in the piece explains:

One of my favorite words is lox,” says Gregory Guy, a professor of linguistics at New York University.  “The pronunciation in the Proto-Indo-European was probably ‘lox,’ and that’s exactly how it is pronounced in modern English,” he says. “Then, it meant salmon, and now it specifically means ‘smoked salmon.’ It’s really cool that that word hasn’t changed its pronunciation at all in 8,000 years and still refers to a particular fish.”

That’s a great piece. Not just for the story of the word “lox”, but on the study of language and its origin. Recommended. It makes me want to run out and get a plate!

(Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash)

Where to buy neon signs from Blade Runner

This is pretty amazing. This Etsy account YesteryearPropStore seems to be selling many of the neon signs found in Blade Runner.

If I ran an establishment, I would love to have this one out front:

On the big anniversary of the Lunar Rover

Lunar rover

While there has been a lot of talk lately about space travel due to the billionaire space race, I want to highlight something people rarely mention but should. It’s that it is the anniversary of  Apollo’s First Lunar Rover, Driven 50 Years Ago. The Atlantic has a great story on it, including amazing photos.

It’s crazy to think that not only did we land on the moon, but we brought a car with us to drive on the moon! That’s amazing, to me.

In the film Ad Astra with Brad Pitt, there’s a great chase scene with Lunar Rovers. Nothing quite so exciting like that happened during the Apollo missions, but the fact that we brought a car to the moon is exciting as it is. Plus it is still parked up there! I hope the parking rates aren’t too expensive 🙂

 

On the planet about to visit our solar system!

It’s true! A planet is going to make a fly by.  According to Kottke, the minor planet 2014 UN271  is about to visit our solar system. By 2031 it should be about as close to the sun as Saturn is!

I hope we can get some good views of it while it is in the area.

For more on it, see the Kottke article. He also has links to more pieces on it.

(Photo by Guillermo Ferla on Unsplash )

How our relationships change over time, represented in minimal graph form

This is lovely:

I especially like “Parent” and “Dog”.

More on that, as well as the source of the image, here.

Yes, you can run broadband over wet string (which is how my home internet feels lately)


Remember tying two tin cans together with string to communicate? Well according to this article at BBC News

Engineers at a small British internet service provider have successfully made a broadband connection work over 2m (6ft 7in) of wet string.

The connection reached speeds of 3.5 Mbps (megabits per second), according to the Andrews and Arnold engineer who conducted the experiment.

The point of the experiment appears to have been purely to see if it was achievable.

Cool! See the article for details.

For the meantime, I think I’ll stick with copper and fiber.

(For more on tin can phones, check out: Tin can telephone – Wikipedia)

Web site of the day! or what’s old is new again


In the early days of the Web, there were several sites that would feature the Web Site of the Day. It would be something someone put together that was smart or wacky of useful. Those days were good.

Good news! Here is a list of web sites that Buzzfeed put together that made me think of those days: 38 Super Useful And Fun Websites You Never Knew You Needed In Your Life.

Every day check out a different one!

In a similar vein, here is a list of places in New York that have been around forever that are still going. Likewise, check out a different one every day: The 212 – The New York Times

The Internet can feel stale. Let’s make it fresh again.

(Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash )

 

A very cool way to listen to ambient sounds

If you need some ambient sounds, you should check out: A Soft Murmur

It’s great for a number of reasons:

  1. It has lots of different sounds, from rain to coffee shops to white noise.
  2. You can mix sounds together (e.g., rain and thunder and birds)
  3. You can create your own mixes and share them with people!

Anyway, it’s good. You should check it out.

(Photo by reza shayestehpour on Unsplash )

Incredible modular storage I wished IKEA offered

I love these playful modular cabinets that put a quirky spin on storage by using geometric shelves found at Yanko Design. You can mix and match the pieces to design the best storage for your room. And if you get tired of it, you just have to reposition things and you have a whole new look. Fantastic.

Not your typical staplers

It may be hard to believe that anything to do with getting a stapler could be interesting. But these two are.

First here is one you can get to staple your own skin if you are injured. This one isn’t dramatic but if you want to staple a booklet, it’s perfect.

(Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash )

If the pandemic has you down, watch: How To Be At Home

This lovely short film, How To Be At Home, by Andrea Dorfman, and provided by the National Film Board of Canada, reunites filmmaker Andrea Dorfman with poet Tanya Davis to provide timely guidance on how to get through the pandemic, and other such isolation. Highly recommended.

 

 

A digital watch that is also a classic

Apple Watches are cool. I love them. So do many others.

But if want to have have a cool digital watch that is also a classic, you want this, I think:

It comes in silver and gold. You can order it, here.

For fans of Lego and sneakers…

There is this: the Lego/Adidas collaboration!

If I were a Lego fan I would so want a pair. They debut September 25. 

See the link for more pics and details.

The perfect headphones for working at home may be these Grado’s GW100 Wireless Headphones. Here’s why…

If you are in the market for headphones and you work by yourself at home, consider the GW100 from Grado. If you need convincing, read this rave review in Forbes. Working in a space with others isn’t great with them because they are open back (i.e. others can hear the sound). But WFH alone, these would be perfect. Sure, you can also go with the wired versions that Grado makes. They are also great. Even the lower end models are excellent. However, the wireless is a great feature, especially if you want to move around some or want to avoid yet another wire to deal with. 

In Canada, you can get the GW100 and so many more at Bay Bloor radio.

 

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WindowSwap: or how to change your view during the pandemic


If you are  tired of your view and want to look at something new, I highly recommend this site: WindowSwap.

WindowSwap gives you a random view of someone else’s window somewhere in the world.  Not all the views are beautiful or interesting, but many are. For those of you wishing you could travel but can’t, this site will allow you to vicariously do it through this website.

(Image by Mari Madriz)

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Friday night music: Jimmy Fallon, the Original Hamilton Cast & The Roots Sing “Helpless” (At-Home Instruments)

Pure joy.

via Jimmy Fallon, the Original Hamilton Cast & The Roots Sing “Helpless” (At-Home Instruments) – YouTube

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Very cool: Gregorian Chant Music Generator!

A very cool site that allows you to mess around with Gregorian chant music in all kinds of ways. Fun! And also great if you want to have it playing while you work Gregorian Voices • Relaxing Music Generator

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The Apollo 11 mission as told through the astronauts’ heart rates

This is fascinating: The Apollo 11 mission as told through the astronauts’ heart rates | Popular Science

Here’s Armstrong:

A good reminder that even the best prepared and most cool can still have elevated heart levels under stress.

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If you are serious about taking food pictures…


You might need this: This desktop lightbox makes your lighting setup as advanced as your camera | Yanko Design.

Ok, you like do not need this. But it is a pretty cool lightbox. Worth checking out, if only to fantasize about.

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How to build a hydroponic garden using stuff from IKEA


Fascinating: THE BOOK – Eliooo.

 

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All the Vermeers in the World

What if your goal was to see all the Vermeer paintings in the world? There are not that many: you just need to travel a lot to do it. One person set out to do that. See Vermeer Goals for details.

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Cinephilia & Beyond on the Blade Runner Souvenir Magazine


A visit to this page is a must for Blade Runner fans: Blade Runner Souvenir Magazine: A Fascinating Blast from the Past from the Heart of Ridley Scott’s Masterpiece • Cinephilia & Beyond.

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The Official Collector’s Edition Blade Runner Souvenir Magazine is a wonderful source of information, abounding in great photos and articles; a genuine treat both for hardcore fans of the film and all the newbies who just got introduced to the world of Rick Deckard. There are a lot of fascinating stuff here, but we’re especially excited about the interviews with Philip K. Dick, Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford and Douglas Trumbull. We’re incredibly thankful to webmaster Netrunner from brmovie.com, who put a lot of effort into digitalizing the magazine and even contacted Mr. Friedman to get his blessing for the endeavor. While Netrunner shaped the material by separating photos from the accompanying text, we chose to offer you a .cbr file of greater resolution and quality, so you can browse the content more easily. If we may, we’d like to suggest using a little program called ComicRack for checking out this priceless blast from the past. Enjoy the read!

 

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A reluctant promotion of a Kickstarter project: Color Problems – A Book by Emily Noyes Vanderpoel by The Circadian Press with Sacred Bones


Despite being burned too many times by Kickstarter projects, this one seems so worthwhile I feel I must promote it: Color Problems – A Book by Emily Noyes Vanderpoel by The Circadian Press with Sacred Bones — Kickstarter. It’s a great project to recreate a classic book, and it will be a boon to many people if it gets off the ground. Anyone interested in the visual arts should check it out and contribute some way if you can.

I hope it’s successful, that the project initiators have 1) their act together 2) actually release something tangible and 3) in a timely manner that is high quality.  (Many of my recent Kickstarter projects have failed at 1, 2 and 3.)

Good luck to them.

Save money: make your own grain bowls for lunch, starting on Sunday


I think it is great that fast food courts and other eating areas have seen a rise in places serving grain bowls. They are a nutritious alternative to many other meals there.

However, they aren’t cheap, and to be honest, it’s not that hard to make your own grain bowls in 6 easy steps.

Start with this: Healthy Lunch Bento Box Ideas – Bon Appétit | Bon Appetit.

Then cook some grains, roast some vegetables, saute some greens and prepare some proteins. When you get to work, toss on the acid and the dressing and you just saved yourself some money and a trip to the food court.

Very cool. Build a Google Home for Only $35

This is a pretty cool DIY project: The AIY Voice Kit Lets You Build a Google Home for Only $35.

Now, I have my qualms about letting Google have access to so much personal information. If you do not have such qualms and you want to build a cool project, click the link and head on over to Wired, where they have more information on it and how to get it.

How 5 different creatures flap their wings

Fascinating: How 5 Different Creatures Flap Their Wings