Birthday, Back Tomorrow

August 13, 2018


Hey guys my birthday was yesterday (I'm 801 now -- and unkillable) and I'm doing some traveling today. I'll be back tomorrow and super sweet.

Theo Jansen's New And Improved Wind-Powered Beach Walking Strandbeests

August 10, 2018

This is video highlighting the evolution of Theo Jansen's Strandbeests, as well as a video of the new UMINAMI model he developed this year (for those of you not familiar, Strandbeests are skeletal figures made from plastic tubing, string and zip-ties that walk along the beach, powered by the wind). Theo's latest design is arguably the best yet, and he says he eventually wants "to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives." Yeaaaah, is it just me or does that kinda sound like pollution? Still, that new UMINAMI really hauls ass down the shore. I don't think I've run down the beach that fast since someone yelled shark. "Yeah, and left the kids you were babysitting in the water." And they're totally fine! "No, they're afraid to take baths." They'll grow out of it. "They're in high school now." Okay they might need some counseling.

Keep going for the videos, the second of which focuses entirely on the all-new UMINAMI Straandbeast.

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Truck Drives Into Sinkhole, Tries To Break In Half

August 10, 2018


This is a video of a fearless motorist in Massachusetts plowing his Chevrolet S10 pickup into a sinkhole caused by a broken water main and almost separating the truck's cab and bed. Weird. Admittedly, that water looks relatively unassuming and I probably would have tried driving through it too because human survival instincts are overrated. Of course a smarter person would probably argue the key to successfully navigating a potentially dangerous situation like this is watching somebody else go before you, that way if they die you know for certain you should go at least twice as fast to hydroplane all the way across.

Keep going for the whole video. Also, obvious bonus points for the driver not wearing a shirt.

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A Robot Developed To Find Waldo In Where's Waldo Books

August 10, 2018

This is a video demonstration of There's Waldo, a robot system created to find Waldo in Where's Waldo? books with impressive speed and accuracy. Awesome, so soon it'll be able to use the same facial recognition process to locate and send a robotic death army to any person on the planet. Wear this GW mask I made?

Once initialized the arm is instructed to extend and take a photo of the canvas below. It then uses OpenCV to find and extract faces from the photo. The faces are sent to the Google Auto ML Vision service which compares each one against the trained Waldo model. If a confident match of 95% (0.95) or higher is found the robot arm is instructed to extend to the coordinates of the matching face and point at it. If there are multiple Waldos in a photo it will point to each one.

The fastest speed attained finding Waldo was 4.5 seconds in test runs. The entire machine uses UARM Metal from the PYARM Python library and is controlled by Raspberry Pi.

Man, this reminds me so much of when I was a kid and I asked for a stopwatch for my birthday so I could regularly time myself finding all the Waldos in the first three books because my God I could have really used some friends back then.

Keep going for the video while I speculate why they decided to use a doll's hand on the end of a Sharpie for pointing purposes.

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Freaky Deaky Squirming Tentacle Organism Washes Ashore In Vietnam

August 10, 2018

This is a video of some sort of squirmy alien that washed ashore in Vietnam. Unlike a really cool shell that would look perfect on my necklace, that does not look like something I would pick up off the beach. Some more info, including a quote from a local who clearly knows what's up:

[Tour guide and finder of the creature] Nam Du said: 'I don't know whether it's an animal, vegetation or something else.'

Local Kim Tho said: 'It's a monster. One day it will come back out of the ocean. It'll be ten times bigger.'

The mystery creature was later released back into the ocean - with locals still confused by what it was.

Experts believe that the creature is likely to be a piece of seaweed reacting to the air.

Seaweed reacting to the air, huh? Can any of you marine biologist corroborate that story? Because that looks like a *Googles prefix for a billion* gigapus to me. That's an octopus with a billion arms, just so we're clear. "I gathered that." I know you did, but there might be other people out there who don't get me the way that you do. "Which is?" All hot and bothered -- meet me in the supply closet.

Keep going for the video.

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I'm Flying Jack!: Soapbox Derby Race With A Ramp That's Just A Little Too Steep

August 10, 2018

This is a video from the Tandergee Soapbox Derby race in Northern Ireland where organizers set up a kicker ramp that's just a little too good at its job and sends participants flying, with at least one requiring some medical attention. Me? I would have hit that ramp so fast and hard I would have taken off like an eagle, swooping down at the finish line to snatch the gold medal like an unlucky fish, then flying off into the sunset. "Watch out for those power li--" *zippity zap!* Eat me, please don't let me go to waste.

Keep going for the video while I watch the redubbed downed power line G.I. Joe PSA.

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Motorcycle Tire Burnout And Explosion Caught In Super Slow-Motion

August 10, 2018

This is a video of French Youtuber Stéphane Couchoud and a friend over-inflating a motorcycle's rear tire (to seven bar, ~ 102 PSI) with the intention of doing a burnout and watching it explode in super-slow motion (28,500 fps). Well that tire splits open like the turkey in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. If my last major mission had gone so equally according to plan I would have wooed Jennifer K in my senior geology class in college and we'd be married and living happily ever after right now. "What's that now?" Nothing dear! "No no no, I want to hear more about this Jessica." I just made her up, I didn't even take geology in college. "Mhmm." Rocks are for catapults -- that's all I know, I swear!

Keep going for the video, but skip to 2:30 for the really juicy stuff (and turn on the closed captioning if you care what they're saying but don't speak French). Also, do you think my girlfriend bought the whole geology thing? "Depends, does she normally rummage through the knife drawer when she buys something you say?" Gotta go!

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Herd Of Cows Chase Car Theft Suspect, Help Officers Apprehend The Woman

August 10, 2018

This is some police helicopter camera footage of a small herd of cows that chase a suspected car thief that decides to run through their pasture, and help officers apprehend the fleeing woman. Lady, you chose the WRONG PASTURE TO MESS WITH. Did I mention this was in Florida? "You didn't have to." I should have known better. Obviously, if there was ever a group of excitable cows that actually deserved a reality show, this is them.

Keep going for the full video, complete with initial crash and eventual arrest.

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