Wintergreen Teaches You How to Make Meth

Listen dicks, the new crack is making fake drugs to promote your band. I know it, you know it, these guys have managed a force multiplier on their fairly middle of the road alt. rock by hitting on a concept we all wish we’d thought of before: a how-to video for making drugs from easily obtainable ingredients.  Drugs that don’t really exist, that is. Yeah, hate to be captain bring-down here, Beavis McTweakerson but Egyptian meth and Hillbilly Quaaludes only exist in the realm of fiction.  Still, how genius is it to piggyback on the how-to format, mixing up your band’s image with an engaging supermarket to kitchen alchemist walkthrough? The way they dump the vinegar gives me a little flashback to the soap making montage in Fight Club.  Which is never a bad thing. Yeah, I know, shoulda saved this for Saturday Morning Movie Club but this is too […]

Seasteading That Floats

No way can I claim sole rights to the synergy of ocean trash and floating islands.  Rather than sitting on dry land typing about ‘em, there are folks out there actually building the damn things.  The above video offers a look at Richi Sowa’s original Spiral Island, a  floating habitat made from reused plastic bottles that supports a copse of living mangrove trees, a garden and a private beach.  Food harvested on the island fed its lord and master, who returned the favor with the proceeds of his composting toilet.  After the hurricanes in 2005 wrecked the original, Sowa regrouped and put together Spiral Island II with the help of volunteers.  Here’s a look at the new version. Dutch architects apparently want to take the trash-island idea and bring it to an ARCO pipe-dream scale: Recycled island is a research project on the potential of realizing a habitable floating island […]

Machinimals to Protect the Rest from Us

A whale washed up on the beach in Washington state with a stomach full of trash.  Treehugger mentions that along with the usual assortment of algae and swallowable sea creatures there was “20 plastic bags, small towels, surgical gloves, sweat pants, plastic pieces, duct tape, and a golf ball” in its gut. I’ve speculated in the past on the utility of filling the ocean full of garbage-eating whales to clear up trash clogged gyres but the key difference is that those whales would be designed by us to process such junk.  No such luck for the dead juvenile gray whale. Seeing as that we can’t seem to help bilging out awful crap directly into the mouths of majestic but sorta dumb animals, isn’t it about time we put an actively protective layer between us and the natural world?  We’ve gotten pretty good at deploying low-cost semi-autonomous drones for distributing shrapnel […]

Guam Can't Sink But Some Islands Can Swim

About a month ago, the comedic stylings of Georgia Representative Hank Johnson went viral when footage of him questioning the Navy’s plans to expand their Guam base made its way to the YouTube.  In the clip above, you can watch Rep. Johnson take entirely too long to get around to saying “My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated it will tip over and capsize.” Yep.  Georgia elected this guy twice. After the snickering ebbed and before the natural tide of depression rolled in, I got to wondering: are there actually floating islands?  Somewhere in the dim reaches of the past, I’d thought I’d heard something about that. The sort of thing we thank the internet for is turning up books like Floating Islands: A Global Bibliography (PDF of the Addenda for that book available for free at that link).  Entires include such gems as: “Attacked […]

Interview with Brendan Koerner, Microkhan

Brendan Koerner writes the delightfully eclectic blog Microkhan, covering the latest developments in imaginary comic books, excessive ceremonies and the great sport of kabaddi. This outlet stays updated daily, somehow worked around his writing for Wired, Mother Jones and elsewhere. Among other hats he wears, he’s been Slate’s Explainer and is currently Wired’s Mr. Know-It-All. He wrote a gripping, painstakingly researched book about the World War II-era manhunt for Herman Perry in the jungles of South Asia, not to mention the script for its film adaptation. So why blog? “95% of my ideas suck,” he tells me. “The blog is for trolling through idea after idea, trying to find something that connects.” Ideas include the economics of collecting snake venom, the lesser known Choctaw code talkers and the unconventional recruitment techniques of the North Korean film industry. Sure, a little obscure but with a blog “there’s no penalty for doing […]

Cat and Girl and Transparency

Long-running webcomic Cat and Girl added a feature yesterday that blew my little mind: a chart that tracks the creator’s income, broken down by source, month to month.  Suddenly your indie IRS role playing adventures just got dead simple. I absolutely love this idea.  There’s the voyeuristic fascination with how someone else makes their living but also the bare honesty involved.  It’s almost like a little life meter glimmering there, letting you know when to start jamming on the PayPal donate button to keep this invisible friend you don’t actually know alive. I asked Dorothy Gambrell, Cat and Girl’s creator, what her inspiration was for putting her income out there.  She said: Transparency. Or – personal curiosity, mostly. I think the ways people in so-called creative professions make a living is a pretty interesting topic. Agreed.  Keep an eye on her life bar, will ya?  Not to mention Dorothy’s always […]

Zazzle Steps Up: Fully Custom Keds

Good ol’ Make magazine’s blog tipped me off to a new development in design your own (DYO?).   Zazzle–they of the slap your design on nearly anything and sell it business model–have partnered with Keds to let you have free reign in designing a pair of sneakers.  Slip-ons, high-tops, low-tops… all ready to be splashed with your keen Photoshop skills.  Unlimited, images, unlimited text… sounds pretty great, right? Yeah, it’s exciting and neat to think about but I’m not going to do it.  Why? A: I don’t pay $65 for footwear I can’t hike in. (But that’s just my flinty Yankee cheapness) B: While it’s cool looking, this isn’t that impressive. The bar for ‘impressive’ is fairly low but the possibilities are very high.  3-D printers aren’t magic, people.  While it’s all well and good to let any old jerk upload Bill Nye’s face onto a pair of high tops […]

The Invisible Simian Labor Force

About a week back I posted a link on Twitter to this article about a Berkeley woman who has been hiring out her pet monkey as a fruit harvester.  For a small free and a cut of the fruit, you can get your trees harvested of all those sweet unreachables. Naturally, it took me until this morning to figure out it was an April Fool’s Day hoax.  What? Fact-checking? However, the basic idea is not too far fetched.  Humans have gotten a days work out of our simian cousins for a long time and continue to do so.  Helper monkeys aid people with mobility problems, giving them back their independence and providing companionship.  The Monkey Business alluded to seems to be merely a mashup between this concept and open fruit map. I was further encouraged to come across a kindred spirit, accused of primate-related gullibility: In the issue of Science […]

Down the Paranoia Hole: Snopes’ Rumors of War

For anyone looking to take a trip down the memory lane of rumors and hearsay past, Snopes’ “Rumors of War” section provides an excellent resource for digging through what happened, didn’t happen and was said to have happened, related to 9/11 and the subsequent spasms compiled into the narrative of the American “War on Terror”.  The anecdotes like “Time magazine is considering designating Osama bin Laden their Man of the Year for 2001″ (true) and “Hospitals experience a sharp increase in births nine months after September 11″ (false) are given the critical eye, providing for interesting reading. What a valuable resource for recreating the mood around these events.  By providing a record of the sort of urban legends, misinformation and anecdotes that were passed around, Snopes brings back the emotion of those times in a way that a straight factual record fails to do. It’s also a great starting place […]

An Email from Wolfgang Müller

If the endless culture mining of the Internet were an RPG, discovering the music and performances of Die Tödliche Doris would surely be a leveling up milestone.  80s German post-unk that constantly subverts expectations, taking the term “experimental” at it’s word and seeking to create something truly new and ugly-beautiful. And just to show that they’re still relevant and know the way the game is played, they’ll send you all their music if you ask them nicely.  How cool is that? The Die Tödliche Doris website politely indicates that it would cost them a number of scarce ducats to actually make things available for free due to some sort of quirk of German law, directing you to instead email them for their complete discography.  I did so Friday night and the very next morning, the above email arrived from a Mr. Wolfgang Müller. The email explains where the tracks are […]