18 December 2018

Theo Jansen's Strandbeests (kinetic sculptures)

Via within the crainium.

Reposted from 2011 to add this remarkable new video:

And here's some good news for readers searching for gifts for children or spouses who have an engineering bent:  model strandbeests are available as kits, and can be propelled by a human breath.

Movies of 2018

A list of the movies used is available at the YouTube link, but I wish makers of mashups would consider just microprinting the source at the bottom corner.

Children starving to death by the thousands in Yemen

More than 85,000 children may have died of hunger since Saudi Arabia intervened in the war in Yemen three years ago, according to Save the Children, an international NGO. 

“For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death and it’s entirely preventable,” said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s country director in Yemen.

With only a few hospitals still operational, the nongovernmental organization says that the human toll of the conflict cannot be fully captured by simply relying on official numbers. Instead, the charity used historical mortality rates and United Nations data on Yemeni malnutrition to estimate that more than 25,000, or 20 to 30 percent of all acutely malnourished children, have died every year since April 2015. The estimates, the NGO said, may still be lower than the actual number of deaths.
More at the Washington Post.

The 1963 Lincoln had "suicide doors" - updated

A "suicide door" is the slang term for an automobile door hinged at its rear rather than the front. Such doors were originally used on horse-drawn carriages, but are rarely found on modern vehicles, primarily because of safety concerns. 
Popularized in the custom car trade, the term is avoided by major automobile manufacturers in favor of alternatives such as "coach doors" (Rolls-Royce) [above], "FlexDoors" (Opel), "freestyle doors" (Mazda), "rear access doors" (Saturn), and "rear-hinged doors" (preferred technical term) Suicide doors were common on cars manufactured in the first half of the 20th century.
The nickname is mainly due to the design's propensity to seriously injure anyone exiting or entering the offside of the car if the door is hit by a passing vehicle. Also, in the era before seat belts, the accidental opening of such doors meant that there was a greater risk of falling out of the vehicle compared to front-hinged doors, where airflow pushed the doors closed rather than opening them further. Suicide doors were especially popular with mobsters in the gangster era of the 1930s, supposedly owing to the ease of pushing passengers out of moving vehicles, according to Dave Brownell, the former editor of Hemmings Motor News.
More at Wikipedia.   I've lost the source of the photos many years ago; I collected them after discovering the internet decades ago but before starting this blog, so didn't document the credits.  Just cleaning out some old "Lincoln" material today.

Reposted from about a year ago because Lincoln is "bringing back" suicide doors:
Lincoln brought back the Continental name two years ago and now it's resurrecting a feature that’s commonly known by a name it would prefer you don’t use.  To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the model, Lincoln is offering a limited run of 80 Coach Door Edition Continentals for 2019 equipped with what are colloquially known as “suicide doors.”

David's bookcase

"I'm unreasonably proud of our new house, and though having a dedicated library wasn't the top selling point, it makes me very happy. There are some boxes still to unpack. Most of these aren't opened in any given decade, but I refuse to be parted from them and tend to hyperventilate if I can't find one when I want it. The clock at top left was given to my father by my mother about 35 years ago. It's thought to be in working condition but he never wound it and I'm not going to break precedent."

Morganna and jrincayc's bookcases

"These are just 2 of our many bookcases, but they represent a good cross-section of our interests. At the very top, from left to right is: a Japanese vase brought back from Japan for us by a friend, my husband's 2 meter handheld radio, a tiny Japanese sand garden (with a tiny bulldozer -- it's the construction version), 2 candlesticks given us by my husband's grandmother, a sushi set, and a tin with my seashell collection.

In the lefthand bookcase, top shelf, is my L.M. Montgomery collection, I believe I have all her books in modern paperbacks. The next shelf is game and card books on the left, and engineering and machine books on the right. The 3rd shelf down is my Alexander McCall Smith and Laurie R. King books. A water egg-timer is in front of the books. The 4th shelf is a collection of science books and atlases on the left, and guidebooks to animals and birds on the right. The bottom of the bookcase (not seen) is a cupboard and is full of the 1956 Compton's Picture Encyclopedia and some extra kitchen items.

In the righthand bookcase, top shelf, is our collection of Ursula K. LeGuin books, my collection of small cat sculptures, and a jadeite casserole dish, complete with metal stand. The next shelf is our poetry books, my collection of nesting dolls, and a cat pepper shaker. The 3rd shelf is art books, some gardening, cooking, and craft books, a book on Tibet, and some poetry books that don't fit on the shelf above. The bottom of the bookcase (not seen) is a cupboard with more extra kitchen items."
Morganna and Jrincayc's handmade crafts can be accessed at their Etsy shop.

Kari's bookcase

"Greetings from Finland!

Most of the books in my bookshelf are in Finnish and on the most shelves they are in two rows; one behind another, so you can't see all of them in the picture. Some English, German and Swedish are there too.

Top right you can see Grolier's "The New Book of Knowledge" from the sixties. I bought it some years ago, when our library was selling away old (and never used) material."
Kari's blog.

16 December 2018


Most reports of bleeding in the eyes refer to cases of subconjunctival hemorrhage.  This report, from the archives of the New England Journal of Medicine, is the first I've seen with frank external bleeding.
A 52-year-old man presented to the emergency department with painless, bloody tears from both eyes. The bleeding had begun spontaneously approximately 2 hours earlier, had lasted a few minutes, and had recurred just before presentation. He reported no orbital, ocular, or nasal trauma and no history of bloody tears, epistaxis, gingival bleeding, or easy bruising. He was taking captopril for mild hypertension, and his blood pressure at examination was normal. The clinical examination revealed slight conjunctival hyperemia without periorbital or palpebral edema. The patient had normal vision and extraocular movements. The bloody appearance of the tears stopped spontaneously within 1 hour after presentation. Slit-lamp examination revealed hemangiomas on the inside of both eyelids. Hemolacria is a rare condition that is characterized by the presence of blood in the tears. Bleeding associated with tears can occur in the context of infection, inflammation, or trauma to the eye or surrounding structures, vascular tumors of the eye or surrounding structures, or retrograde epistaxis. For the eyelid hemangiomas, the patient began using timolol ophthalmic drops. At 1 year of follow-up, the patient had had no further episodes of bloody tears.
Other cases have been reported to be factitious disorders or Munchausen by proxy episodes.

The year in pornography

Pornhub, a Canadian website, is the largest pornography site on the internet.  For the past six years they have been publishing an annual summary of the data at the website (visitors, search terms etc).  Their 2018 Year In Review includes about 40-50 graphs and tables (all safe for work)


A backdraft can occur when a compartment fire has little or no ventilation, leading to slowing of gas-phase combustion (due to the lack of oxygen); however, the combustible fuel gases (unburnt fuel vapor and gas-phase combustion intermediates such as hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide) and smoke (primarily particulate matter) remain at a temperature hotter than the auto-ignition temperature of the fuel mixture. If oxygen is then re-introduced to the compartment, e.g. by opening a door or window to a closed room, combustion will restart, often rapidly, as the gases are heated by the combustion and expand rapidly because of the rapidly increasing temperature. 
Nobody was killed during this incident.

Cathy M's bookcases

"I adapted some unfinished cabinets that I bought at a big box store. I ripped the provided shelf in half lengthwise and then built small bookshelves to hold paperbacks and attached them to the doors. This way I can stuff more paperbacks in a small space then close the door for a neater look and keep the dust off the books. I have three of these. "
I then built a computer desk to fit the space left on the wall with the cabinets so everything fits together. You can see my monitor screen in one picture with TYWKIWDBI on screen. It's fun seeing all the different ways people keep and display their books."

Hogie's bookcase

"I was inspired by Nolandda's bookcases to submit one of mine. I was actually more curious about the bookcase he mentioned that wasn't there - the one with the D&D books and boardgames.

About a year ago we converted our living room into a 'board game room', and this is one of the shelves I have set up storing some of my board games. I was fortunate to work with a colleague years ago who had a zeal for board games. These weren't the same board games I grew up with, but more recently designed games he called 'Euro' board games. These types of games reward smart play, engage everyone, and have clever game mechanisms. I've been hooked ever since.

The best thing about these games are the memorable experiences they create and I'm glad to hear that these types of games have become more popular in the past few years. It's my hope that people will unplug more from their electronic devices and have some more real face time through these games.

A few games that you may find interesting: Campaign Manager 2008, a 2 player game based on the 2008 US election. Pandemic, a co-operative game where you work together as a group to find cures for spreading diseases around the world. T'zolkin, the Mayan Calender, a 'worker placement' type game that has multiple gears that rotate throughout the game. Power Grid is my personal favourite, an economic game that has a bit of everything. A worthy successor to Monopoly!"

Kay in Tampa's bookcase

"These are actually the bookcases combining my books and my husband's. The left end is (more or less) his non-fiction area, the rest of the non-fiction is pretty much mine. On the right end, almost 100% of the science fiction is his, and the rest of the fiction is mine. I read science fiction, too, but he reads it almost exclusively. Other shelves in the den hold decades worth of paperbacks."

15 December 2018

Award-winning travel photography

The Guardian has posted a gallery of about a dozen winning entries in their annual travel photography competition.  This was the winner in the "single image, faces, people, or culture" category.

Hallam's family's bookcases

"The first image is a very poor-quality scan of a print showing my late father, Charles 'Bud' Payne, a self-described 'steam-age horticulturalist' in his office in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe with an unnamed colleague, and roughly one third of his library on deciduous fruit. It also clearly illustrates the pack-rat gene common to many of the male members of my family."
"The second shows him in front of about one-fifth of his and my mother's general non-fiction collection. He was an amateur archaeologist, among many other things, and she a professional ornithologist and later a high-school biology teacher. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of his extensive (around fifteen metres of shelf length) fiction collection, which included a great deal of Penguin paperbacks, hence the Christmas present from my sister. The shelves are homemade and rather utilitarian, but travelled with my father through three successive households

Further images of family members with the pack-rat gene (and one rather hidden bookshelf, or rather bookpile), are in an article written by my brother Brett, the historian of my generation, in his vintage photography blog."
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