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March 30, 2014


Something to do with Italy, but the important thing he's got a GoPro on his chest.

A YouTube commenter suggested this for a translation:

New, incredible experiment with Coke and Mentos! But we're gonna try something new today: the energy and vitality of Nutella! And as always, we're gonna use a condom, but this time it's gonna be mango-flavored. Let's start. First thing: let's take some Nutella and put it on the top of the bottle, creating some kind of Nutella cap that will be fundamental for the Nutella-Coke-Mentos reaction. Good, now we open our condom and we put Mentos in it. Not just one, two or three, but five Mentos, since we found out during previous experiments that 5 is the best quantity of Mentos in terms of maximum reaction. Now we're going to seal everything with some tape. Perfect: Nutella, Mentos… now we're gonna let the Mentos drop on top of the Nutella, and that's enough for… and here's the reaction! Incredible, guys! Coke and Mentos are reacting… it's a world record! Look at it! It's a world record! Look at it! IT'S A MIRACLE!!! WOOOOORLD REEEECOOOOOORD!!! COKE, MENTOS AND NUTELLA WORLD RECOOOORD!!! GOOOOO ITALYYYYYY!!!!!! NUTELLA, GUYS, IT'S THE PERFECT INGREDIENT!! YEEEEEESSSS!!!!

Filed under Food and Drink,GoPro | permalink | March 30, 2014 at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)

A Distraction

I just found out about an entertaining little controversy that can momentarily distract you from stories about Crimea, Afghanistan or the Affordable Health Care Act.

There's this Ford ad for its electric model:

BTW, French snails produce an excellent manure.

Filed under Automotive,Shopping | permalink | March 30, 2014 at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2014

Yesterday's 5.1

La Habra California 5.1 Quake March 28 2014
The 5.1 and its aftershocks until about 5 AM today - click for larger
or go here to get an updated USGS map. Disneyland is about 10 miles north south of this area. On-scene reporting from our live investigator tells us that last night's fireworks were cancelled and all the rides were shut down for inspection except, of course, for "It's A Small World" which cannot be shut down...ever.

UPDATE: I have noticed that some of the more shrill news sources are reporting "more than a hundred aftershocks." Why does my map show only a pitiful 11 aftershocks? It's because I selected the 2.5 magnitude filter for my map. If you want to go all the way down to 1.0 you get hundreds of aftershocks. See my revised map below, which also correctly locates the happiest place on earth. Isn't that a slogan for Disneyland? Or is it Chuck E. Cheese? Ah well, Google tells me it's Disney World, which is somewhere else.

A 1.0 quake is like somebody closing a car door a block away. A heavily loaded truck jamming on his brakes to avoid an accident might be a 1.5. Things that small are only important to the scientists. They will not cause you to spill a drink.
Revised La Habra Quake Map

And now I know that rolling feeling you get when you are on the Palm Drive bridge over I-10 on a windy day and stop for a red light is about a 5.-something.

Filed under California | permalink | March 29, 2014 at 08:07 AM | Comments (2)

March 28, 2014


How have we gotten along these many years without this?

Filed under Automotive | permalink | March 28, 2014 at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

Iowa Hydrant

Iowa fire hydrant in Cathedral City (2136)
A fire hydrant in Cathedral City manufactured by Iowa Valve Company of Oskaloosa - where Radar O'Reilly was from.

Filed under History | permalink | March 28, 2014 at 07:44 PM | Comments (0)

Marriage Comes To England And Wales

Equal rights for gay couples came to England and Wales about 2½ hours ago as I write this. If this BBC article is fair and representative then we can say that Brits get a lot more dressed up for their marriages than Americans do. A BBC survey shows that 20% of Britons would turn down an invitation to a gay wedding. Useless information until we get more data (or an odds maker) to tell us what are the realistic chances any of those 20% would ever be invited to a gay wedding.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | March 28, 2014 at 07:41 PM | Comments (0)

No, no, this is after security was tightened

The two well known recent security failures at the new World Trade Center building (the base jumpers and the skinny teenager who just went through a break in the fence and went right to the top of the tower - where are his photos by the way?) did require a bit more effort than the security breach at Shanghai Tower (where the kids just went over a wall). Low-level heads rolled at the WTC, we were assured. They even arrested those two fools from CNN who tried to break down a security gate in the daytime. But time passes and we forget. Which may be why last Saturday the WTC security guard who is blind in one eye and has poor vision in the other was found sleeping on the job. He was employed by The Durst Organization, a real estate company.

In 2010 The Durst Organization invested $100 million in the WTC, becoming co-developer with the Port Authority.

Filed under Architecture,Public Safety | permalink | March 28, 2014 at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)


WikiPearl is a blob of water held together by a membrane made from brown algae and calcium chloride. It works like an egg yolk - if you carry whole egg yolks around with you and slip one out of your bag whenever you'd like a snack. Here's a video that's supposed to illustrate its use:

Far be it from me to be picky, but if you're trying to illustrate the use of a clear blob of water, doing so on a white table set against a white backdrop with two people wearing nothing but white in a studio setting evenly lighted from multiple sources so there are no shadows is not the most effective way, especially when the critical element (that is, how to drink from it) is mostly hidden behind the hands of the drinker. She doesn't pop the whole thing in her mouth, as I had expected, even though it looks a bit too large for that. She bites the membrane, or sucks water through the permeable (?) membrane, or she licks it to dissolve a bit of the membrane. The article says the membrane is edible, but they don't ever show anyone eating one.

They say they say its created "using 'spherification,' the technique of shaping liquids into spheres first pioneered in labs in 1946." But in the how-it's-made video on the same page they show that they just pour water into spherical molds. Then "the water is frozen as ice." I think ice is definitely the best thing to freeze water as. Freezing it as stainless steel, for example, or banana puree would contradict the physics of our universe. Maybe no one thought of making a sphere to hold liquids for freezing until 1946. Maybe. But I bet somebody thought of it before then.

After freezing, the balls of ice are dunked in a broth that must contain the brown algae and calcium chloride. Then, I guess (they don't say), they are left to set up as WikiPearls.

I'm curious why they don't make it a little smaller so that the consumer could pop a whole one in his mouth, chew and swallow. That would solve the problem of water spilling all over the place when you try to drink from it.

We know somebody likes the design, because it won a Lexus Design Award and will be shown during Milan Design Week.

Much more exciting is that the article says WikiPearl will be sold at "selected Whole Foods" stores "this month." I'm not really sure that the water blob will be what's on sale, though, because when you go look at WikiPearl's website you'll see that they are offering an array of spherical foods that appear to be wrapped in this same membrane of brown algae and calcium chloride, but they don't even mention the water blob. One of those products is WikiPearl ice cream. They avoid the obvious question of how WikiPearl ice cream is superior in any way to traditional Mochi ice cream.

But let's just head on over to one of these select Whole Foods stores and give it a hands on test ourselves. Here are the locations which are convenient to all:

  • First, there's the store in Charles River Plaza in Boston, Massachusetts. Ken, it's your job to check this one out.
  • If you live further west, you'll want to go to the store on River Street in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. That's David's task.
  • But of course, some people live farther west than that. For them there is the store on Alewife at Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Massachusetts. That one is Brian's.
  • Those who live far, far from Boston will find their WikiPearls at the store on Market Street in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. That one is for Tim & George.

There ya go! Everybody in the United States who is anywhere in that great 10-mile swath from downtown Boston to the north shore can enjoy the wonders of WikiPearl! I expect you'll be seeing a lot of these on the Red Line. If they're cheap enough I imagine the students of Harvard and MIT will find a way to use them as little pre-made water balloons. Or they could be re-frozen and used as ice balls during a dry winter.

I think the WikiPearl is a great product for space travel. They should be marketing it in Florida, Texas and Kazakhstan.

Filed under Food and Drink | permalink | March 28, 2014 at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

"Thanks for demonstrating your ability to read every word out of the powerpoint slides."

It sounds like Karl Baker was in the crowd when a "high-level team from Malaysia" briefed relatives of passengers on flight 370 in Beijing. The briefing appeared to confirm that Malaysian officials are still relying on public relations guidelines from about 50 years in the past.

"Faced with the barrage of questions from the angry relatives, the MAS team replied: 'We can answer but we might not be correct as we're not the investigators.'"

When (if) this matter ever reaches a point that most people acknowledge as "settled" or "closed," it will be interesting to see what the political repercussions will be in Malaysia as their government's incompetency has been so clearly displayed for the entire world to see.

| permalink | March 28, 2014 at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2014

Alaska Ice Caves

Going safely where humans fear to tread. DJI Phantom 2 carrying a GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition.

Filed under GoPro,Photography | permalink | March 27, 2014 at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

Not Base Jumpers

A terrifying video. Two young men climb to the top of the second tallest building in the world, the Shanghai Tower which is still under construction. They show us how they got onto the site - weak security. And they document their climb to the top...and then out to the very tip of a construction crane at the top. When they reach the top of the crane one of them stands up, no hands, obviously delighted. I had been thinking that their bravado was backed up by parachutes. I had assumed this was going to be base jumping. I had not paid attention. Those aren't parachutes; they're just regular backpacks.

All GoPro:

Another video I've linked to previously in this genre: UNDERCITY New York City urban exploration w STEVE DUNCAN, dir. Andrew Wonder. The Williamsburg Bridge climb segment begins at 20:57. No GoPro, but they should probably get bonus points for doing that climb carrying a DSLR.

Filed under Architecture,GoPro,Photography | permalink | March 27, 2014 at 07:15 PM | Comments (0)

I hadn't seen these GoPro mounts before

Glock Gun Rail Mount for GoPro Hero Cameras (this is an Amazon link) $20.

Only $12 plus $1.93 shipping to southern California if you buy direct from The Accessory Pro, the same people who are supplying it to Amazon.

They've also got two mounts that work with a Picatinny/Weaver rail: center mount ($15) and side mount ($20).

And I'm sure every red-blooded GoPro owner would want one of these American flag stickers for GoPro Hero3 only ($5), but they are strictly for the Hero3. Not the Hero3+, Hero2 or any other Hero. The text describes it as "a cool vintage American Flag decal" but it's a 50-star flag, so what's vintage about that? However, they have designed it to make the flag look dirty! That design variation will sit better with some people than others.

Strikemark may be the real creator of these products (the mounts, not the flag sticker). Their prices are higher. The Glock mount is $30 there.

Here's a video describing the Glock mount.

And this video shows you the importance of really, really tightening down those mounts.

Filed under GoPro,Photography | permalink | March 27, 2014 at 05:46 PM | Comments (1)

I Overlooked The Day Of Happiness!

Who knew that March 20 was the United Nations Day Of Happiness (that link is slow as hell for me)? That sounds like something the UN could actually handle, as long as you don't ask anybody for specific information about what makes them happy. "Taking Crimea makes me happy!" said one permanent member of the Security Council. I'm looking forward to the United Nations Day Of Arguing and Pointless Mulling. That should be even bigger.

But screw the UN, the big thing on March 20 was Pharrell's Happyday Supercut with people dancing to Happy all over the world, especially not in Los Angeles. You might want to skip the first 35 minutes, unless you really want to listen to a message from someone wearing mirrored aviator sunglasses who is not a cop.

Was that a real Cardinal? Did you notice how they lowered that saturation a bit so it didn't look exactly like the original?

Brazil gets its own version. They've got ancient Roman aqueducts in Brazil. What's the story behind that?

Pharrell did a special shoutout to Anarctica, so here's their video...which features the only identifiable GoPro footage I've seen in any of these.

Filed under GoPro,Music | permalink | March 27, 2014 at 08:13 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2014

One Initiative Still Alive In California

One of the four marijuana initiatives I mean. The one called "California Cannabis Hemp Initiative" hasn't gotten enough signatures.

The California Marijuana Control, Legalization & Revenue Act is the only one continuing. This is the one supported by NORML. The initiative must have 504,760 valid signatures by April 18. They have 10,000 signatures now. Some of those are not valid, of course. If they could just find an angel with $3 million they would have a chance, but...

I summarized the four initiatives back in December.

Filed under California,Marijuana | permalink | March 26, 2014 at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)

Inkjet Printer

inkjet printer

| permalink | March 26, 2014 at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

The Art Of Bugatti

Just opened last week at Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard was The Art of Bugatti. The exhibit continues through December 31, 2014.

"If you think about it, there has been no other family like them in the past 500 years—with multiple generations that have had such influence on art and design," said Peter Mullin, an insurance billionaire and collector who has a soft spot for the Art Deco period and its pieces. You could debate that, but what's not disputable is the depth and breadth of this exhibit, which features 27 Bugatti automobiles, the single-largest collection of the luxurious marques ever displayed (many of them from Mr. Mullin's private collection), and a thorough history of the family told through paintings, sculptures, furniture, manuscripts, design sketches and other heirlooms, some on display to the public for the first time.

Peter Mullins is the chairman of Petersen Automotive Museum.

Nethercutt Museum - Bugatti (9091)
A Bugatti at the Nethercutt Museum

Advance ticket ($15) purchase required. Open 10 AM to 3 PM on one or two Saturdays each month plus a few other dates. Photography is permitted. No bags of any kind. Docent-led tours at 10:45 AM and 1 PM. Also "Healies and shoes with cleats are not permitted." I think they mean Heelys.

Mullin Automotive Museum, close to the PCH. The building was originally owned by Otis Chandler, publisher of the L.A. Times from 1960 to 1980.

Filed under Art,Automotive | permalink | March 26, 2014 at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

CTA Derailment

It seems that the trains in Chicago do not have a GoPro mounted on the front. Go figure. So all we have is this security video.

Filed under Photography,Travel | permalink | March 26, 2014 at 05:47 PM | Comments (0)

"From Ukraine To United Arab Emirates"

And now Los Angeles! But not what you think. It's the return of Odorama! It will make its American re-debut at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14 this summer.

The technology comes from a Korean company. I notice that one of the functions seats will have is called "Heave." I'm afraid they did not hire enough English majors for their website...or maybe, OTOH, the description is entirely accurate.

Filed under Film/Movies | permalink | March 26, 2014 at 05:37 PM | Comments (0)

Hain't No Joshua Trees There

Gentle, aerial video of natural scenes in Iceland via DJI Phantom 2 and GoPro.

Filed under GoPro,Photography,Travel | permalink | March 26, 2014 at 05:06 PM | Comments (1)

Whitewater River

Ramon Bridge - Palm Springs
Under Ramon in Palm Springs
. This was before it got really dusty today.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Photography | permalink | March 26, 2014 at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)