What’s This? A Brain-Bending, Eyeball Twisting Photo Quiz

April 29, 2009


Use the skills you’ve gained, America, from countless hours of watching police forensic procedurals (click on image for larger view).

I will give you only the following clues: it’s a common house-hold object, no bigger than a bread box, most people use one every day, some people say it is 99 and 44/100ths pure.

This space will substitute for the musical interlude which limits your time to consider the question to, oh, just about. . . now!

Give up? It’s a Labrador Soap Carving by our three year old black female, Luna. Number two, of an unlmited edition.

Are you Schizophrenic? If Not, Then Why Do All Your Friends Say You Are? The Hollow Mask Illusion

April 23, 2009


A standard plastic Halloween mask of Charlie Chaplin [click for larger image, above] is rotated on a short pole. When the inside, or back of the mask comes into view, you should be seeing a sunken-in face, the opposite of the front view, the reverse of normal.

But the face recognition module that you have in your brain is so strong that it immediately re-interprets the features into a normal-looking face, a positive image. Here’s  a clear example of the top-down processing over-ruling the input.

See the video, here courtesy of Britain’s Your Amazing Brain.org.

Apparently though, if you are ill with schizophrenia or on certain drugs, (cannabis, for example) this part of the brain malfunctions and you don’t perceive this illusion. You see, correctly in this instance, the reverse of a normal face with a nose sinking inward.

So if you can’t see the Hollow Mask Illusion, you’re probably a crazy schizo! Hah! Either that, or you’ve got yourself some righteous weed, dude.

Firesign Theatre – 40th Anniversary of Nick Danger

April 23, 2009


The Monterey County Herald has a nice piece on the Firesign Theatre’s 40th Anniverssary of Nick Danger, here.

I’ve always loved those 4 or 5 crazy guys.  We go way back, to the 1960s even.  I used to smoke catnip, listen to them and pretend I was in college.got_firesign_logo2

You can celebrate with their newest collection, Firesign Theatre’s Box of Danger: The Complete Nick Danger Casebook, available from several online retailers. Yes, friends, if you were to go into a record store and ask for them, they would think you were crazy.

Rest assured, dear friends, Nick Danger lives on in stereo hi-fi.dangerbox

Moving Murals on public walls by Rufus B. Seder

April 23, 2009

gallop_and_swingRufus B. Seder has made books (Gallop and Swing) and greeting cards move, but he should be best known  for his large scale moving wall murals.moving_mural

  • For a short CNN video, go here.
  • For a detailed explanation of the Lifetiles process, go here to the Eye Think, Inc. website.
  • For a great collection of short videos on individual public installations, here.

Pet Airways: Pet Only Airline Travel

April 23, 2009

pawfrom their site, Petairways.com: Welcome to Pet Airways, a pet-only airline dedicated to pet-friendly travel. With Pet Airways, your pet will be safe and comfortable flying in the main cabin — not in cargo! Give your pet a first-class travel experience today!

We promise to transport your pet with lots of love, care, safety, and comfort in the main cabin.

Pet Airways is the first airline exclusively dedicated to pets – no humans please – and we take the job of providing a comfortable experience for pets very seriously.

We’ll do everything in our power to make sure your pets get the best care during their journey because we’re committed to taking care of our pet “pawsengers” as if they were our own.

Click on the image below for an explanation of the Pet Airways Travel Experience.


BigDog Quadraped Robot

April 23, 2009

bigdog_conceptBoston Dynamics has created the prototype for a military robot, the BigDog, revisiting the old concept of two legs good, four legs better. Check out a pretty cool video here and the Boston Dynamic site here.

New Genetic Technique Fixes Muscular Distrophy in Dogs

April 23, 2009

md_dog_beforeMIT Technology Review announced that a new variation of traditional gene therapy called antisense — in which a short strip of synthetic DNA or RNA molecules bind to a region of the host’s DNA and blocks its function — has been proven effective for a form of muscular dystrophy in dogs. Hope is high that this will lead to a breakthrough on human treatment for MD. For the complete article , go here.

For an amazing video of how this treatment can restore muscle function, go here.

TypeDNA’s Fontshaker: A Must-See Online Font App

April 20, 2009

Oh-my-freaking-God if you have any interest in typefaces at all, you’ve simply got to check out the TypeDNA web site and their Fontshaker online app, accessible through your browser. Just as the Chocolate Math email I recently received described itself: “this is not one of those time-wasting things, this is fun!”

You can visually browse and discover all the fonts installed on your local machine (and open them in Photoshop) along with other neat tricks. You really have to experience their interface to see how much much fun it can be to play with your fonts. Click on the image for a larger size.


50 Free Fabric Textures

April 20, 2009


Designm.ag offers a nice collection of 50 Free fabric textures here and in these recessionary times, free is just the price we all want to be paying for our fabric textures, isn’t it?

Below are small sections of two I grabbed:burlap


Nixon’s Unused Speech: If Neil Armstrong Died on the Moon — Rest in Peace

April 20, 2009

apollo_11_1969From Watergate.info: In July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. The following speech, revealed in 1999, was prepared by Nixon’s then speechwriter, William Safire, to be used in the event of a disaster that would maroon the astronauts on the moon:

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.


Presidents come and presidents go; you only get one Nixon in your life.

For me, there will only ever be a single President in that network of neurons holding the template for all Presidents and that is Richard Milhous Nixon, American. He embodied all the contradictions of the office and his own obsessive personality in a time of great national crisis. he brought the word “Shakespearean” into casual use when discussing the arch of his  1 and 1/2 terms of office.

If you are too young to have had direct experience of Nixon, you may wonder who is this Angry Irishman with the jowls and eternal 5 o’clock shadow?  What does Nixon have to do with everyday life, today? time-nixon

I’d direct you to Rick Perlstein’s outstanding Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America for the answers to those questions. Relive the thrilling days of yesteryear when “there was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air” in the Amerikkka of 1969.

Then rent the real Frost/Nixon Interviews from 1977 (available through Netflix) and see what Ron Howard’s mega-hit movie was really about.

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