Sweet bike o’ mine.

September 17, 2010

And now, from the department of “Things That Seem Totally Awesome In Theory But in Practice Would Be Completely Awful,” we bring you this amazing design of a musical bike path from the Seoul Cycle Design Competition.

Okay, the idea seems INCREDIBLE and combines lots of things I superlike. Biking along the path, you ride over these sections that activate hammers that hit xylophone-type bars, and as you ride, you create a melody.  So fun, right? Whee! A little bike ride, a little tune, a little more love for Seoul and humankind in general.

More amazing graphics that have a slightly textbook, retro feel and are totally worth a look, here.

This is an awesome idea and reminds me a lot of this video that has been making the rounds, where people chose climbing stairs over riding an escalator after the stairs were transformed into a music making machine:

Okay, so let’s fast-forward to a time and place where this bike path construction has actually taken place. The bike path exists, it’s right on your way to work, you use the path for your round trips, five days a week.

11 months a year.

For the rest of your working life.

As a test to see if this would be a good idea, please repeatedly listen to this xylophone cover of the Super Mario Brothers song:

Could you listen to this backwards and forwards, every day for the rest of your life? eep.

I actually DID find an example of a song that could maybe work though: this badass xylophone cover of Sweet Child Of Mine, by Guns and Roses. amirite?

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They want it.

September 9, 2010

This video is why Toronto is awesome and I love it. There’s an awful lot of hating on Toronto that happens on the Internet (and I imagine also probably off it, or what the kids are calling ‘In Real Life,’) so, don’t worry, you don’t have to go to the trouble of disagreeing with me in the comments about the fact that Toronto Is Super Awesome. I feel like the war is won here: you can’t argue with a city that makes these kinds of ads. Nor should you. (Argue, that is. Nor should you argue with a city that makes these kinds of ads. We’re clear?)

Protip: The City of Toronto official version of this same video left out the ‘pretty blonde lady’ comment. Which is too bad, I think, but also so conscientious that it’s adorable. Oh Toronto, I could just pinch your cheeks.

[thedailywh.at]


Earthquake in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

June 23, 2010

Epicentre near Ottawa (just above centre on this map)

Ontario experienced an earthquake today at around 1:42 pm. My house (downtown Toronto, near College and Spadina) just shook for about 10 seconds.

I won’t lie, at first I thought my neighbours were indulging in a particularly vigorous bout of afternoon delight, but then I realized could feel and hear the whole house shaking, not to mention my own intestines. And my cats looked like their little eyes were gonna bug out. Woulda had to be a pretty mighty performance from Mr. Neighbour. So, earthquake. CRAZY!

More crazy? I decided blogging and twittering about it was more important than leaving the house.

This post got 1400 pageviews in under 10 minutes- clearly y’all felt it too.

UPDATE: I did some research for you!

The Canadian quake we just had affected Southern Ontario, parts of Quebec, and parts of New York State and Michigan. The epicentre seems to have been near Ottawa.

It registered about a 5.5 on the Richter scale, which ranks it as “moderate”. According to Wikipedia, this means it would be capable of causing major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions, but would cause only slight damage, if any, to well-designed buildings.

For comparison, the Nagasaki atom bomb caused a 5.0 quake (plus a buttload of radiation fallout and etc), and this year’s Haitian quake was a 7.0, which is fifty times stronger than what just totally made my guts crawl into my throat. (Here’s the Wikipedia page on the Richter scale).

WHAT TO DO IF IT COMES BACK:

Inside, crouch under a table or in a corner- away from exterior walls and windows. Cover your head with your arms. Wait.
Outside, go to open ground and hang out. Stay away from trees, buildings, streetlights, and electrical wires.
In a car, pull over and stay in the car. Try not to stop under overpasses, wires, buildings, trees, or utility poles.
Drink a stiff scotch, if available.


Humber College Cup Song

April 26, 2010

Some students at Toronto’s Humber College made a great song about disposable coffee cup use on campus. It’s surprisingly well-done- they lyrics are solid. 4 minute YouTube, here.
Via MeFi.


Bottlecap Lamps

April 20, 2010

These bottlecap lamps come in a kit with some of the caps included; the owner can customize the pattern and colours by using different caps from 2L plastic bottles. I likey.

Thanks to a reader named L for the tip.

Here’s another neat idea I posted about a while back- clever people in Brazil lighting their homes using “skylight bulbs” made from plastic bottles filled with water.


Fixed it! Epic kludges and jury rigs

November 5, 2009

There, I Fixed It! is a hilarious collection of the very best crappy fix-it jobs.

hidden sign

Once I got a ticket for not stopping at a stop sign hidden by a tree. Lazy homeowners couldn't be bothered to clip a simple tunnel through the foliage. Why I oughtta...

camping toilet

Once upon a time, there was a lazy farmer who hated the job of fertilizing most of all. One day he invented this puppy. By moving the chair a foot or so each day, he was eventually able to enrich the soil of his entire acreage while he did his morning Sudoku.

christianw-wino

I actually quite like this one. Using a wine cork to fix a martini glass is kind of classy. Plus it's totally something my dad would do. Dad, how much effort does it take to drill through a cork and carefully strap it all together with zip ties? Wouldn't it be easier to just buy a new glass? Kid, you're missing the point. Sometimes the joy of ingenuity trumps practicality. Now hand me those salad forks.

salad tongs

Wait, did you say salad forks? Ha ha, Dad, don't you mean Salad Tongs? I've never heard of.... oh.

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Lots more here. I love this site; thanks to Leslie P. for the tip!

PS- I always thought the phrase was “Jerry-rig”, and came from WWII when British soldiers perjoratively called the German soliders “Jerries”. While “Jerry-rig” is indeed a real expression that began at that time, turns out that “jury-rig” is an even older expression dating back to nautical usage in the 1700s. It’s thought that in this case, “jury” is a contraction of the Latin adjutare (“to aid”), via Old French ajurie (“help or relief”), or perhaps even the English word, injury.
Thank you Internets.


No-money Suelo: a response

July 28, 2009

A few days ago I posted this article about a dude named Daniel Suelo who chooses to live in a cave in Utah with no money. Someone on Metafilter wrote a response to that same article.

Apologies to Mr. Suelo, but modern western civilization is the shit

I am by no means a rich man, but in comparison to most of the world and most humans who lived in any age preceding ours, I live like a king. By the mere accident of birth, I came to live in a country that bombards its citizens with comforts. I woke up this morning and put two cups of fresh, clean water into a metal pan and boiled it on my electric stove. I then stirred in some 7-grain porridge and some raisins and cooked up my breakfast. I didn’t have to grow the grains and process them and I didn’t have to grow the grapes and dry them into raisins – it all came from the store, packaged and ready to go! From the same store, I also obtained some butter without having to own a cow and some honey without having to put on an apiarist’s suit and squeeze it out of a hive. I put the porridge and honey and butter into a ceramic bowl that I did not cast and stirred it all together with a metal spoon that I did not forge.

Scarcely half an hour after climbing out of my bed – that is, a queen-sized mattress supported by a boxspring and a metal frame, covered with flannel sheets that I did not and could not weave – I had prepared myself a delicious, nutritious breakfast. And I know how long it took because of the digital alarm clock sitting on my bookshelf – a bookshelf that is packed out with volumes on a wide variety of subjects which were written by learned men and women from all over the planet. Were I to pick up one of these books, I would find pages filled with words in clear, uniform type on smooth, machine-pressed paper. Their spines are sturdily bound and some of the covers have absolutely beautiful art or photographs printed on them. I could read it on my sofa while an electric fan controlled the temperature in my apartment and better see the pages by way of an electric light if I found the sunlight streaming in through my double-paned windows wanting. Fucking. Awesome.

Instead, I decided to watch a DVD of Flight of the Conchords while I ate. A DVD player built in Taiwan streamed images of a sitcom filmed in New York, built around the act of a guitar-playing folk-satire duo from New Zealand into a cathode ray device built in China, all for my amusement. Once upon a time, only nobility got to be so entertained, and only then if they shipped in live performers. Today, a machine on a shelf above my television used a fucking laser to extract entertainment from a paper-thin disc, all because I pushed a few buttons on a small, infrared transmitter called a “remote control.” Wow! No Pharaoh ever had it so good!

I looked at Mr. Suelo’s site for as long as I could stomach the sanctimony and noticed a number of quotes from luminaries of ages long dead. These quotes make for good copy, but I don’t know how good a job they do of decrying our age and our currency, given that these people never saw it and never spent it. Is Suelo absolutely certain that Thoreau wouldn’t have loved microwave popcorn? That Lincoln wouldn’t have wanted the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy? He did fancy a play from time to time, after all. St. Augustine’s piety was never, ever tested against central air conditioning or drive-thru burger joints.

The folks who lived without money and modern comforts in ages gone by did so largely for lack of any other choice. People crave comfort and safety – greed is naught but an extreme expression of these universal needs. The average Roman legionnaire would have gladly killed to know the comforts of a Victorian and a Victorian would have done the same to enjoy the leisurely life of a modern American, same as I would to vault into the 24th century, where waste-processing nanites keep my large intestine clean and translator microbes in my Broca’s region enable me to speak with anyone in the world as if we grew up with a common language. I’m aware that greed and sloth have us in a bit of a mess right now and I’m confident that greed will lead us back out. The energy problem won’t be cracked because we all come together and build non-profit solar power co-ops. It’ll happen when some greedy son of a bitch decides he wants in on the ground floor of The Industrial Revolution, Part Two – Green Electric Boogaloo.

The modern world absolutely teems with marvels. In a couple hours, I’m gonna hop on my bike, a miracle of a machine with a fiberglass frame and rubber tires, and ride on paved, light-controlled roads to a job where I help disabled folks manage their lives. These guys have disabilities that would doom them in a fortnight in Mr. Suelo’s ideal world. But thanks to modern medicine and machines, these men may live for much longer and in much more comfort than they ever could before. I know what a lucky bastard I am, living in the twenty-first century United States. I’m thankful to live in such a place, where a man with cerebral palsy can have orange juice whenever he pleases and even folks who elect to live in a goddamn cave get to wear sturdy boots and maintain a blog that the whole planet is welcome to read.

… umm, so good. I heart MeFi.