Celebrating Captain Beefheart’s birthday with a look at his masterpiece, Trout Mask Replica

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Today is the birthday (1941) of the late Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, one of then most fascinating, confounding, and creative artists and musicians of the 20th century. Let’s celebrate by taking a look at his 1969 record, Trout Mask Replica, widely regarded as a masterpiece of modern sound art.

And here’s a bonus track. Imagine seeing this ad on late night television in 1970.

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Watch: Add drain cleaner to sugar for an an awesome science experiment

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If you’re looking for a fun (but dangerous – wear gloves and eye protection!!) science experiment to do at home, here’s a good one. Simply stir drain cleaner (98% sulfuric acid) into some sugar, and watch as it turns into a black monstrous blob that pushes its way out of the glass.

The science behind it? From ThoughtCo:

The sulfuric acid removes water from the sugar in a highly exothermic reaction, releasing heat, steam, and sulfur oxide fumes. Aside from the sulfurous odor, the reaction smells a lot like caramel. The white sugar turns into a black carbonized tube that pushes itself out of the beaker.

Sugar is a carbohydrate, so when you remove the water from the molecule, you’re basically left with elemental carbon. The dehydration reaction is a type of elimination reaction.

C12H22O11 (sugar) + H2SO4 (sulfuric acid) ? 12 C (carbon) + 11 H2O (water) + mixture water and acid

Although the sugar is dehydrated, the water isn’t ‘lost’ in the reaction. Some of it remains as a liquid in the acid. Since the reaction is exothermic, much of the water is boiled off as steam.

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25 useful Japanese words for everyday conversation

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I wasn’t expecting to learn much from this video about 25 useful Japanese words because I thought I would know them all, but there were quite a few that were new to me:

uso (no way!)
chicchai (tiny and cute)
harahetta (I’m starving)
dekai (huge)
umai (tasty, more casual than oishii)
majide (you’re not joking?)
dasai (uncool)
kakkoii (cool or attractive)
sugei (incredible)
tsukareta (I’m exhausted) Read the rest

These refurbished Mac Mini computers are on sale for up to 50% off

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Still recovering after all that holiday shopping? That doesn’t mean you can’t ring in the new year with a new computer. These Mac minis are all refurbished, which means they’re available for sometimes hundreds off the retail price. Here are of our favorite deals still out there.

Apple Mac Mini Intel Core i5 2.3GHz 8GB RAM 500GB – White (Refurbished)

Hook this 7.7″ unit up to a keyboard and monitor, and you can take advantage of 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 processing. The 8GB RAM of memory is everyday browsing, streaming, and multi-tasking as well.

MSRP: $399

Sale Price: $249.99

Apple Mac Mini Intel Core i5 2.5GHz 500GB HDD – White (Refurbished)

Here’s another compact computer that’s fully ready for household use. Its Intel HD Graphics 4000 will keep gamers happy while the 4 USB ports let you hook up an array of peripherals.

MSRP: $399

Sale Price: $259.99

Apple Mac Mini Intel Core 2 Duo 320GB – Silver (Certified Refurbished)

The 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor on this 2010 model is still great for work use, and the DVD writer makes it easy to burn movies for your home library. Watching them on the NVIDIA GeForce 320M 256GB video card is pretty satisfying, too.

MSRP: $479

Sale Price: $349

Apple Mac Mini 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 Dual-Core 500GB HDD – Silver (Certified Refurbished)

Need a bit more speed? This 2014 Mac Mini comes with Turbo Boost 2.0, not to mention Hyper-Threading capability for those who need to multitask. The 500 GB HDD storage is mighty generous as well. Read the rest

Check out these awesomely creepy puppets of microbial creatures

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Judith Hope is a UK-based puppeteer who has created maneuverable art for theatre, festivals, parades, and more. Most recently, she was hired to work on a show called “Microbodyssey,” which describes itself as a “visual theatre experience for both adults and children that features puppetry, shadow theatre and an original score” about microbes and other invisible organisms.

And so, for this project, Hope has had the distinct pleasure of creating child-sized puppets of things like tardigrades:

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Tardy the Tardigrade off to her new home with @tatwoodpuppets ! She’ll be performing in #microbodyssey this weekend at Centre for Life and at Moving Parts Puppetry Festival in Newcastle in April. Highly recommended! . . #tardigrade #tardigradepuppet #sciencepuppets #puppet #microbes #puppetmaker #puppetstudio #puppetworkshop

A post shared by Judith Hope (@judithhopepuppetmaker) on Jan 5, 2019 at 3:29am PST

And a bacteriophage:

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Finished “Phagey” the bactetiophage, made for @tatwoodpuppets show #microbodyssey On this weekend at Centre for Life, Newcastle and Moving Parts Puppetry Festival in April. . #bacteriophage #microbes #sciencepuppet #scienceeducation #puppets #puppetmaker #puppetstudio #puppetworkshop

A post shared by Judith Hope (@judithhopepuppetmaker) on Jan 5, 2019 at 3:22am PST

And they’re all weirdly fascinating!

You can check out more of these freakishly adorable puppets on Hope’s Instagram, or you can check out the “Microbodyssey” touring show in the UK.

Tiny Organisms Escape Life Under a Microscope in Oversized Puppets by Judith Hope [Grace Ebert / This Is Colossal]

Image via Eden Pictures / Flickr Read the rest

Garbage Pail Kids Monopoly coming soon

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Get ready to go directly to gross-out because a Garbage Pails Kids-themed Monopoly game is on its way! 2020 marks the 35th anniversary of the delightfully disgusting trading cards that parody the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. According to Bloody Disgusting, Topps has “all sorts of plans in motion for the big celebration,” starting with this $39.95 board game.

Relive the totally awesome 80’s with the MONOPOLY®: Garbage Pail Kids game! This game has the classic sticker artwork and new custom illustrations for a new generation of fans. Comes with 6 custom tokens.

Hey, while we’re talking about Garbage Pail Kids, do watch the 2016 documentary 30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story.

image via ACD Distribution Read the rest

This children’s book on the miracle of life is very graphic and very anatomically correct

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Da solen stod op om natten, often translated as How a Baby Is Made or The True Story of How Babies Are Made, was originally published in 1972. Written by 1971 by Danish psychotherapist Per Holm Knudsen, it actually won a Danish Ministry of Culture Children’s Book prize for its, uhh, highly accurate depiction of where, in fact, babies come from:

On one hand, this is uhhh, pretty graphic. On the other: well, maybe it’s better that we stop lying to children and treating sex like some shameful secret. So in that case, it’s pretty good. Just not in a creepy way.

But if that’s the kind of thing you want to share with your kids, you can pick up a used copy on Amazon for around $50.

This ridiculous sex ed book demonstrates everything that was awesome about the 1970s [Jam Kotenko / Daily Dot]

Image via Wikimedia Commons Read the rest

This wine club for vino enthusiasts delivers a story with each sip

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If you love wine — and we mean, really love wine — it’s a personal thing. You know what foods your favorite wine likes to mingle with and the ones they don’t. You have a favorite time to drink. You’ve read a thing or two about its history, maybe visited where it was made. It’s not just a drink — it’s a ritual.

This personal connection, more than anything, is why more wine lovers don’t join those wine clubs that seem to popping up with increasing frequency. It’s not that they don’t love to explore and try new things. Far from it. It’s just that the whole experience of having wine picked out by someone else who knows little to nothing about you feels, well, impersonal.

But it doesn’t have to be. WineAccess is the first wine club we know of where you get more than just wine. You get stories, context and above all, a reason why you should care about your bottle before you even pop the cork.

None of this should be surprising. The people behind WineAccess have decades of experience making wine, writing about it and just plain loving it. (And of course, they’re based in the vineyard mecca, California’s Napa Valley.)

With each shipment of wine you get, you can tell an expert carefully curated the selections. The wines are shipped under strict climate control, but you get more than just the lovingly packed bottles. You get tasting notes, plus access to a story and video that tells you about the winery, circumstances and struggles that resulted in the creation of your picks. Read the rest

‘I go to thrift stores with $20 and try to make the weirdest outfits I can.’

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“Old lady night gown, rubber boots, lampshade, red sunglasses.”

Oh, this is wonderful. Extreme frugal thrift store shopping for maximum mayhem and fabulousness. I am here for this content.

“I go to thrift stores with $20 and try to make the weirdest outfits I can,” says IMGURian @FaustandKluster, aka Hayden Pedigo — an ambient musician, Immature politician, and bad comedian, according to Instagram.

Here are some of the wildest twenty dollar outfits this very creative person has managed to assemble — and if you love this as much as I did, definitely follow the Instagram account. Read the rest

Secret history of the screwdriver

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From old-school bOING bOING editor Gareth Branwyn’s must-read e-newsletter “Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales“:

I love The History Guy on YouTube. In this episode, he examines the history of the screwdriver and how world events shaped the development of the Phillips head and Robertson head drivers and screws. Even if you know something about the history of this ancient technology, you will likely learn some cool things from this video.

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This $13 courses gives you mastery over SQL & MySQL

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If you’re working with databases, you’re working with SQL. Even in the changing world of the web, there are some classics that endure, and SQL (along with its database management system MySQL) is one of them. Millions of websites and databases have been built using SQL code as their foundation, and they’re still being built today.

Needless to say, it’s a must for any serious coder. And there’s no better way to get your feet wet than with this MySQL & SQL for Beginners course.

The lessons in the course let you get hands-on with SQL, letting you create your own database from the ground up. You’ll then learn how to update it with new info and retrieve old data from it, then set up communications between your database and others.

Along the way, you’ll move quickly from your first queries to the complex operations and transactions that power the networks of leading companies. By the final lesson, you’ll also have learned how to keep that data safe while still accessible by those who need it on the fly.

Right now, lifetime access to the full course is on sale for 93% off the original cost. Read the rest

Art installation uses science to age e-waste in geological time

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Nathaniel Stern writes, “The World After Us: Imaging techno-aesthetic futures (Flickr set) is an art exhibition that asks, ‘What will — and what can — happen to our gadgets over geological time?’ For the last few years, I have been working scientists to artificially age phones and computers in different ways, growing plants and fungi in watches, phones, laptops, and more, and turning phones into ink (via blenders and oils), iMacs into tools (melting down the aluminum, and shaping it into a wrench, hammer, and screwdriver), and otherwise spiking electronic waste onto 12 foot towers and/or ‘growing’ them (intermingled with botanicals) across 1000 square feet of wall space. Here I want people to think and act differently in and with their media devices, their electronic waste, and the damage it does to create both in the first place.”

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Kindle Paperwhite just $85 today

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The Kindle Oasis is lovely, but $200 is too pricey for an e-reader. The Kindle Paperwhite is the one I recommend and 35% off today at Amazon, bringing the price down to $85. This is a great deal and maybe signals imminent new products, but it’s not as if “basic decent e-reader” is a category vulnerable to disruptive innovation in 2020. The Paperwhite has high-dpi text, subtle backlighting and weeks of battery life, and that’s probably all you need.

35% off Kindle Paperwhite [Amazon] Read the rest

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