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Friday, October 15, 2010

Michael J. Fox recreates the original Back to the Future teaser

It’s no secret that this year is the 25th Anniversary of Back to the Future. The BluRays come out in a couple weeks, there’s going to be a very limited theatrical re-release in the US, and on the Spike TV 2010 Scream awards there will be a small cast reunion. To promote that, Michael J. Fox recreated the film’s original teaser trailer perfectly. Check out the recreation, and original, below.



This Is Why Mushrooms Are Bloody Awesome!

Bleeding Tooth Fungus 
Photo: Darvin DeShazer

The world of fungi is diverse and mystifying. Some fungi are delicious fried up or tossed into an omelet, other fungi are sought after for their hallucinogenic properties, and some fungi are thought to be responsible for mass plagues - dancing fever anyone?

Allow me to introduce to you one of the more unusual members of Kingdom Fungi, the Bleeding Tooth Fungus, or Hydnellum peckii which goes by various names often referring to juice or blood. This fungus can be found in North America where it is more common in the Pacific Northwest and resides mostly in coniferous forests. The Bleeding Tooth also makes appearances in Europe and has recently been discovered in both Iran and Korea.

Bleeding Tooth - older specimen 
Photo: Lacy Smith

Upon a first glimpse of the bleeding tooth fungus, one may dismiss the ruby-red liquid as the blood of some poor forest creature splattered across the white mushroom cap. When inspected more closely, it becomes obvious that the fungus is oozing liquid through its own small pores. The liquid on most specimens does in fact resemble blood, but can also be light pink, yellow, orange or beige in color. Many describe the liquid as blood-like or juice-like; some may think it resembles liquid candy, (the kind sold in vials at the convenience store). Though not uncommon, many people appear stumped when encountering this unusual shroom out in the wild, as is evident in many forum posts and blogs questioning their sanity and asking simply: “What is this thing?” One would think that the existence of these perplexing fungi would be a hot topic during biology class, it’s hard to imagine a middle school biology teacher passing up the opportunity to gross out the students with bleeding mushrooms, but I could be wrong.

Bleeding Tooth Fungus - amber 
Photo: Lacy Smith

We are often taught not to eat or touch unusual things that grow wild, but the flashy Hydnellum peckii is not considered toxic to humans, just inedible. This unique mushroom obtains its “inedible” status due to the taste of its flesh and juice which are described as “acrid” or extremely bitter and “peppery.”

Bleeding tooth mushrooms 
Photo: Lacy Smith

The aroma of this fungus is often described as being “unpleasant”. The juice itself contains a pigment called atromentin which has been discovered as having anticoagulant properties similar to heparin which is derived from the mucus membranes of slaughtered cattle and hogs. Scientists have also discovered the fungus contains antibiotic properties, effective against streptococcus pneumoniae. The mushroom can also be dried and transformed into a plant based dye for cloth, producing an earthy beige color. Useful as well as mysteriously repulsive, this little fungus is sure to be counted as one of your favorites, that is, once you get over the initial shock of it’s gruesome appearance.

Sources: 1, 2

The iPad Controlled Beer Keg

I’m a Canadian… therefore, I like beer. I’m also a bit of a geek, therefore I love me some gadgets. Combine the two and what you get is a nerdgasm of epic proportions.

Introducing the iPad controlled beer keg *heavenly music*. Yes, you heard right, the iPad controlled beer keg. Built by some obviously underpaid geniuses over at Yelp, this is the kind of application of modern technology that I really dig. As you’ll see in the video above, a custom app loaded onto the iPad is tied right into a beer keg, and an RFID card reader. To pour a beer, you swipe your approved RFID card, and from there you have the green light. After you pour, you can see your name, how much you poured, even a history of people that poured before you. You can even rate the beer right there and then… Granted, this may be overkill, but it’s all very cool indeed. I love it.

One has to give a hand to these engineers, not only for making the darn thing work, but for the intense amount of detail that was obviously put into things. I mean, look at the detail and care put into the graphics. Nice!
*cheers* to this brilliant team of engineers over at Yelp. If they want to hook me up with one of these, I’m game… Of course, I suppose I need to buy a keg fridge and a keg first. I’ll get right on that. :)
Happy Friday, everyone.

The iPad Controlled Beer Keg
[Via: BitRebels]

Beautiful New Donkey Kong Country Returns Screenshots


This awesome new Donkey Kong Country Returns screenshot gallery shows the game's two-player co-operative mode, with Diddy and Donkey teaming up as they advance through the detailed levels in the gorgeous Wii game.

Donkey Kong Country Returns is out on November 21st in North America and in Europe on December 3rd.

You can check more screenshots in our gallery below:







Celebrating 600 years of Prague's Astronomical Clock (vid) — Amazing light show projected onto Prague's Astronomical Clock at Old Town Square, celebrating its 600th year.

Mapping during 600 years anniversary of the astrological tower clock situated at Old Town Square in center of Prague.

The Macula (
Michal Kotek
Lukáš Duběda
data-live (
Tomato Production (
The 600 Years from the macula on Vimeo.

New software can make people look thinner, younger on film

A German group has developed software that can make actors appear thinner, fatter, taller and even more muscular on screen.

In what could be a massive breakthrough in movie making, or a step towards the decline of Western society, researchers at Germany’s Max Planck Institute have developed MovieReshape, a software program that can alter the images of people on the film in order to change their body type.

The software will be able to take an existing image and manipulate the image already filmed. So, if a person is on film without a shirt, the software could make that actor appear far more muscular, or make them taller, shorter or even heavier. It could also change the physical features of a person’s face to create an age effect, similar to what the special effects technicians did with Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
The software is still in development, and will not be officially debuted until Siggraph, the computer graphics conference in Seoul, South Korea that takes place in December.

“What would take days using conventional SFX software our model can do in a matter of hours.” Christian Theobalt said in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.

Theobalt also claimed that the software will save costs in any instance where special effects can be employed, including in commercials, where one ad could be filmed, then the actor’s body-type could be manipulated to meet local “standards of beauty”.

The researchers have not yet reached any deals with private companies, but that is sure to follow. The software opens up several interesting possibilities. It could offer roles to people that would otherwise be overlooked because of a physical difference between the actor and the character. On the other hand, it could also lead to impossible standards of physical beauty. Time will tell.

The Varying Drivers License Requirements Around the World

Posted by: jenngerl 

Minimum driving ages, the number of passengers young drivers can have with them at any time, the times of day that drivers under the age of 18 can drive…

These all vary depending on where young motorists are driving. They vary, even, across the United States.

For instance, in Maine, motorists under the age of 18 aren’t allowed to have any passengers with them as they drive for the first 180 days after they obtain their licenses. In Alabama, motorists under the age of 18 can have one passenger with them.

And that’s just one example of the differences in driving license requirements from one part of the country to the next. The differences are even more pronounced when comparing one country to another. Minimum driving ages vary widely across the world. While most states in the United States allow youngsters to earn their learner’s permits at the age of 15, many other countries require their residents to be much older before they get behind the wheel of a car.

For instance, in countries such as Sweden, Serbia, Malta, Germany and Italy, residents must be at least 18 before they can legally drive a motor vehicle. In other countries, though, drivers can be much younger: In Ethiopia, 14-year-olds can legally drive motor vehicles. In New Zealand they only have to be 15, while in Australia and Canada, they must have turned 16.

In the United States, there is little conformity when it comes to driving rules. For instance, depending on the state in which they live, motorists must have either one or two license plates on their vehicles. The residents in 19 states are only required to purchase one plate for their vehicles. Massachusetts is an especially vexing state: Here, drivers can have either one or two plates for their vehicles.

Three states, Washington, New Mexico and Utah, allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses. That’s because the laws in these states don’t require applicants to prove their citizenship or legal residency when applying for licenses.

Other states boast different driving restrictions for young drivers. In most cases, drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to drive unsupervised from the hours of midnight until 5 a.m.

But, as always, there are exceptions. In Idaho, motorists under the age of 18 are not allowed to drive from sunset to sunrise, a law that’s a bit vague. In Nevada, these drivers can’t drive unsupervised from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. In Tennessee, that restricted time runs from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. Virginia forbids young motorists from driving unsupervised from midnight until 4 a.m., while in New York state, young drivers can’t get behind the wheels of their cars unsupervised from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m.

The best advice for drivers of any age? They should study the rules of the road for their own states carefully. Police officers won’t be lenient based on ignorance of the law.

The World’s Top 10 Most Luxurious Desserts

In Daily List, by stephaniem
Ever feel the distinct need to spend a crapload of money on some sugar and cream? Of course not, but let’s look at how the other half live, shall we?
I have compiled a list of wicked ridiculously expensive desserts that probably taste so-so, but intrigue all of us brownie out of the box eaters. Get your American Express ready, kids — it’s sugar and gold shopping time!

10. Diamond Fruitcake

We all know the holidays are coming up and if you want to ensure nobody will re-gift or trash your fruitcake, invest in this 1.65 million-diamond piece of awesome. This cake is encrusted with 223 diamonds and you can still eat it. Win, win, friends and who cares if it tastes bad…THERE ARE 223 DIAMONDS ON IT. And we all know it’s all about gifts at Christmas.

9. Strawberries Arnaud

This is no normal plate of strawberries, ladies. The berries are marinated in a wicked expensive port, served with fresh mint and cream and are garnished with a 5-carat pink-diamond ring. Just snatch the menu, order it and bill your beau later. Stop being a wimp. Do it.

8. The Sultan’s Golden Cake

If you’re thinking about taking a romantic trip to Istanbul (stop the sneering, it could happen.) stop by the Ciragan Palace and indulge in delicious rum, caramelized black truffles and gold, real edible gold, dessert. You get to keep the silver cake box it comes in and I say for $1,000, it’s a steal.

7. The Madeleine Truffle

This $250 truffle isn’t expensive because it’s made of gold or has diamond chunks in it; this lofty price tag is all about the labor. Apparently, the ganache is whipped by hand until it’s as smooth as your nana’s hands. Plus, the poor little old chocolate maker has to make the stuff in an ultra cold refrigerated room. Now get out your wallets and give this guy some cash. He deserves it.

6. The Brownie Extraordinaire

The fact that this $1,000 brownie is in Jersey still makes me giggle. I guess they’re trying to class up the joint by throwing in Italian hazelnuts, dark chocolate brownies and crystal atomizers so people can squirt port into their greedy, greasy mouths after every bite.

5. Golden Opulence Sundae

Gold. Gold. Gold. Although, this dessert chooses insanely expensive chocolate over Hershey’s syrup and candied fruits, gold covered almonds and chocolate truffles over walnuts and a maraschino cherry, I still can’t quite wrap my cheap mind around the $1,000 price tag for…friggin’ ice cream.

4. Chocolate Variation

Stopping by Italy? Shoot your heavy pockets into Mezzaluna and sample the scrumptious chocolate dessert that has been ranked one of the most expensive desserts in the world — $640. It’s made with champagne sorbet (made from Roederer Cristal) and, of course edible golden leaves. I’m thinking this is where all the cash for gold is going.

3. Macaroons Haute Couture

I searched and searched as to why these macaroons have the hefty $7,414 price tag, but other than the “fleur de sel,” butter cream and balsamic vinegar, I have no real explanation for you. I can tell you that they do have peanut butter one’s so, if you are a crazy peanut butter lover that feels like cleaning out your 401k, go for it.

2. The Fortress Aquamarine

This dessert served in Sri Lanka is $14,500 and well worth it. There’s some chocolate, cream, some sort of berry, a red squiggly on the plate and a gianormous 80-carat aquamarine gem. Gimme. Gimme. Gimme.

1. Platinum Cake

Dear Boyfriend,
I want this ordinary cake covered in platinum jewelry. It is only $130,000 and I will never ask for another piece of jewelry again…this year.
Thank you.
Stephanie (Feel free to cross out my name and insert yours.)

The Ghost Town Devoured by the Namibian Desert

House in the Desert 
Photo: coda

Just a few miles inland from the Atlantic in southern Namibia, in the vast coastal Namib Desert, lies Kolmanskop, a ghost town abandoned some 55 years ago.

Kolmanskop House 
Photo: geoftheref
Sand in the House 
Photo: coda

In its heyday, Kolmanskop was a thriving town of just over 1,000 people, most of them contract workers. With this population came a vibrant array of culture and entertainment, all of which is slowly being engulfed by the desert sands.

Dune House 
Photo: coda

Kolmanskop House 
Photo: SaraAndJoachim

In 1908, when Namibia was still under German control, a railroad worker named Zacharias Lewala found a diamond while clearing the track of sand. Soon the region was beset by a diamond rush. Much like the California Gold Rush of the mid 19th century, fortune hunters from far and wide were drawn in by stories of diamonds so plentiful they could be scooped up off the ground. By the end of 1914, five million carats had been extracted from the area, roughly 1,000 kilograms.

Ghost Town 
Photo: geoftheref
Hole in the Wall 
Photo: coda

Kolmanskop grew out of this diamond rush in the style of a quaint German town with all the grandeur one would expect from such wealth. Schools, hospitals, ballrooms, a swimming pool, and even a skittle (a variety of bowling) alley sprang up to accommodate those who stayed.

Photo: Harald Süpfle

The area was so important that it even housed the southern hemisphere's first x-ray machine - but none of it made the Namib Desert any more hospitable.

Broken Hallway 
Photo: coda

Water was so scarce, it had to be pumped in from 100 km or shipped up in barrels from Cape Town on the southern tip of Africa. Daily deliveries of ice were made to each house by horse-drawn railcar.

Sand Inside 
Photo: MagicOlf

Despite the hardships, the people of Kolmanskop lived the high life of champagne and fine cigars while the diamonds were still easy to come by.

Photo: SaraAndJoachim

After World War I and a fall in diamond prices, Kolmanskop's glory was in decline. In 1926, richer diamond fields were found to the south, and the population moved to take advantage of them. With the difficulties of getting water and supplies in and few diamonds coming out, the town was completely abandoned in 1954.

Sandy Tracks 
Photo: sjorford 
Part of the original tracks which ran through town

Over the years, the houses sat protected by the arid desert and its minimal plant and animal life. The only destructive elements were the wind and sand which began to reclaim the town. In 1980, the De Beers Company, owners of the land, restored some of the buildings and began running tours to the ghost town, but the most interesting sight is still that of those houses left to fill up with sand, a reminder of the limitations of our survival.

Photo: coda 
Kolmanskop's skittle alley

Stairway to Desert 
Photo: coda
The town is still open to tourists on a daily basis. It is a guided tour, since they would rather you not help yourself to any diamonds you might find lying around, but it is no less interesting. The remnants create an eerily beautiful pairing with the quiet dunes running in every direction. This is just a taste!

Photo: markos

Restored House 
Photo: markos 
A model home refurbished by the De Beers