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Monday, August 29, 2011

DIY Star Wars Bike Helmet is Pure Awesomeness!

By Jerry Stone

DIY Star Wars R2D2 Helmet
Photos by Jenn at Clever Girl Blog

Jenn over at Clever Girl Blog might very well be the coolest geek-girl ever. Using some tape, paint and beer, she turned an old bike helmet into one awesome R2 unit. I have a feeling, this is the Droid you are looking for.
Please visit her blog for the full instruction set plus some fun commentary. Do excuse her taste in beer though.
1. Sand paper the old helmet.

DIY Star Wars R2D2 Bike Helmet
2. Prime it and spray it with silver paint.

DIY Star Wars R2D2 Bike Helmet
3. Outline all the shapes with tape. Jenn confesses “It involved a lot of measuring, cursing circles for being so round, and wishing I had kept my protractor and compass from high school. ”

DIY Star Wars R2D2 Bike Helmet
4. Next spray in the blue parts of R2. Jenn did this with a Michelob Ultra at hand. Since this helmet is so darn cool, we’ll forgive her for the beer foul.

DIY Star Wars R2D2 Bike Helmet
5. You are almost there! Remove the tape and enjoy some Droid goodness.

DIY Star Wars R2D2 Bike Helmet
6. Bike safety is important so make sure to install a bike light into the helmet.

DIY Star Wars R2D2 Bike Helmet
7. Top off the helmet with some clear coat. Jenn notes “The final step was giving it about 374 cans of clear coat. I think if I learned anything from this project, it’s that nothing (except cakes) can suffer from too many layers of clear coat. When it was done I wore it around the house until it was time for bed… and then I wore it to bed.”

Thanks, you are one clever girl, Jenn!

Follow me @jerryjamesstone or friend me on Facebook.
DIY R2D2 Helmet

Best Friends!!


Is "Back to the Future 4" in the works?

By Melissa Jun Rowley

(CBS/What's Trending) - Hello, McFly?! "Back to the Future" franchise geeks are buzzing with intrigue over a nondescript viral video form Argentina that features the iconic DeLorean that made every adolescent of the '80s want to travel through time. Featuring Christopher Lloyd as the film trilogy's famous wacky scientist Doc Brown, the video shows the sports car speeding down a city street, and then stopping in front of a store, before Lloyd gets out of the vehicle. "Great Scott!" he declares. "What year is this? 2011?! Yes!"
It's unclear whether the video is an ad of some kind, or possibly a teaser for another "Back to the Future" installment. Movie buffs across the land are scratching their heads in wonder.

According to the video below that was shot by viewers of the event on the street, the scene was produced for a commercial. Unfortunately, this video is cut short and no details are given.

Either way, The "Back to the Future" trilogy will go down in history as a timeless (pun intended) sci-fi saga. In what year and setting would you like to see a potential fourth installment take place?

Sleeping with the fishes! NFL star's amazing fish tank in his bedroom

By Mike O'brien

Nobody really wants to be upstaged in the bedroom but it seems that's exactly what happened to the New England Patriots's wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.

Since he had an amazing fish tank installed in his bedroom in his Florida mansion, he says fiancee Evelyn Lozada cant stop looking at it.

Evelyn, who became a known face on the TV show Basketball Wives because of her previous engagement to ex-Celtic Antoine Walker, 'stares at these damn fish every time before bed,' Chad says.

Aquatic flair: Chad Ochocinco's arched fish tank that appears on the Animal Planet show Tanked
Aquatic flair: Chad Ochocinco's arched fish tank that appears on the Animal Planet show Tanked

But it's easy to see the fascination.

The unique aquarium was created by Wayde King and Brett Raymer, the stars of the new hit reality show Tanked on Animal Planet.

Their ATM (Acrylic Tank Manufacturing) company is the largest aquarium manufacturer in the United States. 

Always something to watch: The TV room features one large tank fronted by three flatscreen TVs
Always something to watch: The TV room features one large tank fronted by three flatscreen TVs

The show, airs at 9pm Fridays on Animal Planet,  features the brothers-in-law as they create fish tanks in all shapes and sizes for everything from casinos to fast food restaurants.King and Raymer told Boston Herald's Inside Track.

'We made a shark tank for his living room and an arch tank for his bed, so when he sleeps he can look up at the fish.'

Glamour couple: Chad Ochocinco and Evelyn Lozada attend Cosmopolitan Magazine's Fun Fearless Males Of 2011 in New York earlier this year
Glamour couple: Chad Ochocinco and Evelyn Lozada attend Cosmopolitan Magazine's Fun Fearless Males Of 2011 in New York earlier this year

But building Chad’s tanks wasn’t all work and no play. 

Both of them are football fans so they loved having the chance to hang out with Ochocinco for a couple of days while they did the installation.

'He was cool as heck,' said King. 'We hung on the couch, talked about going out, sports, and he let me take pictures in front of his Lamborghini. 

Reality star: Chad on Dancing With The Stars with professional dancer Cheryl Burke
Reality star: Chad on Dancing With The Stars with professional dancer Cheryl Burke

'He’s a really down-to-earth cool guy.'

They also built an oversized tank for Chad’s TV room with enough room for three full-size flat screen TVs to hang on the front.

'He’s way more outspoken in front of the camera than he is in person,' Wayde and Brett told the Boston Herald. 

'He’s a really, really nice guy.'

The showman and his gal: Chad is one of the characters of NFL. Right, his fiance Evelyn Lozada

In addition to Chad’s bachelor pad, Brett and Wayde have created custom tanks for everyone from director Steven Spielberg to rapper Dr Dre. 

They have built fish cribs in the shape of pyramids, phone booths, cars, kegs and even the female anatomy.

So when they started creating fish tanks, did they expect to end up as big time reality TV stars?

Actually, the answer is yes.

'I told Wayde five years ago when we came up with the idea for the show ... we’d be on Animal Planet or Disney,' Brett said.

Sweet dreams: Newborn babies are picture perfect as they are captured sleeping peacefully

By Joanna Corrigan


Some would argue that sleep is a foreign concept for most newborn babies - but not according to these incredible pictures.

Tiny children, some just days old, have been pictured in various states of blissful repose and the results are adorable.

One 13-day-old girl lies on a flower bed, another rests its chin on its hand as if contemplating the mysteries of life.

Adorable: A four-week old baby takes a nap on a pink blanket
Adorable: A four-week old baby takes a nap on a pink blanket 

Deep thinker: This 13-day-old baby girl looks like she has a lot to think about
Pensive: This 13-day-old baby girl looks like she has a lot to think about

Further pictures show a baby resting in a plant pot, eyes tight shut, and one snuggled up in a small white basket - with a little hat to keep it's head warm.

They have all been taken by photographers Yvonne Watt and Fiona Potter of Fusion Baby Photography in Strathblane, Glasgow.

The pair ask clients to bring in babies between four and ten days-old so that they can produce a picture to capture the very earliest stage of their lives.

Peaceful: A baby Fairy Queen asleep in her crown, aged just under two weeks
Peaceful: A baby Fairy Queen asleep in her crown, aged just under two weeks

Comfortable: A 13-day-old baby girl takes a nap in a little flower nest
Comfortable: A 13-day-old baby girl takes a nap in a little flower nest 

Ms Watt said: 'This special time comes along only once in the lifetime of a child. Before we know it, this stage is finished and we move on. People come to us because they want to capture this moment and savour it forever.'

The photographers manage to get the babies to sleep because they make them as comfortable as possible, using blankets made of natural fibres.

Carried away: A baby girl wearing a cosy hat takes a nap in a little basket
Carried away: A baby girl wearing a cosy hat takes a nap in a little basket

Blossoming: A baby girl even managed to get some shut eye in this large pot
Blossoming: A baby girl even managed to get some shut eye in this large pot 

The women have five children between them so realise the importance of capturing the early moments before it is too late.

Ms Watt said: 'Often there is so much that is new going on people may overlook the importance of sitting down and doing something special to record this time.

'I didn't do this myself but now at least I have the chance to give other new parents this opportunity.' 

Where did I get my hat? Let me think...zzzzzzzz
Where did I get my hat? Let me think...zzzzzzzz

Peace at last: Suddenly it's all gone quiet
Peace at last: Suddenly it's all gone quiet

Feds Sign Off on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner

EVERETT, Washington — The flight testing is done, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued its approval and as of today Boeing can say the 787 Dreamliner is certified to carry passengers.

The FAA presented Boeing with a type certificate and production certificate for the innovative composite airliner during a ceremony at Boeing’s factory north of Seattle. The pieces of paper mean the Dreamliner can begin commercial service, and they represent the culmination of several billion dollars of investment for the aerospace giant and almost as many headaches.

Boeing attempted a grand experiment with the Dreamliner, one that proved far more difficult to execute than anyone imagined. The 787 project took more than three years longer than expected, and the delays cost Boeing untold amounts of money in lost sales. Still, the company has orders for more than 800 Dreamliners and hopes customers will find the airplane was worth waiting for.

“This is going to be an airplane that changes the game,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh told the crowd gathered around the first 787, airplane ZA001. “Once our customers get this airplane, I think they’ll forgive us for the fact that it was a little bit late.”

The hard work is only beginning, and more headaches may be ahead. Boeing has shown the composite airplane works as promised. Now it has to prove it can build Dreamliners quickly and efficiently in order to see a profitable return on its investment.

“This doesn’t magically open up the flood gates and release a torrent of cash,” says Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with Teal Group. “If anything, the financial part could get worse as they try to ramp up production. It’s going to be a very difficult 18 months.”

Boeing 787s await finishing and delivery to customers at the company

The flight testing of the 787 program has gone fairly well since the Dreamliner’s first flight in December, 2009.
There have been a few hiccups, including an in-flight fire and quite a few delays, but Boeing has shown the 787 will perform as claimed. This was key to securing sales, because Boeing claims the 787 is about 20 percent more fuel efficient than similar aircraft and will therefore save airlines a lot of money.

The fuel efficiency comes thanks to new engines from Rolls Royce and GE, along with improved aerodynamics, primarily in the wing. The engines with their serrated cowlings are also dramatically quieter than existing airliners. In fact, they’re so quiet that during testing, many have commented it sounds like the engines are shut down entirely.

The composite fuselage should make passengers more comfortable. It allows for bigger windows, as well as a lower cabin altitude and higher humidity.

But building the 787 has been anything but smooth. Parts shortages, design defects (including a problem with how the wing joined the fuselage) and a global supply chain caused several delays.

Boeing took a huge risk when it decided not only to design and build an entirely new airplane, but to come up with a new way to design and build that airplane. In an unusual move, the company outsourced the design and construction of major components to firms in countries around the world. Many point to that as the cause of many delays, which ultimately made the plane three years late.

But Aboulafia says the real problem was Boeing let outside firms do too much design work.
“Outsource production,” he says. “Don’t outsource design.”

All the 787s completed so far have been assembled from complete subsystems on an assembly line in Everett, Washington, alongside the 747, 767 and 777 lines. The company also opened a second 787 assembly line in South Carolina where airframe number 46 is currently being put together.

But unlike other Boeing models, in which much of the manufacturing occurs in Everett, the 787 is assembled from subassemblies manufactured in several countries and flown to Washington in modified 747s called Dreamlifters.

A short list of the parts built outside Everett include fuselage sections made in Italy, Japan, South Korea and the United States. Floor beams are built in India. Wing sections come from Japan. The doors and landing gear are made in France and Sweden. Portions of the tail are made in Italy and South Korea.

In addition to distributing some of the cost and risk, the global supply chain was also a way to make friends in countries where Boeing wanted to sell the 787.

A model of a Boeing 787, presented to FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, stands in front of ZA001, the first 787 ever built.

The process hasn’t gone smoothly, and the challenge now is to build airplanes fast enough to keep customers happy. Boeing has orders for more than 800 Dreamliners, and will have to build them quickly and efficiently enough to start making money. List price for the current 787 is $185.2 million. But it is widely understood that airlines receive various discounts on orders.

“Boeing has to start building this plane for the price they charge,” Aboulafia says, and “it might take the majority of the decade” for Boeing to accomplish that.

When FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt handed over the type certificate, 787 chief project engineer Mike Sinnett held it over his head like a coach hoisting the Super Bowl trophy (below).

The type certificate from the FAA means the airplane has been tested and meets all of the federal requirements for a passenger carrying aircraft. The agency has approved the airplane as a certified airplane suitable for its intended use. But as Babbitt noted, the production certificate is no less important, because it means Boeing can actually produce and sell the 787 as well.

The eighth airplane off the assembly line will be delivered to All Nippon Airways on September 26 and is expected to enter passenger service in Japan weeks later.

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt hands Boeing
Photos: Jason Paur/Wired. Lead photo: The second 787 off the assembly line performs a flyby during a celebration today in Everett, Wash., where the FAA issued final approval for the aircraft. The first 787 ever built is in the foreground.

MasterImage 3D: The best glasses-free 3D technology yet

 Dean Takahashi

Most stereoscopic 3D experiences are weak. The glasses-free Nintendo 3DS turned out to be a disappointment, forcing Nintendo to slash the prices on that handheld gaming device. But the glasses-free experience MasterImage 3D has developed is something altogether different. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s going to offer an outstanding 3D experience on smartphones and tablets.

Roy Taylor (pictured below), executive vice president and general manager for MasterImage 3D, showed me a working prototype of the company’s new screen based on what it calls “cell matrix parallax barrier” technology. The quality blew me away. On a 4.3-inch WVGA screen, Taylor showed a 3D movie running in stereoscopic 3D. I didn’t need to wear glasses to see the sharp 3D imagery. When I moved my head, it didn’t get blurry. And if I moved my head too far to the side, it gracefully transitioned to a two-dimensional image.

“We’ve measured their alignment accuracy and we believe we’re 500 percent more accurate than the 3DS,” Taylor said in an interview at the recent Emerging Display Technologies conference. “We don’t have any issues with eye strain” (eye strain has proven to be a significant issue with the 3DS).

The cell matrix parallax barrier is more sophisticated than the glasses-free, or autostereoscopic, parallax barrier technology from Sharp that Nintendo used in its handheld, which debuted in March but sold so poorly than Nintendo cut its price $80 to $169 last week. The MasterImage 3D solution presents an image to your left eye and a different image to the right eye. Human eyes then form the two images into a single 3D image. But while the 3DS uses a striped approach to its parallax barrier, MasterImage 3D uses a matrix of cells that block one eye and not the other, which is a more fine-grained approach.

The result is high brightness, and no ghosting or cross talk (which makes the viewer see two images instead of one).

Both 7-inch and 10-inch tablet screens are coming later this fall. MasterImage 3D uses a Texas Instruments OMAP 4 processor that can handle 15-inch screens, but Taylor doesn’t expect anyone to ship those because the larger screen size forces you to sit too far back to be able to see the 3D effect. Rivals include Sharp and LG Electronics. But MasterImage 3D scored a $15 million investment in March from Samsung.

There is a decent 3D viewing angle to the technology, which is probably ideal for watching in an airline seat. Only one person can watch in 3D at a time on the four-inch to 10-inch screens.

MasterImage 3D was founded in 2004 in Seoul, South Korea by Younghoon Lee. It first developed a digital 3D cinema system and got its first installations in 2006. by 2009, it had its 3D cinema projectors in 800 movie theaters. It now has more than 4,000 digital 3D cinema installations in 70 countries and ships more than 8 million 3D glasses per month. It moved its headquarters to Hollywood, Calif. last fall and has now extended to mobile screens.

The company shipped the autostereoscopic 3D technology in 2009 in the Wooo phone made by Hitachi. That device was ahead of its time, so it only sold about 300,000 units. Now MasterImage 3D has prototypes ready for the improved cell matrix technology, which is easier to manufacture. Taylor is hopeful because movie studios are readying content for the devices via streaming technology.

“We have relationships with the movie studios and they love what we’re doing,” he said. “We are also talking to almost every major manufacturer in the world. They are all rushing to do 4.5-inch screens that can do true 720p images.”

MasterImage 3D has patented the technology, including the technology for aligning the images so that they aren’t blurry.

Overall, 3D has faced a struggle. About 21 million 3D TVs sold in 2011, but many of those are simply the latest high-end TVs. By 2015, that number is expected to grow to 100 million units.The only problem for MasterImage 3D is that many of the 3D experiences it has shipped so far have turned consumers off.

But Taylor said 40 3D movies will be released in 2012 and 70 by 2014, partly because the movie studios love the fact that a 3D experience can’t be easily pirated. On top of that, studios are also streaming 3D movies to mobile devices.

“3D is definitely out of the bag,” Taylor said. “The challenge is consumer hesitation, the lack of 3D content, health concerns, and a need for industry-wide investment.”

Mobile phones just might be the right devices to help the market take off, Taylor said.
“Hollywood needs a new outlet they can sell movies into, now that the DVD market is declining,” Taylor said.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Four Amazing Green Greenhouses Built 40 Years Ago By Michael Jantzen


michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo
All images credit Michael Jantzen
Artist and designer Michael Jantzen is best known for his visionary building ideas like his M-House, covered recently in Fast Company, but I was really excited by his older stuff like his Autonomous House, that I called a Thirty-year old green wonder. Trolling the older work on his site, I found some amazing looking greenhouse structures, and called him to find out more. What he built and what he said is really remarkable. In fact, it's amazing.
michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo
In 1980 he built this commercial greenhouse to raise seedlings prior to the beginning of the gardening season in Illinois. The structure is designed to conserve energy by moving the plants from the outside to the greenhouse to an insulated section,
michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo
There is a large mound of earth and it is connected to the greenhouse. There is a steel culvert under the mound of earth insulated with foam insulation. At night the plants roll into this underground space to keep them at the temperature they need so we wouldn't have to heat the greenhouse at night.
michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo
This is a commercial greenhouse for growing seedlings. There is a track where you can slided the plant outside into a 35' glazed section, during the day when it was too cold outside, so you could pull the plants from the underground section to the glazed section. When it was warmer outside and you want to harden the plants to the climate, you could move the plants outside.
michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo
It was a machine for growing plants, where they could go from a superinsulated cave environment where you didn't need any energy at all. There was an insulated lid that closed up after the plants were in. As the temperature moderates and in the daytime, they would stay inside the glazed section.
Experimental Greenhouse 1987
ePICT0001 copy.jpg
Experimental Greenhouse 1987 was built for the Missouri Botanical Gardens. It was a modular, transportable unit.
michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo
This was much more complex; the white section at the end is super-insulated with foam.
michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo
The whole thing was automated; there is a little computer that monitored the air temperature and light levels, and moved the plants in and out depending on the available of light and heat.
michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo

And then further, the drawers where plants are sitting on stainless steel benches, there were plastic tubes with phase change material in them. That was the thermal mass that would absorb the heat in the rods while it the material liquified, and that would provide the heat needed at night. It was also designed to self-water and inject CO2.
michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo
There is a cable that runs to the back of the insulated tube to the opposite end, and pulls the tray out into the sun.
michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo
Note that there is only one section in the middle that is tall enough for a person to step in, so idea was to design the shape of the structure is designed so that you don't have to heat a large volume that the plants don't need, you only need one small section where a person can tend to the plants as they were moving past. In the summer, all of the panels slid open so that it could ventilate naturally. A very complex little structure.
michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo
There is a lot more; the early greenhouses that he designed to minimize the interior area, with wings for the plants and a lane down the middle for the gardener, minimizing the air that has to be be warmed.
michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo
Just room for plants and people.
The other greenhouses, like experimental greenhouse 1980, I was designing for the mass market. I was experimenting with growing plants in a cold climate. it was built with 2x4 and plywood and sprayed with foam on the outside to insulate. there were two layers of corrugated translucent plastic and in between was a blanket that rolled in between the airspace at night and rolled to the back in the daytime.
michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo
The corrugated section that you see you could close up like a roll-top desk. the side had a rock wall that would absorb heat during the day and you would blow air through it at night.
michael jantzen greenhouses from 70s and 80s photo
And there is still more material for yet another post to come. As I said, amazing stuff.

Hurricane Irene 'Big, Scary Storm,' Astronaut Says

by Andrea Mustain

Beavis and Butthead make fun of Jersey Shore

Beavis and Butthead are back and they couldn’t have found an easier target to pick on. Watch as the rip into the STD infested cast of Jersey Shore with all of the awesome jokes you grew to love. MTV is currently still making the episodes, stay tuned for more clips like this as they start to air.

How To Be A Successful Homeless Person

In today's economy we don't know what can happen to us. Many of us have too much pride to go running home to our parents or seek government help so instead we decide to become a hobo.

Well if you chose to be homeless or get stuck in that unfortunate situation, here are some useful tip that can help you become a successful homeless person.

10 beatboxers with ridiculous skill

By From

Doug E. Fresh, beatboxing pioneer, performing in Brooklyn. Photo: Jason Persse.
Using little more than their mouths and a mic, beatboxers turn themselves into musical instruments.

BEATBOXING started in the 1980s as an element of hip hop. Since then it has progressed with beatbox competitions and world championships, and people such as these 10 ultra talented beatboxers turning it into an art form in itself.
He got his nickname from a show early in his career where a name was needed for the flyer, and at that exact moment, he had a beard. And a star was born. He was the 2006 and 2007 UK Beatbox Champion, and he has a touch of the tongue-in-cheek comedian to him when he performs – check out his “Kitchen Diaries” clip on youtube.

Nathan “Flutebox” Lee
I remember in high school band that only girls would every play the flute. So wrong – another UK beatboxer, Nathan “Flutebox” Lee makes the flute manly and, frankly, bad ass.
Here’s a bonus to working at Google – they apparently bring in some pretty wicked live entertainment.

Doug E. Fresh
Doug E. Fresh was one of the pioneers of beatboxing in the 1980s. His website proclaims him as “the original human beat box.” I don’t know if he was the first person ever, or just the first one to popularize it, but I don’t know that I care – he’s still around, and he’s good.

This New Yorker beatboxer and former member of the group The Roots is known for his ability to rap/sing and beatbox at the same time. He does it here at the 2005 Red Bull BC One.

French beatboxer, performing since 1990, Eklips is also a member of Le Remède. Watch him perform the history of hip hop in 4 minutes.

Men may be able to hit bass notes easier, but there are some amazing women beatboxers out there, like Bellatrix. She started performing in 2004, and in 2007, she formed The Boxettes – an all female beatbox group. In 2009, she became the Female World Beatbox Champion. Watch her face off for that prize with Swiss beatboxer Steff la Cheffe.

Biz Markie

Biz Markie is another beatbox pioneer and legend. Along with more traditional performance venues – concerts, clubs, etc., he’s also performs on the American children’s TV show Yo Gabba Gabba with the “Biz’s Beat of the Day” segment. (Rahzel’s also been on the show.) At first, I thought it was a bit off putting that he’d be on a kid’s show, but then as I thought about it, it makes sense – he’s introducing kids to the genre.

Matisyahu is a Hasidic Jewish musician who blends reggae music with beatboxing, Jewish musical motifs, and rap. He came onto the scene in 2004 with his first album “Shake Off the Dust…Arise.” Skip to the 2:30 mark in this rendition of “One Day” for his freestyling.

Kenny Muhammad

An old school beatboxer, Kenny Muhammad is known as the “Human Orchestra” after performing in a score composed by conductor and composer David Eaton. He’s also the originator of the “wind technique,” which is basically audible breathing while simultaneously making other noises – try it for yourself with this tutorial, though it make take you quite awhile to have the breath control and skill to do it well.

SkilleR is one of the world’s fast beatboxers, and while a relative newcomer to the scene (he’s in his early 20’s), he was Bulgaria’s first national beatbox champion and he’s performed worldwide.