July 30, 2016
The First Science Fiction Film in Cinematic History (1902)
From Public Domain Review:
The 12-minute film follows a group of astronomers who travel to the moon in a cannon-propelled capsule, explore the moon's surface, escape from an underground group of native moon inhabitants (known as Selenites), and return to Earth with one of them as captive.
While at once a spoof of more serious science fiction, the film can also be seen as a comment on France's colonial exploits (it was at the time the world's second largest colonial power).
Méliès himself plays, as was his wont, the main role of the wonderfully named Professor Barbenfouillis.
When asked in 1930, Méliès cited Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon" and "Around the Moon" as the main influences on the film, but cinema historians have also mentioned the influence of Adolphe Dennery's stage adaption of Verne, and also H. G. Wells's "The First Men on the Moon," a French translation of which was published only a few months before Méliès made his film.
Jacques Offenbach's operetta "Le Voyage Dans la Lune," (an unauthorized parody of Verne's novels), and also the "A Trip to the Moon" attraction at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, have also been talked of as having been possible inspirations.
I got to wondering, as I put this post together, how many people — if any — have discovered an Easter egg sort of thing I've been slipping into my posts for I don't know how many years now.
Since no one has ever alluded to it I'm gonna reveal it to the world right here right now.
More often than not, when I link to a person's name (see first sentence of this post, for example), I use two different links — one for the first name, one for the second.
I'm betting an overwhelming majority of readers — if not all — think that, like most normal name links, both go to the same place.
Or they don't even notice that there are two links and that there's an unlinked space in between.
Well, I never claimed to be normal....
Stealth Cantilever Cooking Utensils
Spoon: $14.95 apiece.
Set of both: $24.95.
July 29, 2016
20 Habits That Hold You Back From The Top
Pinocchio Finger Saver — "Holds a nail in position while keeping your fingers out of harm's way"
$13.90 (hammer and nails not included).
July 28, 2016
Corpse Flower Cam
For 10 years the New York Botanical Garden has devoted time and resources to the Amorphophallus titanum, a single towering flower that, when in bloom, smells like a rotting corpse.
Today, garden guests may be able to catch a whiff of that rare stench, as the flower is expected to bloom at any moment.
The rest of us can witness the fruits of the garden's labor on its YouTube live stream.
We won't get that rotting dead body smell, but maybe that's for the better.
According to The Hairpin, who brought our attention to this organic miracle, this will be the first corpse flower bloom at the New York Botanical Garden since 1939.
It's hard to tell from this video, but the flower really is quite beautiful in an Audrey II meets "The Last of Us" sort of way.
And even the smell is appealing — at least for insects that naturally feed on or make nests in dead animals.
According to Wikipedia, the chemicals released from the bloom share commonalities with limburger cheese, sweaty socks, rotting fish and, of course, human feces.
Truly, it's a shame most of us will only be able to see the bloom.
Banana Flask — They'll never know you're carrying
From a review: "'Always take a banana to a party'.... Every Doctor Who fan knows that. I got some black enamel paint and added some realistic touches to the banana and so mine actually fools people into thinking it's real. It's a whole lot of fun...."
Is that a banana in your pocket or...?
Features and Details:
- Stainless steel
- 6 ounce capacity
- Blends in perfectly with any fruit bowl
- Great for games, concerts, picnics, etc.
July 27, 2016
"Feathers" — A Sublime Meditation
A single bird has thousands of feathers, of different types, and there are some 10,000 species of birds.
"Feathers" takes a broad view of the evolution of the bird and its feathers while focusing its lens on the plumage of 75 or so notable species.
Each species gets a few pages, with one or two impressively photographed feather close-ups and a brief explanatory text.
Limited-Edition Shadow Forest Chandelier
From the website:
Our previous limited-edition (100) Forms in Nature light sculpture sold out.
We are producing a new limited edition of 100 this year (2016).
Using a simple action, such as intensifying the brightness at the center of the artwork, the light transforms the space and adds character, as the work throws oversized shadows onto walls and ceilings in the space in which it hangs.
Forms in Nature is a artwork with a light source surrounded by a dense and unruly tree and root system created in miniature sculpture.
The forest is mirrored around its horizontal central axis and forms a 360° circle around the light source.
The shadows engulfs the room and transforms the walls into unruly shadows of branches, bushes, and gnarled trees.
Mirrorings are thrown out upon walls and ceilings and produce faint Rorschach-like images.
Each chandelier's hundreds of branches are first 3D-printed, then carefully hand assembled in our studio in Copenhagen in a 48-hour process, and shipped worldwide in a sophisticated and safe wooden box.
Features and Details:
• 23 x 55" x 49" x 23"
• 3D-printed PVO composite
• Light source: 60 W with dimmable 90W output
July 26, 2016
How to Seal a Bag of Chips Without a Clip
Think outside the chip space — this is MEGA.
bookofjoe's Favorite Thing: A Sink Stopper That Actually Works
I don't know how many different kitchen sink stoppers I've tried that either quickly or slowly let water drain out.
How hard can it be to make a sink stopper?
I mean, no moving parts: should be a no-brainer.
But apparently it's not.
No matter, I found one that works.
Pictured up top, it absolutely sealed my sudsy sink full of hot water for hours without yielding one millimeter of leakage: I know this because I made a mark on the side of the sink marking the water level at the beginning of my test.
From Amazon: "Flexible outer rings create a tight seal while handle allows for easy operation" — tru dat.
July 25, 2016
34 First Lines of Famous Books
Phantom — "The best wireless speaker in the world"
I don't know if the claim in the headline is in fact true but I do know one thing for sure: if this puppy isn't the most expensive wireless speaker in the world, it's right up there.
July 24, 2016
"Alice in Wonderland" — The first film version, from 1903
From Dangerous Minds:
Cecil Hepworth is one of the unsung heroes of early cinema.
The son of a magic-lantern showman and novelist, Hepworth was one of the first producers/directors to realize the potential of making full-length "feature films" (his 1913 version of "David Copperfield" ran for 67 minutes) and the selling power of star actors (and animals — most notably his pet dog in "Rescued by Rover" in 1905).
Hepworth began by making short one-minute films.
In 1903, Hepworth decided to go large and make (as faithfully as possible) an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."
Originally 12 minutes in length, Hepworth's movie was, in 1903, the longest film to have been produced in Britain.
Hepworth co-directed the film with Percy Stow.
He wanted to keep the style of the film in keeping with Sir John Tenniel's original illustrations.
Costumes were designed and elaborate sets were built at Hepworth's film studio — including a rather impressive rabbit burrow.
Family members, friends, and their children were used in the cast.
Unfortunately, the full version of Hepworth's mini classic has been lost.
The print that exists is damaged but is still a beautiful, trippy, and incredible piece of work.
My Hitch — Hands-Free Travel (At Last)
What took so long?
The product video (below),
Watching it made me decide to buy his invention, regardless of haters like Micah Singleton.
$17.95 (luggage not included).
July 23, 2016
Take Vladimir Nabokov's Quiz to See If You're a Good Reader (It's The Same One He Gave to His Students)
From Open Culture: "He made a quiz with 'ten definitions of a reader, and from these ten,' he had students choose the 'four definitions that would combine to make a good reader.'"
Some artistic sense