Want to get Cool Tools' Recomendo a week early in your inbox? Sign up for the Sunday newsletter here.
A Global Entry pass is a true bargain if you do any international travel. You don’t need to wait in line for immigration at reentry to the US. But it also serves as validation for the TSA Pre-check short-cut for security screening at most major US airports. Much shorter lines. To get in the program requires an appointment to get fingerprinted and $100 every five years. Well worth it. — Kevin Kelly
Before I take a flight, I toss a few Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Kind bars into my travel bag. The crunchy bars are gluten free and have just 5g of sugar. The perfect snack for plane or hotel room. — Mark Frauenfelder
If you’re in Northern California and have yet to visit Amador County, I could not recommend it more. The county is steeped in Gold Rush history and offers 40+ wineries, romantic B&Bs and historical small towns, all within a short drive of one another. Side note: I was once the Lifestyles Editor for the county newspaper, which might make me a bit biased, but I also have enjoyed enough time there to know it makes for a magical getaway. — Claudia Lamar
The Library of America publishes high-quality hardbound books with multiple novels per volume. I’m reading Ross Macdonald: Three Novels of the Early 1960s, which contains three excellent novels about fictional Los Angeles detective Lew Archer. These tightly-written page-turners have kept me up way past my bedtime. — MF
I’m more audio book than podcast listener, but On Being with Krista Tippett is one of my favorite things ever. Her guests vary from artists, scientists and activists, and the conversation is always centered around the intangible aspects of life. It’s philosophical without being pushy, and I’m quickly working my way through the archives. — CL
The best photographer blog and/or photo magazine for both pros and newbies, and for all photographers in between, is on the web as PetaPixel. Sure, they have the latest nerdy camera gossip, but they also have plenty of features about the million different ways people actually capture and use images. Every day I am amazed and informed. Add it to your RSS feed. — KK
Actor Gene Wilder, best known as the leading genius of classic films "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," "Blazing Saddles," 'The Producers,' "Young Frankenstein," and more, has died at 83 years of age.
In Gregor's Run a young man with a mysterious past is on the run from two of the universe's most powerful organizations. Generally broke, and with no idea of who he is or what the bad guys want, the titular Gregor just wants to get drunk.
This was a fun, fast and poorly edited Kindle Unlimited recommendation! Packed with the requisite action and adventure, Gregor's Run tells a witty and entertaining version of a familiar story. The backstory and world building are well done, and the characters interesting, Gregor is certainly a different hero.
Not-safe-for-the-grammatically-nitpicky, this remains a fine example of Kindle Unlimited fare.
Awkward Zombie is one of my favorite webcomics. Creator Katie Tiedrich writes a comic that focuses on parodying video games of all kinds, with the occasional strip drawn from poking fun at her own life. Fans of video games will find a lot to laugh at here. We’re Going to be Rich! collects the first 100 comics originally posted to Tiedrich’s website, Awkward Zombie, and is available in softcover or special edition hardcover format.
In this first volume, Tiedrich primarily writes about Nintendo games like Super Smash Bros and various entries in the Legend of Zelda series, with other games popping up occasionally. If you’re a fan of those games you’ll likely love every panel, as Tiedrich has a great ability to point out the funny logical problems present in these games. One of my favorite such comics makes a joke about the potential difficulties with surfing in Pokemon. Even if you’ve never played a particular game she’s referencing, the jokes tend to be broad enough to understand by more general video game fans. You may have never played World of Warcraft, but if you’ve played any role-playing game you may understand the humor in a large character trying to fit into stolen armor that logically should be much too small for them.
Tiedrich’s art stye is perfectly suited to the sort of sideways world parody she excels at. The first couple of comics may seem crude, but they become more refined as the book progresses. It’s kind of funny actually because as Tiedrich develops her own style and the characters begin to resemble each other, she even further exaggerates the physical attributes that make them unique. Being a parody, each character resembles the character it parodies just enough to get the idea, but it isn’t as if Tiedrich is trying to do copies of those characters. She usually makes them even more cartoony than they already are, with fun results (look at how goofy Luigi looks, but it is still clearly Luigi).
One thing I wish was translated into the book a bit more frequently is Tiedrich’s tendency to explain the comic with a note underneath. She self-deprecatingly references this in one of the comics, but it only pops up a few more times after that. Tiedrich seems to think it’s a hokey device, but those are some of my favorite bits of comedy and I miss them here.
If nothing else, it is my hope that you may read this book and follow Tiedrich’s work on her site. She has many more comics available and updates semi-regularly. Fans can even suggest comic ideas on her forum, which she periodically produces. Sadly, We’re Going to be Rich! is the only book she’s released so far, but hopefully there will be more to come. – Alex Strine
One of my favorite books last year (and this year, because I'm re-reading it) was Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, an immensely readable history of the myths humans have invented in order to survive in tribes of millions and billions of people. Those myths include religion, money, politics, corporations, laws, and morality.
The evidence of our power is everywhere: we have not simply conquered nature but have also begun to defeat humanity’s own worst enemies. War is increasingly obsolete; famine is rare; disease is on the retreat around the world. We have achieved these triumphs by building ever more complex networks that treat human beings as units of information. Evolutionary science teaches us that, in one sense, we are nothing but data-processing machines: we too are algorithms. By manipulating the data we can exercise mastery over our fate. The trouble is that other algorithms – the ones that we have built – can do it far more efficiently than we can. That’s what Harari means by the “uncoupling” of intelligence and consciousness. The project of modernity was built on the idea that individual human beings are the source of meaning as well as power. We are meant to be the ones who decide what happens to us: as voters, as consumers, as lovers. But that’s not true any more. We are what gives networks their power: they use our ideas of meaning to determine what will happen to us.
A woman has been arrested in Jerusalem for lighting a man's car on fire at a gas pump after he denied her request to give him a cigarette.
From NBC News:
The woman was arrested after the incident Tuesday and denied having set the blaze intentionally, Micky Rosenfeld, foreign spokesman for Israel's police forces, said in a statement. Man at a gas station refuses to give woman a cigarette, so she sets his car on fire.
This is why I hardly ever watch network television.
Before the show was picked up by AMC for domestic and Fox for international, its creator Frank Darabont presented the first version of the script to NBC, with whom he had an overall deal. According to [Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer on The Walking Dead] their response was, “Do there have to be zombies [in it].” NBC then asked Darabont if the show could be a procedural in which the two main protagonists would “solve a zombie crime of the week,” she said.
This website has a video with macabre footage of 323 reindeer that died from a single lightning strike.
From Google Translate:
It was Friday night that the mass death of reindeer was discovered in caribou range in Vinje municipality between Møsvatn and Kalhovd Hardangervidda.
It was a lightning strike in connection with a violent thunderstorm that seems to have taken the lives of animals, says Knut Nylend by the Norwegian Nature Inspectorate (SNO) in Finnabu operations center told VG.
Coinciding with a mumps outbreak on Long Island, a new survey by the American Academy of Pediatricians, has shown that increasing numbers of American parents deem vaccines "unnecessary."
The AAP paper's publication coincidentally comes during a week when there's yet another outbreak in the United States of an infectious disease we can prevent through immunizations. Since August, at least 36 people have contracted mumps — whose symptoms include puffy cheeks and possibly serious respiratory symptoms — in one Long Island town.
Health officials said that some of those infected had been vaccinated, leading them to wonder whether there is a new strain going around, but that they still believe immunization provides the best precaution and urged everyone in the area who has not gotten the measles, mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine to get it right away. "We're trying to prevent this from getting larger,"Lawrence Eisenstein, Nassau County health commissioner, told ABC News.
Are they happy, mad, or experiencing an emotion that's utterly alien to us?
A youngster with a surplus of electrons gets a shocking lesson. Touches this finger.....
While Netflix and Hulu have seemingly dominated the streaming market with their limited selections, we've looked a little outside the box and found something pretty great as an alternative. SelectTV combines all the content of cable with the convenience of streaming, and it's affordable too.
SelectTV is an online subscription service that packs an impressive library of over 300,000 TV episodes, 200,000 movies, and 5,000 live channels from around the world (although we have to let you know some of the shows and movies are limited without paying extra). It's the biggest library of content out there today, and you can access it all from any device you want.
With its curated channels, full calendar of live events and sports, and TV connectivity, SelectTV is truly providing a service that is hard to find elsewhere.
SelectTV has been featured in USA Today, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and other major publications. So whether you’re into sitcoms, dramas, or rom-coms, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for. Right now it’s just $19 for a 1-year subscription in the Boing Boing store.
Jimmy DiResta shot this video of his spoon-making process for MAKE.
Lately I have been seeing the complexity inside seemingly simple objects. I recently made a simple bell in brass, which caused me to look at other products I can challenge myself to make. A funny thing is that I approach the creation of a new object like this spoon without knowing exactly how I will solve all the problems to create it. The joy comes from figuring out this process along the way. This was a 100-plus-year-old piece of yellow pine found in a dumpster in New York City. It was part of a beam. Notice the many growth rings. I didn't use any finish because the wood was still somewhat sappy. Please enjoy.
Over at Dangerous Minds, a fine gallery of vintage celebrity driver's licenses!
Marcello Barenghi painted a giant fried egg, and recorded the process via time-lapse.
Saturday was a tale of one man, one Triumph Scrambler, one multi-tester, and one hidden in-line 7.5a blade fuse. Luckily, after hours of where curiosity turned to frustration and then anguish, the moral of our story is that blade fuses are cheap.
Quick-connect dongles for battery charging systems are fused, I knew but didn't think of that. Sometimes those fuses get tucked behind things and you don't realize they are there. Should that coincide with you deciding your battery must be charged... always check the battery first.
Luckily, big boxes of assorted fuses are cheap and easy to have on hand. They do not give you lost time back, however.
A team of Israeli scientists devised a system by which a person can use their thoughts alone to trigger tiny DNA-based nanorobots inside a living creature to release a drug.
An analog photogram is essentially a photo made without a camera, by placing objects on photosensitive materials and exposing them to light. Marcin Lewandowski shows how to reproduce the effect with digital equipment. The results are pretty cool! (more…)