Monday, 2 May 2016


The World's Highest Waterfall Is So Majestic
By Casey Chan,
Sploid, 29 April 2016.

Breathtaking. This drone footage of Angel Falls in Venezuela is exactly that. Angel Falls is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall at 3,212 feet tall and it is totally stunning to see the water make its way down the side of the mountain and disappear into the mystery below.

[Source: Sploid.]


The Grandparent’s Guide to the Internet
By KeriLynn Engel,
Who Is Hosting This, 27 April 2016.

You’ve seen your kids and grandkids doing it: looking up all kinds of facts on the fly, chatting with friends online, banking and booking flights, sharing vacation photos and videos.

From the sidelines, it can look tricky. Their fingers might seem to fly over the keys too fast to follow, and you have no idea how they got from point A to point B. They were born to this technology, and it’s easy for them to pick up new things quickly.

But this is all new to you, and a bit overwhelming. Everything changes so fast, with technology changing, developing, and growing obsolete in the blink of an eye. How can you possibly keep up when everything looks different from day to day?

The truth is, though the details might change, there are plenty of constants when it comes to the internet. The basic underlying skills and tools are pretty much the same as they were at the beginning. Once you master those, you’ll be equipped to find your way, no matter what details change.

And learning to use the internet is worth it. Your family wants you online: they want to be able to share photos and write to you on email and social media. They want you to be able to participate in video chats with them, so that no matter how far away they are, they can still see your face and hear your voice.

And it’s not just for them. The internet is an amazing tool that can help you with so many aspects of your life, from looking up information to satisfy your curiosity, to more practical uses like doing your banking or having groceries delivered.

In our Grandparent’s Guide to the Internet below you’ll learn not only the skills to navigate and search the web, send and receive email, chat and share on social media, and video chat with your friends and family around the world, but you’ll also learn tips for keeping yourself safe online.

You don’t have to leave the Internet to the young; there’s something for all ages. Once you’ve got the basics down, you may even find yourself teaching your grandkids a trick or two!

The Grandparent's Guide to the Internet

Infographic Sources:
What is a web browser?
2. How do I use my web browser to navigate the Web?
3. What is a browser?
4. How to use a web browser
5. First click beginners guide
6. Email Tips: Top 10 Strategies for Writing Effective Email
7. 11 Email Etiquette Rules Every Professional Should Know
8. A Beginner’s Guide to Effective Email
9. Email Etiquette: Courtesy #1 ~ Get to Know the Basics!
10. Tips for creating a strong password
11. How big is your haystack
12. Email Safely
13. The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media
14. How To Use Google To Search
15. How Does Google Work?
16. How to Use Google Like a Pro - Smart Tips and Tricks
17. What Is Skype?
18. Skype
19. Getting started with Skype for Linux
20. How do I make a video call in Skype for Linux?
21. Wikipedia
22. Wikipedia: Size of Wikipedia
23. Portal: Contents/Categories
24. Seven years after Nature, pilot study compares Wikipedia favorably to other encyclopedias in three languages
25. Fact Check: So who’s checking the fact-finders? We are
26. Snopes
27. About
28. The Weather Channel
29. YouTube - The 2nd Largest Search Engine (Infographic)
30. YouTube
31. The Elderly & Internet Dangers
32. Silver surfers: Internet lessons needed for the elderly to help fight against dementia
33. Get Online Savvy
34. Fraud Target: Senior Citizens
35. Internet Fraud
36. Keeping Senior Citizens Safe Online
37. Popup Blocker Software for Windows

[Post Source: Who Is Hosting This.]


Tasty Tech Eye Candy of the Week (May 1)
By Tracy Staedter,
Discovery News, 1 May 2016.

A crazy, twisting slide, a hovering drone camera and a garden barge floating in New York's harbour top this week's Tasty Tech gallery.

1. World's Tallest and Longest Slide Tunnel


The world's tallest and longest slide tunnel is scheduled to open to the public this June in London. About 584 ft long and 249 ft tall, the Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit has twelve twists and turns, a tight corkscrew section and a long, speedy stretch to the finish. See a behind-the-scenes video here of the construction.

2. Dyson Hair Dryer


Engineer and inventor James Dyson, whose company is known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, hand-drying products, and annual industrial design contest has a new product ready for the market: The Dyson Hair hair dryer. Lightweight, compact and silent to the human ear, it will go on sale in June with a retail price of about US$436. See a video here that explains the technology inside the appliance.

3. Floating Solar


These floating solar panels from Vienna University of Technology are lightweight and flexible enough to bob on just about any kind of water surface, where they can generate solar power for coastal communities or help power desalination plants.

4. Birdhouse Alarm


Each year, forest fires destroy large tracts of land, create air pollution and kill people. This Birdhouse Alarm from designers at Ogilvy & Mather in Madrid, is equipped with a solar-powered Arduino-based smoke detector and a phone that reports potential fires to a local fire station.

5. Lightweight Armoured Vehicle


This week, DARPA awarded a few contracts to develop a new kind of armoured transport vehicle that's lightweight, autonomous, and able to roll over just about any terrain. The GXV-T can be carried by a Chinook helicopter, has a semi-autonomous driver function and 360-degree high-definition video capable of giving crews greater situational awareness. A video here demonstrates how the vehicle could work.

6. Hover Camera


Beijing startup Zero Zero Robotic introduced the beta version of its Hover Camera, a compact, foldable drone able to capture aerial and video photography. A strong carbon fibre frame encloses the propellers, making it possible to hold the drone when it's active. The camera produces 13-megapixel stills and 4K video.

7. Luxury Submarine


Luxury ship maker, Migaloo, now has a submersible yacht for all you up-and-coming one-percenters. The two-story, 377-foot vessel has a helipad, eight VIP suites, a swimming pool, movie theatre and the ability to dive to 787 feet.

8. Yellowstone Robot


A new Kickstarter project is working to raise US$100,000 to help build a submersible robot to explore the superheated and acrid waters of Yellowstone Lake. Designed to dive to 5,000 feet, the robot will take high-def images and video as well as collect samples of sediments, water and biological material to help reveal secrets of the microbial life there.

9. Garden Barge


This summer, a garden barge called Swale will dock in Brooklyn, Governors Island and the Bronx. Growing on-board are patches of scallions, rosemary, blueberries, wild leek, radicchio, ramps, sea kale and other fresh produce that residents will be invited to harvest. Swale has a Kickstarter aimed at increasing access to fresh food in New York City.

10. Affordable EV


For city dwellers, a compact electric vehicle to get a person from here to there is really all they need. The Generation 8 SRK from Eugene, Oregon-based Arcimoto, will have a base price of US$12,000 and a top speed of 80mph. Two seats and space for cargo will make it a great little vehicle for running errands.

Top image: The Generation 8 SRK electric vehicle. Credit: Arcimoto.

[Source: Discovery News. Edited. Top image and some links added.]

Sunday, 1 May 2016


10 Animals With A Serious Flair For Design
By Molly Grace,
Listverse, 1 May 2016.

Although we generally consider fashion and interior design to be human pursuits, the animal kingdom is also brimming with organisms that modify their appearances or their homes with objects that they’ve found. From birds that decorate with dead bodies to crabs that create colorful wardrobes, here are 10 animals that slay the style game.

10. The Bird That Knows How Important Accents Can Be

We all know that birds build nests, but it is less commonly known that many birds go way beyond the basic twig decor. A shining example is the bowerbird, which creates house-like nests on the ground.

The bowerbird decorates the interior and exterior of its nest with an assortment of flowers, mushrooms, and even human-made objects like buttons and plastic.

Males with the most aesthetically pleasing pads will attract females as mates. So male bowerbirds spend a crazy amount of time decorating and redecorating until everything looks perfect. And to think that most humans males won’t even spring for some throw pillows.

9. The Bird That Collects Corpses

Oh look, an adorable little bird! Look at the cute bandit mask on its face. And aw, it’s setting out decorations to attract a mate? Let’s take a closer look.

Wait a minute. Are those dead bodies?

Yes, they are. It turns out that male loggerhead shrikes attract females by impaling the bodies of their insect victims on barbed wire or thorns. Males who have more bodies on display do indeed have better mating success.

Warning: This tactic will probably not work on human women.

8. The Society Where Style Is All About Power


In the human world, style is thought to be personal. There’s no real right or wrong. However, for one species of bird, there is only one “in” look - and not everyone gets to rock it.

Black kites are predatory birds that are found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Scientists noticed something strange about the birds’ nest-building habits. Often, there would be bits of plastic surrounding the eggs in the nest.

But it was not just any old plastic. It had to be white plastic. What’s more, only the most dominant birds get to decorate. Subordinate birds actually removed the white plastic that scientists had put in their nests.

7. The Crab That Takes Camouflage To A Whole New Level

The poster child for invertebrate fashionistas is the aptly named decorator crab. These crustaceans cover their bodies with strikingly colorful corals, sponges, and shells.

How do they get it all to stick? Their bodies are covered with hair-like structures called setae that grip their chosen adornments and keep them in place.

The purpose of this behavior is thought to be camouflage and protection from predators. They even wear “perfume.” Many of the attached creatures give off stinky smells, which may deter predators even more. Eau de crab, anyone?

6. The Crab That Wishes It Were As Cool As The Decorator Crab

Was anyone else obsessed with the Eric Carle book A House for Hermit Crab when they were younger?

Apparently, this charming childhood tale of a crab who adorns his shell with friendly sea life was actually based on the decorator crabs we just discussed, not on hermit crabs. But hermit crabs are also fashionable, just in a more subtle way.

Decorator crabs are on the cutting edge of high fashion while hermit crabs know that classic pieces never go out of style. Hermit crabs do not grow their own shells. Instead, they use shells that have been discarded by other organisms. But they’re quite choosy about which shell they will wear. In fact, their choice of shell can affect their success at finding a mate.

5. The Insects That Make A Valuable And Shiny Product

Photo credit: Thierry Alexandre via YouTube

The caddis fly is a type of insect that is found in freshwater habitats, usually streams. These organisms are so fashionable that we actually have them making jewelry for us.

When a caddis fly is in the vulnerable larval stage, it surrounds itself with a protective case made from bits of rock and other debris in the water. It is similar to the cocoons that caterpillars make before they become butterflies.

After enterprising scientists and entrepreneurs decided to give the larvae prettier building materials like gold and gemstones, the caddis flies had no problem using these materials to build more attractive cases. Nowadays, we’re a quick online search away from scoring a beautiful piece of jewelry made by an insect.

4. The Spider That’s Compensating For Something

Portraits have long been a staple of human decoration. Whether it’s an oil painting of a monarch or a simple family portrait, we love to look at ourselves. It turns out that some spiders do, too.

Scientists recently made a mind-blowing discovery while exploring the Peruvian Amazon. A tiny spider, probably in the genus Cyclosa and only about 5 millimeters long, spins its web with a giant spider decoy in the middle.

The decoy is made from small bits of gathered debris and creates the illusion of a spider that is hundreds of times larger than its creator. While it’s funny to think that this little guy is just compensating for something, the decoy is probably meant to deter predators.

3. The Mollusk Who Just Wants A Break From The Paparazzi

Photo credit: NOAA/R.N. Lea

We’ve all seen houses that clearly belong to someone rich and famous. They have walls that are 5 meters (15 ft) high and an array of security cameras. There’s no way to see inside. But maybe if we’re patient enough to wait outside the gates, we’ll eventually see the celebrity emerge.

Apparently, giant Pacific octopuses are the rock stars of the sea because they engage in similar behavior. These intelligent mollusks have been observed walling in the entrances to their dens with large shells and other detritus.

Paparazzi - or scientists in this case - actually position underwater cameras next to these midden heaps to try to snap some footage of the elusive creatures.

2. The Urchin That Wears Shades


Sea urchins are the spiky pincushions of the sea. These relatives of starfish and sea cucumbers are known for ruining the days of unsuspecting, barefoot waders, but the sea urchins are usually doing it in style.

Sea urchins are often seen sporting small shells and rocks on their backs, holding onto them with the tube feet that cover their bodies. This festive look is not only fierce but may provide benefits such as protecting their spikes from snapping off. It may also protect sea urchins from harmful UV rays.

1. The Bird That Gets More Nice Things To Make Its Lover Stay

Photo via Wikimedia

People love to collect souvenirs from their travels and display them in their homes. But this behavior is not unique to humans. Rock sparrows are nondescript, little brown birds that engage in similar behavior. Their nests are anything but bland.

They collect the feathers of flashier birds - blue is their favorite color - and display them prominently in their nests. The chicks in nests that have more feathers receive better parental care, possibly because both parents are more invested in guarding a high-quality nest.

So go ahead, show off those expensive knickknacks. It might not make your lover stay, but at least, the knickknacks will be a good conversation piece.

Top image: The satin bowerbird. Credit: picman2/Pixabay.

[Source: Listverse. Edited. Top image added.]


crosswalk dance
Walk on the Wild Side: 14 Crosswalk Illusions & Interventions
By Steph,
Web Urbanist, 27 April 2016.

Optical illusions that seem to produce real 3D speed bumps on a flat street may enhance safety by encouraging drivers to slow down, but such colourful crosswalk paintings could soon become extinct in the United States. Now that the Federal Highway Administration started cracking down on anything that distracts from the contrast of bright white crosswalk lines, citing concerns that drivers will get confused, attempts to make intersections more interesting could come to a screeching halt. Bright patterns on asphalt may fade, but other crosswalk interventions will live on, like interactive dancing signals, fist-bump buttons and roll-out guerrilla-style crosswalks for busy areas.

1. Colourful Crosswalks by Carlos Cruz-Diez


Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez has been painting crosswalk interventions since the 1970s, creating potentially disorienting effects for the pedestrians who walk along them. Some of the street paintings seem to morph in colour and shape, taking on movements of their own, as you cross.


“The daily journey through urban spaces changes our personality and makes us into habitual beings who obey rules that nobody questions,” says Cruz-Diez. “The artist can create ephemeral expressions that, by generating completely new events, transform urban ‘linearity’ and at the same time inject an element of surprise into urban routine. These ephemeral works are a way of producing different readings of urban spaces and of deconsecrating the utilitarian objects of urban furniture.”

2. Faux Roadblocks Encourage Drivers to Stop


Drivers might actually slow down for pedestrians trying to cross the street if they think their car could get damaged by barrelling forward - or at least, so hope two women in India who created this illusion.


As you approach the intersection, it looks like there’s a roadblock, but it’s an anamorphic effect. As seen in the second photo, the technique has also been used in China.

3. Interactive Dancing Crosswalk Signal


Tiny car manufacturer Smart hopes pedestrians will be so mesmerized by their animated dancing crosswalks signal, they’ll forget to jaywalk.

A nearby dancing booth translates the dance moves of passers-by into the ‘don’t walk’ silhouette, adding an element of interactivity and making the performance entirely unpredictable. Smart says 81% more people stopped at the light instead of walking out into the street while it was installed.

4. Virtual Speed Bumps


The idea with faux speed bumps like these is to catch drivers’ attention just briefly enough to get them to slow down, but not so much that they cause a traffic disruption. Philadelphia hoped to boost safety in the streets with these triangular 3D markings, which cost a fraction of real speed bumps and require very little maintenance.

5. Virtual Wall Crosswalk


If the illusion of road bumps isn’t enough for you, maybe a virtual wall projected right in front of your car will get you to hit the brakes when approaching a pedestrian crossing.


This concept by designer Hanyoung Lee uses plasma laser beams to project oversized pedestrians in front of vehicles, making it very clear that they need to wait a minute before continuing.

6. The Peanuts Meet Abbey Road


You might need some more coffee if you find yourself pausing in front of this intersection, waiting for the Peanuts gang to finish crossing the street, Abbey-Road-style.


But the illusion is really effective from head-on, painted in anamorphic style at Universal Studios Japan.

7. Road Safety Illusion


Another anamorphic street painting, this one by Canadian safety advocacy group, encourages drivers to slow down by making it look like there’s a child in the middle of the road.


Made of 3M concrete sidewalk vinyl, the intervention stretches for 40 feet and can only be seen from a distance of 100 feet.

8. Trapeze Artist Illusion


Proposed for Main Street in Northampton, Massachusetts, this anamorphic crosswalk would position a trapeze artist in the middle of the street.

This position makes her shape clear only to the pedestrians on either side as they wait to cross.

9. Hopscotch Crosswalks in Downtown Baltimore


Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus is a large-scale urban art project in Baltimore by artist Graham Coreil-Allen, bringing a sense of child-like playfulness to the city’s new Westside Arts and Entertainment District.


Says the artist, “The Monumental City is played by giants among many - the business person, the bird, the worker and you. Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus is an intersection of four over-sized hopscotch court crosswalks, each featuring a quintessential Baltimore path-print. Featuring the shoe, the bird track, the boot and the footprint, the project is a monument to the people who populate the Bromo Tower Arts & Entertainment District and make Baltimore the Greatest City in America.”

10. Time to Get III


A manhole cover and a crosswalk bar become a wristwatch in ‘Time to Get III,’ a street painting in São Paulo, Brazil by collective 6EMEIA.

11. Tree Sprouts Painted Leaves as Pedestrians Cross


Step onto a giant ink pad and then walk across an intersection in China to imprint green ‘leaves’ onto bare-branch tree silhouettes laid down by DDB China and the China Environmental Protection Foundation.


Placed at 132 crosswalks in 15 cities, the installation aims to promote the environmental and health benefits of walking. Hope you don’t mind you shoes being covered in green paint!

12. Crosswalk Pong

pong trafic signal

Play pong with another pedestrian waiting to cross the same street from the other side with this fun installation in Germany.

Branded ‘ActiWait’, the installation “offers pedestrians the possibility to convert boring waiting times into positive experiences. Through a touch screen which is installed in the upper shell of the button, people can interact with each other across the street.”

13. Pop-Up Crosswalk to the Arc de Triomphe


The traffic circle surrounding one of Paris’ most famous monuments is notoriously difficult to cross, and authorities advise visitors to take a tunnel instead. But theatre group X/TNT wanted to make the Arc de Triomphe more accessible - at least temporarily - by adding a crosswalk to La Place de L’Etoile.

The guerrilla crosswalk performance art project was nicknamed ‘The Storming of the Etoile.’

14. Fist-Bump Crosswalk


You’ll have to give a casual greeting to a giant yellow fist in order to cross certain intersections in Los Angeles thanks to ‘Walkbump’.

The walkbump is a DIY modification that adds some fun to the city with a little silicone and some glue.

Top image: The dancing traffic light manikin. Credit: Smart.

[Source: Web Urbanist. Edited.]

Saturday, 30 April 2016


Sloan’s International Guide to Bathrooms
Sloan, 14 April 2016.

If you think using the restroom is a pretty straightforward activity, think again. There’s remarkable variations in the way people access toilets and the way toilets function, across cultures, and around the world.

Top image credit: evitaochel/Pixabay.

[Post Source: Sloan.]