Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wedding Catastrophy(Video)

Things get complicated when you're offline as it happens.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

9 Insane Torture Techniques

So you think your mother-in-law is torturous? Or your boss with the lame sense of humor? Get a load of the following nine insane torture techniques used in different parts of the world to kill, dismember, or otherwise cause inordinate amounts of pain. We promise: you’ll never use the word torturous the same way again.

1. Chinese Bamboo Torture

As you probably know, bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth. Although there’s no real proof that it was used, Chinese Bamboo Torture took advantage of bamboo’s propensity to grow quickly. How quickly? Well, some varieties in parts of China grow as much as three feet in a single day. In addition to ancient China, many believe that the Japanese used Chinese Bamboo Torture on POWs during WWII.

How it worked:

1. Tips of living bamboo were cut sharp to create a spear.
2. The victim was suspended horizontally above such a patch of bamboo.
3. The bamboo pierced through the victim’s skin and continued to grow through his abdomen, ultimately causing one of the most painful deaths ever inflicted.

Watch the Mythbusters prove that Chinese Bamboo Torture is possible.

2. The Iron Maiden

Like bamboo torture, the Iron Maiden is sometimes thought to be fictional. But this torture technique, using an upright sarcophagus with spikes on the inner surfaces, definitely existed. Invented in the late 18th century, this is the device that the metal band Iron Maiden took their name from.

How it worked:

1. The victim was forced into the spiked sarcophagus and shut in.
2. The short spikes welded into the chamber weren’t long enough to kill anyone, but did plenty of damage and inflicted enough pain that an interrogator on the outside was usually able to get a confession.
3. If not, nails and other sharp objects like knives, were inserted into the chamber, inflicting more pain.
4. Generally, between the spikes and the knives, victims would bleed to death after said confession, or sometimes before.
5. Some Iron Maidens also had spikes in place to puncture the eyes.

3. Scaphism (aka “The Boats”)

he word scaphism comes from the Greek word skaphe, meaning scooped or hollowed. An ancient Persian method of torture, wherein the victim was eaten alive by bugs, scaphism was also known as “the boats” for reasons you’ll understand momentarily.

How it worked:

1. A captive was stripped naked and chained to a pair of back-to-back narrow rowboats or hollowed out tree trunks.
2. The captive was then left to float on a stagnant pond.
3. He was then force fed copious amounts of milk and honey.
4. The victim would develop serious diarrhea, which would in turn attract insects.
5. The insects would then feed on the victim’s exposed flesh.

4. The Choke Pear

The Choke Pear was popular during the Middle Ages. Crimes worthy of choke pear torture included blasphemy, lying, having a miscarriage, and homosexual intercourse. Depending on the crime, the torturer would insert the pear into a different part of the criminal’s body. Women usually got it in the vagina, homosexuals in the anus, and liars and blasphemers in the mouth.

How it worked:

1. An instrument consisting of sharpened leaf-like segments was inserted into the victim’s orifice.
2. The torturer turned a screw at the top, causing the leafs to open, slowly.
3. As the leafs separated, severe internal mutilation occurred.

5. The Brazen Bull

Designed in ancient Greece, the Brazen Bull was a hollowed brass bull statue designed and invented by Perillos of Athens, commissioned, if you will, by Phalaris, the tyrant of Acragas in Sicily.

How it worked:

1. Victims were locked into the hollowed brass bull.
2. A fire was lit under the bull.
3. The victim was roasted alive.
4. The design of the bull’s head was such that the victim’s screams were made to sound like the bull roaring.
5. The scorched remains were often made into bracelets and sold at market.

6. Rat Torture

One of the most widely recognized forms of bizarre torture, thanks in part to the movie 2 Fast 2 Furious, rat torture is thought to be an ancient Chinese technique. Below, however, we’ll describe a particular form of rat torture developed by Diederik Sonoy, a leader during the Dutch revolt of the 16th century.

How it worked:

1. A prisoner was chained down naked on a table.
2. Large, heavy bowls with disease-infected rats were placed open-side down on the prisoner.
3. Hot charcoal was piled on top of the bowls, agitating the rats.
4. In an attempt to escape from the hot bowls, the rats would gnaw their way through the victim’s flesh.

7. Judas Cradle

The Spanish Inquisition was known for its many torture devices, and the Judas Cradle was one of the most painful. Also known as the Judas chair, victims usually died of infection, as the seat was never cleaned between uses.

How it worked:

1. The victim was placed on top of a pyramid-shaped seat, with both legs tied together.
2. The chair’s point was usually inserted into the anus or vagina, stretching the orifice.
3. The victim was slowly lowered via ropes.
4. The torture might last a few hours or, sometimes, a few days.

8. Crushing by Elephant

For thousands of years, crushing by elephant was a commonly practiced form of torture in Southeast Asia and India. Given the animals’ shear weight, intelligence and susceptibility to training (as we know from the circus), elephants were an obvious choice.

How it worked:

1. Victims were tied down on the floor.
2. Elephants were led into the room to stomp on the victim’s head.
3. Often they prolonged the agony by first dismembering victims.

9. The Rack

What short list of torture techniques would be complete without the infamous rack? Consisting of a long wooden board and a couple of rollers, the rack was first used on early Christian martyrs like Vincent of Saragossa, who was tortured to death around the year 300. And, as we’ve seen all too often in bad Hollywood films, as interrogation assistance, simply forcing a prisoner to watch someone else suffering on the rack was generally enough to get him talking. Anyone who survived the rack was generally unable to use his muscles for the remainder of his life. Good times!

How it worked:

1. The victim was chained to rollers at both ends of the device’s wooden frame and then pulled in opposite directions.
2. By ratcheting up the tension on the rollers, the victim’s limbs were ripped out of their sockets.

Friday, October 23, 2009

7 Incredible Computer Generated Works of Art

The first ever exhibition of computer generated art was held at the Howard Wise Gallery in New York, in April 1965. It was entitled “Computer Generated Pictures”, as people agreed that the potentially dehumanising influence of the computer prevented the pieces in the show from being considered ‘art’ in the true sense of the word.

The computer has since become a central feature of much contemporary art, be it in the execution, reconfiguration or reproduction of work. Entire artistic disciplines like algorithm art, software art and digital illustration have evolved with computers at their very core.

This article takes a closer look at seven contemporary pieces where computers have been used to fascinating and often beautiful effect.

1. “Google Color” by Pascal Dombis (2007-2009)

For this series of work, Dombis uses Google to search for images categorised under specific colours. It is not the colour of the image that’s important, but the colour under which the image has been categorised by the search engine. Dombis then arranges the images into colour groups, creating large, often monochromatic, lenticular prints.

2. “Computer Virus 2.0” by Joseph Nechvatal (2002)

“Computer Virus 2.0″ is an electronic virus-attack art installation. In other words, it’s a video piece which documents the behaviour of a computer-generated virus. The computer virus has been specifically programmed to behave like a biological virus as it degrades and transforms one of Nechvatal’s digital paintings.

3. “Blowing in the Wind” by Gilles Tran (2007)

“Blowing in the Wind” is one of many examples of Tran’s surrealist 3D work. Tran is famous for his use of POV-Ray, although this particular image and much of his most recent work has been modelled with Cinema 4D. Tran allows other artists to download aspect of his 3D images (the fire extinguisher in this piece for example) from his website, for use in their own work.

4. “The Draftmasters” by Victor Adan, Jeff Snyder & Daniel Iglesia (2009)

The Draftmasters - I from Daniel Iglesia on Vimeo.

This high-tech, multi-sensory piece combines performance with computer generated art. A computer is used to translate physical gestures, made by Adan and Snyder on stage, into vector commands that drive pen-plotter printers and printer inks. Iglesia then uses another computer system to convert the movement of the printers into 3D images for the audience to view.

5. “Every Playboy Centrefold, The Decades” by Jason Salavon (2004)

The four reconfigured photographic images in this series feature all the Playboy centrefolds from four particular decades (1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s). Salavon creates his signature blurred photographic effect by overlaying numerous photographs and averaging the results by computer, to make a visual amalgamation.

6. “Abundance” by Camille Utterback (2007)

“Abundance” is a video installation that converts the movement of pedestrians, captured by a camera mounted in San Jose’s City Hall plaza, into colourful silhouettes and patterns that are projected onto a nearby 3-storey rotunda.

7. “Falling Girl” by Scott Snibbe & Annie Lou (2008)

This interactive video installation depicts a girl slowly falling from the top of a tall building. Cameras situated in the gallery allow viewers to control the movements of figures who appear in the building’s windows as she falls. The falling girl visibly ages on her descent, becoming an old woman before eventually hitting the ground.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The World's Funniest Regional Car Insurance Commercials

If you ever find yourself with a DUI or too many tickets in the Pacific Northwest, consider Vern Fonk Insurance, which serves the hard-to-insure population in Washington and Oregon. Their crazy ads, which spoof everything from Napoleon Dynamite to The Sopranos to Love Affair, and at least one of which stars "Osama bin Laden," urge viewers to "Honk For Fonk" when they drive by a branch. These people are having way too much fun making insurance commercials.

Fonk To The Future:

Too soon:

I have no idea:

The commercials are so popular that the local morning show Good Day Oregon even made their own spoof, which is the most convincing evidence that these commercials are actually airing on TV and not an internet joke.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

5 Surprising Ways to Get More Energy

Need more energy? Here are some really surprising, non-caffeinated, ways to rev you up...

1. Change your socks.
I know, odd, right? I read about this one over at Zen Habits. The advice is to bring an extra pair of socks to work and sometime around 3 p.m. when you hit your slump, take off your shoes and socks (and maybe air out your feet for a sec if you have a private office; if you don't, that would be a nada) and then put a fresh pair of socks on. Voila! "You'll be amazed at how much fresher you'll feel," write the Zen Habits bloggers. "This trick is especially handy on days with lots of walking."

2. Rethink your workout time.
If you tend to work out at night, it might be messing with your sleep. Here's why: Experts believe that people who work out too close to their bedtimes may flood their brains with stress hormones that can make it hard to fall asleep. A workout doesn't do a body good when it leaves you sluggish and exhausted the next day because it prevented you from getting enough sleep.

3. Eat chia seeds.
Favored by the Aztecs for their energy-boosting qualities, you can add these little seeds (P.S. we're not talking about the Chia Pet here) to all kinds of snacks and recipes. Here's a chia seed muffin recipe that looks interesting.

4. Sniff some citrus.
Past research indicates that citrus-scented essential oils or lotions can boost alertness. There, you have an excuse to shop for some grapefruit-scented lotion!

5. Get on your toes.
If you're feeling sleepy at your desk, take the advice of Connie Tyne, executive director of the Cooper Wellness Program in Dallas, who says the best way to wake up your circulatory system is to roll up and down on your toes. "As the blood starts flowing, more nourishing oxygen and glucose are transported throughout your body -- so you feel more energized," said Tyne, to Quick&Simple.

What are your favorite tried-and-true energy boosters?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

3D Landscape Photography: 23 Stunning Still Life Photos

Landscape photographs are not simple snapshots, but strive to capture the untamed, pure natural scenery. The beautiful scenery is the subject whether that is wilderness, sea or something in-between. Strong landforms are often captured, using ambient light and varying weather elements although urban landscape imagery is also photographed. 3D style landscapes bend reality to give a dimensional feel to viewers. Landscapes often spark an emotional response and can inspire environmental protection instincts. Here are 23 stunning still life photos and stirring landscapes.

Big Sur Portal of the Sun

(image credit:Patrick Smith)
This photograph taken by Patrick Smith, Big Sur, Portal of the Sun, is the winner in the 2009 Nature’s Best Ocean Views competition. Smith says, “This sea arch opening in a cliff face at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur allows large waves to come through at high tide before a big storm. The waves often fill the entire portal to the top, and the portal becomes a giant water shotgun! The Tufoni formations in the rock are incredible and should be seen in person.”

Trinidad Surf

(image credit:Patrick Smith, Patrick Smith)
Sometimes nature can take your breath away with her beauty such as at this beach. Trinidad Beach is north of Eureka, California. At high tide, the amazing cloud layers and intense colors are spectacular. The second photo was taken ten minutes after the first. The view is breathtaking and nearly celestial.

Lovely Landscapes

(image credits:James Neeley,Al HikesAZ,Tom Freda)
At Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, buffalo still roam and graze on Antelope Flats as seen at Moulton Barn shortly before a storm broke loose. Another vivid yet totally different landscape is the view of the tufa from under Ribbon Falls in the Grand Canyon. It can be found on the North Rim along the trail. The North Kaibab trail is part of the Arizona Trail that traverses the 800 miles from the border with Mexico to the border with Utah. The bottom photo is an awesome autumn view of High Park, Toronto.


(image credits:Stuck In Customs,Savage Land Picutures,James Neeley,Desktop Wallpapers)
The top left photo was shot in the final hours of daylight, rugged peaks near the southern tip of Argentina and the edge of Chile, just a glacier away from Antarctica. In the upper right, this landscape image of Iceland was created from scratch as were the mutli-layered textures. In the lower left, the lake is as real as Teton Range in the morning light. Another stunning lake landscape in the lower right makes it easy to see why landscapes are usually devoted to nature without mankind polluting the frame.


(image credits:Our World,Our World)
New Zealand is a land of natural beauty. In the top photo, the dazzling coastline of Anaura Bay, Gisborne offers a wonderful seascape and a spot to enjoy the sun and surf. Some people do not consider a seascape to be a landscape, but there is no absolute definition of what makes up a landscape photograph. In either case, nature is showing off her good side to the camera. In the bottom picture, off the coast of Victoria, Australia, a stunning sight of “Twelve Apostles” awaits. The 20-million-year-old rocky remnants of limestone arches rise up from the ocean in an inspiring panoramic view.


(image credits:Mario Bertocchi)
Promise of a new day is the title of the top photo. After a morning storm, a rainbow shimmers over the Teton Mountains. There are no foothills along the Tetons, making the view dramatic as they rise sharply from the surrounding terrain to about 7,000 feet. In the bottom landscape, the rugged coast and steep terraces of Cinque Terre National Park overlook the sea. Cinque Terra is located on the Italian Riviera and is made up of five villages. This view is of Riomaggiore.

Defined Landforms

(image credits:James Neeley,Garry)
Antelope Canyon is located near Page, Arizona, and is on Navajo land. The photo on the left is of Lower Antelope Canyon, also called The Corkscrew. It is a hot destination for photographers like James Neeley who titled this picture Nature’s Abstraction. On the right, a lone tree on the horizon makes a good subject for landscape imagery in Brisbane, Australia. With a humid subtropical climate and location on a floodplain, Brisbane offers sightseers everything from urban to rural settings.

Beauty Everywhere

(image credits:Ecstaticist,DanielKHC,James Neeley)
The top left shot was snapped from Mt. Tolmie in Vancouver, Canada. The top part of the picture is real, but the bottom half was tweaked to give a pseudo-3D watery reflection sensation to viewers. In the upper right, Singapore glows in a night shot landscape, or nightscape, over the Pandan Reservior. It is a Photoshop blend of five exposures. There is no mistaking Monument Valley landscape for any other spot in the world. It once stood synonymous for the Wild West. The iconic sandstone buttes have been a famous landscape in media genres since the 1930s.

Rainbow of Color

(image credit:DC Dead,panoramio,SparkyLeigh,Patrick Smith)
In the Netherlands, a village called Kinderdijk has a system of 19 windmills that were built around 1740. The Millhouettes are the largest group of old mills in Holland and create an enchanting view at sunset. In the upper right, a waterfall cascades while an iridescent arch of hope touches Fiordland National Park in New Zealand. The bottom left photo is stunning as a rainbow stretches with prismatic promise over the spectacular lava Waimea Canyon in Kauai, Hawaii. On the bottom right, sunrise kisses the black cobblestone beach near Hana, Hawaii. This volcanic coast of East Maui offers a spectacular view.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

10 Geekiest Panties

Thursday, October 8, 2009

15 Innovative Lamp, Lighting and Light Bulb Designs

Interior lighting is often an afterthought, with bland boring fixtures that are purely functional – but these 15 innovative lighting designs put the spotlight on the lamps themselves. From wallpaper that lights up in a pretty pattern to a hovering lampshade dripping with blood, each of these modern floor lamps, table lamps and built-in lighting designs are simply beaming with creativity.

Cast Stunning Shadows with Patterned Light Fixtures

When light fixtures are perforated with designs, suddenly the light itself becomes much more interesting. These designs by Sha-do take advantage of the properties of light and shadow, casting stunning patterns of illumination on surrounding surfaces, from intricate curves and waves to simple geometric shapes.

Customizable Bending Desk & Table Lamp

For those dark corners that seem impossible to illuminate with conventional light fixtures, this customizable lamp design will bend to your will. It can be molded and folded into practically any shape, winding around poles or sitting at just the right angle on your desk. The simple, minimalist design would help it fit into practically any interior.

Organic Interactive Foldable Home Lighting

Industrial designer Fredrik Farg created these unusual folding light fixtures, which can function as either hanging lamps or table lamps. Though floral motifs are usually quite traditional looking, Farg’s design is crisp and modern with large, soft pedals that can either support the light or mute it.

Colorful Lamp Seems to Float in Space

When the sun goes down, this innovative lamp design by Kristin Birna Bjarnadottir looks like a jellyfish gracefully floating in the air. Hanging from almost invisible strands of fishing line, the lampshade is made from highly reflective safety cloth that gives it a shimmering, otherworldly quality. Hanging strings finish off the effect, and the whole thing is illuminated from below with an LED light unit.

Surreal Self-Reflecting Table Lamp

When spotting this strange lamp by Oliver Schick, you might wonder whether you’re seeing some kind of odd reflection – which is exactly what the designer is going for. The ‘Self-Reflecting Lamp’ is made up of two generic lamp frames fused with a custom orb, and given that light only streams out from the slits on the bases, it’s more fun than functional.

A Twist on the Boring Bare Bulb

Bare bulbs are not exactly the height of lighting design, but this clever twist turns that idea on its head. A second working socket allows the bulb to be inserted in various ways to a variety of fixtures. It’s minimalist, but fun – the kind of fixture that makes you look twice.

Bathroom Tile Lights Give Subtle Ambiance

When you’ve got a small bathroom, getting rid of as much clutter as possible is the key to making it feel relaxing and spacious. This bathroom lighting idea takes decluttering to the max by getting rid of fixtures altogether and integrating illumination into the tiles. Available in a variety of designs, they can be configured in any way you like to create larger custom designs or provide targeted light.

Whimsical Wall Lighting for Interiors

Minimalism doesn’t have to mean spare, boring light fixtures. This conceptual lighting system by Billy May uses camouflaged lamps in three shapes, nicknamed Hang Nail, Dog Ear and Crevice for various wall surfaces. Once installed, the fixtures look like the wall itself is peeling away to reveal a light source.

Pop-Up Lamps Unfold to Illuminate

Guests that browse your coffee table books will be surprised when they open this one to reveal an actual working pop-up lamp. Made of paper and fabric, this book – which also comes in a street lamp version – has a Victorian-style lamp concealed within, great for ambiance or just as a conversation piece.

Wild Wallpaper Has Built-In Lighting

Another variation on the wall-integrated-lighting concept is light-emitting wallpaper by Jonas Samson. When the light is turned off, it looks like an ordinary wall, but flip the switch and you’ve got illumination and art. It can be set up so that it lights up in a sequence, giving some life to an otherwise blank space.

Quarter-Round Lamps Make Compact Corner Lighting

Lamps never quite fit into corner spaces, taking up much more room than they should. This corner lamp design by Ji Young Shon is basically one-fourth of a lamp, the perfect size and shape to blend effortlessly into spaces that can be quite challenging to decorate.

Floating Rippled Fixture Looks Like Dripping Water

There’s an indescribable beauty to photographs of moving water caught in slow motion, freezing a moment in time that normally happens too quickly for our eyes to follow and appreciate. This elegant drop light design by DBProjektBestaltung manages to transform that moment into a three-dimensional light fixture in which the water droplet is bulb.

Bleeding Lamp Makes Lighting Gory

Bloody brilliant: Generate Design Inc.’s blood pool lamp is certainly eye-catching with its drips of shocking red from a white lampshade. The support for the shade is concealed within the dripping blood, making it seem as if it’s floating.

Solar-Powered Light Affixed to Window Shade

Cool, or kitsch? It’s hard to call, but the idea is certainly interesting: a solar-powered interior light that mounts to the inside of your window shades and draws power from the sun. The design itself – dated-looking silhouettes on vertical blinds – is a bit ‘80s, but the concept could be taken a bit further with great success.

Cutting Lamp Shapes Out of Cardboard

The cardboard cutout lamps designed by David Graas are sort of like putting together a puzzle: just as much about the process itself as the finished product. They may not be the most stable or fireproof lamps available, but the interactive qualities and surprisingly sophisticated result make this concept a fun DIY project that can be easily disassembled and recycled.


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