Brooks (brooksmoses) wrote,

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Various nifty things I've come across recently....

Best greeting cards ever: Working astrolabe and similar tools, in the form of greeting cards. Unfortunately, I haven't found a U.S. dealer, but the company that makes them does list a U.S. wholesale distributor. They also make non-greeting-card astrolabes and things, too.

A very cute little Escherian model railroad, with trolley cars going around on various different planes.

Very impressive server room, though it looks like somewhat of a "nice place to visit, but wouldn't want to work there" kind of place, due to the lack of exterior windows. As the title says, "fit for a James Bond villain."

A long discussion in comment-thread on details of making biscuits come out fluffy. Some of the tricks appear to be to use soft pastry flour (or cake flour), especially if one isn't in the South and thus one's local standard flour is a hard high-gluten flour, and to use buttermilk which doesn't have the usual commercial additives. Also, the basic biscuit recipe mentioned at the top of that thread.

A nice in-depth description of how to really get your reflector telescope properly aligned. rfrench, this reminded me of you (though I have no idea whether it's stuff you already know and do or not), but I figure other people might be interested too.

For all of you offended by inappropriate punctuation, this is for you. Yay, comeuppance to the guilty!

Wild rice pudding with sour cherries. I really really want to try this recipe.

Every so often, someone describing something they love manages to go so deeply off into the poetic and evocative that I really really want to share their experience of it. I hadn't expected it to happen with Los Angeles, but here it is. If you follow only one link from this post, it should be this one. (via Xoom)

I thought that this was an interesting bit of conceptually-oriented art. And amusing -- I find conceptual art vastly better when one of the layers is a joke of sorts, as this is.

A very nicely-done 1930s-modernist desk. Not something that I would want for myself, but it has some nice details and is very beautifully executed.

Remember the ViewMaster 3D viewers, which took little round cards with a dozen or so pairs of slides of little scenes, often of Disney sorts of things? (Or at least that's what the ones I remember mostly were.) It never really occurred to me to think about who made them, but apparently that was my loss; many of them were made by the same person, and it's rather a unique type of art. (Though the ones I had would have been well after she was making them; I wonder if they were just kept around for a while, or if other people made later ones.)

The Swiss Army has standard bicycles, which have a lot conceptually in common with their knives. Also in the "I want one" category, or at least want to have some of the bits for my bike. They look quite handy.

It's a newly-discovered single-celled underwater organism -- but it's the size of a grape, and leaves tracks in the mud that are almost exactly like some that people had seen in the fossil record and assumed implied complex bilaterally-symmetric multicellular organisms. So its existence might cause a fair bit of revision of the timelines for how life evolved.

A homemade wooden pipe organ. Sounds like a fun project!

A Flikr photoset from a ride in the local Zeppelin. Again, I suspect rfrench might find this interesting -- there are plenty of thorough photos of how the controls are set up and what the cockpit looks like.

A cute variant on sugar cubes.

A really neat tool for investigating color combinations -- pick a set of colors (up to 10), and it will search Flickr for photos that emphasize those colors. It looks really useful for seeing how various colors go together and such -- suzanne, I suspect you'll find it particularly interesting.
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