Wednesday, April 30, 2008
This is not a complete list! I'm still compiling information, but I thought you might want to start checking some of this stuff out. I'll be updating the list on a regular basis!
Not only are these blogs tres Kiki Strike, they all have fantastic names!
By Freaks for Freaks
Irregularity and More
The Invisible Turtle Chronicles
Death by Chocolate
(I know I'm missing a few!)
A film from future Academy Award winner, Michele.
A cinematic treat from a mysterious girl with a flair for narration.
An awesome video with fantastic title cards.
And last, but not least, Ten Reasons Why YOU Should Read Kiki Strke
From the talented Ms. Strawberry, Kiki Strike and Luz Lopez!
Below: A stunning work of art by Anonymous
(Lots more to come!)
Check it out! A Kiki Strike fashion gallery! (Go to girlsense.com and search kikistrike4ever.)
Celebrities and interior decorators (ha) will be lining up at Bonham's auction house this afternoon for a chance to bid on some rather unusual items. One lucky person will be going home with the skeleton of a prehistoric Russian cave bear. Another will soon be displaying a new set of giant beaver jaws in his living room. (Read more about the auction here.)
But for those of us who don't have twenty thousand dollars to throw away on beaver jaws or cave bears, there's always the humble coprolite. Yes, for little more than a few hundred dollars, you could be the proud owner of a fossilized lump of dinosaur poo.
In their natural state, coprolites may look like . . . well . . . dung, but give them a good polish and they can be quite lovely. In fact, one quick web search will confirm that coprolite jewelry is by no means uncommon.
Of course, coprolites are scientifically important because they help us understand the health and diets of the creatures that created them. So who knows? Maybe you could end up with a clue to the extinction of the dinosaurs sitting right on your coffee table!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Looking for something to do with the unwanted envelopes and catalogs that clutter your mailbox? You could recycle all that unnecessary paper into lovely tree ornaments and origami (shown above). Or you could take a slightly less . . . artistic approach.
I don't necessarily recommend this ingenious junk mail solution. Let's just say that I find it very . . . interesting.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Last month, Italian police released a clip of an astounding robbery. The video shows a bearded man walking up to a supermarket register. He mutters a few words to the clerk, who then proceeds to hand the bearded man all the money from his register. No weapons were used. No threats were made. All the supermarket clerk can remember about the encounter is the bearded man leaning toward him and saying, "look into my eyes."
It was neither the Hypnotist Thief's first robbery, nor his last. In recent months, he's targeted both supermarkets and banks throughout northern Italy. Though he's been filmed by security cameras at least twice, he has yet to be captured.
Check out the supermarket video and learn more about hypnosis here.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
I just came across a story about an interesting fruit, known as the mangosteen, which was forbidden in the US until last year. I've been wanting to try the mangosteen (shown above) for a while now, but I guess I just need a little incentive to get off my butt and go look for one. (According to the New York Times, they can generally be found in gourmet grocery stores and supermarkets that specialize in Asian goods.)
So I'm proposing a "forbidden fruit" scavenger hunt. Over the next few weeks, I plan to hunt down and sample each of the following:
Cherimoya (Not only have I already tried it, but it's one of my favorite foods--which is why it made the list.)
Longan (Which is said to resemble eyeballs.)
(There are dozens of other exotic fruits that I'd like to try, but I think a list of ten is a good place to start.)
I invite you all to join me! (It may take a little detective work.) Please report your progress and discoveries here!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
And my information even comes from a reputable source!
Soon, acne may never mar another pretty face! A British drug company claims that the cure for your blasted blemishes could already exist. According to this story in the London Telegraph, a drug that's already being sold to treat another condition has been found to reduce the flow of sebum--the oily substance that most dermatologists blame for breakouts--by up to 90%!
Of course the makers of Clearasil are probably planning a midnight raid on the British company. And who knows what the people who sell Clean & Clear have up their sleeve. (Professional spies and saboteurs don't just work for the government, you know.) But if this new drug is as great as the Telegraph reports, many a high school's hierarchy could shift overnight!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
(Previous Installment--in case you're wondering.)
Jeremy Reid is the coolest dude in Newcastle, Oklahoma. How many guys have what it takes to construct their own personal roller coasters in their backyards? About ten years ago, while he was still in college, Jeremy began building the coaster of his dreams out of plain-old wood and nails. Not only did he have no experience with roller coaster engineering, he'd never built ANYTHING before he started his project.
The coaster cost $5500 and took four years to complete. But it works! Read more here, and be sure to check out Jeremy's website.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Yesterday was Earth Day, and I'm happy to see that so many of us celebrated the event. I thought I'd write a little post about some interesting earth-friendly ideas that I've read about lately. But first, let me make one thing clear . . .
The earth doesn't need to be saved. You read right. And I mean it. The planet is going to be just fine. But we're going to need to work a lot harder to preserve/restore our environment for one simple reason:
If we don't, HUMAN BEINGS (and our animal friends) are going to be in a whole lot of trouble.
So if you can't work up a great deal of sympathy for a big hunk of rock spinning through space, just think of all the human lives that will be happier, healthier, and longer if we clean up the messes we've been making.
Now back to business. The following two ideas are incredibly simple--but that doesn't make them any less ingenious. The first is a refrigerator that doesn't use any electricity. Its inventor won a big prize recently, despite the fact that the technology he used has been around for centuries. But his super-simple device could make a huge difference in the lives of poor people around the world who don't have access to electricity.
All you have to do is "take a smaller pot and put it inside a larger pot. Fill the space in between them with wet sand, and cover the top with a wet cloth. When the water evaporates, it pulls the heat out with it, making the inside cold. It's a natural, cheap, easy-to-make refrigerator."
How big a difference could this make? Aside from helping millions of people eat better, healthier food, in the communities in which the refrigerators are already being used, "more girls attending school as their families no longer need them to sell food in the market." How amazing is that?!? Read more here.
The second invention has also been around for a while. It's called a "hay-box cooker," and it can reduce the energy used to cook by 80%. They were used during World War II when fuel was in short supply, and they're still common in parts of the world where firewood is hard to come by.
According to the New York Times, "The first step is to find a box large enough to fit a good-size pot. Pad the bottom with about four inches of hay, pillow stuffing, shredded newspaper or anything else that insulates. Fill your pot with the ingredients for soup or stew, cover it tightly, bring it to a good hard boil and let it simmer for 5 or 10 minutes. Then transfer the pot to the hay box. Pack the sides and top with a thick layer of insulation, and close the box. Four to eight hours later, your low-carbon meal should be ready for eating."
So, as you see, simple ideas can go a long way. There's no reason that a single person CAN'T make a big difference. What would happen if each of us managed to come up with just ONE good idea?
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Shopdropping is a fascinating phenomenon that's appeared in cities around the world. Also known as reverse shoplifting, it involves leaving objects in stores where they're bound to be discovered by other shoppers. Some shopdroppers replace the labels on tin cans with small works of art. (Shown above.) Other shopdroppers leave political messages, inspirational notes or their own CDs or pamphlets.
While I'm not too fond of having other people's politics forced on me, I love the idea of discovering art in random places. If I were to find a can with a beautiful work of art on it--or a secret message inside my egg carton--I think it would probably make my week.
Of course, the world's most famous "shopdropper" is the artist Banksy (whose works have received a great deal of attention on this blog). Some of his most famous stunts have involved hanging his own subversive artwork (above) in museums while the guards aren't watching.
See him in action below!
You can read more about shopdropping here and here.
Monday, April 21, 2008
One of biology class's most nauseating assignments may no longer be necessary now that Japanese scientists have bred a batch of see-through frogs. Since you can observe their internal organs, blood vessels, and eggs through their skin, they can be studied without being dissected!
For centuries it's been said that a mythical creature inhabits a lake in northern Vietnam, and now scientists may have finally discovered the source of the legends: A giant turtle with a rather unfortunate appearance. Some believe it's Kim Qui, the Golden Turtle God, a creature that emerges from the depths at important moments in Vietnamese history.
In 1997, a young Chinese man decided to adopt a snail that he found on his way home from school. For the past eleven years, he's treated the enormous snail (shown above) as a beloved pet, even taking it for walks on the weekends.
A member of an elusive species of angler fish (shown below) was recently caught on camera for the first time. It's the only fish with forward-facing eyes like a human, and according to witnesses, it doesn't swim, but crawls along the ocean floor.
When authorities opened a mysterious package that had been left behind on a Peruvian bus, they discovered the jawbone of a massive beast. Although it's clear that the bone did not belong to a dinosaur, no one's certain what animal once possessed it. Any guesses?
Sunday, April 20, 2008
One of the downsides of living in New York is the scarcity of public bathrooms. It's so bad that there are now entire websites devoted to the locations of restrooms in Manhattan. (I recommend bookmarking this page if you're planning a trip here.) And when the city's first pay toilet opened last year, it was cause for celebration.
But it seems the situation in London might be even worse. The city can no longer afford to keep its bathrooms clean, so they've started selling them to people who convert them into nightclubs or (believe it or not) apartments. Of course it wasn't long before one entrepreneur found a way to make a fortune off London's bladder-busting misery.
In December, business woman Elaine Gennard-Levy opened her own ladies' room on busy Oxford Street. It cost about 2.5 million dollars to build, and if you'd like to make use of the facilities, you'll need to hand over TEN DOLLARS. You can check out pictures of the luxury loo here. It's pretty swanky, but for ten dollars, I'd want a gold-plated toilet and the Mona Lisa smiling down at me.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
The evil geniuses in advertising (sorry, guys) keep finding tricky new ways to sell you stuff. Let's start with cloud ads. Yes, that's right. Cloud ads.
A company has found a way to create floating "clouds," which they call Flogos. Made from "a mixture of soap-based foams and lighter-than-air gases," Flogos can take any virtually any shape. (For instance, the peace sign shown above--or your favorite corporate logo.) Each Flogo is approximately two feet long and can float for miles. A single Flogo machine can produce one tiny cloud every fifteen seconds, which means it won't take long to fill the skies with flying logos.
It's a little bit sinister, but nothing compared to the advertising campaign that hit New York earlier this year. For weeks, pedestrians walking through downtown Manhattan were surprised to hear someone whispering in their ears. “Who’s there?" the mysterious voice said. "It’s not your imagination.”
The voice was coming from a nearby billboard (shown below), which advertised a television show about ghosts. Using a new technology, speakers above the billboard were sending focused beams of sound directly into people's ears. Each pedestrian felt as if she were hearing something that no one else could hear. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those people are now seeking psychiatric help. Read more here.
Friday, April 18, 2008
He usually appears alone at dawn, wearing ordinary clothing and climbing shoes. Then, before the police have a chance to stop him, he slowly begins to scale the side of one of the world's famous skyscrapers. Without ropes or equipment. Using only his bare hands. He's climbed the Eiffel Tower, Chicago's Sears Tower, the Empire State Building and the Sydney Opera House. Earlier this week, crowds gathered in Hong Kong to watch Alain Robert, the French Spiderman, climb the 60-storey Four Seasons Place.
According to Wikipedia, Robert began climbing at the age of twelve, when he discovered he'd been locked out of his eighth-floor apartment. Instead of waiting for his parents to come home, he simply scaled the walls of his building and let himself in through a window.
Since then, Robert has climbed at least 85 of the world's tallest structures, battling high winds, slippery surfaces, and dense fog. He's survived seven falls, and he's been arrested dozens of times.
See a short film about Alain Robert below. I felt a little queasy just watching the video!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Some of you may have come across this story earlier in the week, but I couldn't resist posting it.
It's hard to believe, but on Monday, a huge cougar was on the loose on the North Side of Chicago. Even now, no one's quite sure how it came to be in the second or third greatest city in the US (depending on which blog commentor you ask). According to National Geographic, it may have made a 1,000 mile journey from the Black Hills of South Dakota--or it could have been an abandoned pet. (Weirder things have been kept in New York apartments.)
Unfortunately, the story does not end happily for the cougar. But if you're up for it, you can read more here.
Here are a few clues:
It's not far from the island that may have been the inspiration for Treasure Island.
It's not a part of the United States--but it's currency is the US Dollar.
It's said to have been named by Christopher Columbus himself.
The name he chose could be considered a little insulting.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
For the past four days, I've been on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I scheduled a number of posts to appear after I was gone. (Pretty sneaky, right?) Unfortunately, I wasn't able to write more than four in advance! So this will be the last post until Thursday. Which is sad. But look at it this way. There will be tons of stuff to discuss when I'm back!
Feel free to talk amongst yourselves. And whatever you do--don't start sniffing Sharpies!
Feel free to talk amongst yourselves. And whatever you do--don't start sniffing Sharpies!
Saturday, April 12, 2008
(OK, technically it was last week in crazy.)
Poor eight-year-old Ethan Harris (not shown above) was suspended from his Colorado elementary school for sniffing a Sharpie (see below). For three whole days! (His sentence was reduced to one day when his parents raised a fuss.)
I understand that sniffing certain stuff can be pretty bad for your brain cells. But I have a feeling the kid just thought it smelled good. (Which I completely understand.) Next you know, there will be paste-eating bans throughout the country. Magic markers will be forbidden. Scissors will be sold on schoolyard black markets.
I say FREE ETHAN HARRIS--before it's too late!
Full story here.
Friday, April 11, 2008
(Cute artwork by The Black Apple)
I recommend getting a tattoo! Perhaps a tasteful skull and crossbones. Or maybe a giant Irregulars logo. **EVIL LAUGHTER** No, not a real tattoo. These days technology allows you to create your own realistic--and TEMPORARY--body art.
According to this website (which is British, but I'm sure you can get all the necessary supplies here in the US), today's temporary tattoos are painless, non-toxic, and can last up to a week (or scrubbed off sooner with hot, soapy water).
Oh, the possibilities!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I recently found this story on Candy Chang's wonderful blog. I gotta tell you, this sort of thing gives me hope for humanity!
"When graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister invited his friend Reini to visit him in New York City in 1988, his friend was concerned about his chances with the ladies. Would New York’s beautiful-but-tough women ignore him? In response, Sagmeister created a poster of his friend’s face under a bold black font declaring, 'Dear Girls! Please Be Nice to Reini' and plastered copies on walls throughout his Lower East Side neighborhood."
Did it work? Find out here!
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Artists Britta Riley and Rebecca Bray are the masterminds behind a new exhibit in New York called (no joke) drinkpeedrinkpeedrinkpee. If you pay them a visit, be sure to collect one of the DIY Kits that will help you turn your nasty old urine into harmless water and potentially useful fertilizer.
How do the kits work? To put it simply, they extract the phosphorous and nitrogen from urine. While these two chemicals are wonderful plant fertilizers, they can cause serious trouble if they make it into the earth's oceans. But with the handy drinkpeedrinkpeedrinkpee kits, you'll be able to fertilize your parents' houseplants (and possibly water them too)!
Read more here.
Today's posts are dedicated to some of the people out there who are looking for innovative ways to help save/preserve the environment. We'll start here . . . in the GREATEST CITY ON EARTH. (No offense. I'm sure your city is nice, too.)
Ever wonder what New Yorkers do with our old subway cars? Well for years, we've been dropping them into the Atlantic Ocean. And believe it or not, that's a very good thing. Over 700 subway cars now form an artificial reef off the coast of Deleware. According to the New York Times, what was once a barren stretch of ocean floor is now a "bountiful oasis, carpeted in sea grasses, walled thick with blue mussels and sponges, and teeming with black sea bass and tautog."
Unfortunately, the Redbird Reef (named after the old "Redbird" subway cars, one of which can be seen in the artwork above) has proven so popular with fish (and fishermen) that the competition for New York's old subway cars has grown quite fierce! Read more (and see some cool photos and animation) here.
(Art by John Blackford and James Fisher, photo by John Barnes, and story via the wonderful Gothamist).
Monday, April 7, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
(Artwork by Phillip Toledano)
Do you ever snooze through the alarm? Fall asleep during class? Pass out in the middle of fascinating discussions of 13th century Latvian history? If so, I'm sure someone's been giving you a hard time about it. In that case, I recommend printing out a copy of this article from the New York Times.
According to scientists, teenagers just aren't meant to get up that early in the morning! "Research shows that teenagers’ body clocks are set to a schedule that is different from that of younger children or adults. This prevents adolescents from dropping off until around 11 p.m., when they produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and waking up much before 8 a.m. when their bodies stop producing melatonin. The result is that the first class of the morning is often a waste, with as many as 28 percent of students falling asleep, according to a National Sleep Foundation poll. Some are so sleepy they don’t even show up."
Finally science is on your side! Why not sleep in tomorrow?
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Where would you find the world's finest frog museum? France, of course! Le Musee Des Grenouilles (The Frog Museum) is a charming institution housed in a 15th century building located in the town of Estavayer-le-Lac.
The pride and joy of the musem is a collection of 108 frogs. According to the website, around 1850, "a Napoleonic guards officer developed a fascination with frogs and started collecting them as a hobby. He extracted the innards through their mouths and refilled them with sand before putting them into displays." Now the little croakers portray amusing scenes of everyday life in France.
Though I pity the frogs, I must agree with the museum. "If it is originality you are seeking, you won’t be disappointed."
Friday, April 4, 2008
(Artwork above by Jason Jacenko)
As if you don't have enough to worry about! Dark Roasted Blend has posted a list of some of the world's most dangerous (and easy to miss) creatures. These are the ones that you step on when you aren't paying attention--or end up under your bed sheets if you've made an enemy in the mob.
Take, for example, the venomous caterpillars of the lonomia genus (shown below). Native to South America, their exotic colors dazzle the eye and beckon young children to play with them. But the moment a human's skin brushes against the barbed hairs that cover the little beasts, a powerful poison is delivered into the bloodstream. It's said to kill dozens of people each year.
Check out the rest of the Dark Roasted Blend list here.
I was surprised to see that only one animal from Australia made the list. Aussies must contend with a wide range of deadly creatures, including the horrifying funnel-web spider and the lovely blue-ringed octopus. Heck, even the duck-billed platypus is poisonous, and you wouldn't want to mess around with any kangaroos, either! How DO you do it, guys?
Thursday, April 3, 2008
I just came across a very angry rant by a father of three girls who recently saw the movie. He makes a good point, I think. The movie's writers added a little something special to Dr. Seuss's famous book. Seems in the movie, the Mayor of Whoville has 96 daughters and 1 son. And guess which one of them ends up saving the day? Thats right. The boy.
Wasn't there at least ONE Irregular among those 96 daughters? It seems unlikely that an army of girls couldn't take control of the situation. Who says you have to be male to save the world?
Read a transcript of the NPR clip here. Now discuss.
(Above: Perfectly perserved for 95 years.)
In 1911, the race was on to be the first explorer to reach the South Pole. Renown explorer Robert Falcon Scott hoped to claim the prize for Britain by beating Norwegian Roald Amundsen to the finish. Unfortunately, not only did Scott lose the race, he and his men died before they could make it home to their (slightly) warmer island.
But though they perished, Scott and his men left two fascinating reminders of their time in Antarctica. To this very day, the cabins they used in 1911 and on an expedition ten years earlier remain almost perfectly preserved. There's food in the cupboards, seal blubber hanging from the walls, and expedition photos that looks as though they were just developed. The freezing temperatures have even prevented the specimens the men gathered (such as Emperor penguin eggs) from rotting.
What makes the huts so eerie, however, are the plates laid out on the table and the laundry hanging from clotheslines--as if Scott and his colleagues could return at any moment.
Huts from other Antarctic explorations, including those of the legendary Ernest Shackleton, have also been preserved. But many are in dire need of repair. Let's hope these time capsules get the attention they need before it's too late.
Read more at fogonazos!
Yeah, me too! Especially since I've spent the last few minutes researching the following delightful delicacies. Let's start with "Meat Water," a brand of "high efficiency survival beverages" that comes in flavors such as dirty hot dog, beef stroganof, Texas BBQ, and escargot. (Shown above: Hungarian gulash) Loaded with protein--and fat--these energy drinks supply all the nutrients you need to develop a wide range of chronic heath disorders. Check out their website here.
Not a big fan of meat? How about some Japanese giant hornet honey? It may look disgusting, but according to edible.com, giant hornets (the largest species of wasp in the world) contain special enzymes in their bodies which are reputed to increase strength and energy levels. Apparently Japanese atheletes consumed the enzymes before taking part in the 2000 Olympic games. (Hmmm. That seem a little unfair.) Be sure to check out the other delectible products for sale on the edible.com website. (The mopani worms made my mouth water. And the giant toasted ants? To die for!)
And last but not least, a cake so disgusting I can't even bear to post a picture. Described as a "delicious treat for a classy dinner party," the cat litter cake looks remarkably similar to the real thing. I don't recommend leaving it out on the table if you share your home with felines. Instructions and pictures posted here.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
My mission accomplished, I returned to New York late last night. I can't go into great depth about the nature of my activities in London, but you can find clues here and here. Was my mission illegal? My lips are sealed. (Sorry, Jin Ai.) But I think it's safe to say that I acted for the benefit of all humankind.
So now I'm back and even more appreciative of the wonders of New York City. For instance, where else on earth could you . . .
Enjoy a FREE haggis hot dog in celebration of Scotland Week? (Remember haggis? Maybe the ban has finally been lifted!)
Ride a subway train wallpapered with bog roll? (See, I did pick up some British lingo. Thanks, Rebecca!)
Take part in (potentially deadly) bike messenger races with names like the Headless Horseman Hunt, Battle for Brooklyn and Stupor Bowl?
See a play performed in the public restrooms near the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park?
Engage in a little sidewalk psychiatry? I feel better already!
Now back to work! There's a backlog of the bizarre!