Archive for the ‘Great Ideas’ Category

Located in the Binhai Cultural District In Tianjin, the five-story library is called “The Eye of Binhai”. It covers 34,000 square meters and can hold up to 1.2 million books. Taking just three years to complete, the library features a reading area on the ground floor, lounge areas in the middle sections and offices, meeting spaces, and computer/audio rooms at the top. Check out the video below the photos for more awesomeness. On a related note, I have no idea how they reach the books on those upper shelves.

[click on photos to peruse]

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Sweet Lord Almighty.

Life·Hack

– a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way.

We’ve all read about life hacks, those helpful bits of advice aimed at making our lives easier. And although Life Hack is a fairly new term, the actual act of coming up with better ways of doing things is as old as man himself. Or herself. You get the gist.

Hell, as a Southern Ohioan I’ve seen cars with wooden bumpers, duct taped windshields and cooking smokers made from filing cabinets, so I can relate to redneck ingenuity as much as the next guy.

Anyway, this whole “life hack” thing reminded me of a guy I knew in college we called Muggs. Dude was always bending the rules, sometimes in minor ways, other times in major ways. I’ll give you three examples.

First off, the Muggs was cheap as hell. He was so tight that when he smiled his kneecaps moved. Anyway, he never tipped and would never pay for anything, including stamps. When sending a letter, he’d put the address he wanted the letter to go to as the return address, then put his address as the main address. Then he’d go uptown and drop his letter in the mailbox without a stamp, which would then be returned to the person in which he intended to receive it in the first place. Diabolical. Incredibly, it worked. Keep in mind the cost of a stamp was 13¢ back then. Good God.

As for me, I’d always been taught you shouldn’t mess with the federal government, so I didn’t.*

*If you don’t count the mailbox killing spree I went on in high school with my idiot friends. 

Another life hack Muggs’ wild imagination came up with was the in-car bar. Hear me out on this one, because it’s ingenious, wildly inappropriate and probably illegal. Muggs went to an auto parts store and bought a new windshield washer container for his car, the one that sits under the hood. He bought new tubes that take the cleaning fluid to the windshield as well. Then he installed the new container and redirected the tubes under the dash and through the air vents in his dashboard.

See where this is going yet?

Next, Muggs filled the container with whiskey, so whenever he wanted a drink he’d simply put a cup under the vent, hit the button that turns on the windshield wiper cleaner, and let the booze poor into his cup. If he got pulled over he just closed the vent. That’s wild, man. I remember that before he told us about this I always wondered why he had a cooler of ice in his front seat with nothing else in it.

Bottom line, Muggs was an evil genius. Hell, I’m pretty sure that’s so original there’s no law against it.

Muggs was also in a frat (pretty sure it wasn’t sanctioned or anything) that held a yearly raffle to raise money for “charity”, and by “charity” I mean a big end-of-the-year bash with a live band, booze and plenty of co-eds. Of course Muggs was in charge of the raffle. I remember guys selling chances to win a used car for $5, and they’d sell these tickets for months. Problem was, nobody ever saw anything other than a photo of the car, and every year the big winner was somebody’s uncle from Bardstown, Kentucky or somewhere. Every year at the party the winner would be announced by Muggs:

“And the winner is . . .  drumroll please . . .  Charlie Starkweather of Saluda, North Carolina! That’s my uncle! I’ll see that he gets his 1973 Lincoln Continental Town Car!”

I can’t say this with certainty but I’m pretty sure there was never a car and that the big raffle was 100% profit, minus the cost of buying the tickets.

Muggs, man. God knows how much he pocketed for himself.

As for me, I was taught my own little life hack a couple years ago when I tried to cancel a hotel room in a small coastal town at the last minute. Here’s my phone conversation:

“Hello, Blue Surf Hotel. Charlie speaking.”

“Hey Charlie. This is Dave Shoemaker. I made reservations for Thursday night but I need to cancel. Something’s come up.”

Note: I could have said I had an emergency but I never tempt fate, which may have then handed me an actual emergency just for spite. Fate can be a real bitch. Anyway . . .

“Sorry old buddy, but cancellations have to made 7-days in advance. I know it’s a pain in the butt but the owners here are really strict about it.”

It was apparent to me I was talking to an older gentleman, as he had a raspy, deep voice with a slow southern drawl. Dude sounded exactly like I’d expect Old Man River to sound. Anyhoo . . .

“Seven days? I just made reservations yesterday! That makes no sense.”

“I know, I know. They make no exceptions though. Very strict folks. I’m very sorry.”

At this point I’d just kissed $155.79 goodbye since they had my credit card number and all. But then . . .

“Why don’t you reschedule, old buddy? Maybe sometime in August?”

“Not sure why I’d do that, Charlie. I’ll be long gone by then. That would do me no good at all.”

“You sure? You could reschedule ya know.”

Now I’m a little exasperated.

“Charlie, don’t you get it? I won’t be anywhere near Ocracoke on August 15th. I don’t want to reschedule.”

“Well, I’d think about rescheduling anyway, for say, August 15th. Then if something comes up you could cancel. You know, as long as you did it at least 7-days in advance.”

Realization . . . slowly . . . sinks  . . . in. My skull is a little thick, ya know.

“You know, Charlie, that’s a good idea. I  think I will reschedule. Let’s say August 15th.”

And so I did. And I also cancelled on August 7th. Life hack, man. Thanks Charlie.

I don’t see why not.

As a tribute to his late wife, Pedro Martin Ureta and his kids planted these trees in Argentina back in 1977. Awesome.

Tasty dessert.

Not as innocent as it looks.

Not as innocent as it looks.

So I had a buddy back in college who was always coming up with new and innovative ideas. He’d do things like build a complete wall of bookshelves with plastic tubing and 2 x 6 boards, stuff like that. He’d also record his professor during class, then play it on a loop while he slept. He claimed the information became imbedded into his brain that way. Dude was weird but interesting.

Anyhoo, perhaps his most ingenious idea involved drinking while driving. Listen, I’m not endorsing nor condoning his behavior, I’m just illustrating how smart this dude was.

Here’s what he did. First he went and bought and installed a new windshield washer reservoir, the container under the car hood that holds the windshield washer fluid. He then bought new tubing that usually sent the fluid to the windshield, installed it, except he re-routed it down and through the dashboard’s air vents.

You see where this is heading, right?

Next, my friend filled the reservoir with the alcohol of his choice, held his cup up under tube sticking out of the air vent, pulled the lever as if he wanted to wash his car windows, and watched as his cup was filled with booze.

Legal, probably not. Genius? Oh hell yes.

PS- I repeat, I do not condone drinking and driving. It’s just an interesting story, so shut it.

PPS- Last I heard my buddy was in politics, because of course he was.

Volkswagen has revealed a new van concept to honor the iconic hippie Microbus. It looks straight out of a science fiction movie, and it’s fueled by electricity, has self-driving functions, and much more. The new VW Microbus is an 8-seat all-electric vehicle with a driving range up to 270-miles. This baby collects traffic data using its cameras, laser, ultrasonic, and radar sensors, as well as other witchcraft and techno badassness. It’s highly customizable and stores personal seat and air conditioning settings, sounds system configuration, ambient lighting, and more. Sadly, it’s still just a concept, damn it. Because I really want one. Take a look, and click the photo to enlarge:

Heavenly tasty goodness.

grilledcheese

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A guy told his grandma he wanted 100 things from the Dollar Store for Christmas. Grandma doesn’t like to be challenged.

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Some dude bought this for his brother. Inside was a gift card.

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Guess who was in charge of getting mom’s Christmas present this year? Rachel.

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Tina is 24 and doesn’t live with her parents. This is what they got her for Christmas.

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This guy got his dad a blanket with his picture on it because he always wanted to give someone a blanket with his picture on it.

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Seth is 27 and still living with his parents. This is what they got him for Christmas.

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Jackson wanted beats for Christmas. His parents delivered.

Oh yes. Please yes. This concoction combines Milka chocolate, sandwiched between that classic Oreo icing, with Oreo cookie goodness sitting smack dab in the middle. It’s like a backwards Oreo, and it looks spectacularly tastilicious.

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Brilliant!

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7-year-old Lainie Griffin from Muncie, Indiana, who dressed as “Exhausted Mom”. Well done Lainie. Well done indeed.

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And only 8,000 calories!

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Scrumptious.

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This thing would be great. You know, until you got hit by a truck.

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I’ve actually had these. Really good.

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It’s in Lidzbark Warminski, which is in northern Poland, but I’m sure you knew that. Anyhoo, cool.

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Absolutely.

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I ran across a bunch of these over at Bored Panda, a funky little website that posts quirky things like “The Most Beautiful Steps in the World” and “Dramatic Fairy Sculptures” and stuff like that. Anyway, I perused their “25 Inventions You Didn’t Know You Needed” and picked out my favorite seven to share with you, my loyal readers. I’ll add my thought-provoking comments and even add my grade for each. Wooot! Damn, I’m bored.

Let us begin . . .

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I like this one. See, the paper has a bunch of names and greetings, then you just circle the one that is appropriate. Then again, that’s sort of impersonal, isn’t it? Disregard. Grade: D-

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Not bad, but I could see myself getting toothpaste all over the mirror and throwing that thing in the trash in a few days. Grade: C-

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I like this idea for the average person who, you know, irons and stuff. I haven’t ironed anything since 1985. That’s what the unwrinkle cycle on the dryer is for, right? Still pretty cool though. Grade: A-

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How can this possibly work? I’d be spilling my beer, I mean coffee, all over the place. Dumb. Grade: F

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I like this one a lot. I see my friend Heather running by my house all the time sprinting as she pushed her kids in a stroller. Better watch out for potholes, though. Grade: A

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Not bad. Sparky would find it beneath him to use something so petlike though. Not horrible though. Grade: C+

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What’s so great about this? I’ve been using scissors to cut pizza for years. And that slice thingy would just complicate matters and get in the way. Dumb. Grade: D-

If you’ve read my acclaimed blog “Wait. We were promised Jet Packs!” you’d know that I have several ideas for inventions much better than these, including my Refridgerwave, the Car Hair Dryer, The Flashdark and Drinkable Mouthwash. Trust me, they’re all A+ inventions.

Now excuse me while I go work on my Wine Flavored Dental Floss.

Because why not?

hamdog

Just like the old days.

record phonespeaker

Naval Base Kitsap, a marine base 20-miles from Seattle, is home to the world’s dolphin1largest arsenal of nuclear weapons, and it’s defended by dolphins trained by the US Navy.

Nearly one-quarter of America’s 9,962 nuclear weapons are now assigned to the Bangor submarine base on Hood Canal.

Most of the weapons about which details are publicly known are equipped for launch via submarine, hence the seaside location.

And get this – the US Navy has used dolphins to defend the waters around the base since May 2010. Even wilder, they also train sea lions to detect possible swimmers who could be threats.

Yep, the Navy Marine Mammal Program at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, California currently trains 85-dolphins and 50-sea lions for service in the US Navy.

When a dolphin finds a swimmer, the animals swim back to their trainers, who give them a transponder to drop near the intruder.

But it gets even better.

The dolphins are also equipped with a bite plate that holds a shackle that the dolphins can use to disable an intruder. They just hit the person in the leg, the plate attaches around the leg, it can’t be pulled off and it sends a float up along with the bad guy.

Diabolical, man.

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Note: The sea lion’s work is classified. Maybe they just eat the guy. 

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Hells to the yah.

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Man, what I’d give to have one of these. They’re built by Zaha Hadid Architects. Very cool.

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Zha, Jazz