Archive for the Cool Stuff Category

OSU professor builds Ohio Stadium – with Legos

Posted in Cool Stuff on January 20, 2011 by DaMook

Lego stadiumAfter spending 3 years collecting all the necessary pieces and 2 years of construction, OSU professor Paul Janssen recently completed a replica of Ohio Stadium – built entirely with Legos (story here).

The dome of the rotunda, the Script Ohio looping across the scoreboard video screen, the archways lining the stadium that is shaped, of course, like a horseshoe.

In near-exact detail, Paul Janssen created all the curves of Ohio Stadium using 1 million Legos – which, if you remember, are mostly rectangular.

The building is “not square at all, so it was a big challenge,” he said. “But it’s so much more satisfying if you can accomplish something that’s hard.”

Janssen recently finished his 8-foot-by-6-foot masterpiece, having spent 1,000 hours over nearly two years building it in his Dublin basement. No cutting, gluing or painting was involved in making the replica, the scale of which is about 1/100.

The 42-year-old began plotting his work in 2005, three years after he was hired as an associate professor of physiology and cell biology at Ohio State University.

Growing up in the Netherlands, where the Danish-made interlocking blocks are especially popular, Janssen loved building Lego trains in his youth but took a hiatus from the hobby until moving to the United States a decade ago.

Having three children of his own – ages 10, 8 and 3 – became an excuse to buy new toys. The family’s basement – aside from a washer, dryer and a kitty-litter box – is now consumed by containers of Legos stacked nearly from floor to ceiling.

Janssen’s friends in the Central Ohio Lego Train Club, for which he serves as president, once mentioned in passing the possibility of building an Ohio Stadium replica. But few would attempt such a large and detailed undertaking, member Ben Coifman said.

“It’s flat-out insane to build something like that,” said Coifman, an associate professor of civil engineering at OSU. “But that’s part of what we love Paul for.”

To plan the project, Janssen studied stadium measurements and satellite images, often taking photos of the press box or other details during football games. (He didn’t really understand the sport at first but is now a fan and a season-ticket holder.)

He spent more than three years acquiring the necessary Legos, often improvising: Dragon horns from a Lego castle kit are part of the rotunda decor; chrome truck parts serve as pipes extending from the stadium bathrooms.

Many pieces were purchased or traded through an online marketplace, Bricklink.com; others were already part of his collection.

Had Janssen bought all new parts, he figures the project would have cost $50,000 to $75,000.

Amazing!

More photos here.

Seattle “superhero” gets nose busted in dust-up

Posted in Cool Stuff, Culture, FAIL on January 16, 2011 by DaMook

real life superherosWith the proliferation of recent movies featuring comic superheroes (Batman, Iron Man, Spiderman, Kick Ass, etc.) I suppose it was only a matter of time before some lunatics decided that it would be a good idea to become “real life” superheroes. You know, dress up in some outrageous costume and become a crime fighter – what could possibly go wrong? (story here)

Phoenix Jones, the real-life superhero who has gotten fame for patrolling the streets of Seattle, found his kryptonite in the guise of two attackers who left him with a broken nose over the weekend.

Armed with a skintight black-and-gold, belted costume, a cape and a fedora, Phoenix Jones suits up at night to fight crime on the streets of Seattle. He’s the leader of a real-life superhero movement called the Rain City Superheroes.

On Saturday, things turned violent when a man held Jones at gunpoint and another broke his nose.

Phoenix Jones

"Real life" moron - Phoenix Jones

Apparently Seattle hasn’t cornered the market on this assholery – it’s a national (worldwide?) movement (more here). According to the Real Life Superhero Manual:

WHAT WE DO:

  • Crime fighting patrols and/or reporting illegal actions to Police.
  • Fliers asking for help with specific unsolved crimes.
  • Missing person’s fliers.
  • Promoting social/environmental awareness.
  • Helping the homeless with food/water/blankets.
  • Donating blood

WHY THE RLSH WAY

In my mind, Superhero personas (not just dull “codenames”; “personas” meant as “personalities”), costumes and mystique are what make you DIFFERENT (and not superior) from 99% of the people out there who perform good deeds or even crime fighting.

Yes, dressing up like a comic book character does make you different but it certainly won’t strike fear in the hearts of “real life” criminals. Pheonix was lucky that he didn’t get his head shot off. Maybe the crook was laughing too hard to pull the trigger.

If they’re really serious about fighting crime perhaps they should emulate Charles Bronson (Death Wish) or even Michael C. Hall (Dexter).

New internet star – Heidi the cross-eyed opossum

Posted in Computers and Technology, Cool Stuff on January 12, 2011 by DaMook
opossum

Heidi

There’s a new internet “star” – at least in Germany. Meet Heidi the cross-eyed opossum (story here).

First, it was Knut, the overwhelmingly cute polar bear. Then, it was Paul, the World Cup oracle octopus. Now, the latest German zoo resident to gain massive fame is Heidi, the cross-eyed opossum, currently in residence at the Leipzig Zoo.Heidi will not be on public view until July, but she already has 50,000 Facebook fans, a YouTube hit and a stuffed doll modeled after her, reports the German news magazine, Der Spiegel.

The adorable, Muppet-like opossum shot to fame after a German tabloid went to photograph the Leipzig Zoo’s new “Gondwanaland,” a theme area designed to recreate primitive times, according to the report. All it took was one look, and the German public was in love.

Heidi is a Virginia Opossum, which the Ohio Department of Natural Resources describes as “one of the oldest and most primitive species of mammal in North America. This animal is little changed from its ancestors 70 million years ago.” Besides being the only marsupial to originate in North America, the species is most famous for giving rise to the phrase “playing possum,” because they frequently react to threats by pretending to be dead.Zoo officials speculate that her crossed eyes might have been caused by a bad diet early in life, Der Spiegel reports. The eyes might look off, but they cause the animal no pain, and don’t affect her ability to get around, according to the zoo. She is, aside from her looks, a normal opossum.

Great story. I love the internet!

Dave Barry’s 2010 year in review

Posted in Cool Stuff, Culture, Humor on January 4, 2011 by DaMook

Good post here – Dave Barry is a very funny guy and he always has a good grasp of US culture. Here’s part of the intro:

Let’s put things into perspective: 2010 was not the worst year ever. There have been MUCH worse years. For example, toward the end of the Cretaceous Period, the Earth was struck by an asteroid that wiped out 75 percent of all the species on the planet. Can we honestly say that we had a worse year than those species did? Yes we can, because they were not exposed to Jersey Shore.

So on second thought we see that this was, in fact, the worst year ever. The perfect symbol for the awfulness of 2010 was the BP oil spill, which oozed up from the depths and spread, totally out of control, like some kind of hideous uncontrollable metaphor. (Or, Jersey Shore.) The scariest thing about the spill was, nobody in charge seemed to know what to do about it. Time and again, top political leaders personally flew down to the Gulf of Mexico to look at the situation first-hand and hold press availabilities. And yet somehow, despite these efforts, the oil continued to leak. This forced us to face the disturbing truth that even top policy thinkers with postgraduate degrees from Harvard University — Harvard University! — could not stop it.

The leak was eventually plugged by non-policy people using machinery of some kind. But by then our faith in our leaders had been shaken, especially since they also seemed to have no idea what to do about this pesky recession. Congress tried every remedy it knows, ranging all the way from borrowing money from China and spending it on government programs, to borrowing MORE money from China and spending it on government programs. But in the end, all of this stimulus created few actual jobs, and most of those were in the field of tar-ball collecting.

Read the whole thing, it’s hilarious…

Happy New Year: Your 2011 Krispy Kreme calendar

Posted in Cool Stuff, Culture, Humor on January 3, 2011 by DaMook

Here’s your 2011 Krispy Kreme calendar (not really but it’s pretty good). To give you an idea of what it’s about, here’s Miss January, Miss February, and Miss March:

jan feb march

Happy New Year!

Bottoms Up beer dispenser – WOW!

Posted in Cool Stuff, Culture on December 27, 2010 by DaMook

This new beer dispenser is awesome. If you’ve ever waited in line for an over priced beer at a stadium only to get mostly foam, you’ll appreciate this little beauty (story here).

“Grin On Industries” (Motto: “Keep Your Grin On.” I’m serious.) has developed the “Bottoms Up” draft beer dispensing system, “the fastest dispensing system in the world,” the Bottoms Up machine “fills [cups] at a rate of up to nine times that of traditional beer taps.”

As you can see from the video, it also seems to reduce the overall foaminess of your beer. If you’ve ever been poured a Budweiser at a baseball game by a hurried person who doesn’t want to be there, you know how huge this is.

A perfect pour every time hands free. This is an awesome invention.

I want one!

Merry Christmas!

Posted in Cool Stuff, Culture on December 25, 2010 by DaMook

Merry ChristmasChristmas is a special time of year and I make no apologies for saying Merry Christmas instead of the bland Happy Holidays. I hope each and every one who reads this has a wonderful and joyful Christmas. I hope your day is filled with good cheer and family tidings. Eat well and drink well for we celebrate the birth of Our Savior Jesus Christ.

While giving thanks at mealtime please put in a special word for the awesome men and women in our military services who are serving in the Middle East and cannot be with their loved ones during this special time. Remember – they are giving this sacrifice for you and your freedom. Even in the present circumstances America is the Greatest country in the world and our troops are a big reason why.

Military Christmas

Merry Christmas Soldiers!

Here is one of my all time favorite video clips. If this doesn’t put a lump in your throat or give you goosebumps, there’s something wrong with you. David Phelps is one of the most amazing tenors alive and this rendition of Oh Holy Night is simply incredible!

God Bless You All…