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Artist makes travel posters for National Parks based on their worst 1-star reviews


“There are bugs and they will bite on your face.” — a bad review about Sequoia National Park

This is hilarious. Designer Amber Share discovered that there were one-star reviews for all 62 of our National Parks and decided to illustrate and hand letter travel posters for them “as a way to put a positive, fun spin on such a negative mindset.” She calls her Subpar Parks series a “snarky love letter to the National Parks System” and it’s absolutely delightful.

See the entire series on her Instagram, and purchase stickers and postcards (mugs and calendars to come) on her website.


images via Amber Share, used with permission

Source: Artist makes travel posters for National Parks based on their worst 1-star reviews

When NASA crash-landed a jetliner full of fuel

When a plane is in trouble, the pilots dump all its its fuel before making an emergency landing. This is controversial; though fuel usually dissipates before reaching ground, it’s a dangerous pollutant all the same and sometimes it gets dumped close enough to humans that it puts them at risk.

This 1984 film, of a test of jet fuel formulated to resist igniting, shows why pilots dump it. NASA and the FAA loaded a retired training jet with test dummies, then remote-piloted it to a crash landing in the Mojave desert. It comes down rough but stays in one piece as it plows through earthworks and obstacles. If it were out of gas, chances of everyone surviving would be good. But with a full tank?

Spoiler: the fuel ignites. As one commenter puts it, “proponents of antimisting kerosene did not have a great day.”

The test went generally according to plan, and produced a spectacular fireball that required more than an hour to extinguish. The FAA concluded that about one-quarter of the passengers would have survived, that the antimisting kerosene test fuel did not sufficiently reduce the risk of fire, and that several changes to equipment in the passenger compartment of aircraft were needed.

Source: When NASA crash-landed a jetliner full of fuel

One mundane trick to organize nails

In this viral footage, shot on a potato and video-compressed with a radish, the best method of organizing nails is revealed. I’m happy to take questions about the thermodynamics of all this, and I’m sure someone will eventually be along to answer them.

Some suspect that the footage is reversed; a commenter on Reddit demonstrated otherwise by actually reversing it (embedded below).

Source: One mundane trick to organize nails

Incredible slo-mo video of raptors flying through bubble clouds… for science

How does an owl’s tail help it fly? To understand the role of the tail is raptor aerodynamics, researchers at the UK’s Royal Veterinary College recorded the motion of tiny helium bubbles as they were swirled about by birds of prey flying through them. According to the science journal Nature, the videos enabled the scientists to discover “a new way in which birds use their tail to provide lift and so reduce drag while gliding… Their findings could provide a new way to improve the efficiency of small gliding aircraft.”

More: “High aerodynamic lift from the tail reduces drag in gliding raptors(Journal of Experimental Biology)

Source: Incredible slo-mo video of raptors flying through bubble clouds… for science

Imagining dates with all of the presidential candidates


I found this thread on Twitter pretty funny, where writer Nicole Najafi imagines what dates might be like with all of the Democratic candidates.

I went on a date with every presidential candidate so you don’t have to. (thread 1/9)

— Nicole Najafi (@NicoleNajafi) February 22, 2020

— Nicole Najafi (@NicoleNajafi) February 22, 2020

— Nicole Najafi (@NicoleNajafi) February 22, 2020

— Nicole Najafi (@NicoleNajafi) February 22, 2020

Image: Public Domain

Source: Imagining dates with all of the presidential candidates

D & D character alignments as Valentine’s Day conversation hearts


The wonderfully talented artist and illustrator, Michelle Rial, posted this D & D character alignment chart to her Twitter feed.

I need a new hobby

— Michelle Rial (@TheRialMichelle) February 14, 2020

Which alignment are you? Would you use different candy hearts?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Image: Used with Permission

Source: D & D character alignments as Valentine’s Day conversation hearts

An interview with legendary bass player Carol Kaye

On Legs McNeil’s Please Kill Me, Michael Shelly interviews the legendary bass player, Carol Kaye. Unless you’re a hardcore music nerd, you may not know who Carol Kaye is. You need to fix that.

Carol Kaye is the bassist on thousands of 20th century recordings, from The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds to Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots are Made for Walkin’, to Glen Campbell’s Wichita Lineman. Oh, and she also played on the Mothers of Invention’s Freak Out! and the Batman theme song. The list goes on and on and on.

Get this woman into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, stat!

PKM: When producers, like Brian Wilson with “Good Vibrations,” would do a single song in parts over many sessions was that frustrating or fun for you?

Carol Kaye: You know Brian was a nice young kid. We worked for a lot of those young guys back then and Brian had something special about him, and he grew with every date. You saw his talent getting better and better and better. He’d only do one song for a three-hour date and that does get boring after a while, but he would come in and he’d give you this handwritten, kind of funny sheet music with stems on the wrong side of the notes and sharps and flats everywhere. He would sit down at the piano and play the song, to kind of give us a feel for it, and then he’d go in the booth and take charge from there. I never knew he played bass until a lot later because he never told me he played bass, I thought he was a piano player. But he wrote the bass parts out because he had certain parts that he wanted to jibe together and he heard these sounds. I think it was because of his fascination with The Four Freshmen. Brian heard music in a different way. He was a nice young man who had a sense of humor and everything he touched was a hit. And the Beach Boys were never there. They’d come in and say hello for five minutes and then walk back out, but Brian was in charge of it all, so he was a sharp young guy.

PKM: So the job as you’re describing it was to make the song happen whether it was inventing your part or cold reading notes or somewhere in between, and bass is interesting because some non-musicians don’t even know the bass does, they can’t even identify it, but it can really affect a song.

Carol Kaye: The bass is the foundation, and with the drummer you create the beat. Whatever you play puts a framework around the rest of the music, and Brian Wilson was bass conscious. Sometimes he’d have a string bass playing along with me, mixed so that you never heard it too much, but you felt it there. Another date with the string bass was “Boots” by Nancy Sinatra. That was kind of a throwaway tune, the last tune of the three-hour date. Lee Hazlewood in the booth said to Chuck Berghofer, the string bass player, to play a line like (Carol hums a slow descending bass line), so that’s what Chuck did. Lee stopped him and said “No, no. Make them closer together.” So that’s what you hear when you hear that bass go (Carole hums the famous bass intro to “These Boots Were Made For Walking”), and then I’m joining in at the bottom. We went to the next date and didn’t think a thing about it, and that darn thing was a big hit.

Read the rest.

Here is a short YouTube introduction to Ms. Kaye.

Image: YouTube Screengrab

Source: An interview with legendary bass player Carol Kaye