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There has probably been nothing like the sight of dazzle ships, before or since. So impressive were they that their patterns were used into WWII, after their efficacy was questionable, because they were thought to boost morale. Dazzle patterns were designed by modernist painters, in the modernist style, bringing about a very strange meeting of bohemian painters and military types.With no all weather camouflage for ships in WWI, these extraordinary designs were painted on ships to confuse rather than obscure. The sliced geometry meant that it was difficult to align split screen range finders, and fake bows made it difficult to gauge speed and heading.We are breaking our usual rule of showing actual objects rather than paintings or models, for two reasons: dazzle ships were very brightly colored, yet there are no color images of their WWI versions; many of the dazzle designs were by modern artists, and the famous painting of a dazzle ship was by one of the people who designed the camouflage itself, Edward Wadsworth.

dazzle ships

Ever since James Bond had tricked out briefcases as an accoutrement for his array of gadgets, the idea of a suitcase full of a kit of gizmos for a specific task is seductive; or morbidly curious, in the case of apocryphal suitcase nukes. The concept predates James Bond, with transmitter suitcases which were make for allied spies during WWII.

tricked out gadget suitcases

Identified Unidentified Flying Oobjects. A list of some real flying saucers, from the US and Soviet military, a video of the amazing Moller M200x, some flying saucer inspired architecture and a patent for a nuclear powered flying saucer from British Rail, bizarrely. Vote for your faves.

flying saucers

Many of today's most notable collections, such as the British Museum started off as wunderkammer, or cabinets of curiosities. These started in the 16th century are were somewhere between Ripley's Believe it or Not and the Smithsonian, eclectic collections of man-made and natural objects of wonder. These were either rooms or spectacular intricate cabinets.Today there are deliberate attempts to re-create the very particular feel of these collections, such as at the museum of Jurassic Technology in L.A, which combines the real and fake or the British Museum's Enlightenment Gallery.

the wunderkammer through history

This is a bit of an obscure list, we admit, however there is something very impressive about the sheer size of ships which can only be appreciated when they are out of water. The ships themselves are often in unusual objects which are equally impressive, such as dry docks or floating docks or ship carriers.

ships out of water

All around America people are preparing propane gas tanks, vats of boiling oil and elaborate hoisting mechanisms to cook turkeys in a way that poses both short and long term health risks. The great tradition of the Pilgrim Fathers puritanical feast has been replaced by an industrial accident involving a dangerous gadget. But its worth it, because it tastes absolutely delicious.We've collected videos of this ritual, from California to the Midwest to Texas and to Florida and each is a distinctive cultural snippet. Vote for America's most quintessential Turkey Fryers.

16 thanksgiving turkey fryer videos

Toilet design says a lot about a culture. In the US public toilet cubicles typically have a quarter inch gap which allows people to see in, although a pissoir, which is a partially open air urinal is almost unknown. The reason for this irony is possibly prudery. The gaps are to prevent impropriety, but the enclosed toilets are because of a general American shyness about toilet matters. A small gap allows monitoring a large one encourages voyeurism. Political correctness due to the fact that pissoirs can normally only be used by men is undoubtedly also part of the reason, although recently funnel based womens pissoirs have been developed.Pissoirs first became widespread in France but exist throughout the world, from Scandinavia to Australia. They fell out of fashion in the late 20th century, but have seen something of a revival, with ultra modern versions being built in places like Berlin. Britain, which shares anglo-saxon prudishness with America has recently relaxed its taboo against open air urinals, due to the problem of binge drinking and subsequent al fresco urination. In the south of England, cylindrical pissoirs which are hidden during the day, telescope out of the ground at night, for the relief of marauding drunken hordes.

pissoir designs

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WTF is That? No. 2

March 30th, 2009 link to (permalink)


The man in the picture is not being hurt. In fact people are trying to help him. What in the world is the name of this device and what does it do? Answers in the comments.

8 Responses to “WTF is That? No. 2”

  1. JJoe Says:

    Does he work for Microsoft?

  2. Andy Simons Says:

    Its a pair of electric boxing gloves?

  3. Flixter Says:

    Its an early electric chair.

  4. admin Says:

    Nope, nobody gets hurt.

  5. Indiefab Says:

    Haha. Great pic. That’s one of the first electrocardiograms. His hands are in jars of salt water with electrodes attached. And yes, I cheated. I’m a doctor. Heeheee.

  6. admin Says:

    @Indiefab. Congrats – spot on, its an Einthoven cardiograph.

    More details here:

  7. Yosemite Sam Says:

    It’s the Electrostash Generator 3000. You can see how plump his mustache is just after 5 minutes of treatment. Yes you too can have a luxurious mustache of your very own in just minutes! No more hassle and headaches attempting to look like a real man…just plug in and grow!

    With the ES 3000, you can even use the innovative ‘Select-O-Stash’ dial to choose the perfect mustache for any occasion. A Cary Grant mustache for a professional look, a Salvador Dali for those spunky days, or a Tom Selleck for when you want to impress the ladies.

    Act now, supplies are limited!

  8. admin Says:

    @Yosemite. Oh how we wish it was the Electrostash Generator 3000.

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