Pranksters have apparently admitted to changing the Hollywood sign over the New Year’s weekend, though whether they will be charged with a crime remains to be seen.
Artist Zach Fernandez, who calls himself “Jesus Hands,” told Vice that he and his “creative partner/former wife, Sarah Fern,” were responsible for the prank. Dressed in camouflage, Fernandez used a rope to swing around the letters, he said, and used clamps to clip sheets of fabric and photographs to them. The entire act took about two hours, he told Vice.
The couple said the prank was an homage to Daniel Finegood, a Cal State Northridge student who pulled off the same act on New Year’s Day in 1976.
Authorities had previously said whoever was responsible would not be charged with vandalism since the sign was not damaged, but instead could potentially face a charge of trespassing, a misdemeanor offense.
Security researcher Evan Booth has gotten some notoriety recently for figuring out how to build an assortment of guns, bombs, and other weapons from items freely available from airport shops – even from those located in the terminal area past TSA checkpoints. He has published 11 of his designs on his site Terminial Cornucopia, many of which show some true ingenuity on his part. Booth claims he shared these designs with appropriate authorities prior to publishing them online for the entire world to see, but received no guidance on whether steps would be taken to eliminate their availability at the airport or mitigate the risk of them actually being assembled into functioning weapons. According to Booth:
What if Terrorists See This?!
That’s a great question. An even better question is: What if they already know all this? All of these findings have been reported to the Department of Homeland Security (TSA) to help them better detect these types of threats. Furthermore, the next time you fly, you’ll be flying as a more informed consumer (and taxpayer, possibly) — one who is more equipped to demand better, more appropriate airport security.
In this clip from 1961, John Fisher, an English inventor and personal protection entrepreneur demonstrates his anti-theft briefcase. In the video, a thief attempts to make off with the “Arrestor” only to find an unpleasant surprise: the anti-theft briefcase deters theft by crushing the thief’s hand and explosively extending enormous poles that make a quick escape difficult.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered a way of obtaining ultrasharp 3D images of weakly illuminated objects using as few photons as possible, and then mathematically putting together the data represented by those single photons to produce an image. The development could one day benefit military surveillance, such as by allowing for a spy camera that records a scene with a minimum of illumination to elude detection. The newly developed algorithm reportedly provides image information using one-hundredth the number of photons required by existing light detection and ranging (LIDAR) techniques, which are commonly used in remote mapping or measuring forest biomass. Because the technique uses light of a single wavelength, it creates monochromatic pictures, but to some extent it can tell between different materials. The fact that this system can also produce 3D images but with the least possible amount of light (single photons) is also what differentiates it from current night vision and infrared systems, that either require more light or heat. Stealth camera takes pictures virtually in the dark [via Nature]
In partnership with Arizona-based Local Motors, the U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force has started a digital forum, Army CoCreate, where virtually any military service member can suggest ideas to improve equipment for use in the field. Local Motors previously gained attention for using a crowdsourced design to built its Rally Fighter off-road sports truck. Service members from around the world can log in and offer their suggestions for both minor and major design improvements to existing equipment; other members can then vote on the best suggestions for possible incorporation into future designs. This system improves on the current procedure of getting suggestions from liaison officers from around the world, as suggestions can be received directly from those making them. The first project to be designed using Army CoCreate is an all-terrain vehicle that doubles as a Mobile Command Post for supporting company-sized units in combat situations, and it was largely developed in one month since CoCreate began on October 15.
A group of students at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, located in Washington, DC, have invented a new, yet simple, door lock that can be used to quickly secure the interior of classroom doors in the event of an emergency, such as an active shooter situation. They have received a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grant to support their project. Most school classrooms in the country are not allowed to have locks on the doors as a result of fire code laws, and so there is currently no easy way for teachers or students to shut out intruders besides barricading the door with items such as desks or chairs. The students’ invention, called the Dead Stop, aims to fix that. It consists of a PVC pipe that is hinged on one side and can be locked on the other side with a steel pin. Fitted over a hydraulic door closer, the device then prevents the door hinge from widening. The students say their device should cost less than $5, can be used to lock a door in under 30 seconds, and can be relatively easily removed once the threat situation has passed. The students plan to build several prototypes of their device by February and continue testing. After that, they want to publicize do-it-yourself instructions so educators can make their own as well as possibly work with a company to professionally manufacture the device.
Patrol Log will note that there are already other devices on the market that accomplish the same objective by focusing on the hydraulic door closer often found in classrooms, such as the Hydra-Lock, though it will be interesting to see if the Dead Stop is a more robust lock that has a lower chance of failing, in addition to being far less expensive at the planned $5 price point.
Remember Tom Hardy from Inception? How hard was it to believe that this same guy transformed himself into the character of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises? And a transformation it was. This good article gives an outline as to how Hardy changed his body not once but several times for his various roles, from playing the part of jailhouse fighter Bronson, to a lean and muscular MMA fighter in Warrior, to the Batman’s arch nemesis in the final flick of the trilogy. For both Bronson and Warrior, Hardy worked out daily, but one important difference was in diet: to prepare for Bronson, Hardy ate practically whatever he wanted, from chicken and rice to pizza and ice cream, all to help gain weight. For the shredded look of an MMA fighter, however, Hardy survived on chicken and broccoli all day, which allowed him to get strong but lose fat. And finally, to play the part of Bane, although Hardy has not publicly released his diet/training regimen, many believe he followed a relatively simple, yet challenging 5×5 training regimen concentrating on the core lifts: bench press, deadlift, and squat. Tom Hardy Workout [via Men’s Health]
Artist Michael Murphy is known for his 3-D renderings of flat images (see his sculptural portrait of President Obama on his website), and large public installations. His most recent work “Damage” is a sculpture made up of 1,200 suspended black ping pong balls which, when observed from the correct angle, form the shape of an assault rifle. The work is meant to bring attention to the controversial role guns play in today’s society. Check out the video below, and you’ll be amazed as to how the work immediately changes into an amorphous blog after only a few steps to a different vantage point.
Last week, police discovered robbers dug a 100-foot long tunnel into the safe deposit room of a Berlin bank. They looted the safety boxes held inside, some of which are reported to be worth up to €10 million. Afterwards, they set fire as they left to cover up their tracks. The tunnel was so extensive it is believed it must have taken the thieves weeks if not months to dig, and it was large enough to drive a car through it, which the thieves may have used to haul dirt away. The magazine Die Welt published the following graphic showing how the theft was carried out: