Imagine that you’re cleaning out the back recesses of your kitchen pantry and discover there a you-don’t-know-how-old can of Haggis, a can of tomato paste, a half-eaten box of orzo pasta, a bag of Funyuns† and a container of orange-flavored dessert syrup. What can you do with them? Well, you could throw them all away. Or you could take a photo and post it on the cool Tumblr blog Cook Your Cupboard. There you’ll get advice from cooks — some expert, some very much not — on creative dishes you can prepare with your pantry finds.
Can can one person possibly brings gifts to all the children of the world in one night?
That’s many-a-child’s first skeptical query about the Santa Claus story. For parents so inclined to provide a modern answer to that question — and for anyone looking for some online Christmasy fun — there are several websites and smartphone apps that purport to give the exact real-time GPS coordinates of Santa as he makes his way around the world delivering presents on Christmas Eve. Below is a review of our three favorites.
A note to parents: None of these Santa-centric websites seem to agree on exactly where Saint Nick is at any given moment. We suggest you stick to looking at one, lest you provoke more questions than answers.
Spot Cool Stuff loves websites that are both simple and ingenious. On Tumblr, perhaps no blog exemplifies those two characteristics more than FILMography. The site features photos of hands holding — other photos. The photo being held is a black and white screenshot of a scene from a movie. And the place that photo is held is the exact spot that movie scene was shot from!
The end result: a cool overlay of a movie scene with its real life location.
As we write this post, a tropical storm is poised to bear down on Spot Cool Stuff headquarters. But even on calm days there’s something oddly captivating about Wind Map, a cool website where you can see how and where wind is sweeping across the United States in almost real time.
The images we have from Wind Map on this post are all stills. On the website, the images are animated, giving a much better sense of the wind’s speed and movement. To us, the map looks like a piece of art. Maybe that’s because the website was developed by two artists, Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg. Staring at the Wind Map instills some awe of nature — and is a bit of a psychedelic trip.
Almost everyone knows Amazon.com for its bargain deals on books and electronics. Amazon is also a good source for discount groceries. We like their DRM-free MP3 store (even more than iTunes). And we love their Amazon Kindle. But Amazon also has a surprisingly large selection items that defy categorization, from the odd to the downright wacky.
Here’s our look at some of the weirdest items for sale on Amazon and the solution they provide to some of life’s most common problems:
The U.S. dollar—official tender in the United States as well as Panama, Liberia, East Timor and a handful of other countries—is one of the world’s most widely used currencies. Its bills are also widely regarded as one of the world’s ugliest. To help spur a monetary makeover Richard Smith, a creative strategy consultant, launched a website to collect ideas for new notes: The Dollar ReDe$ign Project.
Of the various designs that have been submitted to the site, one of Spot Cool Stuff’s favorites most also happen to be the most controvertial.
• The Statue of Liberty will be plastered with advertisements.
• Men will have flying machines built into their clothes and use them to pursue women; women will use the same to escape from men.
• New York City will be covered by a giant man-made roof from which humans will control the weather below.
• Having sex with robots will be commonplace; technovirgins (humans who have only had sex with robots) will proliferate.
Those are not predictions about the future. They are past predictions—from 1885, 1901, 1949 and 1997, respectively—about the word of today. They, and many more past visions of the future, are collected on the website Paleofuture.