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Robot apes, the most badass biker ever, and more in this week’s Staff Picks

staff picks 06_29_2013 header

molly mchughMolly McHugh: Turns out, Paula Deen is the worst, and I was right

While I don’t love racism, I do love it when something can justify my formerly unjustified loathing of something or someone! This week we all found out that Paula Deen, in addition to having a serious cry face condition going on, is a big ol’ racist. For some reason no part of me is even a little bit surprised, but what this means is that my years of not liking Paula Deen finally mean something!

Before this, I was grappling for a reason. My Food Network-loving friends and family would say, sure, Paula Deen probably promotes an unhealthy lifestyle, and sure that’s an ungodly amount of butter, but she’s harmless! She’s a mercurial, grandmotherly personality, why would you hate Paula Deen!?

And yeah, before you go there, I did try the diabetes angle. You know, how she suddenly started promoting healthier, less butter-filled eating once she was diagnosed with the disease AND ALL TOO CONVENIENTLY suddenly promoting diabetes meds? Even then, I was still sort of given a shrug and a “that’s a celebrity thing” line.

But now – NOW – It’s OK to hate Paula Deen. She’s a lying, butter-pushing, pharmaceutical-repping, racist, everybody. I’m going to start trusting my gut instincts on this more. That’s right, lady at the coffee stand by my train stop, you better watch it: I knew there was something I didn’t like about you…

bill-robersonBill Roberson: Prepare to get hypnotized by physics

It’s just a bunch of magnetic beads on a long string, but what a strange dance they do. What to expect when you pull one end of the chain when it’s coiled up in a big jar? Will they just spill over the brim? No. Not even close. The result is a cross between art and physics magic as the chain of beads changes state from rest to movement in nearly an instant. I’ll admit to being a physics geek and when I first saw this video, I just had to know more. The smart folks at Earth Unplugged caught up with the man who first captured the bead chain’s interesting behavior and turned their high-speed cameras on it for a better – and closer – look. What results is amazing and mesmerizing.

ryan-flemingRyan Fleming: Thanks a lot, science! Robot apes will be our downfall

Earlier this week, German scientists dared to dream big and introduced the world’s first robotic ape, known as the iStruct, or in its native tongue “Oh God, oh God, please don’t kill me.” The mechanical deathbot weighs about 40 pounds, which gives us fleshy meat sacks a sporting chance, at least. This bit of nightmare fuel was brought to us as part of a larger program funded by the Agency of the German Aerospace Center, but the exact reasoning wasn’t clear – or at least it wasn’t revealed. Why panic people needlessly today when they can wait and really panic people later?

If you are thinking about signing up for that high interest credit card with a far too big limit, now might be an excellent time to go nuts. Odds are we are all doomed anyway.

Andrew CoutsAndrew Couts: Let’s go cross-country on two wheels

There are few things in life that I love more than riding motorcycles. The wind, the engine rumble, the intensity of blasting along on your own personal rocketship – it doesn’t get any better than that. So you can imagine the envy I feel for the three riders behind the Web series, Escape the Apple, who are taking a cross-country journey from New York City to California along all the best roads America has to offer. The two-wheeled crew is documenting their journey on YouTube, and on EscapetheApple.com, where we can all jump in the sidecar and ride along with them. A new episode will be released each week – and you can guarantee that I’ll be jealous all the way to the West Coast.

caleb-denisonCaleb Denison: Don’t mess with this biker; she’s got a rifle, an assault weapon, and a parrot

For guys like our very own Andrew Couts, riding a motorcycle is a hobby, a passion, a thrill. But for this lady rider in Thailand, it’s some serious frickin’ business. Check…her…out. Seriously, do I even need to say anything right now? Where do I even start? The rifle attached to the back wheel? The assault weapon on the handlebars? Is that a Texas Longhorn? Whatever, you totally didn’t notice that stuff did you? You’re can’t get your eyes off…what do we call that thing? Let’s go with companion parrot. I don’t know if that’s a parrot and I don’t care. And neither do you, because your weekend just got a whole lot more awesome. You’re welcome.

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