The end of the world, Modern Seinfeld, and brains and bacon in this week’s Staff Picks

Monster invasions, bionic men, and the future of cool cars in this week's Staff Picks

caleb denisonCaleb Denison: Run for your lives! The world is totally not ending next week!

You know why I can’t wait for 12/22/2012? So everybody can shut the hell up about the Mayan Calendar and the end of the world. Sure, folks will probably be buzzing and joking about how the world didn’t end, but even that will be a welcome relief after the ridiculous speculation and debate we’ve had to endure for the past few years and, especially, the past few months.

If you’re as fed up with all this doomsaying as I am, then it may come as some consolation to know that you are not alone. The folks at NASA – you know, that organization filled with some of the most brilliant scientific minds in the world – are so certain that the world isn’t going to end on 12/21/2012 that it has already released a video titled “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday.” In it, hard-nosed scientists explain that the Mayan calendar did not end on December 21st, 2012 and there are no Mayan prophecies fortelling the end of the world on that date. NASA also does a pretty good job of debunking the wildly exaggerated claims that a celestial body – be it a planet, comet or the sun – poses any threat to us at this time. And they do it all without making us puny humans feel stupid. Simply put, nothing is going to happen.

 

natt garun

Natt Garun: Christopher Nolan should just make every movie

I’m still buzzing from the high that was Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy. There’s just something about his storytelling that makes every movie so epic. This was reiterated when the most recent trailer for Man Of Steel surfaced this week, starring Henry Cavill (The Tudors) as the one and only Superman himself. Melodrama! Beautiful cinematography! Bluish-hue overtones! YouTube commentators say it best: This trailer makes The Avengers look like a Disney movie.

Okay, so maybe I should also give some credit to Zach Snyder (Watchmen) for actually directing Man Of Steel, but attach Nolan’s name to a movie trailer and I am so there. See you in the theater lines on June 14, 2013.

 

instagram idiocy marshmallows or the moon and staff picks les shuLes Shu: When food styling didn’t exist as a profession

The first thing everybody comments on when they walk into my stately studio apartment is the large collection of cookbooks that line the pantry shelves. Besides attempting the recipes (some of which require a science degree to execute), the real reason for my cookbook hoarding is the visual stimulation I get from the incredible, mouth-watering photos. Call it food porn, if you must. 

But once upon a time, cookbooks were not always so beautiful. Imagine my horror (and laughter) when I found myself scrolling through the entries at Yuckylicious (by way of Boing Boing), a site dedicated to “exploring the world’s worst cookbooks.” Its author, Micki Myers, highlights recipes that are not only questionable as edible food, but are equally revolting as eye candy.

As the site states, “Yuckylicious seeks to showcase examples of these awful cookbooks as well as recipes from decent vintage and classic cookbooks for dishes we no longer eat.” Let’s hope we never have to revisit “brains and bacon” again.

Brains and bacon staff picks
andrew coutsAndrew Couts: This crazy guy is the most sane person in the world

Thanks to a major case of jet lag, I recently found myself doing some late-night link-clicking and came across what has to be the best celebrity interview ever given: Dave Chappelle on “Inside the Actor’s Studio.”

The two-hour conversation between the comedian and host James Lipton dates back to 2006, after Chappelle escaped to Africa rather than accept a $50 million dollar deal to continue making his The Chappelle Show for Comedy Central. Most people assumed he’d lost his mind – who turns down $50 million?

As the interview reveals, the truth is much more complex. In fact, I staggered to my bed after watching all two hours of this thinking me might be the most sane person on the planet. Another surprise: the interview, which can still be purchased as a DVD, has survived the intense copyright-infringement gamut that so often keeps videos like this off YouTube. 

So if you find yourself Web-surfing the night away, take some time to relish in this long-lost gem of the Web. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. And you’ll learn a thing or two about life.

Jennifer BergenJen Bergen: A Twitter feed for the Seinfeld-obsessed 

I was in middle school and far away from New York when Seinfeld, which I watched every week, went off the air. Now, more than 10 years later, I live just a few blocks away from Tom’s Restaurant on the upper East Side and wish more than ever that the show was still on. Sure, as a kid I laughed at Kramer’s crazy antics, but I didn’t really understand the more adult jokes until years later watching reruns. Thankfully, it looks like my prayers have been answered … in the form of a Twitter account.

Scanning my Twitter feed Monday morning, I was surprised to see a retweet from an account by the name of “@SeinfeldToday.” I immediately began laughing and reading all of Modern Seinfeld’s tweets.

modern seinfeld tweetsI realized what I had stumbled upon … the present-day Seinfeld that jokes about things like being embarrassed about having a BlackBerry (George), breaking up with a girlfriend who Instagrams everything she eats (Jerry), accidentally restarting the Occupy movement (Kramer), and yelling at co-workers for loving Pinterest (Elaine). The genius minds behind @SeinfeldToday have created scenarios so real and so hilarious that only Seinfeld’s kookie characters could pull them off. Unless Larry David decides to bring the gang back together, this is the next best thing. 

Emerging Tech

This exotic new material somehow gets thicker when stretched

Scientists at the U.K.’s University of Leeds have discovered a synthetic material which actually gets thicker the more it’s stretched. Here are some of the things it could be used for.
Computing

Turn your desk into a command center with the best ultrawide monitors

Top of the line ultrawide monitors have the deepest curves, the sharpest colors, and the biggest screens on the market. You’re going to want one, sooner or later. So why not sooner? These are the best ultrawide monitors you can buy now.
Home Theater

Got a long plane ride ahead? Here's how to download movies from Netflix

If you want to watch your favorite Netflix films and TV shows but don't have a data connection, you need to download them to view offline. Here, we show you how to dfownload movies and TV series from Netflix in iOS, Android, or Windows 10.
Deals

Still have money in your Flexible Spending Account? Head to the FSA online store

Don’t panic if you still have money sitting in your FSA and no doctor's appointments on the horizon. The FSA store has plenty of cool, useful gizmos you’ll want to purchase for your home and your health.
Emerging Tech

Whether you fly for fun or filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Early-detection system for wildfires could save many states from big burns

When it comes to dealing with the growing problem of raging wildfires, a new wireless smart sensor system could help spot burgeoning blazes before they rage out of control. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk to unveil tunnel elevators and autonomous pods on December 18

We'll soon learn if Elon Musk's high-speed tunnel plan is a serious effort at ending traffic jams or little more than a fancy theme park ride. A big unveiling event is coming on December 18, a week later than originally planned.
Outdoors

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Black Diamond and Petzl to Coast here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again

Looking for the perfect toy or gadget for your child? Thankfully, we've rounded up some of our personal favorite tech toys, including microscopes, computer kits, and a spherical droid from a galaxy far, far away.
Emerging Tech

Scoot your commute! Here are the 9 best electric scooters on the market

Electric scooters are an affordable, convenient way to minimize your carbon footprint and zip around town. Check out 8 of our current favorites, whether you're working with a budget or have some cash to spare.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Hear the sounds of wind on Mars from InSight’s latest audio recording

NASA's InSight craft has captured the sound of the wind blowing on the surface of Mars. The audio file was picked up by the air pressure sensor and the seismometer which detected vibrations from the 10 to 15 mph winds in the area.