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Around the Web: Foliage Finder. Coal Creativity. Sick Sites. Cosmic Color. Doom Dialing.


Find out where and when the best fall foliage is likely to be. Turning coal ash into fibers. “Websites from Hell.” What is the average color of the universe—and does it have a Pantone number? A graphene-enhanced swimming pool. Creative hacking creates a “DoomPhone.” Turning blocks of wood into Velcro. What were the most important scientific developments of the past 50 years? Using a bowling ball for other sports. An Oregon entrepreneur develops vending machines that dispense arts and crafts. Remembering—against our will—the Pet Rock. What the heck was Grimace? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly milk crate stacking miscellany.

Your (Attempted) Friday Bass Cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World”

Five Leaves Left

Summer is drawing to an end and autumn is just around the corner. If leaf-peeping is your thing, we offer you this Fall Foliage Prediction Map courtesy SmokyMountains.com. Adjust the slider to see where and when the foliage will be at its most colorful.

High Water Mark

Anthracite for Sore Eyes

There is not a lot of good to say about coal from an environmental perspective, but one company is at least trying to mitigate some of the damage by turning coal ash into fibers, reducing the need to use more valuable raw materials. 

As it is with many revolutionary technologies past and present, it is the innate desire to solve an existing or emerging national crisis that gives birth to these ground-breaking innovations. Such is the case with GCS’ coal ash-to-mineral fiber conversion technology and our affiliate company’s (Eco Green Solutions) coal powered plant emissions capture technology. The global challenge to uncover a more comprehensive, safer and cost-effective solution for the management of coal ash has now been fulfilled through GCS. Be it fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, wet or dry coal ash, GCS’ operations can convert millions of tons of toxic coal ash from any kind of coal each year into 6 base mineral fibers that can be used to manufacture end-products such as paper, brake pads, textiles, building insulation, rubber and plastics, and carbon fiber precursors. All the while, providing as many as 500 direct jobs at each factory and cleaning up the harmful effects of coal ash across the country.     

Seeing Red


Do you like websites? And bad design? And crippling headaches? If so, good news! You’ll want to bookmark Websites From Hell and check back often, as it is a compilation (1,174 at present) of the worst in website design. While some date back to a time when bad web design was the norm, there are new examples being added often. You can search by domain, by color, or by “most hellish.” You can also “Become an Inquisitor” and submit your own example.

So True!

Across the [Beige] Universe

This week, Live Science’s Life’s Little Mysteries series asked, “What is the average color of the universe?” First off, don’t even think “black.”

“Black is not a color,” Ivan Baldry, a professor at the Liverpool John Moores University Astrophysics Research Institute in the U.K., told Live Science. “Black is just the absence of detectable light.” Instead, color is the result of visible light, which is created throughout the universe by stars and galaxies, he said. 

So, in 2002, Baldry and Karl Glazebrook measured the light coming from tens of thousands of galaxies and from it created a spectrum for the universe. From that, they were able to calculate the average color of the universe. Their study was published in The Astrophysical Journal.

What is the average color of the universe? Gotta say, you’re not gonna like it. It’s…beige. Yes, beige. Literally all the color in the universe averages out to beige. (Kind of makes sense when you think about it, disappointing though it may be.) However, they did decide to call it “cosmic latte” instead to maybe jazz it up a bit.

It is represented by the hexadecimal #FFF8E7, and even more disappointingly, there is no closely correspondingPantone color:

Dog Days

Pooling Their Resources

Was it a good week for graphene news? It’s always a good week for graphene news! Summer may be winding down, but when next year comes around, and temperatures soar even higher (cause that’s the way we roll these days, apparently), it may be time to finally put in that swimming pool, and what could be better than a graphene-enhanced swimming pool?

Aquatic Leisure Technologies (ALT) recently announced the world’s first commercial range of graphene-enhanced GFRP swimming pools. This follows June 2020’s announcement of First Graphene (FGR) entering an agreement with Aquatic Leisure Technologies to supply PureGRAPH products for development of pool innovations

Graphene Nano-Tech pools, which ALT claims are lighter, stronger and more durable than traditional GFRP pools, are manufactured using a process that combines graphene-infused resin with traditional GFRP fabrication.

… FG expects graphene GFRP technologies to be deployed across the leisure pools industry and in marine, water engineering and sports equipment markets. Emerging prototypes include a graphene GFRP surfboard and the first graphene-enhanced boat, which was built by Ascent Shipwrights in Perth, Australia, and is currently undergoing sea trials.

It’s a safe bet Cary Sherburne would love to beta test it.

Flavor of the Month

Dialing for Doom

Depending on who’s calling, just about any phone could be considered a “doom phone,” but software engineer Neil Bostian explains in rather meticulous detail how he hacked a business phone to run the first-person shooter game Doomand thus create the DoomPhone.

The grueling experience also resulted in some life lessons learned.

You are the sum of your experiences, not in years, but instead in some imaginary “experience points”. Live your life such that you maximize XP points in the various skills and achievements that matter most to you. For me, one of those skills happens…


Read More:Around the Web: Foliage Finder. Coal Creativity. Sick Sites. Cosmic Color. Doom Dialing.

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