Burning stuff with solar power, the 35 least-watched shows on TV & every single Metallica “yeah”: the Weekend Linkdown

Rob Walker, Yahoo News
Rob Walker
Yahoo! News

By Rob Walker

It’s your favorite time of the work week: the home stretch. Here’s a week-ending list of completely non-vital links to help you through, and give you something to impress, or irritate, your Facebook friends. 

Object of the Week: No, it’s not the Vatican’s steampunky smoke-signal stove contraption, although that’s impressive. But check out the amazing “Good Vibrations Storage Unit” by Ferruccio Laviani—a piece of hand-carved glitch furniture.

Extreme DIYism: Robert Krulwich highlights the video “Burning Stuff With 2000˚ Solar Power!!” In it, a guy fashions a “giant solar scorcher,” using a repurposed TV screen, and uses it to burn wood, ignite gasoline, and melt metal in his back yard. “You shouldn’t try this at home,” he says, unnecessarily.

Architecture Fiction: eVolo presents the winners of its hypothetical skyscraper competition—basically renderings of buildings that are never going to exist (the Phobia Skyscraper, the Floating Skyscraper, etc.), but that look really cool and are in various ways provocative thought exercises.

The Best of the Useless: The Wall Street Journal had an excellent article this week about the “useless machine”—flick the switch on, and it sets in motion a lever that immediately flicks the switch back to off. That’s all it does.

This has been a DIY-world favorite for a few years, but the article gives the longer history, and the possibly ironic news that there’s been a lot of useless innovation around the thing. One guy made a version with eight switches, or instance. See that and more in this useless highlight-reel video. (Disclosure: I have built two useless machines! One from instructions in Make: Magazine, one from a Solarbotics kit.)

SFW: Wired’s always-worthwhile Rawfile photography blog shares images from Elizabeth Moran’s project, “The Armory.” The title refers to a historic San Francisco building that happens to be the studio space of a pornography company. Moran photographs the sets—but empty, without the actors. Oddly fascinating.

Have You Seen These Shows? Because nobody else has: BuzzFeed’s amusing (and rather sad) list of the 35 Least-Watched Shows on TV. Via @pkafka.

Weirdly Specific (in a brilliant way) Review Site of the Week: “Reviews based purely on the feel of the knob,” is how KnobFeel explains itself. Basically it features short video clips of someone turning the knobs on amplifiers, and evaluating how they feel, mostly by way of grunts, moans, and other sub-language noises. I certainly can’t think of a better approach to reviewing knobs. (Thanks to Paul Lukas for the tip.)

#letsoverthinkeverything: The Week ponders “what your email sign-off says about you.”
Oh Yeah: I share this partly just to see if my wife is reading, but it’s pretty great: “Every James Hetfield ‘Yea’  … ever,” a 3:16 audio supercut of the Metallica singer. Via Metafilter.