How to brew coffee like it's the 19th century

Brew coffee 19th century style with a balancing siphon

You’ve got your French press, your coffee cone, and your Moka Pot to name but a few ways to make coffee. But how about a 19th-century balancing siphon? Boing Boing showed off this throwback contraption in the video above and it certainly has some flair to it.

The balancing siphon was notably used in Belgium by the royal family who would make their coffees using the device, as well as in France:

By 1850 the double-globe glass coffee maker had generally fallen out of favor in France, and the fashionable Parisians embraced the next incarnation of the vacuum brewer – the Balancing Siphon. In this arrangement, the two vessels are arranged side-by-side, with a siphon tube connecting the two. Coffee is placed in one side (usually glass), and water in the other (usually ceramic). A spirit lamp heats the water, forcing it through the tube and into the other vessel, where it mixes with the coffee. As the water is transferred from one vessel to the other, a balancing system based on a counterweight or spring mechanism is activated by the change in weight. This in turn triggers the extinguishing of the lamp. A partial vacuum is formed, which siphons the brewed coffee through a filter and back into the first vessel, from which is dispensed by means of a spigot. Sometimes called a Viennese Siphon Machine or a Gabet, after Louis Gabet, whose 1844 patent included his very successful counterweight mechanism, the Balancing Siphon was both safer than the French Balloon, and was completely automatic.

via Brian Harris

The good news is you can buy your own balancing siphon on Amazon but they aren’t cheap. Here’s a list of 4:

Coffee related: An oral history of the weird Folgers “incest” commercial

When Batman mercilessly killed that Red Triangle Gang member

Batman Kills Circus Clown Strongman

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched Batman Returns and yet somehow, after 28 years of watching it, I missed a vital piece of this infamous scene. It’s the one where Batman comes face-to-face (lol) with a member of the Red Triangle Gang—a bald giant of a man who goads Batman into hitting him. The Caped Crusader uncharacteristically takes the bait but it’s all a ruse, for he’s slipped a bomb into the circus performer’s pants. The bald giant looks down, realises his fate, Batman hits him properly this time into a hole, and BOOM!

That’s right—Batman killed a guy.

But back to my point of missing a key element from the scene. I used to think the bomb was already in the guy’s pants/belt area and he was some kind of kamikaze clown that planned to take Batman with him into the afterlife. I clearly wasn’t watching properly as Batman was always carrying the bomb in his hand. It’s very clear and it’s on me for missing it for nearly 30 years but perhaps the ethos of Batman refusing to kill people for no real reason clouded my judgment. He didn’t have to do that!

(via Den of Geek)

9/21/21

I’ve been waiting months for this and it’s finally here. So sad that it’s the last one but what a send-off.

For those who don’t know, Demi Adejuyigbe has been making videos to commemorate 21st September, the date Earth, Wind & Fire sang about in ‘September‘, and to donate to various charities over the years. They’ve become more elaborate as time has gone on and today’s was his last.

This year’s charities are

  • West Fund – a west Texas abortion fund that uses collective resources to uplift border communities.
  • Sunrise – a climate change advocacy group
  • Imagine Water Works – a Mutual Aid Response Network in New Orleans that helps people during floods, storms, and other natural and manmade disasters.

You can donate to any or all of them using this link and watch all 6 of his 9/21 videos on YouTube.

An oral history of the weird Folgers "incest" commercial

Folgers Coffee Brother & Sister Home For Christmas 2009 Christmas TV Commercial HD

Living in the UK, I never got to see this controversial Folgers coffee commercial. But I found out about it through this oral history by GQ:

“Coming Home” opens with a taxi dropping a young man off outside a snow-covered house bedecked in Christmas decorations early one morning. A young woman excitedly opens the door and establishes that she’s his sister by pointing at herself and saying “sister!” He’s weary, having just returned from volunteering in “West Africa,” and the two share a cup of freshly-brewed Folgers coffee while their parents are still asleep. (In some versions he even says “ah, real coffee,” as if he didn’t just come from where some of the best coffee in the world is produced.) He hands her a small present, but instead of opening it, she peels off the red bow and sticks it on his shirt. “What are you doing?” he asks. “You’re my present this year,” she responds. The camera zooms in on her shy glance, then cuts to his furtive, flirty smile. Those three seconds sealed its fate forever.

When I first saw the ad, I thought: wait, are they fucking? (Then, every time after that: okay, they’re definitely fucking.) As I would come to learn, I was hardly alone. The reaction to the ad was an example of the internet at its most fun—the phenomenon of collectively realizing that the specific thing that you believed you’ve singularly noticed is actually a widely-held opinion. Memes, articles, and parody videos abounded. It even inspired a genre of vividly-rendered fan fiction known as “Folgerscest.”

It is weird and does give off incestuous vibes. But the people behind the commercial didn’t feel that way:

Jerry Boyle (SVP and executive producer at Saatchi & Saatchi): You kind of get sucked into the story, which is nice. It was all very, very innocent. Obviously what’s happened since then has been a real … something that nobody imagined happening. And our client is so wholesome. It was, we thought, emotional.

What people read into it—once that took off—was just insane.

This was my favourite reaction, and the first one to notice the strange vibe between the brother and sister:

Alexa Marinos (corporate communications manager): I’m a marketer by trade so I always pay attention to commercials and ads, particularly holiday ones because I’m always curious to see how brands flex and adapt their marketing for the holiday season. I used to do all my writing in front of the television. So when, I’ll call it, “Peter Comes Home for Christmas 2.0” aired I was sitting in front of my laptop. And I just remember immediately critiquing the spot in my head as a marketer. Particularly the casting, the casting seemed off to me. I was like “why is Peter’s little sister 22 instead of four? And why is Peter, like, vibing on his little sister?”

I hope nobody ever puts a gift bow on me.

Non-creept commercial related: Commercial Break: a YouTube channel for archiving commercials

Famous people solving Rubik's cubes

Restoring a Tissot 1853 watch found on the ground

TISSOT 1853 Restoration old watch | Restoring

I initially found this video on Twitter and it’s the most intricate restoration I’ve ever seen. Normally, I watch Game Boy restorations but watching this Tissot 1853 watch come back to life was beautiful. Professional watchmakers, or horologists, often have to obtain watchmaking degrees at technical schools to ply their trade with watch companies. So this kind of repair is no mean feat.

100 incredible 3D renders of a person walking

Top 100 3D Renders from the Internet's Largest CG Challenge | Alternate Realities

A few months ago, pwnisher challenged 3D artists to create an animation of a person (or humanoid at least) walking forward but that humanoid was demonstrating some difficulty in doing so. Sorry, I suck at describing it so you’ll have to watch the above video. 2,400 artists entered and the video shows the top 100 who were chosen. 5 lucky applicants won prizes from Rokoko, Wacom, Quixel, PNY, and Aftershokz. Watch the top 100 above.

The world is full of talented and creative people.

The magic of a stenographer

Court Reporter MAGIC! The Steno Machine

Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand and a stenographer is someone who transcribes that shorthand on a steno machine into readable text. Above is a video of a stenographer transcribing what is said in court. The steno machine wouldn’t look out of place in a kid’s toy section (remember those VTech computers?) and stenographers look like concert pianists.

Introducing the Sony SL-C7 Betamax recorder

Sony SL-C7 Betamax promotional tape | Introducing the Sony SL-C7

Sony SL-C7 tech specs

  • PAL colour
  • 75-ohm, asymmetrical aerial socket
  • UHF channel coverage
  • 260 line resolution (300 in B/W)
  • Frequency response of 50Hz–10,000Hz
  • Phono jack input/output
  • Mini jack mic
  • Tape speed: 18.73 mm/sec.
  • 2 hours 10 min, max recording time with Sony L-500 cassette. 3 hours 15 min with L-750
  • 24-hour cycle
  • For recording: 4 events/ 2 weeks, adjustable for any day or for all 7 days of the week or for every week
  • Dimensions: ~485 x 163 x 379 mm

Toy Galaxy on Samurai Pizza Cats

The Many Controversies of Samurai Pizza Cats: Racism, Gag Dubs & Disney Trying to Kill It!

They’re cats who are also samurai and they like pizza. What’s not to love? Unfortunately, racism and a bunch of other issues stopped Samurai Pizza Cats from being greater than the premise was and Dan Larson tells the story of its history.

If you want to see what all the fuss was about, you can stream it for free on Peacock or Amazon Prime.