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Archive for November, 2008

Speaking of half-baked…

Saturday, 29 November, 2008 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

A reader on the forums suggested this: Variety Bread.

Much like you can get variety cereal packs, you should be able to buy bread where every slice in the loaf is a random thickness and kind of bread. You might get white, you might get wholemeal, you might get farmhouse, you might get milk loaf. Random sandwiches!

Sounds good to us! We envision some sort of giant bread-slice-shuffling machine, similar to what’s used to randomise and package collectible game cards. In fact, running with this idea, you could have different rarity levels for the types of bread. In each loaf you’d get 15 common slices (white, wholemeal), 5 uncommon slices (sourdough, rye), and 1 rare slice (raisin bread, German pumpernickel). And maybe extra-rare “chase” slices, like marble-rye.

Holy cow, we could make a fortune doing this!

More Lightning! Made of Owls!

Wednesday, 26 November, 2008 | Posted in Lightning Made of Owls by David Morgan-Mar

We have enough strips from contributors that we’re boosting the update schedule for Lightning Made of Owls to three times a week. We’re adding Monday to the Wednesday and Saturday updates.

But we are always going to need more comics! So if you’re thinking about contributing, get cracking!

RSS feeds for new comics

Monday, 24 November, 2008 | Posted in Lightning Made of Owls, News, Square Root of Minus Garfield by The Hyperstig

More of the tedious gruntwork for guess who? I toil late into the night to bring you:

And what thanks do I get? I’m lucky if they buy me lunch at the mezzacotta Café.

mezzacotta Café

Sunday, 23 November, 2008 | Posted in Cafe, Ideas, News by Andrew Coker

Our frenzy of releasing new features on mezzacotta continues! We are pleased to present the mezzacotta Café, serving a variety of snacks and light refreshments. Our chef is known for his remarkable approach to cooking, in which ingredients are assembled into a myriad of new combinations and styles. But he can be a bit unpredictable sometimes, and his taste is, well… unique.

Square Root of Minus Garfield

Friday, 21 November, 2008 | Posted in Square Root of Minus Garfield by David Morgan-Mar

Not content to launch just one new webcomic this week, we’ve decided to launch another one*:
Square Root of Minus Garfield.

Garfield is one of the best known comic strips ever, and is the source for many forms of parody and mash-up webcomics – the best known of those being Garfield Minus Garfield.

So naturally we were sitting around one day, pondering what we could do to make our own Garfield mash-up comic. And within half an hour we’d come up with a dozen or so completely different ideas for how to modify Garfield strips into something else amusing. So the only thing for it was to go with the concept of a meta-mash-up webcomic, where each strip is a different style of Garfield mash-up.

We actually have two strips up already, to (hopefully) demonstrate the concept. And we’re open to reader submissions, too. If you have an idea for a new style of Garfield mash-up, modify a strip and send it to us.

* At some point we want to go for the record of “most new webcomics launched in a single week”. In fact, did we just take the title with 2?

Not worth its weight in gold

Thursday, 20 November, 2008 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David McLeish

This started as a conversation about fitting Magic: The Gathering cards in a camera box, but then the phrase “worth its weight in gold” came up and it took a different turn.

In what forms is gold itself not actually worth its own weight in gold?

On the one hand, it seems pretty straightforward to make gold worth more than its weight in gold. If you took a gold bullion bar and had someone famous etch their signature on it (without scraping away any of the gold), then you could sell it for more than just the value of the metal. In fact, in theory, anyone could sign the gold bar, or indeed make a random doodle on it, and it would (slightly) increase its value. On the other hand, we couldn’t quite agree whether that would increase its value because it’s unique, or decrease it because it looks damaged.

On the third hand, it seems unlikely that anyone who’s serious about trading gold by weight would value it less than its actual actual weight in gold, regardless of what form it’s in. Of course, the difference between “unlikely” and “impossible” is just a matter of posing the right scenario, so this led us to ask whether it’s possible to make gold into such an inconvenient form that it’s worth significantly less than the market value of the gold itself.

One obvious way to do this is to combine it into some otherwise useless alloy or mixture such that it’s expensive to refine it back into pure gold. (Come to think of it, that’s more or less what gold ore is.) Another way is to make it inaccessible, say, by launching it into orbit, or pouring it into a S-bend in a pipe running through solid concrete of an underground bunker (sharks should also be involved somehow). Come to think of it, you could give the gold negative value by making it a liability; a gold pillar that’s structurally integral to, say, an orphanage, that will give way any day now but will cost more than the value of the gold to replace, is not something of which you would want to be a proud owner.

But all these ideas somehow go against the spirit of the challenge by introducing other factors (alloys, bunkers, orphanages) as obstacles. We’re interested in making a quantity of gold, standing on its own and fully accessible, as worthless, as a proportion of the market value of an equivalent weight in bullion, as possible.

Our best idea so far is to construct some kind of solid gold death trap. The idea is to build a structure that, although made of pure gold and in principle able to be melted down and sold by weight, is so lethally hazardous to even approach that you wouldn’t be able to pay people to take it away.

So far, we have only the sketchiest ideas of how to construct such a thing. If you have any suggestions, let us know in the forums.

Lightning Made of Owls Launches!

Wednesday, 19 November, 2008 | Posted in Lightning Made of Owls by David Morgan-Mar

The first comic for Lightning Made of Owls has gone up!

We’re planning to update twice a week for now (Wednesdays and Saturdays), until we see how fast contributions come in. If the buffer starts building up, we’ll increase the update frequency to suit.

Owls cast finalised – start drawing!

Sunday, 16 November, 2008 | Posted in Lightning Made of Owls by David Morgan-Mar

We’ve finalised the initial cast list for Lightning Made of Owls. You can see the six primary characters here.

Now it’s time to get to work and make some comics! Send your comics to us and we’ll queue them up. Hopefully we will start publishing strips next weekend.

Meanwhile, we’re still working on the site, tidying up the formatting, coding, and design, so expect some changes over the next week.

Bombs in ATMs

Thursday, 13 November, 2008 | Posted in Bad Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

The convenience store across the road from my work installed an ATM. Within 48 hours, it had been ram-raided.

This got us thinking. How could you prevent ram-raiding? Solution: Install bombs in ATMs! With vibration-sensitive detonators. Someone tries to ram-raid that sucker… KABLOOEY! They ain’t getting away with any money.

Which reminded us of old-fashioned pinball machines. They had tilt sensors in them to detect when you were trying to jiggle the machine to make the ball do certain things to your advantage. They had a certain threshold level – you could bump the machine a little bit, but if you went over the threshold it would register a tilt and you’d lose your ball.

You could make pinball machines more exciting by installing bombs in them too! Bump the machine a little, you’re okay. But go too far… KABLOOEY! You ain’t tilting a pinball machine again.

But back to ATMs. This might actually work, you know. If you install vibration-sensitive bombs in ATMs, and advertise the fact, what thief in their right mind will even attempt to ram-raid an ATM? Nobody will actually get blown up because nobody will even try to steal one. Brilliant!

Just don’t mention earthquakes, okay?


Tuesday, 11 November, 2008 | Posted in Raw Ideas by David Morgan-Mar

BananahengeLegohengeIt’s like Stonehenge, only made of something else!

Anyone can make one; anyone can photograph one!

Make a Thinghenge! Take a photo! Post it to this Flickr group! Get all your friends to make new Thinghenges and post them!