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By Bulent Yusuf on at

How to Cook Virtually Anything in a Rice Cooker

It's true! This magical device isn't just capable of cooking delicious rice, it can also be used to bake bread, make porridge, cook a mean chilli, a chunky frittata, and even chocolate cake. It's an ingenious way to prepare delicious food on a budget, with the added bonus that you won't make a huge mess in the process. Here're five ideas to get you started.

How to Get Even More Out of a Raspberry Pi

By Bulent Yusuf on at

No doubt about it, the Raspberry Pi is nothing short of a homebrew phenomenon. Since its release in February 2012, the British micro-mini-computer has enabled legions of amateur inventors to develop projects both weird and wonderful. Here's a run-down of the most impressive applications, ranging from weather stations to retro arcades to a supercomputer array on a Lego rack. See if any of them inspire you to do the same.

Bypass Your PC's Crummy Built-In Soundcard With an External DAC/Headphone Amplifier

By Bulent Yusuf on at

If you consider yourself an audiophile, and have a large collection of digital music, you've probably spent a large chunk of change on a pair of headphones to plug into your PC or Mac. But here's the kicker: those headphones are only as good as the soundcard installed on your computer. And if you have a crummy soundcard, your music will sound lacklustre regardless of the luxury cans you slap over your ears.

How to Learn a Foreign Language for Free

By Bulent Yusuf on at

In the modern hustle-bustle of 21st century living, there's every chance that work, study or romance will take you overseas into another country. If you want to make a good impression, it doesn't hurt to bone up on your foreign language skills, and what’s more, it’s easy to do without spending a penny.

The British Carmakers Who Fought a Polio Epidemic With Iron Lungs

By Bulent Yusuf on at

Last month was the 100th anniversary of the first cars made by William Morris (1877-1963). The Morris-Oxford Light was a small car with a 1018 cc four-cylinder side-valve engine, made in 1913. But William Morris wasn't just a titan of the British car industry; he was also a philanthropist who manufactured and donated over 5,000 iron lungs to hospitals across the UK.

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Radiation Shielding, and Ten Other Uses for Poop

By Bulent Yusuf on at

Poop has been around for as long as there have been animals to produce it. It's a constant, brown, smelly presence in all of our lives. But over the long stretch of history, humanity has come up with some brilliant and clever uses for it.

Crowdsourced Transcription Project Discovers (Bad) Cookery Recipes By 18th Century Philosopher

By Bulent Yusuf on at

Take a walk through University College London, and you may stumble across a wooden display cabinet containing a human skeleton with a wax head wearing period dress. These are the remains of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), Enlightenment philosopher and spiritual founder of UCL. And thanks to an online crowdsourcing initiative called Transcribe Bentham, his work has taken on a new lease of life.

Harry Grindell Matthews, Madcap Inventor of the Death Ray and the Sky Projector

By Bulent Yusuf on at

Many inventors qualify as dreamers, but precious few captured the popular imagination in the same manner as Harry Grindell Matthews. In the early twentieth century he produced a litany of devices that were the stuff of science fiction and fantasy, chief among them the "Death Ray" and the "Sky Projector". But his reluctance to explain how they worked caused him to frequently butt heads with a sceptical establishment.

"A Rather Unusual Way to Write Books": The First Literary Work Produced With a Word Processor

By Bulent Yusuf on at

An Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland has identified the first literary work to be written with a word processor. The book is Bomber, by Len Deighton, a World War II thriller published to critical acclaim in 1970. The word processor used was an IBM MT72, marketed in the US as the IBM MT/ST (Magnetic Tape / Selectric Typewriter), a 90kg behemoth that was hoisted with a crane through a window into Deighton’s house.

A Scenic Tour of Wartime Britain's Five Intelligence Hubs

By Bulent Yusuf on at

There were many fronts of battle in World War II, and military intelligence had a part to play in all of them. Scattered all over the country were bases and labs where spies, analysts and technicians feverishly worked on cracking codes, studying photos, making maps and designing weapons. Here's a list of the five most important.