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What is this mystery object?

I found this in my flat and have no idea what it is or where it came from. Any ideas? It is about 2" in diameter and has a spike that rotates out around a weighted axel that automatically rotates the spike back when let go and holds it in the retracted position with a small magnet. Front view, Back view, view with spike out
posted by mairuzu on Mar 23, 2014 - 8 answers

Making Convoluted Text Simple Visually

Sometimes, some documents I read are so convoluted that I don't understand what they are telling me. I've found this to be true in for legal documents including terms of agreements and constitutions among others. Is there any kind of program that looks at the syntax of sections of text and converts them into block diagrams showing the relationships between subjects and objects with the verb, adverbs, adjectives, etc. showing how they are connected? For instance, if it was highlighting the sentence, "See Spot run", there would be two boxes, one labeled Spot and one labeled You with an arrow connecting the latter to the former. I'm thinking of something similar to sentence diagramming but graphically represented and not nearly as complicated. It seems to me that if something could lay out all of the relationships within a document, that would make it much easier for someone to understand what it means. Or is that magical thinking on my part?
posted by CollectiveMind on Jan 26, 2014 - 8 answers

Looking for a working Bakelite radio in the U.S

Aside from the standard stops ( etsy, eBay, etc ) where should I be looking to find a breadbox-sized, working radio from the 1930s-40s? Ideally Bakelite but not a deal breaker. Ideally shipping from the U.S? A period shell over modern electronics/cords is fine.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 28, 2013 - 8 answers

Mystery Object

I found this object in a cigar box: Mystery Object views 1, 2, 3, 4. It weighs about an ounce according to my kitchen scale. It seems to be broken off of something or a piece of it was broken off (image 3). [more inside]
posted by backwords on Oct 20, 2013 - 10 answers

Is there any man-made object so long that it won't lie flat?

In other words, something, like a pipe, that is so long and straight that it can't be laid flat on the earth because of the latter's curvature?
posted by gnossie on Oct 17, 2013 - 26 answers

Endless Loop

Can code quality be brought in to a fast and loose web shop? [more inside]
posted by j_curiouser on Oct 16, 2013 - 9 answers

Movies/Television: Stories with a recurring person/object in background?

I am looking for movies (or related) that contain an unusual twist: At the end, it is revealed that unbeknownst to everyone there was a person or object repeatedly appearing in the background. [more inside]
posted by 99percentfake on Oct 3, 2013 - 31 answers

Pursuit hampered by object in center; what's this called?

You know the scene, from many an old comedy or cartoon. A is chasing B. B runs around the edge of an object, such as a large table, so as to put the obstacle between himself and A. Perhaps A and B run around the table a few times. Then A starts to get tricky. A starts to go clockwise around the table, B goes clockwise to get away, A switches direction hoping to run into B coming the other way, but B also reverses, keeping the table between them. Feint back and forth a few times, usually keeping close to the edge of the table. The usual end gag is for A to somehow overcome the barrier of the table and short-cut directly to B; such as leaping over the table, throwing the table aside, or opening the table in half and walking through it (if it's one of those tables where you can add panels to the center). What is this 'circular back and forth chase around an obstacle' called? [more inside]
posted by The otter lady on Aug 27, 2013 - 14 answers

What is this mystery object my grandmother found in her home?

What is this mystery object my grandmother found in her home? Pics inside. [more inside]
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints on Aug 20, 2013 - 35 answers

Waxing on the object, thinking about the subject?

Blogs devoted to objects, fascinating and everyday? [more inside]
posted by actionpact on Aug 18, 2013 - 6 answers

ExcelFilter: Why do my arrow keys select objects instead of nudge?

Excel 2010. Inside a chart. Arrow keys select other objects/elements inside the chart, instead of nudging. In an identical chart in the same worksheet, the arrow keys work fine (they nudge objects/elements). Scroll Lock is not enabled. The "select objects" option in the Find and Select menu does nothing. Google shows nothing. Help!
posted by ArgyleGargoyle on Jul 16, 2013 - 3 answers

What is this mystery thing?

In the top left of the main photo on this website there is a large balloon/bag-like thing that seems to be hanging from the ceiling. Any ideas what it could be?
posted by soymilk on Jul 16, 2013 - 9 answers

What is your ultimate 'never let you down' object?

What is the item you own that is completely 'fit and forget'? What is the thing in your life which needs the least minuscule amount of attention, upgrades, tweaking, watering, oiling, sharpening, and so on? It performs 100% and you can utterly rely on its metronomic efficiency. Consulting the hive mind for recommended products you use which do their job and do it well all the time. Your go to thing that, y'know, just works... Every Single Time. [more inside]
posted by 0 answers on May 27, 2013 - 70 answers

What is the purpose and name of this object?

My friends have a house-sit. The house's owners possess two of these objects. We don't recognize them. The blades are sharpened, and they were stored beneath the sink. We have some strong theories, but no real answers. The owners are Bangladeshi Americans, if that helps. [more inside]
posted by eyesontheroad on Jan 20, 2013 - 5 answers

Is this a toy or a birth control device?

What is this mystery object found on the floor of a public bathroom at a Boston Best Buy?
posted by Dragonness on Apr 30, 2012 - 16 answers

What are these large metal objects?

What are these large metal objects? [more inside]
posted by andrewpendleton on Mar 18, 2012 - 8 answers

Enjoy and share

A quote from a recent NYT article about American-invented Chinese takeout boxes states, "The structure has come to represent the idea of Eastern cuisine in Western society even though this packaging is not used for food containment in Chinese culture." Is there a term for these kinds of cultural placeholders, objects which end up symbolizing another culture, while not actually having anything to do with that culture in reality? Are there other examples of this?
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 15, 2012 - 67 answers

What is this object I found in Goodwill?

What is this? Spotted in a Goodwill, with no documentation or package. The smushed-ball thing is metal, and the cable is very flexible. The base is plastic.
posted by everichon on Dec 21, 2011 - 4 answers

AUTOCAD - Why won't my inserted block change to the color of the layer I've put it in?

I inserted a product block into an AutoCAD drawing that I downloaded from the manufacturer's website. I moved it to the layer I want, but it won't 'take' the color of that layer. What gives? [more inside]
posted by lovableiago on Nov 11, 2011 - 5 answers

Mystery wooden thing-a-ma-bob.

What *is* this thing? [more inside]
posted by tau_ceti on Aug 8, 2011 - 11 answers

Google officially thinks I'm an idiot now that I've searched for "train tracks speed bump".

What is this orange apparatus on the train tracks? [more inside]
posted by halogen on Jul 31, 2011 - 5 answers

Outlook screws up pasted Excel objects

Why does Outlook render spreadsheet data pasted into an email so shittily, and how can I avoid this? [more inside]
posted by goethean on Jun 28, 2011 - 11 answers

methods or products to query objects?

What are some "end user" products (preferably open source) or methodologies that allow complex queries of objects? I want to allow both programmers and non-programmers to be able to access the data. [more inside]
posted by santogold on May 20, 2011 - 10 answers

Mystery object in military photo?

Mystery object in military photo? [more inside]
posted by Tom-B on Nov 28, 2010 - 19 answers

Dancing with an Object

What sort of performances (dance, music videos, etc) involve a solo dancer dancing with an object as their lover? [more inside]
posted by divabat on May 16, 2010 - 17 answers

What is it?

What is this? [more inside]
posted by Chrischris on May 12, 2010 - 9 answers

Strange utensil

Help identify what is presumably an unusual piece of cutlery. Photos inside. [more inside]
posted by fire&wings on Feb 2, 2010 - 8 answers

What is this peculiar hook-like object?

Can you help me identify this object? [more inside]
posted by nfg on Jan 4, 2010 - 9 answers

Alien artifact?

I found something in the road. It's metallic and magnetic. Just curious if anyone can tell me what it might be. Photo here and here. Thanks.
posted by various on Apr 11, 2009 - 11 answers

But... what does it do?

Can you identify the function of this mysterious jade object? [more inside]
posted by halogen on Dec 21, 2008 - 24 answers

Please help identify object in basement.

Can anyone help identify this object in the basement of an a 10 unit multifamily building built in 1915. I have posted a link to a flickr account with pictures. [more inside]
posted by mihaca on Nov 28, 2008 - 6 answers

What the heck is that?

Can you identify this implement? [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Nov 12, 2008 - 4 answers

Imprinting in Blender

How to get an "imprint" of a model in Blender? [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 26, 2008 - 5 answers

Help me identify this metal mouth-like object!

Help me identify this mystery object. It looks sort of like a set of metallic false teeth, smaller than life-size, with a metal tube or something where the tongue should be. [more inside]
posted by kpmcguire on May 30, 2008 - 13 answers

Show me some mystery objects.

Are there any good online resources for "Mystery Object" games? [more inside]
posted by djstig on May 9, 2008 - 5 answers

[There is rockets.] vs [There are rockets.]

GrammarFilter: True/False -- The following sentence can be grammatically correct. There's rockets. [more inside]
posted by Quarter Pincher on Apr 29, 2008 - 53 answers

Measuring overlap in graphical objects

SVG or Java: Measuring the overlap of graphic objects [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Feb 18, 2008 - 5 answers

ObjectFilter

Help me identify this vicious-looking implement. [more inside]
posted by bad grammar on Dec 30, 2007 - 24 answers

What is this giant red and orange cone-shaped thing?

What is this large red and orange checkerboarded cone I saw on I-5 somewhere around Olympia, WA?
posted by 0xFCAF on Aug 6, 2007 - 11 answers

What is this mysterious tiny object?

What is this thing? I got it from ArtchixStudio but they're not talking. I use it for jewelry-making purposes, but to me it's so odd it must have a hardware or other practical use. Here is another view. Help me, hive mind!
posted by agregoli on Jul 17, 2007 - 4 answers

What is this strange object attached to my basement floor?

What is this strange object attached to my basement floor? [more inside]
posted by fusinski on Jul 1, 2007 - 23 answers

How do I get food out of my sinus cavity?

Food in sinus cavity, need help extricating it! Kind of icky... [more inside]
posted by Mister Cheese on Apr 26, 2007 - 25 answers

object for iframe

Using Object instead of iframe for Google Calendar embeds? [more inside]
posted by juiceCake on Jan 16, 2007 - 2 answers

Bridging PHP and Python object serialization

Bridging PHP and Python object serialization [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Oct 10, 2006 - 7 answers

What is this mystery object?

What the heck is this mystery object? [more inside]
posted by kcds on Sep 25, 2006 - 23 answers

QTVR Object Photography Software

I need to create many, many QTVR object files (NOT panoramas). What software can I use to turn a collection of images into a rotatable object? Theres a little... [more inside]
posted by lemonfridge on Sep 19, 2006 - 3 answers

Where to find illustrated body parts to mix to create infinite character position/attitudes ?

Where to find illustrated body parts to mix to create infinite character position/attitudes ? [more inside]
posted by vincentm on Mar 14, 2006 - 5 answers

Why are movies embedded rather than linked?

Why do sites show movies embedded in a tiny web page rather than linking to it so I can view it in the media player of my choice?
posted by Nelson on Jan 20, 2005 - 17 answers

Source Files?

Why (in general) do you need source files? Why can't applications manipulate binary files directly? [more inside.] [more inside]
posted by grumblebee on Jan 15, 2004 - 10 answers

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