Destruction and chaos in Diablo 3’s “Whimsyshire”

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The Diablo video game series is known for many things, but none of them are unicorns.

Until now.

Diablo 3, the newest in the adventure, has revealed a secret level entitled “Whimsyshire”. The above video shows the transition from a typically dark and bleak level to this magical land of happy clouds and rainbows.

But don’t fret, hardcore Diablo fans - the violence follows the characters into this land of cotton candy quirkiness!

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An essay on unicorns in history - juxtaposed with rockin’ unicorn and narwhal Etsy swag!

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We confess: We skipped over Cate Fitt's thought-provoking essay on unicorns and rainbows to check out the pics of what to add to our Etsy wish list. The items above are some of our favorites, but there are plenty more to be found at the link above!

As for Cate’s essay, we beg to differ with both her professor and the conclusion. Here is our rebuttal:

Unicorns, by their nature, defy cliche. Those who do not should resign their role as these majestic creatures and step into the unemployment line reserved for tired jokes and caricatures: Ally McBeal’s dancing baby, the pseudo-phrase “Wazzzzzuuuupppp?”, Michael Jackson circa 1994. Unicorns will remain as real as their work, creating wonderment and whimsy throughout the galaxy. As long as imagination and possibility are alive, so will be the unicorn.

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Peace, Love, and Unicorns: A geometric unicorn mural

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Artist Zéh Palito shows us that unicorn art has come a long way since The Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries.

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Tie-Dyed Cookies are Edible Rainbows

Recipe: Tie-dye cookies
Adapted from Diamonds for Dessert
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tsp vanilla extract

Cream the butter and the two sugars together with a mixer or a large wooden spoon.  Mix in vanilla extract.  Spit what you have so far into four different bowls.  Add a little food colouring (seriously, you don’t even need 1/4 tsp, these dyes are so powerful) to each bowl (see gif image above) and mix until batter is bright and colourful.

Add an equal amount of the remaining flour to each bowl.  It will work out to be 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp of flour if you have four different bowls of batter.  Mix just until a dough forms and no flour streaks remain.

Press the dough, one colour at a time, into a small, wax-paper lined loaf pan.  You should be forming coloured “layers” with the different bowls of batter.  The picture of The Cooking Photographer blog (see link above) best illustrates this.

Refrigerate dough in pan for at least one hour.  Once the dough is firm, remove from the refrigerator. Slice 1/4″ thick slices from the dough rectangle.  Slice the piece in half and place the cookies onto the baking sheets.  This is what my dough looked like when I took it out of the fridge.

Cook on parchment paper lined baking sheets at 325°F for about 12 minutes, or until cookies are no longer oily looking on top.

Makes two dozen.

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The cookies above are not moldy, regardless of what their unnatural array of colors might indicate.

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A New Form of Child Enhancement: Unicornize Them!

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While this horn-to-head addition may seem like a brutal augmentation procedure, it sure is adorable! And we certainly love the color coordination of the little boy’s horn with both his shirt and eyes.

By the way, rock candy is made from unicorn mucus, so keep that in mind when you dive into the sweet treats surrounding the cake.

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Rainbow Unicorn Store!

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Etsy store owner Craftzillaconquers offers a really amazing array of unicorn novelty at this store, entitled “Rainbows and Unicorns, Together at Last”. Interestingly, you can’t buy a rainbow from this rainbow/unicorn store, but you can buy Boba Fett riding a unicorn and some kind of print featuring a keytar. Click the pic above for the whole selection!

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Rainbow Art, Courtesy of Your Trash Can
      via treehugger.com
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Artist Liz Jones is making some fabulous art out of found objects - usually found in the trash can. Her “Rubbish Rainbows” are all the rage!  
Tough luck for all the black Bic lighters out there. Your 15 minutes of fame will come… 
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Rainbow Art, Courtesy of Your Trash Can

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Artist Liz Jones is making some fabulous art out of found objects - usually found in the trash can. Her “Rubbish Rainbows” are all the rage!

Tough luck for all the black Bic lighters out there. Your 15 minutes of fame will come…

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Scientists trap a rainbow!

A rainbow is seen over the Washington Monument...

Image by AFP via @daylife

 ”Scientists trap a rainbow.”  The headline makes it sound like the end result of a series of experiments that began as a hastily made, ill-thought out promise to a small child. 

“I’m sorry I missed your play, but don’t worry – daddy will get you whatever you want for your birthday!  What do you want?”

“I want a rainbow!”

“…”

Or, my preferred alternative, it’s the culmination of an escalating series of boasts by a couple of drunk engineers, as a hasty comedown from “I can build a turbine powered by unicorn horns!”

The actual origins of rainbow trapping are, I admit, probably a bit more mundane.  But the end result is cool nonetheless.  Here’s the story: a team of researchers at Lehigh University have successfully developed a plasmonic surface capable of trapping a rainbow.  That is, it takes the broadband spectrum of light and slows it down so that each individual wavelength (color) of light gets separated–making it easier to process any information contained therein.

 And if you read the above sentence thinking to yourself, “What’s ‘plasmonic’ mean?”, you’re not alone — I had to spend a few hours researching it myself.  But what I found is fascinating.  When light hits a plasmonic surface, it creates a wave of electrons that move at the same frequencies as photons, rather than the much slower frequencies of an electric current.  But while photons have to be transmitted over fiberoptic cable — which is too bulky to be a computer component, plamons can be transmitted over wire, just like those used for traditional electronics. 

Apart from potential computing applications, plasmonics can be used as biosensors, making it possible to more easily determine what your body is doing, and potentially make it easier for doctors to diagnose disease.

In the case of this rainbow-trapping plasmonic surface, the researchers at Lehigh created “adiabatically graded metallic gratings”, which are basically small, nanosized grooves in a sheet of silver.  The gratings themselves were so small that the dimensions had to be confirmed with atomic force microscopy.

However, once the grade depths were confirmed, light was focused on the surface.  Each of the individual grooves captured a different color of light — kind of like a prism separating white light into its colors — thereby “trapping” the rainbow on the plasmonic surface.  Each color is slowed to a different speed, making it easier to process the data being transmitted.  That improved processing means that it can potentially be used to improve current biosensors and make it easier for doctors to monitor the health of their patients.

It will be interesting to see where this area of plasmonics research goes.  I may have only learned what plasmonics was a few hours ago, but I’m hooked now.  You can look forward on some follow ups to this and other areas of plasmonic research.

Also, a final word of advice to any unicorns who might be reading this: watch your backs.  Drunk engineers on a mission are relentless.

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It’s just like science to want to trap a rainbow. Rainbows, like unicorns, should be afforded a certain degree of freedom. Sure, rainbows have their contractual obligation to appear multiple times a week in Hawaii, and they must fill their quota of YouTube videos. Still, they should be allowed to create their schedules and, therefore, their destinies.

Join us in our campaign to free the rainbows from science!

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