As the North Vietnamese Army captured Saigon, Ba Van Nguyen was one of the thousands of South Vietnamese desperately fleeing the country. Nguyen, a major in the South Vietnamese Air Force, would be executed and his family would be sent to concentration camps if he was caught. But Major Nguyen had a plan: he'd moved his family to his mother-in-law's house near a soccer field, and told his wife to listen for--and be ready when she heard--the distinctive whump-whump-whump-whump chopping sound made by the twin rotors of his CH-47 Chinook, the largest helicopter in the South Vietnamese Air Force. Early on the morning of April 29, 1975…
Some short videos from a Japanese construction shop that practices traditional joinery techniques. The tools are modern, but the components and joinery techniques are traditional. For instance, joining two beams end-to-end. [more inside]
A putter is a 'putter together of scissors.' This short documentary by Shaun Bloodworth follows the work of Cliff Denton, who works at Ernest Wright & Sons of Sheffield, one of the last remaining hand manufacturers of scissors. More from the BBC, with Eric Stones, the other Master Puttertogetherer at the factory.
Mental Floss links to free How-To guides from a hundred years ago that are still helpful if you need to mesmerize someone or name a baby
Razor clam digging with Captain Milt Gudgell. Follow Milt as he takes you clam digging on the Long Beach Peninsula. [more inside]
"We have little trouble recognizing that a chess grandmaster’s victory over a novice is skill, as well as assuming that Paul the octopus’s ability to predict World Cup games is due to chance. But what about everything else?" [Luck and Skill Untangled: The Science of Success]
The Best Pole Dance Ever. SLYT. Banish your preconceived notions and prepare to be amazed.
98 year old woman just got her 10th level black belt in Judo. Only three people in the world, all men living in Japan, have ever reached that mark. The martial arts promotion by USA Judo brought 98-year-old Fukuda to tears at the women's dojo where she still teaches in Noe Valley. Last week, Sensei Keiko Fukuda of San Francisco became the first woman to be promoted to judo's highest level: 10th degree black belt. Video about Fukuda Keiko. [more inside]
Mad skillz with simple things: balancing sticks |Ouka - Ringarts | blind people seeing with echolocation | Rajnikanth at the pick-up counter | cat at a shell game.
Vanessa Mae Nicholson is one of Britain’s most successful young musicians. A classical violinist and former child prodigy who self-describes her crossover style as "violin techno-acoustic fusion," her fans praise her modern creativity and frenetic, lightning-fast riffs. But is her talent learned or genetic? Documentary from BBC1 in 2008: Vanessa Mae - The Making of Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [more inside]
How to Kiss Someone Passionately. A demonstration filled with skill and humor.
The year is 1909, the man is Jose Raul Capablanca of Cuba, and the result is a whitewash: 28 wins in as many games. The exhibition was part of a tour in which Capablanca won 168 games in a row.
EXTREME quarter bouncing! (warning: embedded windows media video). The Michael Jordan of bouncing quarters into shotglasses, over lit zippos, off playing cards, across the length of the room, over other glasses, richocheting out of one glass & into the other, etc.
Cool video of ballpoint pen spinning tricks; warning - horrendous heavy metal soundtrack, video is embedded wmv. This is undoubtedly the most useless skill I've ever been jealous of. For more pen trick threads, see here& here.
Bill Dan likes to balance rocks. He is not alone - many others ply the art of rock balancing, simply for the pleasure of the act and hoping to surprise and delight future wanderers who chance upon them. As in many art forms, it's hard to compete with the mastery of nature's hand.
Watermelon carving - a gallery of intricate work and eclectic subjects. In Thailand, there is a tradition of elaborately carving fruit and vegetables, especially when preparing foods for royalty or as part of festivals such as Loi Krathong. This gallery offers some pictorial instructions; books, tools, and sample instructions are also available from the Temple of Thai.
superhandz is billed as an an x-treme hand sportz site. But impressive as some of these displays are, when it comes to flourish, can anyone even begin to compete with three-year old Mo Kin?(quicktime clip)
Tickling the ivories - uh-oh, bad girl post! This mpg video clip is just too darn fun not to share, but it is definitely nsfw, which is why I am posting it pre-Friday. But hear me, you will get fired if you open this at work! I mean it! just doing my bit to dispel the boyzone myth
This scares me silly given the general skill level drivers display in my town. I'm imagining some idiot chatting away on a cell phone taking out my condo.