YouTube / Eames Office
YouTube / Eames Office

The Eames Solar Do-Nothing Machine

YouTube / Eames Office
YouTube / Eames Office

In 1957, Charles and Ray Eames designed the Solar Do-Nothing Machine, a set of kinetic toys powered by the sun. It was created for an Alcoa advertising program intended to show the virtues of aluminum as a material, by creating unusual things from the metal.

The Do-Nothing Machine was a relatively early use of solar power, in a time when 8% efficient solar cells were cutting-edge, and wimpy 2% efficient cells were in commercial use. Given the limited power available to them, the designers decided to make a toy.

Is it sunny where you are? Perhaps you can convert some of that sun into fun:

Interesting trivia note: The Eameses filmed their contraption in action, but never released a film on it. Nearly forty years later, their grandson Eames Demetrios discovered the footage and made this film. You can read more about the contraption from The Kid Should See This, which also has links to more awesome Eames projects.

See also: Inside the Eames House; Powers of Ten; The Rise and Fall of Rome in 5 Minutes; and The Power of Simple Math.

(Via The Kid Should See This, which you really should be visiting every day.)

Netflix's Most-Binged Shows of 2017, Ranked

Netflix might know your TV habits better than you do. Recently, the entertainment company's normally tight-lipped number-crunchers looked at user data collected between November 1, 2016 and November 1, 2017 to see which series people were powering through and which ones they were digesting more slowly. By analyzing members’ average daily viewing habits, they were able to determine which programs were more likely to be “binged” (or watched for more than two hours per day) and which were more often “savored” (or watched for less than two hours per day) by viewers.

They found that the highest number of Netflix bingers glutted themselves on the true crime parody American Vandal, followed by the Brazilian sci-fi series 3%, and the drama-mystery 13 Reasons Why. Other shows that had viewers glued to the couch in 2017 included Anne with an E, the Canadian series based on L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, and the live-action Archie comics-inspired Riverdale.

In contrast, TV shows that viewers enjoyed more slowly included the Emmy-winning drama The Crown, followed by Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, GLOW, Friends from College, and Ozark.

There's a dark side to this data, though: While the company isn't around to judge your sweatpants and the chip crumbs stuck to your couch, Netflix is privy to even your most embarrassing viewing habits. The company recently used this info to publicly call out a small group of users who turned their binges into full-fledged benders:

Oh, and if you're the one person in Antarctica binging Shameless, the streaming giant just outed you, too.

Netflix broke down their full findings in the infographic below and, Big Brother vibes aside, the data is pretty fascinating. It even includes survey data on which shows prompted viewers to “Netflix cheat” on their significant others and which shows were enjoyed by the entire family.

Netflix infographic "The Year in Bingeing"
Can You Spot the Christmas Pudding?

Whether it’s a sheep hanging out with Santa Claus or a panda bear hiding among some snowmen, regular Mental Floss readers know that hidden picture brainteasers are one of our favorite things. And the optical experts at have released a delicious one, just in time for Christmas. Somewhere in the midst of all these holiday-themed goodies above, there’s a holiday pudding just waiting to be discovered. Can you spot it? Your time starts … now.

If you give up, or are the kind of person who reads the last page of a book before the first one and just wants to know the answer, scroll down to see where it’s hiding.



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