Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Top of the World

Alert, Nunavut, Canada on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island is the northernmost inhabited community on earth. The North Pole is only 508 miles away. Daylight and darkness in Alert are five months long. In the month between those periods, the sun bobs above and below the horizon, giving the illusion of normal days, even though the length of daylight and darkness varies. Take a look at life in Alert, in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Recommended Reading

Joel Haas' travelogues from Taiwan continue with Chop Shops and Green Pancakes.

The first photograph of Earthrise was taken in 1966 by NASA’s robotic probe Lunar Orbiter 1. Nancy Evans saved the orbiter pictures from being discarded and worked for 30 years to restore them for posterity. (via Metafilter)

Ten Cases of Extreme Weather is a lot more interesting than the title would lead you to believe. Seven-inch hailstones, anyone? (via the Presurfer)

Victorian Flea Circuses. A history of the art, and some secrets about how it's done.

The idea that having children will make you happy is an illusion. However, the pursuit of happiness is not the only reason we reproduce. (via Metafilter)

The monster inside my son. A mother confronts the terrifying capacity for violence in her autistic adult child. More horror stories are in the comments.

A new meaning for the term hyperopia: not simple farsightedness, but the inability to enjoy today because one is so worried about the future. It can lead to regret about lost opportunities.

The Ten Craziest Diets in History.

Johnny Carson and Dom Deluise

Fun with raw eggs! (Thanks, Duke!)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Broadcasting Fake Names and other Links

Broadcasting Fake Names. Sometimes the general public sneaks one in ...or many!

What do you mean, these aren't the droids we're looking for? Of course, they're the droids we're looking for!

50 Animals Who Hate Baths. No, they're not all cats, but they're just about all adorable. (via Buzzfeed)

Believe it or not, a NSFW video of My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music.

The Ten Funniest Freudian Slips in TV History. (via Gorilla Mask)

A lesson in hanging toilet paper. Illustrated.

The manliest way to love cats. It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye, or becomes lunch.

Lucky's Funeral. Who knew a flushing ceremony could be this adorable?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

John Lennon, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and Mitch Mitchel

I wish I knew what TV show this was. This is from The Rolling Stones' Rock and Roll Circus, 1968, according to a helpful but anonymous commenter ;-) (via Dark Roasted Blend)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Fun Links

From the Chicago Tribune's annual competition, here's the top ten Peeps dioramas.

100 Ways to Kill a Peep. This blog doesn't quite have 100 methods yet, but will eventually. (via YesButNoButYes)

An interview with the one and only Afro Ninja!

6 Reasons North Korea is the Funniest Evil Dictatorship Ever. Their attempts to look fabulous more often than not turn out to be downright pathetic.

It's bad enough when someone gets a celebrity tattoo, but it's even worse when no one can figure out who it's supposed to be! Take your best guess. (via Gorilla Mask)

Tension, Terror, and Trouble. You think you know what's going on here until you don't.

The World's Weirdest Keyboards. I don't think you can out-weird the one that comes with rearview mirrors. (via the Presurfer)

9 Good Things The Internet Has Ruined Forever. Overkill will do that, and the internet is all about overkill.

Hocus Pocus

Performed live in 1973 by Focus. I remember when this was a big hit. (via I Am Bored)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

7 Fascinating Local Characters

In response to the post How to Be a Local Character, readers contributed many names of characters who found fame in cities across the country and around the world. Some of these fascinating people have a strong presence on the internet, carrying their notoriety to a greater audience. Here are seven of them in an article I wrote for mental_floss.

Informative Links

Joel Haas' travelogues from Taiwan continue with Not in Kansas Anymore.

The fossil of a 147 million-year-old pliosaur named Predator X has been found in Norway. He was as big as a T Rex and even more fearsome. (via Neatorama)

Total Recall: The Woman Who Can't Forget. A cognitive psychologist unravels the mystery of Jill Price and her phenomenal memory.

Mushrooms grow a lot in five days. Compress those five days into one minute, and you have this mesmerizing video. (via Gorilla Mask)

Your Ultimate Shelf Life Guide. This site is full of practical information that will save you money and keep you from poisoning yourself. (via Lifehacker)

Who Really Discovered the North Pole? Was it Robert E. Peary in 1909 or Dr. Frederick A. Cook in 1908?

Within five years of retirement, an estimated 60% of former NBA players are broke. And they aren't the only ones, as explained in the article How (and Why) Athletes Go Broke. (via Cynical-C)

The 6 Greatest Art Fakers in History. They were pretty good painters who couldn't make a name for themselves, so they profited on the master's names.

Famous folk who killed themselves (and folks who famously killed themselves).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good Reads

The global economic crisis isn't about money - it's about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution.

What your cat is trying to tell you.

Harshvardhan Nawathe, the real "slumdog millionaire", won the grand prize on India's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" eight years ago. He now works to educate impoverished children.

Cast your vote for TIME's Most Influential People in 2009. It's going to be hard for anyone to overtake the founder of 4chan, currently at #1.

Plastic Surgery Confidential. A perfectly fine-looking author goes to different plastic surgeons for consultations to find what they want to change about her.

Iraqi Refugee Stories. One in five Iraqis are now without a permanent home, but individual stories are more meaningful than numbers. (via Metafilter)

What’s So Hot About Chili Peppers? The author travels Bolivia to find out why these plants developed hot and tasty fruits. (via Boing Boing)

How does the human brain run itself without any software? Recreating how the brain works may lead to amazing new computer technology.

So did the executive bonuses at AIG make you mad? Then hear this: the political action committees of five big TARP recipients doled out $85,300 to members in the first two months of this year—with most of the cash going to those who serves on committees who oversee the TARP program.

Okatch & Miyatch 2

Nobody does games shows like Japan. (via Neatorama)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fun Links

11 Damn Near Identical Movies That Were Released at the Same Time. Actually 23 movies are featured here in 11 instances of deja view.

Little Red Riding Hood, retold in a modern infographic form. We must never forget the required nutrition information.

How much is it worth to you to sit like Captain Kirk? You'd be far from the first to install a Captain's chair in your home.

A tribute ot the late great Space Bat.

Some really strange TV mashups.

Now, HERE's an effective classified ad! (via Bad Astronomy Blog)

There are some circumstances under which Sleeping Beauty might not live happily ever after! Enjoy an alternative take in this French animation. (via WebUpon)

You think this train is slow? We'll show you slow!

How to make vodka Gummi Bears.

Hurts So Bad

Little Anthony and the Imperials, recorded in 1965.

Monday, March 23, 2009

No Links Today

There were no links posted in my usual weekday list today. Links will resume tomorrow.

I couldn't put any up today because of the Patriot Act.

My apologies.

Let's Make A Sandwich!

(via J-Walk Blog)

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Wait for it... it won't take long.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Classical Gas

Performed by the Concordia University handbell choir.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Links for Your Edification

Vernal Equinox 2009: Facts on the First Day of Spring. It appears we will have more than 12 hours of sunlight, which is alright by me!

Research Says Happiness is Contagious. Here, have some!

The Evolution of the Suitcase. As George Carlin said, "That's all you need in life, is a little place for your stuff." (via the Presurfer)

5 Horrifying Tales Of 911 Incompetence. Obviously, these stories are not representative of the overall service.

Would you abort a fetus just because it wasn't yours? Believe it or not, just that scenario arose in Japan and raised all kinds of ethical questions.

We humans are really very bad at predicting what will make us happy. The opinion of a perfect stranger is more accurate than our own calculations.

If you recall the Diet Coke/Mentos phenomenon, you already know Fritz Grobe and Stephen Yoltz, even if you don’t know their names. Geeks Are Sexy has a two-part interview with them about their wonderfully weird projects.

A tent city is Sacramento is home to about 300 people, while the city vacancy rate for rental housing stands at 10.4%. The mayor is considering installing plumbing for the tent city, but there's nothing they can do to move people into real homes. (via Boing Boing)

Nora the Piano-playing Cat

You can see a sequel of Nora playing duets here. You can buy Nora's CDs and DVDs through her website.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fun Links

Red Bean Filled Hockey Pucks and Mind Control. Joel Haas visits the National Palace Museum and the Long Shan Temple in part two of his Taiwan travelogue.

A collection of "before they were famous" videos you may not have seen.

This child cannot figure out how to kick a ball. He's so adorable, am I an awful person for laughing at him?

Attach LEDs to a flock of sheep and herd them in patterns. Impossible? Probably, but it looks good anyway.

Your Printer is a Brat. But you knew that already, didn't you?

What happens when wildlife invades your backyard. Especially if you have recreational equipment to play with!

The one place you don't want to see a Windows error message -at a nuclear power plant. (via Gizmodo)

Here's a map showing where many of your favorite TV shows took place. New York City has its own. And you should already know where M*A*S*H took place. (via YesButNoButYes)

All kinds of silly folks are trying their hand at recreating Beyonce's Single Ladies video.

Jim Carrey Does Ice Ice Baby

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Good Reads and Information

A Trip to Taipei’s Shilin Night Market. Part one of Joel Haas' travelogue in pictures.

What it's like to freeze to death. Told in eloquent and horrifying detail.

A birthmother compares the psychological damage of abortion and adoption.

What does the United States do with its nuclear waste? Seal it in containers and store it right there where it was produced. At least for the time being.

A look at what happens to real people when states try to balance their budgets by trimming welfare programs.

This Old House presents 50 Nifty Tricks for DIY Savings. These are much more than the "clip coupons and skip Starbucks" tips we hear every day. (via Consumerist)

North America's newest dinosaur had the makings of a monster: razor-sharp claws, a runner's body, and similarities with the Velociraptor of Jurassic Park infamy. If only it'd been bigger than a chicken.

Seven ways to fool your sense of touch. These tactile illusions are almost spooky! You'll feel foolish about fooling your feelings. (via Boing Boing)

How To Win Your NCAA Pool: Pick Duke, and then act like a hedge fund manager. As you minimize your losses, you also minimize your chance of winning big.

Daft Punk A Cappella

Performed by the UMD Generics, from the University of Maryland. (via I Am Bored)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Adventures of St. Patrick

Slave, traveler, evangelist, abolitionist, and saint. A scant 400 years after Jesus’ birth, the priest known as Patrick took the Great Commission seriously, to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth by converting the frightening barbarians of that scary outpost known as Ireland. Dates and details of Patrick’s life are somewhat ambiguous since written records from fifth-century Ireland are scarce. A lot of what we know comes from what little Patrick himself wrote, or from biographies written long after his time.

Fun Links

What to Drink on St. Patrick's Day. Make your arrangements for getting home before you try the Irish Car Bomb.

14 Weirdest Video Games in History. No concept is too weird to try in a business where a plumber and a hedgehog became stars.

Watch Dave B play Fingerball. Admit it, you'll be trying this yourself today.

10 Annoying Habits of a Geeky Spouse. I am SO guilty of 3, 4, and 10!

A rabbit chases a snake up a tree. You don't mess with the big bad bunny!

6 Movie Remakes that Missed the Point. Yet another reason to seek out and enjoy old movies.

Flight Attendant Rap. David from Southwest Airlines has a shtick that’s a welcome break from the usual pre-flight instructions!

Everything you ever wanted to know about Roman candles, including how to make your own, is in this article at Confession of a Fireworks Man.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

How to celebrate St. Patrick's Day like an Irishman.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Information and Amazing Stories

The Untold Story of the World's Biggest Diamond Heist. The man who made off with up to $100 million in gems tells how he did it.

The Cocktail Party Effect. Our ability to hear one voice when many are speaking is a testament to the brain's talents.

What Sells in a Recession: Canned Goods and Condoms. Restaurants and theaters suffer while we're staying home and canoodling.

Eight scientists who became their own guinea pigs. because even professional experimental subjects have their limits.

The Homeless in Motels. Formerly middle class families can keep a roof over their heads, but as the "hidden homeless", they don't get much help.

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories has a handy wallet-sized decoder for South Indian restaurant menus. I always just assumed I would like what they brought, but now I can know what it is.

Consumer Reports has a list of the best and worst used cars to look for. Good luck finding any of the best models available; people tend to hang onto good cars. (via Consumerist)

20 Things You Didn't Know About Time. In many ways, it's more flexible than I imagined.

How Science Fiction Found Religion. Age old themes are learning to fit comfortably in futuristic fantasies. (via Metafilter)

Why Goats are Better Pets Than Dogs

(via Arbroath)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Thing Called Love

Glen Campbell singing the Jerry Reed song. (via Metafilter)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Edward R. Murrow on Joseph McCarthy

Originally broadcast March 9, 1954. The longer original is edited down to ten minutes. (via Crooks and Liars)

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Plastics Inventor

Donald Duck builds an airplane out of this newfangled plastic stuff. From 1944.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

8 Really Weird Sea Creatures

More and more often, humans are discovering weird marine life that would tax even Dr. Suess’ imagination. In this article I wrote for mental_floss, we take a look at eight recently found animals that were found in places ranging from oil fields to tropical waters to Antarctica and even aquariums!

Links for Fun

The brainstorming sessions among George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, and Stephen Speilberg that led to Raiders of the Lost Ark are now available for your reading pleasure. 45 hours of discussion is transcribed, but you can see the highlights before downloading the whole thing. (via Metafilter)

7 Brilliant and/or Baffling Flowcharts.

The Reason Why Terminators Transport Naked.

This Baby Is the Definition of Easily Amused. Take it from a tired mom, that's a good thing!

10 Incredibly Horrible Tattoos. They must have been free, but they aren't worth that much.

Make your own Daft Punk remix with the iDaft console. I hate to admit how much time I spent playing with this.

The Jenga Pistol adds an entire new dimension to the game Jenga. As if you even bother playing by the rules.

Baby Loves Wii Golf

There's no better way to start your day than with a happy laughing baby! (via Bits and Pieces)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Information Links

A recently identified portrait of William Shakespeare, if genuine, would be the only true likeness we have of The Bard. And it looks better than you'd expect. (via Metafilter)

An overabundance of corn contributes to American obesity as corn-fed meat and corn syrup-sweetened foods dominate our diets.

How to Delete Accounts from Any Website. Remember: stay strong when they send in the retention team after you! (via Geek Like Me)

Quick -how many slide musical instruments can you name? Bonus points if you came up with Superbone.

Hidden Millionaires: Lessons From Unconventional Money Management. The stories of seven people who became wealthy by investing wisely and living below their means. (via YesButNoButYes)

The last two members of the assassinated Romanov family have been positively identified by DNA analysis. There will be no more Anastasias coming out of the woodwork.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fun and Funny Links

You thought a boy named Sue would have to grow up strong and tough? Try overcoming life's obstacles as a girl named Marijuana Pepsi Jackson! (via Fark)

A beaver on the highway turns out to be just another typical friendly Canadian. He'll even let you take his picture!

Have you ever considered keeping a pet AT-AT? According to this Flickr set, they fit right in with the other family pets. (via Buzzfeed)

Top 21 Worst Cartoon Characters Of All Time. Of course, that's one man's opinion, but I'm inclined to agree on most of them.

7 Special Effects The Stars Want to Keep Secret. It's not all natural bodies and acting ability you are seeing in the movies.

Head Over Heels, a story about what happens to love when people aren't on the same level.

The latest caption competition at YesButNoButYes has some real winners. My pick so far: "Doctors had warned Marlene not to spin too fast on the dance floor until her butt implants had settled into place."

One Semester of Spanish Love Song

From the geniuses at Runaway Box. (via Cynical-C)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Good Reads adn Information

Can a person be scared to death? Yes, and here's how it happens. (via Boing Boing)

Being underinsured can be as disastrous as being uninsured when a health crisis hits. Half of all bankruptcies are because of medical costs, and three-quarters of those are people with health insurance.

Nano Journeys takes you down to ever smaller scales of different environments. Just click your language, then the suitcase to start. (via Dump Trumpet)

7 Brilliant Ideas Scribbled On Cocktail Napkins and Toilet Papers.

The last imperial Chinese eunuch died in 1996. His life is the subject of book recently translated into English. (via Boing Boing)

Scientists believe horses may have been domesticated as far back as 3,500 BC in Kazakhstan -a thousand years earlier than previously thought. The leap forward in transportation that changed the way the world works.

Saying 'I Do' to a green wedding. There are plenty of steps you can take to minimize the environmental impact of your big day.

Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Dwarfed Punk

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves get down to Daft Punk's Harder Better Faster Stronger.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Fun Friday Links

The classic Psycho Girlfriend. Making men into defensive wrecks since time began.

How many camels can you fit in a Subaru? At least two, since it's been done!

They Paid You For That? 7 Pointless and Crazy Science Experiments.

The Pennywell Farm Piglets are some of the tiniest pigs in the world. They're so adorable, you might give up bacon! But probably not.

Old Man Stewart Shakes his Fist at Twitter. And some other social networking outlets that don't exist, and shouldn't. (via Lifehacker)

Is Google Making Us Dumber? This site posts screenshots of Google search suggestions. They can be pretty strange!

7 Insane Military Attempts To Weaponize Animals. Military brainstorming has yielded some mighty weird and unworkable (not to mention inhumane) ideas over the years.

Touch The Bubbles is harder than it looks. Recreate a simple melody by touching the musical bubbles.

Blaze Starr

Burlesque of the 50s, featuring Blaze Starr. Back when the strip tease featured a real tease.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Places of the Dead: 8 Extraordinary Burial Sites

There are many places you may have never heard of that serve as memento mori- a reminder that we are all mortal, and that not every culture buries their dead six feet underground. Here are eight of them in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

read more | digg story

Good Stuff to Know

The most precious thing we have is time. Here are some great thoughts about how to value your time.

Watch where you point that cell phone! This guy ended up in jail for two days for ...nothing. (via Boing Boing)

Ten Things You Don’t Know About the Sun. What I do know is that I haven't seen enough of it this winter.

Modern Technologies That Are Older Than You Think. I knew they had submarines in the Civil War, but they go even further than that.

Fuel, milk, corn, and wheat prices have dropped, so why are wholesale grocery prices still going up? Maybe they think we won't notice. (via Consumerist)

The Ten Most Diabolical Fish on Earth. They have names like dragon, snake, viper, tiger, and fangtooth, and they will haunt your dreams. (via Gorilla Mask)

Is this car really ugly? Can a car that goes from zero to 62mph in three seconds ever be truly ugly?

The government's Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is supposed to help up to 9 million people lower their mortgage payments. Answer a few questions to see if you may be eligible for mortgage relief. (via Fark)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Fun and Funny Links

He gets her an engagement ring and she SWALLOWS it!

The Science Behind Your TV Sound System. Be careful how fast you adjust your settings!

QWERTY rock! A real incentive to type even faster. (via Metafilter)

The final dance sequence in Slumdog Millionaire works so much better set to the song Peanut Butter Jelly Time.

Nancy Reagan's Guide to Dating Dos and Don'ts. (via Everlasting Blort)

Strange Love - 10 Very Unusual Couples. The entire site is NSFW.

What if microblogging platform Twitter had been available in the distant past? See a sample of Twitter feeds from an ape-man, a caveman, Julius Caesar, and Hitler, plus one from the future!

How the professionals make sound effects, using whatever they have. You've heard these substitutions in the movies and never knew the difference. (via Lifehacker)

The Secret of Trees

(via b3ta)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Happy Square Root Day!

Square Root Day is when the month and the day are the square root of the year. It only happens nine times in a century, and today is one of those days. The holiday is the brainchild of Sequoia High (Redwood City, California) driver education teacher Ron Gordon, who enjoys calendar quirks. What can you do to celebrate Square Root Day? Math teachers expect students to calculate square roots. That's not nearly enough fun for a holiday, no matter how much of a math geek you are. See a list of ways to celebrate Square Root Day in this article I wrote for mental_floss, with food, games, and other activities based around squares and roots.

Informative Links

10 Geeky Tricks for Getting Out of Bed in the Morning. Now I'm looking forward to tips on getting out of bed in the afternoon. (via the Presurfer)

Can you hear the "mosquito frequency" in the Teenager Audio Test? Be warned that it gives some people headaches, but I can't hear it at all.

A school teacher went for a jog and the next thing she knows, she's been rescued from New York Harbor -three weeks later. She was spotted several times in between, so what happened?

Spit Reveals A Lot About What Lives In Your Mouth. Everyone has a different oral "microbiome", or menagerie of microscopic critters.

Ugly Bat Boy, the strange-looking cat who is the darling of Exeter, New Hampshire. Everyone I've shown this to thinks he's the cat's pajamas!

5 Ways Your Brain Is Messing With Your Head. Just when you think you're in control, human nature slaps you in the face.

Ron and Sally Russell built their home with a sliding cover. With a touch of a button, it becomes a glass home to let sunlight in. More here. (via Metafilter)

The Teddy Bears Picnic

1899 version by the Edison Orchestra.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Fun Links

Would you wear an entire outfit made of duct tape to your prom? Or your wedding?

The 15 Strangest College Courses In America. Sign me up to audit Far Side Entomology!

The 7 Biggest Things Ever Stolen. Not one of these items could fit under your jacket.

I had almost forgotten about this guy! The best name ever for a gynecologist.

It's a serious news story, but where did the doctor get her name? (via b3ta)

Here's a question that will make you feel old: What were arcades like? Oh yeah, I recall the day the student center at the college in my hometown got a strange new machine called "Pong." And my first radio job in a town where I lived in an apartment over an arcade, where my boyfriend and I would challenge the local teens to a game of Galaga, ABM, Q-Bert, Joust or Centipede.

The Top Ten Golddiggers of All Time.

Rabbits are shy and gentle animals, but there are always exceptions. This one won't take a backseat to anyone!

Phil Hartman

This is his audition for Saturday Night LIve. (via Bits and Pieces)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Caboodle Ranch

Craig Grant bought 30 acres and spent $100,000 to provide a good home for nearly 500 cats. Caboodle Ranch is 50 miles from Tallahassee, Florida, and features shelters fashioned after small town buildings, nature trails, and underground dens. Grant retired from his job to devote his time to the cats. All the cats are spayed or neutered. Link to website. (via Metafilter)