Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Fun Links

Duetto buffo di due gatti means The Cats Duet in English. Here are two versions, from a boys choir and a couple of kittens.

Maurice Sendak talks about Where the Wild Things Are. Plus a look at the new film version, with which he is pleased.

5-year-old Wesley performs Folsom Prison Blues at the 2009 Spring Coffee Shop Jam in Seattle. (via Videogum)

13 Most Unfortunate Personal Names, plus more contributed by readers. Some people take naming their baby less seriously than most of us.

Le Wrath di Khan: Robot Chicken presents Star Trek II as opera. Spock has never been so emotional, or unintelligible.

It Almost Makes Sense Now. William Shatner performs Sarah Palin's farewell speech as poetry.

Jake Bronstein set the world record for longest whisper chain, passing a message through 59 people. The successful message was a marriage proposal to his girlfriend!

A 1954 version of Ghost Busters, starring Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, and Fred MacMurray. A masterful mashup of 17 movies and TV shows.

Cheetah Racing

They don't look like they're even breaking a sweat. (via Unique Daily)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

9 Mysterious Ape-men from Around the World

Most of us in the US are familiar with the cryptid Sasquatch (or Bigfoot) and its Asian counterpart the Yeti (or Abominable Snowman). Those are far from the only mysterious giant apes or hominids lurking in either deep forests or our imagination. In fact, such rarely-seen animals are reported all over the world. Let’s take a look at just a few of their lesser-publicized cousins in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Recommended Reading

An adorable dog goes blind and learns to negotiate the world all over again. Similar stories are in the comments.

A story about a homeless man in California found its way to his children in Texas. Now after 12 years, he is finally home.

Born at 23 weeks gestation, medical science saved her babies against her wishes, one for a few days, the other for eight years of severe disabilities. Who should have the final say on extraordinary medical intervention?

The art of the excuse note. Frank McCourt turned his student's forgeries into a creative writing assignment, since they were already overly creative.

Children Full of Life. An extraordinary 4th grade class in Japan, where Mr. Kanamori encourages children to write about and share their feelings. Once you start watching, you won't want to stop. (via Metafilter)

Uranium mining has contaminated a large part of Navaho land. Fifty years later, the residents are finding out how bad it really is.

My new favorite recipe blog: How To Cook Like Your Grandmother. I'm trying the brown sugar buttercream frosting tonight!

Transparent aluminum is here. Scientists who watch Star Trek movies have created what they call a completely new state of matter. (via Geek Like Me)

Jason Bought a Hatchet

Song by Giggle Party. Animation by Damien Weighill and Stephen Wake. (via Everlasting Blort)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Funny Links

The Rubix Cubewich: a sandwich that's a Rubik's Cube made of pastrami, salami, cheese, and all-around deliciousness. I want one NOW! (via Neatorama)

They had to reshoot the end of Back to the Future for the beginning of the sequal, since there was a new actress playing Jennifer. Now you can see a side-by-side comparison.

Cat ladders, a blog chronicling cats ladders found around the world.

Adrenaline junkie skates down 860 metre roller coaster.

An unequal relationship. What's even funnier than the comic is how the commenters are discussing the math instead of the point of the comic. Then again, maybe that IS the point of the comic.

The 7 Professors You'll Have in College. I graduated thirty years ago and still remember all seven. (via Gorilla Mask)

Teaching Grandma English. NSFW.

Where Are They Now? The Cast of Night Court.

I Can Only Imagine

Footage from the Dick and Rick Hoyt story cut to "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

9 Notorious Squirrels

My husband talks about his days as a long-haul truck driver and the pet squirrel who kept him company (and startled many a driver at truck stops). His stories remind me of the many squirrels I’ve encountered in movies, television, and the internet. Read about them in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Recommended Reads

One Giant Screwup for Mankind. NASA put a man on the moon, then lost the videotape. It's probably in the warehouse right next to the Ark of the Covenant. (via Dark Roasted Blend)

100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About. Mine certainly know what cash is, since for ask for it constantly!

5 Horrifying Apocalyptic Scenarios (That Have Already Happened). It's happened before, so odds are that something bad will happen again sometime.

A succinct synopsis of World War II. On Urban Dictionary, but don't be afraid to read it.

Do people take out payday loans because they're desperate—or because they don't understand the terms? A study shows that making the terms clear discourages such loans, but only for people who can scrape by without them.

How Five Gangsters Met Their Makers. Live a violent life; die a violent death -in most cases.

How to make your own colored soap bubbles. The ingredient shopping is the hardest part of the recipe.

7 True Stories That Prove The Airlines Hate You.

Best of Maru 2008

For those who can't get enough of Maru. See new videos and pictures at Maru's blog.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Fun Links

7 Ridiculously involved College Pranks. Silly, juvenile stuff that you wish you'd thought of first.

Get Off My Phone! Glenn Beck's radio rant is remixed to include vampires.

Explaining Post-Modernism with Cats. I understand now, but the cats understand better.

43 weird things said in job interviews. Or, how to make sure you don't get hired.

Way better than a hokey dance exhibition at a wedding reception, this joyous processional involves the entire wedding party. I bet it will make you smile, too.

Sleeping with a wombat. All together now... Awwww!

The 10 Craziest Competitive Eating Moments. You may want to watch this after your breakfast.

The weirdest news stories of the week.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Really Weird Bird Anatomy

The closer you look, the weirder Mother Nature appears. Some birds that look absolutely common on the outside have anatomical features that will surprise you, like a trombone in the throat or a tongue that wraps around the eye. Read about them in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Informative Links

A dramatic loss of genes from the Y chromosome could mean it may be gone in about a thousand years. However, geneticists believe that men will continue to be men, even without it.

Amazing Ambushes from the Macroscopic Universe. The nefarious ways these insects go about trapping their prey will make you thankful you are as big as you are.

Animal researcher Shaun Ellis teaches an orphan wolf cub to howl. The cub's response is too adorable for words.

The 10 Worst Evolutionary Designs. Wired looks at ten body parts that could've used some intelligence in their design.

7 Fatal Injuries (That People Somehow Survived). With graphic descriptions that are not for the squeamish.

In January of 1960 two men climbed aboard an experimental deep sea bathysphere and dived to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. It was the first (and last) time human beings ever traveled to the deepest part of the earth's oceans -seven miles down!

There was plenty of stress in the 19th and 20th centuries, and people were happy to throw everything nature and medical science could provide to relieve it. That included cocaine, heroine, opium, amphetamines, and of course, plenty of alcohol for all ages. (via the Presurfer)

20 Fascinating Ancient Maps. War maps, demographic maps, William Clark's hand-drawn map, and the island of California.

What rap music sounds like in 30 different languages. In case you don't know, Wolof is spoken in Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania.


(via Bits and Pieces)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fun and Funny Links

One truly strange story of kinky sex and attempted homicide.

This is how you draw a crowd at Dance Dance Revolution. (via b3ta)

Dance-Off with the Star War Stars 2009. The annual Disney celebration has Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers doing MC Hammer.

A Russian hobbyist put together a diorama of World War II action figures assembling a terminator to fight the Germans. The title of the post is Laughter is Stalin's Secret Weapon. (via Metafilter)

What men are really thinking. Letting women think they are simple minded is much easier than discussing their thoughts!

Lithuanian composer Mindaugas Piečaitis wrote a performance for Nora, the Piano Playing Cat, and debuted Catcerto on June 5th. Nora played with the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra through the magic of video recording.

If you got your chance to go on a national news program for an interview, would you have the cajones to pull this off? The result is way more attention and fame.

From Slate magazine, a masterful edit showing how modern news outlets would cover the first man on the moon. Even Twitter gets some airtime. (via Buzzfeed)

Squirrel Fight

(via Everlasting Blort)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dancing on Crutches

For most of us, using crutches to get around would be an excuse to sit on the side of the dance floor. A select few take those crutches and outshine everyone around them. In this article I wrote for mental_floss are the stories of four men who have two things in common: they use a crutch or two, and they are very, very good dancers.

Informative Links

Achieving US citizenship the hard way. The most prized passport in the world comes through a bizarre process you have to experience to believe.

5 Surprising Divinity School Dropouts. Surprising because you know them by the very different careers they took up instead.

The Wonderful World of Big Science. A look at ten of the biggest collaborative projects that changed (or are changing) the world.

How E. coli Sees The Future. The little bug causes a lot of grief, but you have to admire any organism with so many survival mechanisms.

The Evolution of Cats: Sabertooth vs. Regular.

Masturbation in the animal kingdom.

Meet Phineas Gage. This newly discovered picture may be the only existing photograph of the man who survived being impaled through the brain with an iron pole. (via Neurophilosophy)

5 Spies with Bigger Balls Than James Bond. True stories that Ian Fleming couldn't use because no one would believe them. (via Gorilla Mask)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Links for Fun

If Spammers Wrote Cialis Ads. Way funnier than it sounds.

The 101 Muppets of Sesame Street, in celebration of the series' 40th anniversary. Roll over each for a short biography.

It there weren't occasional slow news days, we wouldn't have the delight of seeing a report on a squirrel stuck in a yogurt cup.

Top 10 Most Unusual State Fair Foods. Chicken-fried Bacon, anyone?

Dancing paper clips on a train in Japan. No special effects; the train is powered by electricity, which sends a magnetic pull through the floor. (via Boing Boing)

They've finally combined snow skiing and water skiing. You ski down a hill and onto a lake and see how far you can go before sinking.

What really happens when you try to recreate Tetris in real life. (Thanks, PAgent!)

Sleeping Around Craigslist: Two middle-aged women discover that casual sex can be anything but casual. (via YesButNoButYes)

Karate Kittens

(via Arbroath)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Put Yourself in 1969

This weekend through Monday, television and the internet will be full of commemorations of the Apollo 11 moon mission, in which Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon’s surface. But those who weren’t yet born when Apollo 11 launched don’t have the context of that time period, which helps to understand how awed and inspired we were by the accomplishments of the Apollo astronauts and by mankind in general in July of 1969. Take a trip back in time with this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Good Reads and Information

Cats have a special manipulative purr that causes humans to do their bidding. Deep down, you always suspected they controlled your behavior, didn't you?

Why the #$%! Do We Swear? Because it can honestly relieve the pain.

Top 10 Tips and Tricks for Better Coffee. They left out the most important trick I ever learned: clean your coffeemaker more often.

The average American man weighs 17 pounds more than he did in the 70s, and women average 19 pounds more. Several new books take a look at how this has happened -and what we can do about it.

100 movies every man should see. A handy list to have around when he wants to watch the same old thing again.

The Weird, Wacky World of The Platypus. The venomous mammals who lay eggs and have ten sex chromosomes are often cited as evidence of God's sense of humor.

The House of Representatives has released America’s Affordable Health Choices Act. All 1018 pages are available online, or you can read the sections you're interested in.

Who are the people who say the moon landing was a hoax? As unbelievable as the stunt was, faking it for 40 years is even more unbelievable. (via Bad Astronomy Blog)

Children Go Where I Send Thee

Never perform with children; they will always upstage you. Watch the boy to the left of Tennessee Ernie Ford. (via Carolyn's Precious Memories)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

8 Very Hairy People

Hypertrichosis is a rare genetic condition that results in extreme hairiness. It is sometimes referred to as “werewolf syndrome”. Only about 50 cases in history have been documented. Take a look at a few of them in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Fun Links

Taxidermy at it's worst. Many of these specimens were found for sale on eBay or Craigslist, so there's a chance you could have one for your own. (via Everlasting Blort)

A gallery of Inappropriate Science Fair Projects from Something Awful. (via Bits and Pieces)

Fun with Vodka. Something makes me suspect that these tricks were not all filmed in the same day.

The Future of Slacker Technology. Don't be ashamed to admit you want one of these.

The World's Fastest Everything. Blink, and you'll miss something or other.

The best video set to "The Immigrant Song" since Viking Kittens.

This physics game is called Red Remover. Remove the red block and keep the green blocks. Good luck on those upper levels! (via Metafilter)

A short story featuring dinosaurs with guns riding motocross. What else could you ask for? Oh yeah, that's there, too, but I'm not giving away the ending.

Guinia Pigs Eat Watermelon

I'm going to die of adorableness. (via Arbroath)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

information Links

Bookmark the site We Choose the Moon to follow the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in real time 40 years after it happened. The launch will be Thursday morning, and you can follow with NASA feeds, newscasts, and even Twitter updates.

Bill Moyers interviews ex-Cigna executive Wendell Potter about how insurance companies are fighting health care reform.

The New York Times looks at the history of human-whale interaction, from whale hunting to the modern effects of sonar on the cetaceans. But in the lagoons of Baja California where gray whales give birth, mother whales seek out human contact, as if wanting to make friends. (via Metafilter)

Vanity Fair takes an in-depth look at pearls, the only precious gem that is manufactured by living beings. They've been prized for thousands of years, but may be in trouble in the present.

New technologies can tie your brain into computers, vehicles, and prosthetics. Will that lead to hackers being able to get into your brain?

How the turtle got its shell. It basically grew its ribs outside the body -and that's only the beginning of the weirdness of turtle anatomy.

Self-help through Negative Thinking. It turns out that trying to get people to think more positively can actually have the opposite effect: it can simply highlight how unhappy they are.

One out of every five U.S. soldiers comes back from Iraq and Afghanistan with mild traumatic brain injury. These invisible injuries can cause varied symptoms which make a soldier a different person.

Killer Lampshade

Japanese horror films are just plain nuts. This is from the 1977 film Hansu.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fun Links

Take the plot and the character development out of the movie 2012, and what you've got left is "disaster porn".

The 15 Creepiest Vintage Ads Of All Time. Believe me, these were creepy even when they were new. (via Boing Boing)

16 Embarrassing Marriage Proposals. Don't plan a videotaped public spectacle to pop the question unless you're fairly sure she'll accept.

A flashmob in Stockholm performs a Michael Jackson Tribute. The effect of starting out small and spreading works rather well here.

If you live in Shanghai, and you're looking for a cat... Tagged with adorable. (via b3ta)

Trying to ask for help on the Sesame Street forums.

Marrying other species... what will it lead to?

Why Women Have Breasts: So we can make double entendres and puns.

Livin' for the City

Stevie Wonder, 1973.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bollywood He-Man

From the 1989 movie Nafrat Ki Aandhi. (via Metafilter)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

7 “Flying” Animals (besides bugs, birds, and bats)

The only animals that can truly fly are birds, insects, and one type of mammal, which is of course the bat. Other animals manage to travel through the air by gliding from great heights, or leaping from the depths. See seven of these in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Good Reads and Information

Solving Food Mysteries. Find out how they get the olives in olive loaf, how popcorn pops, and what Jello is really made of. (via Amy's Everyday Adventures)

What the 1965 Medicare debate can teach us about health care reform.

Does stress trigger your chocolate habit? Probably, unless you prefer orange juice, or if you are a hungry college student, just about any kind of treat.

Flags of Forgotten Countries. These come with a mini history lesson about both heraldry and why nations disappear.

14 Basic Skills All Men Should Possess. I am assuming they mean "men" as in mankind, since these are skill all women should have as well.

The story of prisoner F95488. A rising soccer star is convicted of rape, while DNA evidence points to another man. A white man.

If you recall the mental_floss post on Animal Prosthetics, National Geographic has updates on several of those animals and others who have received prosthetic limbs and other body parts.

Think the Leaning Tower of Pisa is impressive? It’s not the only leaning building out there, and according to the venerable Guinness Book, it’s not even the leaning-est. These are.

Chickens of Fire

(via Everlasting Blort)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fun Links

Eternal Moonwalk: A tribute to Michael Jackson. I'm embarrassed to admit that I watched this for a long, long time. (via Metafilter)

Bubblicious, a really cool stop-motion video. It also contains a bit of insight into how these things are done.

Rigging a couch with an airbag is a pretty cool prank, as long as you're not the one surprised by it. Audio NSFW.

The Top 25 Most Powerful Little People. They pack a lot of fame into a small space.

The 7 Worst Underoos Your Mother Ever Bought. (via Unique Daily)

The worst landlord ever. This blog is only two pages long, so you'll want to read the whole thing. Trust me.

What do you do when an airline breaks your guitar and hasn't resolved the matter a year later? Write a song about it, of course!

Saving Private Remi. French prankster Remi Gaillard stages his own D-Day beach landing ...and is barely noticed.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

11 Housewarming Gifts for the Dedicated Gamer

I’ve found a lot of products that will make serious gamers feel right at home in their own homes. Some are for sale; others are handcrafted, so you may have to plan ahead for a special occasion. See them in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Information Links

The existing parts of the Codex Sinaiticus are online for public study. The 1600-year-old handwritten book is the oldest known Christian Bible.

Salamander research could lead to human limb regeneration. On the cellular level, the process isn't as difficult as we once thought.

The Rand Corporation: The Think Tank That Controls America.

A wheelchair controlled directly from the brain may bring new freedom to disabled people. Made in Japan, of course.

Make your own popsicles from scratch! Use these recipes for healthier, tastier frozen treats.

Shub-Niggurath And Her Performing Cthulhus

(via Ectoplasmosis)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Plane Crash Survivor Tells Story

In 1971, Juliane Koepcke was the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed 91 people over Peru. She fell two miles and landed in the rain forest. The 17-year-old Koepcke then walked for ten days through the jungle to find help.

As she travelled downstream, Koepcke discovered more wreckage from the plane -- and found some of the crash victims.

"I found another row of seats with three dead women still strapped in. They had landed head-first and the impact must have been so hard that they were buried almost two feet into the ground.

"I was horrified -- I didn't want to touch them but I wanted to make sure that my mother wasn't one of them. So I took a stick and knocked a shoe off one of the bodies. The toe nails had nail polish on them and I knew it could not have been my mother because she never used nail polish."

Juliane continued through the rainforest, wading through jungle streams infested with crocodiles, piranhas and devil rays.

Koepcke is now a librarian in Munich.

Links for Fun

24 Most Ridiculously Thought Out Storefront Signs. They may be victims of language differences, but they certainly will draw your attention.

LEGO Acade. The stop-motion video recreates classic 80s video games using our favorite building blocks.

Robo-geisha: a movie trailer from Japan. NSFW.

The Top 10 Weird Sex-Related Mishaps. Not for the squeamish. (via Unique Daily)

True stories, told in one sentence. There are hundreds of these, if you want to explore more than the best fifty.

Listen to the croaking! Can you imagine the size of the frog that would make such a noise?

This music video for the Japanese group Sour was compiled using fans and their webcams. You might think that the be the easy way out, but the end product is anything but simple.

10 Best Uses Of Classical Music In Classic Cartoons. You can call it a music appreciation session or an excuse to watch cartoons.

Fancy Footwork

Michael Jackson was far from the first to do the Moonwalk. Here are some of the greats who inspired him. (via Boing Boing)

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Fifty Four Fifty

Look, another keyboard cat! Music by the Bran Flakes. (via Everlasting Blort)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Stars and Stripes Forever

By the trombone quartet Bones Apart. Awesome.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Good Reads

Author and illustrator Maira Kalman took a trip to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Her fascination with the man makes us want to go, too!

A brief history of the bikini. "It is hardly necessary to waste words over the so-called bikini since it is inconceivable that any girl with tact and decency would ever wear such a thing."

Censoring information in the news media is a lot easier than controlling information on Wikipedia, even when lives are at stake. The case of David Rohde is a fascinating and terrifying example.

Words That Changed Their Meanings. Popular usage trumps original usage, especially when "...the actual meaning is the complete opposite of the literal meaning."

The debate over health care is satirized using the analogy of police protection. "Under our system, we can choose our own police officers, as long as we pay for protection out of our own pockets. Do we want some government bureaucrat choosing the police for us?"

Creatures from the Sewer. Reading an explanation of what this is doesn't make the sewer-cam video any less disturbing.

Four things EVERYONE needs to know about sharks. Especially those who haven't been in the water since Jaws premiered.

A philosophy professor battles alcoholism with a variety of methods: rehab, psychotherapy, medication, and AA. So far, something is working for him. (via Metafilter)

How to Start and Drive a Model T

(YouTube link)
If you are ever lucky enough to get the chance to drive a Ford Model T, keep in mind that they were a bit different from modern cars. Who knew it had three pedals, none of which was an accelerator? Henry Ford Estate volunteer Ed Hebb takes you through the process. (via Metafilter)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

7 July 4th Traditions from Around the Nation

This weekend, people across the United States will be celebrating the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence with fireworks displays, picnics, and parades. Some communities celebrate in other ways that you may not be familiar with. Read about some of them in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Fun and Funny Links

What if the internet was a musical? It would be called Web Site Story, and would make you snicker at its cleverness.

Oceansize is a beautiful and horrifying student film. Exactly the kind of thing 3D animation was meant for.

Have you ever seen a guy jump out of a helicopter into the ocean to catch a huge game fish with his bare hands? Well, you're in luck today!

5 Pathetic Groups That People Think Rule the World. A primer to keep your worldwide conspiracies straight.

There, I Fixed It collects evidence of "adventures in home pwnership". As scary as these repairs are, they show the genius of making do with what you have.

6 New Personality Disorders Caused by the Internet. I run into at least one of each of these types every day. (via Gorilla Mask)

The Tale of How is a gothic opera about birds menaced by a sea monster. The animation is creepy and beautiful.

20 Ridiculous Signs, made to spread information or produce smiles. Nice to know that you can't depend on licorice to work.

Volkswagen Transparent Factory

Part factory, part museum. This factory is in downtown Dresden, germany. (Thanks, Holistic CPA!)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Information Links

We're shockingly bad at noticing changes even to familiar scenes. This is called "change blindness", which has nothing to do with the fact that a dime is used for an example.

The top 10 plants for removing indoor toxins. Three of these are thriving in my home -how about yours?

A newspaper promotion in 1904 got out of hand when treasure hunters dug up a big part of London and other English cities. The madness continued until the newspaper was hauled into court. (via Metafilter)

4 Holy Women Transformed by Cheese. Where in the world do you find such a strangely-focused list? Why, mental_floss magazine, of course.

The final shame: burying a body face-down means humiliation, worldwide and through thousands of years of history.

Where are they now? Serial Killers. This had to be the easiest "Where Are They Now" post ever.

An infographic detailing The Descent into Credit Card Debt. It looks bad, but it's still a better route than check-holding schemes.

Watching Psilocybin Mushrooms Grow

(via Cynical-C)