Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fun and Links

Shoveling it as fast as they can. But not just snow.

Hollywood tricks. Instead of busting my bubble, these revelations only make me respect the actor's skills all the more.

A little boy gets stuck behind the couch. If adorable explanations could get him out, he wouldn't need anyone's help!

Enjoy a new holiday song, "Happy New Year"! This should eventually become a standard because of the emphasis on "happy".

Anatidaephobia, the fear that you are being watched by a duck. It's more common than you might think. (via Bits and Pieces)

Some may not realize that you don't have to be actually driving a car to get a DUI. Read 11 bizarre stories of people arrested for driving other things while drunk. (via Gorilla Mask)

10 Things You Might Not Know About the New Year. Of course we don't know anything about the year 2010 yet; this is about the New Year holiday and how we celebrate it.

Good Reads and Information

The moon is ringing in the New Year by shining full for the second time this month, and giving us a partial lunar eclipse on the 31st. Too bad we won't see it in the Western Hemisphere. (via Geeks Are Sexy)

Anatomy of A Brain Fart. Excuse me, I mean “maladaptive brain activity changes,” you know, doing something stupid when you know better.

The 6 Stupidest Things Ever Done With Historic Treasures. "Reuse and recycle" may be chic, but this is going too far!

Archaeology's Hoaxes, Fakes, and Strange Sites. As long as people will fall for them, these shenanigans will continue. (via Metafilter)

Everything you ever wanted to know about the ball that drops from One Times Square to count down to the New Year. What was once a few light bulbs is now a one-of-a-kind work of art.

Zinc fingers is the name given to a new technique for altering genes with proteins instead of viruses. It could eventually lead to cures for genetic diseases or even AIDS.

The Mysterious History of Gumbo. The original recipe came from the Africans, the French, or maybe the Native Americans, depending on which ingredient you like best.

Leonid Rogozov served as doctor to an Antarctic expedition in 1961 when he fell sick with pain and fever. As the only doctor, he had no choice but to remove his own appendix using only local anesthesia. (via Cynical-C)

New Year Greetings

From 1947, but still sincere.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fun Links

I'm on a Mac. NSFW language.

Starbucks launched their campaign against AIDS in Africa by putting together singers from 156 countries in one video performing "All You Need is Love". Kind of like "We Are The World" with less ego and more world.

Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists. For those who are too busy thinking about how the world works to get a haircut.

In this episode of Shimura Zoo, Pan-kun the chimpanzee must pick up and deliver a cake. It's not that simple! (via Random Good Stuff)

A Statistical "Proof" of the Odd Even Star Trek Movie Rule. If you are going to watch only one, make sure it's an even numbered film. (via Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories)

Never A Year Like '09. Jib Jab puts all the silliness of the past year into one animated video, like they do every year.

The Ultimate List of End-of-the-Decade Lists. This should keep you busy for, oh, about a year!

6 New Year Traditions from Around the World. You can start 2010 by eating grapes, burning effigies, or watching reruns on TV.

Stairway to Heaven

By Rolf Harris. (via WeirdWorm)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Fun and Funny Links

5 Gaping Plot Holes Hollywood Knows You Won't Notice. Mainly because moviegoers swallowed them whole before, so they may as well use them over and over again.

Alma is an award-winning animated short film by Pixar animator Rodrigo Blaas. All children's stories should be this traumatizing. (via Neatorama)

Pacman vs. Mario. Who has the slickest moves to win the game?

The 13 Cutest Animals of 2009. Sure, you could argue with this opinion-based list, but why bother... hey, where's Maru? (via Buzzfeed)

Gravity Swarm. Click and drag this for minutes of mindless fun! (via Gorilla Mask)

Japan's Strangest Man
. Not exactly a sight for sore eyes, I couldn't help but keep watching because he's enjoying himself so.

These Canadian ice fishermen are tough. Completely insane, but still tough.

Who knew you, or rather someone with talent, could do such things with a tape measure! I can't even get mine to meet around my waist.


A parody of the old TV show COPS.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day Links

Lapland, a region of Fenno-Scandinavia that lies mostly within the Arctic Circle, is where tourists go to find Santa Claus, reindeer, dog sledding, skiing, the Northern Lights, and unbelievable scenery.

32 Astounding Gingerbread Houses. Don't you wish you could make an awesome gingerbread treehouse, mansion, or castle, instead of a lopsided hut?

Balthazar, Melchior, and Casper. How did a few lines in the book of Matthew turn into these three kings?

The Smoking Gun presents the top 5 strangest holiday moments. Santa is drunk, Mrs. Claus goes on a rampage, and yes, the cops get involved in these five videos.

25 Awesome Holiday Cards from way cool families. I laughed out loud at #9 and coveted #18.

Two engineers fight with their Christmas laser beam cats. Things get ugly when the nuclear hairball is deployed!

Christmas Greetings from the 50s

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Good Reads

What happens on Facebook doesn't always stay on Facebook, and sometimes those misadventures make the national news. Here are ten stories of how Facebook is affecting the lives of people outside the internet. (via Unique Daily)

Why do our siblings drive us crazy? As the mother of a half-dozen teenagers on vacation, I was disappointed to find that competitiveness is natural and probably unavoidable.

5 Famous Missing Fingers. All on (or were once on) different famous hands.

Thorium, the Green Nuke. Uranium worked best for nuclear weapons, but it is rare, dangerous, and produces lots of nuclear waste, whereas thorium can bypass those problems.

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time. A brain-machine interface has been developed that has been successfully tested on a patient with Locked-In Syndrome. (via J-Walk Blog)

Kim Peek, the inspiration for Rain Man, died Saturday at age 58. Take a look back at the life of an extraordinary man.

Pyramids exist not only in Egypt, but all over the world. Some are ancient and mysterious, while others are gaudy and profitable.

20 Things that Happen Every Minute. Facts about our world that might make you stop and think, "whoa!"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fun Links

A gallery of the 20 funniest snowmen of all time.

Shorewood High made a lip dub video, but there's something not quite right about it.

The Top 100 Weird News Stories of 2009 on Digg.

The weather as explained in Star Wars terms. Enter a city and see what the current conditions are like, compared to planets in the Star Wars universe. (via b3ta)

Proof That Anything Can Be Deep Fried. The Oreos look delicious, but the deep-fried strawberries caused me a moment of cognitive dissonance. (via Gorilla Mask)

The TV Show. This is one downright neat animation montage.

A 70-minute review of The Phantom Menace is more worth your time than the movie itself. Who needs to kick Jar Jar when there are so many other problems with this film?

The Top Celebrity Baby Names of 2009. Meaning the weirdest, of course.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

6 Animals That Show Mother Nature’s Sense of Humor

You’ve heard jokes like these all your life: What do you get if you cross an octopus with a cow? An animal that can milk itself. I didn’t find such an animal, but the world has plenty of strange species that at first glance appear to be hybrids of unrelated species because they have attributes that surprise us. However, we are only surprised because our personal experiences don’t encompass all that nature offers. Learn about six of these animals in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Informative Links

A Fabulous Journey Through The Known Universe. You're welcome.

People with mirror-touch synaesthesia can actually feel what they see other people experiencing, such as touch or pain. It's much more common than you might think.

A former police officer sees myriad flaws in TSA airport screening procedures. Foiling terrorists seems to have taken a back seat to compliance and efficiency.

The 15 Best Time Travel Stories Of All Time. Or, at least until someone travels back in time and retroactively tells a better one.

The holidays are shaping up to be a grim time for food charities. There are too many people to feed and smaller budgets to feed them.

The Physics of Space Battles. Here are some of the many reasons real life space wars wouldn't be anything like what we see in the movies.

Dark Liquor Makes For Worse Hangovers. The old timers told you; now there's science to back them up.

Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing Up. People (even scientists) prefer to pick up and start over fresh than learn from their failures, even though failures often bring a wealth of useful information.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fun and Funny Links

This is Why I Don't Watch TV. Witness the most ridiculous plot twist in the history of television.

The 15 Worst, Weirdest, Tackiest and Sickest Christmas Presents To Spoil The Season. For those people you want to break your yearly gift obligation to.

24 Public Expressions Of Broken Love. This is the way you do it when there's no chance whatsoever you'll change your mind. Slightly NSFW.

The 50 Funniest Headlines Of 2009. Copy editors spent the year putting their stamp on even the most tragic stories.

Simon's Cat encounters snow for the first time. Also take a look at how Simon Tofield creates his animations.

8 Great TV Christmas Specials (But Not The Ones You’re Probably Thinking). These won't come around every year, but they are worth seeking out.

13 Plush Toys Grownups Will Love. Often for other-than-cuddly reasons.

A palindromic conversation between two owls. Keep in mind that these owls are not intelligent or eloquent, just palindromic. (via J-Walk Blog)

Zombie Kittens!

Illustrated by Sarah Brown. (via b3ta)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Kitty Coin Box

This cute Japanese coin bank has a kitten inside with its hand raised just like Maneki Neko! In this case, money does come to him. Get one here. (via Buzzfeed)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Fun Links

Brother Bill designed an animated Christmas greeting for his company that turns out a little different from what you'd expect. Check it out here!

An adorable puppy tries to whistle. He may not be exactly whistling, but his skills at imitation are excellent!

The Christmas version of Civiballs ate up my evening last night. My understanding of physics is OK, but my hand-eye coordination and memory are handicaps.

Product, a Jon Phillips production. Click this to full size and read the whole thing, as harrowing as it is. You'll be glad you stuck with it.

The End of the World. College Humor takes the R.E.M. song and makes the song relate to the world as we really know it.

The Morgan Freeman Chain of Command. Even at the bottom of the pecking order, he commands our attention.

6 Terrible Names People Are Trying to Give This Decade. Funny how we've had ten years to think about this and didn't.

The 27 Craziest Menorahs. I wonder how many of these are actually used to celebrate Hanukkah.

The Friendly Robin

Apparently this is not the first time this particular robin has eaten out of the man's hand. (via Arbroath)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where Candy Canes Come From

One year when I was very young, my mother took me to see Santa Claus at Miller's department store in Knoxville. They had a candy cane factory set up in the middle of the sales floor! While we kids waited in line to see Santa, we could watch through the glass windows and see the candy being cooked, pulled, twisted, and wrapped. After we spoke to Santa, each child would get a fresh cane, still slightly warm. That's a memory I will always treasure. But where did the tradition of Christmas candy canes come from? Read about it in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Good Reads and Info

Monsanto holds patents on genes contained in 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of all corn grown in the U.S. How can that possibly be good for the free market, and even more important, the gene pool of the plant kingdom?

When preparing to unwrap your Christmas gifts, don't forget the tin snips, protective gloves, and band aids. Clamshell packaging can be hazardous to your (physical and mental)

Octopuses are not only smart enough to use tools, but also smart enough to plan for future tools use. That said, watching one carry a coconut shell is probably the funniest thing you'll see today.

The Brief and Strangely Interesting History Of Christmas Lights. Thomas Edison hung the first electric Christmas lights in his laboratory in 1880, which replaced the dangers of candle-lit trees with the dangers of electrical fires.

December is the darkest month of the year. So why isn't it the coldest? It honestly has nothing to do with the power company's profit margins.

Change blindness is a fancy word for how we don't pay attention to what's going on. Here's another experiment, in which you are asked to count the number of basketball passes between the white-shirted players.

Of the hundreds of exoplanets we know of, the one that most resembles earth is called GJ 1214b. The folks at Wired believe that GJ 1214b deserves a better name, and is taking your suggestions and votes. (via Metafilter)

A slideshow of the best pictures of the decade. Some record world-changing events, but you'll also see fighting squirrels and baby ducklings. (via Fark)

Loy Krathong Day

The night of the full moon in November is known as Loy Krathong Day in Thailand.
Loy is "to float" and Krathong is a "leaf cup" usually made of banana leaf as one often sees in the market. The leaf cup is used to hold something. Loy Krathong is, therefore, the floating of lights in a leaf cup. During October and November, all the rivers and canals in the lowlands are flooded and the waters in some places overflow their banks. The rainy season is now in a sense over. It is the time of rejoicing for the weather is fair after the rains.
In this video, 100,000 illuminated rafts fill the Mae Klong River.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fun and Funny Links

If anyone is interested, my almost-year-long construction project is drawing to a close. We moved in this week!

Help. Pick a problem, a get help for it. (via Metafilter)

The Motorcar Designed for the Woman. For the life of me, I can't figure out why this modern miracle never caught on.

Watch a movie trailer made from the best parts of 50 other movie trailers. If this were a real movie, it would be the most intense film ever. (via Gorilla Mask)

If MacGyver had been a cat, this is the way the TV show would have opened. And I would have watched it just as often.

10 Landmark Moments in Animation History. If you haven't seen all these cartoons, it's time to make the effort.

Ringing of the Bells. The Swedish Chef, Beaker, and Animal are caroling for your holiday enjoyment.

I've never seen or even heard of an Eigenharp until now. Watch these guys play the James Bond Theme.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

9 Odd and Unusual Soaps

When you need to buy a gift for a person who doesn’t want anything specific, items that can be used up are always welcome. Sweets, art supplies, wine, and soap will be used and won’t clutter up the house for years to come. Here are some odd and unusual soaps for the odd and unusual people in your life, in this list I posted at mental_floss.

Informative Links

Watch Bob Hope's Christmas USO tour of Vietnam and surrounding bases in 1967. My family watched these every year, feeling so sorry for those boys spending Christmas so far from home fighting a never-ending war.

Seven Psychological Principles Con Artists Exploit. Now, are you going to use this knowledge to protect yourself or to set up shop? (via Kottke)

Controversial Quotes From 8 of History's Most Revered Heroes. Some are "rare slipups", some are signs of the times, and some give a glimpse into the hidden parts of a personality.

Fixers, feeders, and the strange, hidden world of feral cats. Should tens of thousands of ownerless cats in Denver be destroyed or neutered?

National Geographic's Ten Most-Watched Videos of 2009. Look carefully in case there is one or two you may have missed.

Keeping in mind that colonies of people may be traveling together for hundreds of years, what sort of governance should we carry to other planets? Many people respond with thought-provoking ideas.

The world's fastest animal takes New York. In 40 years, peregrine falcons went from the brink of extinction to a penthouse perch on the Empire State Building.

Mr. Bean Goes Christmas Shopping

No nativity scene is complete without a Dalek. (Thanks, Bill!)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Synchronized Christmas Lights

Featuring David Foster's version of Carol of the Bells.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bizarre But Clever Christmas Decorations

Christmas is the time you can get as tacky as you want with lights and decorations, and most of us put up with it because it should come down in a month or so. I’ve written before about how people in my neck of the woods make do with what they have. Christmas gets the same treatment, and the results can be wonderfully strange. Take a look at what your neighbors near and far have concocted for the Christmas season in this collection of pictures I posted at mental_floss.

Fun and Funny Links

Have an 8-bit Christmas! Listen anytime online, but if you download the collection, net proceeds go to the charity Child's Play.

Watch this illusion from different angles. Does it keep changing on you like it did me?

Rwandan Grand Prix. No need to let a little thing like lack of a car keep you from drag racing.

Thank God It’s Friday: 7 Reasons to Love Dragnet. Not that I really needed any extra reasons besides I always liked it.

The 7 Most Pointlessly Horrifying Plastic Surgery Procedures. Someone somewhere thinks these bodymods are a good idea, and even worth paying for.

The vengeful god of Tetris. I knew someone with a diabolical mind decided which block I would get next.

25 Extreme Examples of Laziness. Actually, there are 23 examples, because one is a double and they were too lazy to find a 25th. (via BroBible)

8 Truly Strange Christmas Customs, from the Christmas pickle to the pooping log.

Cigar Box Juggling

Kris Kremo juggles cigar boxes. It's a lot more difficult than it sounds.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Informative Links

The Top 10 Warrior Women. In a field where women have to be twice as successful to be considered half as good as man, these few more than made the grade.

A staff photographer for New Yorker magazine set up a studio in the United Nations building this past September to get portraits of as many world leaders as possible. Take a look, and hear his impressions of each president or prime minister. (via the Presurfer)

Not all movie stunts are done with computers, green screens, or even stuntmen. Here are thirteen movie stars, past and present, and the stories of the dangerous stunts they've done themselves, with videos.

What to Do When the Power Goes Out. Or better yet, what to do now to be prepared for such an event.

Five Modern Technologies That Might Not Be So Modern. Is there ever anything new under the sun?

Campbell’s monkeys have six basic sounds they make in the wild, but they can string these six sounds together in ways that mean many different things. Which is more amazing, that monkeys have a language, or that we can translate it?

Soviet Star Wars. The real story behind how close the Soviets got to a space-based missile system.

Tricks and Traps in the Credit Card Game. Even responsible users can get burned if you let your guard down. (via Consumerist)

The 12 Pains of Christmas

From Bob Rivers.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

7 Horrifying Aircraft Landings (in which no one died)

Many people board an airplane flight thinking that if anything goes wrong, they will probably die. We board anyway, knowing that the odds of something going wrong are pretty small. In these seven stories, hundreds of passengers thought it was the end for them, but thanks to skilled pilots and crew members (and a fair amount of luck), they all survived to fly again. If they ever wanted to. Read about them in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Fun and Funny Links

6 Romantic Gestures That Backfired Horrifically. Bad things can happen when you mix love with stupidity.

Pigeon Impossible. This bird sure had a lot of fun making a mess of everything!

6 Mental Illness Myths Hollywood Wants You to Believe. Mainly because they make plot construction really easy, if a bit trite. (via Gorilla Mask)

The 6 Weirdest, Scariest Processed Foods. If you've never considered what spray cheese is really made of, this will turn you toward cheddar. (via Fark)

Photographer Kerry Skarbakka explores the falling human body in a set called The Struggle to Right Oneself. You'll look at these and ask, "How did he do that? And how bad was he hurt?"

6 Adorable Cat Behaviors With Shockingly Evil Explanations. In case you've ever wondered whether those dead animals Fluffy brings home are a gift or a warning.

The Company of Myself. A lonely and somewhat existential game, but that's what makes it worth playing.

Rudolph, and Santa’s 27 Other Reindeer. By some accounts, he has a herd of up to a hundred!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Good Reads and Information

Holiday shipping deadlines for 2009, from a whole slew of big stores. If you don't want to push your luck to the limit, I'd advise ordering earlier. (via Gizmodo)

An Antarctic resident tells the story of explorer Robert F. Scott, who wasn't the first to reach the South Pole, but still made history by not making it back.

Awareness, cognition, and consciousness: maybe we are one the brink of defining what those things are. At least we are starting to experiment with them. (via Metafilter)

The New Shapes of Garden Produce. The next time someone finds a gourd or a root shaped like a human, you'll know how they did it.

The average American wastes 1,400 kilocalories a day, which means the US wastes about 40% of its food supply. It's not all your fault, since a lot of food is discarded before the consumer ever sees it. (via The World's Fair)

When is it OK to take an open flame on an airplane? When it's the Olympic flame, ignited in Greece and on it's way to Vancouver for the winter games. The Big Picture has 33 photographs of the torch's journey. (via J-Walk Blog)

Cannibalism in Germany?
Evidence points to the practice occurring around 7,000 years ago in one particular town, but researchers don't know if it was ritual sacrifice, hunger, or maybe something else completely.

The “Oops” Heard ‘Round the World (Or Not). America's first nuclear casualty came about from a case of butterfingers.

Josephine Baker

Footage from the movie La Revue Des Revues, 1927.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Elephants Playing Darts

In Thailand, where elephants can do all kinds of things. (via Arbroath)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Friday Fun Links

Add your special touch to Flockdraw, a collaborative drawing board, but only if you have nothing pressing that has to be done today. If you don't want to put up with all your collaborators, you can get your own.

Only a (relatively) few understood and used the Internet in 1993. I certainly don't miss reading ascii text on a dark background!

A 3-minute documentary about the Beatles made 1,000 years in the future. After this, you have to wonder our history documentaries are any more accurate.

In 1967, David Bowie received his first fan letter from America. He immediately wrote a charming note in reply.

The Society for the Protection and Preservation of Fruitcake, continuing the fight against the holiday classic's bad reputation. Fruitcake is more than a doorstop!

How a web design goes straight to hell.

The weirdest news stories of the week.

Hand in Hand

Ma Li is missing her right arm. Zhai Xiaowei lost his left leg. Together they make a beautiful pas de deux. More information at this post.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Niche Blogs: Found Photos Edition

When I posted A Sampling of Niche Blogs last month, people responded positively and said they liked finding new blogs on very specific subjects. Well, there is no lack of variety on the internet, so here are some more niche blogs you might enjoy that feature peculiar found photographs of people, buildings, animals, objects, and signs in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Informative Links

The world's most extreme and dangerous roads. You don't even have to go there, the pictures are scary enough! (via Neatorama)

Forty years after he covered the infamous exploding whale story, journalist Paul Linnman talks about that fateful day. "We're hearing this noise around us and we realize it is pieces of whale blubber hitting the ground around us (from) 1,000 yards away." Oh, the humanity!

Tiny Tinseltown: The 12 Shortest Actors of All Time. With a look at the roles we remember most.

The Dynosphere was supposed to make automobiles obsolete, or so they thought in 1932. Would you drive a vehicle with only one big wheel?

The Species That Domesticated Itself. Paleoanthropologists have their own baggage, and often the biggest bias is toward finding a human ancestor even when its not there.

A study of the data from the Framingham Heart Study leads researchers to believe that loneliness spreads through social networks like a virus. The tendency to be a loner may be less of a character trait and more of a "state such as hunger".

Socks, stockings, and hose in the Middle Ages. Fashion (and warmth) was just as complicated then as it is now.

A recording artist shares his royalty payment with us. In doing so, we get a peek into how record companies work with musical artists. (via Metafilter)

My, what a Dirty Fox!

A cat spruces up a fennec fox. (via YesButNoButYes)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Links for Fun

We're not here to cause no trouble, we're just here to do the Sex Offender Shuffle.

This is the time of year when you might want to start keeping up with Santa Claus' blog. That is, if you haven't been following him all along.

Nominees for the Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction Award 2009. The list has a link to text excerpts, which are NSFW but hilarious. (via Metafilter)

The game Mr. Bounce seems like "Pong for one", but you have tasks to accomplish instead of an adversary. Lucky for me, it gives a trajectory line to help out. (via Look at This)

The Awesomest Things That Will Ever Exist. Declared by the most common demographic on the internet, young men who create motivational posters. (via Gorilla Mask)

POV: Gym. Considering how seldom you actually go, an experience like this (although typical) could scar you for life.

Lego Matrix. The "dodging bullets" scene is recreated frame-by-frame in Lego bricks!

A video has surfaced of Marilyn Monroe smoking pot.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Red Adair, Global Firefighter

Red Adair put out fires for a living. Oh, not just any fires, but burning oil and gas wells, fires that could have been fueled for decades and were expected to take years to extinguish with the best methods available. He was called out to fires all over the world, including war zones, because of his company’s experience and expertise. Read about some of his greatest fires in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Good Reads and Information

Fire in the Hole. Coal mine fires are burning in places all over the globe; some have been burning for decades. (via Metafilter)

Top Ten Hippie Travel Destinations. I had no idea -but I'll get my bag packed right away!

Points for you if you understand this physics-based bumper sticker. Explanations are in the comments.

What You Don't Know About Poinsettias Won't Kill You.

Neurobiologist Ben Barres writes about the differences in how male and females scientists are regarded. He has a unique perspective because he used to be a woman scientist.

Sunken Cities, both real and mythological. Click on the titles for the history of each location.

The man who smuggled himself into Auschwitz.

AFI's 100 Years, 100 Movie Quotes

I bet you know most, if not all of these.