Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rodent, or NOT a Rodent?

According to Grandpa, any wild mammal that invades your home or garden is a rodent, often lovingly referred to as a “varmint.” This turns out to be not quite so. We know that mice, rats, and hamsters are rodents, but other animals that resemble mice or rats may or may not belong to the order Rodentia. Find out about quite a few of these animals in this article I posted at mental_floss.

Interesting Links

A guy on the highway saw a young driver texting, so he called the police and then started his video camera. That recording was given to the police, and stands as a testament to why you don’t text while driving. NSFW audio.

According to a new book, Nazi scientists tried to train dogs to speak, read, and write at the School for Dog-Human Communication. The dogs, however, were intelligent enough to keep their education to themselves.

Top Ten Myths About the Brain. In other words, science marches on, while the same old sound bites are passed along from generation to generation.

Saskboy has a short course in global economics.

If high school was horrible because you were ostracized as a geek, you may be on the path to success. At least, compared to the popular kids who ruled the school.

People with long commutes to work have more health problems, pain, stress, loneliness, divorce, obesity, and unhappiness. Believe it; my happiness level went way up when I traded in a ten-minute commute for working at home. (via Metafilter)

The 50 State Conspiracy Road Trip. There’s a scandal for every state; some are proven facts and others are way out in left field -or are they? (via Gorilla Mask)

Graham Walker gives his Stanford University School of Medicine commencement address in 2008: What it means to be called “Doctor”.

R.I.P. Mars Spirit Rover. The little robot geologist went above and beyond the call of duty until he couldn’t anymore.

15 Things Your Lifeguard Won’t Tell You. Your best bet is to participate in your own safety. (via Breakfast Links)

Esso Ad

Before it was Exxon -WAY before! This is from the 1930s.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Links

Five for Fighting, the story of the Sullivan brothers, who served together in the US Navy in World War II.

A gallery of soldiers coming home. There's something in my eye...

How Arlington National Cemetery Came to Be.

Is it true that women prefer men in uniform?

How We’ve Commemorated the Civil War.

10 Things to Remember About Memorial Day.

14 Hot Dog Horrors. Recipes you DO NOT WANT for Memorial Day.

Become the Memorial Day Grill Master.

Barbecue for Bastards.

10 Things to Remember About Memorial Day. And number 11 is: have a safe and happy holiday.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Broken Down Film

A 1985 animated short by Osamu Tezuka.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Fun Links

In 1955, the Atomic Energy Commission started getting complaints from local citizens about nuclear testing. The government responded by publishing a cartoon booklet that made a nuclear blast seem like a family picnic. (via Gorilla Mask)

14 Facts You Might Not Know about The Addams Family.

It's hard to pontificate on philosophy when your cat is a video photobomber.

This guy set out to build the biggest domino pyramid ever, with 13,482 dominoes. He spent five weeks, or 30 hours of work, and stacked 13,043 of the dominoes when the unthinkable happened.

In 2004, Dark Horse comics published a 10-page story starring both Han Solo and Indiana Jones. It was inspired by the legend of Bigfoot. (via Metafilter)

A little boy and an otter share a moment of hyperactivity. No surprise for those who know little boys and otters.

If you leave a camera sitting in the open and drive off, you shouldn’t be surprised when someone makes off with it. Even if that someone is a lion.

Do my eyes deceive me? Take a look at the top ten finalists in the 2011 Illusion of the Year contest.

If Boring Cereals Had Mascots, they would be boring mascots. Which aren’t necessary because real adults don’t require sugar coating or cartoon characters to eat breakfast.

What kind of entertainment would you expect at Maker Faire? Arc Attack performing the Dr. Who theme on Tesla coils as Adam Savage dances in a Faraday cage. Of course.

Marvin's Moments

Scenes featuring Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

11 Fictional Family Trees

They say you can’t tell the players without a program! When a story is an “epic saga” or a long-running series, some kind of guide will help immensely. Plot lines turn on family secrets, and fresh material is injected by the introduction of yet another relative. And sometimes, complicated bloodlines meet as characters marry each other (since a wedding and new babies will always boost ratings). To help you along, TV, movie, and literature geeks will chart out those relationships in family trees. See eleven of them in this article I posted at mental_floss.

Good Reads informative Links

Acrobat Tiny Kline crosses the rooftops between buildings in Times Square hanging by her teeth in 1932.

The 15 Most Awesome Bonsai Trees On Earth. Bonsai trees are cute and all, but I had no idea certain trees were famous!

How the Indy 500 Came About. It was carefully calculated to keep you watching as long as possible.

Göbekli Tepe was built 11,600 years ago, before the pyramids, before Stonehenge, and before anything else we’ve found. The ancient temple in Turkey hints that religion, and not agriculture, caused the birth of civilization.

Last year, we brought you the story of heiress Huguette Clark and the controversy over who controls her fortune. Clark died Tuesday at age 104, and the investigation into her finances continues. (via Metafilter)

For the class of 2011, lowered expectations may be the only way to get a job after graduation. A response from a 25-year-old writer makes the Lost Generation sound a lot like the Baby Boomers.

10 Facts About Wrigley Field. Tradition can carry a team even when their talent can’t.

Tatiana and Krista Hogan 4-year-old craniopagus conjoined twins. The connection between their brains may allow them to feel each other’s sensations, and possibly read each other’s thoughts! (NYT link)

I can’t vouch for the quality or the safety of this recipe, but English Russia has a how-to post on making your own absinthe. One of the steps is to put the concoction away for two weeks, presumably to give you time to ponder the wisdom of the whole enterprise. (via Dangerous Minds)

10 Modern Movies That Are Better in Black and White. Includes video and commentary for all ten, which convinced me..

7 Things You Should Know About The Indy 500. Especially if you want to show off to your guests as you watch the race this holiday weekend.

Futuristic Fashion Predictions

A documentary from the 1930s, predicting the fashions of the 2000s.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Funny Links

Seven Little Girl Cats.

7 of the most subtly depressing sitcom premises of all-time. Yet another reason I rarely watch TV.

Check out these cartoon versions of my four cats.

9 Road Signs For Your Life. Most are spot-on, but the creators should eventually learn it’s not “all pretty much downhill from here.”

The 50 Greatest Celebrity Prom Photos. Smile nicely, high school seniors, you never know if your date may one day be famous! (via Gorilla Mask)

Panhandling or street theater? This guy has clever signage down to an art!

The Rise And Fall Of An Internet Meme [CHART].

Andy Graulund made a rage face comic to the lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody. It didn’t take long for a music video to be made from it.

Does the Person You’re Talking to Want to Hear About Your Dream? You could give a simple answer (no), but it’s more fun to follow a flowchart. (via Buzzfeed)

Firemen use the Jaws of Life to rescue a baby fawn stuck in a pile of rocks. The reunion with his mama will touch your heart.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cuckoos and Other Animated Clocks

Mental_floss blog editor Jason English told me his daughter wanted a cuckoo clock, but she wanted one with a dog instead of a cuckoo. I began to wonder why clocks use cuckoo birds to identify the hour. As it turns out, there are quite a variety of ways clocks will announce the hour. See some of them in this article I posted at mental_floss.

Good Reads and Interesting Links

Otto Rahn was one of the inspirations for the character of Indiana Jones, despite the fact that he was a Nazi. His real life story would be just as exciting as a movie, if so many details weren’t shrouded in mystery.

7 Bizarre Early Versions of Famous Cartoon Characters.

The 7 Most Ridiculous Cases of Misplaced Priorities.

How to spot a psychopath. The danger is that when you start to look, you may see monsters everywhere. (via Metafilter)

Movie theaters are using 3-D lenses to show 2-D films, which ruins both brightness and color for viewers. So even if you refuse to pay extra and wear the glasses for 3D, you may still be paying for it.

You’d think that when you put a 72.1 gram bag of popcorn in the microwave, you’d get 72.1 grams out after popping it. But no… guess how much the popped version weighs.

People in China don’t consume much cheese. And when they do, they have a unique perspective on the experience.

Michael Meets Mozart is an arrangement with one piano and 100 cello tracks. This will sound good no matter what kind of music you like.

TRUE CRIMES: The Man who Hijacked a Cargo Jet. It was an inside job.

The History of Tequila. We wouldn’t have the liquor today if Spain hadn’t used a shortcut for importing goods from the Philippines. (via TYWKIWDBI)

Why is America the ‘no-vacation nation’? Because employers don’t have to give you one, and if they do, workers feel guilty taking it. (via Metafilter)

Life lessons for students who don’t think school is worth the trouble. As if those students will ever read it. (via Neatorama)


An animated 1979 video for the song "autobahn" by Kraftwerk. (via Your Daily Cartoon)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Links for Fun

You go to a college baseball game and the rain starts. While waiting, the players entertain the crowds with a series of silly skits that are more entertaining than the game.

MacRecipes is a database of all the hacks in all the episodes of the TV series MacGyver. Click on a dot and it will display the episode, the plot, and how MacGyver managed to do something miraculous with whatever he had at hand. (via Gorilla Mask)

Underwater explosion. Does what it says on the tin.

Ten Rules for Dating My Daughter.

Denmark has a way to make drivers slow down. At least male drivers. NSFW.

7 Basic Tips for Horny Politicians.

John and Sandra have an everyday love story, but it’s the kind of love story that we all want. And it makes a great little movie.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011


A zoetrope is a mechanical device that creates the illusion of moving pictures, based on a spinning cylinder in which slits are cut. You look through the slits at a picture on the other side, and the strobe effect of looking through the sequence of slits frames the sequential pictures on the inside. It was invented in about 180AD. That’s a long time ago! The modern way to do it is to use strobe lights or camera shutters to recreate the effect of looking through slits, but however you do it, a zoetrope is still magical. See a variety of them in action in this video collection I posted at mental_floss.


A 1964 animation by Yoji Kuri. (via Your Daily Cartoon)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Good Reads and Interesting Links

How do serial killers get their nicknames? An unidentified serial killer in Long Island doesn’t have a snappy moniker yet -or at least he hasn’t claimed one.

Olympics Loser Fights his Horse (and 5 other Unlikely Sports Brawls). An athlete losing his temper may be unsportsmanlike, but the crowds love it.

10 Stats You Should Know About Our Prison System.

Health insurance companies are raking in record profits, yet they are still seeking higher premiums. And still people resist a single-payer plan. (via J-Walk Blog)

5 Scorned Women Get Their Revenge. See what happens when you don't take the time and care to let her down easy.

What It’s Like to Get a Breast Reduction, a major step that made a major difference in one young woman’s life. One illustration is NSFW. (via Metafilter)

Is It Time to Destroy the Last Smallpox Stores? A list of pros and cons for keeping smallpox around are listed at 80beats. (via Carl Zimmer)

James Zwerg was a Freedom Rider in Montgomery in 1961. The picture of what he endured put the Civil Rights movement in the news across the country and left Zwerg with permanent psychological scars. (via Fark)

How Saipan got Obsessed with SPAM. You could almost say it became comfort food.

Over 50 and Out of Work, a site I can’t even read because it’s so scary. These folks are spending their retirement savings on groceries and might never find jobs again. (via Breakfast Links)

A little robot rolls around the room, then stands up on one end and turns into a helicopter! I’m impressed, but it looks a bit dangerous to be flying indoors.

7 Memorable Commencement Addresses. If you’ve been so honored as to speak this spring, you might want to get some tips from these hit speeches.

Ivory Soap In A Microwave

According to Steve Spangler, http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/experiment/00000053 the tiny amount of water in Ivory's famous air bubbles heat up and expand. The end product is a "soap souffle"! (via The Daily What)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nyan Cat: Covering the Web in Cute

Like most memes, you’ve either seen it everywhere you go on the internet, or you are totally unaware of it -until now. Nyan Cat (also called Pop Tart Cat) is an 8-bit animation produced by the artist at LOL-COMICS who goes by the name prguitarman. The cat was published on April 2, 2011 and became an instant hit. The original image is accompanied by an endless loop of music, and in fact has a timer included. The first video version is closing on ten million views now, so you can imagine how many people have visited the Nyan Cat page -and the many spinoffs and tributes. Read all about it in this article I posted at mental_floss.

Fun and Funny Links

Drop some Mentos into a plastic soda bottle to make a homemade rocket -what could possibly go wrong? It might not work, or it just might work.

All you need to do is turn off the lights to unleash Ana Somnia’s dreams. Whether they are dreams or nightmares depends on your state of mind.

A classic story of a remote control blimp. This is only funny because it happened to someone else. (via reddit)

Charlie took his sister Ginny to the movies. What Charlie knew, but Ginny didn’t, was that Ginny’s boyfriend Matt made a special video to show during the previews.

Duck Tape Prom. The biggest night of your high school career doesn’t have to bankrupt you -if you got enough chutzpah to wear Duck tape!

The Limited Lifetime of the Solar System.

The 100 Worst Senior Portraits Of All Time. There were advantages to the old "line them up and shoot them" method. (via Gorilla Mask)

What the British say and what they really mean. (via Dark Roasted Blend)

I Like Vegetables. Parry Gripp brings us a catchy rap about tasty tasty veggies -word!

Are you ready for the Zombie Apocalypse? The CDC has tips on being prepared for the onslaught.

We all like to see food in slow motion! Breakfast Interrupted is like a ballet, except for the horrific mess you know will follow. Followed by a making-of video.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Interesting Links

The Lazarus File. A 1986 murder was solved 23 years later as DNA technology caught up with an unlikely suspect. (via Metafilter)

The Art of Manliness offers an extensive tutorial in the art of negotiation, also known as haggling. As long as you are nice about it, you have nothing to lose by asking for a better deal.

The Hidden Message in Pixar’s Films. This article deconstructs the major Pixar films and compares them in ways you’ve never considered to find they have a common goal.

3 Heartbreaking Tales of “Freaks”. Besides being born different, these folks endured family, physical, legal, and financial troubles.

Beulah Land. Freed slaves settled in Oklahoma after the Civil War, but racism caught up with them eventually.

6 Classic Movies You Didn’t Know Were Remakes. I, being elderly, was well aware that five of these were remakes, but you might learn something new. Cracked, NSFW text.

Roseanna Barr talks about her groundbreaking sitcom, her struggle for control of it, and the dangers of success. (via Metafilter)

Is The Cockroach The Perfect Organism? They have a lot of creepy, disgusting things going for them.

5 Scorned Women Get Their Revenge. See what happens when you don’t take the time and care to let her down easy.

Many items belonging to Ted Kaczynski (The Unabomber) are up for auction. Proceeds go to his victims, but does this sort of sale just glamorize his crimes? (via Metafilter)

The secret world of child brides. Tradition trumps modern laws all over the world with the goal of controlling, protecting, and profiting from the family females.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

8 Creative Periodic Tables

The Periodic Table of the Elements is a wonderful aid in understanding chemistry, if you understand the reasons the elements are sorted the way they are. The table itself is a model of information classification. No wonder folks want to use this structure to classify other types of information -although science geeks can see right away whether the artist really understands the original table. That said, we can all enjoy periodic tables of items other than elements, as you'll see in this list I posted, the latest in a long-running series at mental_floss.

Fun and Funny Links

A recovering Star Wars fan goes through the five stages of grief. There’s hope that eventually all fans will reach the level of acceptance. (via Buzzfeed)

An 840-barrel paintball machine that shoots art.

Watch an Apple Engineer Recreate a 2,000-Year-Old Computer Using Legos.

Ben Greenman’s Museum of Silly Charts. He found making graphs to be like eating potato chips -one just leads to another and another. (via Metafilter)

The torch is passed. Calvin is all grown up with a daughter (named Bacon), but Hobbes is still there. (via Neatorama)

A giant labyrinth game uses a bowling ball instead of a marble. Oh, you can still tilt the table, but you’ll need a remote control to do it.

I'm Sorry. You know how true this is.

May Is Zombie Awareness Month. Believe me, if I was aware of a zombie anywhere near, I wouldn’t care what month it is!

When Hollywood movies are renamed for overseas audiences, the results can be literal or inexplicable, and sometimes remarkably apt. Surely you can guess which of these 50 movies was renamed The Young People Who Traverse Dimensions While Wearing Sunglasses. (via Gorilla Mask)

35 Years Backwards Through Time. Sam Klemke videotaped himself every year, so you can watch as his voice fades and he becomes a swaggering 20-year-old in platform shoes from the mid-1970s.

They told us the Useless Machine only does one thing, and that is to turn itself off. But this one got tired of that one thing and is determined to put an end to such shenanigans.

ZDoggMD and Dr. Harry took Rebecca Black’s “Friday” and added tons of medical jargon to make a tribute to the poor residents who are on call at the hospital. You don’t have to understand it all to feel sorry for these guys.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Good Reads and Information

“No matter what happens at the site, DO NOT CRY.” A Japanese medical worker kept a diary after the earthquake, now available in English. (via Metafilter)

Mike Rowe's Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. A tribute to working people and full employment.

5 Shocking Ways You Overestimate Yourself. This article might take you down a peg or two, so be prepared. Cracked, NSFW text.

The current flooding of the Mississippi River is almost as high as the flood of 1927. Here are 35 pictures of what happened that year.

6 Unsolved Disappearances. If you’ve seen any of these people… well, you probably wouldn’t recognize them.

Playgrounds from Hell. The “whimsical” decor of Soviet playgrounds could give an adult nightmares.

8 Fan (Or Hater) Made Alternate Endings.

The Loneliest Plant In The World.

Take this 1931 8th grade test (you will probably flunk).

The Library of Congress has an extensive online collection of historic sound recordings going back over 100 years called National Jukebox. Select from classical, ragtime, opera, gospel, and ethnic music as well as spoken word recordings, and never insert a quarter! (Thanks, Rich!)

Inside the Black Market Intern Economy. At the bottom you’ll find a slide show of the 9 types of interns. (via Buzzfeed)

6 Bizarre Explanations from the set of Roseanne. I don’t know why they even bothered trying to explain things that obviously just don’t make sense.

James Cagney

A montage in which he makes funny noises. (via Boing Boing)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Parking Puzzle

A time-lapse video from a security camera reveals a game in which the goal is to escape a parking lot. Why didn't they drive through the grass? (via Buzzfeed)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Have To Have You

Performed by Helen Kane and Skeets Gallagher in 1929.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chase Scene

The wildest police chase I've ever seen. Outside Hollywood, that is.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Buttered Cat Paradox

Some things we all know are true appear to contradict each other, and even though we are aware of the facts, we cannot always know what will happen when these concepts come together. One such concept is that of the buttered cat. In most cases of scientific conundrums, experiments are used to find the answer. When there is a cat involved, getting the required cooperation from the test subject makes this all but impossible. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let’s understand the paradox of the buttered cat, which is explained in this article I wrote for mental_floss.

Queen's Coronation

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, on June 2, 1953.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Links for Fun

A jumping spider’s mating dance only needs the proper music to make it perfect! You can find out more about the spider at NPR.

Enter your location and destination into the Google Earth Driving Simulator, and take a virtual trip to anywhere! Now, slow down and enjoy the scenery. (via Metafilter)

The Six Stages of Movie Geek Evolution. It’s a long journey from watching cartoons as a kid to honestly enjoying films for what they are -and some stages in between can be difficult. (via Blame It On The Voices)

Kitten vs. Something Really Scary. A study in how Hollywood tricks, such as a musical score, can make all the difference in a movie.

Little brother learned his dance moves well. Considering he’s only four years old, he’s got a great career ahead of him.

Shit My Students Write.

The video Meltdown explores what happens inside a refrigerator when the thermostat malfunctions. Believe it or not, it’s a horror story.

What Are You Doing After Graduation? If you’re not sure, this flowchart can guide you.

New Jewish Vocabulary.

A mariachi band in South Carolina performs “Another Brick in the Wall.” It was, without a doubt, the best party EVER!

Valse Irritation d'après Nokia

From the YouTube page:
Marc-André Hamelin plays his composition "Valse Irritation". He transcribed the Nokia ringtone. He is known to play it in concerts when he hears a cellphone go off.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

10 Crocheted Science Fiction Figures

You wouldn't have known it before the age of the internet, but yarn crafts can be very geeky. Knitting and crocheting are examples of digital art, so to speak, as the patterns are strings of information rendered in bits. Some craftsters are science fiction fans as well, which gives us some great crochet projects to enjoy, as you'll see in this list I posted at mental_floss.

Interesting Links

When We Tested Nuclear Bombs. See a series of photographs from the 2,000 nuclear tests performed since 1945. (via Metafilter)

Take America Back!

Horitada Ototake threw out the first pitch as a baseball game in Japan Friday, which is remarkable because Ototake was born without arms or legs. He has a remarkable talent for doing exactly what you think he can’t.

7 Things You Might Not Know About The Golden Girls. Meaning the show, the characters, and the wonderful actresses who portrayed them.

Joe Stalin vs. John Wayne is a very strange story that might not be all it seems.

This Town Hall Meeting business might not be a bad idea after all. (via Nag on the Lake)

The 5 Lamest Things People Have Actually Rioted Over.

Stacy's Beatles Cake Pops.

America’s Most Isolated Federal Prisoner Describes 10,220 Days in Extreme Solitary Confinement. Can’t we find a way to protect prisoners from an extremely dangerous inmate without resorting to such tactics?

Morgellons: A hidden epidemic or mass hysteria? Explanations range from extraterrestrials to a disorder of the itch response.

Hamster Wants a Kia

An ad for a car with hamsters. (via Dark Roasted Blend)

Monday, May 09, 2011

Funny Links

The Situation Room Meme: The Shortest Route From Bin Laden to Lulz. See what clever Photoshoppers have done to a tense moment at the White House during the bin Laden raid.

IKEA manuals for various science fiction universes. Even Doctor Who likes flat-pack furniture with handy but incomprehensible graphic instructions.

The 25 Best Fictional Sports Villains of All Time. (via Gorilla Mask)

If this summer's movie posters told the truth.

Could a statue of Alan Turning pass a Turing Test? Don’t laugh, well, OK, laugh if you must at this dog who just wants to play fetch.

Watch Star Wars episodes one, two, and three the way they should be seen: condensed into less than three minutes altogether and rendered in Lego. A massive improvement over the Hollywood films.

You’ll get lost in watching these pendulum waves. You don’t have to understand what’s happening to enjoy its pure entertainment value.

Ping Pongo

Performed by Winnie Lightner in 1929.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mousetrap Chain Reactions

Disney produced a documentary promoting nuclear power in 1957 called Our Friend the Atom. It has been shown in countless high school science classes since then. The 53-minute film is available in segments on YouTube, if you’d like to watch the whole thing. One part that stuck with us is the demonstration of a chain reaction using ping pong balls on mousetraps. After seeing it, many budding scientists worked to recreate it. Not because it was educational, but because it was so cool. See seven of those experiments in a video collection I posted at mental_floss.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Math Food

Food is often used to illustrate shapes, and recipes are used to introduce children to measurement and proportions. But if you really care about your mathematics -and your food- there are ways to take the marriage of math and food it to the next level, as you'll see in this article I posted at mental_floss.

Interesting Links

A Mother’s Prayer for Her Child by Tina Fey. Amen.

10 Famous Stage Mothers, in case you need a reason to appreciate the mom you have. Read it, then buy yours a nice Mothers Day gift.

There were 79 commandos involved in the bin Laden raid -and one dog. While the dog’s identity is as secret as the SEALS, you can see and read about how dogs fit in with elite Special Forces teams. (via The Daily What)

Take a quiz to see how your beliefs are labeled on the political spectrum. Then see how you compare to the rest of the country.

9 Absurd Movie Premises That Actually Happened. You’d think maybe they could’ve made these movies more believable by explaining that, because we all know truth is stranger than fiction. NSFW text.

The Science of Statistics Applied to Serial Killers. And you thought Nmb3rs was an absurd premise. (via Metafilter)

How Ex-Presidents and Prime Ministers Make their Money. Respect can turn into cash in retirement.

What kind of animal was a thylacine, anyway? It’s hard to study an animal we drove to extinction less than 100 years ago, but scientists are giving it a try.

The Art of the American Fire Helmet. Safety comes first, but tradition dictates the helmet’s shape, the significance of its color, and how it is personalized. (via Boing Boing)

The rise of reality TV. We’ve gone from documentary to cheap game shows, but what does that say about the audience? (via Jason Kottke)

6 Unforgettable Movie Mothers and the Real Moms They Depicted. In case you didn’t know, this is to remind you that Mothers Day is this Sunday.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Fun and Funny Links

I know… the last thing that someone emotionally ranting on Facebook needs is someone to call them out on spelling errors, but sometimes the opportunity to make a joke is just too tempting. Text is NSFW, especially the tragically hilarious last one. (via Metafilter)

The Situation Room Meme: The Shortest Route From Bin Laden to Lulz. See what clever Photoshoppers have done to a tense moment at the White House during the bin Laden raid.

Chad Vader tries to learn the secrets of viral video success by teaming up with the laughing bubbles baby. If one meme won’t work, maybe another will!

Pomppufiilis is a Finnish term meaning "bouncy feeling," which is what you get when you watch this bizarre music video. Warning: earworm.

They’ve figured out why skunks are striped like that. It’s camouflage for the modern world.

A real man can hold a child tenderly in one arm while using the other to catch a foul ball. Ladies and gentlemen, here is that man.

How Smart Are You? This quick and totally accurate IQ test has only one question. I scored 164.

A Defense Against Cat Urine. This guy hooked up motion sensors, cameras, and a chain of gadgets with the aim of either deterring cats or producing a memorable video.

Paula Dean's English Peas recipe. You don't want to skip the many awesome reviews. (via a comment at Cynical-C)

7 Foods That Will Make Your Poop Change Colors. (via Gorilla Mask)

The Jungle Book Version

It wasn’t long before the Cadbury Gorilla ad was remixed with other songs. YesButNoButYes posted four new versions. I like this one the best, featuring Louis Prima doing “I Wanna Be Like You” from Disney’s The Jungle Book.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Good Reads and Interesting Links

The winners of the Webby Awards have been announced. In rather few categories did the award and the people’s choice go to the same website, which is a double honor.

The Fall of the Wall.

100-year-old Pavel Galitsky is one of the few remaining survivors of the Stalinist labor camps. He tells his story, uses Skype, and delights in outlasting all his oppressors. (via Metafilter)

Read about the Secret Team That Killed bin Laden. (via Breakfast Links) However, you’ll never find out who Team Six really is. (via Fark)

Sohaib Athar moved to Abbotabad for some peace and quiet. Yesterday he Tweeted about a raid with helicopters in his little town ...and became the unwitting live reporter of bin Laden's death raid.

Important Questions: Why do I shiver when I pee? That’s the name of the article; personally, I’ve never suffered from post-micturition convulsion syndrome.

Wouldn’t you love to have one of these working steampunk cell phones? They might be a little uncomfortable in your back pocket, but who cares? (via Dark Roasted Blend)

10 Creepy Plants That Shouldn't Exist.

Gourds Gone Wild!

The secret life of libraries. If someone proposed the idea of a library as a new thing in this modern age, they would be laughed at, but we have them and don’t want to lose them. (via Metafilter)

No More Questions! is a new StoryCorps animation featuring the memories of a feisty 87-year-old Chinese grandma and former store detective. This should inspire you to enjoy your mother as much as you can if you still have her.

Meet Evita

Evita the ocelot was born in January at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. She was introduced to zoo visitors April 19th. More pictures here.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Niche Blogs: Something for Everyone

After posting several lists of niche blogs, I found out that “niche blog” is a term used by web publishers to refer to a blog that is created to market advertising to a specific audience. That’s not what I was thinking at all! The blogs I love to pass on to you are those with a very specific subject matter, so specific that you have to be impressed at the bounty of content they provide. There might be one in this list I posted at mental_floss that you’ll fall in love with and want to follow.

Links for Fun

More internet reactions to bin Laden's death.

No sooner than Osama bin Laden's hiding place in Abbotabad, Pakistan was labeled on Google Maps, reviews began to crop up about the accommodations.

Who Had the Best Civil War Facial Hair? Smithsonian wants your vote for the most amazing mustache, beard, muttonchops, sideburns, or goatee among 24 military candidates.

Oh no! This place is infested with coins! This short stop-motion animation was produced by Olly Newport.

Guys at a party try out an electric anti-bark dog collar. A dog has enough sense to stop barking, but these guys keep pushing the envelope -possibly due to alcohol.

A fat cat in Japan complies with doctor's orders by starting an exercise routine. I don't know if it's the cat's facial expression, his considerable size, or the appropriate music, but I could not stop watching this video. (via Metafilter)

The Late Movies: Lego Battles.

Johnny and Marissa, sitting in a tree...

A classic site everyone should know: Molecules with Silly Names. Erotic Acid, Traumatic Acid, and Moronic Acid are some of the tamer terms.

The World’s Deepest Garbage Can. Cities should do this to random trash bins; people would bring litter all day long.

If you didn’t catch the royal wedding on Friday (or even if you did), you can watch the abridged version with just the fun stuff going really fast. And of course, the voices had to be dubbed back in with more amusing dialog.

7 Geeky Flowcharts you can use to avoid work this week. Hey, it’s a better excuse than “spring fever”!

First Human Space Flight

Footage shot on April 12th, ,1961, as Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. (via Boing Boing)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Interesting Links

What is Beneath the Temple Mount? An archaeologist shares the wonder of digging under the crossroad of three world religions.

Rick Hill went on a Hawaiian vacation and met a resident named Joe Parker. A joke about their similar accents led them to discover they are half-brothers, separated by a few decades and a continent. (via Metafilter)

Using common sense isn’t always the best decision-making strategy. That “common sense” may not be universal, and it always colored by your unique experiences. (via Lifehacker)

The Worst Case of Mistaken Identity. It’s just a pebble, take it, she said as she gave away a 21-carat diamond in the rough.

A real sign of economic trouble: It's getting harder to extract money from the poor, because they don't have any.

You Know It's Good When the Boys Want In.

The Economics of Death Star Planet Destruction.

Why it’s good to be a high school loser. Not only does it get better, but freaks, geeks, and bully-bait turn out to be the folks who run the world.

The 6 Most Terrifying Historical Car Races. The concept of safety and survivability came very gradually to the sport of auto racing.

The lengths to which authors will go to get publicity for their books. (NYT link) “Self marketing” takes many forms, from bribery to deception to embarrassment. (via Boing Boing)

How Heavy Metal Is Keeping Us Sane. I can tell you from experience that it can also make you fairly deaf.