Monday, February 28, 2022
A "useless machine" is one in which you turn it on, and all it does is turn itself off. They can be pretty funny, and the early internet was full of videos about them. This one is a bit more dramatic than the simple box that turns itself off. In fact, it has its own personality! YouTuber fritend1 shares pictures and the Arduino code that makes it work. (via Fark)
This is just too cute! Leo the beagle is imparting his wisdom to Lilly the puppy, but she, like all beagles, has a little sass to throw back at him. The argument is not exactly earth-shattering, from a human point of view, but you have to admit, both of them are making some good points. Lilly has a flair for the dramatic. People look at this and say Leo is teaching her to be fierce. People who have had beagles tell us he's teaching her to be loud. Lilly is tiny, but learning fast. (via Metafilter)
Ha! I have a go-to procedure, because I'm Mom, and I'm not expected to know computers like the back of my hand. Yeah, that's an act, as I am still way more computer-savvy than my kids- I just chose not to do iPhones. But in video calls, I sit and smile and let them do the disconnecting. Or else I just slide that piece of paper back over to cover the camera. This comic is from Matthew Inman at The Oatmeal.
Before he was President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy created and starred in a Ukrainian show about a history teacher who accidentally becomes the president after one of his rants about political corruption goes viral. pic.twitter.com/colJWXN5TZ— The Recount (@therecount) February 27, 2022
The television series was a political satire called Servant of the People. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, already a well-known movie star and comedian, not only starred in it, but produced it as well. A political party was named after the series, and Zelenskyy ran for president as the party's nominee and won in 2019 with 73% of the vote.
Now, we often have fun with entertainment celebrities who become politicians (Trump, Schwarzenegger, Reagan, Franken, Bono, etc.), but in this case, people already knew where he stood because of Servant of the People. He had the name recognition, and he had the two things that really matter: he loves his country, and he loves the people of his country. If you are a fairly intelligent person, you can learn everything else on the job by listening to more experienced advisors.
Oh, and just for fun, here's Zelenskyy performing on the first season of the Ukrainian version of Dancing With The Stars, called Tantsi z zirkamy in 2006. Yeah, he won the competition.
The World's Largest Bacterium Can Grow up to 2 Centimeters Long.
The 50 Best Episodes of Law & Order, ranked.
A Homemade Gun with 25 Barrels. What could possibly go wrong?
My 24-Hour Experiment With Dystopian Food Units. The horror of literally eating three square meals. (via Kottke)
Mandalorian Couples Therapy Reveals the Problem with The Book of Boba Fett.
A Hidden Gem in the Terms and Conditions. It's Kevin's chili recipe!
The 50 Best Sci-Fi Shows of All Time. It's based on IMDb ratings, so you expect it to skew toward newer shows, but how did they decide what science fiction is? (via Fark)
Cat Lost in Snowstorm is Brought Home by Fire.
A blast from the past (2017): 14 Famous Birthdays to Celebrate in March.
Wonder if he's going to tow it back to Russia for them. It wasn't long before a soundtrack was added.
A Ukrainian farmer using his tractor stole A TANK... 😆😆😆 pic.twitter.com/nz15mcyzW5— Sergei Perfiliev 🇺🇦 (@perfiliev) February 27, 2022
Ukrainian farmer steals Russian tank now with music music pic.twitter.com/zsigOjSTfy— scamazon (@OMovies) February 27, 2022
Sunday, February 27, 2022
Weird Al has ventured into the world of arcade games with a unique pinball machine. You can get one as a standalone or buy it as an upgrade if you already own a P3 pinball platform. The name of this machine by Multimorphic is Weird Al’s Museum of Natural Hilarity. It features a video screen, a camera, hamster wheel, ball run course, five flippers, and plays 17 Weird Al Yankovic songs. If you know what you're getting into, the whole machine, upgrades, and various accessories are for sale here. Yeah, it's expensive. But it sure looks cool, doesn't it? (via Boing Boing)
Musician Nahre Sol bought a tiny toy piano that has keys for only two octaves and has the rink think sound of a cheap glockenspiel. How does real music sound played on this piano? Sol had to rearrange songs to fit into two octaves, and plays a bunch of them for us. Most of the songs are labeled classical, but there are also songs from movies and video games and some surprises. In other words, you've heard them all. Then she rates them. (via Laughing Squid)
John Mulany is now eligible for the Five-Timers Club at Saturday Night Live, which totally upstages Paul Rudd, who met that mark on a night when the SNL staff was absent during the Omicron spike. This is not really the opening to last night's SNL, but it will work. The actual opening was an appearance by Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York, singing "Prayer for Ukraine" which is well worth a watch, just not at all funny.
Every year during Carnival, the people if Ivrea, Italy, re-enact a 12th-century battle in which the downtrodden townspeople overthrew their evil overlord -by flinging oranges at each other! Why oranges? Because it’s better than the beans they used before. After three days of fighting with oranges, many are left to nurse their bruises and the streets are covered with citrus pulp. You can read all about the origins of the tradition at Smithsonian. The video above is the 2012 Battle of the Oranges.
Putin thought he would roll over Ukraine in just a couple of days. He was mistaken. (via Fark)
A priceless exchange of a brave Ukrainian citizen with Russian army stuck out of fuel. ENGLISH SUBTITLES.— Ali 🇺🇦🕊 (@aliostad) February 26, 2022
[Thanks to my Ukrainian friend for transcription and translation] pic.twitter.com/Rar3WRXEwD
Saturday, February 26, 2022
Suddenly, the plane is losing altitude and they are about to crash. On board there are only two parachutes.
Immediately, Putin snatches a parachute and jumps out to save himself.
Biden takes the remaining parachute and gives it to Zelenskyy: "Save yourself, my friend. I am much older than you. Plus, in this difficult time your country needs you more than my country needs me. You deserve to live more than me."
Zelenskyy feels convinced, so grudgingly accepts to take the parachute, gives one last hug to Biden and jumps out of the plane.
Then the plane regains altitude and Biden safely lands in Washington, because it turns out what was downing the plane in the first place was the weight of Zelenskyy's massive balls.
(Courtesy of redditor SilverlockEr)
John Oliver, who his now an American citizen, but still has the accent, is fielding questions about British cuisine. He tells us how the old joke about terrible British food is not quite valid anymore. I know, because I am old, and when I alluded to that trope one day, my kids looked at me confused. One of them has even been to Britain, and they both know that the national dish is England is takeout curry. Still, when asked about specific examples, Oliver has to admit that their traditional dishes from way back are pretty awful.
Someone posted a photo of this 80-year-old who showed up to join the army, carrying with him a small case with 2 t-shirts, a pair of extra pants, a toothbrush and a few sandwiches for lunch. He said he was doing it for his grandkids. pic.twitter.com/bemD24h6Ae— Kateryna Yushchenko (@KatyaYushchenko) February 24, 2022
Friday, February 25, 2022
John Green takes a simple meal of roasted potatoes and turns it into an existential horror, which is appropriate on a day like today. (via Boing Boing)
Stacia is a baker. When the pandemic lockdown began, she decided to become a cat foster mother in order to have a companion at home. What she got was quite different. Gia was a feral cat living in a trash dump. She was placed with Stacia for fostering, which was supposed to be temporary. But Gia was traumatized and extremely scared of people. She hid under the couch for months. Stacia consulted a cat behavior expert, and started on a socializing program that lasted for four months before Gia would sit in her lap. It took an entire year of patience, determination, and a gentle hand to reassure the cat, but it was all worth it in the end. You might not be surprised that Gia, now named Puff, has become a permanent companion for Stacia.
Sadly... but mad props to those brave men!!! 👊https://t.co/TlXVS2KvUR— Ambien®️ (@NorrinR06303580) February 25, 2022
UPDATE 2/28: The defenders of Snake Island were not killed, but were taken prisoner, and are now POWs held by Russia.
The game Wordle has taken the internet by storm, because everyone loves to show off their vocabulary and/or deductive reasoning skills. It's not too far-fetched to imagine the game Wordle as a computer game from the 1980s. Back then we were astonished at the technology that brought us computer games. Thirty-seven years later, that amazing technology seems laughably quaint, not to mention difficult and cumbersome. While you might delight in the nostalgia that those tones bring, we would never want to go back to the days of dial-up internet and dot matrix printers. The bonus in this video is the demonstration of play from an announcer who just isn't good at the game at all. (via Boing Boing)
Bizarre Excuses for Being Late for School that Turned Out to be True.
Fascinating Facts About American Cakes. (via Everlasting Blort)
I don't know why I started watching these man on the street interviews from Coney Island, but once I started, I couldn't stop. Completely full of NSFW language.
Republican Men Are Openly Questioning Our Right to Use Birth Control.
Who Cares About Plot Holes? They don't matter if the film is too enjoyable to let massive gaps in logic affect it.
The True History Behind Netflix’s Vikings: Valhalla.
In Bhutan, a Rare Tiger’s Mysterious Illness Had a Surprising Source.
How Ukraine's Wacky Sitcom President Became Its Real One. Zelenskyy is taking his duty deadly seriously.
A blast from the past (2013): 10 Delicious Examples of Sushi Art.
Thursday, February 24, 2022
The very final guest on the very final Conan late night talk show was Jack Black. He and Conan O'Brien had a great plan for the segment, but it went a bit awry when Black was injured. Here's the story behind all that, and well worth a watch. (via reddit)
Enjoy two minutes of Simon's Cat trying to deal with deep snow. This reminds me of my tomcats, who both prefer going outside to using a litter box. In the winter, they have to sit in the doorway for a while to calculate whether it is worth the effort. Then they invariably go out, and come back in later to let me know how angry they are that I let the outside get cold. That goes even more so when they have to deal with snow.
Covid 19 was a pretty much equal opportunity killer before the vaccine became available, allowing for the difficulty of social distancing in cities. But once we were able to be vaccinated (I got my first shot in March of 2021), it became deadly political. We let our guard down in the summer of 2021, thinking that we had defeated the disease by vaccination. Then suddenly, cases spiked and we realized there is a surprisingly large swath of people who didn't want be vaccinated. Some say it's a matter of freedom, but most of us know it's a matter of life and death.
A personal anecdote to indicate the value of vaccines: My cousin and her husband both died of covid in a nursing home in December of 2020. In January of 2022, my mother, who is triple-vaxxed and in a nursing home, tested positive but never had any symptoms. (via Digg)
Texas governor Greg Abbot has officially directed Family and Protective Services to begin investigating all trans children in Texas and prosecuting their parents as child abusers. There are lots more links in the comments.
A Black cowboy named George McJunkin, who died 100 years ago, found a site that would transform scientific views about the deep history of Native Americans in North America. (via Atlas Obscura)
The First Ever EEG Recording of a Dying Brain. (via Damn Interesting)
The Yarncraft Pet Hat Fashion Collection. You'll get a kick out of the hats and the many chill, annoyed, or sadly resigned models. (via Fark)
Home Design Trends: Beautiful but Impractical.
A Calvinesque and Hobbesian look at criminal fraud. The latest from Tom the Dancing Bug.
De Ganzenfanfare: The Goose Parade.
The Children Who Were Evacuated Around the World. In 1918, the Petrograd Children's Colony kept getting evacuated further east.
That Spider-Man Meme, Recreated by Spider-Men.
A blast from the past (2016): 15 Times Animals Interrupted News Reports.
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive flood in US history, affecting 630,000 people. Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie wrote a little song about it in 1929. You are probably more familiar with the 1971 version by Led Zeppelin. That's the version covered by a couple of dozen musicians from all over the world, including Stephen Perkins of Jane's Addiction, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones.
"When the Levee Breaks" evokes our concern about environmental disasters brought on by climate change. This is the latest project from Playing for Change, an organization that aims to connect the world through music. Read more about this video here. (via Digg)
Alfred Hitchcock seemed to have a thing for stairs. Staircases are featured prominently in many of his films, which stands out because a person going upstairs or downstairs, or just generally moving from one place to another, is the kind of thing that most filmmakers would skip to save time. For Hitchcock, it may have been an excuse to film actors from strange angles. Or it represents the character's journey. Or maybe it was a way to build tension. When asked about those scenes, Hitch said, "Stairs are very photogenic."
Max Tohline compiled 39 staircase sequences from Hitchcock films and named it Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 Stairs. Yes, the movie The 39 Steps is in there. This video is less than three minutes long, because the compilation is shown twice. Tohline points out that Hitchcock's very first film, The Pleasure Garden from 1925, opened with a staircase scene, and his final film, Family Plot from 1976, ends with a shot of a staircase. The films used in this supercut are listed at the vimeo page. (via Kottke)
Awesome talent, and amazing costumes. Still, I couldn't help think about the danger of the optical illusion stage, the high heels, and those trailing costume streamers. Because I'm an old person who has fallen before. (via Everlasting Blort)
cher performing with tina turner (1975) pic.twitter.com/Gd0K0r0y1o— cher doing things (@cherdoingthings) February 13, 2022
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Encanto is Disney's latest animated feature, a tale of a huge dysfunctional but loving family who live in a magic house. Or a Haunted Mansion, as the case may be. Now that it's available on home video, Screen Junkies takes a stab at deconstructing it. But what can you criticize in a kids' movie about a magical family with a magical house? They are usually pretty brutal with their Honest Trailers, but it looks like Screen Junkies really liked Encanto. This trailer is mainly an opportunity to make puns about the movie and give us some song parodies- which are pretty funny.
There doesn't seem to be any real world difference between town and a city in England, except for a royal designation and bragging rights. In this video, Tom Scott chronicles a comedy of errors that caused Rochester's accidental decline from a city, which it had been for 800 years, to not even a town anymore. The place itself has not changed. It's just bureaucracy, but the loss in status seems to be quite embarrassing.
The Jewel of Escondido is For Sale. You can't afford this house, but you have to see it.
Helpful Hints for Using Vintage Recipes. (via Strange Company)
Ronald and Nancy Reagan's Love Story Began In A Surprisingly Dark Way.
You don't have to watch The Book of Boba Fett to enjoy this webcomic about his childhood. (via Boing Boing)
If the Virén Chair Falls, It Gets Back Up Again. (via Homecrux)
Montréal Knows How to Remove Snow. A surprisingly interesting writeup on how a city that prioritizes snow removal has perfected its protocols. (via Metafilter)
The Mother-in-Law Doors of Newfoundland. There is even an Instagram account dedicated to documenting such doors.
6 Misconceptions About Ancient Egypt.
A blast from the past (2013): 5 Places That Are Still On Fire.
This little bird looks so stylish with her extra homemade tail feathers! It's cute, but she's not just being fashionable. This is a handy trick birds use to carry more nesting material than will fit in the beak. (via The Daily What)
Monday, February 21, 2022
It's not the the US can't afford universal child care. Our tax rates fall fairly well in line with those of other wealthy nations. But our taxes go to the world's largest military instead of social programs. Priorities, you know. That's not what this video is about, though. The US won't enact essentially needed social programs like universal child care because middle class women should be at home and poor women should be stigmatized by handouts.
How towns are founded depends on when and where they started. Many communities in the US were neighborhoods or small villages, and then when enough people were there to need a post office, the USPS named the post office, which became the town name. Then city limits, governance, and services grew up around the community as needed. But today, the process is way more formalized. It's almost impossible to start a new town outside the US, and within the US, it depends greatly on which state laws govern the land. Half as Interesting explains how those laws vary.
But why in the world would you want to start a town? Towns are still subject to state and federal laws, and if you want to establish city services (utilities, policing, schools, etc.), you have to tax people and raise money to get those projects off the ground. It's much easier to just join an already-established town nearby instead of starting from scratch, as they can just expand their existing services instead. This video is not as long as you'd think, because the last two minutes are an ad.
This is the reason bears don't normally birth four cubs at once.
In northern Tanzania, more than 70,000 Indigenous Maasai residents are once again facing eviction from ancestral lands as the government reveals plans to lease the land to a UAE-based company to create a wildlife corridor for trophy hunting and elite tourism. (via Fark)
Our First Look at Natalie Portman as The Mighty Thor Comes in an Action Figure.
How the Soviets under Stalin grew citrus fruit in freezing temperatures. (via Metafilter)
10 Mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle.
The Sahara Desert is Not Covered in Sand.
If you go a year or two without visiting the barber, you may end up never going back.
A blast from the past (2017): 10 Carnival Traditions From Around the World.
Sunday, February 20, 2022
You know this song, even if you don't know it. "Dragostea Din Tei" is sung in Romanian by the Moldovan pop group O-Zone. It was a global hit in 2004. The title translates to "Words of Love," but you might know it better as "Numa Numa." (via a comment at Metafilter)
The SPCA of Wake County in North Carolina found the perfect song to show off their lovable cats and dogs (and a rabbit) who are looking for permanent homes. The best part comes at about three minutes in, when the whole mood of the video changes.
Click the right to advance the comic. Then keep clicking when you think it's over, for the male version. This isn't even half of it. Snow White's prince kissed a dead body to win the heart of a 14-year-old. Eric married a fish, although he almost married an octopus. And it gets even worse when you go back before Disney to the earlier versions of these fairy tales. This comic is from Strange Trek.
Network cameras can zoom in from the stands and see football players talking on the field as clearly as if we were right in front of them, but we can't hear what they are saying from that distance. So we may as well make something up. No one is better at that than Bad Lip Reading. Those long-distance shots are interspersed with a takeoff on Key & Peele's East/West College Bowl sketches. Now that football is gone for a while, this nonsense can remind us not to take professional sports too seriously. (via Digg)
Saturday, February 19, 2022
A skeleton that reminds us of a neon Indiana Jones collects artifacts as if he were collecting bonus items in a video game. It's pretty cool as a wordless short story, but the way this stop-motion sequence was made is the coolest part of it. It's a project from Darren Pearson, also known as Darius Twin. He took a long-exposure photo while waving a light through the air to draw the skeleton. That's one frame. Then he did it 686 times to produce all eleven scenes of the animation. (via reddit)
In the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, US intelligence looked into the possibility of getting cats to spy on the Soviets. They considered dogs, but decided using cats would be cheaper. Oh yes, as if the expense of buying and feeding dogs would be more valuable than their ease of training. The premise of the program was that spies would not put up their guard just because a cat is in the vicinity. They might not even notice it. Cats were trained to follow directions to get to a target, and one was even implanted with audio devices and sent out on a mission. How do you think that went? The program was dropped because researchers at the CIA learned about the futility of herding cats. Something any cat lover would have told them in the first place. (via Nag on the Lake)
Rocketman Bob Maddox built a go-kart with a triple valveless pulsejet engine. He calls this vehicle the Beast. Then he took it for a ride out in the desert, at speeds up to 90 miles per hour. Okay, what about this video is the scariest? Would it be the red-hot jet engines or the propane tank between Maddox and the engines? How about the fact that he's driving with one hand, so he can record himself with the other? Or could it be the absence of goggles, where one insect could blind him? Well, maybe there aren't too many bugs in the desert in February. Despite all this, it's great to see the sheer joy of a wild man in his 70s getting his speed fix on. If you like this go-kart (and have the bucks), he will build one for you. (via Jalopnik)
(via Boing Boing)
Whizzy Rascal is here! 🤣🚗— Sky Sports Rugby League (@SkySportsRL) February 17, 2022
An innovative way of delivering the match ball... gone slightly wrong 😬
Warrington Wolves vs Castleford Tigers are now live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Mix 📺 pic.twitter.com/NpFcT4Dk6r
Friday, February 18, 2022
An early, more comedic version of The Exorcist has the devil invading a convent. The nuns flee from him, but return with their crosses. If it was that easy to bedevil the devil, why didn't they hang them on the wall in the first place? This French film by Georges Méliès was produced in 1899 (the sound was added later).
One of the more harrowing scenes in the movie Dune is the Gom Jabbar test. You can read an explanation of the Gom Jabbar here, but you really don't need to in order to enjoy the ridiculous premise of Sesame Street's Elmo confronting the test. This single scene from YouTuber Sesame Swap, with its perfect lighting and editing, not to mention hilarity, makes us all wish for a full-length version of Dune starring Elmo as Paul Atreides.
Since we all know the plot to the 1979 movie Alien, we don't need to waste a whole lot of time with buildup, exposition, or reveal, so this Sweded version from Folks Films gives us just the action parts. The genius is the use of everyday objects to recreate the terror. You will have to watch it two or three times to catch them all. But nothing is more clever than blowing up the Nostromo by putting silverware in a. microwave. That even gives you a proper countdown! (via reddit)
A trip to Disneyland or Disney World is a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage for many families with young children. You want to give them a good time and memories that will last forever. But sometimes parents leave children with a sour taste in their mouths when they remember that family trip. Abelina Sabrina was a cast member for Disney, which means she worked at a Disney theme park. Here she cautions parents about things she's seen that can ruin those memories. The kids aren't making you spend too much money. Rain can become an adventure. What they will remember is what happened, not what you missed out on. And even the smallest opportunities for joy can became their cherished memories. There's a one-minute skippable ad in the middle. (via Digg)