Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Andy Rothwell made a video using his extensive collection of toys, set
to the song "Shorty's Ark" by Matt Sweeney and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy.The toys themselves illustrate the lyrics. There are so many of these figures that I thought he must have a 3D printer, but these are M.U.S.C.L.E. toys from 1986. M.U.S.C.L.E. stands for Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere. They were only sold in the US in 1986 and '87, although they were also popular in Japan. The Hard Knockin’ Rockin’ Ring Wrestling Arena was an accessory you could get for them. Rothwell made LEGO bleachers for the spectators, mechanized to show their excitement during a boxing event. I had never heard of these toys nefore I saw this video, but if you are a certain age, they may be a beloved part of your childhood. Or if you still have them, they may be a beloved part of your present! (Thanks, Andy!)
I've always considered boarding a plane through a sky bridge as a nice perk, even a luxury, because there have been too many times I've had to go upstairs, then downstairs, then board a bus, then up more stairs to the plane, because I buy cheap flights to tiny airports. There was more than once I recall hiking a half-mile across the tarmac, dragging all my luggage and children (although not in the US). But the skybridge and the stairs aren't the only ways to get on a plane. Tom Scott introduces us to alternate transportation available at some airports where you ride a vehicle that reminds us of the mechanized cherry pickers they use inside big box stores. Too bad you have to fly somewhere to take a spin in these things.
Ze Frank takes on a big subject for his latest True Fact video: crabs. Here we learn more than we ever knew about the Christmas Island crabs, which fling their offspring into the water and scurry away. Then they have to worry about being eaten by ants and other crabs. Then he covers hermit crabs that grow up to be giant coconut crabs. The sponge crab uses living sponges for hats, while other decorator crabs use all manner of marine life as accessories and weapons. There are so many crab species that there's something truly weird about each of them. But they all molt as they grow, and some can be partially eaten and just regenerate. That won't make you feel any less guilty about eating crab legs, because those crabs are harvested whole. Rather, you should tell yourself about all the crabs that eat other crabs. As always, this video contains PG language and innuendos.
10,000 Pumpkins Set an Art World Record.
Crow knows what he likes. (via Nag on the Lake)
Moose thanks rescuer with a lick after being trapped in Halloween decorations. Yes, there's video evidence. (via Metafilter)
The 2023 Prius Is the Most Important Car That Nobody Is Talking About.
Soap Sally, a Villain of Appalachia and the American South, Echoes Old World Evil.
Tributes to Matthew Perry.
Monday, October 30, 2023
Wanna hear a ghost story? Every locality has a story about a ghost that haunts a specific place- and you can't get rid of them. their stories stick around, spread, and grow with new details. The hauntings that have a documented story behind them, such as the ghost's murder, are never going away. It's more likely that they those stories will become familiar nationwide, and might even become a tourist draw, since there's no shortage of adrenaline junkies who would love to see some paranormal activity. The locals love that. They haunt houses, theaters, ships, hotels, forests, cemeteries, and probably some place near you.
Liam and Petra couldn't figure out what was going on with their cat Donut. He screamed all the time! The beginning of this video makes you feel like you are going to have a supernatural encounter, and that's understandable, I guess, since Halloween is so close. But having Marshmallow, who is a lot like this, I could spot Donut's problem right away. Not that it's really a problem, it just takes some adjusting. All in all, Donut is a much-loved cat who is lucky to have such a great family. You can see more of this powdered sugar Donut at Instagram and YouTube.
You never know what you'll find when exploring an old abandoned house. This one has mice who are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. See, while Cinderella got her prince and lived happily ever after, the mice were the collateral damage of the fairy godmother's magic, and they were left with lifelong scars. You get the idea this talking mouse has waited a long time to spill his guts to someone who would listen. Yeah, it's funny, and beautifully animated, but it also gives us a minute to step outside our normal perspective and consider the damage left behind for the fairy godmother's victims.
The sequence is also different from the usual in that it doesn't have a setup or exposition, or even a conclusion, leaving the impression that it could have been clipped from the middle of a longer story. But then you realize all that isn't totally necessary. We don't really need to know who these people are or why they are there. Why make a two-minute story into a ten-minute story when you don't have to?
How much flour would it take to turn Lake Superior into bread? And then read the thread at Metafilter, where amusingly overthinking a hypothetical situation is a time-honored tradition.
The Trees in My Neighborhood Are Disappearing — Now What? A little TLC now could save your trees in the long run.
Make Orange-and-Black-Licorice Ice Cream This Halloween. The Canadian classic is hard to come by, but Gastro Obscura made up a recipe.
The Florida Man Games are coming, with events like beer belly sumo and evading arrest! (via Neatorama)
When Hershey’s Crafted a Special Treat for the Troops. In the run-up to World War II, the chocolate company was tasked with creating a nutritious snack that, by design, wouldn’t taste good
14 Howlingly Funny Jokes About Werewolves, from movies, TV, stand up comedy, music, and YouTube.
15 Things You Should Know About Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss.
Chains are using theft to mask other issues, report says. More at Metafilter.
A video from The Royal Institution explains in a very calm, subdued, British way what happens when you burn iron oxide and aluminum powder inside a pumpkin. The visual effects are quite impressive. It’s also quite dangerous, so don’t try this at home. Please. Thermite is nothing to fool around with. (via The Daily Dot)
Sunday, October 29, 2023
Andre Simmons makes the most of the time he has to spend with his daughter Joslyn. She's a cheerleader, and that is fairly time-consuming for a 15-year-old, so Simmons got involved in a big way. And it's fun! Now, that's a real dad.
We have tales of humans turning into wolves that go back 4,000 years. They may go back further, we just don't have written accounts. Originally, it was all the fault of a woman, because just a woman's presence can turn a man into a beast. Over time, those stories got a bit fancier, and the werewolf legend became associated with cannibalism and murderous rampages as a way to make some kind of sense about horrific crimes, whether they were committed by a man or an actual wolf. In the 20th century, the pop culture concept of a werewolf came with new details, each of which can be associated with some real life concern of its time period. We know all about werewolves, because we've seen the movies. But when you dig deeper into the mythology, the steps along the way tell us surprising things about the evolution of society in general.
The opening skit for last night's Halloween episode of SNL wasn't all that, but I enjoyed this skit about a Hallmark holiday romance for Halloween. You can see a playlist of the full show at YouTube. I recommend Lake Beach and Washington's Dream.
The idea behind “trick or treat” is the implied threat of playing tricks on a homeowner if the treats aren’t given. That’s extortion. But Nana the border collie has a better technique, the “trick for treat”! She goes to a neighbor in her ladybug costume and performs her best tricks to earn treats. (via Tastefully Offensive)
Saturday, October 28, 2023
I first encountered Coumadin when I took charge of my mother-in-law's daily needs. That's a brand name for warfarin, a common anticoagulent, which she took to prevent stroke. She eventually had one anyway. The story of how this drug came about is more interesting than you might imagine. It's animated, but it does contain a lot of blood. (via Kuriositas)
In teaching you about peer pressure, your mother probably asked you, "If your friends all jumped of a cliff, would you do it, too?" Personally, no, but in this case, yes, they all did. Nick Coulter and company went to Vermont to a defunct granite quarry where the cliff sides are straight and tall and we hope the water is deep. I guess they knew, because this is not the first time they've been there. In such a sheltered area, the water is so still that they threw rocks before jumping to keep the landing from being painfully flat. While you and I would be most concerned about surviving or getting up the nerve to actually do it, these cliff jumpers are going for style points! This video also features the longest selfie stick you've ever seen. (via Kottke)
Back in 2015, a video of a New York City rat carrying a slice of pizza back to his family became the biggest meme of the year. People in the flyover states were horrified, and New Yorkers were charmed to see two city icons come together (pizza and rats). But there may be a replacement hitting the internet.
A couple of days ago, Carly Hittner posted a video of a rat finding a donut under the tracks of the New York City subway. That TikTok clip has gone viral, and may be the next big thing. Too bad it's a little late to be a Halloween costume this year -or is it? You could easily repurpose the Pizza Rat costume you bought a few years ago and carry around a donut instead of pizza. Better make it a dozen donuts, since people will expect you to share, just like the original rat. If you want to argue that this is not a donut but a bagel, go ahead and have fun with that. (via Boing Boing)
Boston Dynamics is always looking for ways to make their robots either more impressive or creepier, depending on how they strike you. Their robot dog Spot has taken on many tasks that were formerly done by humans, so why not make them tour guides? Spot can now talk to you, respond to your questions, and even show different distinct personalities. All it take is integration with ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence models. And of course, some googly eyes pasted onto its snout.
The "tour" this robot is giving us is just a matter of talking about what it is seeing. Accuracy was secondary to believability. Still, the robots came up with responses that surprised the programmers and operators, which you can read about at their site. (via Geeks Are Sexy)
Homestar Runner gave us a a Halloween special a few years ago. Strongbad wants to open a haunted house with new and different features that instill a more modern sort of dread. Welcome to St. Cadaverstump’s totally not just an old furniture warehouse Mortuary! When it says “end,” it’s not the end. When the credits run, that’s not the end, either. (via Metafilter)
Friday, October 27, 2023
The Peel P50 has been termed the world's smallest car, but it seems to really stretch the definition of "car." It runs on three wheels with no safety equipment, and can fit through the front door of your house. You have to be careful making turns, because it's liable to fall over on its side, but it doesn't go very fast anyway. So of course you would want to see what the P50 does on a racetrack. Max Fewtrell took that idea to the max, and scheduled a lap at the the Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany, the world's longest racetrack. It's an absurd idea, and the video rolls with the absurdity. The track closes at nightfall, and Fewtrell doesn't know if he will complete the 22 kilometer (14 mile) course in time. Besides, this little car only has one headlight. There's a one-minute skippable ad at three minutes in. (via Jalopnik)
What Do You Want to Be for Trick or Treat? Some children have ideas that aren't easily fulfilled by a visit to Spirit Halloween.
A redditor found a brother he thought was gone forever. You might need a hankie by the end.
My Freezer Was a Disaster—Here’s How I Organized It. You might need to do that also to make room for a turkey.
The bathroom didn’t become a thing until the nineteenth century, and most working-class US homes added plumbed-in amenities in piecemeal fashion over time. (via Strange Company)
An Honest Trailer for Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part 1.
Three Sumatran tiger cubs born at Nashville Zoo. See more pictures of the cubs at Facebook. (via Fark)
Weird Medieval Guys Becomes a Weird Medieval Book.
The Silent Treatment. Solitary Confinement’s Unlikely Origins (via Damn Interesting)
Internet Artifacts, a museum exhibit of internet history. (via Metafilter)
Chris Poole wanted to take pictures of his cats Cole and Marmalade in their Halloween costumes. Cole is Batcat and Marmalade is Supermarm. He even made an elaborate backdrop for the pictures. But cats don’t like to cooperate with anything a human comes up with. If you get them to look at the camera, they immediately jump at it. If you distract their attention from the camera, all you see is the rear of the cat. So it goes.
Cats do much better in video, where you can watch their movements ranging from graceful to disgraceful to hilarious. (via Tastefully Offensive)
Thursday, October 26, 2023
R.J. Devlin was only eleven years old when he gave this speech at his uncle's wedding. It's perfect. The content is short, sweet, and funny, with the humor coming from the absurdity of his age, and ends with a great punch line. His delivery and timing is spot-on, and he has confidence way beyond his years. But instead of becoming a standup comedian, R.J. grew up to be a singer and songwriter. (via reddit)
Of all the ways to lose an expensive drone camera, this is possibly the most wholesome. Adam Culbertson was flying his DJI Avata drone over some beautiful terrain near Capitol Reef National Park in Utah when a golden eagle snatched it up. Instead of dropping the drone, the eagle flew until the video signal was out of range. The feed was saved up to that point, but there's no indication of how far the eagle flew with it. The drone is most likely not recoverable, even if the eagle would be inclined to surrender it.
The fallout from the incident is not as dire as you might imagine. The drone is made to shut down its propellers when it detects an impact, so the eagle wouldn't have been hurt. Culbertson was able to get a replacement drone from the manufacturer because the theft was classified as a flyaway, or "something outside of your control [that] causes your drone to fly away never to be seen again." (via Laughing Squid)
The Most-Searched Halloween Costumes in 2023.
How Gremlins Went From Fairy Stories to Warplanes to Hollywood Legend.
11 Cold Cases That Had Revolutionary Breakthroughs Decades Later.
The folks at How It Should Have Ended looked at the film Back to the Future Part II and decided it needed a new beginning instead of a new ending. Their thinking is explained at the YouTube page:
In the film, Back to the Future, the first time Doc tests the time machine is by sending his dog Einstein 1 minute into the future. Doc puts his dog in the car, drives it down the parking lot, and zap the car bursts into awesome flaming tire trails. Marty immediately thinks Doc killed his dog, because both the car and dog disappear. For a whole minute Einstein was missing until the DeLorean finally comes back from the past. This is why "Back to the Future 2" sending Marty into the future to see his own future children is impossible. When you travel into the future your timeline is you going into the future. A copy of you is not left behind to live on to 2015, so you can't go forward to see what your future self would be like. You would jump ahead to a world that lost you in 1985. People would think you had died. But that's not as fun of a story to tell is it.There’s one problem with that. Einstein is a dog. He didn’t have the time or the knowledge, let alone the dexterity, to program the Delorean to go back to the past. Those are skills Marty and Doc have, so they can go where they want to in time. But the video is still funny. (via Viral Viral Videos)
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
I love cheesecloth. It's useful for straining all manner of juice and other home-processed foods, and washes out clean and bright. It's also lovely, even when worn out, with an ethereal look and feel. It makes a perfect ghost decoration for Halloween! All you need is some cheesecloth, Elmer's glue, and some stuff you have around the house already. They're cute and fun, simple enough to get the kids involved, and since cheesecloth is not expensive, you can make a bunch of them. If you want, you can wash the school glue right out of these pieces and make them up clean again next year. Debbie Chapman has the full instructions at One Little Project. (via Nag on the Lake)
PS: Check the comments for gwdMaine's additional tip!
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
On January 20, 1961, CBS aired the premiere of a game show called You're in the Picture, hosted by Jackie Gleason. That was also the day of John F. Kennedy's inauguration. You're in the Picture was not good, and was immediately canceled. Whether you even bother to watch the above video is your choice- I only made it halfway through. Be aware that in addition to it being a flop, it also contains the cultural insensitivities common at the time. The next Friday night, January 27, the half-hour time slot was used for Gleason to apologize and explain what happened. Gleason just talking for a half-hour was the real gem.
Thirty minutes of scathing insults for his own show! It was the ultimate in self-deprecating humor, and refreshingly honest. You can read more details about the show at Wikipedia. (via Metafilter)
Toponym means a place name. Sometimes a place name can reveal who named it, how old the name is, and its original meaning. Some original names for places are quite descriptive, and give a lot of information if you know the language. Others are named for people, often when a previously-named place was claimed by new colonizers. Coining or changing a place name is the most blatant form of marking one's territory, after all. Dr. Erica Brozovsky looks into how places are named and why, plus a lot of interesting trivia like the longest and shortest place names, and a few wild stories about toponyms for the PBS series Otherwords. (via Laughing Squid)
The fastest Formula One cars can go from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in about two seconds. Some experimental cars can accelerate even faster. But how about an electric vehicle? The car called mythen by AMZ Racin is an EV that holds the record for electric vehicle acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 0.956 seconds! And since it's electric, it makes barely any noise doing it. To achieve such a feat, mythen designers had to build a system to keep it on the ground where it can get traction, instead of flying off into the air. It sounds kind of scary, especially when Tom Scott is recruited into driving it himself. When you see his reaction, you realize that the most likely real-world application of this technology will be to make it a theme park ride. It will be short and expensive and have very long lines. And everyone will say it was worth it.
Hero Husky Saves Kitten; Gets a Rockstar Home.
After 500+ Years, X-Rays Have Revealed an Amazing Secret Inside the Mona Lisa. (via Strange Company)
Wall Street Journal complains about workers using their sick days.
Confessions of a Tableside Flambéur. A former fine dining server dishes on how the flambé, a dying convention of French haute cuisine, became the ultimate tableside flex. (via Nag on the Lake)
Now, that's a street party dance. (via Everlasting Blort)
In a Huge First, Scientists Transfer Alzheimer's to Healthy Young Animals. The results show a link between our gut biome and the likelihood of developing the disease. (via Damn Interesting)
Meet Sheriff, the Horse That Literally Walks Into Bars. (Thanks, WTM!)
What Does Jeep Stand For? It’s a funny word when you think about it, and the origin story sounds like something you’d read in a history book.
Cole Escola stars in a commercial for something or other that mothers will care about. And you will, too.
Yes, it’s a parody of the standard “mom” ad, but it’s got its own charms that are different from what you've seen before. Or maybe not, but he does a great job of throwing you out into left field. You just have to watch it. Contains a tiny bit of NSFW language. (via Metafilter)
Monday, October 23, 2023
You know we've reached peak autumn when the Oregon Zoo holds their annual Squishing of the Squash! The event has been held every year for 25 years now, when the zoo's elephants get a treat of a truckload of giant pumpkins. It's both an enrichment activity and a nutritious lunch- first they destroy, then they enjoy. It's also a treat for zoo visitors, who get to see giant animals destroying giant pumpkins.
The squash to be squished were provided by gardener Larry Nelson and his daughter Amanda Gilmour. they grow giant pumpkins for fun, and these pumpkins weighed between 500 and 700 pounds! Not big enough to win competitions, but plenty for the zoo. Watch more footage of the elephants, and the rhinos, too, tearing into the pumpkins at Supa Fluffy. A good time was had by all.
In the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, we saw Space Station V, a rotating wheel in space that contained a luxury hotel for space travelers. The rotation provided enough force to simulate gravity and allow people to operate almost normally.
Digital artist Erik Wernquist imagined such a structure and designed the SSPO Esperanta, a sort of gyroscopic space cruise ship for interplanetary tourists. It has a radius of 450 meters and spins at one revolution per minute, generating artificial gravity at half that of earth. In the short film ONE REVOLUTION PER MINUTE, he illustrates the view from the Esperanta, with available light moving all around every minute. It would be quite disorienting, but still beautiful. He admits that a spacecraft with this many windows is impractical, but it's an art film that explores those lights and shadows, so just consider it fiction. (via TYWKIWDBI)
My Quest to Downsize Without Throwing Anything Away. A big old house full of belongings — could I find them all a new life? (via Nag on the Lake)
45 Times Giant Suburban McMansions Were Shamed By This Online Community.
The Hand of Glory: A Gruesome Crime History Artefact. (via Strange Company)
The Race to Catch the Last Nazis. (via Metafilter)
Every Unmade & Canceled Star Wars Movie & TV Show (& Why They Didn't Happen).
The Magic Spells That Herded Medieval Bees. For European beekeepers, “swarm charms” were once a tool of the trade.
42 really is the answer to these 5 fundamental questions. (via Real Clear Science)
Commercially Available Chairs in Star Trek. Each of the 163 identified chairs are listed by category, with its movie or episode, history, and availability. (via Everlasting Blort)
Marky Mark was a shark in the last ADHD cartoon featuring the movie star. Now he’s a werewolf for Halloween! Mark Werewahlfberg introduces us to all the iconic characters of the season, with plenty of almost-puns that you’ll have to supply the punchline for yourself. (via Tastefully Offensive)
Sunday, October 22, 2023
Wanna play a game? CGP Grey presents a version of Rock, Paper, Scissors in which you play against him. The premise is that statistically speaking, if a million people play, then someone somewhere is going to win all the rounds. Grey has six million subscribers. Be aware that a draw means you lose. Of course, has has no way to know if you're being honest about your score, but that's honestly beside the point.
When you get into the game and see how it's constructed, you will be more impressed with the work he put into it than with your own success. It's an idea Grey has contemplated for years and just got around to doing. From the comments, a lot of people had fun playing this straight, but once they are eliminated, they go back and cheat just to see where the game goes, and had even more fun doing that. It's a real internet rabbit hole no matter how far you take it. And you'll learn a few things about statistics and probability along the way.