The Birth Of The Alphabet

Before there is a font there are letters and an alphabet, but where do letters come from? According to artist Andreas Scheiger they go through an embryonic stage before they become part of the written word.

You may remember Andreas as the guy who created a gruesome series of typographic surgery sculptures, but this time his series "Evolution of Type" reveals how letters are created, instead of how they meet their end.

Andreas sculpts the letters out of polymer clay, colors and coats them with resin, then suspends each baby letter in a glass bowl filled with gel wax, to complete their signature fetal look.

-Via DesignTAXI


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Featured Designs from the NeatoShop:



I'm On Vacation

(YouTube link)

Your trip to the beach, or the mountains, or a national park never goes perfectly. But that’s okay, because you’re on vacation! Getting away from the everyday work routine you follow the rest of the year is such a treat that you can put up with anything! Rhett & Link wrote a little song about it. And there’s a contest attached, where you can tell your own vacation horror story. -Thanks, Rhett and Link!  


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Oral Alphabet

This novel sculptural piece by Takayuki Ogawa shows each letter of the alphabet in the form of a mouth shaped to pronounce that letter. Oral:phabet, as he calls it, is an exploration of the emotional communication of the mouth in movement:

“The mouth alone is able to express many emotions,” says Ogawa, speaking about the impetus for his project, which was presented as his graduating thesis last year from Tama Art University. “For example, in email we use the letter D to create the smiling emoticon :D. But what if we gave similar attributes to letters like B or N which are never used as expression forms?” The result, as you can see is a disturbingly realistic serious of mouths, lips, teeth and tongues, all hand-crafted from clay and mounted to a wooden frame.

(Photos: Kyoutaro Hayashi)


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Training Is Coming - Animated Winter Tales


Training is Coming by a_man_oxford

Winter may be blowing in cold, but those young viking dragon trainers know how to deal with the cold- they grew up in the North and never hid behind the wall when those icy white storms came rolling in. They walk through the snow with pride, certain their diligent efforts to keep watch through the night will keep the walkers from entering their camp, but if a hiccup should occur their highly trained dragons will know how to deal with the undead...

Keep your geeky wardrobe cool with this Training is Coming t-shirt by a_man_oxford, slip one on and show the world you're ready for whatever adventures may come!

Visit a_man_oxford's Facebook fan page, Tumblr and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more boldly geeky designs:

Rainfall is Coming AvengA - So Angry! Conversing with Timelord Ble Sky Brothers

View more designs by a_man_oxford | More Funny T-shirts | New T-Shirts

Are you a professional illustrator or T-shirt designer? Let's chat! Sell your designs on the NeatoShop and get featured in front of tons of potential new fans on Neatorama!


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Found: Cat Snake

A found pet ad was posted at Craiglist for Richmond, Virginia. If it’s yours, you should go get it. The accompanying text:

Found (assuming) pet. Some sort of cat snake? Long and nimble but with dryish fur and cat teeth. Seems to like cat food, but isn't a cat. Please come take this off my hands it smells weird.

Sure, it could be a prank, but even so, it made me laugh. Or maybe it’s possible that someone could attain adulthood without ever hearing about ferrets. And monkeys might fly out of my butt. -via Uproxx

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Give a Man a Fish - Twaggies Episode No. 4

We've teamed up with Dailymotion and will be bringing you a new, animated Twaggies short cartoon each month. Today's episode features our good friend Jeff Wysaski of @pleatedjeans fame, as well as a tweet by one of our other favorite funny guys, Rob Corddry!

And check out our premiere episode, cooked up special for all you Grammar Nazis, featuring a tweet by Steve Martin:

Please take a moment to follow us over on Dailymotion, too! They're like YouTube, only East! :-) (reference anyone? anyone?)

View more neat Twags or illustrated tweets over at Twaggies

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The World's Most Badass ... Vespa Scooter?!


Photo: C. Galliani/Wikimedia

Quick, what does the word "Vespa" bring to mind? If you say "cute lil' scooter," you probably haven't seen this image above of the Vespa 150 TAP (for Troupes Aéro Portées), a Vespa scooter modified for use with the French paratroopers in 1956.

It's probably safe to say that this is the deadliest Vespa in the world. The military scooter is powered by a single-cylinder 146 cc two-stroke engine. It sports a M20 75 mm recoilless rifle, US-made light anti-armor cannon, and storage for some ammos. The scooter would be parachute-dropped from airplanes, accompanied by a two-man team who'd scoot along in absolutely menacing style.

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Scientifically Accurate Spider-Man

(Maximumble/Chris Hallbeck)

He's Spider-Man. Did you think that was just a costume? Nah, man. He was bitten by an actual spider. If you want to survive, you should have gotten caught by Charles Xavier. And you really don't want to get caught by Assassin Bug Man.


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The Summit Scaling Subculture of Highpointing

Highpointing is a sport, or hobby, in which people aim to climb the highest point in different geographical areas, like the highest point in all 50 states, or the highest points in one’s home country or continent, or even the world. There’s even a club for highpointers where they can share adventures and advice. But for American highpointers who wish to scale the highest peaks of all 50 states, be aware that some are higher than others. Thomas Harper explored some of those peaks and reported his experiences at Atlas Obscura.

To take part in the journey, one does not have to be an expert mountain climber or outdoorsman. Of the 50 state highpoints, 30 are simple drive-ups and/or require a hike of less than two miles. However, since most of the points are “off the beaten path,” a guidebook or article and a good sense of direction are necessary.

Reaching the loftier and more remote highpoints, though, requires longer hikes. However, most of them can be done in one day by someone in good shape. For people getting fit, these hikes make great goals to measure one’s progress. While climbing Mount Marcy in New York’s Adirondacks, I nearly gave up at mile 6 of the 7.2 mile hike, but I saw the summit just one mile away and 500 feet up. I did say to myself, “You should have eaten more vegetables.” Now 30 pounds lighter from that day, I wish to conquer even more challenging peaks.

Mount Marcy is 5,343 feet above sea level. In contrast, it’s not so hard to visit Mount Sunflower, which is the highest point in Kansas. We all know that Kansas is flatter than a pancake, and Mount Sunflower, on the western edge of the state, is close to the lowest point in Colorado.



See more state highpoints, and read about the people who do this, at Atlas Obscura. The sidebar has individual articles about many of the peaks.  

(Images credit: Thomas Harper)


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One Simple Chart Shows 72 Uses For Common Household Products

People have been using common substances like citrus juices, oils and vinegars for cooking, as household cleaners and personal grooming products, for centuries, and many of the store bought products we buy everyday use these items as their core ingredients.

However, these store bought products also contain chemicals and toxins we’re better off leaving on the store shelves, and using core ingredients also means saving money.

This simple yet informative chart takes household products back to the old school, showing dozens of great uses for everyday products like baking soda, white vinegar and coconut oil.

The chart is missing amount recommendations for each use, but they're pretty easy to figure out with a little help from the all-knowing Google.

72 Uses for Simple Household Products To Save Money & Avoid Toxins

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Drawings That Practically Define "Photorealism"



Malaysian artist Monica Lee may spend up to a month on a single drawing until she decides it is complete, but the result is photorealist nirvana. 

“I like to challenge myself with complex portraits, especially people with freckles or beards,” says the artist. Lee gives her father credit for her love of the realism genre, as he was a photographer by trade.

Follow Monica Lee on Instagram and Facebook.  






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Desert Woodrats Use Gut Microbes for Detox

Ed Yong tells of a case in which a species leapfrogs thousands of years of evolution by getting microbes to do it for them. A certain population of the desert woodrat eats the creosote bush, which contains a deadly toxin, and thrives on it. The woodrats themselves did not develop immunity to the poison, but have gut microbes that break down the creosote. Microbiologist Kevin Kohl ascertained this by comparing desert woodrats who live where the creosote bush grows and woodrats who live where there are no such plants.

To confirm that these microbes are important, Kohl killed them with antibiotics. Afterwards, the woodrats could all still eat normal laboratory chow. But when they were fed with creosote, they couldn’t tolerate the resin and lost a lot of weight. Within two weeks, all of them had lost 10 percent of their weight and were removed from the experiment. When Kohl removed their microbes, the experienced woodrats couldn’t even handle the tiny levels of creosote that their naive cousins can. “[It] effectively removed 17,000 years of ecological and evolutionary experience with creosote compounds,” he wrote.

Conversely, Kohl managed to transform naive woodrats into creosote-busters by infusing them with the microbes of their more experienced cousins. He did this by grinding up the faeces of the experienced individuals and feeding it to the naive ones, mimicking what the rodents naturally do in the wild.

The beauty of this discovery is how one can instantly turn a woodrat into a poison-eating machine just by introducing the right microbe. There are other cases where gut microbes allow an animal to eat something they normally shouldn’t be able to, including commercial livestock. How long will it be before we begin farming all sorts of designer microbes for our own biomes, for purposes we can’t even conceive now? Read more about this research at Not Exactly Rocket Science.

(Image credit: Kohl et al, 2014)


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This Is Going to Hurt Me a Lot More Than It's Going to Hurt You

(Fowl Language Comics/Brian Gordon)

The wise philosopher Bill Cosby once said, "Parents are not interested in justice. They want quiet." This was funny before I had children. Then it became funny and painful.

One of the characters in "Harrison Bergeron," a short story by Kurt Vonnegut, is handicapped with a device that shatters his attention every 20 seconds:

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel's cheeks, but she'd forgotten for the moment what they were about.

On the television screen were ballerinas.

A buzzer sounded in George's head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.

Being a parent is like being George.


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Japanese Cosplayers Who Strive For Maximum Accuracy

(Image Via kasumi_s2461)

Cosplay has evolved from faithful adaptation to original creations by cosplayers that make their way into the pages of comic books, the students truly having become the masters.

Creativity is key, and there’s plenty of room for interpretation in the cosplay world, and yet there are many cosplayers who strive to look exactly like the original work that inspired their costume.

(Image Via RockTheFuture)

Japanese cosplayers have been posting side-by-side comparison shots to Twitter, showing off how close they can come to looking like the source material, and needless to say they nailed it!

(Image Via ayaran67)

Check out more of these incredibly accurate Japanese cosplayers over at Kotaku


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Cucco March - Why Did The Link Cross The Road?


Cucco March by Miski

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and if you play them a happy tune they might forgive you for throwing them around all these years! Link has mastered the art of chicken whispering with a jaunty tune, and when he's playing those sweet ocarina tunes the chickens march in time and help Link become a legend. Too bad Zelda's not around to watch all the fun!

This lighthearted Cucco March t-shirt by Miski is the fun way to show your love of classic video games, and no chickens were harmed in the making of this shirt so it's cruelty free!

Visit Miski's Facebook fan page, official website, Tumblr and Twitter, then head on over to her NeatoShop for more delightfully geeky designs:

Maneki Moogle Thunder Dog Aurora Dog Volcano Dog

View more designs by Miski | More Funny T-shirts | New T-Shirts

Are you a professional illustrator or T-shirt designer? Let's chat! Sell your designs on the NeatoShop and get featured in front of tons of potential new fans on Neatorama!


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A Cat-mapping Lesson in Privacy

Owen Mundy of Florida State University created the website I Know Where Your Cat Lives, which is a lot like Cat Map, a now-defunct site that proved popular last year. You can look at a random cat and see where it’s from, or scan the map for cats near you. The cats on the map were found on the internet. And that’s the lesson behind the project. The cat’s location were found using the photograph’s metadata embedded at Flickr or Instagram.  

“I was using Instagram to photograph my 3-year-old and one day I realized that the app had been recording and embedding the geographic coordinates in my backyard,” he says. “I thought to myself, ‘I don't recall being asked by the app if I wanted to share this data.’ It was a creepy experience that I wanted to translate in a way that was equal parts scary and fun, but technically harmless.”

And since cats absolutely don’t understand the concept of privacy, this makes I Know Where Your Cat Lives an interesting test case for other areas of data analysis and visualization.

See, it’s a slightly less creepy way of letting you know how easy it is to track people from their online information. To that end, Mundy has made it very easy to remove your cat if you like, but he has also received submissions from people who want to add their cats. Read more about Mundy and his map at the daily Dot.


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Trompe-l'œil Animal Murals by Fiona Tang

Vancouver-based artist Fiona Tang uses charcoal, chalk pastel and acrylics as her media to create these virbant murals that appear to be three dimensional at certain viewing angles. Tang achieves this effect using the ages-old artistic technique called trompe-l'œil (French for "deceive the eye"), which produces the optical illusion of third dimensionality.

See more of Tang's work on her Tumblr site and on Facebook.

 

 


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Adorable Superman and Wonder Woman Wedding


(Photo: Jacquelyn Philips Photography)

'Baby, you're my Wonder Woman.'

'Honey, you're a Superman to me.'

Reinesha and Devan must feel this way about each other because they had a superhero-themed wedding with Reinesha as the Princess of Themyscira and Devan as the Man of Steel. The entire wedding party was dressed appropriately for the event, including Wonder Woman eye makeup, Superman socks, and wedding rings for both of those characters. Reinesha and Devan are clearly DC superfans and deeply in love.

You can see more photos of their wedding here. I suggest that you do because the level of detail that they went to is really impressive.

They don't show the departure from the wedding, but we can safely assume that it was in an invisible jet heading for the Fortress of Solitude.


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High Speed Photos Of People Emerging From A Waterslide

There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues quite like taking a dip in the pool, and when the doggy paddling grows tiresome folks head to a good old fashioned water park for some water based thrills and spills.

Those who brave the waterslides normally don’t care much about commemorating their experience with a photo, but maybe they would if those souvenir shots looked like the delightful pics in Krista Long's series “I Love Summer”.

Each high speed shot depicts a slider emerging from the slide in their own unique way- some shoot out like old pros, while others flail their way back into the pool, looking like they barely escaped the slide with their lives.

It’s fun in the sun for your eyeballs!

-Via Junk Culture


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Weird Al’s “Mission Statement”

(YouTube link)

The final of the eight music videos released in eight days from Weird Al Yankovic’s Mandatory Fun album is here. “Mission Statement” is every business meeting you’ve ever attended, full of gobbledygook that means nothing you can’t say in less than a minute. It’s all set to music reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s “Carry On” and “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” Yes, yesterday was the eighth day for the eighth video, but the Wall Street Journal had an exclusive and embargoed it for 24 hours. You can read about the making of the video there.

Oh, while, we’re at it, let’s go back and see the one that Pop Crush debuted and embargoed for a couple of days. Here’s “First World Problems.”

(YouTube link)

You can now see all eight videos anytime you like, and buy the album, at Weird Al Yankovic’s website.


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More Accurate Names for Everyday Objects

Doghouse Diaries has some excellent ideas. A beard really is just chest hair that overflows your chest as a result of your excessive manliness. And when it's early in the morning and the dog wants a walk, you can just use curtains for body coverage, right?

Reader challenge: in the comments, construct a grammatically correct sentence that uses all six of these terms.


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A Plea for Nostril Research

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: We received this note via a scholarly e-mail discussion list, and immediately offered to aid Dr. Landry in his research. The text is reproduced here with Dr. Landry's blessing.]

(Image credit: Flickr user Jeff and Maggie G)

Colleagues,

Currently I am in the middle stages of researching a project I'm calling Nostril Noster: Inside the Modern Nose. While scholars-Sander Gilman most significantly-have unraveled a complex history of medical formation of the outside of the nose (rhinoplasty etc.), the inside is terra incognita and for good reason, since the nostril plays such an ambiguous role in the history of the modern body. It is both an entry way and a barrier, an invitation for passage and a delicate mechanism for excluding entry. Because of this double nature, however, the nostril has attracted attention from fetishists, novelists, painters, as well as scientists and doctors.

We can date the beginning of the "medicalization" of the nostril rather precisely. While nasal prosthesis was not uncommon in earlier periods, Thomas Buchanan's 1823 invention of a working nasal catheter (key for drainage in cases of syphilis and extreme sinus infection) was, to my knowledge, the first successful medical intervention into the interior of the nose. Catheterization became common medical practice in physician's offices and sanitoria alike, and the nostril became a symbol of repellency in the human form. In the twentieth century, however, the nostril made a comeback. In particular, with Joseph Heitger's discovery of the hygienic function of the interior hairs, it became an emblem of artistic modernism, a site for renewed medical investigation, and, especially, an object for technological innovation.

Continue reading

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Top Ten Ways To Hack Your Grill

It's summertime, which means a lot of people will be grillin’ and chillin’, and whether you’re a grill master or you’re still too scared to light your own coals you’re bound to find something useful on this Lifehacker list Top 10 Ways To Hack Your Grill.

The hacks range from simple- use your grill as a smoker by adding an aluminum tray of water, which helps keep the meat moist during the lengthy process, to more complicated- converting a Weber grill into a portable pizza oven:

The mostly simple yet always informative articles that make up this top ten list will help you step up your barbecuing game, and may inspire you to host a BBQ of your own so you can share some great grilled grub!

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Woman Writes to Advice Columnist to Brag about How Awesome Her Boyfriend Is

(Image: unknown)

I think that the term for this note is "humblebrag." She knows that she's found an absolute keeper and is acting concerned as a way to show off her man. I can't really blame her.

Dear Perplexed: 

What should you do? Marry him, of course!

          -John

-via Pleated Jeans

P.S. For a while, I've suspected that Neatorama would do well to have an advice column. What do you think?

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Elephant Retrieves Dropped Camera for His Passengers

YouTube Link

If you happen to be at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe and choose this elephant as your method of transportation, have no fear if you happen to drop any personal items during your ride. Trunk pickup service is included! Now that's customer service! Via 22 Words.


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My Neighbor the Wild Thing - A Rumpus At The Bus Stop


My Neighbor the Wild Thing by Jalop

You never know who you'll run into while you're waiting for the bus, you might run into a friendly neighbor, a giant grinning cat or one of those wild things that live next door. Where are you headed on this stormy night Max? Why, to take in a parade, of course!

Take your geeky wardrobe for a walk on the wild side with this My Neighbor the Wild Thing t-shirt by Jalop, it's the perfect shirt to sport while you're taking part in a wild rumpus or simply lounging around with a good book.

Visit Jalop's Facebook fan page and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more totally wild designs:

Burning Nekobus Travel Family of Wolves Whisper

View more designs by Jalop | More Funny T-shirts | New T-Shirts

Are you a professional illustrator or T-shirt designer? Let's chat! Sell your designs on the NeatoShop and get featured in front of tons of potential new fans on Neatorama!


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A Millennium after Inventing the Game, The Iroquois Are Becoming a Lacrosse Superpower


(Photo: Iroquois Nationals)

The sport of Lacrosse is of Native American origin. The Iroquois (or Haudenosaunee), a collection of six Native American nations in the United States and Canada, claim to have invented it. They maintain their own national team known as the Iroquois Nationals. They are very good, especially considering that they're working from a small population base: about 120,000 people. In fact, they missed the 2010 World Championships only because they insisted on travelling under their own national passports, which are not internationally recognized.

For many Iroquois, success at lacrosse is a source of pride:

For these men the game is not always about winning. It’s very much rooted in culture and tradition. It is also referred to as the Creator’s Game, Hill said.  “I’ve been raised to play with a clear mind and to respect my opponents. We play for the Creator’s enjoyment because he gave it to us.”

“It’s a spiritual game and a medicine game first,” said Ward. “When you pick up your stick it’s got to be an extension of you.”

And those traditional sticks became a point of contention in Sunday’s game. In front of a sold-out crowd, Team Canada nosed the Nationals out by a goal scored with 19 seconds left in the game.

The Nationals use the traditional hickory sticks, which are heavier than the contemporary plastic and titanium sticks used by Team Canada. Following penalty calls against the Nationals during the game, the ESPN announcer contended that the wooden stick should be illegal in international competition, adding that it should never be used as a weapon.

Those hickory lacrosse sticks are controversial. Each one is four times heavier than a plastic and aluminum stick:

It’s “like a friggin' weapon. It nearly kills you,” a former Iroquois national player told Sports Illustrated in 2010. “I feel I'm more of a threat with a wooden stick. You can just see it in the other team,” Iroquois defenseman Kevin Bucktooth said. “When the ball swings around to your man, they never come in one-on-one.”

-via Popehat


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The Long Shadow Of The Manhattan Project

World Science Festival published a two-part article about the Manhattan Project. The first part talked about the science of the atom bomb. Today, they look at the ethics of the Manhattan Project, nuclear weapons, and the nuclear power industry that grew out of it. In the 1940s, those who worked to develop the bomb had few, if any, qualms about what they were doing. After all, they were in a World War that dragged on for years, and their aim was to end it.   

Was dropping atomic bombs on Japan really necessary to end the war? The debate may never end. The earliest version of the story told in the West was that the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were the final straws for Japan, and averted what would have been a costly ground invasion by the Allies. In the 1960s, another group of historians began arguing that Japan was already about to surrender before the bombs were dropped, and the mushroom clouds were instead meant by U.S. President Harry S. Truman to intimidate America’s friends of convenience in the U.S.S.R. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, a University of California, Santa Barbara historian, offers a third explanation: It was the Soviets’ declaration of war that prompted Japan to bend, and surrendering to America was the best way for the nation to hold onto its lands and maintain the position of the Imperial family.

Whether or not the bomb was a deciding factor in the end of World War II, the sheer unprecedented power of the bomb planted doubts in minds at the highest levels of the Manhattan Project. J. Robert Oppenheimer, for one, said that Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not weigh on his conscience personally, but that he did sense a sea change in science, and the world at large. “In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatements can quite extinguish,” Oppenheimer said in a 1947 lecture, “the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.”

Following the war, nuclear bomb tests continued, and the technology was developed to use for power generation. But nuclear power generation may still prove to be more dangerous than bombs. Read the rest of the story at World Science Festival.


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Old Man Shocks Everyone at Wedding with His Dancing Skills


(Video Link)

He may need canes to walk, but not to dance! Watch this old man put the younger folks to shame with his mastery of the dance floor. You can join him, but I doubt you can keep up with his moves and speed.

-via Huffington Post


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My Little Pony Sword

DeviantART member jablechien marked a sword with the cutie mark and traditional icon of Princess Luna, a character on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. He did so by applying acrylic paint with a toothpick.


(Image: Hasbro Studios)

Jablechien writes that he did this "for the glory of the New Lunar Republic!" This is a reference to a major body of fan fiction which places Luna (pictured above) and her sister Princess Celestia at war with each other.

My position on this as a brony: in keeping with the 34th Rule of Acquisition, stay neutral in this conflict and sell weapons to both sides.


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Check out Twaggies' very funny clip:

Give a Man a Fish - Twaggies by Twaggies
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