Artificial Intelligence Produces the Creepiest Christmas Song Ever

(vimeo link)

You may have to turn your volume up to hear this video properly. Researchers at the University of Toronto are using a project called neural karaoke to teach computer programs to write songs. PhD candidate Hang Chu fed the program tons of existing tunes to study, then dance, then lyrics.

For the final step of the latest work, the program trained on a collection of pictures and their captions to learn how specific words can be linked to visual patterns and objects. When fed a fresh image, the program can compile some relevant lyrics and sing them using phonemes, or units of sound, linked to the words in its vocabulary. The system builds on previous work that could take a picture and generate lyrics in the style of Taylor Swift. Should the program choose words that it cannot say, it replaces them with an “oooh” sound.

The result might be called impressive for a machine, but if a human wrote this, you would suspect possible drug abuse or maybe brain damage. -via the A.V. Club


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New T-Shirts from the NeatoShop:



White Elephant Gifts That Are So Bad, You Kind of Have to Buy Them

White elephant gift exchanges are fun, but sometimes it's hard to find just the right gift for the weirdos you know. If you're struggling to come up with the perfect present idea for your white elephant exchange, you won't want to miss this Huffington Post article.

From Nic Cage prayer candles to Christmas-themed TP, the list is full of great terrible ideas, so whether you need to buy an intentionall bad gift or just want a laugh, be sure to head to the Huffington Post.


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Introverts Club - Membership Is Full At This Time, Please Check Back Never


Introverts Club by Tobe Fonseca

Introverts don't get to team up, hang out in cliques or become part of the gang because they're always busy doing their own thing by themselves, but in that way they're all part of the Introverts Club, so that's something. And who knows an introvert better than another introvert? Nobody, certainly not those flashy pandas who go out on the town raising hell like their club is the coolest, you wanna see cool? Ask an introvert how they feel about a night out on the town and watch that apathy pour out of every fiber of their being, now that's cool! (Acting aloof is cool, right?)

Show the world you're proud of your loner status with this Introverts Club t-shirt by Tobe Fonseca, it's the hip way to express your individuality without conforming to boring fashion standards.

Visit Tobe Fonseca's Facebook fan page, official website, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more far from meh designs:

Where is The Food Skull Floral Decay School of Life Boule à Neige

View more designs by Tobe Fonseca | 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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The Real Story Behind the Myth of Area 51

Once you classify something as top secret, people find a way to fill in the void of information with speculation, which can turn into conspiracy theory, and might become legend. The U.S. military's Area 51 in Nevada is legendary for its secret research on captured UFOs and the aliens they contain. The legend grew because the government wouldn't explain the classified aviation research going on there. The acreage was set aside for the development of the U2 spy plane in the 1950s.  

U-2 testing began in July 1955, and immediately reports came flooding in about unidentified flying object sightings. If you read the details in a 1992 CIA report that was declassified with redactions in 1998 (and subsequently released nearly in full in 2013), it's easy to see why.

Many of these sightings were observed by commercial airline pilots who had never seen an aircraft fly at such high altitudes as the U-2. Whereas today's airliners can soar as high as 45,000 feet, in the mid-1950s airlines flew at altitudes between 10,000 and 20,000 feet. Known military aircraft could get to 40,000 feet, and some believed manned flight couldn't go any higher than that. The U-2, flying at altitudes in excess of 60,000 feet, would've looked completely alien.

Naturally, Air Force officials knew the majority of these unexplained sightings were U-2 tests, but they were not allowed to reveal these details to the public. So, "natural phenomena" or "high-altitude weather research" became go-to explanations for UFO sightings, including in 1960 when Gary Powers' U-2 was shot down over Russia.  

These obviously lame excuses fed speculation about extraterrestrials. As the years went by, more astounding aviation breakthroughs were achieved at Area 51, but the geniuses behind them got no credit because of the secrecy. Meanwhile, the legend has become a moneymaker for businesses surrounding the forbidden zone. Read the history of Area 51 at Popular Mechanics. -via the Presurfer

(Image credit: X51)


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Man Punches Kangaroo To Save Dog, Controversy Ensues

Kangaroo bucks can be mighty aggressive, threatening the lives of people and pets and scaring the wits out of anyone they hop after, which is why people pack heat when they're out in the wilds of Australia

But zookeeper Greig Tonkins clearly doesn't need a gun to handle himself, and when his dog's life was threatened by an ornery kangaroo he came to the dog's defense and boxed the 'roo right back.

(YouTube Link)

Now it's easy to judge Greig for punching the kangaroo, but consider this:

a) kangaroos have been known to kill other animals

b) Greig has worked with kangaroos for six years at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo so he knows a thing or two about dealing with kangaroo bucks

c) the roo had his dog in a headlock, so he reacted as if his dog's life were in danger.

d) many Australians would have simply shot the thing even after the dog was freed, since Australians "cull" about 5 million kangaroos a year to keep the population managable,

As you can see, there is no black and white when it comes to Greig's actions, and I don't know about you but I would have done the same thing in a heartbeat to save my dog's life.

-Via Complex

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

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Check This Enlightenment

We've always heard that "Pride goeth before a fall," which is exactly what happened here. He might still be levitating if he didn't feel the need to gloat about it to his fellow monks. Another old adage that applies here is "He who laughs last, laughs best." This is the latest from John McNamee at Pie Comic.


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The Creative and Forgotten Fire Escape Designs of the 1800s

In the 19th century, cities became crowded, buildings were built higher, and there were plenty of things to cause fires, like fireplaces, boilers, stoves, and gas lamps. Inventive minds went to work on emergency devices to evacuate people from burning buildings, such as an angled chute that could be rolled out to slide people down to the ground. Too bad it was made of flammable material. But it was still more practical than the invention you see here.

...Pasquale Nigro proposed a fabric-covered set of wings that would allow a wearer to fly down to safety. He wrote: “In operation, the wearer engages the loops with his hands and is prepared to leap, the air imprisoned beneath the fabric material, serving to up-hold the wearer and break the force of his fall.”

Nigro asked for about $33,000 in 1909 to execute his invention, however, the idea never quite took off.

See a a selection of fire escape inventions from the 1800s ranging from parachutes to grappling hooks at Atlas Obscura.


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Guy's Girlfriend Says No Geeky Stuff Allowed In House, So He Hides It All In Plain Sight

It's a shame that geeks are unfairly judged by some simply because they're passionate about pop culture, but geeky pursuits really bother people for some strange reason, and yet these people will still date geeks.

This creates big problems when the two decide to move in together, since geeks typically collect geeky stuff that a hater won't want to see in their space, and stupid arguments ensue.

Imgur user ohhaibroadcast found out his girlfriend was an anti-geekite when she told him he couldn't put any of his geeky stuff upstairs, so he hid little Warhammer minis and LEGO figures around the house.

Meanwhile, his basement looks like nerdvana, so don't feel too bad for the guy:

He has a full sized MAME arcade cabinet, shelves full of board games, plenty of space for tabletop gaming, and a big screen and comfy recliners so he can watch movies about happy couples.

Something tells me their friends would rather hang out in the basement than upstairs in boring old Dullsville...

-Via TechEblog


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Prince’s Closest Friends Share Their Best Prince Stories

 

Chris Heath collected memories of Prince and his life from those closest to them: band members, childhood friends, girlfriends, employees, and others who each have a great Prince story. Or many stories.

Corey Tollefson (Minneapolis-based entrepreneur and fan; attended events at Paisley Park for over 20 years): The thing that was funny was you never saw Prince [first], you smelled him. He always smelled like lavender. And you knew when he was there because you'd turn around and go, "Holy shit, I smell Prince." And then, ten seconds later, you'd see him.

Morris Hayes (keyboard player; Prince's longest-serving band member, 1992–2012): I remember taking him to the hardware store in my camping van. He wanted to go buy a lock. And we go to Ace Hardware—it's snowing and freezing—and I say, "Okay, Prince, you stay in the car." So I'm picking stuff up in the aisles, I look over, he just cruises by in a turtleneck sweater and his fuzzy boots, and people are looking like, "Oh my God, Prince is in the hardware store!" He comes and finds me and he's got a handful of crap—like, "Can we buy this?" I'm, "What did you do with the car?" He says, "It's out there—it's just running." I said, "Prince, you can't leave the car running—somebody could just steal the car." He said, "This is Chanhassen—nobody's gonna steal the car." So we get out to the car and sure enough it's out there, just running, smoke coming out of the tailpipe. And he's like, "I told you."

We also get a multi-person recap of the famous skit from Chappelle's Show, where Charlie Murphy tells of Prince beating them all in basketball while wearing heels. Yeah, it's true, and there's even more to the story then we knew. Read all the delightful Prince stories at GQ. -via Metafilter


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These Amazing Minecraft Creations Took Billions Of Blocks To Build

Gamers have been making virtual artwork in Minecraft since the game first came out five years ago, but overall their creations have been kept simple and square, like 3D versions of 8- or 16-bit pixel art.

However, the art created in Minecraft is limited only by the artist's imagination, dedication and the amount of time they have available to organize thousands, if not millions, of cubes into a detailed work of digital art.

The new book Beautiful Minecraft by No Starch Press collects images of some of the more epic and impressive works created by Minecraft players, including the piece Deep Sea created by nine builders in six days using 32 million blocks.

The piece at the top of the post is Vegard Elseth's Lindblum Gate, which took 60 days and 300 thousand blocks to build, followed by Will Loader's A Futuristic Past, which took 28 days and 9 million blocks to build.

And that simply gorgeous looking landscape shot? That's Andrzej Czerniewski's Magic Of Colors, which took him 22 days to build and contains 7 billion blocks.

I wonder how long it would take to create a 3D print of each piece...

See more from Pore Over These Gorgeous Minecraft Creations at Polygon


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Pantone 2017 Color of the Year: Greenery

Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2017. It's PANTONE 15-0343 TCX, also called "greenery."

(YouTube link)

What do you think? Pantone says it's a color of renewal.

Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.

Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world.

Eh, it's nice in new plants, but I don't think I'll be looking for draperies or clothing in that color myself. -via Laughing Squid


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Japanese Artist Spent Three And A Half Years Creating One Giant Illustration

Drawing with pen and ink can take a really long time, and artists who work in ink like to take their time and get it right because they may only have one chance to get it right.

Japanese illustrator Manabu Ikeda spent ten hours a day for three and a half years creating his massive pen and ink masterpiece "Rebirth", how's that for slow?!

Manabu's incredibly detailed masterpiece measures 13 X 10 feet wide, and features a gnarly tree growing up and out of crashing tsunami waves and other destructive forces.

"Rebirth" was inspired by Japan's rebirth after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, so it was obviously a labor of love for Manabu as well as an epic scale way to show off his drawing skills.

“My goal is to faithfully express my view of the world in my composition, but I don’t intentionally depict detailed images,” he told the Chazen Museum of Art. “Because I see details when I observe things, rather than the whole, I find pen and ink to be the best tools to express how I see them.”

-Via Bored Panda


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Squirrel Wanted For Stealing 150 Christmas Lights

Margaret Rican of Seattle is having a hard time this year, as her Christmas lights keep disappearing.  A squirrel has been making off with the bulbs one by one. The brazen thief pulls off his heists right in front of her sometimes, while other capers are recorded from a distance. She uploaded a compilation of his trips to chew off and abscond with the bulbs one by one.


(YouTube link)

Is he trying to decorate his nest with the colorful bulbs? HuffPo asked an expert.

“This kind of behavior is reported each year as squirrels see the bulbs as similar to an acorn or fruit,” John Koprowski, a University of Arizona professor and noted squirrel expert, told The Huffington Post. “While hard to know if this indicates a difficult winter for food, this behavior is likely just the result of being an industrious squirrel and caching a bounty of potential food to be used over the course of the winter.”

Koprowski says that squirrels usually bury more food than they really need for the winter, and even forget where some of it is, so he should be fine.

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

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Flashing Through The Snow - Jingle Bells, Something Smells...


Flashing Through The Snow (color) by JVZ Designs

Why is it that all the creeps decide to crawl out of their holes around Christmas? It's like they know we're at our most vulnerable during this time of year so they decide to act as the gremlin in our holiday cheer machine and muck up the works! As much as we wish these creeps would go away it also just wouldn't feel like Christmas without those flashers, muggers and other monsters of the same stripe hanging around town waiting to knock our holiday star down. You know, to keep us from feeling all warm and fuzzy like a Mogwai...

Celebrate the holiday season how you see fit- by wearing this silly Flashing Through The Snow t-shirt by JVZ Designs, it's sure to make people smile wherever you go!

Visit JVZ Designs's Facebook fan page, official website, Tumblr and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more festively geeky designs:

Dead Poll Coincidence Battle Ready Reality is Cool

View more designs by JVZ Designs | 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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How "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" Became a Holiday Staple

The most despised song from my entire radio career (1982-2006) was "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." It wasn't because there was anything inherently wrong with the song, except for the dead grandmother. What ruined the song for me was the dozens of requests for it every hour, even right after I had played it. Every hour, every December, for decades. Every year, a new cohort of children decide that's the one Christmas song they want to hear. Now it's a Christmas classic, with its own history.

It begins, like all Christmas fables should, with a blizzard. It was December 1978, and a San Francisco veterinarian named Elmo Shropshire, a.k.a. Dr. Elmo, was booked at the Hyatt in Lake Tahoe with his then-wife, Patsy. The couple had a comedy-bluegrass duo called Elmo & Patsy, and just before taking the stage, they got a visit from one Randy Brooks, a Texas singer-songwriter who’d played the hotel before them and gotten stuck there by the snow.

"I was never what I’d consider to be much of a singer," Dr. Elmo tells mental_floss from his home in California. "I always sang novelty songs, so it didn’t matter if I could sing or not. At the time, we were doing a lot of funny songs. Randy saw our show and said, 'I’ve got this song I think would be perfect for you.'"

That was the very beginning. It took years for the song to really take off, but when it did, it changed everything for Dr. Elmo. Read the story from the man who made it at mental_floss. 

(Image credit: Flickr user Brian)


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Little Things To Look For When You Watch A Christmas Story

Nowadays TV networks like TBS and AMC will play A Christmas Story for 24 hours straight, so viewers can watch their favorite holiday movie all day long if they want

And yet no matter how many times you've seen it there are probably all sorts of little things you missed or didn't really pay attention to- like Scut Farkus's braces.

A Christmas Story is set in the 1940s and yet Scut the Bully is wearing braces that are bonded to his teeth, which weren't invented until the 70s.

Ralphie's dad gets a colored bowling ball for Christmas, which wasn't invented until the 60s. When Ralphie almost shoots his eye out his glasses are knocked to the ground, where we can see they're three-barrel hinged- a style which didn't exist until the 1980s.

You see where I'm going with this? See how many historical inaccuracies you can spot next time you watch the movie!

Also watch for these cameos- director Bob Clark as Ralphie's Neighbor Swede (pic at top of post), and narrator Jean Shepherd (aka the guy who wrote the original stories the film is based on) as the cranky bearded man who tells Ralphie to get to the back of the line for Santa.

See 25 Things to Look for While Watching The 24-Hour 'A Christmas Story' Marathon at mental_floss


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Who Will Die in The Walking Dead Mid-season Finale?

Didn't we just do one of these polls? Oh, that was in October. The Walking Dead will be taking a hiatus for a few months after this Sunday's episode, so if anyone is going to be killed, it will happen this week. Or else someone will be put in extreme danger and we'll have a cliffhanger until spring. The first half of season seven has been pretty miserable for everyone. Do you think they'll kill off any regulars this week? Place your predictions in the poll below. You can vote for more than one. And if you are current with the series, you can read some spoilerific predictions.

Who will die Sunday on The Walking Dead?


























Continue reading

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Surreal Animal Tattoos That Look Like Quirky Sketches

Tattoos have come a long way from those Sailor Jerry days, and now there's nothing cooler than having an artist use a tattoo gun to apply an original piece of artwork to your skin.

These artist original tats are (typically) one of a kind, and they're also a permanent addition to the body, but something tells me London-based artist Otto D'Ambra gets no complaints.

Otto's surreal hybrid critter drawings are so freakin' cool I don't know how people can settle for one tattoo!

See more Surreal Animal Hybrid Tattoos Look Like Quirky Sketchbook Drawings here


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World Record Rube Goldberg Contraption Lights Up Christmas Tree

The municipal Christmas tree in Riga, Latvia, was switched on by a process that took 412 steps and ten minutes to complete. The video is much shorter because the part where they brewed coffee was condensed, and there may have been other shortcuts for the video.

(YouTube link)

You have to imagine how frustrating all the tests were for this, and how nervous the builders must have been to make it perform perfectly, not just for the waiting crowd outside, but in front of Guinness judges. The company Scandiweb sponsored the record-setting chain reaction that Guinness has enshrined as the World's Largest Rube Goldberg Machine.  -via Viral Viral Videos


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Historically Accurate Combat

Writers love to toss around the term "historically accurate" in order to make their war stories seem more credible and realistic.

But they're ignoring the way battles were really fought and won back in the day, and the fact that dragons were fought by knights who carried around polyhedral dice to keep combat fair for both sides.

So if these writers want to keep their historical war stories up to snuff they need to add concepts found in this Pain Train Comic like rolling for initiative, critical failure and encounter engagement.

Only then can they move on to more advanced concepts like saving throws versus breath weapons and the true cost of having a cleric resurrect you...

-Via Geeks Are Sexy


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5 People Who Were Basically Indiana Jones

Explorers, archaeologists, treasure hunters, there were many men who inspired the tales of intrepid adventurers that were eventually summed up in the character Indiana Jones. Let's meet some of them in this article from mental_floss magazine.

1. The Guy Who First Identified Dinosaur Egg Fossils

Some of the narrower brushes of Roy Chapman Andrews (1884-1960): “Once we were in great clanger from fanatical lama priests, two were close calls when I fell over cliffs, once was nearly caught by a huge python, and twice I might have been killed by bandits,” he wrote. (And like Indy, the American hated snakes.)

2. The Guy Who Discovered Machu Picchu

Continue reading

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“BRAAAM!”: The Sound that Invaded the Hollywood Soundtrack

The sound is a bit reminiscent of a foghorn blast, but was actually recorded with brass instruments and piano. You heard it in the 2010 movie Inception, and in almost every movie trailer since then. It's known in the business as "BRAAAM!” How in the world did one discordant blast become so ubiquitous in Hollywood? A good bit of the credit goes to composer Hans Zimmer.

Part of it is the way his soundtracks are put together: Zimmer’s approach resembles the sampling we’re used to from pop music — themes are not simply repeated by musicians, but instead montaged by the composer. Over the last few decades Zimmer has created something of a cottage industry that churns out soundtracks at a Herculean clip: In 1989 he founded Media Ventures, which was later rechristened Remote Control Productions, a kind of soundtrack workshop where Zimmer and about forty collaborators crank out sample-based soundtracks that are largely created in-studio (their combined list of credits is too staggering to list here). If you’ve ever wondered why Batman Begins sounds like Pirates of the Caribbean, which sounds like The Da Vinci Code, Remote Control is the reason.

But that isn't the whole story. To understand, you need to know more about how Hollywood scores are designed, and how they evolved over the past few decades. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Kjell Reigstad)


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Beard Lights for the Ultimate Hipster Christmas

Now that LEDs allow us to connect many more strings than traditional lights, and even run on tiny batteries, I'm always thinking, "Where else can I put Christmas lights?" The answer is: one's beard. I don't have one, but if you do, lighting it up may become a trend this Christmas.

East Village E20, London is providing a beard pimping service to gentlemen wanting to adorn themselves with the yuletide facial hair accessory. Taking place at their Christmas Makers Market on Sunday 11th December, the stand will allow every hirsute gentleman the chance to get in on the trend – and provide some much needed smiles after a year of very serious news.

See more beautiful beards all decked out for the holidays at Bored Panda.


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Total Awesome Viking Power

A group of people are role playing as Vikings. They are really into it, but Vidar just can't seem to get with the program. He gets a time out -as a dead man. And that's when things really get weird.

(YouTube link

The line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred when Viking deities are invoked. Odin doesn't care a bit about the boundaries between LARP groups. But is he really who he says he is? Vidar must determine what is real and what is role playing before he can achieve total awesome Viking power. This video honestly gets better as it goes along. -via Geeks Are Sexy


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The Doctors Strange - Three Of A Kind They're Not


The Doctors Strange by Everdream

For some reason something exciting happens every time you put the words "doctor" and "strange" together, and while the happening isn't always a good thing it's about as far as you can get from boring! There are good guys out there who sport the Doctor Strange moniker, and one is even the Sorcerer Supreme tasked with defending humanity from the timelessly evil Dormammu, but more often than not a strange doctor is a bad thing. And these twisted masterminds love to make a mockery of the medical profession, desiring nothing more than total destruction in the name of mad science...

You'll get a PhD in geek-ology every time you wear this The Doctors Strange t-shirt by Everdream, slip it on and embrace the madness!

Visit Everdream's Facebook fan page, Tumblr and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more geek-tastic designs:

Magneato! Mystic Arts Itsy Bitsy Sniper Gilead Gunslingers

View more designs by Everdream | 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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Green Slime Loves Gelatinous Cube

Gelatinous cubes only eat people (and treasure and gear) because they're lonely, and like many emotional eaters they have a hard time finding a love who will understand their situation and won't judge them.

But green slime don't judge, and since both slimes are sexless and ambitionless masses who feel existence has no meaning you'd think the two dungeon dwelling creatures would make perfect partners.

However, as this comic from Joshua Wright shows, when lovers discover they have everything in common, including their slimy complexion, it can be hard to tell who's who!

-Via Geeks Are Sexy


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No One Eats Alone on Christmas Day

A Turkish restaurant in London called Shish put up this sign last month. The Muslim-owned business is reaching out to the homeless and elderly of the Sidcup neighborhood to ensure no one is alone all day for the holiday.

Hasan Masud, who works at Shish Restaurant, told BuzzFeed News: “We’re just helping people.” He said the team at Shish also wanted to open their doors to the elderly because “lots of people stay home alone for Christmas… They don’t need to. They can come here and have some fun.”

After a great response on social media, the restaurant upgraded the sign.

If the publicity gets the restaurant more business, it will only enable them to serve more free shish kebab on Christmas Day. Besides, the food looks awesome. -via Uproxx


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Nordstrom Wants to Sell You An $85 Rock

Looking to blow money on something utterly useless? Then head to Nordstroms where you can get your hands on this great $85 rock that at least comes with a classy leather pouch. It's as though the store itself doesn't know why you would buy it, since their description doesn't even know what the purpose of the stupid thing is, "A paperweight? A conversation piece? A work of art? It's up to you."

Just like many absurd Amazon products, the item is being lampooned on the reviews in Nordstrom's shop. Unfortunately, it seems Nordstrom doesn't have as good of a sense of humor because the item has since been pulled and they also seem to have removed all the reviews. While the small rock version was also removed from the store, the reviews are at least still there.

Via Distractify


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RIP John Glenn

Combat veteran, Gemini astronaut, and Ohio senator, John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth. The Mercury astronaut took off in the Friendship 7 capsule on February 20, 1962, and spent four hours and 55 minutes orbiting the earth. But that was just what he's most famous for. In World War II,

He became a successful fighter pilot who ran 59 hazardous missions, often as a volunteer or as the requested backup of assigned pilots. A war later, in Korea, he earned the nickname "MiG-Mad Marine" (or "Old Magnet A — ," which he sometimes paraphrased as "Old Magnet Tail.")

"I was the one who went in low and got them," Glenn said, explaining that he often landed with huge holes in the side of his aircraft because he didn't like to shoot from high altitudes.

Glenn's public life began when he broke the transcontinental airspeed record, bursting from Los Angeles to New York City in three hours, 23 minutes and 8 seconds. With his Crusader averaging 725 mph, the 1957 flight proved the jet could endure stress when pushed to maximum speeds over long distances.

In New York, he got a hero's welcome — his first tickertape parade. He got another after his flight on Friendship 7.

That mission also introduced Glenn to politics. He addressed a joint session of Congress, and dined at the White House. He became friends with President Kennedy and ally and friend of his brother Robert. The Kennedys urged him to enter politics, and after a difficult few starts he did.

Later in life, Glenn spent 24 years as a senator representing Ohio. He ran for president in 1984. On October 29, 1998, he returned to space aboard the shuttle Discovery at age 77. John Glenn died Thursday at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

He was 95. Godspeed, John Glenn.

-via Metafilter


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The Lighthouse

A lighthouse keeper stumbles on a surprising discovery that changes everything. The implications are disturbing, when you consider where he is and what he is supposed to be doing. You know, just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should. Or is this a psychotic break, brought on by isolation and monotony?

(vimeo link)

Simon Scheiber worked on this award-winning stop-motion short for seven years (we assume he also had a day job). It contains over 14,000 individual photographs and incredible details. See some photos from the making of The Lighthouse at its website. -via the Presurfer  


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