R.I.P. Oliver Sacks

Acclaimed neurologist, author, and philosopher Oliver Sacks revealed earlier this year that he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The New York Times has announced his death this morning. Sacks wrote about neurological research in a way that the layman could not only understand, but that would spark deep thought into the meaning of mind and consciousness. He wrote about patients who displayed unusual abilities and disabilities of the brain, as in the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and neurological research, such as his discovery of the effects of L-dopa on the brains of catatonic patients in Awakenings, which was made into the 1990 film starring Robin Williams as Sacks.

His intellectual curiosity took him even further. On his website, Dr. Sacks maintained a partial list of topics he had written about. It included aging, amnesia, color, deafness, dreams, ferns, Freud, hallucinations, neural Darwinism, phantom limbs, photography, pre-Columbian history, swimming and twins.

“I am very tenacious, for better or worse,” he wrote in “A Leg to Stand On.” “If my attention is engaged, I cannot disengage it. This may be a great strength, or weakness. It makes me an investigator. It makes me an obsessional.”

The Times has more on Sacks' extraordinary life and work. Sacks died of cancer Sunday morning at his home in New York. He was 82.

(Image credit: © Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons)

See also: Our previous posts on Sacks.


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Featured Designs from the NeatoShop:



What Everyone Needs: A Nutella Lock

Is your personal Nutella supply slowly decreasing without an explanation? You might have a thief in your midst. Take precautions with this lock designed specifically for sealing away jars of Nutella. Daniel Schlobloch, a German furniture designer, says that he developed it as a joke. But I don't see anything funny in taking my Nutella, Jill. Neither do other people, who have so far ordered 279 of them.

-via That's Nerdalicious!


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Booby Trap

A young man just wants to finish his drawing, but something isn’t quite coming together. It’s the boobs.

(YouTube link)

You can see the ending coming a mile away; that doesn’t make it any less satisfying. Dylan Simpson made this short animated film for a local animation festival. Don't fret, it's SFW. -via reddit


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Zombie Bowser - He's One Rotten Ruler


Zombie Bowser by Aaron Morales

Mario had always defeated Bowser in the big boss battle then walked away, never bothering to find out if Bowser was still alive and ready to fight another day. Unbeknownst to anyone in the Mushroom Kingdom big bad Bowser had died, but some dark magical force brought him back to life with a ravenous appetite for Peach and moustachioed Italian plumber! There woud be no jumping on zombie Bowser's head, nor could you simply shoot him with fire and hope to knock him out, for this time death would not stop him from having his revenge...

Bring a nightmarish boss battle moment to your geeky wardrobe with this Zombie Bowser t-shirt by Aaron Morales, it's super looking and sure to be admired by all your fellow gamer bros!

Visit Aaron Morales's Facebook fan page, official website, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more mighty cool designs:

Mjolnir Calling Reflections Of A Mad Titan Guardians No. 1 The Mysterious Case Of Janet Snakehole

View more designs by Aaron Morales | More Video Game T-shirts | New T-Shirts

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A Collection Of Webcomics About Life As A Gamer

Gamers know what it's like to be a gamer, what it's like to obsess, fret and test your mental endurance with marathon gaming sessions.

(Via Invisible Bread)

But those who have never given in to gaming temptation may be unaware of what it's like to be a gamer, and therefore might benefit from a little comic strip insight.

(Via Jim Benton)

Cheezburger gathered a collection of gamer-centric webcomics for This Collection Of Web Comics Really Explains What It's Like To Be A Gamer. It's a fun way to waste five minutes of your life!


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The 2015 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest Winners

For the 33rd year in a row, the English Department at San Jose State University has rewarded aspiring or otherwise writers for the worst opening line in a (non-existent) novel. The annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is named for Victorian novelist Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton who once began a book with the phrase “It was a dark and stormy night…” and cemented those words as a writing cliche. Congratulations to Dr. Joel Phillips of West Trenton, New Jersey, who won the top honor with this gem:

Seeing how the victim's body, or what remained of it, was wedged between the grill of the Peterbilt 389 and the bumper of the 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT, officer "Dirk" Dirksen wondered why reporters always used the phrase "sandwiched" to describe such a scene since there was nothing appetizing about it, but still, he thought, they might have a point because some of this would probably end up on the front of his shirt.

There were also runners-up recognized and winners in various categories such as horror, fantasy, romance, and children’s literature. Many “dishonorable mentions” are included on the winners’ page as well. A special categories recognizes “vile puns,” won by John Holmes of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Locals know it as Pinocchio Rock, because it's shaped like a proboscis, and lies at the edge of the cliff.

And more than one from the winner’s page paid tribute to Bulwer-Lytton’s famous line, like this dishonorable mention in the “Purple Prose” category:

The night was dark; which is a bit redundant, since night is by definition dark, unless it's a stormy night when lightning causes moments of brilliant light, or except in places like Norway or Alaska where summer nights can be pretty light, but still, most of the time when you say “night,” people are going to think “dark.” — Joseph E. Fountain, Fredericksburg, VA

Read many more horrible sentences at the winners’ page. -via Metafilter

See also: previous years’ winners.
 


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The Empire Strikes Back Trailer in the Style of The Force Awakens


(Video Link)

The trailers for the upcoming Star Wars movie The Force Awakens have a unique style noted for varied pacing and dramatic narration. They inspired Dan Flesher to edit scenes from The Empire Strikes Back into a new trailer. They make that movie look fresh, even at 35 years old. Compare it to this original trailer for Episode V.

-via Daily of the Day


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The Resurrection Of Black America’s Historic Beach Haven

In the Jim Crow era of the 20th century, landowners would not sell beachfront property on the Gulf coast to black investors or even families. Blacks were restricted from visiting any beach- except one. In 1923, Bishop Robert E. Jones of the Methodist Church established Gulfside Chatauqua and Camp Meeting Ground, later named Gulfside Assembly, on 316 acres on the coast near Waveland, Mississippi. It was a haven for local blacks and vacationing families from all over. Summer camps, church retreats, and seminars were held there for decades. The land was, in a stroke of cosmic karma, from the estate of President Andrew Jackson that came onto the market in 1922.         

Luckily for Jones, however, his light skin and his position as a Methodist bishop took the question of race off the table. When he bought the property from John DeBlieux, a wealthy lumber mill owner who had once used the property as his family’s summer home, nobody thought to question whether he was black. Jones also secured the rights to a long-term lease of an adjacent 316-acre property from the state, but he ultimately didn’t develop the property, and it is now the site of the present-day Buccaneer State Park.

Yet the relative ease with which he secured the land for Gulfside didn’t mean that Jones was freed from having to make difficult — and controversial — compromises with the local white community as he began to develop it. “In order for them to remain viable … they had to accommodate white supremacy,” explains Andrew Kahrl, a University of Virginia history professor who wrote The Land Was Ours, a history of black beaches in America. That meant tightly controlling the movements of people visiting Gulfside by forbidding them from leaving the grounds; ensuring that people at the retreat, many of whom came from the North, obeyed the “racial etiquette” of the Deep South; and avoiding any provocation of Waveland’s white population. Alcohol and popular music were forbidden, as was sex, and activities were kept innocuous: Adolescents were taught to swim during the summers, and outdoor Bible study classes for families were held.

Gulfside was a respite and a place to socialize for victims of Jim Crow, and later became a meeting place for civil rights activists. The popularity of Gulfside suffered when blacks were finally able to enjoy beaches alongside whites, so the focus of the resort shifted to community development and elder care. Plans were made to open a retirement community at Gulfside, and a huge hotel was built to cater to the nearby state park and bring in some income. But mere days after the grand opening celebration, hurricane Katrina struck. Then the recession hit. Then there was the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Yet there are those who recall Gulfside’s heyday and are committed to saving the resort for future generations. Read the story of Gulfside Assembly's unique history at Buzzfeed.


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Street Brawl Ends in Hugs


(Video Link)

On the mean streets of the City of Brotherly Love, you'd better come prepared to handle yourself in any rough situation. That means hugging.

Rocco Avallone's security cameras captured this footage late on Thursday night in Philadelphia. Two men who are just possibly intoxicated get into a fist-fight.

Then they hug it out.

This is a lesson for us all. Tonight, go outside and hug someone.

-via Daily of the Day


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Movies That Were Shelved Then Released Years Later

(Image Link)

Hollywood has some strange practices when it comes to releasing movies, and sometimes movie studios will spend months and millions of dollars making a flick only to leave it laying on the shelf.

Sometimes legal reasons keep a movie from being released, like the legal battle over distribution rights between Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks that kept the Eddie Murphy movie A Thousand Words on the shelf for four years.

(Image Link)

Films can also be kept out of theaters by bad test audience feedback, which surprisingly kept director Michael Roemer's film The Plot Against Harry on the shelf for twenty years.

(Image Link)

When Michael went to make a home video copy of his film for his kids the transfer technician laughed, and so did his kids, so he released the film he'd completed in 1969 to a much warmer audience reception in 1989.

Whether most of these movies should have been released at all is debatable, but filmmakers must feel crummy about pouring energy into projects only to have them locked away gathering dust instead of being shown to an audience.

See 15 Shelved That Were Eventually Released Years Later at mental_floss


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Kitten Pro Westling


(Video Link)

Although it looks cute, I've long suspected that kitten wrestling is fake. The way that they paw at each other with no one getting seriously injured or gaining lasting advantage of the other . . . that's got to be scripted.

-via Laughing Squid

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

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The Governor’s Mansion in Every State

Have you seen the governor’s mansion in your state? Redditor coreyisthename put together an imgur album of images of all 50 state mansions, listed alphabetically. Many of them look pretty close to the same: nice big colonial houses. But some are surprisingly modest, and others are grand but of quite different styles . Which do you like the best? Which one would you most like to live in? And keep in mind, those are two different questions. -via reddit


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"Humanized" Animal Characters From Video Games That Somehow Seem Wrong

Some of our favorite video game franchises feature anthropomorphic animal characters, which creators feel are easier for players to relate to than a normal animal would be.

(Image Link)

But when an animal character is "humanized" they often lose their appeal, and it becomes hard to tell who those human characters are supposed to be, since their animal forms were a big part of what made them recognizable in the first place.

Case in point- Koopalings and Bowser Jr. as humans:

(Image Link)

And then there are those sexy "humanized" versions of animal characters, which are not only less appealing than the original- they're downright creepy if you think about it!

(Image Link)

Who was hoping to see a sexy version of Chica the psychotic animatronic chicken from the Five Nights At Freddy's series? Ummm, maybe you're better off not answering that question...

See 20 Unsettling "Humanized" Versions Of Non-Human Video Game Characters here


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Chinese Sinkhole Swallows Five Pedestrians


YouTube Link

This Associated Press video footage from August 27th, 2015 shows a sinkhole in the northeastern city of Harbin, China opening up as pedestrians walk over it and quickly sucking them into the ground. Out of five pedestrians who fell into the hole, four were injured. The footage was caught on surveillance camera and showed up on Chinese social media soon afterward. Via Yakima Herald


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Murloc Fink - There's Something Fishy About That Driver...

Murloc Fink by ClayGrahamArt

The goblins have done a lot of dumb things during their species' lifetime on Azeroth, but the dumbest thing by far was teaching the murlocs how to fix their vehicles. Now the murlocs are full blown hot rod fanatics, tearing up the Mirage Raceway with their souped up sleds, which has really messed up the ecosystem. Even during times of war the murlocs could be counted on to hunt down invasive species and protect the wetlands, but now that they're all about crafting instead of hunting the swamps have been overrun by annoying little gnomes!

Shift your geeky wardrobe into high gear with this Murloc Fink t-shirt by ClayGrahamArt, it's the fastest way to become superstar among your fellow WoW fans!

Visit ClayGrahamArt's Facebook fan page, official website, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more kart-errific designs:

Blips and Chitz HO Santa Wraps Joes Before Hoes A Squid's Pin

View more designs by ClayGrahamArt | More Video Game 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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Lunchtime Portraits Capture The Sidewalk Scene Of The Late 70s

Bad things to do on your lunch break include- eating a 2000 calorie meal, smoking half a pack of cigarettes, and sleeping in your car.

Good things to do on your lunch break include- buying a homeless person a meal, squeezing in a bit of cardio in the gym, and taking pictures of people milling about on the sidewalks.

If lunchtime portraits become a social media trend then photographer Charles H. Traub deserves credit as an originator of this idea.

Charles hit the sidewalks of Chicago from 1977 to 1980 capturing portraits of people on their lunch breaks for the aptly titled series “Lunch Time”, which is finally going to be released in book form by Damani Press.

"Lunch Time" gives the viewer a candid look at what people were actually wearing in the 70s, from awful to awfully fabulous, and each image really

See more of these amazing portraits at Dangerous Minds


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Two New Snow Leopard Cubs

The Chicago Zoological Society proudly announced two new arrivals at the Brookfield Zoo yesterday: snow leopard cubs! Well, the announcement was yesterday; the cubs were born on June 16th. Since then, they have been living in seclusion with their mother, 4-year-old Sarani. Their father is 5-year-old Sabu. Both cubs are female, and have no names yet (which sounds like a crowdsourcing project may be coming). Snow leopards are one of earth’s seven "big cats," and are an endangered species. There are only a few thousand left in the wild.

(YouTube link)

The new cubs will remain in their own private living quarters until October, when they will be introduced to the public. Meanwhile, you can read more about them at the zoo’s website, and keep up with their progress through Facebook. -via Buzzfeed

(Image credit: Chicago Zoological Society)

See also: the cubs’ older brother, born in 2013 and now named Everest.

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

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Illustrator Visualizes Mental Illnesses As Monsters

Dealing with a mental illness means identifying and handling that little monster lurking around inside your mind, a monster waiting for the most inopportune time to make an appearance.

Illustrator Toby Allen decided to deal with his anxieties by imagining how they would look as monsters, visualizing these hard to describe (and even harder to understand) creatures that wreak havoc on our state of mind.

We first featured Toby's artwork here on Neatorama a few years ago, and since then he has reworked his original designs a bit and given more mental illnesses a visual life, along with a very internet appropriate disclaimer:

The artwork is not at all intended to make light of these conditions but instead is intended to give these intangible mental illnesses some substance and make them appear more managable as physical entities.

See more of Toby's mental illness monster illustrations at Bored Panda


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16 Hacks to Make Your Move More Simple

Moving is never easy, but the process can be made more simple when you know what you're doing. Over on Homes and Hues, we put together a few simple, but wonderful moving hacks to help speed up and simplify your next move. 

From getting the boxes to your first night in the new house, these tips cover ever step of the way. Even if you're not moving right now, it's worth bookmarking the tricks so you can save yourself some time and effort later, so don't miss the full list here: 16 Brilliant Moving Hacks


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10 Brilliant Inventions That Can Change Poor People's Lives

Some of the best inventions aren't high tech, but technology adapted to the needs and resources of poor people in developing nations. When on Earth has a list of 10 of them, including these self-adjusting glasses.

The system is called Child ViSion. A pair will fit a child between the ages of 12 and 18 and withstand a lot of punishment. More importantly, they don't require an optometrist. The user can adjust them by twisting the rods on the side, which move the lenses. Once the user can see well, s/he removes the adjusters until it's time to tweak them again.

Read about 9 other great inventions to help the world's poorest at When on Earth.


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LSD: Line, Square, Dot

LSD is a very minimalist physics game. There’s a box. You can draw lines. And a dot falls. Your goal is to get the dot in the box. Simple, huh? All you have to do is draw lines in the right place to bounce the ball into the box. It’s doable, but maddening at times. Inertia is not your friend here- if you get your lines placed just right, that ball will bounce forever. As soon as you think you’re pretty good at it, you’ll be put in your place. -via Metafilter


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The "Scorpion Queen" of Thailand Covers Herself in Scorpions to Amuse Tourists

But that's just for now. If you have the title "Scorpion Queen," then you're morally obligated to become a vicious tyrant.

At the moment, our queen parades in front of visitors to the Tiger Zoo in Pattaya, Thailand. She amazes them by wearing live scorpions on her dress and playing with them as though they were loyal henchmen who will obey her psychic commands. This is a demonstration of her power. She has no fear of something that terrifies everyone else. It is Step 1 to building a base of supporters.

-via The Soul Is Bone


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Murphy’s Take on Moore’s Law

Instead of Moore’s law, the latest comic from CommitStrip appears to be an example of Wirth’s law, named for Niklaus Wirth, who recognized the phenomena back in 1995. It tells us that as hardware becomes faster, software even more rapidly becomes slower.

I’m no technical genius, but even I can tell that what we use computers for becomes more complicated all the time, which means we will never have the speed we want. Twenty years ago, I couldn’t load a video. Ten years ago, I had to buy a new computer just to start a blog. Now we stream full-length movies and live events. What's next? And how frustrating will it be?  


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8 Photos of Frying Pans and 1 of a Moon of Jupiter

NASA recently released this composite image of 9 round objects. 8 of them are the bottoms of frying pans. 1 of them is Europa, a moon of Jupiter. It was taken by NASA's New Horizons space probe in 2007.

Can you guess which is Europa? Attempt no landing there, but make a guess. Then check it against the answer in the Daily Telegraph.

Did you guess correctly?

-via David Thompson


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Terrifying Werewolf Dog Muzzle

Want to dress your dog up as a werewolf and possibly draw the attention of authorities? Check out this muzzle you can order from Russian retailer Zveryatam. It comes in five sizes and costs 2 10000 р, whatever that means -plus shipping. 

Russian guitarist Alexey Kurulyov shared a picture of his dog wearing one. I’m sure he’s a bundle of love most of the time, but wearing this muzzle, he’s a hellhound straight out of your nightmares. -via Geeks Are Sexy

(Image credit: Alexey Kurulyov)

Love Halloween and cosplay? Check out our Halloween Blog!

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80s Hero - All The Fury Of Kung Without The Stink!


80s Hero by Ddjvigo

Dkjaskldfjds didn't start out as a hero, he was just an ordinary martial art cop in Miami, but when he was pushed too far he found himself transformed into the kickass kop Kung Fury. The power had transformed him into a real hero, the kind of badass you see in movies and TV shows who says cool stuff right before obliterating a bad guy, but would this power be enough to stop Hitler? With a little help from his computer whiz buddy Hackerman, the god of thunder Thor and an angry Tyrannosaurus Rex it's a sure bet this grand 80s hero can't lose!

It's time to upgrade your geeky wardrobe with the awesomeness that is this 80s Hero t-shirt by Ddjvigo, it'll turn you in to a total knockout!

Visit Ddjvigo's Facebook fan page, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more mighty geeky designs:

Starry Fantasy Z-Men The Four Shadows Ryuk On Sunset

View more designs by Ddjvigo | More Movie T-shirts | New T-Shirts

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Forget Microbrews--Have a Nanobrew!


(Video Link)

"Microbrewers can focus on making each bottle taste good. But we can focus on making each sip taste great." The comedy troupe Above Average takes the microbrewing craze to the next level by imagining a brewery that scales down its product to less than a thimble-full per bottle. You will never, ever feel the effects of alcohol, but you will experience microbrew prices.

-via The Presurfer


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10 Fascinating Facts About Blade Runner

Harrison Ford stars in a Ridley Scott film based on a novel by Philip K. Dick. You can’t beat a pedigree like that. The 1982 film Blade Runner couldn’t help but become a classic of the sci-fi genre. Surely you’ll want to know some of the important facts behind the movie. For example: 

4. RIDLEY SCOTT DIDN’T READ THE BOOK ON WHICH IT’S BASED.

Blade Runner is (loosely) based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by legendary sci-fi author Philip K. Dick. (It’s one of over a dozen movies based on his works.) But Scott didn’t read the book before making the movie: “I actually couldn’t get into it. I met Philip K. Dick later, and he said, ‘I understand you couldn’t read the book.’ And I said, ‘You know you’re so dense, mate, by page 32, there’s about 17 storylines.’”

5. PHILIP K. DICK HATED THE SCRIPT (AT FIRST).

Dick passed away before the film was completed, but he kept up with the script as it went through various permutations. He loathed Hampton Fancher’s original draft, saying he was “angry and disgusted” at the way it “cleaned my book up of all the subtleties and of the meaning … It had become a fight between androids and a bounty hunter.” A revised screenplay by David Webb Peoples brought Dick around: “I couldn’t believe what I was reading! ... The whole thing had simply been rejuvenated in a very fundamental way ... [The screenplay and the novel] reinforce each other, so that someone who started with the novel would enjoy the movie and someone who started with the movie would enjoy the novel. I was amazed that Peoples could get some of those scenes to work. It taught me things about writing that I didn’t know.”

Other bits of trivia address the question of whether Rick Deckard is a replicant himself or not. And there’s more about Blade Runner you’ll want to know at mental_floss.


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Overprotective Raccoon "Rescues" His Brother


(Video Link)

Willie and Waylon are raccoons. They're also brothers. Willie is a "hold my beer and watch this" type of raccoon. It's Waylon who has to get him out of his messes. In this case, the insane Willie decides to swim in the pool. Waylon drags him out when he manages to get to the edge.

Willie is alive--for now. Eventually, Waylon won't be there to save him.

-via Tastefully Offensive

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

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Silly Season in the UK

There have been a few news stories out of the UK that have Americans scratching their heads. This is news? We are used to British newspaper websites being full of stories that would never make the papers here, but lately stories are published that are silly even by British standards. It’s the Silly Season, in which Parliament is on vacation, so there are fewer government news stories to fill space.

The above story made the BBC. A rogue lawn chair attacked a cow at a farm near Boughton, Northamptonshire. You can clearly see the chair has the cow subdued in a headlock. By the time the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service arrived, the cow had freed itself from the chair. Thank goodness! -via Metafilter
 


Then there was the case of two wheelbarrow planters that had been tipped over in Henley on Thames.

Caroline Langler, a member of the Henley in Bloom committee, who had planted up the two barrows, said: “Obviously it’s annoying someone has knocked it over because I had enormous pleasure doing them both.

“When I was doing them people were stopping to ask about them and telling me how wonderful they were. People really appreciate them.” Mrs Langler, of Queen Street, said she was just thankful the barrow wasn’t pushed into the road.

The story has a happy ending, as Langler picked up the wheelbarrows and replanted them. Whew, that was a close one. -via Arbroath

Can you find a story out of the UK that beats these two?


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