Sand sculptures typically range from fantastic to amazingly realistic in style, but they rarely look as habitable as the architectural sandcastles created by Calvin Seibert, aka Box Builder.
Calvin explores many diverse styles in his gritty works, ranging from cubism to mosaic forms to brutalism, and his works are so geometrically sound it’s a shame the incoming tide will reduce these swanky seaside real estate models to a pile of mud.
And while Calvin’s architectural sculptures look like they took a team of tiny engineers a week to construct each one, he creates them all with nothing more than a few simple tools and a lot of patience.
Strange things can happen when water turns to ice. In this case, there was a lot of rain, which filled the stair railing pipes with water, and then the temperature fell far below freezing. The water in the pipe froze on the outer edge first, so water inside was pushed out the hole, where it froze quickly as it emerged. When you see something like this, your first instinct is to take a picture. Then your second instinct is an urge to break it off, right?
Tis the season to rest and relax. Celebrate the holidays by slipping into a pair of geeky chic Nerd Domo Plush Slippers from the NeatoShop. This cozy pair of slippers features your favorite saw-toothed monster donning a pair of spectacular spectacles.
Be sure to check out the NeatoShop for more fabulous Footwear.
They're so adorable! Although they're not ready to save the world, these little superheroes may be able to solve their own problems. Alberto Varanda, a Portuguese-born artist who lives in France, drew images of 9young superheroes at play. I can easily imagine a young, sensitive Wolverine catching leaves on his claws and Catwoman dragging her unwilling cat into her imaginary adventures.
Soldiers have always had their own terms for the unique tools they use and situations they confront, but it changes vastly over time. By the time the general public learns the slang, the current military is using new tools and new procedures in new places -with new terms. NPR helps us get updated on th lingo as is used in the 21st century. Some interesting samples:
Bird: Helicopter. "Chopper" is rarely used, except in movies, where it is always used. A chopper is a kind of motorcycle, not an aircraft.
Geardo: (rhymes with weirdo) A soldier who spends an inordinate amount of their personal money to buy fancy military gear, such as weapon lights, GPS watches, custom rucksacks, etc. Generally refers to a soldier with little tactical need for such equipment. See: Fobbit.
POO: Point Of Origin. The site from which a rocket or mortar was launched at U.S. forces. Most easily calculated by tracking the projectile's trajectory with radar. Example: "We're going out POO hunting."
Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone: A military doctrine or political process that appears to exist in order to justify its own existence, often producing irrelevant indicators of its own success. For example, continually releasing figures on the amount of Taliban weapons seized, as if there were a finite supply of such weapons. While seizing the weapons, soldiers raid Afghan villages, enraging the residents and legitimizing the Taliban's cause.
There are 54 terms defined for us in the list at NPR. I might feel educated if I had any confidence that I'd remember them all. -via Digg
David Besnier (DeviantART member Dave Donut) created an animated banner for his website. Everything on the graphic is animated in some way. Mouseover for a reaction; click on some of the objects to go to their source material. He has some clues at the DeviantART page. The orange half is a game. The donuts will sing if you press the right button. There are probably many treats here that I haven't yet found! Warning: the dark purple onion's language is NSFW. -via Metafilter
At one time, it was a shame if you had to drop in on your neighbors to see The Andy Griffith Show. You obviously did not own a TV only because you could not afford one. Then as TV took over our lives, it became more cool to ignore it, because you were bucking a trend. Lately, just saying the words "I don't have a TV" will get you labeled as a hipster braggart. Besides, we know that even if you don't have a TV set, you're watching shows on your computer or handheld device. This graph is the latest from Randall Munroe at xkcd.
This is the kind of thing you'll only see captured in the modern world where everyone has a video camera right there in their pocket, so you'll have to overlook the shakiness. At least it's not shot in portrait mode. A mother cat is transferring a kitten to a new home on the second floor of a building, but getting to the open window is not a feat we humans would want to attempt carrying a baby! -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Did you ever notice that Dorothy was eating a donut when she broke into "Somewhere Over the Rainbow?" I never did. But there are quite a few tiny details that I'll be watching for next time The Wizard of Oz comes on TV.
1. Dorothy's Cruller. Just before singing "Over the Rainbow," Dorothy takes one of the "just fried" crullers Aunt Em offers the farmhands. She takes a small bite, tosses a piece to Toto and from there it seems to vanish. But watch closely, she's still holding it as she begins to sing and at the beginning of the second verse, she tosses the remainder into the barnyard (hopefully Toto saw it!).
2. Miss Gulch's Umbrella. As Miss Gulch pulls up to the Gale farmhouse, you can see an umbrella strapped to the front of her bicycle. This is an "insider" allusion to the water allergy of her Ozian alter ego, the Wicked Witch of the West. In the original L. Frank Baum book, the Witch carries an umbrella, not a broom.
Read eight other tiny bits of trivia that will make you want to watch closely next time, at HuffPo.
Her college Spanish class required a special project, and most of the students translated songs. Redditor TechSis partnered with a classmate and recruited her husband and some friends to produce a video that parodies telenovelas, or Spanish language soap operas. The melodrama, the cliched plot lines, and the obvious product placements are exagerated just a bit as to be hilarious. The Spanish is not perfect, but the video was so funny that they got an A for the project! -via Warming Glow
Most dogs don’t really appreciate their owner’s obsession with taking baths, and from the looks they give you during the torturous process you’d think they were being washed with acid rather than water.
Their hilarious expressions, and the totally artsy way their fur looks when it’s all wet, are the themes behind photographer Sophie Gamand’s series appropriately entitled Wet Dog. The premise sounds easy enough to capture, but Sophie goes beyond the basic idea and attempts to capture each dog’s individual personality in the photos. Here’s what she has to say about the series:
Wet Dog is a series on dogs being washed during their grooming sessions. The way the water plays with their hair in a very painterly manner, and their facial expressions as the water is poured on them creates striking portraits.
We've shown you people rescuing deer stranded on ice on foot and by helicopter. Now we find out what really works in that situation: hovercraft!
Doug and James Kenison read about a deer being stranded on the ice in Albert Lea Lake. The father and son own MedCity Hovercraft in Rochester, Minnesota, so they decided to do something about that deer. When they got out on the lake in their hovercraft, the found not one, but three stranded deer!
“We just tied some rope to the deer the best way that we could without hurting them and we ended up just dragging them to the nearest shoreline,” James said. “At that point you could tell the deer were really exhausted. They'd been out there a couple days."
One of the deer ran off quickly while the others struggled to regain their strength.
But the Kenisons said the rescue was only made possible because of their versatile hovercrafts, which can travel on land, water, and of course, ice.
“They're a good tool, especially in situations like this where the ice, you're just not sure if it's thick enough,” James said. “We basically had the equipment so we just said why not?"
The Kenisons said they were just happy to help. There are now discussions in the works about how the city of Albert Lea could use hovercraft in other types of emergency situations. -via Arbroath
The Mandalorians aren’t known for adorning their armor with bright colors and fancy artwork, probably because they prefer to stay out of the spotlight when they’re flying around zapping people with their blaster pistols.
But if they decided to decorate their plate armor, perhaps for a snazzy space party, they’d definitely appreciate the awe inspiring designs found in the ArTmor Project.
Created by 60 fans, artists and design Jedis, the works in the ArTmor Project collection range from crossover (Skeletor, The Punisher) to gloriously venerating tributes to the mighty Mandalorians, and they are all being auctioned off for the Character Star Wars Toy Drive benefitting Toys for Tots.
We are pleased to introduce our latest celebration of menstrual cycles — The Periodic Table of Your Period. An illustrated guide to all things menses, we have included everything from bloating to chocolate, corpus luteum to period underwear. My geochemist husband came up with the idea and of course I am always dying to draw happy tampons, fallopian tubes and mucous, so I finally got my chance! If you look closely, you’ll find smiling condoms, IUDs and diaphragms in the Birth Control Series, alongside chemical diagrams of progesterone, folic acid and other important substances that course through your veins monthly.
The categories are conveniently color-coded and the whole thing is downloadable in case you want to frame it for your powder room. -via Laughing Squid
If you couldn't tell already, we at Neatorama love pumpkin-flavored stuff and other holiday flavors. These mini pumpkin cheesecakes with a gingersnap crust are no exception -after all, pumpkin cheesecake is great and pretty popular this time of year, but there's no excuse to stop the holiday flavors with just pumpkin and its spices. Nor should you limit your crust options to simply graham crackers. Crushed gingersnaps blended with melted butter are a much better, more flavorful option.
Essentially, this Cooking on the Front Burner recipe is like getting to enjoy gingerbread cookies and pumpkin pie all in one heavenly cheesecake-y bite.
Neatorama presents our collaboration with Pzzlr, a site where you can always find a riddle to exercise your brain. Can you solve this one?
Levi and Kate were reporting the results of the under 9s 100 metre sprint race. Levi said that Michael came first and Hayley came second. Kate said that Chad came first and Michael came second. Both Levi and Kate had each made one correct statement and one false statement.
Who placed where in the race (assuming that the only runners were Michael, Hayley and Chad)?
Paperboys are dying all over town at the hands of bad drivers, angry men with jackhammers and vicious attack terriers, and it’s up to a paperman formerly known as paperboy to avenge the deaths of his fellow newspaper flingers.
Envisioned as a grindhouse action flick full of gore and schlocky catchphrases, Paperboy 3: The Hard Way looks like the greatest movie adaptation of a video game that will never come to a theater near you, but maybe if we’re lucky (and they get enough hits on YouTube) the makers of this comedic trailer will treat us to some more sidewalk slayings and bicycle driven destruction in future short films. (Barely NSFW)
Ben Orlin at Math with Bad Drawings studied both math and psychology, so it only makes sense that he would look at sensationalist headlines with a jaundiced eye. He published a collection of typical headlines that would be oh-so-mundane if they came with a better understanding of statistics and how data can be manipulated to say whatever you want. And as advertised, they come with a series of bad drawings hand-drawn illustrations. Here's a sampling:
Our World: Illegal Downloaders Would Have Spent $300 Million to Obtain Same Music Legally Mathematically Literate World: Illegal Downloaders Would Never Have Bothered to Obtain Same Music Legally
Our World: Controversial Program Would Cost $50 Million in Taxpayer Money Mathematically Literate World: Controversial Program Would Cost 0.0001% of Taxpayer Money
Our World: Proposal Would Tax $250,000-Earners at 40% Mathematically Literate World: Proposal Would Tax $250,000-Earners’ Very Last Dollar, and That Dollar Alone, at 40%
Our World: Rates of Cancer Approach Historic High Mathematically Literate World: Rates of Surviving Long Enough to Develop Cancer Approach Historic High
Our World: Hollywood Breaks Box Office Records with Explosions, Rising Stars Mathematically Literate World: Hollywood Breaks Box Office Records with Inflation, Rising Population
Really, is there anyone anywhere who thinks The Phantom Menace was the bigger hit movie because it outgrossed the original Star Wars twenty-two years later? There are plenty more of these, including some that you probably saw right through when they hit the news, at Math with Bad Drawings. -via Boing Boing
What’s it like to live on the road with a dog? In an interview with Daylight Books, Mr. Humphrey compared it to parenting:
When I first started this project some folks asked me how I’d travel and entire year with a dog. I was nervous. I don’t have kids yet, but I think this is a good way to explain it….I figure most folks are scared about how much their life will change when they have children. How nothing will be the same. They think about the sort of stuff they will have to sacrifice. But when their first child comes into the world they wouldn’t trade it for anything. It becomes they life they know and love.
Screen Junkies has a seasonal supercut offering for us: the biggest Christmas movies, all mashed together. Let's decorate the tree, hang the lights, kiss under the mistletoe, wreck the halls, ride Santa's runaway sleigh, fight bad guys, get arrested, and enjoy the usual Christmas movie tropes together. How festive! -via Viral Viral Videos
Video games have become way too interesting, with compelling storylines and jaw dropping visuals, so it’s about time a game came out which bores players to death and makes them wonder why they’re even playing the game at all.
Enter Waiting In Line 3D- a totally dull game that is lackluster in every way, with blocky visuals and an utter lack of gameplay that will have you screaming for less. It’s either a post-modern comment on the time wasting nature of video games, or a really clever way for game designers Rajeev Basu and Patrick T. Lo to poke fun at the gaming masses.
This Christmas up your gift giving game by bestowing upon your favorite video game junkie the Gamer Socks from the NeatoShop. This comfy pair of socks features a black and red motif with the word "Gamer" emblazoned on each sock. They make the perfect gift for the hardcore gamer on your list.
Be sure to check out the NeatoShop for more fabulous Footwear!
Yes, platypuses combine mammal features and bird features, but did you know that they are also only one of two mammals that has no stomach (the other is the echnidna, which also happens to share the distinction with the platypus of being the only two mammals who lay eggs). You know what other type of animals often have no stomachs? Fish -meaning playpuses are not only a mash up of birds and mammals, but also fish.
So how do platypuses, echnidna and 25% of fish survive with their gullet attached directly to their intestines? Find out at National Geographic.
The video, by the way, might not have anything to do with platypus stomachs, but it does remind us just how adorable they are.
Research on and about pieces that are missing compiled by Bertha Vanatian, Improbable Research staff
Gaps in The Conversation
"Parasitic Gaps," Elisabet Engdahl, Linguistics and Philosophy, vol. 6, 1983, pp. 5–34. The author, at Goteborg University, Sweden, writes:
In this paper, I will discuss a phenomenon that I will refer to as ‘parasitic gaps'. Tentatively, we can define a parasitic gap as a gap that is dependent on the existence of another gap, which I will henceforth refer to as the ‘real gap', in the same sentence… For perspicuousness, I will, when possible, indicate the parasitic gap by __p.
(1) Which articles did John file __ without reading __p? (2) This is the kind of food you must cook __ before you eat __p.
Gaps in the Kisser
"Social Perceptions of Individuals Missing Upper Front Teeth," Mary S. Willis, Cynthia Willis-Esqueda, and Ryan N. Schacht, Perceptual and Motor Skills, vol. 106, no. 2, April 2008, pp. 423–35. The authors, at the University of Nebraska Lincoln and the University of California Davis, report:
Analysis suggested a person missing visible teeth was more negatively perceived on all social traits than a person with full dentition. Results were strongest when students were proposed to be linked to the edentulous individual in a personal way, i.e., dating or living as neighbor.
During the first two seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the crew of the Enterprise wore as their Starfleet uniforms zip-up spandex bodysuits. The actors hated them. They were smelly and tended to be a bit too, uh, form fitting. Patrick Stewart’s chiropractor told him that he might become permanently injured if he continued to wear the binding bodysuit. So Bob Blackman, a costume designer on multiple Star Trek series, designed new uniforms. In an interview, he explained the look that he was attempting to create:
At the beginning of that third season, you will see that the uniforms change structure during that time period, eventually ending up with that Eisenhoweresque mandarin collar, leaving the black yoke, leaving the angled colour panel on the front, but removing all of the piping that was on the yoke and all of that sort of thing, making them, essentially, more formal. Er, more dignity.
Some of that was necessary, because of Patrick, because of Americans and their sense of the English and the sound of an English accent. To make it more casual seemed inappropriate.
There are dozens of versions of Charles Dickens' famous story A Christmas Carol that will be on TV this holiday season or are available through Netflix, Hulu, or your local video store. The best portrayals of the iconic character of Ebenezer Scrooge may be in one or two you've never seen! Check out the list of the best Scrooge performances at Flavorwire and keep them in mind while you watch the story again with your family. But before you check out the list, think to yourself who you'd include in the top five Scrooges -and see if you can guess who is included.