As far as advertising stunts go, this one is a winner. For 250 WestJet passengers on two flights, one from Toronto to Calgary and the other from Hamilton to Calgary, it was an unexpected miracle. Passengers were greeted by a video-linked Santa Claus who asked them what they wanted for Christmas. Then things got really hectic -for Santa and his 175 WestJet volunteer helpers. If that's not enough, you can see additional footage that didn't make it into the video, in which Santa has fun with the passengers. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Once you’ve graduated beyond them, you may also wish to try our Origami Napkins with instructions printed on them. They’re now on sale at the NeatoShop. Get a pack of 40 at a discounted price!
Die Hard is the Christmas movie for people who are sick of Christmas movies. It established Bruce Willis as a serious action star, and made walking on broken glass a part of our nightmares. But how much do you really know about the 1988 film?
1. Die Hard just sounds like a bad-ass action movie. Give Your Life Expensive sounds like the title of a Hungarian career seminar. That’s just what Die Hard’s title is in Hungary though. The sequel is Your Life is More Expensive and of course the third title is The Life is Always Expensive. Naturally.
A Serbian bootleg version released in 1988 was titled Skupo Prodaj Svoju Kozu (Sell Your Skin At High Price). The Spanish version is The Glass Jungle.
2. The movie was originally supposed to be a sequel to the 1985 flick, Commando. The film never fleshed out with Arnold (terrorists can only kidnap Alyssa Milano so many times) and Bruce Willis took over.
Well, those were things I did not know. And there are 18 more movie trivia facts about Die Hard at Warming Glow.
For his series Fat Flag, photographer Jonathan Icher shows models painted to look like national flags while eating foods associated with those nations. Makeup artist Anastasia Parquet painted the models to resemble the flags of France, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy. You can view them here.
(Content warning: artistic nudity.)
It’s a great premise and I hope that Mr. Icher expands upon the series to include other tasty nations, particularly Mexico and India.
-via Visual News
Artist Amy Rawson (previously at Neatorama), along with artist Brian East, makes a new needle felted Christmas Cthulhu (almost) every year. She has just unveiled her fifth Santa Cthulhu!
Santa Cthulhu sits in his Octi-Sleigh, ready to deliver his bag full of squirmy presents to children all over the world. A shoggoth pulls Santa and his sleigh; why bother with eight tiny reindeer when one protoplasmic behemoth will do?
Santa is about 11" tall and is made of 100% needle felted wool, even his wings, which are a new feature for 2013. You can see more pictures of the details at Rawson's website, like those dreadful "gifts" in Santa's bag, and the shoggoth, which may return in your nightmares. Santa Cthulhu is for sale through Rawson's Etsy store. -Thanks, Amy!
Love the idea of baseball cards, but can't stand sports? Then perhaps these meme trading cards are more up your alley. The clever designs were creaated by artist Glen Brogan for the Gallery 1988 meme show last year.
The great thing aboug meme trading cards is that like baseball cards, they always have new sources of material. If you need proof, just look at Know Your Meme and notice how many new memes are added every day. On the upside, Glen had the foresight to know this and allow you to contribute your own meme using the blank card at the bottom.
Via Popped Culture
Christmas time is here again. Are you still looking for the perfect gift for your favorite Disney fan? Get them the Holiday Mickey Mouse Birdhouse from the NeatoShop. This beautiful hangable birdhouse was designed by Jim Show. It features amazing hand-painted details.
Be sure to check out the NeatoShop for more great Collectibles.
The brilliant Grace Hopper was a mathematician who broke through the glass ceiling by joining the Navy Reserve in World War II. Her contributions to computer science are innumerable. She would have turned 107 years old today, if she hadn't died at the ripe old age of 85. According to this tale by Zach Weiner at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, the spirit of Grace Hopper is alive and well and may put a curse on you! -via Geeks Are Sexy
(Photo: David Brandt)
The 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris featured cannon shooting as a demonstration sport. Really! It was only a demonstration sport and was sadly not repeated in future Olympiads. The 1900 Olympics also featured fishing, ballooning, kite flying and pigeon racing.
I never watch the Olympics, but I might start if they include cannon shooting. If it becomes a popular sport, then high schools and colleges across America might form cannon teams in order to train future competitors and win Olympic glory.
This is 1 of 12 odd sports that were once Olympic events. You can read the rest at Oobject.
Keng Lye creates sculptural works of art that look like snapshot images of sea life brought into the third dimension, so lifelike viewers expect them to start swimming around at any moment. But these colorful sea creatures won’t be swimming around, or doing much of anything for that matter, because they’re made out of painted resin.
Keng is a master of creating hyper realistic sculptures, and these undersea still life works are made using a clear resin that resembles water which is painted on in layers, slowly building up the look of each creature complete with shading, fine detail and cast shadows.
The Peterson Farm Bros are back with another song parody (or as they call this one, a "perrydy") rewritten about the life of a farmer. They previously did songs by PSY, LMFAO, and even Will Smith, and now they spoof Katy Perry's hit song "Roar" with their own version called "Chore." As usual, it's about farmers and what they do. The lyrics are posted at the YouTube page. -via Viral Viral Videos
Are you ready to be the belle of the ball in absolute geek style? If so, you might want to talk to unidentifiedspoon about turning one of her amazing Avengers dresses into a real gown.
While we've seen a few Avengers dresses before (one of which has already even been made a reality), these designs are particularly perfect for a formal occassion, and they even are designed with beautiful jewelry that matches the ensembles perfectly so your outfits are perfectly accessorized.
I'm particularly fond of this Lokie design, which seems like it would be perfect for the character's female incarnation -though I'd still want to sport some horns if I dressed as Loki.
Via The Mary Sue
Depending on the source, this is a pair of either 1947 or 1953 Chrysler Imperials joined together end to end. Allegedly, it was used to transport workers on a narrow-gauge railroad that stretched for 25 miles between a gypsum mine in the Fish Creek Mountains and a processing plant in Plaster City, California. It has two front ends, so a driver doesn’t have to turn the car around to drive in the opposite direction. Just switch cabs.
You want to be a backseat driver? Here’s the perfect vehicle for it.
Hitler had a problem with religion. Judaism, of course, but also Christianity, because their Messiah was a Jew. And although he never aspired to replace religion with Nazism, he had a problem with Christmas. You can't ask the German people to not celebrate Christmas, but the Nazi party had their own ideas about turning it into something that would further their own agenda.
Christmas, one of the most important dates on the calendar for German Christians, offered the perfect target for this sort of co-opting. And so, no matter what any one Party member thought of Christmas or Christianity, the holiday was recast in the Nazis’ own image shortly after their rise to power: A holiday of blonde-haired, blue-eyed Aryans celebrating ‘Nordic’ traditions that pre-dated Christianity and were anchored in their native land. (The Nordic race was a racial subcategory created by anthropologists in the early 20th century. It was a branch of the Aryan race, which belonged, in turn, to the larger Caucasian race. Nordic Germanic peoples were, in the eyes of the Nazis, the master race.)
The Nazi version of Christmas meant new words, new symbols, and new customs. Read the specifics on the holiday Germans under Nazi rule celebrated, which is very different from our idea of Christmas, at mental_floss.
“We wanted to make an object that could only be done through 3D printing.” I think that Toru Hasegawa of the New York City-based Proxy Design Studio overstates his case. It might be possible to make this kinetic sculpture by hand. But since it has one million distinct polygons in the design, it would take a long time.
The Mechaneu is a structure composed of 64 interlocking gears. Turn one and all the others turn in time. It’s an exploration of what Mr. Hasegawa sees as the natural evolution of geometry to solve design problems. I don’t agree with (or perhaps don’t understand) his argument, but I think that the sculpture is cool.
Student films are looking pretty good these days, full of polished visuals and high definition detail, and this CG short created by six students attending The Animation School in Cape Town, South Africa is a great example of what can be achieved while still in school.
The short is called Big Game, and despite the somewhat predictable hunters vs. prey theme it’s a very entertaining romp full of digital eye candy and a lot of heart. Big Game utilizes classic gags and a cartoony look with great success, and the main character is so adorably goofy they should make him the star of his own animated series.
Via Geek Tyrant
Artist Yuuki Morita redefines Pokémon as more realistic monsters that might appear in a non-animated movie, and the results are nightmarish! Here is Blastoise, who is usually pretty cute even with weapons coming pout of his body. Also see Charizard and Venusaur at their more terrifying at Unreality.
Here comes the Dalek all dressed in death. Yes, the least emotional creatures in the entire Who-niverse are now in love and ready to tie the knot -or at least that's the background story I made up for these great Dalek wedding cakes by Dinkydoodle Designs.
These wedding cakes each stand 5 feet tall and as if it weren't enough for this geeky bride and groom, they also had a Dalek ice sculpture and one with a Dalek and TARDIS in it.
Sesame Street continues their series on delayed gratification starring Cookie Monster -and their series of movie parodies we all can enjoy! The latest episode is their version of Lord of the Rings in which Cookie Monster stars as "Gobble," must bake the "precious" cookies without succumbing to the temptation to eat them before they are done. Can he control himself long enough to accomplish his quest? And by the way, Gandalf looks pretty cute as a Muppet, don't you think? -via Gamma Squad
Most cosplayers are dedicated to making their outfits, and all related accessories, look as realistic as possible, but costume fabricator Brian Cargile wanted to create something that looked fully functional yet totally fantastic, so he created this amazing looking Plague Doctor mask/helmet.
With light up goggle eyes and mouth grate, shiny metal bits where appropriate and the look of worn steel plates everywhere else, Brian has brought the Plague Doctor look into the 21st century in style. This one-of-a-kind piece has already been sold, but you can check out more of his unique gear available at his Etsy shop.
Via Super Punch
Christmas is a wonderful time for cats. They get: a tree in the house, toys dangling from the tree, shiny stuff, balls that roll around, boxes, wrapping paper, and ribbons. What else could a cat want?
Shorty and Kodi (previously at Neatorama) bring you a new Christmas song,I'm Climbing Up the Christmas Tree Neow," written by Robert Moore, sung by Tricia Cole. The song is available at iTunes. -via Tastefully Offensive
Igor Spetic lost his right hand in a workplace accident. In the below embedded video, he wears a blindfold, earmuffs and a revolutionary new prosthetic hand. He can’t see or hear anything—only feel. But his new hand lets him do that. Watch him pluck the stems off cherries without crushing them.
He can do it because of the prosthetic hand invented by researchers at the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University. Mr. Spetic can control the hand by clenching his forearm muscles, as is common in modern prosthetics. But now he can also feel what the hand is doing because 20 spots on it simulate human nerves. These send tactile feedback to implants inside his arm. David Talbot of Technology Review explains:
Then a total of 20 electrodes on the three cuffs deliver electrical signals to nerve fibers called axons from outside a protective sheath of living cells that surround those nerve fibers. This approach differs from other experimental technologies, which penetrate the sheath in order to directly touch the axons. These sheath-penetrating interfaces are thought to offer higher resolution, at least initially, but with a potentially higher risk of signal degradation or nerve damage over the long term. And so they have not been tested for longer than a few weeks.
-via Glenn Reynolds
(Photo: Russell Lee/Case Western Reserve University)
The following is a Whodunit by Hy Conrad featuring Jonah Bixby, a twelve-year-old crime solver and son of a police detective. Can you solve the crime?
(Image credit: Flickr user Michael Coghlan)
It was Saturday, and for Jonah that meant a visit to Crazy Kate. Every Saturday, his mother would put together a few bags of groceries and have Jonah and his friends deliver them to the old woman who lived in the shack across from the park. "At least once a week I know she gets some decent food," Carol Bixby said. "I feel sorry for the helpless old woman."
But Jonah and his friends knew Crazy Kate wasn't helpless. They knew you had to stop outside the gate to her overgrown yard and get her permission to enter. If you were dumb enough to open the gate without asking, Crazy Kate would hear you. Then a shotgun would appear at the window and a volley of birdseed would fly in your general direction.
"Hello!" called out Frankie. They had just parked their bikes outside the gate. "It's just us, Frankie, Bill, and Jonah. Can we come in?"
"All right," a voice called back. "Just the three of you, no one else."
A minute later and they were inside the shack, watching the old woman rummage through the bags. "Humph, the food was better last week," she complained. But that's exactly what she said every week. "You boys want to see something?" Before they could answer, Kate reached into a pile of newspapers and pulled out an old baseball. Bill examined the faded signature and let out a low whistle. "Babe Ruth! Wow!"
Kate smiled through her stained teeth. "My brother got it signed personally when he was a kid."
All the way home, the boys talked about the rare autographed ball. They talked about it again the next afternoon, when all three ran into each other at the skateboard ramp in the park. "Can you believe she's got something like that in the middle of all that junk?" Frankie said, pointing to the shack across the street. "What a waste."
Jonah followed his gaze to Crazy Kate's shack, then suddenly noticed something. "Look at the window," he said. "It's broken."
"I thought she always had a broken window," said Bill.
"No, it wasn't broken yesterday. I wonder if something's wrong."
Jonah and Bill argued about what to do. Should they just forget about it? Or should they check on Kate and make sure she was all right. Or should they... Jonah turned around to get Frankie's opinion, but he wasn't there.
"Hey, guys." Frankie was already at Kate's front door, peering inside. "I don't think she's home."
Jonah and Bill joined Frankie at the door. "Miss Kate?" Jonah called out as he knocked. "Are you there?"
There’s a thin line between love and hate, and it’s safe to say that everyone has hated, or been hated by, someone at some point in their life. So why hasn’t the greeting card industry jumped on this opportunity to sell more cards?
Up until now you had to buy a card meant to convey a kind or polite sentiment then repurpose the whole thing with some selective editing and the addition of a few choice words. Now there are cards that say what you want them to without any editing, they convey the hatred you have for the recipient in big, bold text and negative imagery. These are the cards from Because I Hate You, use only as directed.
Via 22 Words
But he's a good friend who practices tough love. Mr. Mabe has an alcoholic friend. This friend has had 5 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol. Mr. Mabe and his colleague Jim Clark staged an intervention in the form of a prank.
After the drunk driver passed out, they moved him into a fake hospital room and convinced him that he had been in a coma for 10 years.
The funniest bit is the news update that the patient sees when he turns on the television.
Arsenic was, at one time, a very popular way to murder someone. It was the most common poison to factor in 19th century British murder trials, but it is also a particularly difficult cause of death to determine. In fact, most deaths by arsenic were attributed to natural causes, so for every murder trial involving arsenic, there were probably multiple cases in which the perpetrator got away with the crime.
Some poisons such as cyanide and strychnine work according to a strict timetable and dispatch their victims in a predictable manner. Arsenic, by contrast, is mysterious and shilly-shallying, behaving more like an infectious disease, so that the nature and length of the victim's suffering depends partly on their genetic make-up and general state of health. Death from acute arsenic poisoning can take anything from two hours to four days, although victims have been known to linger for a fortnight. For most, though, the misery lasts at least 24 hours.
To confuse matters further, human beings are capable of building up a certain tolerance to arsenic if they go about it carefully enough. In 1851, a community of peasants living on the Austria-Hungarian border were found to be taking arsenic in what would normally be lethal doses. They believed that the poison was good for their health and took it as a tonic, starting with a tiny sub-toxic dose and gradually increasing it.
Defense lawyers quickly seized on this to try to sow doubt in juries' minds. Was this case really murder? Perhaps the arsenic in the dead person's food or body had been self-administered for health reasons, only this time the victim had gone too far?
And there were other factors that made arsenic the go-to poison for those who wanted to hasten the death of someone they knew. Read about them in an excerpt from the book The Inheritor's Powder: A Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science at HuffPo Books.
(Image credit: Flickr user James Laing)
It's so hard to quit smoking, but luckily, this little kitty has a good sponsor to help make sure she can't light up. Of course, like most addicts, she does put up a fight, but in the end, common sense (and a strong human hand) win out.
And don't worry for those nervous about hitting play, no kitties were harmed in the making of this video -including getting cigarette smoke in their lungs.
Via Pets Lady
(Image from the movie Valley Girl, Atlantic Entertainment)
Like, ohmygod you guys! Just gag me with a spoon ‘cause according to these dweebs, young California men are like totally talking like Valley Girls:
"We found use of uptalk in all of our speakers, despite their diverse backgrounds in socioeconomic status, ethnicity, bilingualism and gender," said Amanda Ritchart, a linguist at the University of California who led the research.
"We believe that uptalk is becoming more prevalent and systematic in its use for the younger generations in Southern California," she added.
The team recorded and analysed the voices of 23 native Californians aged between 18 and 22. The researchers were therefore not able to infer similar language patters in older Californians.
-via Dave Barry