The Colbert Report is no more. The final episode included a fitting tribute from his friends, a singalong to “We’ll Meet Again,” including everyone who is anyone, whether they were there or not. There’s Patrick Stewart, George Lucas, Gloria Steinhem, Henry Kissinger, Alan Alda, Ken Burns, George Takei, Willie Nelson, Cookie Monster, and a whole lot of other folks you may recognize. -via Uproxx
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Image: Christian Miller, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Australia | Honorable Mention, Nature category
National Geographic judges have selected the winning entries in their 2014 Photography Contest. The winning entries were chosen from a total of 9,200 total entries. The competition is divided into three categories: nature, places and people. The grand prize winner received $10,000. Here are some stunning examples.
See all of the captivating images selected by the judges here.
Image: Archna Singh, Madhya Pradesh, India | Honorable Mention, Nature category
Image: Henrik Nilsson, Boundary Bay, BC, Canada | Honorable Mention, Nature category
Image: Brian Yen, Hong Kong | Grand Prize Winner and People category winner
For a few seconds, the trailer for the upcoming movie Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens displayed an unusual droid with a rolling spherical body. It has been the subject of much internet fascination and speculation.
The mysterious droid inspired redditor Budget_Raygun to make this Christmas tree ornament, which s/he planned to take to an ornament exchange.
Maika Keuben is busy with so many Cthulhumas preparations. She’s got her tree ready and a wreath for the door, and now she’s baked Cthulhumas cookies! Dozens and dozens of chocolate cookies with peppermint-flavored icing, all in the image of the dreaded elder god Cthulhu.
At first it just sounded like wind in the trees, but beneath that there's the guttural whisper of an ancient voice saying "Into the kitchen with you, there's unspeakable baking to be done." Now my throat is sore from the endless chanting, my clothing and hair covered in flour, sugar, slime and soot (don't ask), and I can't remember the last time I slept through the night, but I wouldn't dare complain. The Great Old Ones demanded Cthulhumas cookies, so cookies I did make. So very many cookies.
The process of making these cookies is documented in an imgur gallery with plenty of pictures and hilariously Lovecraftian narration. The confluence of holiday cheer and despair, of delicious and dreadful, is irresistible.
This collection of celebrities pitching products for Christmastime advertisements takes one back. Back to a time when cigarette ads were a dime a dozen and 33 LP vinyl was the norm. When Polaroid cameras and clock radios seemed like the latest things. From Jackie Gleason and the Lone Ranger to Dick Van Dyke and the Three Stooges, these ads harken back to familiar faces in a simpler time.
See more vintage celebrity holiday ads here.
(Photo of the U-166 by the Ocean Exploration Trust)
On August 1, 1942, the US Navy subchaser PC-566 was escorting the passenger vessel Robert E. Lee out of the mouth of the Mississippi River. 25 miles off the coast, the German submarine U-166 attacked the Lee, sinking it.
The PC-566, then led by Lt. Comm. Herbert G. Claudius, counterattacked. It dropped depth charges on the u-boat. An oil slick formed on the surface of the water, which was evidence that the Americans had at least damaged the German sub and possibly destroyed it.
Claudius's senior officers did not credit him with sinking the sub. To the contrary, they criticized his actions, relieved him of command, and sent him to anti-submarine warfare school for retraining.
Now, 72 years later, Captain Claudius's record is finally clear. The famous undersea explorer Robert Ballard located the wreck of the U-166, right where Claudius said it would be. The US Navy has responded by amending Claudius's record. Brian Clark Howard writes for National Geographic:
But on Tuesday, Claudius was posthumously vindicated at the Pentagon, as the U.S. Secretary of the Navy announced that his ship had indeed fired the depth charges that sank German U-boat U-166.
"Seventy years later, we now know that [Claudius's] report after the action was absolutely correct," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a small ceremony attended by members of Claudius's family.
"[Claudius's ship] did sink that U-boat, and it's never too late to set the record straight," Mabus said, as he presented the late captain with a posthumous Legion of Merit with a Combat "V" device, which recognizes heroism in battle.
Claudius's son, Gordon Claudius, accepted the medal and said that he wished his father could have known about the correction to a largely forgotten chapter in American history.
"He would have felt vindicated," Gordon Claudius said.
Documented snowmen go back at least as far as the Middle Ages, but we can assume that the art of building a human figure of snow goes back before recorded history. After all, snow is free and easily-manipulated, and human figures are our natural go-to art icon. The snowman in particular was often used as stress-relief, a structure we can abuse to our delight. They were often created as political statements, sinister beings, or ephemeral art illustrating taboo subjects. Or targets, as suggested in the painting above.
In the Middle Ages, building snowmen was a way for a community to find the silver lining in a horribly oppressive winter rife with starvation, poverty, and other life-threatening conditions. In 1511, the townspeople of Brussels banded together to construct over 100 snowmen in a public art installation known as the Miracle of 1511.
Their snowmen embodied a dissatisfaction with the political climate, not to mention the six weeks of below-freezing weather. The Belgians rendered their anxieties into tangible, life-like models: a defecating demon, a humiliated king, and womenfolk getting buggered six ways to Sunday. Besides your typical sexually graphic and politically riled caricatures, the Belgian snowmen were often parodies of folklore figures, such as mermaids, unicorns, and village idiots.
Even in modern times, we get a kick out of putting snowmen in situations we would not abide for real humans, such as the famous snowmen in the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes and several traditional snowman-destroying rituals to summon spring weather. Read about the horrible ways we’ve used snowmen throughout history at Atlas Obscura.
In the future Juggalogians will surely tell the tale of the art show that brought their clowny subculture into the fine art limelight, and the paintings which would shape the very landscape of what it means to be a Juggalo.
Future generations of Juggalos will have artist Lucy Owen to thank for shedding a humanistic light on their clown white crews and tearing down their painted walls, exposing the disenfranchised youth lurking within.
Lucy fully immersed herself in Juggalo culture when a conversation with a young Juggalo, who spoke of being ridiculed on a daily basis, inspired her to explore their fringe fan culture and see what makes them tick.
The result is a series of rather remarkable paintings called Where The Juggalos Roam, which not only capture the visual essence of the subculture but also succeeds in conveying the emotional state of the people wearing the face paint.
Will the first ever Juggalo themed art show at the Start Gallery in Detroit change the way people treat the Juggalos? Probably not, but now they can find work as art models!
-Via Dangerous Minds
The hit children's television program Arthur debuted on PBS in 1996. The child actors on it have grown up. What are they doing now? Loryn Brantz of BuzzFeed tracked down 8 of them.
Francine Frensky is doing reasonably well. She starred in the 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes. Other cast members, though, have struggled. D.W. Read, the brother of star Arthur Read, had a brief but tumultuous affair with Justin Bieber. She's now slated to star in an upcoming episode of Celebrity Rehab.
-via Jeremy Barker
Alexandra Trew toured Universal Studios Hollywood, and took a minute to grab a selfie with Megatron. Megatron did not like the idea. Trew was lucky she escaped with her head. What she got was a lecture on social media vs. real life. As if Megatron knew anything about real life! -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Today our lives are more hectic than ever; it seems many people are in a constant race against time to get things done. Holiday time exacerbates the problem. Being so caught up, it's not often that people stop and ponder the overall picture. How has our world changed in our lifetimes? One way to reflect on such changes is to look at vintage magazines and newspapers. Every news item and advertisement serves as a time capsule. These ads for video cameras and mobile phones are perfect examples.
Some critics claim that technology has left us more isolated due to less face-to-face and voice interaction. Yet would they choose to eschew today's technology in favor of that offered 20 years ago?
See a collection advertisements that hammer home technological progress here.
The halls of that old school of wizardry and witchcraft were starting to get mighty drafty, and many of the students were complaining about how hard it was to study in the cold, but one guy kept a cool head and warm bod at all times. His name is Harry and he is the boy who lived...in a finely knit wool sweater. The other students were mighty jealous of Mr. Potter and his fancy sweater, but they knew better than to upset the bespectacled spellcaster, for he had friends in high places...
Add the magical look of a sweater to your t-shirt collection with this The Sweater That Lived t-shirt by Mandrie, and expectorum complimentum!
|Kirbicron||Chemical X-Girls||Labyrinth Damask||A Nice Cup of Tea|
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The holy pizza, which is both fully divine and fully baked, inspires marvel and wonder from anyone who beholds it. Rebecca Rütten, a photographer from Cologne, Germany, reveals to us the beauty of fast food of otherwise dubious nutritional value. Working under the pseudonym Becky Fuchs, she composed a series of photographs which show people posing with fast food in forms reminiscent of Renaissance-style religious painting.
He’s just a puppy, but intrepid explorer Indiana Bones must save the Ark of the Covenant from the evil Catzis! You’ll enjoy this delightful sequence produced by FinalCutKing.
This video was created with 3 rolls of duct tape, 108 glue sticks, 18 large boxes of cardboard, a few all nighters with an adorable puppy.
And to think that the entire adventure took place while his human was out on a coffee run! No animals were harmed, even the Catzis, in the making of this film. -Thanks, Zach King!
We'll be caught up with the printing run for NeatoShop T-shirts one day early, so let's celebrate by having a 24-hour sale: all NeatoShop T-shirts are 20% off until Dec 19, 2014.
Celebrate the holidays with NeatoShop's awesome Ugly Christmas Sweater-style tees. Or check out our wide selection of Funny T-shirts, Science T-shirts, Sci-Fi T-shirts, Video Games-inspired T-shirts, and more.
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Most animated features are created with the assumption that the young viewers watching the film won’t actually look for truths, check the math, or otherwise deconstruct the facts presented in the movie looking for absolutes. The creators know there will be incongruities in every film but don’t bother fixing it when the viewers don’t really seem to care.
But an artist named Xibira proved she cares enough to do the math behind a little Disney film called Beauty and the Beast, and the results are shocking.
It gets very cold in Scotland in December. Cold enough for ice pancakes! These strange discs of ice were seen on the River Dee at Lummels Pool in Aberdeenshire.
River Dee Team biologist Jamie Urquhart said it was thought foam floating about on the water started to freeze and bump together, forming the discs.
The phenomenon can be found in rivers and in the open sea.
Mr Urquhart, who found and photographed the "pancakes", said: "What we think happened is this - foam floating about on the water started to freeze, probably at night.
"Bits of frozen foam got pushed around in the eddy, and in the ensuing collisions became roughly circular."
There is more to the story of how the discs got their peculiar shape over several days. We could observe the process to make sure, but who wants to stay up all night outside when it’s cold enough for running water to freeze? See more pictures at BBC News.
(Image credit: Jamie Urquhart/River Dee Trust)
Thirteen dogs and a cat gather 'round a holiday table and do what everyone does these days while gathered at a table. There are friendly exchanges, drinking of spirits, eating off their own plates and eating off of others' plates. A diva touches up her makeup and tech-dependent souls check their email. One sticky-fingered guest even nabs some silverware!
The video stars animals from the Humane Society of Utah; some are available for adoption. A video on the making of this one is available here.
If you’ve been watching The Simpsons from the very beginning then you know they’ve come a long way from their early days, when they were fresh from The Tracey Ullman Show and lookin’ strange, but can you believe they just celebrated their 25th anniversary?
December 17, 1989 was the day an animated TV legend was born- The Simpsons are now officially the longest running scripted prime time series on television, and creator Matt Groening's life is hell no longer.
The Simpsons are named after Matt's family members, namely his father Homer, his mother Margaret (who was a Wiggum before she became a Groening), and sisters Lisa and Margaret (Maggie), but decided the character based on young Matt should be named Bart. Matt probably didn't want to be associated with Bart's bad deeds, especially if his family tuned in to the show!
You bet I snagged this video for you as soon as I saw who did it. CGP Grey takes an entire library of Tolkien writings about Middle-Earth and explains that universe in four minutes, or at least where the different types of characters come from. All this happened in that universe long before the rings appeared, which also happened before the events of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings trilogy, so Grey plans to tackle that part in an upcoming video. There’s a discussion thread about the video here. -via Viral Viral Videos
Finnish artist Jaakko Seppälä demonstrates remarkable skill and versatility with this chart. You can see a much larger version here.
Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo helpfully lists the components. From top to bottom are the characters of Asterix, Calvin, Donald Duck, Captain Haddock, Batman, Heimo Vesa, Corto Maltese, Moomintroll, Garfield, and Lucy. From left to right, you see the styles of Albert Uderzo, Bill Watterson, Walt Disney, Hergé, Neal Adams, Perrti Jarla, Hugo Pratt, Lars Jansson, Jim Davis, and Charles Schulz.
He's a pie headed man with a mission, an old school guy with lots of game who travelled back in time to save the video game world from the ultimate kill screen. When Doctor Arcade introduced him to the pacmobile he thought the Doc was a bit of a kook, but when he discovered that round yellow car could use power pellets to travel back in time his pie slice mouth split into a wide smile. He started grabbing up as many pellets as he could, but then Pinky caught on to his plan and gathered her ghostly gang for an old fashioned pac attack...
Add some old school game to your geeky wardrobe with this Pac To The Future t-shirt by Retro Review, and send your fellow pac-fans on a fun trip back in time!
|Christmas Man||A Wild CTHULHU Appeared!||Bubble Bauble||The Missing Link|
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[Ed. note: this post is in honor of Spielberg's 68th birthday today.]
You know him as the director who brought us Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, and Saving Private Ryan, among many other films. But there’s probably a lot that you didn’t know about Steven Spielberg. In honor of the filmmaker's 68th birthday today, let's learn some more about him.
* The first movie Steven Spielberg ever saw was The Greatest Show on Earth (1953).
* He has never had a cup of coffee in his entire life. Steven has never liked the smell of coffee and has never had the desire to try it.
* Steven has one of the largest gun collections on the East Coast. He shoots, but only privately.
* His all-time favorite cartoon character is Daffy Duck.
* He cast his cocker spaniel, Elmer, in several of his films, including Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1941, The Sugarland Express, and Jaws.
* During the filming of a 1969 episode of Night Gallery, Steven gave Joan Crawford the gift of a single red rose in a Pepsi bottle. During a conversation with a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, Joan pointed to Steven and said, “Go interview that kid because he's going to be the biggest director of all-time.” She and Steven remained good friends until her death in 1977.
Your mother probably told you you’d catch your death of cold if you went outside without an adequate winter coat. She probably also said, “I told you so” when you caught a cold, whether it was soon after or the next month. I still find myself arguing that cold temperatures don’t cause the common cold or the flu, but those I argue with will never change their minds. Aaron Carroll of Healthcare Triage gives us the science behind these old myths about cold weather and your health. -via Laughing Squid
(Image from Tangled)
Disney's animation studios stay on the technological cutting edge with the assistance of company-operated research laboratories. One team of Disney researchers developed a means to capture the individual shape of human eyes in rich detail, including the deformation that the eyes experience as the pupils dilate.
(Image of 9 human irises by Disney Research)
The research, which you can see summarized in the video below, has led to the development of precise eye deformation simulation programs. Animators can use these to automatically generate pupil dilation that results from changing light conditions in cartoon settings.
-via Marginal Revolution
They say that living well is the best revenge. However, when you suddenly have power over those who tormented you in your youth, it’s hard to resist the temptation for a little payback. Unfortunately, it turned out to be difficult to get all those toys delivered by Christmas morning that year. This is the latest comic from John McNamee at Pie Comic.
Joe Lovchik used a CarveWright CNC milling machine to build this beautifully rendered chess table out of maple and cherry wood. He designed each component carefully, but the side panels of the table are by far the most impressive pieces. They're designed to resemble the icons and sigils that appear in the opening sequence of the Game of Thrones.
The actual name of this video is Autonomous Christmas Lab 2014, but that’s no fun. The folks at Autonomous Systems Lab, a part of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, programmed robots, drones, and maybe even a few Roombas to dance in their holiday finery for your entertainment. It’s weird but festive. -via The Daily Dot
Designers at Joint London decided to offer Santa a new, hip wardrobe. Their series "Designer x Santa" outfits the big guy with designer-inspired clothing. While St. Nick is looking sharp, I hope he warns the public of any costume changes before he goes sliding down chimneys. Better safe than sorry, Santa!
Prints of stylin' Santa are available for download as Christmas cards here. See the rest of Santa's new wardrobe here.