The Best Hot Dogs, Taste-Tested

The staff of the New York Times taste-tested ten hot dogs, most of which are available at your local grocery store. The ten were all-beef franks, so they will cost a little more than average, but you should get some idea of what you're looking for from their descriptions, in case you're hosting a picnic for the Fourth of July.

First, the hot dogs would be cooked on a gas grill until well browned.

Next, each would be tasted plain to evaluate the intrinsic qualities of the hot dog: seasoning, beefiness, snap, texture.

Last, each would be eaten in a bun with the judge’s preordained condiments — the same for each dog, to keep the flavor profile consistent.

This important final step would allow us to assess the melding of meat and bread, sweetness and spice, salt and juice that makes up a perfect hot dog. The bun should hug the hot dog closely; there should be enough juice in the hot dog to keep the whole package together; condiments should complement the hot dog, not overwhelm it.  

If you ask my opinion, any hot dog is great when it's cooked on a grill outdoors in summertime, served with mustard and some potato salad (or even just chips) while you eat outside. I guess that's why they didn't ask me to be a judge. Read the results of the taste-test here.  -via Digg

(Image credit: jeffreyw)

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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New Study Finds Cats Most Likely Domesticated Themselves

Cats are truly amazing creatures, and since humans have never been able to fully tame those tiny tigers it's not all that surprising to hear a new study has found cats pretty much domesticated themselves.

But this discovery does seem to indicate that cats like humans as much as we like them, a secret the Feline Illuminati would kill to keep under wraps.

Casey Smith reported about the findings in National Geographic:

The earlier ancestors of today’s domestic cats spread from southwest Asia and into Europe as early as 4400 B.C. The cats likely started hanging around farming communities in the Fertile Crescent about 8,000 years ago, where they settled into a mutually beneficial relationship as humans’ rodent patrol.

Mice and rats were attracted to crops and other agricultural byproducts being produced by human civilizations. Cats likely followed the rodent populations and, in turn, frequently approached the human settlements.

“This is probably how the first encounter between humans and cats occurred,” says study coauthor Claudio Ottoni of the University of Leuven. “It’s not that humans took some cats and put them inside cages,” he says. Instead, people more or less allowed cats to domesticate themselves.

A second lineage, consisting of African cats that dominated Egypt, spread into the Mediterranean and most of the Old World beginning around 1500 B.C. This Egyptian cat probably had behaviors that made it attractive to humans, such as sociability and tameness.

The results suggest that prehistoric human populations probably began carrying their cats along ancient land and sea trade routes to control rodents.

-Via Boing Boing

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

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Starter Grow Kit - Trainers Gotta Start Somewhere

Starter Grow Kit by miski

Trainers have a hard time breaking in to the pocket monster training game, and some trainers start out so young it's impossible for them to go out and catch 'em all because they aren't allowed to cross the street without a parent or guardian. So Rocket Corp has created the Pocket Monster Starter Grow Kit, which contains a starter monster of your choice and a bit of their natural environment so they'll feel right at home at your home. Then all you have to do is feed them, train them and get them to evolve and Rocket Corp will send someone out to retrieve your pocket monster and give you a new one free of charge. Thanks team Rocket Corp! Wait, something seems fishy about that deal...

Get ready to catch all the looks and make people smile wherever you go when you wear this Starter Grow Kit t-shirt by Miski, it's too cute for words!

Visit miski's Facebook fan page, official website and Twitter, then head on over to her NeatoShop for more delightfully geeky designs:

Tropical Surge Aloluau Meteor Mash! Summon: Light

View more designs by miski | More Anime 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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Even in the 1700s, Book Clubs Were Really About Drinking and Socializing

Once you got all dressed in the 1700s, you ensued to have some place to go! You might even go to the library for a book club meeting, although that could cause people to talk.

These libraries weren’t just places to find books, but social institutions as well. One famous library also had a billiard room, a public exhibition room, and a music library. “They were not the hushed environments that we now associated with libraries, but, at their best, elegant spaces full of people to converse with,” Williams writes. Libraries even had a touch of controversy, as they gave people of different social classes access to books and offered women a place to congregate outside the home.

As books became more available to everyday people, they gathered to share them with each other, and even to discuss them, in bars and public houses as well as libraries. Of course, when people get together to talk, the subject cannot be limited to one subject, and a social gathering needs refreshments, right? Read about those early, rowdy book clubs at Atlas Obscura.
 


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Stanley Kubrick Talks About Growing Up As A Misfit In This Cool Video

You can learn a lot about a person by examining their childhood roots, because all the good and bad things that happened to us when we were kids have an impact on who we are and what we do for the rest of our lives.

Stanley Kubrick was a school misfit who had "few intellectual interests" as a child and claims he didn't read a book for pleasure until after graduating from high school.

But when he discovered photography around age thirteen his artistic mind began to flourish, and he set his mind on becoming a professional photographer- which eventually led to him becoming a visionary film director.

(YouTube Link)

This video by The Solomon Society features a lost recording of Kubrick talking about his childhood, and how photography helped him move past his misfit phase.

-Via GeekTyrant


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When the Beast of Gévaudan Terrorized France

At the point where belief in supernatural forest monsters overlapped the new era of newspaper distribution lies the story of the Beast of Gévaudan. Beginning in 1764, the people of the French region of Gévaudan suffered 100 deaths and nearly 300 injuries attributed to a unknown beast. The country was entranced by the press accounts of the attacks, and eyewitness descriptions from those who survived.   

Individuals may have had some success defending themselves, but official hunters had none. In February 1765, the d’Ennevals, a father-son hunter duo from Normandy, announced they would travel to Gévaudan to eliminate the beast. Jean-Charles, the father, boasted he’d already killed 1,200 wolves, relevant information assuming the predator was, in fact, a wolf. But no one was sure of that. “It is much bigger than a wolf,” wrote Lafont in an early report. “It has a snout somewhat like a calf’s and very long hair, which would seem to indicate a hyena.”

Duhamel described the animal as even more fantastical. In his words, it had a “breast as wide as a horse,” “a body as long as a leopard’s,” and fur that’s that was “red with a black stripe.” Duhamel concluded, “You will undoubtedly think, like I do, that this is a monster [hybrid], the father of which is a lion. What its mother was remains to be seen.”

Other witnesses claimed the beast had supernatural abilities. “It could walk on its hind feet and its hide could repel bullets and it had fire in its eyes and it came back from the dead more than once and had amazing leaping ability,” Smith says.

While the animal could have been a lion or other escaped exotic creature, many modern-day researchers believe the Beast of Gévaudan was an particularly large wolf, or wolves. After the newspaper accounts died down, the beast attacks continued until 1767, although normal wolf encounters remained. Read the saga of Beast of Gévaudan at Smithsonian.


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A Game Where You Slap A Watermelon To Learn About The Horror Of Being A Watermelon

The Melon Game Jam started out as an inside joke among the game developers who attended A MAZE 2016 and became a delicious reality one year later, producing watermelon-themed video games for a fruit hungry world.

But one standout title from the Melon Jam actually uses a watermelon as a controller- 'The Story of The Revolutionary Watermelon That Wanted To Live Free as a Bird and Learned How To Escape' by SpaceBackyard.

(YouTube Link)

This crazy strange game stars a sentient watermelon who tries to escape its fruity fate by hopping to freedom, which usually doesn't end well for the watermelon:

The music and sound design is ominous and your efforts are mostly futile, sort of like if you replaced the protagonist in one of Playdead’s game’s with a watermelon; Limbo but for sentient produce.

All you can do as the watermelon is hop, and roll where you will, but the input is finicky, leading to chaos. If you’re not hopping enough, you’ll get snagged on a branch or stuck in a gully, but spam the jump command too much and you’ll eventually explode.

In order to debut their game in style at the Melon Jam SpaceBackyard replaced the keyboard with an actual watermelon, forcing players to slap the fruit if they wanted to play. Ethan Gach of Kotaku spoke to the creators to find out how they turned a watermelon into a game controller:

“Just some days ago we tried to put up something from scratch with the components found at home,” they told me in an email. “Technically speaking, it’s a really simple Arduino custom circuit and code based on a vibration sensor attached to a 100% real watermelon.” The sensor then connects to the computer and inputs the jump command every time a player slaps it. The hardest part, they said, was choosing the right watermelon.

“That road test was very useful to understand how people interact with a watermelon and how long it lasts,” they said. I asked them why they went to all the trouble though.

“Why not! Slapping a watermelon is so fun!”

You can too can try living a short and thankless life as a watermelon over at the game’s itch.io page, and once Space Backyard releases their diagram and code, you can even play it using your very own watermelon.

-Via Kotaku


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Five Actors You Totally Forgot Were in X-Men Movies

There have been ten X-Men films released since the year 2000. Unless you're a comic book fan from way back, it's hard to keep up with which ones you've seen, much less who is in them all. And considering the film series is 17 years old, some of the actors who appeared in the earlier films went from unknown to well-known in that time. Check out five of those actors and relive some of the "aha" moments from the X-Men series at TVOM. 


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Vintage Photos Of Big And Beautiful Hairstyles From The 1960s

Americans were way more in to "big" in the 60s- big cars, big collars and big hairstyles, but in order to live large folks had to put in work. Can you imagine washing one of those giant 60s street boats by hand?

People probably washed their cars about as often as women washed their hair, which according to my grandma was about once or twice a week, which is one of the secrets to big hair.

In order to create their picture perfect beehives, bouffants, pompadours and blowouts they had to backcomb their hair for maximum volume, a time consuming practice that would be reserved for a special occasion today.

But many of the women in these vintage photos maintained their crazy hairstyles daily, and they should have been given a trophy for their dedication to coiffed hair. Or perhaps a bobblehead would have been more appropriate?

See 30 Hair Styles From The 1960s That Will Boggle Your Mind here


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Why Chimpanzees Are So Strong

Great apes include gorillas, orangutans, bonobos, chimpanzees, and humans. While chimpanzees are the smallest, humans are the weakest. Chimps are much stronger than humans, even accounting for physical condition, meaning they are stronger than our top athletes.

Pound-for-pound, chimpanzees are 1.5 times stronger than humans at pulling and jumping tasks, according to new research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This strength is not the result of the chimpanzee’s physical form, its range of motion, or a newly-discovered dedication to bench presses and deadlifts, but instead, the product of how the fibers in chimp muscles are distributed. Because chimpanzees are our closest-living primate relative, these findings are offering new insights into human evolution—and why’re we’re such weaklings.

See, the human world never really had a chance against Caesar and his followers. Read more about this research at Gizmodo.

(Image credit: Sam Woolley)


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Getting Dressed in the 1700s

You've seen tons of portraits of 18th century women like Martha Washington and Marie Antoinette, and while you know what their clothes look like, you probably have no idea how much work went into putting those dresses on. 

(Video Link)

This video shows just how complex it was to dress like a proper women of the 1700s and why any woman with the money absolutely had to have a maid to help dress her. One thing women didn't fuss with back then though -underwear, which is why the woman starts in her dressing gown.

Via Mental Floss


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Paper Airplane Research Review

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research, now in all-pdf form. Get a subscription now for only $25 a year!

Glimpses at some of the relevant papers
compiled by Bertha Vanatian,
Improbable Research staff

BonDurant’s Better Plane

“Folded Paper Airplane,” U.S. Patent #4377052, issued March 22, 1983 to James BonDurant for:

A folded paper airplane formed of a blank of sheet material having a downfold line extending along an axis of the sheet, a pair of transverse cuts near a rear edge and forming a tail piece, a pair of fuselage forming upfold lines extending from the midpoints of segments of the forward edge to a point adjacent the intersection of the downfold line and the transverse cuts, a pair of cockpit forming downfold lines extending from the midpoints, a pair of set of at least two successive upfold lines extending from the same midpoints, and a pair of wing forming downfold lines extending from the leading edges of the resulting wing surfaces near the cockpit to terminate at the other distal ends of the transverse cuts.

Paper Airplanes in Water

Detail from Feng et al.’s study of paper airplanes in flowing water.

“On the Aerodynamics of Paper Airplanes,” Ng Bing Feng, Kng Qiao Mei, Pey Yin Yin, and Jörg U.
Schlüter, 27th American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Applied Aerodynamics Conference, June 2009, San Antonio, Texas. The authors, at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, report:

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A Man and His Pineapple

It's not easy to grow a pineapple. It's more difficult in some places than others, but redditor vlone17's dad finally harvested one of his own. He was so proud, he had a portrait made with it. Without his shoes on. The original thread at reddit had a lot of information about growing pineapples, but people had fun with the portrait, too. JimRug thought he'd look good as a Snapchat sticker.

Then aledlewis gave it the old switcheroo.



Bahet went meta with it.



Which Daxter614 took even further.



An entire string of Photoshoppers piled on to give us this silliness.



All the fuss made Dad's day, and is enshrined at their home for posterity. 


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World's Okayest Dad - Being The Best Is Overrated


World's Okayest Dad by geekchic tees

It's okay to be the okayest, it really is, and in this world of people who are total losers but eternally claim to be "the best" it's actually refreshing to see someone willing to admit their skills are limited. But for some reason people think that all parents are either deadbeats or striving for perfection, and then their kids grow up thinking they have to be perfect too and the cycle of self doubt continues. So check your ego and embrace your okay side, because people who claim to be the best are the worst!

Show the world you're comfortable with your level of okayness by wearing this World's Okayest Dad t-shirt by Geekchic Tees, and aim straight for the middle.

Visit geekchic tees's Facebook fan page, official website and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more very okay designs:

ROGUE Use Your Illusion World's Okayest Brother Love Boldly

View more designs by geekchic tees | 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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Auto Nom

When you think of autonomous cars, you think of Google and Elon Musk and the idea of trucks with no drivers hauling loads down the highway. But why not think of the fun these cars can have?

(vimeo link)

Oh hello lovely machine, emancipating yourself from function... You look adorable, you know? Yes dear, you were built to be autonomous, it said so in the campaign brief.
No rush – getting from A to B was never an exciting idea to begin with, for your kind. Dance yourself clean, pull your metal frame apart and let the sun burn through your circuits. Ride your autobiography, guided by the beauty of your code.

Director Julius Steinhauser of f°am Studio in Germany brings us Autonomous Rolf, a Mercedes Benz with a mind of its own, and a sense of fun that even the laws of physics cannot stop! -via Nag on the Lake 


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Fun Robot

In my experience robots aren't any fun to hang out with because they try too hard to please humans and they don't get any of my jokes, but robot friendship experiences may vary.

It's cool if you want to hang out with a robot, I definitely won't judge, but watch out for robots who drink beer- because the booze has fried their circuits, so they may go a little haywire. Such shocking behavior! (Comic via Poorly Drawn Lines)

-Via Geeks Are Sexy


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One Tree, 365 Days

Italian photographer and conservationist Bruno D'Amicis set a camera up in a forest in the Apennine Mountains, trained it on one beech tree, and let it record for an entire year. This video contains clips of that recording that show the diversity of wildlife that passed by, stopped to mark their territory, scratch their back, or take a bite.

(YouTube link)

The song is "Have You Ever" by Brandi Carlile. You can see D'Amicis wildlife photography at Instagram. -via Tastefully Offensive   


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Artist Creates Characters Based On The Faces He Sees On Inanimate Objects

Pareidolia is a ten dollar word for the psychological phenomenon that makes us see faces on inanimate objects- it's something we all experience from time to time, and you're weird if you don't see faces on stuff.

Illustrator Keith Larson claims he experiences pareidolia more than most, which led him to start drawing the faces he sees on stuff and sharing his drawings via Instagram.

The little character faces Keith sees on furnaces, doorstops, bathroom stalls, dryer doors and ice machines are quite funny looking but may become a bother- because they can't be unseen. So get ready to meet a bunch of new friends!

-Via Bored Panda


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Things That Make You Feel Old

We were in an antique store when my kid runs up to me and says, "They have one of those phones with the round thing on it! Show me how it works!" I suddenly felt ancient. Those moments happen more and more often these days. My dentist, with his white hair and his decades of experience, mentioned how old he was when Star Wars first came out and revealed he is much younger than I am.



Cracked collected image macros from their readers that illustrate 26 of those moments that remind you of how much time has passed since you were young. I'm sure you'll relate to at least a couple of them.


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What Dogs Would Say If They Could Call 911

(Via @Reverend_Scott)

Clever dogs have been known to call 911 when they or their humans are in trouble, and their call to 911 actually ended up saving their owner's lives.

But you shouldn't encourage your dog to call 911 whenever they smell danger because they might start tying up the emergency lines while you're at work.

Reverend Scott likes to imagine what a dog's call to 911 might sound like on his Twitter feed, and his scenarios seem spot on to me!

-Via Laughing Squid

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

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The Sprinkler

Here's a tip: just because you are proud of the lush, green lawn you worked hard to achieve, doesn't mean the neighbors feel the same way. They could be totally oblivious to the bare spots in their yard. I know I would be. I think have a nice lawn (through no effort of my own), but certain neighbors might disagree. I never put down seed or fertilizer, because that would just mean mowing more often. And the only part of my lawn that gets sprinkled is right around the vegetable plot. Every neighborhood has at least one guy like this one in the latest comic from Chris Hallbeck at Maximumble


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Things Got Awkward When Ellen Caught An Audience Member Stealing Swag

Ellen DeGeneres likes to make her audience's day by giving them free stuff when they come to see her show, but she also likes to prank people so audience members who see a table full of free stuff had better watch out.

Or I should say audience members who get greedy when they're told to take one free item should watch out, because things might get really awkward when their greediness is revealed on the show.

Watch as a greedy gal get shamed in front of a live studio audience- and is forced to sit in "Ellen Jail" for the rest of the show.

(YouTube Link)

-Via 22 Words


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Five Awesome Bomb Disarming Scenes in Movies

If you've ever wondered what the sensitive task of disarming a bomb would be like, it's probably nothing at all like action movies depict it. That said, there's little else that will get an audience's adrenaline going. In movies, there's almost always a timer attached, which adds considerably to the tension. It's life and death at stake! Relive those intense bomb scenes with videos from movies you may or may not have seen at TVOM.


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Awesome Fan Art Offers A Detailed Look At Finn And Jake's Tree Fort

Adventure Time takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, and yet the heroes Finn and Jake don't live like wastelanders- they live in a sweet Tree Fort with many of the amenities of a modern home.

They've got a BMO that plays movies and games, a full kitchen, a fireplace to keep the Fort warm when the Ice King puts a chill in the air, a really cool elevator and a few storage rooms for their treasure hoard.

But rather than me telling you all about Finn & Jake's awesome Tree Fort why don't you take a look at this amazing illustration by Max Degtyarev and check the whole place out for yourself!

See full size illustration here

-Via GeekTyrant


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Make It Sew - Picard And A Yard Of Jacquard

Make it Sew by 8BitHobo

Captain Picard is the type of man who is always looking to learn new things during his trek, acquiring new skills and becoming more well informed about the things that bind all beings in the universe. But Jean-Luc has always been hopeless when it comes to crafting, so he must turn to his Number One for help with such matters. And Riker is always there to help, whether Picard is telling him to "make it glow", "make it flow" or "make it sew" because Will Riker's got mad skills, yo!

Add some punny style to your geeky wardrobe with this Make It Sew t-shirt by 8BitHobo, and you'll become the "Number One" star of your own geeky universe.

Visit 8BitHobo's Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more geek-tastic designs:

Team Scrubs Team Octorocs Team Crushers

Meowjoras Mask

View more designs by 8BitHobo | 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 2017 World Taxidermy Championships

Every year, the world's top animal stuffers and fish carvers meet up to show off their skills and compete for cash prizes.  Emily Graslie of Brain Scoop works at the Field Museum in Chicago, but she was excited to attend the World Taxidermy & Fish Carving Championships in Peoria last month. Warning: contains dead animals.

(YouTube link)

Graslie can't contain her enthusiasm as she wanders among freeze-dried fish, animals made from completely different animals, recreations from scenes in nature, creatures in funny poses, and animals the judges had to look up to see what they're supposed to look like.  -via Mental Floss


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If You Can't Stand the Heat, Stay Out of Arizona

Summer in Arizona is always pretty miserable, but the current heat wave is particularly awful. Temperatures have been getting as high as 120 degrees, which means asphalt can get up to 160 and car interiors can reach 200.

Those extreme conditions aren't just bad for people, they can also ground planes and destroy property. Over on The Daily Buzz, you can see a collection of pictures showing just how hot it is in Arizona. It's enough to make you enjoy the warm weather outside wherever you live -unless, of course, you actually live in AZ.

So see the Grand Canyon state in all its melty misery here.


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Operation Tracer: The Secret Plan To Bury Soldiers Alive Inside The Rock Of Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar, which guards the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, is honeycombed with caves, tunnels, and chambers. After World War II, a rumor spread about a secret military installation in which six men spent a year sealed inside during the war. It was just a rumor until the chamber was found in 1997! Over the next ten years, the real purpose of the chamber came to light. It was Operation Tracer.

Rear Admiral John Henry Godfrey, the Director of the Naval Intelligence Division of the British Admiralty, suggested that they establish at Gibraltar a covert observation post which would remain operational even if Gibraltar fell into enemy hands. This observation post would be located in a hidden chamber within the Rock of Gibraltar with two small openings to watch for movements on the harbor. Six men were selected to be sealed inside the cave, and while there were enough supplies to last one year, there was to be no way out of the chamber, and if any men were to die they were to be embalmed and cemented into the brick floor. Only if Germany was defeated within the first year would they be released.

The cave was built, and six men were trained, but Operation Tracer was never put into service because Hitler turned his attention away from the Mediterranean. Read about the plans and see pictures of the cave at Amusing Planet. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Flickr user Rob)


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What It's Like To Be Submerged Inside A Giant Water Balloon When It Bursts

People often cringe at the thought of a balloon bursting, and some people get so freaked out when a balloon pops near them their fear is dangerously close to becoming a full-blown phobia.

But judging by the stunts they've done in the past The Slow Mo Guys have no fear of balloons bursting, and Dan is so into balloons he's willing to hang out inside a giant water balloon while it bursts.

It's probably best if those who have globophobia don't watch this video, but everyone else should celebrate the start of summer by watching this stupid stunt video!

(YouTube Link)

-Via Geeks Are Sexy


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It Was All a Dream!?!?

The following is an article from the book Uncle John's Weird, Weird World: EPIC.

In 1997, when Roseanne viewers learned the ninth and final season was a fictional account of the family written by Roseanne, they were fuming mad. Why even tell a story if it never happened? More often than not, there’s a real-world explanation for why shows pull this stunt.

SHOW: Dallas (CBS, 1978–91)

DREAM: In the final episode of the seventh season in May 1985, Bobby (Patrick Duffy) is run down by a car and killed. A year later in the eighth season finale, Bobby’s wife Pam (Victoria Principal) wakes to the sound of running water. She goes into the bathroom… and there’s Bobby, alive, taking a shower. His death—along with the entire eighth season—had been one long dream of Pam’s.

REALITY: Bobby was originally killed off because Duffy was bored with the role and wanted to leave the show. But he was also a big ratings draw, and Dallas dipped from #2 to #6 the following year, so producers begged Duffy to come back. Because he couldn’t find any better work, he did. (Never mind that Bobby’s return demolished logic—for example, several characters who left the show during the dream season, and who therefore didn’t really leave, remained gone.)

SHOW: Married…With Children (Fox, 1987–97)

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