Austin's Serial Axe Murderer

Between December 1884 and December 1885, Austin, Texas, had eight axe murders. Six women, and 11-year-old girl, and a man who was with another victim were all killed in horrific ways, and several were also raped. Only the first three were domestic workers, but the unknown perpetrator was dubbed the "Servant Girl Annihilator." The murders did not stop because the killer was caught; they just stopped.

Though around 400 men were arrested in 1885 under suspicion of being the Annihilator, none were ever successfully tried. The list included Walter Spencer (the boyfriend of the first victim—acquitted after a two-day trial), “two suspicious-looking white brothers found with blood on their clothes,” Eula’s husband Jimmy Phillips, and Susan’s husband Moses Hancock. Phillips, the prosecutors claimed, was a copycat killer before the term existed, using the murders of Austin’s black working class as an excuse to kill his unfaithful and beautiful wife. Initially sentenced to seven years, Phillips’s conviction was overturned within six months; Hancock’s trial resulted in a hung jury. The Annihilator was still out there, but what was he—or they—doing?

As time passed, suspicion fell on men who left Austin at the time the murders stopped. More than one of those went to England, and coincidentally or not, that's when the Jack the Ripper murders began. Read what we know -and don't know- about the Servant Girl Annihilator and his victims at mental_floss.


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Cat City

A cat decides to run away from home and live on his own in the city. His adventure is lots of fun at first, but turns out to be less than hunky-dory after a while, as young people often find on their first foray into the real world.

(vimeo link)

Still, the fact that he's a cat doing all this is just goofy, in a good way, in this animation from Victoria Vincent. -via Laughing Squid


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A Warped Mindset

Neatorama is proud to bring you a guest post from Ernie Smith, the editor of Tedium, a twice-weekly newsletter that hunts for the end of the long tail. In another life, he ran ShortFormBlog.

How the Nintendo Times, a Nintendo fan site, is covering the release of the NES in real time—three decades after its original release.

What if we reported on the past like it was happening in the present day—not reflecting on it nostalgically like I do at Tedium, but literally trying to cover the past as if you had no knowledge of the future?

It sounds like an odd thought exercise, but in reality, it’s a whole lot of fun, based on the website Nintendo Times. Since 2015, the writer and blogger Craig Majaski, who cut his teeth at the long-running gaming site Gaming Age, has been editing and putting together a site in which 30-year-old discussions and interviews about the early days of the Nintendo Entertainment System are published as if they’re happening in real time.

For example, this post about a Nintendo press announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show has a publish date of January 11, 1987—as well as forward-thinking statements like “Nintendo is going to continue its aggressive marketing campaign for 1987.”

So how does one come up with an approach like this? Majaski cites an interest in preservation, one shared with other folks like historians Steve Lin and Frank Cifaldi, the two principals of the Video Game History Foundation who he cites as being very helpful to his cause.

Continue reading

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Thug Notes Summary and Analysis of Where the Wild Things Are

Who doesn't love the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak? It was still a new book when I learned to read, and now it's a classic. So of course everyone will want to know what Sparky Sweets, PhD. thinks of it. This video, like all Thug Notes, contains NSFW language.  

(YouTube link)

This is like having the story read to you all over again, except adult-style. The discussion at YouTube reveals that quite a few high school teachers are using Thug Notes (among other sources) to teach literary criticism.  -via Tastefully Offensive


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Mad Scientist Builds A 200-Watt Laser Bazooka That Can Shoot Through A Computer Case

If you mess with science you may find yourself on the wrong end of a laser beam designed to burn right through whatever gets in its way and powerful enough to shoot through a computer case.

So be nice to Drake Anthony (aka styropro) if you ever meet him, because he built a 200-watt laser bazooka out of "scrap metal, a pile of broken ‘hybrid’ DLP projectors, and runs on a stack of lithium polymer batteries" and he ain't afraid to use it.

(YouTube Link)

-Via Laughing Squid


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The True Adventures Of Bill Hitler

Hitler's older half-brother, Alois, lived in England in 1911, where he produced a son named William Hitler. By the time William was grown, the Hitler name was well-known, and Alois had abandoned his British family to return to Germany.

Left without his father, William and his mother struggled back in England. Any job opportunities he could find seemed to vanish into thin air the moment people found out his last name. But there was one place where being a Hitler was your ticket to success: Nazi Germany. So William said goodbye to his mother, left his conscience in his old bedroom, and went over to Uncle Adolf's lair to mooch. Not wanting him to crash on the Eagle's Nest couch, his bestest best uncle eventually got him a gig at the German national bank. That was only his day job, though. By the 1930s, Willy Hitler had found his true calling: professional name-dropper.

William Hitler's dealings with his Nazi uncle is the reason the article's headline refers to him as "Hitler's Idiot Nephew," but after a weird interlude of trying to cash in on his name, he apparently grew up and learned better in his later years. Read the story of William Hitler at Cracked, in the colorful language they are known for.  


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Masters Of The Universe - Do You Still Have The Power?


Masters of the Universe by Russ Jericho

Nowadays He-Man is considered "so retro", but to 80s kids that cartoon show was like nothing we'd seen before, and it represented our pop culture loving future. Watching Masters of the Universe made our sci-fi and fantasy loving minds explode with inspiration at the possibilities offered by such a hybrid, and beyond the influence on our taste it was just a really well drawn, great looking cartoon. The show was a work of art, whether kids these days "get it" or not, and it will always be an important and colorful part of the history of animation.

Add some old school flavor to your geeky wardrobe with this Masters Of The Universe t-shirt by Russ Jericho, it's a killer way to declare your love of MOTU 'til death do you part!

Visit Russ Jericho's Facebook fan page, Twitter and Instagram, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more mighty geeky designs:

Rocky Just Wants to Have Fun! I Have the Power! Duckula (Red)

Minuet of Forest

View more designs by Russ Jericho | More Cartoon 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 Rise of Slime Videos

Videos of people playing with slime is a definite trend on Instagram. The prettier the slime is, the better. You can make slime fairly easily with Elmer's glue, borax, and water. You may have called it Oobleck when you were young. Now it comes in all colors, with textures from beads and glitter, and teenagers are selling it through Etsy to their Instagram followers. What's the allure?

“I just love it for some odd reason,” says Carlie, a 12-year-old slime fan who recently started making her own slime. She did specify that for her, the appeal was “the sound and feeling of it.” For Donna Boyd, a 17-year-old from Harrisburg, Virginia, slime is therapeutic. She’s never purchased slime, or made it herself. She just watches hundreds of videos from her five favorite accounts over and over again. “It honestly just makes me happy and de-stresses me,” Donna told me. “I suffer from anxiety, and slime videos help me a lot during panic attacks.” She says she gets lost in them after watching a few, going into a kind of meditative state. One teen I spoke to, Rachel M., told me she spends “at least 15 hours a week” just watching slime videos and playing with slime. She has only bought two slimes herself, but she loves them and says, “I need them.”

It appears to be this generation's version of birdwatching. Read about the business and hobby of slime videos (and see quite a few) at New York magazine. -via TYWKIWDBI
 
(Image credit: slimequeeens, slimeedaddy, craftyslimecreator, rad.slime)


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An Honest Trailer for The Social Network

I never saw The Social Network, since I already knew the outline of the Facebook story, and thought it had to be boring. Now I don't need to, since Screen Junkies has an Honest Trailer for the 2010 film.

(YouTube link)

Well, maybe it wasn't as boring as I had imagined, since apparently it was fictionalized a lot to add drama. But I can see that the movie is so poorly-lit that I probably wouldn't have been able to see it anyway.


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Indoor Plants That Are Hard To Kill

Those lucky nature lovers who have a green thumb make growing and caring for plants look easy, but what can a brown thumb do to turn their bad luck with plants around and bring some living green into their homes?

They can buy an indoor plant that's hard to kill, like the bold and beautiful bromeliad, which likes to be in temperatures around 70 degrees and produces shoots that replace the original plant.

But if the bromeliad is too flashy for you then you may want to start with the basics- the spider plant, the dieffenbachia and the calathea:

The spider plant only needs to be watered once a week, and its shoots produce babies that can be repotted so you can have as many spider plants in your home as you'd like.

The dieffenbachia is happy with filtered light and doesn't need regular watering, and the calathea or "peacock plant" thrives in low light and simply needs to be kept moist, so

See 25 Indoor Plants You Can't Kill here


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Prom Detail

If you have to go to the prom, you may as well get a souvenir from that memorable evening. These cops took advantage of the amenities, including having their portrait made. No photographer is going to tell them they can't pose for a picture!

For readers outside the U.S. or without kids, police are often assigned to attend the prom in order to keep students from driving away drunk, although they sometimes have to break up fights or deal with more serious crimes. -via reddit


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Iconic Comic Book Images Recreated In The Movies

Every time a director helms a new superhero project they put their own spin on that hero's origin story, but no matter how far they stray from the source material they still include some nod to the original.

Action Comics #1 features the most iconic cover art of all time- Superman lifting a car, a scene featured in 1978's Superman and Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, which is an homage to Richard Donner's original Superman films from the 80s.

(YouTube Link)

But the cover of Captain America Comics #1, featuring Cap punching out Hitler, is arguably just as famous, so why didn't it get a proper recreation in the Captain America movie?

Because the writers and director of 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger chose Red Skull and Hydra as Cap's main foes, so including Hitler and the Nazis would just confuse the plot of future Marvel movies.

See 15 Iconic Comic Book Images Recreated In Superhero Movies here


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What Makes a Genius?


The May 2017 issue of National Geographic features an in-depth look at What Makes a Genius. Author Claudia Kalb and photographer Paolo Woods bring us examples of genius, from Leonardo da Vinci to jazz pianist Keith Jarrett, with an overview of the scientific research into what makes those kinds of people different from the rest of us. Continue reading to see a preview.
Continue reading
See more featured images over at Spotlight

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Rian Johnson's Photos From The Set Of The Last Jedi

Hot on the heels of that amazing trailer for Star Wars: Episode VIII- The Last Jedi comes these cool set photos shared by writer/director Rian Johnson, photos which show the filmmaker's process and what he saw on set.

Rian carried an old camera with him at all times during filming, and whenever he saw a cool shot he captured the scene in black & white, which gives these behind-the-scenes images a classic look befitting Star Wars.

Rian shared these photos, as well as many color shots from the set, during a panel at Star Wars Celebration 2017 in Orlando, and he claims to have shot thousands of pics during filming. Sounds like the makings of an awesome coffee table art book to me!

(YouTube Link)

See Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi Set Photos here


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Mad Max Toddler Cars

Ian Pfaff, of Glendale, California, has a two-year-old daughter named Junior and an infant son named Benji. Pfaff is a Mad Max fan, but he didn't get to see Mad Max: Fury Road on its opening day because Junior had just been born the day before. But the kids are getting the Mad Max bug anyway, because of what their father has created. He took two Cozy Coupes and modded them Fury Road style!



See more pictures of the clever details in these vehicles and their accessories at Buzzfeed.

(Images credit: Ian Pfaff)  

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Wives Who Have Turned Pranking Into An Artform

(Image Link)

Most of the spousal pranking stories you see online involve husbands pranking wives, which is usually more of a jump scare scenario than an actual prank and therefore has become a bit of a cliche.

(Image Link)

So what's the wife of a wiseguy to do when her husband calls her a "sandwich maker"? She gets mad, and then she gets even:

(Image Link)

Wives have proven to be far more creative pranksters than all those jump scare lovin' guys out there, so if you're married to a pranky wife you'd better keep your eyes peeled!

(Image Link)

See 10+ Hilarious Wives All Men Secretly Wish They Were Married To here


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Herding Kittens

How do you take a photograph of ten kittens? They are all from one litter, so they need a family portrait. But arranging kittens to face a camera is like …trying to herd cats. Exactly like that.

(YouTube link)

No wonder mama cats are always on their last nerve. Evgeny, the Russian cat daddy, found that it's best to just use video instead of a still camera. -via Tastefully Offensive  

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

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Sacred Geometry Yoga - The Path To Living In Harmony Lies Within


Sacred Geometry Yoga by VeganDawn

The body is a temple but the mind is a universe, where thoughts, ideas and beliefs collide to form new galaxies within. We are all made of the same mystic mathematics, constructed from the same sacred geometry used to build temples, create art and construct the very reality we live in. And as we practice our body arts, and assume the yoga positions of our predecessors in a daily ritual to celebrate our very existence, we become one with all as all becomes one within us.

Show the world what we're all made of with this Sacred Geometry Yoga t-shirt by VeganDawn, it's the vibrant way to spark conversations with your fellow sacred geometric constructs.

Visit VeganDawn's NeatoShop for more mathematical designs:

Forks Knives Freedom For All Beings Lives Have Porpoise For Fox Sake Stop Wearing Fur

View more designs by VeganDawn | More Science 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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I'm Not Weird You're Weird

The line between normal and abnormal has become far too thin, and some people are so afraid of being seen as different and strange they worry about doing normal stuff in public in case they're seen.

But as far as I'm concerned if you're at a game cheer loudly, if you're in the smoking section then light up, and if you stink please slap some deodorant on immediately! (comic via Jakes Likes Onions)

-Via Geeks Are Sexy


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Disney-Themed Biker Gangs

You probably never thought about it, but how much overlap would you think there is between bikers and Disney fans? Well, consider that motorcycle riders are a large group, and they were all once children who watched Disney movies. Many have children and grandchildren who do. And some are enthusiastic enough to name their motorcycle club in honor of the House of Mouse. Besides, the idea gives you a destination for a cross-country run, whether it's Disneyland or Walt Disney World. These groups bear the names Sons of Anakin, Main St. Elite, the Neverlanders, Walt's Misfits, Mickey's Empire, and more. See some of these clubs pictured at TVOM.


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A Pizza Inside A Burger Inside A Pizza?

We've featured a lot of pizza/burger combinations in the past, including a burger made inside a pizza, but this pizza inside a burger inside a pizza might be the pizza/burger mashup to end all others. Like the burger inside the pizza, this outrageous creation is the creation of Hellthy Junk Food and just watching the video might just be enough to make you gain a few pounds.

(Video Link)

Via That's Nerdalicious

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Italian Hand Gestures

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!

by Stephen Drew, Improbable Research staff

Italian hand gestures fascinate scholars, who labor to classify the gestures and grasp their meanings.

Andrea de Jorio's Handy Classic

Detail from de Jorio's book. A typical scene of a boy and an adult woman communicating partially with hand gestures.

A book published in 1832 is in some sense a bible of Italian--- especially southern Italian---hand gestures:

La Mimica Degli Antichi Investigata nel Gestire Napoletano [The Body Language of the Ancients as Interpreted in Neapolitan Gesture], Andrea de Jorio, Naples, 1832.  

Eventually, someone translated de Jorio's work into English:

Continue reading

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Newly-Observed Atmospheric Phenomenon Named "Steve"

The Alberta Aurora Chasers Facebook group shares pictures its members take of the Northern Lights. Last year, they noticed a phenomenon showing up in some pictures: a purplish ribbon in the sky.

Giving off a glow in mostly purple and green colors, the phenomenon was observed by members of a Facebook group called the “Alberta Aurora Chasers” who named the display “Steve.” Why Steve? Well, this is a reference to the popular children’s movie Over the Hedge where one of the characters isn’t sure what he is looking at and randomly names it Steve. Steve was formerly called by aurora chasers and photographers a “proton arc” (also known as a proton aurora). Proton aurora, or aurora caused by the raining down of protons from the magnetosphere is broad, diffuse, and dim visually unlike the structure of Steve that is narrow and has motion. So we know it is not a proton arc although we do not yet fully know what it is.

You can read more about what "Steve" may or may not be at Aurorasaurus and Gizmodo. -via Smithsonian

(Image credit: Dave Markel Photography)


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Ridiculous Myths About The Middle Ages That Need To Die

Thanks to pop culture people assume everyone but the royals smelled like crap in the Middle Ages, knights were heroic figures who kept the kingdom safe for common folk, and scientific progress went boink thanks to the church.

But historical evidence shows these notions are pure myth, and the Middle Ages were both cleaner and dirtier than we've been told.

(Image Link)

Heard the one about the stinky serfs?

Working in the fields all day does make you grimy, but people in the Middle Ages continued the Roman tradition of taking communal baths, and there were even baths made just for workers and craftsmen.

They washed up before and after eating, offered to bathe with guests to be polite, and went through nearly as much soap as we do today:

Medieval demand for soap (usually made from animal fats, with a variety of oils and salts added) was so great that by the 13th century, soap was being made on an almost industrial scale in Britain, Italy, Spain, and France.

Folks kept clean until the Black Plague made them afraid to bathe, believing that bathing opened the pores and thereby made it easier to become infected by the Plague.

Now if you want to see dirty you need look no further than the knights, who were less chivalrous heroes and more ruthless gangs of greedy mercenaries who cured their between war boredom with bloodshed:

Toward the 11th century, many of the local lords started bickering over who would get a slice of the Holy Roman pie that Charlemagne baked, and the knights were at the forefront of these petty wars. These "wars" were less Braveheart-style epic battles and more knights rolling up into villages and slaughtering everybody.

The chivalric code was introduced in the 13th century in order to keep these angry young warriors in line, but the code said nothing about defending peasants so the slaughter continued.

(Image Link)

And lastly we discuss science in the Middle Ages- since many religious groups are anti-science these days we assume Medieval monks were anti-science too.

But the Catholic church actually saved science, and much of the scientific knowledge recorded by the Romans, from being destroyed by invading barbarians:

The church went about setting up monasteries across Europe, and along with the monks came the monks' massive libraries. Monks were just about the only educated people in the early Middle Ages, and pretty much everything we know about this entire time period was written by them.

As time went on, the church stepped it up a notch and started establishing universities to foster the preservation of knowledge. You may have heard of a few of them: Oxford, Cambridge, and the University of Paris (not to mention pretty much every other top school in Europe).

Medicine also made massive advances thanks to the university system. Contrary to popular belief, dissection of corpses was actually fine and dandy with the church, and medieval universities often did it in the basement (OK, so maybe it wasn't totally fine and dandy). By the 14th century, there were functional hospitals, and doctors had learned how to use antiseptic when lopping off people's body parts.

Read 6 Ridiculous Myths About The Middle Ages Everyone Believes here (NSFW language)


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Tip or Gift?

Here's an idea that probably deserves some study. Tips are taxable income, but cash gifts are not (unless the gift is over $13,000 in one year). Does this money add to the waiter's taxable income? Does it contribute to her total for the week in making up the difference between her pay from the restaurant and minimum wage? Does it go into the pot to share with the cooks and bussers? Don't bother asking the IRS.

An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) spokesperson conceded that he'd never heard of such a situation and declined to speculate about possible legal implications. He directed ATTN: to the agency's "Tips on Tips" guide, which emphasizes that "income received in the form of tips is taxable."

Since this image has gone viral, we might expect a statement from the agency sometime soon.  


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Money Laundering at the St. Francis Hotel

(YouTube link)

In 1938, the hotel St. Francis in San Francisco began washing all its coins as a courtesy to guests -particularly women who wore white gloves. Back then, it was a full-time job, since coins could pay for about anything. Now Rob Holsen continues the custom, but almost 80 years later, it only takes about ten hours a week, because people don't use coins as much. Still, the hotel has the cleanest coins anywhere.

The process begins when the general cashier sends racks of rolled coins to Holsen, who empties the change into a repurposed silver burnisher.

Along with the coins, the burnisher is filled with water, bird shot to knock the dirt off, and a healthy pour of 20 Mule Team Borax soap. After three hours of swishing the coins around, Holsen uses a metal ice scoop to pour the loot into a perforated roast pan that sifts out the bird shot.

The wet coins are then spread out on a table beneath heat lamps.

This is where once-rusted copper pennies turn into shimmering bronze coins.

Read about the history and process of the charming coin-washing tradition at SF Gate. -via Nag on the Lake


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Photos From The Set Of The Original Twin Peaks

Part of me never left David Lynch's eerie town of Twin Peaks after watching the series in the early 90s, and now that the series is coming back for eighteen more episodes that Twin Peaks feeling is coming back strong too.

But simply rewatching the series and Fire Walk With Me just isn't enough to satisfy my appetite for small town Lynchian strangeness, I needed these damn fine photos from the set to silence my inner Bob.

Seeing all my old friends from Twin Peaks again has caused quite a few memories to resurface, including those "they won't be on the new episodes because they're dead!" moments that make me wanna smile-cry.

See Intimate Photos Taken On The Set Of The Original 'Twin Peaks' here


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Aquaman Tried

Poor Aquaman. When DC tried to give their lineup a little diversity in super powers and setting, he got the short end of the stick and has been stuck with them for decades. The only thing they could have possibly done to help the character is have Jason Momoa play him in the movies. But in the comics, he was the epitome of lame.

Kerry Callen (previously at Neatorama) is back with another comic we wish had appeared in the regular DC Comics series. This is the latest in his Super Antics series. -via Geeks Are Sexy


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Tubespotting - I'm Starting To Think That Isn't Really A Warp Zone At All!


Tubespotting by Donovan Alex

Begbie thought it would be a good idea to give up trainspotting for a while, so he started eating these really far out mushrooms he found growing along the railroad tracks. They had red caps with white polka dots and they made him feel like life might be liveable without a needle in his arm, but every time he ate them he wanted a little more. Soon he was munching on those super strong mushrooms all day long, which made life feel like a video game where he was the bros in charge who could break all the bricks and rescue all the lovely princesses before that evil bastard Sickboy could get his paws on them. But a steady diet of psychedelics had begun to take a toll on his mental health, and a man can only crawl out of so many toilets before he starts to wonder where his life had gone wrong...

People will totally trip out when they see you wearing this Tubespotting t-shirt by Donovan Alex, and it's the perfect tee to wear to the premiere of Trainspotting 2!

Visit Donovan Alex's Facebook fan page, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more dark and geeky designs:

Glam N' Gunz Californiweirdo The Blink Panther Slimevana

View more designs by Donovan Alex | 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 Invisible Art Of Visual Effects

Visual effects in films are composed and constructed just like any other work of art, but there's one big difference- in order for the VFX in movies to be effective they must be so subtle you think the effects are real.

And if you think you're an expert at spotting viz fx consider this- nearly every movie made these days features some sort of digital fx compositing, from sets to weather effects to the vehicles driving by in the background.

VFX Games - The Art of Compositing from Roy Peker on Vimeo.

This eye opening video by Roy Peker gently tears back the layers of digital deception to show us what often lies beneath each frame of film, namely an actor on a green screen set.

-Via PremiumBeat


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