There’s a popular misconception that nerd culture began in the 1970s with the rise of fandom conventions, adult comic book collectors and science fiction productions reaching a broader audience than ever before, but nerd culture as we know it today actually began around the turn of the 20th century.
Cosplayers are all the rage at the moment, but August Olson, the person often considered to be the first cosplayer, dressed up like a comic strip alien called Skygack to attend a masked ball in Monroe, Washington all the way back in 1912, so it appears cosplay is nothing new.
The fourth element of style is timelessness, but what's the fifth element of fashion? Why, wearing this Stone Wars t-shirt by Punksthetic, of course! With a timelessly modern sci-fi style, and a glorious twist on the old war in the stars poster art, folks from Dallas to Mars will appreciate your taste in far out films.
A Russian fire department found a unique way to pass the time. How many fire hoses does it take to levitate a flying carpet? And what could possibly go wrong? I have to wonder how many videos were recorded before they got this one. And how many bumps and bruises were involved in the research. -via The Chive
They say when you build a better mousetrap, someone will come along and build a better mouse. That seems to have come true, except in this case, the builders are the same company.
You are familiar with reCAPTCHA, the security system that makes you decipher a distorted word to prove you’re not a bot. One of the words is a security feature; the other word is one the software does not know the answer to, but is crowdsourced through reCAPTCHA to find out what it is. The purpose is to improve optical character recognition (OCR) in order to digitize printed books. So while one screwy word is there to deceive bots, the other is there to teach bots how to read screwy words. That in itself foreshadows the rest of the story. Google bought reCAPTCHA in 2009.
Google Street View has been working on improving its OCR to read house numbers, allowing it to map addresses better. You may have noticed that some of the Blogger sites (Google owns Blogger), you have to interpret a photographed house number to leave a comment. Those house numbers are from Street View. You can see where this is leading.
Advances in the house number recognition project are such that Google’s software can recognize a single digit in a photograph 97.84% of the time. Since most street addresses are more than one digit, the actual address accuracy is 90%.
To test the algorithm, Google also let it loose on its own reCAPTCHA puzzles. There, it is 99.8 percent accurate on the hardest reCAPTCHA puzzles. Given that the whole idea of CAPTCHAs is that they are too hard for computers to solve, that’s a pretty stunning number and the accuracy is likely better than that of most humans (at least I know I don’t get anywhere close to 99.8 percent accuracy when I try to solve CAPTCHAs…).
That’s obviously a problem for reCAPTCHA because developers who are less interested in the science behind this could exploit this to spam blog comments, for example. Google, however, says that its CAPTCHA system is now less dependent on deciphering the distorted text than ever before. Instead, reCAPTCHA now looks at a broader range of clues. Entering the text is just one clue, but Google now looks at it as “a medium of engagement to elicit a broad range of cues that characterize humans and bots.”
So while Google is working on helping its bots to read real-world words and numbers, they also have to scramble to find other ways to prove who is human and who is software. We don’t know what that “medium of engagement” really is, because if they told us, the bots would know, too. Read more about the research at TechCrunch. -via Digg
Selfie addicts should take note of this cautionary video when posing for pics near large moving vehicles, realizing that if you only get kicked in the head you got off easy.
The careless poser in this video had the bright idea to snap a selfie really close to the tracks as a train was about to go by, but the conductor spotted him standing too close to the tracks and took it upon himself to act like a human cow catcher-by kicking the guy in the head.
Some are speculating that the video is a fake, because why would you be shooting a video if you were posing for a selfie? Either way a smug selfie lover gets kicked in the head, yay trains!
You’ve seen plenty of pictures of marijuana buds, plants, and crops on the web. Ford McCann wanted a closer look, down to the microscopic level. Images at that level are amazingly otherworldly, artistic, and well worth sharing. The 170 images in the book were taken over the course of a year with both optical microscopes and electron scanning microscopes.
Some dads really like to get creative with their kids, either building stuff for them or doing fun stuff with them, and thanks to the internet they’re able to share their fun projects with the world.
Lance Underwood is one of these creative dad type dudes, and he spent some quality time with his two sons recreating classic album covers. Lance puts a lot of work into these covers, making sure they all have the proper wardrobe and poses, and the end result is pretty much spot on, and totally adorable!
The original design for the alien in the movie Predator was not the look that ended up in the film. It was not amenable to an actor actually walking around it, much less performing martial arts, as Jean-Claude van Damme thought he would. Ultimately, van Damme was replaced by 7’ 2” actor Kevin Peter Hall, not only because of his disgust with the role, but also because he was so much smaller than Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers. Let’s get another look at that costume.
At the start of this month, we asked you guys to go on Pinterest and tell us what to write about for a chance to win $50 worth of NeatoShop merchandise. While we got some great feedback on Facebook, not too many of you participated on Pinterest which means that we might have to do this contest again only open it up to all types of submissions.
For the time being though, it's up to you guys to pick the winner of the contest from the four submissions. Whichever idea you vote for will result in the winner getting a $50 shopping spree and one of our writers tackling the subject submitted in an upcoming feature article.
By the way, if you tried to enter the contest on Pinterest and don't see your entry here, leave a comment with the link to your pin and we'll add you in.
Also, if you're on Pinterest and didn't enter the contest but periodically come up with ideas you think would fit the blog, feel free to join our new group, Should Be On Neatorama. We hope to see you there.
What Would You Want to See As a Feature Article on Neatorama?
Hey look! It's time for our collaboration with the wonderful What Is It? Blog! Do you know what the object in this picture is? It doesn't really matter if you do, because we are looking for the funniest guesses. You can win a t-shirt from the NeatoShop! But first, read the rules:
Place your guess in the comment section below. One guess per comment, please, though you can enter as many as you'd like. Two winners who submit funny and/or clever (albeit ultimately wrong) answers will each win a T-shirt from the NeatoShop.
If you guess the correct answer, you'll get a big pat on the back.
The mind of a comedian works in very strange ways, and it takes a perfect level of functional insanity to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers and tell jokes. It’s a tough gig, and those who are able to make money at it know that they’re getting paid for the crazy things floating around in their heads.
So it should come as no surprise that many comedians have tried psychedelic drugs, getting their head on, so to speak, and really digging deep into the vaults to pull out good material.
Psychedelics are still a hotly debated subject in the world of drugs, but take it from comedians like George Carlin and Bill Hicks- psychedelics make you think of comedy in a whole new light!
Are you starting to feel like there are just too darn many androids lurking around the big city? Maybe it's time to board a runner for a vacation in the stars, or start a new life in the Off World Colonies, or maybe you just need this Off World t-shirt by Synaptyx so you can show the world you've been there and done that without leaving your planet!
270 square feet isn't much space to live in, but when we're talking vacation homes on the coast of Spain, it's just enough. And this gorgeous minimalist home isn't going to leave you wanting since it comes equipped with a toilet, a shower, a fireplace and a bed with an amazing view of your vacation space.
While it might not have a kitchen, you can always cook your freshly caught fish over your fireplace -or, since you're on vacation, go out to eat and treat yourself to something special.
Sadly, the passing of movie legend Mickey Rooney (on April 6th) truly brought the end to an era. Born Joseph Yule Jr. the Mick, all 5' 2" of him, was really the last of the genuine "movie stars" from Hollywood's golden age. He had, without a doubt, one of the most amazing career runs in the history of show business. Mickey kept coming back and entertaining us again and again.
His films numbered 340. Yes, you read that right, 340 movie credits, according to IMDb.
Of course, the Andy Hardy films (16 of them) and his legendary MGM musicals (with his beloved co-star Judy Garland) were his personal trademarks, but the Mick also had unforgettable roles in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), Captains Courageous (1937), Boys Town (1938), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), The Black Stallion (1981) and on and on.
Okay, let's take a look at a few facts you may not know about Mickey Rooney.
* He helped bring Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe together. In 1952, Joe and Marilyn were set up (at DiMaggio's request, after seeing the young starlet's photo) on a date. The date was dullsville and was dragging along, when Mickey, who happened to be dining in the same restaurant, spotted DiMaggio and (like any guy) started fawning over him, regaling Marilyn with stories of his baseball exploits and records. Marilyn was not a sports fan at all, but she had done a movie with Mickey just two years previously, The Fireball (1950). When she saw Mickey's awed reaction to DiMaggio, her interest immediately perked up and the date heated up too. Joe and Marilyn soon became an item and were married less than two years later.
* He was the first choice to play the role of Archie Bunker on All in the Family. When he met with producer Norman Lear about the role, he was told that Archie was "a bigot and a racist.” He replied, “‘They'll kill me in the streets,’ and turned me down flat,” according to Lear.
The hen they call Little Miss Sunshine was a egg-layer in an industrial egg farm before she was rescued and retired to Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary. Now she’s a star, having been selected as a “spokeschicken” for Animals Australia to show how intelligent hens can be. I have my suspicions that other chickens aren’t quite as smart as she is. -via Everlasting Blort
Curious George the monkey and the Man with the Yellow Hat have been together a long time. They've been close companions since 1941. But that doesn't mean that they have a healthy relationship.
Far from it. They have serious codependency problems which the Man in the Yellow Hat is only beginning to see. George, of course, is resisting. He doesn't want to join the Man at therapy, just as he's generally opposed to the Man with the Yellow Hat having any sort of meaningful relationship with anyone else. Devorah Blachor of McSweeney's Internet Tendency provides transcripts of the Man's discussions with his therapist:
OK, this time we went out of the house, so really, I’m making an effort here. I took Mrs. Needleman on a European-inspired champagne brunch cruise along the Hudson. What more could I have done, I ask you?
We were just passing Battery Park and had selected a bottle of Gewürztraminer to go with the lobster bisque when suddenly there was a commotion on the outdoor deck.
“Monkey overboard!” someone was shouting.
Well, of course it was George! But you know, I did specifically tell him to stay out of trouble. He promised that he’d be good, but it is easy for little monkeys to forget.
After they pulled George aboard I dried him and let him wear my yellow hat to cheer him up and before I knew it, he was playing the grand piano and juggling chocolate truffles. All the passengers were watching him and applauding. He was the belle of the ball—it was adorable. I think about an hour passed before I noticed that Mrs. Needleman wasn’t there. We found her at the Liberty Bar, already on her fourth gin rickey. It was pretty embarrassing, to tell you the truth. We had to send her home in a taxi after we docked.
No, I can’t leave him at home. That’s exactly what Papa used to do to me. Why, I could never do that to George.
An unnamed sophomore at South Fayette High School in McDonald, Pennsylvania, was tired of being bullied every day. His mother thought he was exaggerating his reports about the treatment he received at school. So the teenager took matters into his own hands and gathered evidence by recording an incident on his school iPad. Guess who got into trouble for that.
Instead of questioning the students whose voices were recorded, school administrators threatened to charge him with felony wiretapping before eventually agreeing to reduce the charge to disorderly conduct. On Wednesday, March 19, the student, whose name we have agreed to not include in this story, was found guilty of disorderly conduct by District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet.
The student deleted the recording under orders from school administration, although his mother had already made a transcript. The alleged bullies heard on the recording were not disciplined. South Fayette Township police Lieutenant Robert Kurta defended the charge of disorderly conduct, saying the student “engaged in actions which served no legitimate purpose.” The student’s family attorney thinks that destruction of the evidence may also be a crime. The unnamed student is appealing his conviction. -via The Daily Dot
Nagarjun Bollam writes some disabled people ride on trains in India at steep discounts. Because of the incentive structure, non-disabled people hire them to travel:
Disabled people get 50-75% concession on train ticket from Indian Railways. Additionally, they can take one person as escort who will be entitled to the same amount of concession.
Some disabled people earn their living with this scheme. Their only job is travelling between different cities and taking Strangers (who actually want to go to some city) as escorts. These strangers pay 75% of the fare to the disabled people. Thus Stranger saves money, Disabled person earns profit.
Dogs score higher on most of the parameters in this graph from Doghouse Diaries, which is what you’d expect from a webcomic that names itself so. You may agree or disagree with any of them. Personally, I know some cats that are off the scale in neediness. Still, both animals have their charms and you should have at least a couple of each.
Escaping certain death in the maw of a giant pit monster is worthy of a commemorative t-shirt. Luckily there's this awesome Surviving the Sarlacc t-shirt by Stationjack, so you can share your off world adventures with your sand farmer friends who never leave the homestead.
Having a cat aboard a ship is good luck, they say. It’s certainly good for keeping vermin under control lest they endanger precious food supplies. Some ship’s cats were so well-known or beloved that they are part of history. Blackie, renamed Churchill, became famous not because he did his job well (which he did), but because he charmed the Prime Minister.
Blackie was the ship's cat of the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales. In August of 1941, the ship conveyed British PM Winston Churchill to Newfoundland for the Atlantic Charter conference with FDR. As Blackie ambled over to the battleship's gangplank, Churchill restrained him by gently petting his head – a moment caught on film for posterity.
Blackie's encounter with the great man resulted in his receiving new name, “Churchill”. Although the re-monikered mascot survived the sinking of the Prince of Wales later that year and managed to make it to Singapore, he could not be found when the order came to evacuate the colony's naval base in early 1942.
You may be familiar with the blog Morbid Anatomy, but now it’s much more than a blog. It has expanded into a library and a museum with a lecture hall. The Morbid Anatomy Museum is set to open in Brooklyn in May. Collectors Weekly talked to founder Joanna Ebenstein about the new museum.
Morbid Anatomy started out about death, but now it’s expanded now to be about a lot of things that fall through the cracks, things that we don’t talk about in a dignified discourse. So the fact that the history of paranormal research has been swept under the carpet interests me, in the same way we choose not to think about how Sir Isaac Newton was as interested in alchemy as he was in mathematics. I’m interested, too, in the fact that humans are essentially non-rational beings, but we want to be rational. We try, right? Death, the paranormal, alchemy, belief, faith, saints, and relics—these things all speak to something else that we need to have answered.
Sure, we'd all like to have a sturdy, permanent guillotine in the home. We'd all like to have a high-qualty piece of craftsmanship that we can pass on to our children. But if you're just getting started--such as moving in to your first apartment--then you also need to save money. That's where the Søkkømb comes in. It's a flat pack, ready-to-assemble execution engine that makes a tasteful contribution to any home decor. Here's how the manufacturer describes it:
Are you full of energy? Have you lots of things to do and too little time to do them? Are you increasingly annoyed by all those criminals, immigrants and petty people who should just be got rid of? Your dynamic, active rhythm demands quick, summary justice and you are the person to do it. Too bad you just don’t have the time.
You are the person we thought aboutwhen we designed Søkkømb, an easily-assembled guillotine for the whole family. A practical solution, quick and clean, ideal for all your security needs. By assembling Søkkømb in the comfort of your own living room, you can relax safe in the knowledge that the punishment will fit the crime. So you can finally be your own boss in your own house.
Søkkømb is made from the best solid pine and comes equipped with a sturdy blade in stainless steel. It is light and versatile and is guaranteed effective for up to 100 executions a day.
Several will be available in European IKEA stores in the future. But if you really want one now, you can bid on one that's up for auction with Paddle8 (warning: flashing images).
There are more ancient Egyptian secrets than we can imagine waiting to be discovered underneath the sands of time. If only we could find the remote control! This video from Kheops Pyramides lets us in on one story that no one ever believed because there was no hard evidence to be found. -via Kuriositas
Snails are generally seen as garden pests, crunchy sidewalk debris and potential escargot, but if we could see the world from a snail's point of view we would discover a miniature world full of natural wonder, beautiful color and life that moves at a snail's pace.
Photographer Vyacheslav Mishchenko went way down low to capture the amazing miniature world of the snail, and his photo series reveals the magical world snails live in, a tiny world which can only be properly viewed with the help of a macro lens.