Epic Rap Battles of History: J. R. R. Tolkien vs. George R. R. Martin

Who is the king of fantasy novels- JRR Tolkien or George RR Martin? They come from different eras and have different styles. Can you really compare The Lord of the Rings with A Song of Ice and Fire? They both have plenty to brag about, as you’ll see in this Epic Rap Battle. There are plenty of insults, too. Contain NSFW language.

(YouTube link)

When it’s all said and done, does it really matter? I’m sure their fandoms have a large overlap.  
-via Tastefully Offensive


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Beer Made from Belly Button Lint

(Image: 7 Cent Brewery)

To brew beer, you need yeast. And where should you find yeast? The truth lies within yourself--and specifically, your belly button.

7 Cent Brewery in Australia has developed a new beer from the bacteria found in the belly button lint of one of the founders. It's called Belly Button Beer. 9 News describes it:

As for how Belly Button Beer tastes, the brewery has described it as being "in the style of a new world-ish Belgian-ish Witbier with fresh orange zest and toasted coriander seeds".

"The yeast exhibits qualities of Belgian beer with the key characteristics being spiciness, clove and light banana esters. The orange zest and coriander seeds were used to help complement the yeast and a calculated amount of Riwaka and Mosaic hops were added to increase the citrus qualities and give it a refreshing hop kick," they said.

"Four different grains were also used to add both body and complexity including: barley, wheat, oats and rye."

This isn't the first time 7 Cent Brewery has used unique ingredients in a beer recipe:

The brewery also made an oyster stout, and launched a 'hipster beer' at GABS 2015, which was made with quinoa, chia seeds and kale.

-via Ace of Spades HQ


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A Tale of Two Famous Kitties ...and The Librarian Who Loved Them

Neatorama is proud to bring you an excerpt from the new book The True Tails of Baker and Taylor by Jan Louch and Lisa Rogak (previously at Neatorama). It's the true story of two library cats who brought an entire community together beginning in 1983. 

It all started with mice in the library.

Assistant librarian Jan Louch and a coworker decided that what the library needed was a cat. Or, even better, two cats. Soon, they found a pair of Scottish Folds who were perfect for the job. Jan named them Baker and Taylor, and they took up residence in the library.

But these cats were much more than mousers. Visitors to the library fell in love with Baker and Taylor and their antics just as Jan had. And then, after Jan let the cats be photographed for a poster, they became feline celebrities. Children from across the country wrote them letters, fans traveled from far and wide to meet them, and they became the most famous library cats in the world.

In The True Tails of Baker and Taylor, Jan Louch looks back and tells the remarkable story of these two marvelous cats and the people―readers, librarians, and cat lovers of all ages―who came together around them.


The patrons who loved Baker and Taylor were a diverse lot. From the young mothers and toddlers who came in for story time to the retired business executives who came in each morning as soon as the doors opened and headed straight for the reading room where they could read the newspaper for an hour or two, a cross-section of the community walked through the door every day, and I loved that about the library.

(Image courtesy of Jan Louch)

In the early afternoon, there was usually a bit of a lull at the library; the patrons who came in the morning and others who returned a few books on their lunch hour were gone. The next rush consisted of the high school kids who would come in to do their homework.

Baker was a people cat – the staff’s nickname for him was “Library Slut.”

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

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Toys for Families with Paralysis


(Video Link)

One of the great joys of life is playing with a young child. They're full of pure energy and bliss. But if you're paralyzed, then actively participating in play is very hard. As Donna Lowich, a grandmother in this video from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, says, "I'm basically relegated to spectator."

That's why the Foundation is developing toys that people with paralysis can use with children. These include remote control cars that can be operated with blow tubes and neck movements, as well as voice-activated pitching machines. They're called Adaptoys.

With the Adaptoys, users can participate in the simple joy of play. Eric LeGrand described his experience with the remote-controlled cars to Fox News:

“The idea of playing with my nephews with the Adaptoys, I thought it was honestly incredible,” LeGrand said. “It was awesome. I had a lot of fun with them competing and showing them that Uncle E does have some competitive drive. It was great.”

“It opens doors for me because all of a sudden I could play with them. I could pitch with a baseball or whiffle ball with them,” he said. “It was funny to see how my little nephew got so mad telling me I cheated when I won. That’s the priceless stuff you can’t replicate.”

-via Huffington Post


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The Scrambled Boxtops Puzzle

Boing Boing reprinted this puzzle from the book My Best Mathematical and Logic Puzzles by Martin Gardner.

Imagine that you have three boxes, one containing two black marbles, one containing two white marbles, and the third, one black marble and one white marble. The boxes were labeled for their contents – BB, BW, WW – but someone switched the labels so that every box is now incorrectly labeled. You are allowed to take one marble at a time out of any box, without looking inside, and by this process of sampling you are to determine the contents of all three boxes. What is the smallest number of drawings needed to do this?

It’s not difficult to figure out if you can visualize the boxes in front of you (or just look at the picture). It wouldn’t be hard to make this a real world puzzle, either. Give us your answer in the comments!

Love games and puzzles? Visit NeatoPuzzles for more!

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Giant Hammock Can Hold 5 People

Hammacher Schlemmer calls it the Bunyanesque Hammock after the mythical lumberjack Paul Bunyan. The $500 hammock holds 5 200-pound adults and measures 8 by 15 feet. The straps appear to be rigid, thus preventing it from being used as a slingshot, which is a shame. Perhaps those could be added as an aftermarket feature.

-via Incredible Things


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The Bizarre 1909 Scheme to Make Hawaii More White

Hawaii became a US territory in 1898. The federal government considered the islands’ demographic makeup as a problem -it was “too Asian.” At the time, the big five sugarcane plantations were importing workers from Japan, China, and the Philippines. But the horrid conditions caused the workers to organize, spelling trouble for their overlords.

When Hawaii officially annexed the islands in 1900, the contract system was abolished and the sugarcane workers rebelled, whipping the underlying racism of the white ruling class into a kind of paranoiac madness. Newpaper editorials warned of a dystopian future under Asian rule. Ministers raved about the threat of Buddhist missionaries. In 1905, President Roosevelt himself issued a strongly worded pronouncement that Hawaiian immigration must proceed under “traditional American lines.”

Importing Siberian labor was part of a desperate, last-ditch effort to turn the demographic tide in Hawaii, orchestrated by the sugarcane planters, the island elite, and a U.S. congress that feared Hawaii would do the unthinkable and send an Asian senator to Congress. But the weirdest immigration scheme ever proposed by a U.S. territory, also turned out to be the most disastrous. The Russians never provided anticipated relief from Asian workers, because they refused to work at all.

The Siberian immigrants weren’t lazy, not at all. But the desires of the plantation owners, the federal government, and the immigrants didn’t mesh. Read about the failed scheme to transplant Siberians into Hawaii at Atlas Obscura.

(Image source: Russian Collection, Hamilton Library, University of Hawaii at Manoa)


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A Statistical Analysis of the Ratings of the First and Last Episodes of TV Shows

How well did Glee end? Fans were clearly delighted. I didn't see it, but I did watch the finale of Newhart, which was ingenious.

Dexter rightfully deserves to be dead last in this list. Just hacking off the last 3 minutes alone would helped a lot.

Redditor ChallengeResponse compared IMDb ratings of the first and last episodes of famous television shows to see whether they were relatively good or bad, as well as compared finales with average ratings for the respective durations of each show. You can see all of the charts here.

Do any of these rating shifts surprise you?

-via Twisted Sifter


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Meet Dr. Color: How Bob Buckter Repainted San Francisco

The Victorian-era homes of San Francisco are a colorful delight, and that’s due to the influence of one man known as Dr. Color. Bob Buckter is an an architectural colorist who specializes in historic homes. It’s a career he invented for himself when his eye for color gained him a reputation. He’s selected colors for around 15,000 exteriors in San Francisco alone, both residential and commercial -and that doesn’t count the buildings that copied his ideas.

Bob Buckter is a native San Franciscan. He started out as a house painter in 1970, but quickly realized that he had an unusual knack for color design, so he began consulting on the side. “That was a difficult uphill task because, why should people pay two, three hundred dollars for somebody to pick colors? But I was able to convince people—some people—to do that." He thought, "I like this. I want to try to be the best at it, if I can. Or at least very good."

Read about Buckter’s career, how he determines what colors to use, and how he uses those colors, at Hoodline. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Ben Zotto/Hoodline)


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Family Issues - Homer Definitely Has A Dark Side


Family Issues by Ddjvigo

Luke thought he had family problems until he connected to a satellite from some corporation called Fox one day and found out the truth. He watched some yellow people from another war torn planet called Springfield bicker amongst themselves, the father/star Homer often physically choking his son Bart with his bare hands like a barbarian. This scene changed young master Skywalker's life, and he swore to try and make things better between him and Daddy Darth, if only he could get him to take off his helmet and talk about his feelings...

People will get all choked up when they see this Family Issues t-shirt by Ddjvigo because it will either remind them of their own family or of how much they like Simpsons mashups!

Visit Ddjvigo's NeatoShop for more geek-tastic designs:

Violence Z-Men Drunk Rhapsody Starry Wars

View more designs by Ddjvigo | More Cartoon T-shirts | New T-Shirts

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Intricately Carved Spoons Are Sculptures You Can Eat With

That's because Giles Newman's first design principle is a spoon is always a spoon:

Each piece must be a functional spoon, suitable for daily use and comfortable in the hand. This constraint ensures that I don't let the complexity of my designs compromise the functional premise of the carving. Creatively this gives me a firm foundation on which to design. Knowing that there must be a bowl and a handle of some sort helps me avoid the 'blank canvas' feeling. My designs always start with the bowl and work out from there.

That's from an interview that the artist gave with the Wood Workers Institute. He describes his work in detail, including his use of hand tools. Newman's techniques focus on the axe and the knife, for which he completes almost all of his work. You can see a time-lapse video of his use of the axe on a spoon here and view more photos of spoons on his Instagram feed.

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Honest Dog Breed Slogans

There are all sorts of myths and misconceptions associated with popular dog breeds, and even though these stereotypes are largely untrue they just can't seem to beat the bad rap.

Dog lovers have been working to change the negative perceptions by spreading knowledge so people will stop seeing the bad in these breeds and accept them as they truly are.

These fun minimalist illustrations by Laura Palumbo poke fun at dog breed myths with a lighthearted sense of humor that's suitable for all but appreciated most by fans of the featured breeds.

See 12 Honest Dog Breed Slogans That Make Fun Of Stereotypes here

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

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Sky Magic at Mt.Fuji

This would have been a wonderful video even without its drone dancers. The Oyamakai ensemble of Shamisen players perform a rocking tune at sundown at the base of beautiful Mt. Fuji. The featured dancers are 20 synchronized drones, each in their little cages outfitted with a total of 16,500 LEDs. They fly in choreographed formations, swinging their lights in synchrony. You’ll want to see this in full-screen mode.

(vimeo link)

Sky Magic is the work of creative director Tsuyoshi Takashiro for the tech company MicroAd, Inc. Read more about it at Spoon & Tamago.


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Surreal Aquariums Seem to Defy Gravity

Inside this aquarium is another aquarium, inside of which ferns grow.

Resident fish can swim up to the top of the ferns, but no further, as there's a bubble of air inside this little balloon.

Haruka Misawa, a Japanese designer, calls her series of surreal aquariums "Waterscape."

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The Toughest Pirates in Existence

The annual rugby match between the British Army and the Royal Navy took place at Twickenham Saturday. You know that kind of competition will draw some tough characters, but these are probably the toughest.

On the left is Army veteran Cayle Royce with Royal Marine veteran Lee Spencer, who were both part of an all-amputee team who rowed a boat 3,000 miles across the Atlantic earlier this year, representing the organization Row2Recovery. The four veterans on the team have three legs between them. They set a speed record for the trip, too.

Oh, the rugby match was a draw, 29-29. -via reddit

(Image credit: Row2Recovery at Facebook)


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Speed Dating Service Lets You Sniff Armpits While Wearing a Bag on Your Head


(Photo: Ruptly)

Alcoholic Architecture, a bar in London, wants to appeal to your sense of smell. That's why it once created a cocktail cloud that you could drink simply by breathing.

Continuing that theme, the bar recently offered a novel speed dating event called Romancing the Armpit. Participants placed paper bags on their heads, then smelled each other's armpits. They rated each other by smell and were matched up accordingly. The premise is that people are naturally attracted to good partners by smell:

We know that pheromones – the airborne compounds secreted in our sweat – play a role in sexual attraction.

Our body odour is largely influenced by Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules, which are genetically determined and linked to the immune system. Experiments have shown that opposites attract; we tend to judge potential sexual partners as more attractive if their MHC composition is different from our own. Further, MHC is also linked to sexual preference, so differences in body odour are detected and responded to on the basis of an individual’s gender and sexual orientation.

Perhaps, one day, all online dating profile pictures will be scratch-n-sniff. In the meantime, you can see more photos of this speed dating event at the Daily Mail.

-via Debby Witt


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Ravshaniya Azulye's Photographic Flights Of Fantasy

Everyone thinks of themselves as a photographer thesde days, and yet most of the pics these amateur shutterbugs post online lack style and imagination, just another head shot in a sea of selfies.

But the bland pics that inundate the internet make it easy to spot a true artist like Ravshaniya Azulye, because their images capture the imagination and leave the viewer wanting to see more.

The subjects seem to be effortlessly playing games with gravity while Ravshaniya expertly blends elements of photographic genres such as wedding and avant garde to create cool new worlds within each image.

See more Flight Of Fantasy: Incredible Art Photography By Ravshaniya Azulye here


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Bite Size Candies

M&M candies are 75 years old! In honor of the occasion, Pogo (Nick Bertke) made a remix of M&M ads spanning decades.  

(YouTube link)

While this remix has Pogo’s hypnotic signature sound, it also has coherent lines from the advertising jingles and dialogue, strung together to make an entirely new song. You might come out of this craving chocolate that melts in your mouth, not in your hands. -via Viral Viral Videos  


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Highly Successful Professor Publishes a Résumé of His Failures

Johannes Haushofer is a full-time professor at Princeton University. So by academic standards, he's tremendously successful. 

But he wants his students to understand that the journey to success is filled with failure after failure. He wants them to encounter defeat, overcome it, and keep moving forward. So he made a curriculum vitae (a type of résumé that academics use) listing all of the failures in his career that he can think of.

Haushofer explained his perspective to the Washington Post:

“Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible,” Haushofer writes. “I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves, rather than the fact that the world is stochastic, applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days.”

Do you have a long list of failures? Good. That means that you're trying:

Haushofer adds that if his CV of failures seems short, it’s probably because he’s forgetting some things. And a longer CV of failures could very well be a good thing – it might mean the person is good at trying new things.

-via Nag on the Lake


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Thor Pranks Spider-Man

The Marvel superhero Thor has a hammer called Mjölnir that cannot be picked up by anyone besides Thor, or someone worthy of Thor’s status. That does not include Spider-Man, who is a mortal with spider powers. So what grief could Thor cause a fellow superhero with Mjölnir?

(YouTube link)

He could make life miserable. You don’t want to get on any superhero’s bad side, but even in good-natured pranking, an enchanted hammer is truly a secret weapon. -via Tastefully Offensive  


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Eat The Rude - Can You Taste The Freshness?


Eat The Rude by Kgullholmen

Hannibal Lecter may be gone, but his legacy of fine dining using only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients lives on in the form of the Lecter Supper Club. The LSC, as they jokingly call it after a few too many glasses of chianti, has taken the lessons taught by Lecter and turned it into a social circle full of very satisfied customers. Hannibal was kind enough to teach founding members how to butcher and prepare long pork, how to identify an organ worthy of inclusion in a haute cuisine course, and how to identify when the herd needs to be thinned out a bit because they have a bad attitude...

Show the world you have impeccable taste with this Eat The Rude t-shirt by Kgullholmen, it's a delicious way to make your fellow fans grin like maniacs, and may even get you invited to more dinner parties!

Visit Kgullholmen's Facebook fan page, official website, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more tasty designs:

Kraftnerd Better Call Mike Flux Power Knowledge Is Power

View more designs by Kgullholmen | 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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Physics Students Calculate How Long Vampires Would Need To Suck Our Blood

Watch enough vampire themed shows and movies and you'll see a fanged character encounter one of the inherent problems of vampire life- the need to feed.

But these shows never reveal how long it would actually take a vampire to bite a victim's neck and satisfy their sanguine thirst.

(Image Link)

That's where the physics students from the University Of Leicester come in, because they've figured out how long it would take a vampire to feed before the process became futile.

According to their calculations a vampire could suck 15 percent of a person's blood out through two tiny holes in their neck in about 6.4 minutes, at which point the victim's heart rate would slow thereby making it harder to feed.

Read Physics Students Calculate How Long A Vampire Needs To Drink Your Blood here


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CSI Fan Helps Solve Crime

Young woman was found dead in a park in Seville, Spain. Police thought she died of a drug overdose and released the crime scene. That’s when Carmen Moreno stepped in. She had worked cleaning up the park for many years, and was charged with disposing of a pile of bloody tissues left behind. But Moreno thought there was too much blood to be explained by a drug overdose. And she was a fan of the TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Following what she saw on TV, she demonstrated how she used plastic bags to carefully collect the evidence without contaminating it and stored it -- just in case police ever needed it.

When an autopsy later proved the woman likely died from being violently raped, police couldn't believe they tossed vital evidence and were more stunned to learn Moreno held on to it.   

Thanks to Moreno’s evidence, a local suspect has been arrested. The Seville police are presumably chastened. Read more about the case at CBS This Morning (contains autoplay video).  -via Uproxx 


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The Time Keith Moon Passed Out on Stage and Was Replaced by a Member of the Audience

Keith Moon was the drummer for The Who, a British rock band formed in 1964. He had serious drug addiction problems that ultimately killed him 1978.

By 1973, Moon's drug use was greatly impairing the effectiveness of The Who. At one concert in San Francisco, Moon overdosed and passed out. After punching him and giving him cold showers for half an hour while the audience waited for the concert to resume, the other band members managed to get him conscious. Then he slipped out again. Moon was out for the night.

This was a huge problem. The band had to have a drummer.

Lead singer Pete Townshend stepped up to the mic and addressed the audience:

“Can anybody play the drums? I mean someone good!”

20-year old Scot Halpin was in the audience. He could play the drums, though he hadn't in a year. But he would have to do.


(Video Link)

For an evening, Halpin became a member of The Who. He had a brief moment of fame as news about his feat swept around the world. You can read about Halpin's experience at Dangeorus Minds and view his performance in the above video.

-via Jonah Goldberg


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Onomatopoeia Rebus

CharlieWaffle5 searched the term "onomatopoeia" and found this image. It’s a mini-language lesson all on its own. "Onomatopoeia" means a word that sounds like what it’s describing, which is usually a sound, like "buzz" or "shush." A "rebus" is a phrase or sentence rendered in pictures. But what makes this really remarkable is the astonishing number of redditors who did not know that church benches are called pews.


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Watch This Amazingly Strong Bee Pull a Nail out of a Wall


(Video Link)

You and I might reach for a claw hammer, but all this mason bee needs are his own legs--his very strong legs. Watch him pull the long nail completely out of the hole.

What's happening here? The bee is probably returning home. The Daily Mail quotes zoologist Lynn Dicks:

Dr Lynn Dicks a research fellow from Cambridge University's Department of Zoology explained the bee's behaviour: 'Mason bees like this usually choose existing holes rather than excavating their own.

'I have never seen anything like this and suspect that the nail was places in a nest hole this bee had already started using. This would explain its urgency to remove the nail - it may have laid eggs or have larvae inside.'

-via Nothing to Do with Aborath


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The Ten Longest Wars in History

The following article is from Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader.

Historians often disagree on whether certain wars should be considered one continuing conflict or a series of separate wars. But that doesn’t stop them from compiling lists of the longest wars ever fought. Here is the most popular version.

10. THE VIETNAM WAR

Length: 19 years (1955–1975)

Details: Although there was no official declaration of war, the Vietnam War began on November 1, 1955, when the United States began providing military support to the newly created nation of South Vietnam in their war against communist-controlled —and Soviet- and Chinese-supported— North Vietnam. Major fighting didn’t really begin until 1963 (total number of U.S. troops killed in Vietnam prior to 1962: fewer than 100), when the war was escalated, first by President John F. Kennedy and then by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The war officially ended on April 30, 1975, when the last American forces left Saigon and North Vietnam took control of the entire country, reunifying the North and South into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Estimated deaths: 2.4 million

9. THE GREAT NORTHERN WAR

Length: 21 years (1700–1721)

Details: This war’s two main adversaries were Russia, under Peter the Great, and the Swedish Empire, under Charles XII, with various allies fighting on either side at different points— including Denmark-Norway, Poland-Lithuania, the Ottoman Empire, and Great Britain (which actually fought on both sides at different times over the course of the war). Winner: Russia. The outcome drastically reshaped the power structure of Europe, reducing what was then a very powerful Swedish Empire to a minor player in European affairs. Russia, in turn, was officially renamed the Russian Empire, with Peter the Great as its first emperor. The victory marked Russia’s emergence as a major world power.

Estimated deaths: Historians believe the number of battle deaths, along with deaths due to disease and famine brought on by the war, was more than 300,000.

8. FIRST PUNIC WAR

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Dog: "Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet?"


(Video Link)

This black Labrador is on his way to the park. He's in a hurry and acts like a backseat barker in response to his human's slow driving. He's just like a kid.

-via Nothing to Do with Aborath

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

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Four Marines, Then and 50 Years Later

These two photographs were taken 50 years apart. On the left, best buddies Dennis Puleo, Tom Hanks, Bob DeVenezia, and Bob Falk were taking a break from Marine training on a California beach. All four friends reunited for the first time in decades to recreate the picture on Cinnamon Beach in Florida.   

In 1966, the four U.S. Marines were stationed together in Camp Pendleton, outside San Diego. The Vietnam War was ramping up, and together, they were part of a weapons platoon — three machine gunners and one anti-tank man — getting ready to ship off to East Asia.

Over the next two years, they'd train together and deploy together. Once in Vietnam, they'd separate, enduring many of the same horrendous conditions, if not the same action. Two of them would earn Purple Hearts. Each would experience the unexplainable fear of war.

"We had the tools. We had the training," DeVenezia said. "But nothing trains you for your first combat. Nothing. Zero."

After their Vietnam tours, the four went their separate ways, and only last month did they all get together for the first time. Read all about the reunion at the Naples Daily News. -via Uproxx


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Watch as Parkinson's Treatment Calms a Man's Tremors in Seconds


(Video Link)

This new treatment for Parkinson's Disease is called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). It begins with the surgical implantation of electrodes that send signals to specific parts of the brain. The eletrodes are regulated by a pacemaker-like device in the chest. When activated, the electrodes counteract the tremors.

In the above video by the New York Post, Dr. Paul J. Waguespack activates the system in a patient named Mr. Richardson. Once the system is turned on, Mr. Richardson's tremors stop cold within seconds.

-via Robb Allen


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