The Bizarro Life of Cartoonist Dan Piraro

Longtime Neatorama friend Dan Piraro is the mad genius behind the comic Bizarro. His comic panels are surreal, often political, and have no recurring characters. All those factors made it hard for an unknown to get into newspaper syndication in the days when that was the only way to make it big in the business. Piraro was an art school dropout illustrating products for sale with a wife and baby to support when he was inspired to try newspaper syndication by Gary Larson’s strip The Far Side. That inspiration turned out to be a stumbling block.

Many months of unsuccessful attempts passed before Piraro elicited an “encouraging rejection” from Chronicle Features editor, Stuart Dobbs. “He told me that, while they were interested in me, they already had a similar strip [The Far Side],” recalls Piraro. “But he told me to stay in touch.”   

Finally, after several failed efforts, the 25-year-old cartoonist was offered his big break:

“One day, [Dobbs] called me and said, ‘I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that Gary Larson is jumping to Universal Press Syndicate, and we had no idea he was even thinking about it. But the good news is that we’ve decided to pick up your strip because we now have room for it.’”
At first, Piraro thought he “his ship had come in.” Quickly, he learned that syndication was not for the hasty: selling to newspapers is a very gradual process that often takes years. A whole year into syndication, Piraro’s strip, Bizarro, was only featured in seven newspapers.

“My first royalty check was $90 for an entire month of cartoons,” he recalls. “That was a very disappointing day.”

For years afterward, Piraro kept his day job while coming up with daily strips to keep the syndication dream alive. It eventually paid off, but the journey was difficult. Then computers and the internet changed the way comics are produced and consumed, and he had to adapt all over again. Read the fascinating story of Piraro and his Bizarro comics at Pricenomics. -via Digg

(Images credit: Dan Piraro)


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How To Put A Rubik's Cube Inside A Bottle

Completing a Rubik’s cube in under a certain amount of time was a pretty big deal back in the 80s, but nowadays we know better than to get all excited about toy cube based skills.

However, many of us still get mighty excited about the world of geeky home décor, and it doesn’t get much better than retro themes for the otherwise totally modern home.

You know what looks really retro cool when it hangs around your house? A Rubik’s cube in a beaker, bottle or any other place where it seems to be an impossible fit, that's what!

Putting a Rubik’s cube in a bottle is a much better use for that maddening puzzle, and it's a retro geek chic conversation piece that may convince some people you’re a wizard.

(YouTube Link)

YouTuber Mathologer has created this instructional video that’s teaches you how to take a modern Rubik's cube apart and put it together again inside a bottle. It may not be the easiest project in the world, but the end results are purely mathe-magical!

-Via Boing Boing


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Are You Patriotic Enough for the Independence Dog?

Hot dogs are an American tradition and I'm willing to bet that almost any of you who went to a Fourth of July barbeque probably had the option to eat one, even if you chose not to. That being said, you can make a hot dog even more all-American with a little extra work -that's where the Vulgar Chef comes in.

When the Fourth came around this year, the Vulgar Chef took advantage of the holiday by making the most American hot dog of all time -the Independence Dog. This delightful monstrosity takes a typical hot dog, wraps in bacon, then covers it in in ground beef. The meat log is then deep fried, covered in marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni and then served on a bun made of deep fried macaroni and cheese. 

Let freedom ring my friends!

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Population Of 1! - Careful With That Axe, Villager


Population Of 1! by Yashanyu1

Don't let that villager's cute little face fool you- he's not the nicest boy in animal town, he's a psycho who really belongs up in Silent Hill! Haven't you ever wondered why he carries around that axe? It's not for chopping trees, and if you ever face off against him in the Smash Bros arena you'd better guard your neck, because the villager is about to cut you down to size!

Show the world the one character they should refrain from crossing with this Population Of 1! t-shirt by Yashanyu1, it's the fun way to show the world the true face of video game fear.

Visit Yashanyu1's Facebook fan page, Tumblr and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more scary good designs:

Shulk and Reyn Do Colony 9! The Starman Arcana Super Star Platinum Monokuma Sluggers

View more designs by Yashanyu1 | 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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Hardhome Visual Effects Breakdown

Visual effects and digital postproduction company El Ranchito Imagen Digital shows us what they did to make one battle scene in the Game of Thrones episode entitled “Hardhome.” There is a terrific amount of work to make every little detail of a fantasy world mesh together to create a seamless sequence. You can imagine how much digital effects work went into the entire season!    

(vimeo link)

Does this contain spoilers? I don’t think the video tells us anything major: there’s a battle scene, with some supernatural characters, but we don’t see who wins. I can understand why they release these effects videos after the season ends, because it will challenge your suspension of disbelief to imagine the actors doing their stuff in separate studios, in front of green screens, without the thundering hordes of the finished product. -via Uproxx


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15 Workout Tank Tops That'll Make You Look Good While Working Out


Gym of the Warrior
by berserk7

Summer's here - are you beach bod ready? Well, you got to work out to look good, but you can also look good while working out! Here are 15 Workout Tank Tops That'll Make You Look Good While Working Out, regardless of your body type:


Your Workout is My Warmup
by berserk7

 


Snake Mountain Gym
by louisros

 


Eternia Gym Teela
by Buby87

 


Hulk's Gym
by ArtofCoreyCourts

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Pinocchio the Blind Shelter Cat Met Feline Pal Jiminy Cricket, and All Was Right With Their World


YouTube Link

Pinocchio was found abandoned at an airport as a kitten. Both his eyes were badly infected and they had to be surgically removed. Blind and transferred to a shelter, Pinocchio may have been losing hope, until he met fellow shelter kitten Jiminy Cricket. The two male cats became inseparable and were eventually adopted out together into the beautiful and obviously loving home seen in this video. Now the two cats not only have each other, but they have toys, cardboard boxes and backyard to explore to their hearts' content. Don't miss the adorable shots of Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket together in this uplifting footage.

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

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14 Great Works of Spock Cosplay

(Photo: j0be)

He is imminently logical and fascinating. He's the interstellar man of mystery. He's Spock, the half human, half Vulcan science officer on board the USS Enterprise. Spock has inspired generations of trekkies to imitate him, including for cosplay. For example, here's Betty Page Spock by Madeline Masquerade next to Rosie the Riveter Kirk. Let's look at even more great Spock cosplays.

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Nine of the Weirdest Cults in the World

Image: The Richest

One lesson humankind surely has learned by now is never to underestimate the power that a cult with even a seemingly insane belief system can have over lonely people who feel they have no purpose, self worth or sense of belonging.

Heaven's Gate. The People's Temple. The "Koreshian" division of the Branch Davidians and even the Manson Gang are all examples of this phenomenon. Because of the flawed yet enduringly human traits described above, as some cult movements end, others always crop up in their place.

The article linked below cites nine examples of bizarre cults all over the globe. One is The Body of Christ. A quote from the article about this group follows:

"This is a group of people who turn to personal revelations, rather than the Bible. Followers of this cult have made news due to child deaths; one from lack of nutrition and another for lack of medical attention. You see, the people belonging to this cult believe that God will give them direct signs and instructions. They await these signs before taking any kind of action. The Body of Christ rejects the long-held systems in society: education, government, banking, religion, medicine, science, and entertainment. They refuse to work with civil and government entities, and turn a blind eye to assistance. They await doomsday, when the rest of the world will explode, but they will remain safe."

Read about other bizarre cults in existence today here.


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The Steepest Residential Street in the World

(Photo: Oyvind)

A 529-foot stretch of Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand has a gradient of 1 to 3.41. There are roads elsewhere in the world that are steeper, but no one is crazy enough to live on them.

But the Kiwis do not take such challenges lying down. They prefer leaning over, which is why they get to claim this Guinness World Record title.

How did this happen? City planners in London considered that a grid plan is the best way for a city to develop, so they designed it that way for Dunedin. They did not give much regard for the local topography. You can see more photos of this amazing place at Twisted Sifter.


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How Milk Became a Staple

Cheese and butter go back a long way as methods of preserving milk. But fresh milk was considered baby food, or a boost for growing children, through most of history. Only about a hundred years ago did milk drinking become common among adults. That was because of the convergence of several trends around the beginning of the 20th century. First, the milk trade became regulated and safer (see our previous articles on that development). Then there was the craze for healing through nutrition, which led to the development of cereals, served with milk (see our previous article on that). And there was the Temperance movement, with groups trying to get men to drink anything besides alcohol (which we also covered). Read more about these trends and how they led to people rushing out to buy milk before a snowstorm hits, at BBC Future. -via mental_floss

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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50 Years of Frank Herbert’s Dune

(Image: Universal Pictures)

In 1959, struggling writer Frank Herbert journeyed to the sand dunes of Oregon to research a story about a government plan to stabilize those ever-shifting sands. The experience dug into him and grew. It became the groundbreaking 1965 science fiction novel Dune. That novel almost didn’t make it to print. Herbert submitted it to more than 20 publishing houses before Chilton, the car repair manual publisher, agreed to print it.

Dune won the Nebula and Hugo Awards, but its popularity grew only slowly over the following decade. It influenced Star Wars and led to the development its own movie in 1984 and miniseries in 2000. In The Guardian, Hari Kunzru argues that it’s one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time and an essential story:

Though in his later years he enjoyed huge success, Herbert, the man who dreamed of greening the desert, had mixed feelings about the future. In Dune, he has Kynes, the “First Planetologist of Arrakis” (and hero of the novel’s first draft) muse that “beyond a critical point within a finite space, freedom diminishes as numbers increase. This is as true of humans in the finite space of a planetary ecosystem as it is of gas molecules in a sealed flask. The human question is not how many can possibly survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those who do survive.” Gloomy Malthusianism was much in vogue in the 1960s and 70s. In 1968 Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb became a runaway bestseller, predicting mass starvation unless population growth was restricted. The flip side of the green movement’s valorisation of small scale and self-reliance is an uneasy relationship with the masses, and with the idea of economic growth more generally. Herbert’s libertarian politics reinforced this worry. In Dune, Paul knows that if the desert planet is made to bloom, it will support a larger population, and the ethic of individualism will be eroded. He himself, as he is transformed from aristocrat to messiah, loses his individuality and begins to dissolve into myth, becoming part of a Jungian collective unconscious. But perhaps Herbert would take heart from the thought that history does not appear to be teleological and some long-term plans do not take on the character of destiny. Fifty years after Dune’s publication, the US Department of Agriculture is still at work on the Oregon Dunes, rooting out European beach grass, an “invasive non‑native species”. They want to return the dune processes to their natural state.

Have you read Dune? What do you think of it?

-via Marginal Revolution


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7 Of The Most Ridiculous Sex Scenes In Comic Book History

Superheroes rarely have time to carry on sexual affairs, so they often find the chance to hook up in the middle of a situation that requires some superheroing.

Bearing in mind that big companies like DC and Marvel are still largely creating comics to appeal to a teen or young adult market, this makes superhero hook ups some of the most ridiculous and truly unsexy moments in pop culture history.

Dorkly has put together a rather eye opening (and less risque than you'd imagine) collection featuring 7 Ludicrous Superhero Sex Scenes You Could Only Find In Comics, just try and read 'em with a straight face!


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Taco Tuesday - Even Squares Need Sustenance


Taco Tuesday by Davinci SMURF

Evil plans always sound good on paper, but as soon as they interfere with Taco Tuesday you know they're totally gonna fail. This is especially true when you bring guys like Darth in on your dirty scheme, since Vader loves Taco Tuesday more than he hates his own father, so if you're planning to cause a brick-tastrophe and let it all fall down do yourself a favor- set your plan in motion during wasabi Wednesdays!

Build up a reputation for your good taste with this Taco Tuesday t-shirt by Davinci SMURF, it's the funny way to say "lego my taco, you brickheaded bum" without actually saying a word!

Visit Davinci SMURF's Facebook fan page, Twitter and Tumblr, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more brick-tastic designs:

MONA KARA GEEK CREST- SO SAY WE ALL 75 YEARS OF BEING A LEGEND PAC WHO

View more designs by Davinci SMURF | 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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Kingii, The Wrist-Mounted Lifesaving Device

People will look at you funny if you wear a normal life jacket everywhere.  And, honestly, it gets bulky and cumbersome. The Kingii is a better option. It fits onto a wrist. There’s a pull lever that activates a CO2 tank, which inflates a small bag. It’s bright orange and has a whistle, which can hopefully signal rescuers. There’s a compass in case you have to navigate on your own. Now if you suddenly find yourself if the water, you’ve got a better chance of surviving. And the strangers at the mall who laughed at you will be drowning while you’re still alive and safe.


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Bartkira Trailer

Back in 2013, we told you about the Bartkira Project by artist Ryan Humphrey, in which he invited hundreds of artists from around the world to recreate the manga Akira in the style of The Simpsons.

The project is still going strong (you can read three out of the 6 planned volumes on the website) and to whet your appetite, here's a wonderful animated trailer from Kaitlin Sullivan and James Harvey of Akira drawn in the style and featuring the characters from The Simpsons.

Milhouse as Tetsuo? But of course!


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How to Swaddle

See, it’s always handy to teach your children new skills! Swaddling a baby makes him or her feel cozy, warm, and safe, like being back in the womb. Or like being a burrito. And that can be a good feeling no matter what your age. This is the latest from Lunarbaboon.

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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This Dog’s Best Friends Are 8 Birds and a Hamster

Everyone, meet Bob. He’s a kindly Golden Retriever who shares a home in Brazil with not just humans, but also 8 birds and a hamster. He’s got to be the chillest dog who ever lived because he’s perfectly content to let his little friends climb all over him, even when he’s napping. The pictures that result are supremely adorable. You can follow him on Facebook or Instagram.

-via Tastefully Offensive

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

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Up Close and Personal in the Great Barrier Reef

Cause we were like, "woaaaah.", and I was like, "woaaaah." and you were like, "woaaahh...

-Crush, Finding Nemo

WWF-Australia put a GoPro camera on the back of a sea turtle so we can get a turtle’s-eye-view of the surreal and beautiful Great Barrier Reef, home to over 6,000 animals species. It will make you feel as if you are riding on the turtle’s back!

(YouTube link)

The turtle eventually shed the camera, but then it landed in a lovely spot to record more wildlife before it was retrieved. -via Viral Viral Videos


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How to Make a Giant Oreo Cake

How many Oreo cookies do you want to eat? I'll have just one--provided that it's one of these. YouTube user Hey! It’s Mosogourmet used special plastic baking pans to create this massively scaled-up version of an Oreo cookie. The creme filling has broken Oreos inside, so it's truly authentic. Now I'd like to have a huge glass of milk in which to dunk mine.

-via That's Nerdalicious!

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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How to Maximize Your Vacation Happiness

Science is taking a vacation! Or, let’s say, science is finding out things about vacations, and how you can get more bang for your buck. Findings by Dr. Amit Kumar and Dr. Thomas Gilovich analyzed the amount of happiness a getaway brings us and what facts lead to that happiness. They have some tips about why you should take a trip, what kind to take, and how to schedule your activities for peak return.

The happiness literature also has some important things to say about planning. Kumar said that he’d been wondering for a while whether planning a purchase well in advance “might cause [the purchaser to] derive more utility from their anticipation of the experience” than they would if they planned it at the last minute, he said. “We now have empirical evidence that that's indeed the case,” he said, in the form of a paper he coauthored with Thomas Gilovich that’s in press at the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

This tells me that the trend toward surprising children with a last-minute notice that they’re going to Disney World actually cheats those children out of the anticipation happiness they would have otherwise experienced. Not a great tradeoff for a viral video. Read the other ways you can optimize your vacation happiness at New York magazine. -via Digg


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Joker Hand Mask

Why so shy? Don't hide behind your hand, even if it is so perfectly painted.

A friend of a redditor with an unrepeatable username painted Heath Ledger's Joker onto his hand. It's perfectly proportioned to serve as a mask. Later in the thread, he links to several other works by the same artist, most of which are painted sneakers.

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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8 Creepy Internet Characters that Became Urban Legends

At one time, creepy tales were told around the campfire and at slumber parties, but outside of your circle of friends, you pretty much waited to retell them to your kids many years later. The internet changed all that, making audiences much bigger, including more gullible readers, and adding the ability to include images. Terror-inducing tales can spread like wildfire, and the scarier the story, the faster it spreads. One of those tales grew into the legend known as Slenderman.

Created on the Something Awful forums in 2009, Slenderman has since become a modern legend. His story is the very stuff of nightmares. Appearing across the world, his motivations are unknowable, his mission a mystery. All we can say for sure is that, wherever Slenderman goes, chaos and madness goes with him. And once he’s after you, there’s no escape.

Beyond that, the character is almost impossible to describe. Like his form, Slenderman’s legend is fluid, constantly metamorphosing to suit the tale. In some versions, he’s known to stalk and kill those who find out about him. In others, he’s simply a distant, unnerving presence: a shadowy figure watching the world from the edges of the daylight. He can disrupt electrical signals. He can turn unwitting people into his puppets. He can teleport and read minds. He can make you into a killer.

That’s just one of the 8 Creepy Internet Characters that Became Urban Legends you’ll learn (or relearn) about at Urban Ghosts. Warning: some images may be disturbing.

(Image credit: LuxAmber)


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What the Cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Has Been Up To Since the Series Ended

Image: Twentieth Century Fox/CBS

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon's late 1990s WB series that developed a cult following, has been off the air since May of 2003. The beloved ensemble cast moved on to other projects, with varying degrees of success. The linked article takes a look at what the cast of Buffy has been up to since the series. It begins with the protagonist herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar:

"Between BuffyCruel Intentions, and I Know What You Did Last Summer, Gellar was truly a ’90s teen queen. However, her post-Buffy career hasn’t quite measured up to its early promise. She was in The Grudge, which was successful, but also several little-seen indie dramas and thrillers, including Southland TalesThe Air I BreathePossession, and Veronika Decides to Die. She also starred in two television series, Ringer and The Crazy Ones, but both were unfortunately canceled after one season. While she may be waiting for her next great role, she’s still pretty busy being adorable with her husband, Freddie Prinze, Jr. and reenacting the iconic kiss from Cruel Intentions."

Read updates on the rest of the cast here.


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Forever Player 2 - Y U No Let Me Go First?!


Forever Player 2 by Haragos

Some of us are meant to be player 1, and some are meant to be overshadowed by their bros, stuck being forever player 2 in a kingdom full of mushrooms. Mario jumped at the chance to be Princess Peach's player 1, never knowing or caring what this power hungry play would do to his poor bro Luigi. The bond between the bros used to be super, but now that Luigi is stuck in the player two position there has been nothing but name calling and head squishing going on wheneve Mario and Luigi play co-op...

Celebrate your status as a second banana with this Forever Player 2 t-shirt by Haragos, and stand proud because, as the schoolyard saying goes, first is the worst but second is the best!

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

iN dIsGuIsE Bat-Tered Player 1...U Mad?

Tomnooki Suit

View more designs by Haragos | 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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Family Finds 2,000-Year Old Ritual Bath Beneath Their Living Room Floor


(Photo: Assaf Perez/IAA)

A family in Jerusalem, Israel found an incredible archaeological find beneath their living room floor: a huge, well-preserved, and ancient mikveh, which is a Jewish ritual bath. It's carved directly into the rock and lined with plaster. Pottery fragments suggest to archaeologists that it dates back to the First Century A.D. Haartez describes the find:

When they did call in the Israel Antiquities Authority, beneath the doors, the archaeologists found the carved stone staircase leaving to a big mikveh, 3.5 meters in length and 2.4 meters wide, with a depth of 1.8 meters.

The rock-hewn bath was meticulously plastered according to the laws of purity appearing in halacha. The staircase leads to the bottom of the immersion pool.

-via Messy Nessy Chic


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Cats and Dogs Getting Along Like Cats and Dogs

Cats and dogs can get along together at times, especially if they know each other well. But they’re still different species, and that can cause conflict. Dogs are rambunctious, and cats are pointy on five out of six ends.

(YouTube link)

Here we have a compilation of clips featuring cats and dogs not trying to get along from America’s Funniest Home Videos. -via Tastefully Offensive

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

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The City of Batman on the Batman River in Batman Province


(Image: Christian Science Monitor)

There's a town in eastern Turkey called Batman. It's located in a province named Batman. A river that flows through the province and near the town is called the Batman River.

Are the inhabitants die hard fans of Gotham City's caped crusader? No. A "batman" is an ancient unit of measurement equal to about 16.96 pounds. But the mayor of the city nonetheless accused Warner Bros. of ripping off the name of the town for the 2008 film The Dark Knight Rises. Nothing came of the accusation, especially because the town of Batman was called by a different name until 1957, long after Batman was an established comic book character. You can read more about the town and its strange name in Condé Nast Traveler.

-via Amusing Planet


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Spider Web Art

Rob from the What Is It? blog was walking in the park this morning and found a spiderweb that’s a bit unusual. It has a stabilimenta shaped like a person! Wait, what’s a stabilimenta? It’s a decoration that a spider adds to its web, for several possible reasons, like camouflage or mate attraction. We all know it can also be used to save a pig’s life.



But what’s this one for? Could it be a warning to other spiders that humans are near? Or maybe an attempt to communicate with us? It’s most likely a case of pareidolia, but if the spider who made it is named Charlotte, all bets are off. -Thanks, Rob!


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These Pokemon Make Bath Time Fun For Adults

There are a lot of fun bath toys out there for kiddos and plenty of fancy, relaxing bath products out there for adults, but it's rare to find something that bridges that gap. FizzyFairyApothecary sells Pokeball bath bombs that are a perfect combination of both adult and childhood baths.

Each bath bomb looks like a Pokemon ball and comes with a Pokemon toy inside -it's like getting a toy inside your cereal again!

Via Geekologie


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