Kid Sends Fan Mail to Fish

Image: Monterey Bay Aquarium

"In the past, penguins and sea otters have periodically received fan mail," said Ken Peterson, the communications director of Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, "but this very could well be the first fish fan letter."

Let's call it fin mail then! (I love how it's addressed as "Attn: Fish")

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Featured Designs from the NeatoShop:

Robotic Flying Fox Bat by Festo

We've featured many wonderful machines by Festo before on Neatorama (including this robotic bird), but the robotics and technology company may just have created its most fantastic flying robot yet.

Meet the BionicFlyingFox, an ultra-lightweight flying robot that can fly semi-autonomously with the beats of its flying membranes.

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Mr. E.T. - Alien A-Team Enforcer And Lover Of Peanut Butter Candy

Mr. E.T. - 80s Retro Vintage Mash-Up by Captain RibMan

I pity the fool who doesn't think E.T. dressed up as Mr. T is the toughest and gnarliest mashup in nerd history- because that fool's sense of humor is broken! Imagine the look on Elliot and Gertie's face when they see E.T. strolling in, his long neck covered in gold chains and his turtle-y head covered with a mohawk, they would flip their wigs! Of course, once they find out E.T. is now an alien enforcer who has come to collect the twenty bucks Elliot owes Billy the bully the costume won't seem so funny after all...

Get dressed up for geeky fun with this Mr. E.T.- 80s Retro Vintage Mash-Up t-shirt by Captain RibMan, and you'll make people smile wherever you go!

Visit Captain RibMan's Facebook fan page, official website and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more out of this world designs:

The Princess Flesh Wound Skill Game Persist Tusken Pride

View more designs by Captain RibMan | 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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Super Cute Shiba Inu Latte Art

image: @peliman

Love Shiba Inu and coffee? Take a look at these wonderful Shiba latte art by Mr. R Drinks in Taipei, Taiwan. The mini Shiba Inu head is actually marshmallow, which floats in the drink and watch you with its serene smile as you slurp your coffee.

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The Fish With a Switchblade In Its Face

The Pacific and Indian oceans are dangerous places, so the stonefish is always ready for a fight. It's even packing a switchblade ... in its face.

W. Leo Smith was dissecting a stonefish that was once his own pet, when discovered a switchblade-like device in the cheeks of the fish. Fifteen years later, he and his colleagues at The University of Kansas published the research paper that explained the mechanism behind the "lachrymal saber" of stonefish.

To help the stonefishes deploy the switchblade, an unusually large number of muscles and ligaments attach to bones comprising the lachrymal saber system compared with species outside the stonefish family, according to the researchers.

“There can’t be any other reason for those muscles and ligaments except to control this mechanism,” said the KU researcher.

Read the rest of the story over at KU News (Image: William Leo Smith/The University of Kansas)

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Why This School Bus Driver Braids a Girl's Hair Every Morning

After her mother died two years ago, 11-year-old Isabella Pieri went to school with messy and tangled hair. Her father tried to help, but styling a girls' hair was well outside his area of expertise.

Enter Isabella's bus driver, Tracy Dean.

Every morning, Dean takes the time to brush and braid Isabella's hair before she drives the girl to school.

Zoe Weiner of TODAY has the story:

After more than a year of riding on Dean’s bus, Isabella noticed that the driver had been helping a fellow classmate style her braids before school every morning. She eventually approached Dean and asked if she could have help with her hair, too. “Isabella just said, ‘Hey, will you do mine if I bring a brush?'" Dean recalled. "And I was just thinking to myself, 'Oh thank you, Lord.'"

(Image: Tracy Dean)

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Night Owls Are More Likely to Die Sooner Than Morning People

Bad news, night owls! Turns out that we're going to die sooner than those annoying morning people.

A new study by researchers at the University of Surrey and Northwestern University found that people who liked to stay up late were more likely to die within the six and a half year-long study period than those who were early risers.

"Night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies," Dr. Kristen Knutson of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine to The Telegraph. "It could be that people who are up late have an internal biological clock that doesn't match their external environment."

Sarah Knapton of The Telegraph has the full story.

You know what this means: time to adapt and change our sleeping habits into mid-afternoon narwhals (Image: Hoot! Night Owl by ivejustquitsmoking)

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Who Will Die in The Walking Dead Season Eight Finale?

The producers of The Walking Dead have been building up to this Sunday's episode for about three years now, and fans have become fatigued with the "all out war" between Rick's group, with their allies from various communities, and the Saviors under the leadership of Negan. This conflict should have been wrapped up a year ago. We've been told it will conclude this weekend. Season nine is going to be very different, which is promising. But first we have to have a final battle, and someone, maybe a lot of people, are going to die. Continue reading for the prospects of each character, which contain spoilers for those not current in the series.

Who will die this week on The Walking Dead?

Continue reading

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The Weird, Wacky Wonderworld Of Communist-Era Hotels

Eastern Europe did not have as many hotels under Communist rule as they do today, but back then the hotels were huge, grand in their brutalist way, and dominated the market. The government owned them, so they simplified tourism by putting everyone into one building. That made it easier to serve travelers and tourists ...and easier to keep an eye on them. Each nation had an agency that oversaw all hotels.

It’s not immediately obvious why the party and state-security apparatus would take such a keen interest in running hotels, until you consider the fact that these places were tremendous moneymakers for the regimes.

They could charge for the rooms and meals in hard currencies (mainly, at the time, U.S. dollars or German marks) and had a captive clientele of relatively well-off foreigners to whom they could market their off-the-books services like prostitution and money changing.

There was simply too much cash floating around to pass up.​

Many of these hotels remain decades later. Even though they've been remodeled after the fall of Communism, they still retain their Soviet-era creepiness, which is particularly obvious to those who recall those days. See a roundup of such hotels at Radio Free Europe. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Mark Baker)

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Lego Rumba

It's a great deal of trouble to get your kids to pick up their LEGO blocks that end up all over the floor. It would be easier to just do it yourself, but the one who left them in the floor should do it. However, if your kid is a talented engineer like YouTuber The Brick Wall, he or she will invent a machine to do it. The Lego Rumba is a machine that picks up LEGO pieces, itself made of LEGO pieces. My guess is that "Rumba" is pronounced like the vacuum instead of the dance. Watch it in action.

(YouTube link)

To be honest, this is an automated broom and dustpan. But for kids who need to pick up their toys, it's a lot more fun. -via Geeks Are Sexy

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The Murder that Shook Iceland

Iceland has 340,000 people and averages only 1.6 murders a year. Most of those are young men killed by someone who knew them, as in fights. Iceland's most famous murder case took place in 1828, but a 2017 case may eclipse it. On January 13, Birna Brjánsdóttir disappeared while walking home from a night out on the town in Reykjavík. The investigation into Brjánsdóttir's disappearance involved the police and the citizens of Reykjavík, who spread the word through social media and pitched in to find the young woman, or evidence of her fate.

On the morning of Saturday 21 January, a week after she vanished, the biggest search operation in Iceland’s history began. Ice-Sar alone deployed 835 volunteers and 87 vehicles, an extraordinary response in a small country. Across the island, people waited anxiously for updates.

“Today she is our sister, our daughter – that became the mantra,” said Guðbrandur Örn Arnarson, Ice-Sar’s project manager. “We don’t live in a society where we tolerate a 20-year-old woman being abducted in the night.”

Clues led to an international fishing trawler, a rental car spattered with blood, and almost $2 million worth of hashish. Read the entire story as it unfolded at The Guardian.

(Image credit: Reykjavik Metropolitan Police)

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The Hopscotch Experiment

The folks from The Cut drew a colorful hopscotch board on a sidewalk in Seattle, just to see how many people would use it. They recorded video for ten hours and counted the people who walked by. To be honest, only a small percentage of people tried it, but thankfully, this video is mostly edited to show those who did.

(YouTube link)

And they are worth watching. The simple game brought a smile to a lot of faces. -via Tastefully Offensive

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How a Typo Helped End World War II

Geoffrey Tandy was a highly-regarded marine biologist at the Natural History Museum in 1939, when he volunteered for the Royal Navy Reserves. The powers-that-be saw Tandy's information and immediately summoned him to Bletchley Park for a secret mission, cracking Axis codes.

Once the mistake was revealed, they couldn't just dismiss Tandy from the secret project, but what could he do? So Tandy remained attached to Bletchley Park, and two years later, became the hero of the secret cryptography department when his exact expertise was needed. Comedian Florence Schechter tells the entire story in a thread at Twitter, with illustrations. Even if you hate reading Twitter threads, this one is well worth the effort, and she has a list of sources at the end in case you want to read more about Tandy and his adventures during the war. -via Mental Floss

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Crazy Moon Cat Lady - She's Coughing Up Furballs And Loving It

Crazy Moon Cat Lady by Dooomcat

People say Sailor Moon is crazy to be so obsessed with cats, but the way Moon sees it you have to be nuts not to adore those cute little furry critters- especially when one of them is your guardian and adviser. But not everyone has as close a relationship with their cat like Moon has with Luna, so maybe if people knew what it was like to truly love a kittie and have them love you back they might not think of Moon as such a loon! Of course, nobody has the nerve to call her a loon to her face...

Add some purr-fectly geeky fun to your geeky wardrobe with this Crazy Moon Cat Lady t-shirt by Dooomcat, featuring a delightful design that'll blow nerdy minds wherever you go!

Visit Dooomcat's Facebook fan page and official website, then head on over to her NeatoShop for more cool for cats designs:

RevengingBFFs Evil Bear Strange BFFs Story Time

View more designs by Dooomcat | 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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How to Make an International Standard Cup of Tea

A global industry exists to set standards for everything, from the kilogram to keeping time. There's even a set international standard set for making tea. People will argue their entire lives about the best way to make a cup of tea, but few have ever made an International Standard cup of tea, and Tom Scott explains why.  

(YouTube link)

I make tea all afternoon and evening when the morning coffee pot runs out, so I take all the shortcuts: teabags and a microwave. That's because tea isn't a social occasion or a treat for me -it's what I drink. The standard for most Americans was posted at reddit.

Your mileage may vary. -via Geeks Are Sexy

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7 Times Google Maps Straight Up Ruined People's Lives

The ability to use GPS, or SatNav if you're British, is a modern convenience that boggles the mind for those of us who managed to travel without it for years. However, there's still value in learning to navigate the old-fashioned way, with hard copy maps, a trained sense of direction, and the willingness to ask for directions. Those skills might lead you to a nagging suspicion that Google Maps isn't leading you in the right direction, and it's time to double check. If you place too much trust in your map app, you could learn better by reading some chilling stories of complete failure.  

In 2017, 24-year-old [Amber] VanHecke had embarked on a solo trip to the Grand Canyon. In the middle of the Arizona desert, she noticed that she only had 70 miles' worth of gas left in the tank. Not an issue, as her Google Maps reassured her that she was only 35 miles away from a highway. Trusting Google, she obediently followed the app to bring her safely to civilization. Instead, Google told her to turn onto a completely nonexistent road, which led her to a nonexistent spot on the map. And then she ran out of gas.

VanHecke spent five days in the desert before help arrived. Unlike most travelers, she had a supply of water and food in her car. Read her story and six others at Cracked.

(Image credit: Arizona Department of Public Safety)

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An Honest Trailer for The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman was loosely based on the life of PT Barnum. Proving that there's a sucker born every minute, my brother took his entire family to see the movie without realizing that it's a musical. That bothered him more than the fact that the story was totally fictional and had nothing to do with the real Barnum.

(YouTube link)

Screen Junkies corrects that by giving new lyrics to the songs in this Honest Trailer for The Greatest Showman.

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How to Fall Asleep Anywhere, Anytime, According to Military Veterans

Millions of people have spent time in the U.S. military over the past 250 years, and they come home with valuable life skills that go far beyond warfare. Service leaves you no time to waste, so any period that's not filled with the task at hand can be used to catch up on sleep, particularly during travel. You can't let uncomfortable seats, changing schedules, or tomorrow's plans get in the way.

If your to-do list springs to mind just as you’re nodding off, there’s a low-tech solution for that, courtesy of Ben Feibleman, a Marine Corps vet who has visited more than 50 countries. “I've found it's easier if I keep a notepad with me or on my nightstand,” he says. “I write down what I can't stop thinking about as a kind of to-do list for the morning. That works as an ‘unburdening the mind’ trick.”

For extra unwinding, try some on some oms. “Meditation has helped me to have much greater control of my mind, curb that irritating inner-dialogue, and fend off unwelcome thoughts,” Burton says. “Not only do I sleep better, but I'm much more able to focus on and comprehend more of the world around me.”

Thrillist spoke to several veterans who shared a variety of tips for falling asleep when the opportunity was there.  -via Digg

(Image credit: Flickr user DVIDSHUB)

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Fire Vortex Cannon

When regular ol' flamethrower is too boring for you, Jairus of JairusofAll has got the upgrade for you: an awe-inspiring device that creates a swirling vortex of wind combined with propane fuel and ignited into a fire tornado.

Behold, the Fire Vortex Cannon - via Nerdist

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Italian Coffee King's Ashes Stored in an Urn that Looks Like a Moka Pot

You may not know the name Renato Bialetti, but you may have one of his coffee pot in your kitchen. That's right: Bialetti was the man who turned the Moka Pot, the stove-top espresso maker, into a household icon.

When Bialetti died in 2016, his three children decided that it would be fitting to put his ashes inside an urn shaped like a giant Moka Pot (Just don't ever mistake what's inside for coffee grounds.)

Vincenzo Amato of La Stampa has the video clip and story (in Italian) - via BB-Blog

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Write Like a Famous Musician: Handwritings of Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, John Lennon, Leonard Cohen and Serge Gainsbourg turned into Fonts

Now, you too can write like some of the world's most famous musicians and songwriters, thanks to Nicolas Damiens and Julien Sens of Songwriter Fonts. The duo have designed fonts from handwritten notes and letters of musicians like Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, John Lennon, Leonard Cohen and Serge Gainsbourg.

The fonts are free to download, but are for personal use only. Check it out over at Songwriter Fonts (Update 4/12/18: No longer available).

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Every Front Page of the New York Times Since 1852

My, how The Gray Lady has changed over the years!

Josh Begley compiled every front page of The New York Times since 1852 in this Vimeo clip. It's neat to see photographs starting to make their appearance in the newspaper - first as black and white photos, and then as color photos.

(The first edition of The New York Times was published on September 18, 1851. Want to read the first published issue? Wikimedia has it).

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Anatomy of More TV Shows

Image: John Atkinson / Wrong Hands

It's been nearly four years since John Atkinson's last Anatomy of TV Shows comic panel, but hey, you can't rush genius. A TV crime show that starts with a grisly scene, supermodel in the lab, and "enhance"? I think I saw that!

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The Original Version Hal 9000 Didn't Have a Calm Voice At All

The preternaturally calm voice of HAL 9000 the supercomputer in Stanley Kubrick's epic "2001: A Space Odyssey" wasn't always so. In fact, at first, HAL - to be played by Martin Balsam - was supposed to have a voice embued with human emotion.

Adam Balsam, the actor’s son, told [Gerry Flahive] that “Kubrick had him record it very realistically and humanly, complete with crying during the scene when HAL’s memory is being removed.”

But that just didn't work for Kubrick:

We had some difficulty deciding exactly what HAL should sound like, and Marty just sounded a little bit too colloquially American,” Kubrick said in the 1969 interview. Mr. Rain recalls Kubrick telling him, “I’m having trouble with what I’ve got in the can. Would you play the computer?”

Kubrick had heard Mr. Rain’s voice in the 1960 documentary “Universe,” a film he watched at least 95 times, according to the actor. “I think he’s perfect,” Kubrick wrote to a colleague in a letter preserved in the director’s archive. “The voice is neither patronizing, nor is it intimidating, nor is it pompous, overly dramatic or actorish. Despite this, it is interesting.”

Gerry Flahive writes this interesting piece for The New York Times about the origin of HAL 9000's voice, including why it sounds so ... Canadian.

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Rad Fink - Cowabunga For The Car Show Crowd

Rad Fink by poopsmoothie

The term "turtle power" used to refer to the ninja turtles' explosive fighting abilities and awesome command of martial weapons, but ever since Donatello built the Party Wagon, and the boys got their drivers licenses, the power is all under the hood! Now the teenage mutants are too busy rollin' around town in their van to fight the Foot, and the rivalry has grown so cold that Shredder started building his own rat rods so he can take the fight to the street!

Add some high octane fun to your geeky wardrobe with this Rad Fink t-shirt by Poopsmoothie, featuring a fun design sure to get nerdy motors revvin' wherever you go!

Visit poopsmoothie's Facebook fan page, official website and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more fink-errific designs:

Scrappin Bats Furiosa Fink Infinity Worm Working Overtime

View more designs by poopsmoothie | More Comic 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 Secret Art Deco Apartment Hidden Inside Radio City Music Hall

New York's Radio City Music Hall opened in 1932, and has remained one of the crown jewels of the city ever since. It was largely the work of impresario Roxy Rothafel, who had also opened the Roxy Theater not long before. Rothafel incorporated many of his grand ideas into the new showplace, including the multiple balconies, oval theater shape, and lobby murals. He pioneered the use of a live orchestra to accompany movies, and gave us the line of dancers we know as the Rockettes. For all this, he got his own apartment inside Radio City Music Hall. But Rothafel only enjoyed it a few years before he died in 1936. The apartment was locked, to become a time capsule of the period. Today it is only open for special occasions, but we can take a peek inside at Messy Nessy Chic.

(Image credit: Luke J. Spencer)

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Rube Goldberg Cake Server

(YouTube link)

Joseph Herscher of Joseph's Machines (previously) designed a delightful and inventive chain-reaction sequence that serves him a piece of delicious pineapple upside-down cake. This one involves crashing electronics, a baby playing with a phone, and a candle that initiates motion by melting butter. The wheel that rolls over his head is a bonus. And the baby gets a piece of cake, too! The story behind the cake server is in a different video. -via Boing Boing

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Suddenly, a Baby

Seth Meyers, host of Late Night with Seth Meyers, usually begins his monologue with jokes about the news of the day. Monday night was different. He opened the show by announcing that his wife had given birth to his second baby son on Sunday. On the floor of the lobby of their apartment building.

(YouTube link)

Luckily for Seth, there was no time to panic before it was over, and Alexi and baby Axel were attended after the fact by the NYFD. An event like that in the hands of a professional storyteller is well worth hearing.  

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Jelly Mario

Jelly Mario by Stefan Hedman is a surreal browser game that combines Super Mario Bros. with QWOP. Imagine playing a familiar video game while coming out of serious anesthesia or downing a half-dozen martinis. The music is just as distorted as the action, and changes speed as you work the controls. Hint: remember that "up" is whichever direction Mario's head is pointing at the time. Hedman is still working on the game; you can get a preview of level 1-2 here, or see if you can get that far yourself. -via The Verge

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Silo Demolition Goes off Script

This is Vordingborg, Denmark. A concrete silo near the harbor is ready to be demolished. The wedge-shaped holes cut out of the bottom are to ensure that silo will fall to the right when explosives are detonated. They have prepared the area to the right to contain the debris as much as possible. The white building to the left is the town's library, which was closed for the occasion. What could possibly go wrong? While the library was not "destroyed" as the video title insinuates, the silo came awful close to it.

(YouTube link)

The Vordingborg local government said volunteer firefighters worked through the night to help secure the cultural centre.

The library said though books and everything else were covered in dust, there was little structural damage to the interior.

An investigation into the demolition has been launched to determine what went wrong.

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