For far too long, I lived away from South. When I would return to my parents' home in the paradise of Alabama, I would hear the song "Sweet Home Alabama"--if not on the radio, then in my soul.
42 years ago, the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd released its iconic tribute to the heart of the Deep South. C.J. Lotz of Garden & Gun magazine interviewed Gary Rossington, one of the founders of the band and composers of the song:
What was the process like to write “Sweet Home Alabama”?
I had this little riff. It’s the little picking part and I kept playing it over and over when we were waiting on everyone to arrive for rehearsal. Ronnie and I were sitting there, and he kept saying, play that again. Then Ronnie wrote the lyrics and Ed [King] and I wrote the music.
The lyrics were a response to a Neil Young song, right?
Everyone thought it was about Neil Young, but it was more about Alabama. We had toured there, going all around playing clubs and National Guard armories. Everyone was real nice. When we were out in the country driving all the time, we would listen to the radio. Neil Young had “Southern Man,” and it was kind of cutting the South down. And so Ronnie just said, We need to show people how the real Alabama is.
We loved Neil Young and all the music he’s given the world. We still love him today. It wasn’t cutting him down, it was cutting the song he wrote about the South down. Ronnie painted a picture everyone liked. Because no matter where you’re from, sweet home Alabama or sweet home Florida or sweet home Arkansas, you can relate. […]
What’s the best thing about being Southern?
I love being Southern because of the people and the fans we have. People down here are more friendly—really warm people. We travel all over the world and it seems like the South is the place where the people are nicest and they think of the fellow man more.
The current flag of New Zealand is the British Union Flag in a corner with four stars on a blue field. These symbols represent the nation's origin as a British colony and the constellation of the Southern Cross.
This unfurling pikopiko koru is about vibrancy and energy contained in a small space. By using the Māori spiral design and applying the colours of the 1902 New Zealand flag, it honours both the indigenous and colonial cultures.
This is the story of a dog named Denali and his life with photographer Ben Moon. You will want to have a hankie ready, especially if you’ve ever loved a dog. Scratch that, you will cry even if you’ve never loved a dog. Denali had a wonderful life, but like that of all dogs, it was too short.
Actress and blogger Lynn Chen decided to see how many sandwiches from around the world she could sample while in Los Angeles. Her finds are both varied and delicious looking. I know which one I'd like to try most. How about you? -Via Viral Viral Videos
One of the main reason adults outgrow coloring is the simplicity- they’re just too easy to color, too easy to stay between the lines, and that’s no fun. It’s not like adults don’t want to color anymore, it's just not as satisfying as it was when we were kids, and our more advanced minds demand a more challenging coloring book.
Enter Peter Deligdisch’s expert level coloring book Between The Lines, it’s jam packed with intricate line drawings that will test your coloring skills, and when you’re done you have the satisfaction of having created something you can pin up on your refrigerator!
“How do you say…” peppers every conversation when you’re trying to negotiate a different language. The European Word Translator fills in the blank, so to speak. This application uses Google Translate to give you your word in many European languages. Just enter a word (or two), and they will come up on the map. In the map above, the word is “cat.” There are some caveats:
Translations are generated by Google Translate. Some may be inaccurate or use non-European (e.g. Brazilian Portuguese) words.
Just one translation is provided for each word; watch out for words with multiple meanings!
The Google Translate API does not yet translate into all European languages.
* If Google Translate cannot find a translation, it simply shows the English word. This may be the case for the starred words on the map.
Still, it’s fun to explore, and may be useful for those studying the relationships between European languages. -via the Presurfer
We recently posted a video featuring a guy asking his three year old nephew to recite all the bad words he knows, many of which were unsurprisingly butt related.
But Jimmy Kimmel wasn’t satisfied with the results- he felt that this particular kid's list of curse words didn't fairly represent the bad words known by all kids, so he decided to head out to Hollywood Boulevard to see what kind of filth was running through the mind of L.A.’s children.
Kimmel's scientific research into the subject yielded some rather surprising results, including the fact that most kids think dumb is a bad word, and when these kids let loose it's enough to make a sailor blush!
How fast can you spot a misspelled word? You might think it’s easy, but that’s just the first few levels. There are ten in the quiz called Wrod, and they get faster along the way. Now, by reading my writing, you may think I have no spelling ability whatsoever. I actually spell well, but I type very poorly and my eyesight is a problem in proofreading. The words in this quiz are large enough, but as the game speeds up, your shoulders may start to tense up. I finally managed to make it through all ten levels. Can you? Good Luck! -via b3ta
The Slow Mo Guys set up a chain of 150 mousetraps, and set them off manually. Dan doesn’t even have time to withdraw his hands an inch before they all go off! Luckily, only one of them actually trapped him, but that had to be a scary experience. We get to see it in glorious super slo-mo, then in real time, which takes no time at all. -via Viral Viral Videos
Everyone loves a good view, but if anyone can appreciate the importance of good aestetics, it's a photographer. That's why I'm not surprised in the least to discover this stunning house situated just outside a national park in Wales was commissioned by a photographer.
Aside from looking absolutely stunning and providing unparalleled views of the natural surroundings, this house is also fantastic in the amount of natural light it lets in and the way the walls, made from structural insultated panels, provide a perfect space for the artist to hang up his favorite works.
What was it that caused Adolf Hitler’s physical and mental health to collapse in the closing days of World War II? He was losing the war, of course- surely that had a great deal to do with it. But for more than 60 years, historians have wondered if there was more to it than that.
On April 21, 1945, an SS physician named Ernst-Günther Schenck was summoned to Adolph Hitler’s bunker in Berlin and ordered to stock it with food. By that time, Germany’s war was hopelessly lost -most of the country was already in Allied hands. Soviet troops had almost completely circled Berlin and were battling their way into the center of the city. Rather than flee, Hitler decided to make his final stand in his führerbunker in the heart of the Nazi capital. He would remain there until the end, which for him was just nine days away.
Like all Germans, Dr. Schenck had been fed a steady diet of photographs, films, and propaganda posters of Hitler since the dictator had come to power in 1933. But the man he saw in the bunker looked nothing like those images. The 56-year-old Hitler “was a living corpse, a dead soul,” Schenck remembered in a 1985 interview. “His spine was hunched, his shoulder blades protruded from his bent back, and he collapsed his shoulders like a turtle… I was looking into the eyes of death.”
Even more shocking than the way Hitler looked was the way he moved about the bunker. He walked with the slow, halting shuffle of a man thirty years older, dragging his left leg behind him as he went. He couldn’t go more than a few steps without grabbing onto something for support.
Hitler’s head, arms, and entire left side trembled and jerked uncontrollably. No longer able to write his own name, he signed important documents with a rubber stamp. He had always insisted on shaving himself -the murderer of millions could not stand the thought of another man holding a razor to his throat- but his trembling hands made that impossible, too. He could not lift food to his mouth without spilling it down the front of his uniform and could not take a seat without help -after he shuffled up to a table, an aide pushed a chair behind him, and he plopped down into it.
Hitler’s mental state had deteriorated as well. His thinking was muddled, his memory was failing, and his emotions whipsawed back and forth between long bouts of irrational euphoria (especially irrational considering how close Germany was to defeat) and fits of screaming, uncontrollable rage that lasted for hours.
Schenck remained in Berlin until the end. On April 29, Hitler married his longtime mistress, Eva Braun, and the following day the pair committed suicide in the führerbunker. Germany surrendered unconditionally on May 7.
After the war, Schenck spent a decade in Soviet prison camps. He never forgot what he saw in the führerbunker, and after his release he spent years poring over Hitler’s medical records in an attempt to discover just what had caused the dictator’s health to decline so rapidly in the final years and months of his life.
He was not alone in this effort- in the more than 60 years since the end of the war, many historians, physicians, and World War II buffs have done the same thing. What caused Hitler’s collapse -was it Parkinson’s disease? Tertiary syphilis? Giant cell arteritis? Countless theories have been advanced to explain Hitler’s physical and mental decline, and after all this time the experts are no closer to agreeing than they were on the day he died.
THE CURE THAT ILLS
One of the more bizarre theories was advanced by some of Hitler’s own doctors in July 1944. The diagnosis came about by chance, after a visiting ear, nose, and throat specialist named Dr. Erwin Geising happened to notice six tiny black pills -“Doctor Koester’s Anti-Gas Pills”- sitting on the Führer’s breakfast tray next to his porridge, dry bread, and orange juice. After spotting the pills, Geising did something that Hitler’s own personal physician, an eccentric quack named Dr. Theodore Morell, had apparently never bothered to do: He examined the tin the pills came in and actually read the label to see what was in them. Geising was stunned by what he read. Could it be? Was the Führer bring poisoned by the pills he took to control his meteorism -powerful attacks of uncontrollable farting?
A Russian father and his baby daughter are having a seriously heated discussion. The little girl most likely only understands a few of the words, and she can’t reproduce them coherently, because she’s a baby. She can, however, reproduce the cadence, emphasis, and body language to an amazing degree, which is adorable. If I understood what she was arguing about, she’d have me convinced. According to the comments at reddit, he is chastising her for throwing her pancakes on the floor. That means that her side of the argument is a vigorous defense. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
On this date in 1972, Francis Ford Coppola introduced audiences to The Godfather. The film shocked viewers and became the biggest box-office draw of the year, or of any year up to that point. It won three Oscars, and is ranked by the American Film Institute as the #2 greatest movie ever, behind only Citizen Kane. But the film went through a lot of changes during production, and it wasn’t an easy project.
Mob boss Joseph Colombo Sr., who felt he was being harassed by the feds, founded the Italian-American Civil Rights League, which led to the picketing of the New York City FBI headquarters in 1970 (a quarter of a million people showed up). The organization also attacked The Godfather and rallied to stop production. “It became clear very quickly that the Mafia — and they did not call themselves the Mafia — did not want our film made. We started getting threats,” a production assistant said in a 2009 interview. Colombo did manage to get the words “Mafia” and “Cosa Nostra” struck from the script. Eventually, mob members became a fixture on set (several were extras) and showed their support.
Almost three decades after the nuclear meltdown at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine, animals and plants display significant changes in structure and physiology and high levels of radiation. And another effect of the disaster may spell trouble in the future.
According to a new study published in Oecologia, decomposers—organisms such as microbes, fungi and some types of insects that drive the process of decay—have also suffered from the contamination. These creatures are responsible for an essential component of any ecosystem: recycling organic matter back into the soil. Issues with such a basic-level process, the authors of the study think, could have compounding effects for the entire ecosystem.
The team decided to investigate this question in part because of a peculiar field observation. “We have conducted research in Chernobyl since 1991 and have noticed a significant accumulation of litter over time,” the write. Moreover, trees in the infamous Red Forest—an area where all of the pine trees turned a reddish color and then died shortly after the accident—did not seem to be decaying, even 15 to 20 years after the meltdown.
“Apart from a few ants, the dead tree trunks were largely unscathed when we first encountered them,” says Timothy Mousseau, a biologist at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and lead author of the study. “It was striking, given that in the forests where I live, a fallen tree is mostly sawdust after a decade of lying on the ground.”
They conducted an experiment by bringing in leaves from non-contaminated areas to see how they decayed. After a year, the level of decay corresponded with the amount of radiation in the area in which they were placed (shown on map). This inhibition of a natural process has several implications. Nutrients are not being returned to the soil, which affects future plant growth. But more importantly, forest litter is a fire hazard.
Fires can potentially redistribute radioactive contaminants to places outside of the exclusion zone, Mousseau says. “There is growing concern that there could be a catastrophic fire in the coming years,” he says.
The riots in Kiev, Ukraine, which subsequently turned into a full blown revolution, weren't started by soldiers or police officers, they were started by average people willing to fight for their rights against a corrupt government.
DIY weaponry is the norm among the freedom fighting citizen soldiers that form the front lines, and these weapons look like something straight out of a post apocalyptic movie.
This video is from NPR’s series Click to Enlarge, but in this case, you must heat to enlarge, because we’re popping popcorn! Get an up close look inside to see what makes a popcorn kernel pop, and afterward, we examine what the edible stuff looks like under a microscope. After watching this, you might want to get out the big kettle and pop some yourself. You know you want some. Oh right, nowadays you do it in the microwave. How to pop corn properly in a heavy kettle is a lesson for another day. -via Daily of the Day
Inspired after attending a drag show for the first time, Saint Hoax decided to deconstruct the "recipe" of making an iconic queen and came up with the following:
1- Flamboyant name
2- Fierce persona
3- Defining outfits
4- Personalized hairdo
5- A trademark feature
6- One hell of a PR team
Noting the similarity between that and what it takes to craft a political image, Saint Hoax decided to apply the techniques to do make-overs of some of the world's most famous (and infamous) political figures in the art series War Drags You Out:
I then realized that it takes that same exact effort to make a leader.
A rush of images containing Hitler's mustache, Bin laden's headgear, Obama's campaigns, Saddam's narcism crossed through my mind. It got me thinking that behind every "great" man, there's a queen.
Like drag queens, political/religious leaders are expected to entertain, perform and occasionally lip-sync a public speech. But unlike drag queens, the fame hungry leaders don't know when to take their costumes off.
Saturday, the Jackson County, Missouri, Spelling Bee finally came to an end -after two weeks and more than 90 rounds of elimination. Or actually, attempts at elimination. The final two contenders, fifth-grader Sophia Hoffman and seventh-grader Kush Sharma, went 66 rounds and spelled their way through the entire list of available words during the initial spelling bee in February. Officials called a delay while they gathered more words. Two weeks later, the two students went another 30 rounds to decide a winner.
"It took us an hour to find more words," head judge Kaite Stover, a librarian at the Kansas City Public Library Central Branch, told Carter of the competition's first day, on Feb. 22. "And we were looking for words that were not completely archaic and uncommon."
But Hoffman, 11, and Sharma, 13, answered the challenge each time, relying on their knowledge of word origins and prefixes to see them through. After more than five hours, organizers threw up their hands to set up today's event.
The judges brought a fresh batch of 200 words to bear Saturday, from a list provided by the Scripps National Spelling Bee. They also had around 60 backup words just in case they're needed, the library says.
In the end, Hoffman was eliminated by the word "stifling," and Sharma correctly spelled "definition" and will advance to the national bee. But officials should start preparing now because both students will still be eligible to compete next year. -via Digg
In a battle of snake versus crocodile, who'd win*?
Witness Tiffany Corlis observed a 10-foot snake (probably a python) and a crocodile's fight to the death at Lake Moondarra, near Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia, and took these amazing snapshots of the battle.
(Photo: Tiffany Corlis)
Corlis told the BBC, "We saw the snake fighting with the crocodile - it would roll the crocodile around to get a better grip, and coil its body around the crocodile's legs to hold it tight. The fight began in the water - the crocodile was trying to hold its head out of the water at one time, and the snake was constricting it. After the crocodile had died, the snake uncoiled itself, came around to the front, and started to eat the crocodile, face-first."
(Photo: Tiffany Corlis)
The fight, according to snake expert Bryan Fry of University of Queensland's School of Biological Science, is actually not unusual. Water pythons, Fry said, usually target smaller animals and rodents and have been known to attack small fresh water crocodiles. "Crocs are more dangerous to catch but easier to sneak up on, "Fry mentioned to Brisbane Time, "The problem is they are risking being injured or killed, so they have to be judicious."
From the Norwegian TV show Kollektivet, we get a music video that parodies the desire for appreciation, even for everyday things that everyone should do. Bitte Schnell! But if your demand for a compliment is ever fulfilled, would you even know what to do with it? -via Metafilter
A truck in Russia carrying “insecure high pressure cylinders” has a little accident. The crash is just the beginning, though, as the cylinders keep going off, like, forever. Is it propane? Don’t ever take chances around those things. The driver escapes from the left side of the truck in the first 30 seconds, and after that no one wants to get anywhere near until the fireworks are completely over. Michael Bay would be proud. -via reddit
The most delightful moment from the Olympic Closing ceremonies at Sochi involved the Russians poking fun at their own Opening Ceremonies. In case you are in the U.S. and haven’t seen the show yet, I have refrained from posting the picture here because someone will call it a spoiler. However, if you are American and have decided to watch The Walking Dead tonight instead, check out the gif at Uproxx. Pictured here is ceremony director Konstantin Ernst, who should be proud.
Imgur user hiblue fed a stray kitten and wasn’t prepared for her response. She flirted and grabbed him and begged to be taken home. And her scheming wiles worked wonders. He named her Luna.
It was a long day and she slept hard. I've never rescued an animal before and all of this was new to me. I can't even begin to explain how rewarding and fulfilling it all was. It was a huge highlight of the year.
We've previously seen a house that was plumbed with beer. The advantage to this household feature is that you've got beer flowing through every tap. But you may not want to drink or bathe in beer all day. For example, if you're getting ready for work or school in the morning, beer may not be the ideal beverage choice.
Coffee works better. So Teddy Wilson and Norm Sousa of the comedy/reality TV show Never Do This at Home turned a home water heater into a 40-gallon coffeemaker. They used instant coffee, which is not ideal, but it's a step in the right direction. Now it's possible to take a bath in a tub full of coffee, which is something that I've always wanted to do.
A fluffernutter is a traditional food of the natives of Massachusetts. It consists of a sandwich made on white bread with marshmallow fluff and peanut butter. Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest made a luxurious version with chocolate for, she says, "I think that chocolate is mandatory today."
She made her fluff from scratch with cream of tartar, egg whites and sugar. Her chocolate fondue recipe is unusual. It contains espresso powder and a Cabernet wine.