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1970s Middle School Kids Look to the Year 2000

People in a space colony of the future (by Rick Guidice, 1977)

In 1977, the Herald-Starin Steubenville, OH, asked the local citizenry to share their predictions for the year 2000. Predictably, a lot of answers came in from the 10-12 year-old set, and their answers are surprisingly accurate... at least in some cases. Marty predicted the smartphone and online shopping:

In the year 2000, we will have all round buildings. We will have a robot teacher, a robot maid, and all workers will be robots, too. We will have a pocket computer that has everything you can name. We will even be able to push a button to get anything you want!

Marty Bohen, Age 10

Other students' expectations for the future were decidedly more personal; Monica just wanted to make sure she had her MRS. Her predictions for global peace were a little more ambitious: 

In 2000 I will marry a doctor and maybe have kids. I would like my husband to be a doctor because he would be helping people and would still want to be close to my family. As for a job for me I would help the crippled boys and girls. I would still like to have my same friends. And the most important thing for there to be is no wars and killings. I hope they could find cures for every sickness. And everybody will care for each other.

Monica Katsaros, Age 10 

Paleofuture has a whole collection of gems just like these, which make for a great read. Link

But it makes me wonder: What would you predict for our future? Tell us what you think 2050 will look like, and why.


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The Pulp Fiction Cover Art of Bruce Pennington

The Abominations of Yondo

Bruce Pennington has been in the business a long time. His first sci-fi cover commission came in 1967, for the New English Library 1970 paperback edition of Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. Not a bad start! The book became the sacred text of The Church of All Worlds, a religious group officially recognized by the U.S. government in 1967.

Nordius

This commission led to many such cover art projects under New English Press, and Pennington's career was off with a bang — he painted artwork for sci-fi, fantasy and horror novels like the Dune series by Frank Herbert, as well as for works by Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Edgar Rice Burroughs. 


Pennington's long career has produced a number of classic covers, but he also works on personal projects. Monster Brains has a great starter collection, and you can see even more of Pennington's 50-year canon on his site. Link


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Use Your Words: Writers Praising Writers

It's fun to watch the famous quibble from afar, but less appreciated is an author's willingness to openly compliment another. Sure, you see little blurbs on book jackets and throwaway lines in interviews ("Yeah, yeah, I read that"). In the just-released collection Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story, famous authors took the time to choose another famous author and discuss what they love about the other's work. In the same spirit, FlavorWire has amassed a list of author-on-author quotes that'llmake you wantto reread everything (or pick up something new-to-you).

“[F. Scott Fitzgerald] had one of the rarest qualities in all literature, and it’s a great shame that the word for it has been thoroughly debased by the cosmetic racketeers, so that one is almost ashamed to use it to describe a real distinction. Nevertheless, the word is charm — charm as Keats would have used it. Who has it today? It’s not a matter of pretty writing or clear style. It’s a kind of subdued magic, controlled and exquisite, the sort of thing you get from good string quartettes.” — Raymond Chandler in a letter to Dale Warren, 1950

“This is the farthest thing from a scholarly introduction, because there was nothing scholarly or analytical about my first reading of Lord of the Flies. It was, so far as I can remember, the first book with hands – strong ones that reached out of the pages and seized me by the throat. It said to me, ‘This is not just entertainment; it’s life-or-death.’” – Stephen King in the introduction to the centenary edition of [featured author] William Golding’s classic.

Link | Photo


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Cute Puppy Pics May Be the Key to Better Concentration

Thanks to a new study from Hiroshima University, you can argue that your time spent swooning over adorable puppy pics on Reddit is justified. Turns out, taking a few minutes to look at a photo of something adorable (like Fay, the guide dog puppy featured above) will help you perform your duties more carefully later. 

[S]cientists divided 132 university students into three groups and had them perform separate tasks. The first group played a game similar to "Operation" (the board game that challenges you to remove "body parts" from a graphic representation of a body using tweezers, buzzing when you make an error). The second group was asked to find a given number in a random sequence of numbers. The third group took a test designed to measure their level of focus. The members of each group completed one round of their respective tasks; at that point, half were shown images of baby animals while the other half were shown photos of adult animals. The groups were then asked to return to their tasks.

In all three tests, the group who looked at adorable kittens and babies beforehand performed better than the"neutral image" group. Good luck arguing your case to your employer, but if you can manage it, it may pay off to sneak in a little bit of Flickr browsing each morning. (I'll get you started off with some of our best animal-cuteness in the links below. ADORBZ.) Link

Photo: George Hawkins


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Bull Testicle Beer Is a Thing Now. Yay?

It began as an April Fools prank, but someone (somewhere, maybe) will be happy to know that Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is now a real thing. 

According to representatives from Wynkoop Brewing, the phony product was met with such a warm reception back in April that the company had no choice but to start brewing it for real.

And by God, these fiends have done it: brewing a beer that according to the Wynkoop website, is “an assertive foreign-style stout, slightly viscous, with a deep brown color. It has equally deep flavors of chocolate syrup, Kahlua, and espresso, along with a palpable level of alcohol and a savory umami-like note. It finishes dry and roasted with a fast-fading hop bite.” 

Given that description, Wynkoop's nutty brew seems drinkable. Not that I'll be going near it ever. Link


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Bees Make Blue and Green Honey Thanks to Nearby M&M's Waste Processing Plant

It looks like a rack of homemade candles, but the image above is actually of honey produced by bees in France. The weird coloration started showing up in August, and beekeepers were stumped. A bit of detective work revealed that the cause wasn't very far from home.

The bees around the town of Ribeauville in the Alsace region have been carrying an unidentified colored substance back to their hives since August. The keepers have done a bit of sleuthing and think the Agrivolar biogas plant around 4 kilometers away is to blame.

The enterprise has been processing waste from a Mars factory producing the colored M&M's. The waste products have been stored in open containers and the bees could easily access the contents.

"We discovered the problem at the same time they did. We quickly put in place a procedure to stop it," Reuters quotes Agrivalor manager Philippe Meinrad as saying. The plant said they would now store waste indoors and in tightly closed containers.

Though the off-color honey still tastes like honey, store-owners have said it's not definitely not going to sell like the familiar, non-M&M-colored honey everyone is used to. Another concern is the bee colonies' ability to withstand exposure to such high levels of artificial coloring. Link


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Extraordinary Wooly Mammoth Discovered by 11-Year-Old Was Likely Killed by Humans

The 30,000-year-old body of a wooly mammoth recently uncovered by Jenya, an 11-year-old Russian boy, is the most well-preserved remains of the species discovered in at least 100 years. 

The mammoth had died at the tender young age of 16 after growing to be a sturdy six-and-a-half feet tall. The poor guy was missing a tusk, too, which scientists say probably contributed to his down fall. (The lack of tusk meant that it would’ve been hard for the young mammoth to defend itself against predators.) Some splits on the remaining tusk are indicative of human contact, leading the researchers to believe that it was indeed an Ice Age man who killed the mammoth some 20,000-30,000 years ago.

For more about Jenya's discovery and other recently recovered mammoths, check out the rest on Motherboard. Link


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What Kids Know About the 2012 Election

The polls are in and the consensus says SpongeBob SquarePants will likely win the under-10 vote. Sorry, "Other Guy" and "Broccoli Almond." The best part is Wonder Woman's healthy endorsement from the "no cigaretting" girl. Link

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Office Spaces That'll Make You Want to Come in on Saturday

Minecraft fans probably already heard about Mojang's fancy new digs (above), complete with leather-wrapped goodness and a Minecraft-style conference room. Just look at Notch, all suave under the moody light.

Cool as it is, Mojang's office is hardly the most innovative of workplaces. Thankfully, Weburbanist took the time to round up 18 more crazy office interiors that will make you want to apply for an internship. Link


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Things You Probably Didn't Know About Andre the Giant

It's the 25th anniversary of The Princess Bride, and since everyone is chattering about the cast reunion and planning their post-debate viewing parties, now seems like as good a time as any to brush up on your Andre the Giant trivia. Here's one fact to get you started:

Despite Andre's character Fezzik's almost-superhuman strength, back problems prevented him from actually lifting anything on the set of 'The Princess Bride.' In the scene where Buttercup jumps from the castle window into Fezzik's arms [shown above], Robin Wright was attached to wires so that Andre didn't have to actually catch or hold her.

Check out the rest — including the star's rumored daily caloric intake and the ballsy way Mandy Patinkin helped him learn his lines — on GuySpeed. Link


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The Ebook You Have to Travel to Read

Interactive fiction is nothing new — we've had it since Choose Your Own Adventure books rolled out. But an ebook available now for the iPhone and iPad is taking interaction to a new level: Readers have to travel to specific locations to unlock portions of the story. 

The Silent History is divided into two parts: Testimonials and field reports. The testimonials, which are divided into six volumes of 20 chapters each, are automatically unlocked as the story unfolds each day. But the field reports require an unprecedented level of interaction: They can only be read by traveling to specific locations, and readers are encouraged to write and contribute their own localized installments.

Call it gimmick marketing or innovative storytelling, but one thing is for certain: people are talking about The Silent History, and some early readers are already addicted to the chase. The Week has more about how the book works, and how people are already changing the story's narrative. Link


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Woman Turns Herself In For Illegal Manatee Ride

The photo above was released this week by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in Ft. De Soto, Florida. It's hard to see here, but the woman is riding a wild manatee. Did you know that riding a manatee is illegal? I didn't, but then I don't often encounter manatees. According to Florida state law, "It is unlawful for any person at any time, by any means, or in any manner intentionally or negligently to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb or attempt to molest, harass, or disturb any manatee." Doing so is a second-degree misdemeanor.

After the photo circulated, Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez turned herself in, claiming that she had no idea that encountering a wild animal and hopping on for a ride was a criminal offense. 

Gutierrez was not arrested or charged, but the charges were referred to the state attorney's office, according to the Times.

Authorities say the penalty for the woman could be up to 60 days in jail and a possible fine of $500.

Authorities don't believe any manatees were injured.

Link | Photo: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office


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The Death Scene to End All Death Scenes

It doesn't get more awesomely bad than this, Neatoramanauts. You're watching the final scene of a 1974 Turkish film called Kareteci Kiz (Karate Girl), about a girl who becomes a cop to get revenge on the guys who killed her father and husband. My favorite part is the bit where he turns around and has no wounds on his back, then she shoots once and he suddenly has two bullet holes in his back. From one bullet. While screaming in monotone. This is just so bad, but I admit that I've watched it five times already. Link


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The Animal Kingdom's Most Surprising Badasses

Look at that cute little wombat, just scratching his haunch during a break in some very important digging. So cuddly. Too bad he's a Van Damme-kicking daath machine. The wombat looks cuddly and slow, but when confronted by a predator, he dives head-first into a hole, leaving his hind end exposed.

Here’s the catch: The wombat’s behind is made of cartilage, and impenetrable by teeth. Once the attacker is hooked on, the wombat uses it’s [sic] bizarrely powerful hind legs to kick the animal in the head. Until it’s dead. It kicks dingoes to death.

For more of nature's surprisingly hardcore killers, check out the list on GuySpeed. Link

Photo: Andrew G Young


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Buddhist ‘Iron Man’ Found by Nazis Is From Space

Ordinarily, I would change the headline from the original post, but this one certainly can't be improved.

A statue of the god Vaiśravaṇa known only as the 'iron man' was (ahem) collected by Nazis from Tibet during an exhibition in 1938. This week, its origins were confirmed to be extraterrestrial: The Iron Man is almost certainly carved from a piece of the Chinga meteorite. 

In a paper published in Metoritics & Planetary Science, the team reports their analysis of the iron, nickel, cobalt and trace elements of a sample from the statue, as well as its structure. They found that the geochemistry of the artefact is a match for values known from fragments of the Chinga meteorite. The piece turned into the ‘iron man’ would be the third largest known from that fall.

Given the extreme hardness of the meteorite – “basically an inappropriate material for producing sculptures” the paper notes – the artist or artists who created it may have known their material was special, the researchers say. Buchner suggests it could have been produced by the 11th century Ben culture but the exact origin and age of the statue – as opposed to the meteorite it is made from – is still unknown. It is thought to have been brought to Germany by a Nazi-backed expedition to Tibet in 1938-39. The swastika symbol on the piece – a version of which was adopted by the Nazi party – may have encouraged the 1938 expedition to take it back with them.

The Chinga meteorite was first recorded from remains discovered in 1918, though this sculpture obviously predates those samples. If the Iron Man is in fact carved from a remnant of the Chinga, it will be the only rock from outside Earth's atmosphere that has been carved into a human figure. Link | Photo: Elmar Buchner for Nature


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Watch Thousands of Dolphins Chase a Sailboat

"Superpod" isn't a phrase you see used often, but it's appropriate here. Mike Horn and Chase Jarvis were filming a segment for Polyform when the 110-foot boat they were sailing off the coast of Cape Town was suddenly surrounded by thousands of dolphins. It's gorgeous on film, but the real-life experience left the crew in awe, as Jarvis explains in the video. Via Death+Taxes


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Toothpick-Sized Miniatures by Steven Backman

We've featured San Francisco artist Steven J. Backman here before — he's built an entire career out of assembling toothpicks into bridges and buildings. But these are a little different: Using tiny pieces of a single toothpick, backman has recreated the Eiffel Tower, Burj Khalifa, the White House and other iconic structures, adding only saint-like patience and a bit of glue. Check out the full gallery on his website. Link -via WebUrbanist


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Famous People Who Saw UFOs

If you're having trouble spotting the "5or 6 disk like [sic] shapes" in the photo above, that's probably because you've seen clouds before. But Billy Ray Cyrus was either convinced he was spotting an extraterrestrial meet-and-greet, or trying really hard to maintain his image of being not super-smart. But Mr. Mullet himself isn't the first celebrity to spy a suspicious shape in the skies. TruTV rounded up 14 more. Link


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Stanley the Train and Other Toys Launched into Space

You may have seen Stanley's ascent to the stratosphere already, animated with appropriate reactions as Thomas' buddy travels 18 miles into the sky then plummets back to the ground. (Ron Fugelseth's train-launching project is "probably the coolest thing a dad can do," according to Gizmodo. I'm inclined to agree.) But Stanley wasn't the first toy to journey to the stratosphere, and we're hoping he isn't the last. Here's a great collection of sub-orbital footage from The WeekLink


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That's No Moon! . . . Wait. Sorry, Everyone, It's Just the Moon

A constable on the night shift radioed his sergeant one night late in August to tell him he was "off up the hills" to investigate a suspicious light coming from the other side of Client Hills, Worcestershire. The light was bright—headlights, he thought—and he made the call expecting to find a couple looking for a place to hook up. (The area is famous for being the local outdoor rendezvous location.)

After climbing for 20 minutes through the hills, the officer was surprised to find no headlights, and in fact, no car. 

"This diligent PC had in fact discovered the moon."

You'll remember that August was a Blue Moon month, and it seems the officer found the month's second full moon hiding behind the hilltops. 

A police source said today: "The officer was a little reluctant to come back on duty the next day.

"He knew he was going to get a ribbing and he's had pictures of werewolves put on his locker by some of the more unforgiving officers.

"It will take a long time for him to live this one down."

Poor guy. We're probably not helping. Link | Photo


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Happy Birthday, William Faulkner, and Thanks for the Advice

William Faulkner was born 115 years ago today, and while he didn't make it to the big 1-1-5, he left behind enough work and wisdom to keep our brains busy for at least that long. So what's the first step to living a full and satisfying life?

“Read, read, read. Read everything —trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.” – Statement at the University of Mississippi, 1947

More advice from the late, great Falkner on Flavorwire. Link | Photo: Wikimedia commons 


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Crazy Guy Stands Beside Raging Lava Flow in Homemade Suit

That's a volcano flow, in case you hadn't noticed, and that's a guy in a suit he and a couple of friends rigged up to help withstand the deadly temperatures of molten-hot rock. Geoff Mackley, Bradley Ambrose, Nathan Berg built the respirator and heat proximity suit themselves, but details are scarce (read: nonexistent) about how they put the thing together, or which one of them is standing at the brim of a lava lake in this video. Without it, a person can stand beside the lavafall of Manum in Vanuatu for about 6 seconds. With it, the team reportedly hung around for 40 minutes. Link -via Motherboard


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Heads-Up, Fourthmeal Fans: 9 Secret Menu Items at Taco Bell

You could argue (successfully) that every item at Taco Bell tastes pretty much the same. But if you're eager to impress, or just long for the days the Enchirito (shown above) was still available, here's your guide to snagging nine foods no one else in the place even knows about. The Superman, the Hulk, and more at Refined Guy. Link | Photo: tacobell.com


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Severely Allergic Second-Grader Gets a Robot Stand-In for School

Devon Carrow isn't your typical kid. His allergies are so alarmingly severe that his own mother compares him to David Vetter, the boy who ispired the film The Boy In the Plastic Bubble

The roster of Devon's diagnoses show he suffers from eosinophilic esophagitis disease - an allergic inflammatory response in the esophagus - along with anaphylactic shock syndrome, respiratory distress syndrome and asthma.
The severity of airborne allergies jerked from hypothetical into real-life panic three months after the first incident, when Devon was accidentally exposed to peanuts during a visit to his godparents' home.
"That night, we wound up in the hospital with an oxygen tent on him," [his mother, René] Carrow said.
More than a dozen other times Carrow has had to treat her son with one or more epinephrine auto-injectors and then call for an ambulance.
"It's not a cure, it's almost like giving someone who had a heart attack an aspirin," Carrow said of the EpiPen. "We go to the emergency room a lot."

And those same allergies make it impossible for Devon to attend class, where literally anything could start a reaction and send him back to the hospital. But that's not stopping Devon from going to school: he has a VGo machine that can travel the halls, sit at a desk and head outside come recess time. Meanwhile, Devon is at home 5 miles away, safely isolated from his classmates' germs and stray dust. He controls the machine's movements and camera from home, and interacts through a hi-def monitor and indicator lights on the VGo. 

Despite the VGo's admittedly odd appearance and Devon's unusual circumstances, he's not given any special attention or treatment throughout the day, and is expected topay attention and follow along just as the other students are. And according to his classmates and teacher, Devon is a great student. Link 

Photo:  Derek Gee/Buffalo News 


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The Celebrity Craziness Matrix

We all know celebrities are, to phrase it politely, a little eccentric. But as with all things, some nuts are nuttier than others, and those come in different flavors. The folks at Jest were kind enough to pick out the best and brightest among crazy famous (crazy-famous) people, and then organize them into a comprehensive, easy-to-use map. From Gary Busey to Lady Gaga, Zany to Dangerous, here is a "highly scientific graphical breakdown" that is probably not at all scientific, though it is a lot of fun. Link


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The Snookiville Law and Other Legislation Named for Famous People

It is an uncomfortable truth that Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi is famous. (I'm sorry.) Equally uncomfortable is that, as a result of her reality-TV fame, a new law was recently proposed in New Jersey that would give locations hosting reality shows more control over filming within their jusrisdiction. For instance, production crews will have to pay the city for police escorts and increased security instead of leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. The so-called 'Snookiville law' is scheduled for introduction on Sep 24, 2012. Here's a look at this and other laws named for celebrities, including Tim Tebow, Tom Cruise and Sonny Bono. Link | Photo: CC NVS_Inc


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Touchy: The Human Camera

Oh, Japan. You are so weird/awesome. If, like artist Eric Siu, you've ever been jealous of a camera's charmed life, then you'll appreciate Touchy, a combination headgear-and-sensor setup that turns a person into human camera. Hold Touchy's sensor and his eyes/lenses open; hold for 10 seconds, and he'll take a picture of you, which you can view via LCD on the back of his head. Link -via kuriositas


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Synchronized Flushing of One Million Toilets Planned in Zimbabwe

Severe drought conditions in Zimbabwe have caused a number of issues for larger cities, including blocked sewers (thanks to dry supply dams). To help alleviate the stinky situation, the city of Bulawayo has adopted an interesting strategy: synchronized flushing.

Bulawayo City Council has asked its more than 1 million residents to flush their toilets simultaneously at 7:30 p.m. when water supplies are restored. City officials say "synchronized flushing" is needed to clear waste that would have accumulated in sanitary facilities which will have been affected by days of water outages.

The practice isn't new; the first synchronized flush took place in the city two decades ago. However, local residents say they're largely unaware of today's planned event, as "the whole issue wasn't properly communicated to them." Link | Photo


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Newly Divorced Woman Launches Old Wedding Ring into Space

"We are never ever ever getting back together," says Taylor Swift, and recent divorcee Rebecca Gibbs of New Zealand, who sent her former husband's promises to love, honor and cherish into space on a small rocket. After giving away her wedding dress and other items symbolic of her failed union, Gibbs' plans for the ring were hazy until someone suggested she launch it off of the planet. For more about Gibbs, and a collection of other bizarre divorce stories, check out the piece on Huffington Post. Link | via-The FW

Photo: NASA


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Food Photographed with A Scanning Electron Microscope

terra cibus no.5 / table salt (45x Magnification)

terra cibus no.6 / red licorice (20x Magnification)

Commercial photographer Caren Alpert's dual loves — food and art — have teamed up in her series terra cibus, a collection of 36 high-res photos of food under an electron miscroscope. Aside from the salt and Twizzlers shownabove, Alpert's work includes super-close-ups of all kinds of food: kiwi, celery, OREO cookies. (Trypophobes beware the Brussels sprout shot.) Link -via


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