Adrienne Crezo's Blog Posts

10 Things You Didn't Know About "A Christmas Story"

It's that time again: the 24-hour A Christmas Story marathon is coming, and every year the internet reminds us that the kid who played Flick had a brief career in porn and that Jack Nicholson wanted to play Ralphie's dad. But there's a lot more about the holiday classic that everyone doesn't already know, and the FW has rounded up the best of those things, including the house the movie was filmed in, what Flash Gordon has to do with any of this, and what really happened when the Bumpus's dogs ate the turkey. Link 


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The Fish Harp

If this isn't the neatest thing you see today, you spend waaaay too much time on the internet. Henry Chu's Fish Harp is musical instrument/visual art hybrid: when a goldfish swims under a glass, the Fish Harp synthesizes the sound a wet finger would make if you ran it along the rim of the glass. The synthesizer is triggered by motion sensors. 

Fish Harp is on display at Musique Plastique in Hong Kong. (Admission is free, if you're in the neighborhood.) 

via NOTCOT


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The Fascinating Origins of 10 Christmas Traditions

Mistletoe, by Auntie P. on Flickr

Ever wonder why we give each other gifts at Christmas? Or what the deal is with wreaths, kissing under mistletoe, and stocking stuffers? And what's up with Boxing Day, Canada? 

[W]e tell our kids that a fat man is coming into our house at night; we bring in trees in to shed all over the carpet; and we kiss under parasitic plants – all in the holiday spirit. How the hell are these even related to Jesus, whose birthday we’re supposed to be celebrating?

Get yourself some eggnog and settle in, because Listverse has the answer to all of your pressing "why do we even do this?" questions. Link


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J.R.R. Tolkien-Inspired Tattoos

The Eye of Sauron.

It's a big week for Tolkien fans, and to celebrate the release of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, Flavorwire has rounded up 20 excellent Tolkien-inspired tattoos. Everything from quotes to duplications of the books' original artwork are featured, including this detailed Eye of Sauron neck piece above. (How you'd cover that up for work is beyond me; here's hoping that guy has a cool supervisor.)

Check out the rest on Flavorwire. Link


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How a Beautiful Widow Defeated a General and Inspired a Hanukkah Tradition

Detail of Judith. Christifano Allori, 1613

You might call her the Face That Graced a Thousand Paintings, but one beautiful woman's bravery and wit saved her life, her city, and inspired a holiday tradition that still endures for millions of people around the world.

Eating cheese and other dairy foods during Hanukkah is a minor custom that owes its origins to the story of Judith and Holofernes. The account is given in the deuterocanonical book of Judith, which (by definition) is not part of the Hebrew Bible but is accepted by Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians as part of the Old Testament. Judith's book, specifically, contains a number of historical anachronisms that lead many to believe that it is not historical but is possibly the first historical novel. Despite the tale's disputed legitimacy, it has inspired a custom among some celebrants of Hanukkah that seems a bit strange: what the heck does this have to do with cheese? The story goes like this:

Return of Judith to Bethulia. Botticelli, 1470Holofernes, an Assyrian general, surrounded the city of Bethulia as part of his campaign to conquer Judea. Judith, angry that her countrymen have lost faith in God's protection, decided to make friendly with Holofernes in a daring ploy to save her city. She, accompanied by her maidservant, visited the enemy general and offered information about the Israelites. Judith's bold plan worked, and one night, because Holofernes is taken by her beauty, she was invited to his tent. She then plied him with wine and cheese until he fell into a drunken slumber -- though the book is clear that "no defilement" occurs. Again accompanied by her faithful maid, Judith decapitated Holofernes using his own sword, and then returned to Bethulia, where Holofernes's head was mounted on the city walls. The Assyrians were overcome with fear after finding Holofernes's headless body, and so they fled. The city was saved, and one of the more riveting stories in religious history was born.
The account of Judith and Holofernes is a popular theme in classical art, with perhaps the most famous examples produced by Artemisia Gentileschi (who inserted herself as Judith), Donatello, and Caravaggio. Hundreds of works survive into modernity, and who knows how many were lost. Judith's victory was so popular among artists, in fact, that she appears in her own corner of the Sistine Chapel. 
Detail of Judith and Holofernes. Michelangelo Buonarotti, 1508-1512.
And cheese, of course, now makes an appearance during Hanukkah festivities in honor of the heroine Judith, who delivered Israel from the enemy using only food, drink, and a borrowed sword. 

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5 Life-Saving Techniques for Surviving a Garden Gnome Attack During the Holidays

The following is an excerpt from How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (and They Will) by Chuck Sambuchino.

We're giving away two copies — leave a comment to enter!

Garden gnome attacks rise sharply during the holidays. This phenomenon is because people’s affection for Santa’s elves causes them to confuse friendly North Pole helpers with the vicious murdering murderers known as garden gnomes (gnomus hortus).

We must always remember that while gnomes enjoy a public image whitewash that passes them off as symbols of merriment and goodwill, they are secretly planning home invasions all over the world in a grand plan of evisceration and death. (Wait a minute—does that gnome look a little closer to the pet door than yesterday? Better board up the house just to be safe.) While we don’t know why gnomes attack us—for our metal? our spices?—we can be certain that they want us all dead. In 2011, the Gnome Defense Hotline based in Berlin recorded 878 confirmed attacks worldwide.

If you live anywhere close to garden gnomes or reside on rural property near the woods, rest assured that an assault is not “possible.” It is inevitable. They’re coming. The only question is when.

With that in mind, here are 5 simple tips for keeping you and your family safe from garden gnomes during the holiday season. Do not ignore these life-saving techniques. Many humans have died to bring you this concise, helpful information.

1. Forget building a snowman.

A large snowman is a perfect Trojan Horse for a garden gnome to occupy before it bursts out like in the movie Alien and mauls you with tiny weapons and horrific shrieks. One minute you’re placing the corncob pipe in Frosty’s mouth thinking it the pièce de résistance in your snow creation, the next minute you’ve got a tiny gnome ax embedded in your shoulder while fighting for your life on the snowy ground in your backyard.

Note: One of the most underrated weapons against gnomes is a good, sturdy snow shovel. When outside during wintertime, keep a snow shovel on hand at all times. In fact, this touches upon a bigger tip: Keep a weapon mounted on the wall in every room of your home to always be ready for when a lawn gnome armada invades.

2. Record unexplained footprints in the snow.

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The $5,000 Toilet that You Control with Your Smartphone

At long last, a breakthrough in totally unnecessary toilet design. If you're in the market for a porcelain throne that not only plays music while you do your business but also raises and lowers the seat, flushes and turns on the bidet via wireless command from an accompanying app, then maybe wait a few months. The SATIS line of toilets from Japanese brand Inax will launch in February 2013, and in addition to the aforementioned features, will offer energy and water consumption info, programmable personal settings, and built-in speakers for the ideal bathroom experience.

All of this, and the SATIS will also "honorably accept your waste." How have we lived so long without this? Video and even more info on RocketNews.

Link


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"Magic" Phone Booth Lets Kids Call Santa

What's better than writing a letter to Santa? Well, obviously, the answer is talking to him on the phone, then getting a gift, then having snow magically appear from nowhere with the press of a button as a choir of children sing and cheer for you. And that's exactly what happens when children dial up St. Nick on a special "magic phone both" in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. 

Telecom company Oi, the country's largest, hired retired actors to play Santa; the actors can see the children, so they carry on unscripted conversations, followed by a projected winter wonderland on a nearby building (complete with fake snow), and small gifts left on the steps for each little caller. 

Unfortunately for most of the world, Oi's campaign is only in Brazil. But if you're living in the country and can't make it to Rio, children can call (21) 2243-2012 and speak to Santa Claus directly. Proceeds from every call are donated to participating institutions. (No idea which those are yet, but I'll update if I find out.) More pics and info on PSFK. Link


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2012's Ten Worst Movies (According to Reviewers)

It's December, and you know what that means: year-end lists of the preceding 12 month's best and worst everything. This is just such a list: 10 movies that were terribvle enough to be called the worst. (Anyone remember A Little Bit of Heaven?) 

Over the weekend, Gerard Butler's new romantic comedy Playing for Keeps failed to play well at the box office, debuting in sixth place with a measly $6-million opening weekend gross. But as disappointing as Playing for Keeps' drawing power was, it pales beside the film's stunningly awful critical reception — on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, only 2 percent of critics reviewed it positively. 

Here are the ten worst-rated films released in 2012, via The Week. Link

Photo: CC by Flickr-user striatic


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Crockford's Club: How a Fishmonger Bankrupted the British Aristocracy

Crockford's Club in 1828.

How about a bit of history today? Everyone loves a good rags-to-riches story, and and the tale of Crockford's Club is a great one: a man who sold fish for a living smelled an opportunity to garner a little bit of the British aristocracy's surplus wealth. And he knew just how to do it.

Take William Crockford, who began his career as a London fishmonger and ended it, half a century later, as perhaps the wealthiest self-made man in England. Crockford managed this feat thanks to one extraordinary talent—an unmatched skill for gambling—and one simple piece of good fortune: to be alive early in the 19th century, when peace had returned to Europe after four decades of war and a generation of bored young aristocrats, who a few years earlier would have been gainfully employed in fighting Napoleon, found themselves with far too much time on their hands.

That's right. Crockford managed to woo money right from their hands simply because they were bored and rich. Check out the full history on Past Imperfect. Link


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Finally: A Truly Invisible Umbrella

Umbrellas can be bulky and difficult to store (especially when wet), but if you've just about had it with walking around under a handheld canopy on rainy days, never fear: the Air Umbrella is here.

Designed by Je Sung Park and Woo Jung Kwon, the Air Umbrella is little more than just a collapsible handle. But there's some smart tech happening in that little stick. It draws in air from the bottom, then forces it through a showerhead-like nozzle at the top, creating an air-powered barrier with enough force to repel raindrops. And of course, power settings can be adjusted accordingly for varying levels of precipitation.

Would you use an air-powered umbrella? I'm known for not charging my phonbe often enough; I'd probably let the batteries die and end up caught in the rain with a dead umbrella. Check out more pics on Yanko Design. Link (via PSFK)


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Elephant-Poop Coffee Goes for $50 a Cup

If the infamous civet-poop coffee is too mainstream for your caffeine-intake needs, good news is here from the hills of Thailand, where a small herd of elephants are in full-time production of Black Ivory Coffee, the latest in weird gourmet food and drink. From Newser:

Trumpeted as earthy in flavor and smooth on the palate, the exotic new brew is made from beans eaten by Thai elephants and plucked a day later from their dung. A gut reaction inside the elephant creates what its founder calls the coffee's unique taste. Stomach turning or oddly alluring, Black Ivory Coffee is not just one of the world's most unusual specialty coffees: At $500 per pound, it's also among the world's priciest.

The intrepid souls who've tried Black Ivory say the coffee lacks the bitterness found in a cup of regular joe. Whether or not that's worth a trip to Thailand, the Maldives or Abu Dhabi — where the coffee is available, but only in luxury and resort hotels — is entirely up to you. For my part, I'm willing to put up with a little bitterness. Link 

Image CC by Annika Nyberg


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Can You Blow a Doughnut-Shaped Soap Bubble?

bubblesThe following is an excerpt from Why Are Orangutans Orange? 

 


Soap on a Hope

Is it possible to blow a toroidal soap bubble (one shaped like a ring doughnut)? And if it is, would it collapse immediately to a sphere? Could its life be prolonged by spinning its surface, as with smoke rings?

Peter Gardner,

Blawith, Cumbria, UK

A soap bubble is the minimum surface which encloses a given volume. If a toroidal bubble were created, it would not provide such a minimum surface and would therefore tend to contract to reduce its surface area until it collapsed into a bubble which would then burst because of the forces created at the disappearing hole in the torus. This situation differs from that in a solid torus such as a bicycle inner tube, because soap bubbles can transfer part of their surface from the inner to the outer part of the torus as they shrink.

A temporary toroidal bubble could perhaps be created by sticking spherical bubbles in a ring and collapsing their shared walls, but the inner ring would undoubtedly degenerate as the number of bubbles decreased.

Soap bubbles are different from smoke rings, which have no surface but are composed of solid particles suspended in air. These are stable because different parts of the body can rotate at different speeds without causing degeneration.

Jerry Humphreys

Bristol, UK

As a mathematician who studies soap bubbles, I knew that a toroidal soap bubble was, under normal circumstances, impossible. The only stable equilibrium shape for a soap bubble is the sphere that most people easily recognise – a torus bubble should not even exist in unstable equilibrium.

So when the famous performer Tom Noddy (known as the Bubble Guy from the US TV show Tonight) told me that he once blew a toroidal bubble, I didn’t actually believe him until he showed me the photographic proof (below).

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A Little History of Science: Uncovering the Human Body

The following is an excerpt from A Little History of Science.

If you want to really understand how something is made, it is often a good idea to take it apart, piece by piece. With some things, like watches and cars, it helps if you also know how to put them back together again. If what you want to understand is a human or an animal body, it has to be dead before you start, but the goal is the same.

Galen, as we know, dissected – took apart – many animals, because he couldn’t dissect any humans. He assumed that the anatomy of pigs or monkeys was pretty much like that of human beings, and in some ways he was right, but there are differences, too. The dissection of human bodies started to be done occasion­ally around 1300, when medical schools began to teach anatomy. At first, when people noticed any differences between what they saw in the human body and what Galen had said, they assumed that human beings had simply changed, not that Galen had been wrong! But as they began to look more closely, anatomists discovered more and more small differences. It became obvious that there was more to uncover about the human body.

The man who did the uncovering was an anatomist and surgeon known to us as Andreas Vesalius (1514–64). His full name was Andreas Wytinck van Wesel. He was born in Brussels, in modern-day Belgium, where his father was a medical man employed by the German Emperor Charles V. A clever child, he was sent to the University of Louvain to study arts subjects, but decided to change to medicine. Clearly ambitious, he then went to Paris where some of the best teachers were. They all followed Galen, and during his three years there he impressed them. He also showed his abilities in Greek and Latin, and his fascination with dissection. A war between the German Empire and France forced him to leave Paris, but he reintroduced human dissection to the medical faculty at Louvain before travelling, in 1537, to what at the time was the best medical school in the world, at the University of Padua in Italy. He took his exams, passed with the highest distinction, and the next day was appointed as a lecturer in surgery and anatomy. At Padua they knew when they were on to a good thing: Vesalius taught anatomy through his own dissections, the students loved him, and the very next year he published a series of beautiful anatomical illustrations of parts of the human body. They were so good that doctors all over Europe began copying these pictures for their own use, much to Vesalius’s annoyance, since they were actually stealing his work.

Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica, p. 559

Cutting open a dead body is not a particularly pleasant thing to do. After death, the body quickly begins to decay and smell and, in Vesalius’s time, there was no way to stop it from rotting. This meant that the dissection had to be done quickly, and in an order that made it possible to get it done before the smells became over­powering. The belly was done first, since the intestines are the first to rot. This was followed by the head and brain, then the heart, lungs, and other organs in the chest cavity. The arms and legs were saved to the end: they lasted the best. The whole thing had to be done in two or three days, and anatomy was generally taught in winter, when the colder weather at least delayed the decay and gave the doctors a little more time.

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James Bond Theme Gets an A Capella Makeover

But don't worry -- Nick McKaig and Julien Neel (aka, Trudbol) clearly preserved the bah-da-DA-daaaaa thing that you know and love. 

If Trudbol looks familiar, you may remember him from his previous vocal-only interpretations of popular theme songs, like Dr. Mario and this ditty from The Simpsons. McKaig is probably also familiar to Neatoramanauts as the dude behind the a capella Indiana Jones and Star Wars themes. Check out lots more on McKaig's YouTube channel. LinkVia


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Poignant, Uncensored Art by U.S. Veterans of War

Angel in the Desert, by Markus Ericksen

The National Veterans Art Museum of Chicago collects and preserves the art of U.S. veterans in every visual form except dance. This week, the NVAM moves from its former location to a new one on Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Thankfully, the museum received a grant that allows them to exhibit high-resolution photos of every work online. 

Between Desolation and Nuclear Skies, by Robert Hanson

The Wall, by Michael Rumery

It's difficult to choose just a few pieces that can be fully representative of what's on exhibit at NVAM, but you can find a small collection here, or peruse the entire museum's offerings at the NVAM Online Collection. Link - via


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Body Crash: This Car Wreck Is Made of People

The South Australian Motor Accident Commission has a message to send to people who disregard the speed limit: vehicle accidents cost lives. To get this point accross, MAC brought in Emma Hack, the artist responsible for Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" video, to design the "Body Crash" billboard ad.

It's a little difficult to tell, aside from that one extended arm out there to the left, but this car is actually 17 people lying on and around each other, then painted to look like a wrecked sedan. Here's a close-up:

The group of bodybuilders, athletes and acrobats were chosen for their flexibility and fatigue resistance. The whole process from design concept to assembling the models to painting the car is available in video form over at If It's Hip It's Here, along with lots of behind-the-scenes shots. Link


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A Brief History of Movie Villains' Terrible Hair

If you caught Skyfall this weekend (or if you've seen any previews), then you already know that this list begins with Javier Bardem and his bizarro platinum coif (and eyebrows!) as the latest Bond villain, Raoul Silva. The normally quite attractive Bardem looks strange and unhinged in the way only a movie villain can pull off. Don't believe me? Consider this:

It seems that possession of a terrible haircut is the Hollywood litmus test for evil. The hairstyles of movie villains are the physical embodiment of their criminal and immoral impulses. Whereas the heroes and heroines of Hollywood are blessed, in large part, with beautiful, flowing locks that indicate youth, virility and virtue, the villain is cursed with balding, wild, or dual-color dos that speak to his or her madness, isolation, and immorality. With few exceptions—most notably, Hitler’s toothbrush mustache and Mugabe’s philtrum thing, and, oh, Trump—the hair of the villains who exist outside of movies is, well, normal, at least in our modern times. Generally, in real life, evil approaches by stealth—it doesn't announce its cruel intentions with a bad perm. But in film and TV, bad hair is what signals something wicked (and funny-looking) this way comes. And we can see this in the past 50 years of Bond films, which have shown us all the way different, hideous ways a villain might appear onscreen.

But bad hair certainly isn't limited to those who would do 007 harm; The Awl has rounded up a visual history of fictional evildoers' bad hairdos, from Patrick Bateman to Ursula the Sea Witch. Link

Publicity still via skyfall-movie.com


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Are Geeky Couples More Likely to Have Kids with Autism?

What is a geek? For many people the term is perjorative, but for those who embrace geekdom, being a geek simply means having a thorough knowledge of and passion for a specific topic or activity. These aren't limited to calculus and Star Wars references, as 80s movies may have kead you to believe, but those topics certainly aren't excluded here, either. And as with any personality trait, geekiness is attractive to other geeks. But what the hey does this all have to do with autism? That's what researchers Simon Baron-Cohen and Sally Wheelwright set out to solve.

In a series of studies, the pair revealed that geeky personality types were more likely to have children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Most revealing were statistics related to the parents' occupations:

12.5 percent of fathers of children with autism were engineers, compared with only 5 percent of fathers of children without autism.

Likewise, 21.2 percent of grandfathers of children with autism had been engineers, compared with only 2.5 percent of grandfathers of children without autism. The pattern appeared on both sides of the family. Women who had a child with autism were more likely to have a father who had been an engineer—and they were more likely to have married someone whose father had been an engineer.

But Baron-Cohen and Wheelwright's research wasn't limited to the industry-specific employment of parents with autistic children; the pair also researched tendencies to data systemizing, college majors, tech-industry locations (which revealed that Silicon Valley reports a higher incidence of childhood autism) and why autism seems to be more prevalent in malesthan in females. The article by Baron-Cohen is along read, but worth it if autism and geekiness are relevant to your interests. Check out the rest on Scientific American. Link | Photo

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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A Woman's Heart, According to the 1800s

Ladies, this is a map of our hearts. Like any old map, it's safe to assume the cartographer was operating with limited tools and resources and under the influence of societal expectations. So don't be offended that Love of Dress and Display hold such a geographical prominence, or that the Country of Eligibleness is not yet called Vast Plains of Strength, Intelligence & Awesomeness. (That amendment hadn't passed yet.) 

According to Brain Pickings, the artist was "A Lady," but I suspect she had some "constructive critique" before publication. Check out a larger version on Retronaut, with a rundown of lady-heart topography. Link


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Play It Again (and Again and Again), Sam: 10 Crazy Sequels to Casablanca

Casablanca may have ended with the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but that hasn't stopped filmmakers from trying to drag the story out. Most recently, director Cass Warner of Warner Sisters has decided to tackle Return to Casablanca, a tale focusing on the son of Rick and Ilsa (raised by Ilsa and Victor Laszlo) who sets out to find his real father. 

Obviously, film buffs are not feeling it, but Warner isn't onto anything new: this is just the latest in a long line of Casablanca follow-ups, beginning as early as 1943, just a year after the original film's release. For reasons we probably don't have to explain, none of the sequels have been particularly successful.

Brazzaville (1943)
Shortly after Casablanca won the Best Picture Oscar, Warner Bros. announced plans to release a sequel titled Brazzaville based on the further adventures of Rick and Captain Renault. But the studio rejected the story that writer Frederic Stephani outlined — which intended to reveal that Rick and Renault had secretly been Allied operatives all along — and the idea of a sequel was soon scrapped altogether.

Casablanca TV series (1955-1956)
For ABC's "Warner Bros. Presents," the studio's first foray into television, execs conceived a Charles McGraw-starring prequel to Casablanca, set in the years before the events of the original. In a strained bid for credibility, minor actors from the film were cast in major roles for the series, including Dan Seymour (who played a bodyguard in the film) as Ferrari, and Marcel Dalio (who played a crooked roulette table operator in the film) as Captain Renault. The series was mercifully canceled after one low-rated season.

Check out eight more terrible ideas that didn't amount to a hill of beans, on The Week. Link


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Hey, Smell This: Olfactory Art Is Coming to New York

Chandler Burr is an artist. (That's him in the photo above.) A creative specialist, if you will. But you'll never see his work, or hear it on the radio, or read it on your Nook. Burr is the world's only curator of olfactory art, and he has a show(? display? exhibit? Help me out here) coming to the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York.

In The Art of Scent: 1889-2012, Burr will be introducing museum visitors to 12 highpoints in the history of fragrance, thanks to diffusion technology that releases perfume in minute puffs. But it’s still not clear how much of his audience will recognize the art form’s finer points. Holly Hotchner, MAD’s director, heads up a museum devoted to crossovers—to bridging craft and design and fine arts of every kind. But even she sees the show she supports as a gamble: “This is probably as far afield as we’ve gone, in terms of experimentation, because people aren’t used to using their noses.” Burr’s determined to change that, nostril by nostril. (He says we only smell through one at a time.)

If it seems complicated, that's because it is. For most of us, perfume smells like... well, perfume. And while different fragrances vary, there's an inherent "perfuminess" to each of them that tells your brain, "Hey, these aren't flowers." But picking apart those notes and understanding that each nuance of fragrance is a synthetic interpretation of a recognizeable smell is something Burr believes is an art, and that art has a history. He just wants the chance to show you. Er, let you smell it. 

Whether you decide to visit MAD and sniff your way through the Rennaisance, romantic and photorealistic eras of perfumery, Burr's conversation with The Daily Beast's Blake Gopnik is an interesting read, filled with Burr's revelations you'd probably never wonder about otherwise. For instance: “The scent of Coppertone is incredibly well made, is beautifully composed. Call it a work of design—call it what you will—it is a minor work of art.” See? Never crossed my mind. List

Photo: The Museum of Arts and Design


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10 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Spider-Man

Everyone's heard of Spidey and his everyman counterpart, Peter Parker. But do you know how long his web goo lasts? How about his middle name? And were you aware that before Spider-Man was even a twinkle in his parents' eyes he teamed up with Wolverine? 'S'true. 

In the 1960s, readers had thought that Peter Parker grew up in a relatively normal household. That was until the 1968 release of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man Annual’ #5 changed everything. In it, writer Stan Lee and his brother, artist Larry Lieber, revealed that Peter’s parents, Richard and Mary Parker, had been spies for the US government before their fiery death in a plane crash. Even more unlikely, years later in 1997’s ‘Untold Tales of Spider-Man’ #Minus 1, a flashback tale by writer Roger Stern and artist John Romita Sr. keyed readers into the fact that Spider-Man’s parents had once saved the life of a fellow agent referred to as Agent-Ten. Later in the issue it was revealed that Agent-Ten was none other than Spidey’s future Avengers teammate, Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine.

Who knew (aside from superfans)? For more Spidey miscellania, check out the list on The FW. Link | Image


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What Happens If You Try to Buy Pizza with a 20-Year-Old TMNT Coupon?

Armed with the raddest 'Murica pants this side of Napoleon Dynamite and a still-sealed VHS copy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from 1990, Pause the 90s went on a mission to find out if Pizza Hut would give them a discount dating back 20 years.  

Almost unbelievably, the manager wasawesome enough to honor a coupon that expired in 1991. It was probably the sunglasses that won her over. Link - via GuySpeed


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Sweden Is Running Out of Garbage

Sweden has a few claims to fame that the U.S. simply can't compete with, namely Ikea, the Nobel Prize, and a historical avoidance of war. (Oh, and meatballs. Mmm.) But now it can add "emergency trash imports" to the list, because the country is running dangerously low on household and industrial waste. 

According to the country's Waste Management site, two million tons of waste is converted to heat and electricity each year, with only 4% of the nation's trash ending up in landfills. But it's not enough: 

Due to its efficiency in converting waste to renewable energy, Sweden has recently begun importing around 800,000 tons of trash annually from other countries.

Norway is now paying Sweden to take its garbage. Swedish sights are also set on Bulgaria, Romania and Italy as future trash exporters, as Catarina Ostlund, a senior advisor for the country's environmental protection agency, told PRI. Those countries rely heavily on landfills – a highly inefficient and environmentally degrading system.

Compare this to the United States, which recycles about 34% of the 250 million tons of trash generated per year. The majority of the rest is landfilled. 

I don't know about you guys, but I have plenty of trash I could sell to Sweden. Give me a call; I'll pull my bin back from the curb.

Link | UN Photo/Evan Schneider


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Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past

Ransom Riggs has an unusual hobby: he collects old photographs of people he doesn't know. But it's not necessarily about the snapshots themselves — the interesting part is what's written on the backs. Riggs explains:

When you’re looking through bins of thousands of random, unsorted photos, every hundredth one or so will have some writing on it. It’s generally just identifying information (“me and Jerry at the Grand Canyon, 1947″), but every once in a while I'll find a something surprising, emotional, candid, hilarious, heartbreaking -- a few words that bring the picture to life in a profound new way, transforming a blurry black-and-white snapshot of people who seem a million miles and a million years away into an intensely personal sliver of experience that anyone can relate to. It becomes something not just to look at, but to listen to.

(YouTube link)

The following photos are excerpted from Talking Pictures, which is on sale today.

From the chapter "Clowning Around," which is 100% tomfoolery:

This one's from "Love and Marriage" -- in this case the subject has neither:

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ASPCA-Approved, Easy-to-Make Halloween Treats for Pets

Costume sales for pets have never been higher, so we're willing to assume that pet owners are also interested in great kitten- and pooch-friendly holiday treats, too. As always, the excellent people at ASPCA have some ideas, and since they're the experts, you know you can trust them to keep Mittens healthy and happy this Halloween. 

Whether you're just whipping these up for your own furry children or throwing a pet-friendly party, ASPCA has your four-legged friends' snack options covered.

Halloween Cat Cookie

Your kitties will love the fishy flavor of these tasty treats.

1/4 cup warm water
5 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons soft margarine
1 Tablespoon cod liver oil
1 cup white flour
1/4 cup soy flour

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Combine water, cheese, margarine and oil.
3. Add flour and form dough.
4. Roll to 1/4 inch thick and cut with small holiday cookie cutters.
5. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden.

Not a cat-lover? How dare you. That's okay! There's a great recipe for puppy-specific treats, too. Link

Photo via nyminxon Flickr

Love Halloween and cosplay? Check out our Halloween Blog!

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For the Atari's 35th Birthday, the Top 10 Atari Games Ever

I don't always feel old, but when I do it's because of posts like this one. The Atari 2600 — that boxy little guy that changed the way an entire generation defined the word "play" — is 35 years old this week. There are no words.

For the under-25 set/Martian cave-dwellers, the Atari 2600 debuted in 1977 as the Atari VCS, for Video Computer System. It was the first wide-selling home gaming system and the one that popularized microchip processing (like the kind later used in pretty much anything more complicated than Hungry Hungry Hippos). The Atari 2600 was inducted to the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2007 and voted the second-most important gaming console of all time by IGN. (It was defeated by the relentless popularity of the original NES and those damned Mario Brothers.)

We had the wood-veneered model in our house in the 80s, and at least five of the top ten best-selling games. My favorite (Snoopy and the Red Baron) didn't make the cut, but Space Invaders, my next choice, clocked in at number five. Now let's play the "Can You Guess #1?" Game. Let us know how you did. Link


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Ukraine’s Anime Girl and Real Barbie Meet Face-to-Barely-Human-Face

You know Anastasiya Shpagina (right), Ukraine's Anime Girl, and likewise, you're probably also aware of Valeria Lukyanova (left), who calls herself Real Barbie. (If not, here's a brief primer: They look like this all the time.)

Because this universe is sometimes injust and bad things do happen, the two met up for a photoshoot. The uncanny valley has never been deeper.

First we have newcomer, 19 year-old Anastasiya Shpagina, who’s industrial strength make-up job transforms her into three dimensional warm blooded anime girl.  In the other corner we have 21 year-old Valeria Lukyanova, who surprised the world with her appearance of a “Real Barbie Doll” which is rumored to be the result of extensive plastic surgery.

Though you'd imagine the two were vying for some sort of Creepiest Ukranian Human Alive award, they seemed to hit it off, reportedly sharing makeup tips and dressing up as one another. 

There are plenty more pictures of both ladies(?) over at RocketNews, if you're into that or just can't seem to look away. Link


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The TV Show That Won a Presidential Election

American moms have long been notorious for the old "TV rots your brain" argument. (Mine is guilty, anyway.) But obviously moms don't know about the ways TV can really change the world. In Russia, for example, a TV show was largely responsible for electing a president:

As Russians were gearing up to go to the polls in July 1996, Boris Yeltsin was nervous about his job. The weather gave him additional reason to panic. With the sun shining and the temperatures pleasant, Yeltsin fretted that his city-dwelling supporters would decamp to their dachas, or country cottages, instead of staying home and voting. Russia’s president needed a way to keep his base from traveling.

His solution: a cunning use of soap opera. No show was more popular in Russia than the Brazilian morality soap Tropikanka, which regularly drew 25 million viewers to the state-owned network ORT. With the election looming, ORT made a surprise announcement: The show’s finale would air as a special triple episode on election day between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.

More amazing was the fact that the scheme actually worked. Because most dachas didn’t have televisions, viewers stayed in the city, glued to their sets. When the episode ended, it was too late to trek out of town, but voters still had time to get to the polling station. Yeltsin’s soap opera strategy helped him prevail by more than 10 million votes. Meanwhile, The Young and the Restless can’t even sway a lousy Senate race.

This is just one of the 25 Most Powerful TV Shows of the Last 25 Years, as selected by Mental Floss. Check out the rest, including the shows that rewired kids' brains and boosted the national pregnancy rate. Link


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Profile for Adrienne Crezo

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