Image: @Emilee Plaayer
When four-year-old Maelyn gets on the soccer team, her four parents are there to cheer her on. Wait - four parents? That's right.
Maelyn's mother and father are divorced, and both later remarried. But they're determined not to let that get in the way of parenting.
"Because of us, I will never believe co-parenting can't work," wrote Emilee Player (Maelyn's step-mom) in this viral Facebook post, "I know through experience it can work!"
People, especially the younger generations, don't write in cursive anymore (cursive handwriting isn't even being taught in some schools). That much is known.
But what caused the decline in cursive handwriting? Is it the pervasive use of computer keyboard (and now smartphone's texting)? Or is it something else ... like the rise of the ballpoint pen:
Sassoon’s analysis of how we’re taught to hold pens makes a much stronger case for the role of the ballpoint in the decline of cursive. She explains that the type of pen grip taught in contemporary grade school is the same grip that’s been used for generations, long before everyone wrote with ballpoints. However, writing with ballpoints and other modern pens requires that they be placed at a greater, more upright angle to the paper—a position that’s generally uncomfortable with a traditional pen hold. Even before computer keyboards turned so many people into carpal-tunnel sufferers, the ballpoint pen was already straining hands and wrists.
Read more over at this article by Josh Giesbrecht at The Atlantic.
Images: @Jenness Farm
Downward goat pose, anyone?
Move over, hot yoga, there's a new yoga trend in town: yoga with baby goat. You can't bleat that!
Previously on Neatorama: Baby Goat Yoga
Image: Heritage Museums & Gardens, Sandwich, MA
Gorgeous! The Bulb River, an arrangement of some 3,500 bulbs of grape hyacinth flanked with thousands of bright yellow daffodils, is located at the Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, Massachussetts.
Image: Emily Starkey/The Collegian
Kansas State student Claire Daniels loved Dr Pepper soda so much that she tweeted, "I really just need to have a Dr Pepper fountain installed in my house. That would probably be cheaper than how much I spend on it currently."
Well, be careful what you wish on Twitter, because Dr Pepper saw that tweet and decided to make it a reality:
Just one month after Daniels posted the tweet, Dr Pepper’s marketing team reached out to Daniels and asked if they could come to Manhattan and surprise her as a reward for her loyalty. [...] It wasn’t until Daniels came downstairs and heard the sound of Dr Pepper flowing through the fountain that she thought her wish may have turned into reality.
A real life fountain flowing with Dr Pepper!
In the meantime, just in case Dr Pepper listening: "I really just need to have a Dr Pepper-branded ATM spewing hundreds of dollars in free money installed in my house."
Got bed bugs? Those pesky insects have been known for biting humans for millenia (Aristotle even mentioned them), but new fossil records show that the problem went way further back than that:
Scientists discovered 14 ancient bedbug specimens in the Paisley Five Mile Point Cave near Paisley, Oregon. Of the specimens, one was around 5,100 years old; 13 others were between 9,400 and 11,000 years old.
Somewhere between 5,000 and 11,000 years ago, bedbugs fed on bats that roosted in the Paisley Caves. “The bedbugs that we know from hotel rooms became a parasite of humans long ago, thousands of years ago, in the Old World, when people were living in caves with bats in them,” archeoentomologist Martin Adams said.
Image: Patrick Winn
In Thailand, it's customary to offer food to the spirits or ghosts of one's ancestors - you often see "spirit houses" with offerings of fruits, fried rice, and flowers. But what about thirsty ghosts? Skip the blood sacrifice, because today's discerning ghosts prefer Strawberry Fanta:
Fanta has been a choice spirit offering for decades — so long that millennial Thais often find this phenomenon to be utterly unremarkable. But how, exactly, did this come to be? The answer, it seems, is buried under layers of folklore and ancient ritualism.
“It’s just a tradition,” says Chatgaew Pinjulai, a 50-year-old woman who sells Fanta and other spirit offerings by the roadside. “A very pervasive tradition.”
Angelic spirits like sweet things, she says, and Strawberry Fanta is nothing if not sweet. The typical Thai-sized serving is an 8.5-ounce bottle packed with 32 grams of sugar. It is a high-calorie, syrupy brew, perhaps best suited for beings that cannot gain mass.
Read the rest in this interesting article by Patrick Winn over at PRI.
Can you think of a random number? Sure you can, but not as good as when you were (or will be) 25 years of age.
Cognitive scientist Nicolas Gauvrit and colleagues at Laboratoire de Recherche Scientifique in Paris, France, tested more than 3,400 people on their ability to "be random" and discovered something interesting: that ability peaked at 25 years of age.
Scientists believe that the ability to behave in a way that appears random arises from some of the most highly developed cognitive processes in humans, and may be connected to abilities such as human creativity. Previous studies have shown that aging diminishes a person's ability to behave randomly. [...]
The scientists analyzed the participants' choices according to their algorithmic randomness, which is based on the idea that patterns that are more random are harder to summarize mathematically. After controlling for characteristics such as gender, language, and education, they found that age was the only factor that affected the ability to behave randomly. This ability peaked at age 25, on average, and declined from then on.
"This experiment is a kind of reverse Turing test for random behavior, a test of strength between algorithms and humans," says study co-author Hector Zenil. "25 is, on average, the golden age when humans best outsmart computers," adds Dr. Gauvrit.
Read more over at Phys.org
Two turntables and a microphone ... and some delicious, delicious dumplings!
Meet 82-year-old Sumiko Iwamuro, who is a dumpling chef by day and club DJ by night. Iwamuro decided to take up the turntables when she was 70 - today, she's a regular fixture at the DecabarZ, a club in Shinjuku, Tokyo, going by the name DJ Sumirock:
Iwamuro describes her sound as fundamentally techno music, with jazz, French chanson and classical music mixed in. Ever curious and never one to give up her dreams, she hopes one day to debut on the New York club scene.
“When I spin the tables, I just want to match the beat, choose the right music,” she says when asked what keeps her practising her tunes and returning to spin records. “But the best thing is for my audience to enjoy themselves.”
Check out DJ Sumirock in action in this YouTube clip below:
Don't be silly. Robots aren't going to become sentient superbeings and kill us humans. No, that's ridiculous. Why kill us when they can just take all of our jobs and toss us bums out on the street instead.
In an ironic twist that many people who lost their jobs due to competition from cheap labor overseas will appreciate, a Chinese firm discovered that machines are far cheaper than cheap labor. From South China Morning Post:
The machines can sort up to 200,000 packages a day and are self-charging, meaning they can operate around the clock.
An STO Express spokesman told the South China Morning Post on Monday that the robots had helped the company save half the costs it typically required to use human workers.
They also improved efficiency by around 30 per cent and maximised sorting accuracy, he said.
Read the rest over at South China Morning Post or take a look at the cute little job-stealing, er package sorting bots:
Image: Toronto Star
What is the reason that you get up in the morning?
A National Geographic study shows that some of the happiest and longest living people in the world are from Okinawa, Japan. Their average lifespan is seven years longer than ours in North America. They have more 100-year-olds than anywhere else in the world. And you know what they call retirement?
They don’t even have a word for retirement. Literally nothing in their language describes the concept of stopping work completely.
Instead, they have a word called ikigai (pronounced like “icky guy”), which roughly translates to “the reason you get out of bed in the morning.” It’s the thing that drives you the most.
Dan Buettner touched on this in his 2009 TED talk about people who live to be 100 year old or even older:
"They have vocabulary for sense of purporse, ikigai ... You know the two most dangerous years in your life are the year you're born, because of infant mortality, and the year you retire. These people know their sense of purpose, and they activate in their life, that's worth about seven years of extra life expectancy."
So, Neatoramanauts, what is your ikigai?
(Via Rusty's Electric Dreams)
Image: @Anthony Quintano
Under the cover of night after the 1987 stock market crash, artist Arturo Di Modica installed a 7,000-lb sculpture of a bronze "Charging Bull" in front of the New York Stock Exchange as a Christmas gift to the people of New York. The bull, Di Modica, had stated, is a symbol of "the strength and power of the American people."
Even though Di Modica's art was a guerilla installation, public outcry when it was impounded by the police led to its permanent installation two blocks south of the Exchange, where it remains as a popular tourist attraction.
Fast forward to today, when artist Kristen Visbal sculpted "Fearless Girl," a girl staring down the bull as a marketing campaign for a stock market index fund comprised of companies that have higher percentage of women in senior leadership roles.
Like the bull, the new Fearless Girl statue was an instant hit. "Fearless Girl stands as a powerful beacon, showing women - young and old - that no dream is too big and no ceiling is too high," wrote public advocate Letitia James to New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.
Di Modica, however, was not amused. He claimed that the Fearless Girl statue "distorts the intent of his statue from 'a symbol of prosperity and for strength' into a villain" and that it was done for commercial gain, as reported by NPR. "That is not a symbol! That is an advertising trick."
Di Modica has vowed to fight the effort to make the Fearless Girl into a permanent art installation. And a fight he's going to get - Mayor de Blasio has tweeted "Men who don't like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl."
Think your cell phone's security PIN is secure? Here's a new worry: hackers can guess your mobile phone's security PIN with astonishing accuracy just by watching how the phone tilts when you type them in.
"Most smart phones, tablets, and other wearables are now equipped with a multitude of sensors, from the well-known GPS, camera and microphone to instruments such as the gyroscope, proximity, NFC, and rotation sensors and accelerometer," Maryam Mehrnezhad of Newcastle University said, "But because mobile apps and websites don’t need to ask permission to access most of them, malicious programs can covertly ‘listen in’ on your sensor data and use it to discover a wide range of sensitive information about you such as phone call timing, physical activities and even your touch actions, PINs and passwords."
By analyzing the movement and tilt of the phone using data collected by the phone's various internal sensors, the security team was able to crack the four-digit PIN with an astounding 70% accuracy on the first guess, and 100% by the fifth.
Image: @Jennifer Bowman
Penny, a dog owned by Jennifer Bowman's neighbor, loves to say hello. But a tall wooden fence means that the dog has to jump like it's on a trampoline just to get a glimpse. So Bowman had an ingenious solution: a peekaboo hole for a dog (complete with accomodations for the dog's nose, of course!).
Oh, and of course there's a YouTube clip of Penny peeking through the fence.
Image: @Salty Dog Fishing Charters
Dan Hoey of Salty Dog Fishing Charters was fishing for yellowtail kingfish off the coast of Victoria, Australia, when he encountered a whole different kind of fish: a white pointer or better known as a great white shark. Luckily, the fisherman had his trusty red broom.
"We need the broom to clean at the end of the day, that's it's primary job. It's second job has become fending off white pointers," Hoey told 9News.com.au, "It was coming right up to the boat. It didn't bite it properly but it started to get pretty fired up at one stage."
The great white sharked, nicknamed "Black Betty," circled the boat a couple of times before swimming off, knowing that it has met its match in the trusty red broom.
Here's the video:
Nils Ušakovs may be the Big Man in Riga but we know who's actually the boss. Usakovs, the mayor of the capital of Latvia, was being interviewed live on television when his cat nonchalantly walked on his desk to take a sip out of his mug.
The moment it happened is at 17:15 in this video:
Well, at least the cat walked in gently and didn't just strut in ...
Mimi Choi, a 31-year-old makeup artist from Vancouver, Canada, creates some of the most fascinating optical illusions we've seen. The artist's work went viral recently, and deservedly so. This one above, called "Sliced + Shifted Face" is my favorite.
Just how did she do it?
Key to doing this type of #trickart is using the color black to mimic space and depth, and using light colors to highlight edges to create the illusion of height, volume and separation. Taking your photo and video at the right angle is also crucial in creating an impactful illusion.
I think she used magic. Don't miss the video:
Loneliness is bad for your health, that much we know.
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy once remarked that despite the ubiquity of social media, Americans are facing "an epidemic of loneliness and social isolation."
One of the worst things about loneliness is that it can be a self-perpetuating loop:
... in a cruel twist, the loneliest among us are set up to get lonelier still. People with few social connections experience brain changes that cause them to be more likely to view human faces as threatening, making it harder for them to bond with others.
Khazan: Why do people who are lonely interpret social situations more negatively?
Cacioppo: [...] If you look at early humans and other hominids, they were not uniformly positive toward each other. We exploit each other, we punish each other, we threaten each other, we coerce. And so it isn't that I want to connect with anyone, I need to worry about friend or foe. Just like bitter versus sweet, poison vs. non poison, if I make an error and detect a person as a foe who turns out to be a friend, that's okay, I don’t make the friend as fast, but I survive.
But if I mistakenly detect someone as a friend when they're a foe, that can cost me my life. Over evolution, we’ve been shaped to have this bias.
That sets up an expectation, because what I expect is often what I see. If I think you're going to be hostile, I'm going to answer questions very differently than if I trust you.
You’re motivated to connect. But promiscuous connection with others can lead to death. A neural mechanism kicks in to make you a little skeptical or dubious about connecting.
Read the rest over at The Atlantic.
This YouTube clip showed a boa constrictor in Brazil that realized that hugging, er contricting, a porcupine (specifically the Brazilian porcupine with short, thick, whitish or yellowish spines) is a bad, bad idea.
It looks like it tried to bite the porcupine as well, which got him a mouthful of barbs:
Image: Niki Walker
Love Costco? Not like Kimber Walker, you don't!
The 5-year-old girl loves shopping with her parents at Costco so much that she asked for a Costco-themed birthday party. "I really don't know what possessed her to want that theme," Kimber's mom Niki Walker said to TODAY, "She loves the pizza and the samples ... and the giant teddy bears."
Imagine the giant-sized goodie bags that the partygoers get! Check out more cute pics over at TODAY (warning: auto-play video with sound)
If you like that, don't miss our 10 Fascinating Facts About Costco article.
Bryce Maine of Eufaula High School in Alabama knows that his grandmother had never been to the prom. So on his 18th birthday, Bryce asked his "Nanny" Catherine Maine to the senior prom as his date.
Nanny said yes - she so excited to be asked to the prom that she bought a new dress - but unfortunately the school said no. WTVM reported that the board of education "thinks that if Bryce takes his grandmother to prom then future students will do it as a joke and make the school a mockery."
Bryce's cousin made a post on Facebook, which went viral. After the social media uproar over the matter, the school's principal explained:
"Safety of students and staff is the first and most important of the many tasks of a school administrator. For the 10 years I have been high school principal, we have denied requests each year from students asking to bring older dates to prom. We do not chance leaving any stone unturned when it comes to safety. Most high schools have an age limit for prom attendees."
It's easy to see how having a helicopter parent could harm a child's emotional growth, but a new research shows that the effect isn't the same for boys and girls.
Professor of psychology Chrystyna Kouros at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, measured the impact of helicopter parenting and fostering independence (or autonomy support) and discovered that the two have different effects on the sexes.
It turns out that helicopter parenting harms girls more than boys, and the lack of fostering independence has the opposite effect:
“Just because mom and dad aren’t helicopter parents, doesn’t necessarily mean they are supporting their young adult in making his or her own choices,” Kouros said. “The parent may be uninvolved, so we also wanted to know if parents are actually encouraging their student to be independent and make their own choices.”
The researchers found that young women are negatively affected by helicopter parenting, while young men suffer when parents don’t encourage independence.
“The sex difference was surprising,” said Kouros, an expert in adolescent depression. “In Western culture in particular, boys are socialized more to be independent, assertive and take charge, while girls are more socialized toward relationships, caring for others, and being expressive and compliant. Our findings showed that a lack of autonomy support — failure to encourage independence — was more problematic for males, but didn’t affect the well-being of females. Conversely, helicopter parenting — parents who are overinvolved — proved problematic for girls, but not boys.”
Spring is here and the grass will need to be mowed soon. But if you have this sweet DIY retro mini lawnmower that looks like a vintage automobile, the job will surely be a satisfying one.
Jeep2003 chronicled his "Mini Push Mower" build project over at Old Mini Bikes (which itself is a fascinating community of people who ride and build mini motorcycles). The mower uses a two-stroke engine from an old snowblower and the deck comes from an old smoker grill. The tail lights are fantastic!
Weather getting warmer? What better way to get ready for T-shirt time than with some awesome NeatoShop T-shirts? We're having a neat sale this week: get up to 20% off all T-shirts on the NeatoShop!
Because we love you, let's make this Sale extra fun with a T-shirt giveaway. Here's how to enter:
2. In the comment below, tell us your favorite artwork and the artist who designed it.
3. That's it! There's no step 3.
One entry per person. Multiple entries will be disqualified. We'll pick three winners at random. The winners will be notified through our comment system below, so be sure to use a valid email address. (Did you win our previous giveaway but didn't claim the prize? Be sure to white list @neatorama.com so you won't miss the notification email) Good luck, everyone!
Edit 4/19/17 - We've picked the winners using the random number algo over at random dot org. Congratulations to Kyle C.A., kantoboy, and Luis P!
Image: Brian Thompson
The Loch Ness monster, Big Foot, McPizza ...
Intrepid searchers have looked for a long time for these mythical things, and thanks to a podcaster named Brian Thompson, we now have proof of the existence of the elusive McDonald's Pizza:
Like many worthwhile quests, Thompson’s started as a late-night joke. “[The demise of McDonald’s pizza] is something I’ve always had in the back of my mind,” he says. “Every few years it would pop up and I would think about it.” One night, discussing the recent wave of true-crime podcasts, he decided it might make a good topic for a satirical investigation. So he opened his laptop, plugged in a microphone, and dialed up his local McDonald’s. The resulting, fruitless calls became Episode 1.
Thirty-four unlikely episodes later, Thompson has chased his titular question through complicated corporate dial-up menus, across gulfs of conflicting information, and finally all the way to Pomeroy, Ohio, one of only two locations in the United States that still has a pizza oven fired up. (The other is in West Virginia.)
Read the rest of the story over at Atlas Obscura.
Image: @Akiyoshi Kitaoka
In this image above, Kitaoka noted "The right eye appears to be light blue and the left eye to be yellow, though they are the same gray."
Don't believe it?
Here are the eyes up close:
Let's compare them side-by-side (Enhance!!)
Pretty freaky, huh?
We posted about newborn baby Romeo meeting baby Juliet at the hospital recently, but we just can't pass on this follow up.
The two star-crossed babies were born only hours apart at the same hospital just next door to each other, and their respective parents had named them "Romeo" and "Juliet" by coincidence. After her initial newborn baby photo went viral, photographer Cassie Clayshutle did another photoshoot, this time with homemade props with Shakespearean motifs.
"What light through yonder window breaks?" That's just the photographer's flash.
The cuteness, it burns! This YouTube clip is only 20 seconds long, but that's enough to convince us just how cute Cincinnati Zoo's baby hippo Fiona is when she's dreaming. The hippo, born prematurely 9 weeks ago, is probably dreaming about something yummy to eat seeing how she licks her chops like that!
Take a look:
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