Besides Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpsons, there are about 200 recurring characters in the long-running TV show The Simpsons. But unless you're a big Simpsons fan, you'd probably be surprised to learn that a huge majority of them are voiced by just a dozen actors. What's even more amazing is that 3 of them - Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria, and Harry Shearer - play more than 70 characters.
Remember the roller bowler game (also called "dip bowling") at the carnival? You've been playing that - in car form - all your adult lives, according to Justin Boyd of Invisible Bread.
By the way, just like the carnival, the car always wins.
In 1914, the Sakurajima volcano in Kyushu, Japan, erupted and its lava flowed for months until it filled the narrow straits and connected the volcano island and the mainland, turning it into a peninsula.
That volcano eruption was captured on film in the above photograph by the Osaka Mainichi Shimbun. The photo showed a group of men on a boat expedition to the island frantically trying to sail away as fast as they could from the billowing column of ash, smoke, and probably lava.
The photo is the first of many fascinating photos of volcano eruptions as curated by National Geographic.
If you like that one, here's a more modern one in the "escape from volcano" genre. This time, it's the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo in the northern Philippines. It's taken by photographer Alberto Garcia from the back of his van. "All of us survived, thank God," he said.
Take a look at the complete photo series over at National Geographic.
Ship of Fools (2014), socks and acrylic on canvas
One of your socks gone missing? Maybe it ran away from home to join the art world. Specifically, to be in one of Aaron Johnson's sock paintings.
"As I stare at this painting, it stares back at me, and as I stand here in my two socks, so does the painting hang there in its many socks," Johnson said to Huffington Post Arts. "That seemed absolutely absurd, and therein somehow startlingly profound."
Here are a few more of Aaron Johnson's fascinating Sock Paintings:
Double Scream (2013)
Headless Horseman (2013)
... and I say Morgan Freeman got the best gift of them all! Wes of The Gentleman's Armchair explains to us how the famous actor got to play God (or at least his voice) in the movies.
But seriously - do you want to know the secret to Morgan Freeman's amazing voice? Freeman himself gave the surprising answer in this interview with The Showbiz 411:
Photo: Dietmar Eckell
In his photo series "No Vacancy," German photographer Dietmar Eckell traveled around the world to document abandoned hotels in the middle of nowhere. Once, these hotels were luxury retreats, pleasure domes or wellness sanctuaries - but for one reason or another, they have all been abandoned for nature to reclaim.
The photo above is of the "Hotel Royal," an infamous love hotel in Kanagawa, Japan. The hotel boasted seven stories and 35 rooms with a view of Lake Sagami. At first, the remote place seemed ideal for wayward married men and women to conduct illicit love affairs, but at the end it was just too far away (either that or love birds just really didn't care for the view).
An abandoned resort on the Tagaytay ridge in the Philippines. It was once billed as a weekend escape from Manila, but has been abandoned for decades.
Lies girlfriends tell each other and what they really mean
Read my lips: what people say and what they really mean are usually two different things. Thankfully, writer Mikael Wulff and artist Anders Morgenthaler who teamed up to publish a series of "Truth Facts" cartoons under the name Wumo (previously on Neatorama), has got the translations:
Photos: Jeffrey Vanhoutte
Is your coffee creamer so good it makes you wanna dance? Belgian photographer Jeffrey Vanhoutte shot these wonderful photos of an acrobat dancing in a cloud of milk powder in this ad campaign for FrieslandCampina Kievit's new creamer.
I made this campaign for Norvell Jefferson whose client is Dutch company Campina Friesland Kievit, makers of powdered milk. Based upon the agency’s concept, I formed the shoot together with the Creative Director. We used lighting from Broncolor -- “really fast flash duration so it could freeze the particles of the powder.” The model was a professional acrobatic dancer, and “the movement that she did and the powder together, we were all amazed that it was perfect from the start! First she had some powder in her hands and she put it in the air . . . every time the same movement, five or six or ten times, and then she was completely full of powder and had to start again. It was a messy process for the camera. We had to put plastic around the camera to protect it. It was one whole day from early morning until the evening to do this job and to clean up it took longer.
Brr! Is it cold enough for you? Keep warm with NeatoShop's awesome hoodies - and better yet, you can win one free in this exclusive private giveaway for NeatoMail subscribers.
The giveaway rules are simple:
2. In the comment section below, tell us the design you'd like as well as the artist who designed it.
3. That's it! There's no step 3
One entry per person, please. Multiple entries will disqualify you. We'll pick one winner at random. The winner will be notified through our comment system below (so be sure to use a valid email address).Update 1/27/15: We've picked the winner using the random number algorithm over at random.org - Congratulations to #77 carmen who won! Thank you to everyone who entered! Catch NeatoShop's exclusive giveaways on the next NeatoMail!
Twitter user @bonerman_inc (I know, I know) ordered an ice cream sundae from a local McDonald's restaurant but got something extra: souls of the damned, right there in the strawberry rivulets (or demon core, your pick) of his soft serve ice cream.
Naturally, he tweeted the ordeal to warn humankind of the impending apocalypse that the "souls of the damned ice cream" heralded. Either that or diabetes so repent, people, repent.
All aboard the beer train! These beer delivery men have got work and play all figured out. Take a look at how they combine both by sliding down a hilly street on a sled made out of beer crates:
Dr. George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and researcher Dr. Lorenzo Leggio posing at the hospital bar. Photo: Cliff Owen/AP
... and that catch is that it's completely fake. Instead of booze, the liquid inside the bottles is colored water (but to be extra sneaky, the researchers hid real alcohol nearby so the place smells authentic).
The fake hospital bar is located inside the National Institutes of Health's hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. It's part of an experiment to test the safety of a new drug designed to help heavy alcohol drinkers to quit.
"The goal is to create almost a real-world environment, but to control it very strictly," said researcher Dr. Lorenzo Leggio to Lexington Herald-Leader. Leggio's team is testing how the hormone ghrelin, which creates the hungry signal, also affects alcoholics' desire for alcohol and whether blocking it helps drinkers quit.
Not really! Photo: Cliff Owen/AP
But if you're craving for drinks while at the hospital, there's hope: all you have to do is move to France.
In this neat video clip above, Daniele Soroldoni of MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London, United Kingdom, showed us a gorgeous glimpse into segmentation - that's fancy biology speak for the division of the body (in this particular case, a vertebrate's body) into a series of repetitive segments like ribs and back bones.
Vertebrae segmentation is difficult to see because it happens during embryo development. But thanks to the transparent zebrafish embryo, Dr. Soroldoni managed to capture this pattern formation by using green and red fluorescent proteins. The details, as you can imagine, is quite complicated (Interested? Read on) - but suffice it to say that we all can appreciate the beauty of the process as captured in this wide-field microscopy.
Thanks Nicole Hall!
Yesterday, President Obama proposed that community college should be free for all American students.
"Put simply, what I'd like to do is see the first two years of community college free for everyone who's willing to work for it," Obama said in a video clip posted to Facebook, "That's right. Free for everybody who's willing to work for it." President Obama maintained that higher education is a "the surest ticket" to the middle class.
The free community college plan, which the White House estimated would cost the federal government about $60 billion over 10 years, is open to students who'd attend community college at least halftime and maintain good grades.
Critics pointed out that the cost is likely to be much higher. If the White House estimates of 9 million students partaking in the program every year and saving $3,800 in annual tuition is correct, the cost would be over $34 billion per year. Congress, which is now controlled by conservative Republicans, is also cool to the idea, with prominent members of the Republican party asking where the money would come from.
But politics aside, I think there's a better plan than free community college. Instead, we should bring back vocational high schools.
"College isn't for everyone," New York mayor Michael Bloomberg noted in his 2008 State of the City address, "education is." And he might be on to something: Northwestern University professor James E. Rosenbaum argued in his book, "Beyond College for All: Career Paths for the Forgotten Half," that the current educations system fails those who do not go to college and those who start college but do not finish by not adequately teaching practical skills that they'd need for getting jobs.
"Our friends in Germany know - as we should - that some students are bored by traditional studies," wrote Northwestern University Professor Harold Sirkin in Business Week, "Some don't have the aptitude for college; some would rather work with their hands; and some are unhappy at home and just need to get away. They realize that everyone won't benefit from college, but they can still be successful and contribute to society."
"Americans often see such students as victims," Sirkin added, "Germans see these students as potential assets who might one day shine if they're matched with the right vocation." Indeed, Germany has the system in place exactly for this reason: a dual education system where apprenticeship helps transition young people into full-time employment.
Los Angeles-based artist Samara Golden channeled her inner M.C. Escher for this topsy-turvey art installation titled The Flat Side of the Knife, as displayed at MoMA/PS1. For the display, Golden converted a two-story space with common household things like couches, beds, staircases, tables and lamps. The mirrored floor finishes the optical illusion reminiscent of Escher's mind-bending 1953 artwork Relativity.
Four-year-old River holding a LEGO octopus that she and her father Robin found at Castle Beach, Cornwall, England.
In 1997, a huge rogue wave hit the container ship Tokio Express, knocking 62 containers overboard just 20 miles off Britain's southwest coast. One of those containers contained 4,756,940 pieces of LEGO (ironically, many of those pieces are for toy kits with nautical theme, including LEGO Pirates, 418,000 swimming flippers, 97,500 scuba tanks, 26,600 life preservers, 13,000 spear guns, and 4,200 octopuses.)
Shortly after, some of those pieces of LEGO toys started washing up on the beaches of Cornwall - and today, eighteen years later, they still kept on coming.
Discovering these LEGO pieces have become a hobby for British writer and beachcomber Tracey Williams, and she has created the Lego Lost At Sea Facebook page to chronicle the all the wonderful things that people have found:
"Whoop whoop, I found a Christmas Dragon!" writes Suki Honey, who sent in this picture an hour or so ago of a Lego dragon she has just discovered on the south coast of Cornwall. Suki is an experienced dragon whisperer having lured a fair few out of their nests in recent years and now has six living with her. She has also given a few away.
Image: Nathalie Kalbach
You may have seen this photo of 85-year-old civic activist Doris Diether of West Village, New York City, feeding a squirrel with a marionette that looks like herself.
The story behind the old lady and her "mini me" marionette is actually an interesting one. It all started one day at the park, where puppeteer Ricky Syers was performing with his handmade marionette, according to Nina Golgowski of NY Daily News:
"One day she comes up to me and whispers, 'I have something for you,'" he recalled.
Opening a scrap book she revealed old newspaper clippings and articles she had written on marionettes back in 1974. Articles more recently added to her collection were ones she had seen on Syers' work, which she cut out and saved for him.
The gesture floored him.
Syers proceeded to build Diether her own marionette, made to look just like her "featuring Diether's short, white hair and rosy cheeks ... complete with handbag, cane and floral blouse and skirt."
"She's ... known as the woman who feeds the squirrels," Syers said to NY Daily News, "Now, her little marionette feeds the squirrels."
We've told you about Robert Franzese, a cosplayer who's famous for being the Real Life Peter Griffin, before on Neatorama, but we just can't get enough of him.
So I slapped together stuff that I had ... I happened to have green pants from Saint Patrick's Day, I have a white button-down shirt as everybody has one, and I had a round glasses because I did Santa Claus for my company and I slapped it together ... and great! Peter Griffin! Just one stupid joke where I go to the ATM and the money came out and I was like [in Peter Griffin voice] "Oh my God, I won!" ... and from then on it's just been caught like wildfire.
Freakin' sweet, right?
What's the largest check you've ever received? We betcha it wasn't $974,790,317.77 - yep, nine hundred seventy four million seven hundred ninety thousand three hundred seventeen and, don't forget, 77 cents. It took two lines to write out the sum - as you can see above.
That's the check that Oklahoma oil magnate Harold Hamm wrote to his ex-wife Sue Ann Arnall, who promptly rejected her $1 billion dollar divorce settlement because it was "not fair." Arnall claimed that Hamm is worth an estimated $18 billion; Hamm countered that his net worth had taken significant beatings in the recent sharp fall in oil prices.
Well, while the rich people duke it out in divorce court, feast your eyes on what is probably the largest hand-written personal check you'll ever see in your lifetime.
Fruit Loops Landscape (2012) by Cirej and Lochman
Junk food has never looked so ... beautiful!
In "Processed Views: Surveying the Industrial Landscape," artists and photographers Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman collaborated to capture the beauty of junk food - or as the duo called it, "the frontier of industrial food production: the seductive and alarming intersection of nature and technology."
"As we move further away from the sources of our food, we head into uncharted territory replete with unintended consequences for the environment and for our health," wrote Ciurej and Lochman on their website.
The miniature landscapes in "Processed Views" are inspired by the works of 19th century photographer Carleton Watkins, whose photographs captured the majesty of the American West. Watkins' work of Yosemite, for instance, led to the valley's preservation as a National Park. At the same time, however, many of Watkins' photographs were commissioned by the corporate interests of the railroad, mining, lumber and milling companies. Ciurej and Lochman noted that "[Watkins'] commissions served as both documentation of and advertisement for the American West."
Ciurej and Lochman's Fruit Loops Landscape (L) Watkins Albion River (1863) (R)
In similar light, Ciurej and Lochman built their junk food landscapes as a commentary on what we can call as today's food-industrial complex.
Regardless of what you think highly processed junk food tastes like, we're sure that Ciurej and Lochman's "Processed Views" are highly enjoyable. Take a look:
Moonrise on Bologna (2014)
Cola Sea from the series Processed Views (2013)
Marshmallow Chasm from the series Processed Views (2013)
Flamin' Hot Monolith (2013)
Monoculture Plains from the series Processed Views (2013)
Saturated Fat Foothills from the series Processed Views (2013)
Vincent van Gogh
Self-portrait on canvas? That's a lot of work! What if the world's greatest painters discovered that taking selfies is much easier?
In this tongue in cheek ad campaign for Samsung NX Mini camera, photographer Fredrik Ödman and ad agency Leo Burnett teamed up to imagine what it would look like if Vincent van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, and Albrecht Dürer ditched their paintbrushes and opted to take selfies instead.
Now who said that selfies can't be high art?
Via My Modern Met
New Year's Resolution #10: Get offline
New Year's Resolutions. Everyone's got them* ... for the next few weeks at least. But what if you could remind yourself every day of the promise that you made to yourself to do something (or not do something) this year?
Swedish graphic designer Viktor Hertz (previously on Neatorama) took the 12 most popular New Year's Resolutions into wonderful retro-styled posters. Now, we don't know whether staring at these gorgeous posters every day would make you stick better to your New Year's resolutions this year, but it can't hurt now, can it?
New Year's Resolution #1 Lose Weight and #2 Quit Smoking
New Year's Resolution #3 Recycle More and #4 No More Junk Food
New Year's Resolution #5 Drink Less Alcohol and #6 Explore The World
New Year's Resolution #7 Save More Money
A Jaws-inspired baby bed that looks like a shark eating a boat? Surely there is such a thing. What loving parents wouldn't want to keep their child save by instilling a healthy dose of fear of sharks and expensive hobbies such as boating?
By the look of that crying baby, we're going to need bigger diapers soon ... and in just a couple short months, they'll surely need a bigger bed. May we suggest the proud parents choose something completely different then, perhaps the clown bed from The Simpsons?
David Unger of the band DUM loves Home Alone, and so for his latest parody music video "Get Back," he had a bit of run rotoscoping himself and fellow band members Scott Marsh and Mahreen Khawaja into the movie and adding a bit of blood and gore effect.
Ready for it? In the immortal words of Gangster Johnny "1 ... 2 .... 10!"
I understand replacing Kevin McCallister's (played by the oh-so-young Macaulay Culkin) face with one's own, but doing that to the beautiful mugs of Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern)? Now that's a travesty only filthy animals would do!
Bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark Batman!
"To me, a chainsaw is just a 3-D pencil," said Thomas Earing of Maple Valley, Washington to KOMO News. "You start scratching in the details. You try to get shadows. It just starts revealing a surface just like a printer would print."
And to prove that statement, the artist and wood carver has a large portfolio of carved pieces he has made over the last decade, including this beauty: The Bark Knight, a wooden carving sculpture of Batman.
According to redditor ninefivezero, the wooden Batman sculpture is 7 feet tall and is made from silver maple. We are slightly disappointed that it wasn't made from spruce, because, yew know, then the Bark Knight's alder ego would be Spruce Wayne.
Is it better to die suddenly or slowly?
Being a doctor and a former editor of the British Medical Journal, Dr. Richard Smith is quite familiar with disease and death. And he has reached the conclusion that the best way to die is from cancer - and that's why society should "stop wasting billions trying to cure cancer."
In a controversial blog post over at the BMJ, Dr. Smith explained that, besides suicide, assisted or otherwise, there are four types of death: sudden death; the long and slow death of dementia; death from organ failure, and death from cancer.
When he asked people how they wanted to die, most chose sudden death. "That may be OK for you," Dr. Smith said, "but it may be very tough on those around you, particularly if you leave an important relationship wounded and unhealed. If you want to die suddenly, live every day as your last, making sure that all important relationships are in good shape, your affairs are in order, and instructions for your funeral neatly typed and in a top draw - or perhaps better on Facebook."
The worse type of death, according to Dr. Smith, is the long and slow death from dementia. "You are slowly erased," but with the upside of "when death comes, it may be just a light kiss."
Death from organ failure, such as from respiratory, cardiac, or kidney failure, usually means that you spend far too much of the last moments in your life in a hospital and in the hands of doctors, who may be tempted to "go on treating too long."
So that leaves death from cancer, which according to Dr. Smith allows you to "say goodbye, reflect on your life, leave last messages, perhaps visit special places for a last time, listen to favourite pieces of music, read love poems, and prepare, according to your beliefs, to meet your maker or enjoy eternal oblivion." It's a romantic view of death, Dr. Smith acknowledges, but it's one that is achievable with "love, morphine, and whisky."
Not every doctor, however, shares Dr. Smith's views. "Of course we are all going to die, but cancer takes far too many people far too young," said Cancer Research UK's chief clinician Peter Johnson said to The Telegraph.
In a teaching method dubbed "Psy-feld," psychiatry professor Anthony Tobia of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School teaches third and fourth-year medical students about the various psychiatric disorders using characters from the 90s TV sitcom Seinfeld.
"You have a very diverse group of personality traits that are maladaptive on the individual level," explained Tobia to NJ.com, "When you get these friends together the dynamic is such that it literally creates a plot: Jerry’s obsessive compulsive traits combined with Kramer’s schizoid traits, with Elaine’s inability to forge meaningful relationships and with George being egocentric."
Tobia has even created a database of all 180 episodes of Seinfeld to catalogue nearly all characters in the series and their psychiatric ailments (for example, he diagnosed how five of Elaine's boyfriends throughout the years show symptoms of various delusional disorders).
Learning psychiatry by watching Seinfeld may not be such a crazy idea: in a recent paper, Tobia described how students who participated in Psy-feld found that the exercise to be "enjoyable and [preferable] to the more traditional forms of teaching such as large group lectures."
Now isn't that something for a show about nothing?
Visible wavelength (DSS/Wikisky)
The night's sky is full of wonders - and we're not talking just the stars that you can see with your naked eye. You'll want to see it in other wavelengths, too. But since we don't have X-ray vision, this is the next best thing.
We've blogged about Chromoscope before on Neatorama back in 2009, but it's worth revisiting. The Chromoscope project, built by Stuart Lowe, Chris North and Robert Simpson in 2009, lets you move across the Milky Way galaxy and view it in different electromagnetic wavelengths: visible light, gamma-ray, X-ray, Hydrogen alpha, near infrared, far infrared, microwave, and radio.
X-ray (ROSAT All Sky Survey)
What are those tears in the galaxy? Don't worry those aren't tears in the space time continuum - those black arcs are gaps in the ROSAT spacecraft survey.
Gamma ray (Fermi All Sky Survey)
Hydrogen alpha (Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper, The Southern H-Alpha Sky Survey Atlas / VTSS / Finkbeiner)
Far infrared (Infrared Astronomical Satellite)
Microwave (Planck Satellite)
Radio (Haslam 408 MHz)
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