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What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

(Photo: unknown)

Have we learned nothing from Spider-Man? When humanity’s knowledge outstrips its wisdom, we end up with superheroes or supervillains, both of which are trouble. Move the spider farm someplace else. Here, there’s a vacant lot next to the old chemical weapons dump. That'll be fine.

-via reddit

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Funny: All the Comments on Every Recipe Blog

(Photo: Robert S. Donovan)

There's a common proverb on the internet: "Don't read the comments." Often online comments may make you despair for humanity.* This is especially true for recipe blogs, where comments commonly demonstrate an inability to follow instructions or general objections to the concept of food. Mallory Ortberg of The Toast has helpfully listed all of them so that you need no longer gaze into the abyss. Here is a sampling:

“I didn’t have any eggs, so I replaced them with a banana-chia-flaxseed pulse. It turned out terrible; this recipe is terrible.”

“Could you please give the metric weight measurements, and sometime in the next twenty minutes; I’m making this for a dinner party and my guests are already here.”

“Have you thought about making a sugar-free version of this?”

“Can you give us a calorie breakdown for this?”

“a warning that if you cook this at 275°F for three hours instead of at 400°F for twenty-five minutes its completely ruined. do you have any suggestions?”

“I didn’t have buttermilk, so I just poured baking soda into a container of raspberry yogurt. It tasted terrible.”

“If you use olive oil for any recipe that’s cooked over 450°F, the oil will denature and you will get cancer. This post is irresponsible. You should only use grapeseed oil you’ve pressed yourself in a very cold room.”

“I just started Paleo yesterday, and I’m wondering if there’s a way to make this without the ingredients.”

“Have you considered making a version of this margherita pizza for your readers who are trying to avoid gluten, dairy and nightshades? What if I shoved a roll of basil leaves in my mouth, do you think that would taste good?”

“If you don’t soak the seeds for at least fourteen hours before using, the phytic acid will give you cancer. Just thought you should know.”

-via Stella Parks

*This does not apply to Neatorama comments, which are left by readers who are thoughtful, wise, insightful, and good-looking.

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How Laika Has Integrated 3D Printing Into Stop Motion Animation

Laika is (arguably) the most innovative animation studio in the world, and not just because they’re one of the only companies that specialize in stop motion feature filmmaking.

They’ve come up with cutting edge ways to seamlessly integrate CGI, 3D printing, and other digital techniques, into the stop motion workflow during the making of their upcoming film The Boxtrolls.

Stop motion animation often involves sculpting, molding and casting hundreds of different faces for each puppet actor, part of a process known as replacement animation, but Laika now uses a five color 3D printer to create these faces, which helps streamline the process quite a bit.

The purists at Laika have managed to integrate this cutting edge technology into their workflow without sacrificing any of the traditional stop motion aesthetic that makes their films so enjoyable to watch, and their innovative hybrid techniques are sure to become the industry norm.

Read more about Laika's cutting edge stop motion animation techniques over at Cartoon Brew

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Facebook Commenters are Steaming MAD at Steven Spielberg for Killing This "Innocent Animal"

A Facebook post aiming to publicly shame a recreational hunter posing with his recent kill picked an unfortunate example ... From the post:

Disgraceful photo of recreational hunter happily posing next to a Triceratops he just slaughtered. Please share so the world can name and shame this despicable man.

Problem is: the man is Steven Spielberg, who directed the 1993 dinosaur movie Jurassic Park, sitting next to a Triceratops model. And the fact that Triceratops went extinct 68 million years ago didn't seem to satisfy some of the most ardent Facebook posters.

When it was pointed out that the man was Spielberg, one commenter said "I dont care who he is he should not have shot that animal."

Another Facebook commenter added "I think zoos are the best way to keep these innocent animals safe ... a**holes like this piece of sh*t are going into these beautiful animals HOME and killing them ..." To which we can only say, clever girl.

Via Dangerous Minds and FAIL Blog

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Animal Dance Party

(YouTube link)

Time to get down! The animal kingdom is dancing to “Push It” by Salt-n-Pepa, in this compilation by Robert Jones of Tastefully Offensive. Dogs, cats, birds, insects, seals, turtles, and elephants all get in on the act. Some clips you’ve seen before, but you’ve not seen them like this! -Thanks, Robert!

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Bank Error Put $31,000 into Teenager’s Account

First Citizens Bank in Hull, Georgia, has several account holders with the same name. But instead of double checking account numbers, they deposited one man’s $31,000 into the account of an 18-year-old with the same name. The teenager must have felt like he won the lottery, because that’s how he acted. He withdrew $20,000 in cash and spent $5,000 with his bank card. It was March 17, ten days after the deposit, before the original depositor complained to the bank. Only then did the bank discover the error.

The suspect came back into the Hull branch on March 18 wanting to withdraw more money, but a teller informed him of the mistake and asked him to return the money, deputies said. The teen then insisted the money was from an inheritance.

A deputy went to the teen’s house, where the teen again said he thought the money came from his grandmother’s estate.

The deputy told the teen the bank wants the money back as soon as possible, so the teen told the officer he would go to the bank and try to settle the matter without going to jail, according to the report.

Did he go to the bank and try to settle up? No. Bank officials are is still waiting, and say they will prosecute if he doesn’t return the money. -via Uproxx

(Image credit: Flickr user Andrew MacGill)

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Meet Squiggy

Neatoramanaut Jean Cotton sent us some pictures of her dog Squiggy! Squiggy is a hairless Chinese Crested and Japanese Chin mix. He is a local celebrity in Exeter, Rhode Island, where he is considered "cute and unusual looking."

His best features are his sky-high mohawk and a tongue that is constantly hanging out of his mouth.

Squiggy was the winner of the online voting competition of the Sonoma-Marin Fair World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in 2013. Voting in the 2014 contest should begin sometime in April. You can see more pictures of Squiggy at his Facebook page.

Send your pet pictures to tips@neatorama to be included in the pet blog Lifestyle of the Cute and Cuddly!

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Custom Made Creepy Cute Little Creature Dolls

Santani is an artist from Moscow, Russia who has been making cute yet creepy little creatures for about five years now, which combine sculptural elements, plush sewing and amazing paint jobs to bring her fantastically furry creations to life. They look like real life Mogwai, or Pokemon, or whatever kind of skin crawlingly adorable little critters typically seen in a sci-fi movie or cartoon.

Santani has come back into the spotlight recently to announce that she’ll soon be opening an Etsy store, so anyone who has been dying to get their hands on one of these magical creatures, but didn’t want to go through the hassle and long wait of commissioning, will soon be able to bring one home. Just don't try to shove them in a plastic ball, or feed them after midnight, they hate to be treated like one of those other critters!

Via The Meta Picture

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Disney Villains Perfume Bottles

A familiar character is evoked with only a few simple shapes and colors in these perfume bottle concepts by artist Ruby Spark. Without faces or movement, you'll recognize each and every one, if you've seen the Disney movie the characters come from.

They are beautiful, too -I wish they were real perfume bottles. I like glass bottles better than I like Disney movies! But if the scent were anything like the personalities of the characters, they wouldn't smell all that good. Get a look at each of them up close at Geeks Are Sexy.

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Using Sand To Cast A Hexagonal Pewter Stool

(Video Link)

Metal casting can involve a lot of expensive equipment, scorching heat and a lot of know-how, or you can simply do what artist Max Lamb does and bring your supplies to the local beach in Cornwall, England and cast stuff in the sand.

Max uses primitive sand casting techniques, essentially making a mold by digging out the shape in sand then pouring molten pewter into the sand mold to get his finished product, which has a shape and texture co-created by Nature.

His simple, whimsical works hearken back to a time when the end result didn’t have to look like it was computer generated, and casting in metal wasn’t seen as an archaic discipline.

Via Beautiful/Decay

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Dog Won't Let Her Owner Take A Drink

(Video Link)

You know you have a drinking problem when your dog has begun to take actions to prevent you from taking another drink. Dogs don’t judge, but when their owner comes home tanked every night even the family dog knows it’s time for an intervention.

The doggie daddy in this video should feel lucky that his best friend cares about his well being enough to raise her paws whenever he tries to booze it up, and it looks like the next problem the Shiba Inu psychologist will be tackling is her owner’s addiction to cigarettes.

Via 22 Words

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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A Cartoonist And His Cat Drawn In Over 100 Different Styles

It’s safe to say illustrator Mike Holmes really loves his cat Ella, so much so that he has been drawing cartoons about their relationship in his series Mikenesses since 2011.

Mike captures moments between he and Ella which are both awkward and adorable, and occasionally involve paranormal activity, then renders them in the style of famous animators and cartoonists such as Berkeley Breathed, Chuck Jones and Gary Larson.

Some panels are text free, some feature moments of comedic gold like the Nicholas Gurewitch inspired strip where doctors tell Mike they had to put down his pig, and he replies “she was a cat”. Don't worry- it's only a comic strip, and no real harm could ever come to Ella while she's busy inspiring Mike to draw silly cartoons!

Via io9

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This Is a Nativity Set

(Photo: David Lober)

Get it? It's a series of puns. I'll get you started: that's three wise men on the right. Can you figure out the rest?

This is one of 50 fantastically terrible nativity sets rounded up by Mark Oestreicher. You can view the rest here.

-via VA Viper

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Winter Expectations, Winter Reality

Oh, is it cold up north? I didn’t know. You see, where I am in Texas, it’s quite pleasant. Why, I went running in short-sleeves yesterday! Some of you, such as cartoonist Beth Evans, may have to spend too much time scraping ice. I think that I’ll go for a swim instead.

P.S. Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Beth Evans.

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It's Hard To Be a Cat at Christmas

(YouTube link)

To continue their quest to get folks to buy gooshy noms for their cats, Friskies has released a full-length song about cats and Christmas. The music video stars Oskar the blind cat, Grumpy Cat, Colonel Meow, and other internet celebricats. The song is available for download at iTunes.

To maintain the company's dignity at least a little, they use the term "wet cat food" instead of "gooshy noms." Friskies is donating one can of gooshy noms to pet shelters for each YouTube view up to 500,000. Of course, that means they were already prepared to donate a half-million cans, and the count will reach that easily before the end of the week. -via Viral Viral Videos  

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Sleep Well, Kiddo

The endless cycle of this animated .gif by Maximumble perfectly describes the Sisyphean task of getting a stubborn young child to go to sleep. Yes, eldest daughter of mine: I'm talking about you.

But if you're lucky, as Lunarbaboon was on this night, then it may not be an issue for you. We love our children. But we also love sitting down. There's nothing like a good sit.*

*Except a good lie-down. Those rock.

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Realistic Resin Sculptures Of Sea Creatures

Keng Lye creates sculptural works of art that look like snapshot images of sea life brought into the third dimension, so lifelike viewers expect them to start swimming around at any moment. But these colorful sea creatures won’t be swimming around, or doing much of anything for that matter, because they’re made out of painted resin.

Keng is a master of creating hyper realistic sculptures, and these undersea still life works are made using a clear resin that resembles water which is painted on in layers, slowly building up the look of each creature complete with shading, fine detail and cast shadows.

Via Hi-Fructose

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Corgi on a Carousel

(YouTube link)

Meatball (a wonderful name) the Pembroke Welsh Corgi loves to ride on a carousel. Well, he's not so much riding as he is using it as a treadmill! Meatball (such a perfect name) gets plenty of exercise while Carter gets to ride around and around. Yay, Meatball! -via Daily Picks and Flicks

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Mouse Decorates Christmas Tree

(YouTube link)

Brösel the mouse decorates her Christmas tree. She is a clicker-trained mouse, but when she first saw the tiny tree and decorations, she started playing with them spontaneously! It didn't take long to teach her what she was supposed to do. See more of Brösel and her buddies at Mouse Agility.  -via Tastefully Offensive

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Poor Puppy Looks Like Hitler

Patch is his name, but everyone calls him Adolf these days. At only seven weeks old, the French bulldog-shih tzu cross is white with black patches in all the right places: a short mustache under his black nose and a off-center mop on his head. Lynda Whitehead of York, England, is raising Patch and his two brothers.

Lynda said: “He’s my grandson’s dog, and none of us noticed the likeness until we put a photo on Facebook. When my eldest daughter saw it she said ‘You’ve got a little Hitler there’.

“Although he’s called Patch, everybody calls him Adolf now. My grandsons are the worst for doing the goosestep when the puppy’s around.”

Patch’s mother, Betty, a French bulldog, and father Teddy, a shih tzu, both belong to Lynda’s daughter Clare, and Patch now belongs to Clare’s 17-year-old son, Dan.

The three puppies in the litter are being reared at Lynda’s home until they reach 12 weeks old after Betty rejected her pups.

At this point, Patch, who is said to be a sweet dog, is more liable to answer to "Adolf" than to his name. -via Arbroath

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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His Master's Voice

K-9 is a robotic dog on Doctor Who. He’s most famous as a companion to the Fourth Doctor, though he did make an appearance with the Tenth Doctor in the 2006 episode “School Reunion.”

K-9 addressed the Doctor as “Master,” which inspired this digital image by DeviantART member madaigual. K-9 listens attentively to the wind-up gramophone, just like the dog in Francis Barraud’s painting “His Master’s Voice.” Several sound equipment and record companies have used that image as a trademark since 1900.

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Thanksgivukkah-Stuffed Donuts

A sufganiyah is a traditional Jewish pastry of North African origin eaten at Hanukkah. It’s similar to a stuffed donut.

This year, American Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap on November 28. It’s a rare event that hasn’t happened since 1888. So some Americans are celebrating “Thanksgivukkah”—a blending of the two holidays.

To mark the occasion, the Zucker Bakery in New York City is selling sufganiyot that are stuffed with Thanksgiving foods, such as turkey gravy and cranberry sauce.

-via That’s Nerdalicious!

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Opalized Pine Cone

(Photo: Opal Auctions)

This beautiful fossil is a pine cone infused with opal. It was found in the Ken's Retreat opal mining area of Finch County, New South Wales, Australia. Many plant and animal fossils can be found here including--on rare occasions--opalized pineapples.


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Proposal: Give the United States 19 Time Zones

Last Saturday, I posted about Allison Schrager's proposal to reduce the 48 contiguous states of US from 4 time zones to 2. In a poll, Neatorama readers agreed that this was a dandy idea.

Kevin Depew of The Awl, however, wants us to go in the opposite direction: expand the 4 time zones into 19, each of which are 9 minutes apart:

Before you immediately agree to this obvious plan and begin changing your clocks, let me explain how it would work. Our map illustrates the new nineteen U.S. time zones. They are separated by nine minutes each, more or less. Under my plan, after you get past Chicago (Angry Time), the time zones start to become more intuitive because they subdivide horizontally rather than vertically. Driving from Montana to Arizona is like metaphorically going back in time, only literally. Because you will actually be going back in time. By nine minutes for every time zone. Also, as you can see, the new time zones will have really cool names.

Do you live in the New York City megapolis? You're still in just one time zone. But you're also separated from the hillbillies in Philadelphia and New Haven:

The New York City tri-state area pretty much has its own time zone because the people there are very, very selfish. City Time will lose a minute every day because the pace is just… whatever. People hurry around all the time, push each other to get on the subway and yell stuff at each other and there is another train right behind this one. One minute away. Look, you can actually see it! The next train is right there. It’s right there! And it’s not even crowded. Why do you have to push yourself onto this one? Wait one minute.

Do you live in Indiana? Bad news: you don't get a time zone. At all.

The zones seem kind of irregularly drawn. But there's a good reason why:

Some might point out: I'm confused. This map seems completely random, almost as if the time zones were drawn by a five year old. This confusion is understandable because the time zones were, in fact, drawn by my five-year-old daughter, so I think we can all agree that these are actually pretty good time zones for someone who is five and that the Twilight Sparkle time zone (Louisiana, of course!) is the prettiest.

I'm not complaining. In fact, now I want to move to Louisiana--at least until my native Texas adopts Fluttershy Time.

How did your area earn its time zone name? Read Mr. Depew's post to find out. It's hilarious.

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Disney Imagineers Tested the Haunted Mansion Special Effects on the Unsuspecting Night Time Cleaning Crew

Note: We're happy to introduce a new experimental feature on Neatorama! Our NeatoFacto blog features self-contained "neat fact" graphics that's easily shareable on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

We hope you like it! And remember, please share it along!

It took twenty years for Walt Disney to create the Haunted Mansion. The whole thing actually began well before Disneyland came into being. Disney had always wanted a spooky haunted house attraction for the theme park (he even commissioned Disney Legend Harper Goff to draw some sketches), but Disneyland opened in 1955 without it.

Three years later, Disney decided to expand Disneyland and the effort to create the Haunted Mansion began in earnest. The first plan for the mansion called for an old New Orleans-style antebellum manor with boarded doors and windows and overgrown with weeds and dead trees. Disney, however, didn't like the idea of a run-down building in his park and said, "We'll take care of the outside and let the ghosts take care of the inside."

Neatorama Facts: Haunted Mansion

Disney put Imagineers Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey in charge of building the Haunted Mansion special effects. The two had plenty of ideas and apparently often left the special effects running all night long. The night cleaning crew were spooked and complained to the management, who in turn, asked Crump and Gracey not to scare them off.

But instead of leaving the lights on and the special effects off, Crump and Gracey decided to connect their "spectral effects" to a motion-detector switch. When the duo came in the morning, they found a broom hastily left in the middle of their studios. The Imagineers had to clean their studios by themselves from that point on, as management told them that the night cleaning crew were never coming back.

Bonus Fact: The Real Ghost that Visited Haunted Mansion Creator Yale Gracey

When they were working on the Haunted Mansion special effects, Crump asked Gracey whether he had any experience with the supernatural. "Oh yeah, I had a ghost read to me when I was 10 years old," Yale replied without hesitation, as reported by Disney History Institute.

Crump told the story, which went like this: When Gracey was a child, he and his mother went to visit relatives on the East Coast for the summer. They lived in a big old house, and Gracey and his cousins would sleep together in a large bedroom, with an old lady who lived in the closet. The lady would come out and read stories to the kids, under the condition that the children do not talk about the lady to the grownups or she'd disappear forever.

At the end of the summer, Gracey's mother asked him what he liked best about the vacation and the small boy replied, "The little lady that lives in the closet that reads to us every night." Gracey's mom was surprised and the children were mad at him, saying "No, no, Yale, she'll never come back."

Crump said that Gracey's mother was so concerned that she went to the local history society and found a photo of the woman who lived there. When she showed it to the kids, they said that she was the lady that lived in the closet.

Did Gracey make the whole thing up? Disney History Institute reported that Crump swore that this was exactly as Gracey had told him. "Yale would never make anything up. He was about as straight as they come," Crump added, "As far as I'm concerned it's true. It can't be any truer than that."

Love trivia? Find more neat trivia over at NeatoFacto

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5 Fun Facts about Mole Day

The Scientific Mole T-Shirt by Nathan Mazur from the NeatoShop

Today, October 23 (or 10/23, as it's written the American way), from 6:02 am to 6:02 pm, is Mole Day. No, it's not a day for freckles, spies, Mexican sauce, or cute little burrowing mammals. Rather it's the day to celebrate the chemical unit the "mole."

What is a mole, you ask, having forgotten high school chemistry. A mole of something is 6.02 x 10^23 of it (kind of like a dozen of eggs is 12 eggs, a mole of eggs is 602,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 eggs*.)

*okay, technically, it's 602,214,129,270,000,000,000,000 eggs (give or take a few quintillion - scientists can't agree on the exact number).

So, with that out of the way, here are 5 fun facts about the mole and Mole Day:

1. The mole is attributed to 18th century Italian scientist Amedeo Avogadro, whose full name is Lorenzo Romano Amedeo Carlo Avogadro di Queregna e di Cerreto.

Man, that's a long name, but it somehow fits the long number that now bears his name (6.02 x 10^23 is called Avogadro's Constant). His parents called him Amedeo Carlo Avogadro.

We won't get into the technical aspects, but in 1811 Avogadro proposed a law (now known as Avogadro's Law) stating that equal volume of all gasses, at the same temperature and presssure, have the same number of molecules.

As with many scientific accomplishments of that age, Avogadro's findings were promptly ignored. It took about a hundred years for the scientific community to get around to appreciating what he's done. In 1909, French chemist and Nobel laureate Jean Baptiste Perrin proposed that quantity of molecules be called "Avogadro's Constant."

2. Mole Day was proposed in an article in The Science Teacher in early 1980s. Inspired by the article, Maurice Oehler, a chemistry teacher (now retired) in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, created the National Mole Day Foundation in 1991.

3. Did you know that the Mole Day has annual themes? Here they are:

1991 The Mole The Merrier
1992 Go For The Mole
1993 Mole Out The Barrel
1994 An Ace in The Mole
1995 Moledi Gras
1996 Molemorial Day
1997 We Dig Chemistry
1998 Ride the Molercoaster
1999 It's A MOLE World
2000 Celebrate the Molennium
2001 Molar Odyssey
2002 Molar Reflections
2003 Rock 'n Mole
2004 Pi a la MOLE
2005 Moles-Go-Round
2006 Mole Madness
2007 Secret Agent Double Mole Seven in Moles are Forever
2008 Remember the Alamole
2009 Molar Express
2010 Moles of the Round Table
2011 Molar Eclipse
2012 Animole Kingdom

4. To help you celebrate, here's the Molemorial Day song by Michael Offutt (that's the theme of the Mole Day in 1996, when Offutt recorded the song). Actually Offutt created a whole album, titled "Molennium," filled with songs about the mole.

(YouTube clip - via Metafilter)

5. As you can probably guess, a mole (6.02 x 10^23) is a VERY large number. But, what does a mole of moles look like? What if we release a mole of moles onto our planet? xkcd explains:

An eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus) weighs about 75 grams, which means a mole of moles weighs (6.022×10^23)×75g≈4.52×10^22kg.

That’s a little over half the mass of our moon.

Mammals are largely water. A kilogram of water takes up a liter of volume, so if the moles weigh 4.52×10^22 kilograms, they take up about 4.52×10^22 liters of volume. You might notice that we’re ignoring the pockets of space between the moles. In a moment, you’ll see why.

The cube root of 4.52×10^22 liters is 3,562 kilometers, which means we’re talking about a sphere with a radius of 2,210 kilometers, or a cube 2,213 miles on each edge. (That’s a neat coincidence I’ve never noticed before—a cubic mile happens to be almost exactly 4/3pi cubic kilometers, so a sphere with a radius of X kilometers has the same volume as a cube that’s X miles on each side.)

If these moles were released onto the Earth’s surface, they’d fill it up to 80 kilometers deep—just about to the (former) edge of space:

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Fake Banksy Sells Out

After last week's stealth Banksy art sale in New York City, you knew this would happen. In fact, I figured entrepreneurs selling fake Banksy prints would be popping up all over the city. But this experimental prank didn't even try to cover the fact that the artworks were fake! Dave Cicirelli, Lance Pilgrim, and George Gross set up a kiosk on the street to sell Banksy art.

Same price. Same images. Same location. Everything was the same--we even got Lance's father Michael to be the salesman. Everything was identical...except for two things:

    The public consciousness had changed.
    Our work was completely worthless.

We were open about this. Our sign said "Fake Banksy." Mike assured every customer that it was fake. Each canvas even came with a legally notarized "Certificate of Inauthenticity," claiming that what they bought was not an original Banksy.

So, how did they do? They sold out. Yeah, people bought every artwork they had, and someone even bought the price sign. It took less than an hour… which just goes to show that savvy New Yorkers have a sense of humor and love to be part of a meme. See a set of pictures from the stunt at Fakebook. You have to wonder how many vendors were trying the same thing without labeling their wares as fake. -via Digg

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Waves vs. Stone

The Kannesteinen Rock is an unusual rock formation on the Norwegian island of Vågsøy. The slab of eclogite has been weathered by the waves for thousands of years. From the sea side, it’s about 3 meters tall. At its widest, it’s about 10.4 meters in circumference.

Some people say that it looks like a goblet, but local people refer to it as a chair. Perhaps that’s why tourists often climb on top and sit on it. It’s a hard climb, but so some even more daring people prefer to jump to the summit from an adjoining rock.

(Video Link)

-via Yababoon

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College Women + Drinking = Rape?

When I saw the original headline late last night, I predicted waking up to an internet storm this morning.

Slate published an article by Emily Yoffe entitled College Women: Stop Getting Drunk. It references several studies that link sexual assault on college campuses with alcohol consumption. Well, duh. While it's good to have such studies with hard numbers, the real problem is what to do about it. College students are, by and large, adults who are on their own for the first time. And some are more naive than others. An excerpt:

And who is it purveying alcohol? In some cases it’s a type of serial predator who encourages his victim to keep pouring the means of her incapacitation down her own throat. Researchers such as Abbey and David Lisak have explored how these men use alcohol, instead of violence, to commit their crimes. Lake observes that these offenders can be campus leaders, charming and well liked—something that comes in handy if they are accused of anything. “They work our mythology against us,” says Lake. “We would like to see our daughters hang out with nice boys in navy blue blazers.”

The three young women I spoke to who were victims of such men attended different colleges, but their stories are so distressingly similar that it sounds as if they were attacked by the same young man. In each case the woman lost track of how much she’d had to drink. Then a male classmate she knew took her by the hand and offered her an escort. Then she was raped by this “friend.” Only one, Laura Dunn, reported to authorities what happened, more than a year after the fact. In her case she was set upon by two classmates, and the university declined to take action against either one.

Although the facts are not in dispute, the tone of the article verges on blaming the victim. If the fastest way to stop campus rape is for women to stop drinking, then doesn't that put the responsibility for crime prevention solely on women's shoulders? So a young woman has one too many and wakes up to realize she's been sexually assaulted. Is it all her fault? That's not the message we want to send to young people.

Slate also posted a response from Amanda Hess, To Prevent Rape on College Campuses, Focus on the Rapists, Not the Victims, which articulated what many of the 3,000+ Slate commenters said.

Rape is a societal problem, not a self-help issue. Parents can tell their own daughters not to get drunk, but even if those women follow instructions, it won’t keep other people’s daughters safe. It will just force campus rapists who rely on alcohol to execute their crimes to find other targets. As Yoffe notes, the research of David Lisak suggests that most rapes are committed by a small group of predators who claim a large number of victims. We can prevent the most rapes on campus by putting our efforts toward finding and punishing those perpetrators, not by warning their huge number of potential victims to skip out on parties.

Similar responses came from HuffPo, The Atlantic, The Frisky, Jezebel, and other sites.

The controversy pits what is best for one person against what is best for society as a whole. Our culture would be better off placing the blame squarely on those who commit rape, but we have little control over other people before they act. Until men are specifically trained in how to properly seek consensual sex, starting at a fairly young age, we will have to deal with the "misunderstandings" and peer pressure that lead to rape, in addition to serial predators. Of course, we warn our daughters against putting themselves in situations where they may be raped. But if and when they do, they often feel responsible and might never seek justice. After all, they know they will be blamed for putting themselves in that situation, meaning they failed to protect themselves the way we told them to. Young men internalize this idea, too.

Treating our daughters as potential victims is only a short-term solution. Making nonconsensual sex as recognizable and shameful as say, burglary, and raising our sons as if they are going to date our daughters is the longterm solution. So I will continue to shares stories of cases like those in Steubenville, Ohio, and Maryville, Kansas, with my teenage daughters both as a warning and as a talking point about my anxieties regarding the difference between the way things are and the way they should be.   

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Wonder Leia

(Photo: Savannah)

Wonder Woman is now ready to save the entire galaxy in this cosplay display by Hakuchan that mixes the DC character with Leia in her iconic slave costume. Leia strangled Jabba the Hutt with a chain in Return of the Jedi, but this time she'll use the Lasso of Truth to interrogate him, then kill him.

-via Fashionably Geek

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Profile for Jill Harness

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