Yes, a scale! That's it! Now I know exactly what to get my wife for Christmas. She hasn't told me that she wants a scale. In fact, she hasn't been clear what she wants. Well, I can solve that problem--and probably all future gift-selection problems--by placing a bathroom scale beneath the Christmas tree.
What else were good gifts a few decades ago? Continue reading to view more strange Christmas ads from yesteryear.
At the beginning, I wondered how it would be helpful to make this film through stop-motion animation. Then it all became clear. It's the perfect medium for this story. PES's video titled Submarine Sandwich shows a mysterious deli where sports equipment, when sliced, becomes the ingredients of a bizarre meal.
Now I want to watch all of the films that PES has made. In an interview with Animation World News, PES explained how short films are able to connect with people so effectively. They're a different type of storytelling:
In my opinion a short can be even more powerful because if you can make something that people want to re-watch dozens of times it really allows you to connect. People are used to responding to these short format films because commercials have been a successful medium for fifty years. So our brain is already in tune with this idea of highly condensed storytelling.
(Photo: Jerry Huddleston)
Dr. Eugenia Cheng is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield (UK). She recently used calculus to determine the optimal hole size in a donut.
A larger hole produces increased surface area and therefore a donut interior that is cooked more thoroughly. So, if I follow Dr. Cheng correctly (which is highly unlikely), then the two qualities of a donut are what she calls “squidginess” and “crispiness.” The bigger the hole, the greater the crispiness.
The ideal ratio of squidgy to crispy is approximately 3.5:1, which is the result of a donut with a hole of 11 millimeters. An article in the Daily Telegraph about this discovery does not explain how Dr. Cheng arrived at this conclusion, but I’ll chalk that up to advanced math resulting from substantial experimentation.
Thunder, an English Bulldog, loves to run. His humans, though, aren’t quite so fond of the activity. But they’ve found a great way to keep him going. They placed a GoPro camera on an RC car and convinced Thunder to chase it. They can just barely stay ahead of the dog. Go get it, Thunder!
-via 22 Words
(Photo via Angela Marie)
You may not think of donkeys as protective animals, but they can be successfully trained to guard farms from small predators, such as raccoons. Dogs can do this too, but donkeys will do the job without barking all night. That’s why trainers like Jan Dohner advocate giving them a chance to guard farms and flocks from nighttime threats. Tyler LeBlanc writes in Modern Farmer:
Donkeys are territorial animals and are not necessarily protective of the herd as much as they are protective of their territory and themselves. They do not patrol the pasture but rather feed and socialize with the stock until a threat appears. With their large ears and a wide range of vision, donkeys are alert while grazing yet are less spooky and skittish than horses, making them more likely to stand their ground and confront a threat.
Dohner says donkeys are instinctually aggressive toward canines, and are capable of dishing out crushing blows with both their front and hind legs as well as using their large teeth to bite raiding intruders.
Ideally, a guard donkey is a jenny (a female) or a gelded male who is introduced to a flock of sheep or goats while still a foal. The donkey grows up seeing the other animals as members of its family.
Steven Brundage is a magician in New York. While travelling from the city back to his home upstate, police in the town of Scotia pulled him over for driving 42 MPH in a 30 MPH zone. During the stop, police noticed that he had a large number of playing cards in his car. Brundage explained that he is a magician.
The officers asked to see a magic trick. Brundage obliged, hoping that entertaining the cops would get him out of an expensive ticket. He solved a Rubik’s Cube in a few seconds, then showed the officers how he could solve a jumbled cube (or appear to do so) by throwing it over his shoulder.
You can watch the encounter in the video below. Content warning: foul language.
Karson Shaldey, a product designer in San Francisco, calls this piece OOH OOH. It’s an upholstered gorilla that you can break apart into cushions for lounging around on the floor. The body becomes a chair, the arms become benches, and the head is a rug. This would be great for building pillow forts!
Some people on the internet are referring to this amazing object as a Thneed--a multi-purpose object that everyone needs in Dr. Seuss's The Lorax. The salesperson is a great performer, showing how the scarf can be transformed instantly into several different garments, including a skirt, a wrap, and several different types of shirts.
It's amazing! I thneed it!
-via 22 Words
I did not grow up with Peggy Parish’s Amelia Bedelia books, but my kids are. Maybe that should change.
Amelia Bedelia is a household maid (and occasionally other professions) who is kind and generous, but has a major problem: she takes everything literally. If you tell her to dust the furniture, she’ll spread dust on the furniture. If you tell her to dress a turkey, she’ll take a turkey out of the refrigerator and put it in clothing.
Andy Kluthe and Andrew Bridgman of Dorkly tell a new Amelia Bedelia story that reveals how horrifying this tendency is. You can read the rest here.
(Photo: Mercury Press)
Not every cat looks like Hitler. Some prefer the styles of other mass murdering dictators. Meowseph Stalin looks like the Soviet tyrant Joseph Stalin. He lives with Anne Sofie, a student in Oslo, Norway. He’s kind of a jerk. Leon Watson quotes Sofie in the Daily Telegraph:
"When we got him home he turned out be a real [expletive deleted—ed.] doing all kinds of things we didn't want him to; stealing food off the kitchen counter, and tearing down and breaking our stuff.
"I have a framed photo of my deceased mother high up on a shelf which he managed to tear down and break, so it appears he has no compassion - suitable to his name.
"Now he is a bit more grown up and luckily isn't as wild as before. He's really turned into a cuddle bug that loves his treats."
Gaston, the pompous village bully in Beauty and the Beast, knows that he will eventually marry Belle. But Isabella, a little girl visiting Disney World, disagrees. She thinks that Gaston doesn’t have a clue or a chance of wooing Belle or beating the Beast in a fight.
For 2 seconds, the trailer for the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, shows an astromech with a spherical lower body. It quickly rolls across the desert, then disappears from the screen. That droid has been the subject of much fascination in the internet.
What's so exciting to fans is that although this is the first time that the droid has appeared in a Star Wars film, it has already appeared in a George Lucas film. It was in the Indiana Jones film Raiders of the Lost Ark. So it is something of a homage to the founder of Star Wars.
-via Moe Lane
(Photo: Matthew Tucker/BuzzFeed)
The Cereal Killer Café is a new restaurant in London. It offers one food: cereal. It serves a vast variety of cereals, including rare brands not commonly available in grocery stores, as well as other treats filled with cereals.
(Photo: Matthew Tucker/BuzzFeed)
It’s the brainchild of Alan and Gary Keery, two brothers from Belfast. They conceived of the project after looking for a bowl of cereal at restaurants one afternoon, but finding none available. Surely, there had to be other people who wanted cereal and would be willing to pay for it!
The Cereal Killer Café opens on Wednesday. The staff of 8 will serve customers from 7 AM to 10 PM. Small bowls cost £2.50 ($3.91 USD) and large bowls cost £3.50 ($5.48 USD). Ailbhe Malone and Matthew Tucker of BuzzFeed visited the establishment. You can view more photos from their tour here.
(Photo: unrelated Tim Hortons via Peter Broster)
Meanwhile, in Canada, a Tim Hortons customer in Sasktatoon has trying to address a serious defect in his breakfast order. He wanted the onions on his sandwich diced. No, sliced or chopped was not enough. They must be diced. When the restaurant employee refused to comply, the customer quite rightly responded by throwing a snake at him. The National Post reports:
Staff told police that two male customers were arguing with an employee about their breakfast order – specifically that they wanted their onions diced. When the argument escalated, one of the men reached into the pocket of the other man, pulled out a garter snake and threw it behind the counter.
And for this fairly bland response to outrageously bad customer service, local police arrested the men!
The two men, both 20, are facing charges of mischief and causing a disturbance.
That’s a Tim Hortons that I definitely won’t visit in the future.
Sam the dog loves his cat, Aaron. They're best buds. Sam shows that by licking him with great vigor and Aaron shows it by sitting still beneath the lingual assault.
-via 22 Words
(Photo: Don Campbell/Herald-Palladium)
(Photo: Don Campbell/News-Dispatch)
The ambition of mankind will propel us beyond our humble origins, driving us forward and upward, to pierce the sky and explore new worlds. We could see this clearly last Saturday, when, in Three Oaks, Michigan, rocketry enthusiasts launched a porta-potty outhouse into the sky. It flew up several hundred feet, then parachuted down to a fairly soft landing.
You can see the entire launch and landing in this thrilling video. The project, dubbed Thrusting the Throne, is a program of the Michiana Rocketry Club. The Michigan City News-Dispatch describes the engineering challenges:
"This was not barnyard engineering. This was done carefully," said Bob Bycraft, a salesman and a member of the Throne Thrusters, an offshoot of the Michiana Rocketry Club.
They worked with scale models until they arrived at the desired design.
"You want it to be stable. You want it to fly straight," Kingman said.
The craft was basically an aluminum frame rocket with a porta-potty frame bolted to it, with Plexiglas fins, Bycraft said.
Getting it off the ground is the easy part, he said. The hard part is having it land and be in one piece.
When completed, the 10-foot tall rocket and its seven motors weighed 450 pounds, and was lifted with 2,865 pounds of thrust.
Phillip Grass, a Danish furniture brand, developed the Companion Stool series. The seats are made of steel tubes and blocks of beech, oak, or sipo mahogany wood. They come in two poses: sitting and standing. Think of these stools as extra residents for your home or office. Through their single eyes, they watch you, feigning interest in your conversation and activities.
In 2012, the advertising agency Citizen Relations created this giant vending machine for Destination British Columbia, a Canadian tourism agency. They placed it in a public area of San Francisco. Fascinated passersby used it to acquire items that may be useful when travelling in British Columbia, such as a mountain bike, a surfboard, a kayak, and a beach towel.
If a tourism board created a similar vending machine for your area, what items might be inside?
In 1992, Erik and Lina Runestam, a brother and sister in Sweden, along with their friend Christoffer Hogstrom, wrote a message and partially burned it to make the letter look like an old dip pen message written on parchment. Then they sealed the bottle and threw it into the sea from the coastal town of Hunnebostrand.
Last month, Leonard Pearson of Panama found it. He wrote to the brother and sister 22 years after they sent the bottle on its long journey. BBC News reports:
Erik remembers being excited about sending the message in the bottle.
He told Newsbeat: "Our dad told us we should wait until the wind was blowing off land because it might go as far as England, so we were a bit excited about that.
"It would have travelled north of Denmark, through the English Channel to cross the Atlantic. Our hopes weren't that high to even get to England."
Erik had lost touch with his childhood friend Christoffer - they hadn't spoken for 10 years. So Erik was very surprised when Christoffer sent a photo of the letter with a reply from Panama.
The letter - dated 6 November 2014 - reads: "Bueno dias. I have found this message in a bottle at Playa del Dragos, Bocas del Toro.
"I used Google Translate, and it seems the message is in Swedish? I hope that the address is correct and that this letter reaches the kids who sent the message."
Adam Wibler's Pyro is an amazing gadget that looks and acts like something out of a James Bond movie or My Little Pony. It's a wrist-mounded device that shoots fireballs up to 10 feet away from the user. It has 4 chambers, each of which carries a single fireball load.
Pyro has a built-in remote control system. It's possible to activate a unit from up to 30 feet away. So if you have a friend wearing a Pyro unit, you could use the remote control to play mirthful pranks on him.
-via Design Boom
Michael Pederson is a street artist and photographer in Sydney, Australia. His blog Miguel Marquez Outside shows, among other projects, signs that Pederson has placed in public. They look official and offer rules, suggestions, and information about the area. Their statements are often unsettling.
Filming for the first Star Wars movie began in 1976. The actors weren't kids back then, so they've certainly aged a lot in the intervening 39 years. Now, in The Force Awakens, Luke, Han, Leia, Lando, and Chewbacca have new challenges, such as mobility, endocrine health, and diminished mental acuity.
In this great sketch from Saturday Night Live (content warning: foul language), you can see how well the actors have held up. No one is going to jump around a sail barge anymore without breaking a hip in the process.
The scene with Leia trying to figure out R2-D2's controls is perfect.
(Photo: Melissa Hom/Grub Street)
Scott Levine, the owner of Underwest Donuts, calls his business a bit of "quintessential Americana." I agree! If you find a problem, such as getting space for your cafe, you come up a solution, even if it's unorthodox. Levine's quest for a location ended in the car wash owned by his father-in-law. Levine built a donut shop right next to the washing chamber.
When you hear the term "car wash donuts," you may not expect high quality or variety. But Levine's menu includes fancy donuts, such as coconut lime, as well as 6 different types of espresso. Now, when you're on a date, you can say, "Let's go to the car wash" and it won't sound weird.
-via Pop-Up City
Michael Baxter, 60, is a grandfather and a prison guard in Barwon, Australia. He hopes to win a Guinness World Record soon after having all 203 characters that appeared on The Simpsons tattooed on his back.
Baxter has loved The Simpsons throughout its 25-year run, but got his first tattoo about only a decade ago. And that wasn't a cartoon character. But he's made up for lost time recently with his Simpsons project. The Herald Sun reports:
“It’s an addiction,” Mr Baxter said. “Once you get one you want more and more.
“And why go small when you can go big.’’
-via Jonah Goldberg
Lobsters molt their exoskeletons as they grow. As this video demonstrates, it's an amazing process to watch. The lobster gradually shucks its carapace, breaking free at the end.
Rocket News 24 says that this video was shot at a seaside inn in Japan. The staff had planned to cook the fellow, but they noticed that he was about to molt. They took him out of the tank to observe.
UPDATE 12/8/14: The video has been pulled down. That's unfortunate. Heere's another one that shows the same process.
Now, this is how you sell a house!
A real estate broker in Ermelo, the Netherlands, found a great way to encourage prospective buyers to take a quick tour of this house: his company built a roller coaster through it. There's a single-person car which whisks a potential customer through the house while speakers describe its amenities.
Sandro Engel and Holger Michel are interaction design students at HAWK University, a college in Hildesheim, Germany. They wanted to discourage people from running across busy streets. So they found a way to make waiting at a traffic light fun, rather than annoying. Their solution was to build a simple video game into a traffic light.
Engel and Michel call the game STREETPONG. It only works when the crosswalk is closed. Players on opposite sides of the street use a touch screen to maneuver boards back and forth, bouncing the ball toward each other.
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