Dominic Wilcox is one of our favorite artists. You can see why: he's always coming up with a way to make life more fun, more cool, and perhaps slightly practical.
Driverless cars work on an experimental basis. Perhaps it's only a matter of time before the majority of cars on the road are self-driving.
What would you do if you didn't have to pay attention to the road? Wilcox proposes that you take a nap, which is always a great idea. His design concept for a car is a stained glass shell wrapped around a bed.
Do you like the idea? Wilcox is just getting warmed up. Click on Continue reading to view his car concept that is even wilder.
To mark the 75th anniversary of the birth of Batman, the Mexican division of Warner Home Entertainment and the Mexican Museum of Design gave plain white plastic busts of Batman to 30 Mexican artists. They encouraged the artists to do whatever they wanted with them.
So what's going on in the world? Let's turn on the news, shall we?
No, that's too depressing. Spoiler alert: everything is awful.
Wouldn't it be nice to have some good news? And only good news--even if it's for just a single day? Well, late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon is here to help. He asked NBC news readers from around the country to show us good news stories. None of them are real, of course. But we can imagine that they are.
Kid Snippets, an ongoing video series by Bored Shorts TV, adds a bit of realism to the imaginations of young children. The producers ask kids to act out what they imagine an adult situation might be. What they say becomes the script, which adult actors then perform.
We've already seen the kids present their versions of marriage counseling and a door-to-door sales call. In this video, the kids teach us how to conduct ourselves effectively in a job interview. Do you want to walk out of that interview employed? Then pay close attention.
Yukie Ota is a Japanese flutist who is trying to break into the music business. Her big chance came at the Carl Nielsen International Flute Competition in Odense, Denmark. During the first round of the competition, Ota's performance was going well.
Ota briefly glanced up at it, but never dropped a note. She passed the first round of the competition.
NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas dug up some information about the butterfly:
I asked Dr. Bob Robbins, curator of lepidoptera at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, what the butterfly was doing there. Was it attracted by the lights? Something on her skin? Just the fluttery sound of her flute?
After taking a look at the video, Robbins told me that this was an Aglais io, or a Peacock butterfly, which is a very common species in Europe. He noted that it is "very weird" for a butterfly to come indoors like this, and that when butterflies land on people, it's usually because they are looking for salty water to drink.
"If you look closely at the video," he says, "you can see the butterfly's proboscis — its 'tongue' — out as it crawls across her forehead. It's looking for her perspiration. And she's under lights at a highfalutin competition. I'd be sweating a bit under that pressure."
Jungfrau is a mountain in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. It rises 13,642 feet high. Nine climbers with the outfitting company Mammut reached the peak. Using a drone with a fisheye lens, they captured a photo of themselves, locked arm in arm, around the peak.
John C. Wright is a commercially successful science fiction novelist. That is an enormously difficult accomplishment. There are many great writers who struggle to get published and then to get published widely enough to earn a living at it.
Wright counsels struggling writers not to despair. Even if they never become widely-read, a writer can transform one person's life. In a moving and beautiful post, Wright explains that your rarely-read book can be one reader's book of gold:
If you only write one book in your whole life, and only sell 600 copies or less, nonetheless, I assure you, I solemnly assure you, that this book will be someone’s absolutely favorite book of all time, and it will come to him on some dark day and give him sunlight, and open his eyes and fill his heart and make him see things in life even you never suspected, and will be his most precious tale, and it will live in his heart like the Book of Gold.
Let me give you three examples to support my point: VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS by David Lindsay had perhaps more effect and influence on me in my youth than any other book aside from WORLD OF NULL-A by A.E. van Vogt. To be fair, I misinterpreted both books, and took them to be preaching a resolute form of scientific Stoicism, an absolute devotion to sanity and truth which I doubt either author would recognize. I never wrote Mr. van Vogt a fan letter, despite that my whole life was influenced by him (but I did write a novel to honor him). Had it not been for his books, I never would have studied philosophy in High School, never would have gone to Saint John’s in Annapolis, never would have read the Great Books. I never would have met my wife.
As for Mr. Lindsay, he sold less than 600 copies of his book, and died in poverty, ignored and forgotten, of an abscess in a tooth any competent dentist could have pulled. And this is a book luminaries such as Colin Wilson, C.S. Lewis, and Harold Bloom regard as seminal. Mr. Wilson called it the greatest novel of the Twentieth Century.
Wright says that he has already received heartfelt appreciation for his work. He doesn't always understand why:
People have written me to say that this tale inspired dreams and nightmares, inspired new resolve, inspired hope, and at least one woman who was in the midst of her most wretched hour of despair, said she found strength just from the one description of a star appearing through the darkest clouds. What these readers see in my work is far beyond what I have the power to put down on the page: the hand of heaven touched that work, and those readers who express awe are seeing not the author’s hand, but the hand of the Creator who is author of us all, who guided the work without my knowledge.
Are you a writer? Are you trying to create something great, but no one else can see it? Perhaps to some reader unknown to you, your work is that book of gold:
I write for that one reader I will never see, the one who needs just such a tale as I can pen, in just such a time and place, some rainy afternoon or dark hour, when providence will bring my book into his hands. And he will open it, and it will not be a book, but a casement, from which he will glimpse the needed vision his soul requires of a world larger than our own, or a star in a heaven wider and higher than ours, a star aflame with magic more majestic than any star mortal astronomers can name.
I humbly but strongly suggest you write for that unknown reader also, and not for worldly praise, or influence, or pelf, or applause. The world flatters popular authors, and the clamor of the multitude of brazen tongues is vanity. It is dust on the wind. The unknown reader will greet your work with love. It is a crown of adamant, solid and enduring.
You will never meet that one reader, not in this life. In heaven he will come to you and fall on his face and anoint your feet with tears of gratitude, and you will stand astonished and humbled, having never suspected.
Martyn Sibley is the editor of Disability Horizons, an online magazine that advances "a 21st Century view of disability." He recently visited the New Forest, a section of southern England that was once William the Conqueror's private hunting ground, but is now a national park open to the public.
It's remarkably accessible to people with some disabilities. Sibley uses a wheelchair but found all of the accommodations necessary to have agreat time. He engaged in archery, biking, and sailing. And, as you can see from the photo above, he even climbed a tree!
In an interview with GBTimes, Manvelyan describes how he acquires the cooperation of animal subjects:
The photographer got professional assistance when dealing with venomous snakes and other not so 'people friendly' representatives of the fauna. “The hyena, however, was such an exceptional sweetheart. I got licked from head to toes,” Manvelyan smiles.
The photographer shares some useful tips for those who would like to try their hand at animal photography. “First of all, an animal needs time to get used to you. All the animals have a strong instinct for protecting their territory. Anyone who crosses the line creates a tension. The animal needs time to realize you don't present a danger to it. So, be patient and respectful.”
Lorraine Loots, an artist in Cape Town, South Africa, calls her series "Postcards for Ants." It's composed of teeny tiny yet richly detailed and precisely rendered pictures of landscapes and everyday objects. Many of them, as you can see, are smaller than a 1-pound coin. Loots has been making them every day since January 1, 2013. She creates 5 prints of each painting, which will no doubt sell well.
Magnus the tarantula is all dressed up for her human's birthday party!
Redditor schizophrenicwheel wished herself a "Herpy Birthday" (a reference to herpetology--the study of reptiles and amphibians). Her husband brought her an appropriate cake and made sure that their pets were ready for the occasion.
Mooch the iguana is also ready to party hard! You can see more photos of the party here, including a less than unenthusiastic response from Zadkiel the emerald tree monitor. Pajaaamas the Argus/Goulds monitor is politely faking interest.
Are you going to visit the dearly departed before the funeral? If you're in a hurry, then you won't have to go inside at the Paradise Funeral Chapel in Saginaw, Michigan. You can just pull up to the window in the drive-through lane.
The entire system is automated. Drive up to the viewing window. A sensor detects your car. The curtains open and music plays. After three minutes, the curtains close. Then drive away to make room for the next customer in line.
It's a nice service, but it would be more convenient if the funeral home offered curbside delivery.
George is a 10-year old goldfish that lives in Australia. He had a brain tumor that was gradually impairing his health. So his owner, Pip Joyce, paid a veterinarian at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital in Melbourne to surgically remove it.
This was a challenging operation that required George to be placed under anesthesia. The veterinary staff pumped water into his gills to keep him breathing during the 45-minute operation. It was a complete success and George has now returned to his home pond where he lives with 20 other goldfish. There's every reason to think that he will continue to live another 20 years.
Part of good parenting is protecting the innocence of your children. There's a lot of ugliness in the world. Someday, your children will have to face it. But that can be done in an age-appropriate manner at the right time. There's no need for frighten them before they can emotionally handle traumas that adults have to grapple with.
If you're a dog and your human is an artist, then you've got a good chance of going on fantastic adventures. Rafael Mantesso's bull terrier knows that. He can fly around the world, enjoy romantic escapades, and acquire angelic enhancements with a few details added to the background of his photos.
You can view more images of him at play on Mantesso's Instagram page. It's filled with not only cute dog photos, but very imaginative illustrations that are worth exploring.
How do artists stimulate their imaginations? Some artists engage in a daily creative process--a discipline that compels them to create something along a theme. One Pixar animator makes a new superhero every day. Nick Scalin made skulls every day for a year. Other artists photograph miniatures or decorate coffee cups.
By repeating the production of a spoon every day for a longer period of time (365 days), the goal is to challenge and explore a spoons aesthetic and functional qualities. I make all the spoons in a traditional way with only hand tools. The point of this is to actively cooperate with the material, in this case wood. In a modern industrial production the machines overwrites the wooden structures and natural growth pattern. When using manual hand tools my hand collaborates with the wood structure during the forming process. This underpins all the spoons unique qualities.
Some of his spoons may be impractical, but all of them are fun. Click on Continue reading to view more.
Ilya Breziniski, an artist in St. Petersburg, Russia, makes elegant tattoos using thousands and thousands of tiny dots, carefully arranged to show shading and form. His works are often everday objects posed in surreal worlds.
This past weekend at Oude Kerk, the oldest church in Amsterdam, the Like was laid to rest. Mourners carried a coffin shaped like a Facebook Like button to the church and marked its passing in a ceremony led by Eddy Reefhuis.
Why? It's a symbolic rejection of what is sometimes called "hashtag activism" or "clicktivism"--substituting online actions for offline activity. The organizers of the funeral reject the notion that clicking on a Like button constitutes doing anything productive. Here's their manifesto, which is an interesting read:
Not too long ago, this development led to a miraculous occurrence. A new technology turned the act of Liking into a commodity, hence into a symbolic totem and a new belief, at a time when faith in religion and our monetary system is crumbling.
At first these "Likes" seemed innocent. A gift bestowed upon us unconditionally and in overabundance. Sometimes the Likes would pile up like presents under a Christmas tree. But soon we started craving for more and eventually the "Like" became the opium of the masses. And now society has forgotten the real act of Liking. [...]
And instead of taking action to make change happen, our activism has been reduced and confined to the square inches of our computer screen activism has become clicktivism. We express our dislike of what is happening in the real world with a Like.
We as a society need to focus on real actions and intentions, rather than the symbolic reward bestowed on things by a mouse click. We must never forget that the real reward of Liking lies amongst ourselves and inside our communities.
NBC 12 News of Richmond, Virginia posted this photo shot by viewers Nancy and Joannie at the Virginia Center Commons on Thursday, September 11. The stars and stripes appear to waft across the evening sky.
Too good to be true? The news station responds to allegations of photoshoppery by writing, "We know the photographer and they sent a series of photos. It's authentic." Other commenters show their own photos of the cloud flag from different angles.
Redditor ShavenRaven writes, "People kept commenting on how much hair our baby son has, so naturally this was the next step."
They're appropriate for different developmental steps. He should start out as a mad scientist (we all go through that awkward stage), then have a rebellious year with the surfer haircut, then sell out and become a greasy banker.
Finally, he should stop caring and become the creepy old man, who looks like the happiest guy in this photo.
In the 1930s, Walt Disney tried to make a film adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Snow Queen," but never put it into production. It took his company 70 years to complete the project, which culminated in the hugely successful movie Frozen.
I have two young daughters, so it was inevitable that I would eventually watch Frozen. When I finally did, I was surprised to find that the main character is not Elsa, blonde-haired snow queen, but her sister Anna.
In a recent television special about the film, Disney's producers revealed another surprise about Elsa: in an earlier script, they had planned for her to be the main villain of the story. Kirsten Acuna writes for Business Insider:
Elsa's character looked completely different. She originally had light blue skin and short, spiky blue hair. She even had a coat made out of living weasels.
"Elsa was going to be the complete antagonist," says director and screenwriter Jennifer Lee in the book "The Art of Frozen." "They kept calling her the 'villain.' But there came a point where we said, 'We can't use that word anymore.' You care about someone who's been forces to hide who they are. Elsa's not a villain, she just makes some bad choices because she's in a very difficult situation."
In 2007, Seth Casteel photographed shelter dogs to help them find good homes. Since then, he's found his niche: dogs underwater. We've previously featured her series of dogs trying to catch balls underwater. More recently, he photographed puppies as they were dropped into pools. This was an opportunity for him to get some great shots. But, as he explained in an NPR interview, it was also an opportunity to teach dogs how to swim:
No. 1: swimming pool safety — super-duper important for all the listeners out there with their pets. So many people forget that our swimming pools, as much fun as they are, they are a danger, and they can be a danger to our children and to our fur children. And they will learn. I mean, a lot of these puppies I work with — for Underwater Puppies I worked with over 1,500 — all it took was just a few times, putting them in the water and teaching them where the exit is, and they figured it out.
Click on Continue reading to see more photos from the series.
(Photo: a North Korean/South Korean vocabulary crib sheet)
One of the more interesting parts of Rezvany's article was about the Korean languages--plural. Since the country was divided after World War II, North Korean has become noticeably different from South Korean. She quotes Joong Wha:
“In North Korea we used a lot of foreign words from Russia, Japan, and China,” he said. “But there was a [regime] movement called the ‘Making Our Own Language Alive’ movement. Through that we got rid of all the foreign-influenced words. All the words [North Koreans] use now are ‘pure Korean,’ so my generation learned these pure words. Therefore, when I converse with South Koreans and they use these words influenced by English, I sometimes don’t understand what they mean.”