Miss Cellania's Liked Blog Posts

Spinach Leaf Transformed Into Beating Human Heart Tissue

Scientists are able to grow human tissue in a laboratory, but that's far from being able to grow viable organs. One of the biggest problems is that working organs must be fed by a vascular system that carries nutrients through blood vessels, down to tiny capillaries that are hard to design, much less make. But nature may have a workaround in the form of plant cellulose.

One of the defining traits of a leaf is the branching network of thin veins that delivers water and nutrients to its cells. Now, scientists have used plant veins to replicate the way blood moves through human tissue. The work involves modifying a spinach leaf in the lab to remove its plant cells, which leaves behind a frame made of cellulose.

“Cellulose is biocompatible [and] has been used in a wide variety of regenerative medicine applications, such as cartilage tissue engineering, bone tissue engineering, and wound healing,” the authors write in their paper.

Once they had nothing left but the spinach leaf's cellulose framework, they grew living tissue over it and sent artificial blood through the veins. Read about the groundbreaking experiment at National Geographic. The results are promising.

(Image credit: Worcester Polytechnic Institute)


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One Sloppy Land Surveyor Almost Caused a War Between Missouri and Iowa

Between 1816 and 1836, the border between Missouri and Iowa was surveyed several times, because the first survey was done so badly, and there were four possible borders, all slightly different. The nine-mile-wide band of disputed territory was fertile and popular with settlers. But what governing body the residents belonged to was a problem. Things came to a head in 1839 when Sheriff Uriah S. Gregory tried to collect Missouri state taxes from the farmers of the disputed territory.   

But Gregory knew he was heading into an area where he was not welcome. Missouri claimed this land all the way to the Booth line, another survey line drawn in 1836 about nine miles north, but the people who lived here considered themselves part of Iowa. The last time Gregory had crossed the Sullivan line, back in October, he had met a group of locals at a house raising, and when he had explained, carefully, that he had come to collect their taxes on behalf of the state of Missouri, they told him that it would be in his best interest—best for his personal safety—if he went back over the border.

Since then, the border conflict between Missouri and Iowa had tensed into what historians would call “the Honey War,” after some unknown Missourian went over the border and cut down three bee trees filled with honey. It was about to escalate even further.

The honey theft appears to be incidental to the real dispute over taxes. Sheriff Greggory was arrested and both sides raised a militia. Read how the confusion came about and how the Honey War ended at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Americasroof)


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Phonetically Defined

If you didn't speak English as a native, you'd be tempted to figure out new words by pulling them apart into smaller words you know. Then you'd be really wrong. This method wouldn't work for "placate" if you are learning British English, as they pronounce it differently. This is the latest from John Atkinson at Wrong Hands. See more of his "phonetically defined" words here. -via Nag on the Lake


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Stubborn Russian Cat

Boris is hungry, or at least he knows a good stash of food when he sees it. He's not giving up his loaf of bread easily. No siree.

(YouTube link)

And you see who wins the battle, even though Boris never stooped to attacking the woman. Boris lives in an animal shelter in St. Petersburg. He has to share food with 25 other cats who need homes, and no doubt has memories of greater hunger in his past. While this particular scene doesn't bode well for Boris' adoption, the Instagram video assures us that he is usually a nice cat, believe it or not. See more from the shelter 50 Tails.   -via reddit

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

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Is There an Error in this Painting?

This painting is titled Wivenhoe Park, Essex by John Constable. It was painted in 1816 for Major General Francis Slater Rebow. Can you see anything unusual about the picture? Minnesotastan noticed it.

I first saw this painting about 30 years ago in a print that was on the wall of the office of a colleague of mine at the University of Kentucky.  After looking at the painting for a while, I initially concluded that the artist (world famous for his landscape portrayals) must have made an error in depicting the scene.  Nobody else seemed interested in the apparent anomaly, and I lost track of the painting (not knowing its title) until I encountered it again this past week.

I invite you to explore the image (it should enlarge to wallpaper size with a click) to see if you find anything that appears internally inconsistent in the content.

Whether you find it or not, you'll be interested in the explanation at TYWKIWDBI. Minnesotastan tells us where the anomaly is, and then looks into the background of how the painting was constructed to reconcile what we see with what Constable had to work with 200 years ago.   


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Project Moby Dick, the Cold War’s Least Believable Surveillance Strategy

In 1956, the United States launched a series of balloons that took advantage of weather patterns to spy on the USSR. They went up in Europe, glided over the Soviet Union, and were intercepted over Japan, where planes would extend hooks to grab the cameras from them in mid-air. What could possibly go wrong?

Still, even the most optimistic assessments admitted that there was a possibility that some of the balloons would veer wildly off course. To aid in recovery, a cartoon and multilingual placard was included, encouraging them to be brought to U.S.-allied bases for a reward.  

“THIS BOX CAME FROM THE SKY
IT IS HARMLESS
IT HAS WEATHER DATA IN IT
NOTIFY THE AUTHORITIES
YOU WILL RECEIVE A REWARD IF YOU
TURN IT IN AS IT IS”

And if the Air Force thought that the Soviets wouldn't notice the balloons, they were sorely mistaken. Read about Project Moby Dick at Atlas Obscura.


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March Mammal Madness 2017

The online tournament March Mammal Madness is now in its fifth year, and more popular than ever. The bracket started with 64 mammals of all types, and they are matched up against each other in a simulated battle that depends on the habits and skills of real-life animals, as described by scientists who study them, with the luck of the draw thrown in by the roll of a dice. The higher-ranked animal gets the home court advantage in earlier rounds, which can get weird when, say, an armadillo battles a leopard seal. And sometimes the result comes from completely out of left field.

This year, guest narrator and biologist Dr. Danielle Lee tweeted a battle involving her own research subject: the African giant pouched-rat, native to Tanzania. Lee narrated the second round match-up between her pouched-rat and the maned wolf in the cerrado (tropical savannah) of central Brazil. With no tree or burrow to hide in, the pouched-rat was easily tracked by the wolf, which it couldn’t outrun. At least that’s what Lee tweeted, but that’s not what actually happened. Before concluding the battle, Lee revealed that the pouched-rat hadn’t actually shown up for the fight because Tanzania recently banned the export of live animals.

An article at Gizmodo explains how the tournament works. The tournament has been going on for a while; the final four will do battle Monday and the championship bout is Wednesday, with all the action on Twitter. You can check out previous matchups at March Mammal Madness' Twitter feed, like the matchup between a short-faced bear and a group of Neanderthals.

Sad to say, the bear advanced to the final four. You can follow discussion about the matchups with the hashtag 2017MMM, and learn more about the tournament at March Mammal Madness.


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Simon's Cat in Camouflage Challenge

Blending in with one's surroundings is a common strategy for predators to use in capturing some other animal to eat. Leopards are good at it. So are spiders, anglerfish, and octopuses. Simon's Cat tries it out.

(YouTube link)

But Simon's cat is neither a spider nor an anglerfish, although he probably thinks he's a leopard. He just doesn't quite have the needed skills. It might have been his comfy suburban upbringing, or it may be just his bad luck.


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The Trouble with Eden

Reality TV has been around long enough now that you'd think there would be rules in place to handle every contingency. The story of the British reality game show Eden hints that it's not necessarily so. Contestants were taken to an island off the coast of Scotland and expected to fend for themselves for a year, while being filmed as they bond with each other and struggle for survival.  

The contestants on the show try to complete a task with zero outside assistance or contact with the outside world for one year.   But here’s the kicker.  There were 23 contestants that started.  13 quit and 10 finished the show, only there was one small problem.  By the time the 10 surviving contestants came back, the show had already been cancelled for 7 months.

That tidbit leaves us with so many questions. Did the camera operators stay after the show was canceled? Will the cast and crew be paid? If they cheated and got outside help, as reported, why didn't they hear the news? Is this whole story a publicity stunt to get us all watching a possible revival? Read the story, and see clips from Eden at TVOM.


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The Peak Age for Everything

There's something great to be said for every age. According to research, people are most satisfied with their lives at age 23, but after a lot more experience, they are  very satisfied again at age 69. The best age for learning a new language is seven, but that doesn't mean your chance is gone if you don't. You reach peak muscle strength at age 25, but your math skills will peak at 50, and 51-year-olds are better at understanding emotions. Of course, these are averages, so your mileage may vary. The section on marriage is understandable, but not definitive.

The peak age to settle down is 26.

The 37% Rule of statistics says that at age 26 you'll have met enough people to have some solid options without waiting so long that they start pairing off without you.

And according to one recent study, divorce rates are lowest for couples who married between the ages of 28 and 32.

Check out the peak age for all kinds of things at Business Insider. Each conclusion has links to the research that produced it. -via mental_floss


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The Great American Dream House

The following article is from the book Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges into California.

It wasn’t everybody’s idea of home sweet home, but it was the right house at the right time for thousands of West Coast families after World War II.

MASTER BUILDER IN THE MAKING

All Joe Eichler wanted to do was build some low-cost housing for World War II veterans and their families: small, ranch-style homes with basic amenities. What he ended up with were stylish, iconic homes that are still in demand today. The reason? Eichler, though he didn’t know it at first, was a modern man in every way. For one thing, he was an equal-opportunity builder who opened the doors of his houses to people of all races and colors, a pretty daring prospect in the pre–civil rights era. If someone wanted to buy one of his houses, all they had to do was come up with the down payment (anywhere from $500 to $2,650) and qualify for a mortgage.

In fact, the only colors Eichler cared about were the colors of his houses. His son Ned tells the story of how his father, while cruising through one of his developments, called a halt to a house-painting job because the color the owners had chosen didn’t look right with the colors of the houses on either side of it. The house-painter told Eichler that the owners really wanted that particular color and added, “After all, it’s their house.” Eichler said, “Like hell it is. It’s my house. Change the g**damn color.”

THE HOUSES THAT JOE BUILT

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Why Women Couldn’t Wear Pants on the Senate Floor Until 1993

So many of the conventions that ruled how men and women interacted were "unwritten rules" that everyone understood, but were not legally codified. Conformity came from social pressure from the majority of people who just knew that "that's the way it is." Such was the dress code for the U.S. Senate that expected women to wear dresses long after those in other professions were wearing pantsuits, uniform pants, or jeans to work.

As the upper house in the U.S. legislature, the Senate has always been more formal and reserved than the House. Even during the 1980s, pants on women were apparently too much for that august chamber to handle. Individual Senate offices had their own rules, but on the floor, women wearing pants were verboten, which could necessitate quick changes. "We've heard from women staff that in the 1980s, if they came in to work—if they were called in on an emergency basis—they needed to keep a dress to put on quickly or they had to borrow one if they had to appear on the Senate floor," Richard A. Baker, Senate historian from 1975 to 2009, told The Washington Post in 2002.

While the dress code for the Senate was never officially codified, the norms were enforced by Senate doorkeepers, who controlled access to the chamber and served partly as security guards, partly as protocol monitors. Even today, they assess each person seeking entry, making sure they are supposed to be there and are dressed appropriately. The problem is that "dressed appropriately" has historically been up to the discretion of the doorkeeper on duty: Doorkeepers made determinations based on personal opinion or instructions from their boss, the sergeant at arms.

What did it take for the doorkeepers to back down over enforcing that dresses be worn by women senators? It took a critical number of concurrent women senators (six), and one breaking the unwritten rule in order to bring the entire subject up for discussion. Read how that finally happened in 1993 at mental_floss. 


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Babies Who Look Strangely Like Celebrities

"You know, when junior scrunches his eyes up like that, he looks just like (insert famous movie actor)!" Yes, he does. The internet has an unlimited supply of baby pictures from proud parents, plus a revolving door of celebrities, so it stands to reasons that people will see an occasional uncanny resemblance.



Check out an entire class of infants who are doomed to grow up and be compared to a famous person in this gallery. -via TVOM

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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30 Passionate But Pointless Arguments

It's happened to all of us. A family member, friend, or co-worker says something wrong, so you point out their error. But they are convinced you are the one who is wrong. We should just let it go at that point, but every once in a while, the argument escalates into something the two of you think is important, when it's not important at all. It's just dumb.



Are these examples of overthinking it, or just over-caring? Even if you manage to dial it back, those arguments and their aftermath will stay with you, so you can share it years later.

A reddit post asked the question "What's the most pointless argument you've been passionately involved in?" and 22 Words selected the 30 funniest of those dumb arguments to illustrate. -via Metafilter


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The Princess Tree

The tree genus called Paulownia has several species, mostly native to Asia, that grow fast on difficult soil. They tend to thrive after forest fires, which kill its enemy fungus. It's also called the Princess Tree.

The genus, originally Pavlovnia but now usually spelled Paulownia, was named in honour of Anna Paulowna, queen consort of The Netherlands (1795–1865), daughter of Tsar Paul I of Russia. It is also called "princess tree" for the same reason.[1]

The tree also has a sweet tradition.

Paulownia is known in Japanese as ‘kiri’ and as ‘Princess Tree’ because it was once customary to plant a tree of this kind when a baby girl was born, and then to make it into a dresser as a wedding present when she married.

Before you run out and find a princess Tree to welcome your little princess, consider whether you will realistically have the time and skills to actually build a dresser, or the money to pay a carpenter to do it. -via Nag on the Lake

(Image credit: Fanghong)


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North Carolina’s Shangri-La Stone Village

There's a miniature stone village in Prospect Hill, North Carolina, consisting of 27 buildings and other small-town structures. It was all hand-made by one man: Henry Warren. When Warren retired from farming, he gathered white flint rock and lovingly crafted each building over the last nine years of his life. He decorated the buildings with flea market finds, such as jewelry, gemstones, colored tile, and anything he thought would make Shangri-La look good. Heather gives us her impression of the village after visiting.

Now this is just my opinion, but I believe Shangri-La is sacred. Henry, a retired tobacco farmer with no history in art or architecture, devoted his retired years to creating art; and this art was meant to simply make people happy. There’s power in that. For nearly a decade he poured love and creativity into these buildings, with the nothing more than the intention of making the world more beautiful. You can feel that energy there. You can feel that these buildings were made for you, simply to make you feel good.

Warren died in 1977, but his family maintains the village, and welcomes visitors who want to enjoy his work. -via Metafilter, where you'll find more links to explore Shangri-La.

(Images credit: Flickr user Joel Haas)


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Making Up For It

Redditor CircleAddict works at Starbucks and had a customer encounter that didn't go quite right. He said, "A woman came through the drive through yesterday and got a little irritated with me because we didn't have drink carriers. Today, she came back and handed me this." In case you can't read the writing, it says:

Greetings Starbuck Barista! Yesterday at your drive through we had a less then cheerful encounter. At no fault of yours, you were out of carriers & said you could not take my empty cup (trash). I was less then understanding and my manner was curt.

I need to apologize. The thought of leaving a trail of unkindness like that is so not the path i want to reflect. Not for you, Not for me. You are a young man, clearly working hard to build a future & you should be commended. Keep up your attitude of cheer & hope. Stay hopeful no matter what kind of people cross your path (or drive thru :) )

Surly, God has good blessing in store. You taught this ole lady something yesterday about, Kindness, Compassion & staying humble. I thank you! Debbie

God Bless you today & all your todays.

Debbie was most likely affected by other things going on in her life, but she realized that didn't make it okay to lash out at a stranger. Good on her. The discussion below the post was full of commenters who were sorry about ruining someone's day and stories of strangers who went out of their way to apologize for rudeness. The world could use more of that.


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Catnip Ain’t the Only Plant That’ll Send Your Kitty to Blissville

The active ingredient in catnip that gives such pleasure to our kitties is nepetalactone. It doesn't have much effect on other species, but cats go wild -or at least some cats do. If you've had multiple cats, you've probably noticed at least one that didn't react to catnip at all. You have to feel sorry for those cats, while their housemates are enjoying a catnip-fueled high. However, there are some other substances, such as silver vine, Tatarian honeysuckle, and valerian root, that can stimulate cats. Molecular biologist Sebastian Bol performed an experiment to see how cats would react to these plants.

With 100 different cats, he rubbed the plant matter on a sock or a square of carpet, and set the material in the cats’ line of sight. Then he waited. If the cat approached and backed away, he considered that a denial. “Animals tend to move towards things they like, and back away from things they consider threats,” says Buffington. After each success or denial, he’d wait about five minutes for the cat to relax, then try again with another plant type. The response rate was striking: Almost 80 percent of the cats responded to the silver vine (a higher response rate than even nip, which got less than 70 percent of the cats high), and roughly 40 percent each for valerian root and honeysuckle.

The kicker is that these other plants do not contain nepetalactone. Read about research into cat euphoria at Wired. -via Metafilter

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

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The Marx Brothers in A Day at the Races

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

It was 1937 and the Marx Brothers were back with their seventh motion picture A Day at the Races. A Day at the Races was the follow-up to the boys' biggest and most popular film, their previous effort, 1935's A Night at the Opera.

A Day at the Races was their second film for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was also their second film post-Zeppo, the youngest Marx Brother, their wooden straight man, having retired as an actor after 1933's Duck Soup.

Trying to duplicate the successful formula of A Night at the Opera, before beginning filming, Groucho, Chico and Harpo took a live version of A Day at the Races on the road. Before live crowds, jokes and gags were gauged and either kept or discarded.

Most of the A Day at the Races screenplay and gags were written  by Al Boasberg, who was also a major contributor to A Night at the Opera. But Boasberg demanded full credit as the film's screenwriter, a request MGM was not willing to grant, thus a furious Boasberg requested his name be erased from the film's credits altogether. Final writing credits went to Robert Pirosh and George Seaton.

A Night at the Opera director Sam Wood returned to the helm. Irving Thalberg, MGM's "boy genius," was the film's producer, but sadly, he died unexpectedly of pneumonia just two weeks into production. Groucho was later to claim he "lost all interest" in film-making after the death of Thalberg.

Thalberg loved the Marx Brothers and being the head of MGM, he made sure they were protected and their films were kept at a grade A level. After his passing, the production, writing, and general caring and interest level of Marx Brothers movies took a massive drop, never to return to the A Day at the Races high level again.

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The Haunting Face of a Man Who Lived 700 Years Ago

Meet Context 958. That's just his scientific designation. We don't know his name, but we have some idea of what the man looked like when he was alive during the 13th century, thanks to a facial reconstruction done on a skeleton excavated from a medieval cemetery at St. John’s College in Cambridge, England.    

He was just slightly over 40 years old when he died. His skeleton showed signs of considerable wear-and-tear, so he likely lead a tough and hard working life. His tooth enamel stopped growing during two occasions in his youth, suggesting he likely lived through bouts of famine or sickness when he was young. The archaeologists found traces of blunt force trauma inflicted to the back of his head, which healed over before he died. The researchers aren’t sure what he did for a living, but they think he was a working-class person who specialized in some kind of trade.

There's more to learn about Context 958 at Gizmodo, and also about the project that brought him to us in almost photographic detail.    

(Image credit: Dr. Chris Rynn, University of Dundee)


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Camper Trailer Topped with a Boat

The top of the trailer is removable. Flip it over, and there's your fishing boat! It's a 1954 Ford Courier with a matching Kom-Pak Sportsman Travel Trailer. The 16' boat doubles as the trailer roof. Yeah, that means you can only go boating when it's not raining, but duh. This particular model is quite rare, and wouldn't look this good if it were used for real camping and boating, inside of showing off at classic car shows. See a 1952 model, too. -via reddit


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How Dinosaurs Get Their Names

Those who have the honor of naming a new species can put a lot of thought into it, to come up with a wonderfully evocative name like Tyrannosaurus rex. Or they can go the easy route, like whoever named Allosaurus -it means "different lizard." And then there are names that make us want to know the story behind it, like Pantydraco.

For many, naming one of these ancient beasts is serious business. “To me, choosing a name for a new dinosaur species has always been a heavy task,” says North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences paleontologist Lindsay Zanno. Not only are names necessary for scientific communication, but dinosaurs—like planets—have their own pop culture pull that makes naming a new species a way to excite the public. “If wisely chosen, a name can become a vector for connecting nature and humanity through shared culture, for inspiring curiosity, or for awakening a long dead species in our collective imaginations,” Zanno says.

But now that new species are found more often, names get pulled from every corner of society. Read about dinosaur naming conventions and how they have changed at Smithsonian. By the way, the "panty" in Pantydraco is a Welsh word.

(Image credit: Nobu Tamura)


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The Zeppelin Stamps That Enraged 1930s Collectors

In the 1930s, the Graf Zeppelin made its first airmail delivery to the Americas. It was a spectacular sight, somewhat akin to aliens landing on earth. The German airship company was proud of the world's largest zeppelin, but were confronted from the beginning with what would eventually be the downfall of all such airships: how to make them profitable?

Instead, the Graf’s parent company, German Zeppelin Airship Works, decided to recoup costs by commissioning special stamps from the countries on the tour route. Only letters with these stamps on them would be accepted onto the airship, which would then deliver them to their destinations. This was the only commercial transatlantic air mail option available at the time, and was days faster than sending a letter by boat. Brazil, Bolivia, Germany, and Spain all made the Zeppelin stamps, and 93 percent of the proceeds from each stamp was funneled back into German Zeppelin Airship Works.

After some debate, the U.S. Post Office decided to get in on the game as well, designing and printing a run of Graf Zeppelin stamps in a matter of weeks. They called this a gesture of goodwill toward Germany, and pledged to also contribute 93 percent of the revenue to the Airship Works. Secretly, though, they expected that an enthusiastic population of American collectors would snap up most of the stamps, keeping them out of circulation, and ensuring that the Post Office held onto most of the money.

Well, as we know from the short-lived era of zeppelins, the scheme didn't work out in the long run. Read the story of the zeppelin stamps at Atlas Obscura.


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Cheetah Encounter

A safari into cheetah country got more than they bargained for when a curious cheetah climbed into a tourist-filled vehicle. This cat apparently had some contact with people before, probably in previous safaris, but he still wanted to check them all out. This video is a compilation of several such encounters, with different cheetahs.  

(YouTube link)

If you were in that position, you' be stuck between the impulse to pet the kitty and terror at confronting an apex predator who could chew your face off if he so desired. -via Laughing Squid


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Why is this Chicken So Big?

Yeah, you can tell this is a big chicken. When he finally squeezes his whole body through the door of the coop, you'll see he's even bigger than you thought! Wait, how big is he really? We can only tell when a hen shows up in the background.

It's like Big Bird crossed with Foghorn Leghorn! This is a Brahma rooster. They are bred to be big, but the sight of one emerging from a regular-sized chicken house is just too funny to resist.  -via Metafilter


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Russian Car Curling Tournament

The sport of curling involves sliding a stone across a field of ice to score points and knock the opposing teams stone out of points. Curling stones are very expensive, so a group of Russians came up with a better idea: use old Yugos to slide across the ice!

(YouTube link)

The first ever Russian Carl Curling Tournament was held in Yekaterinburg Saturday. Four teams hurled small cars across the ice at each other. The cars were devoid of any heavy parts, such as motors. A good time was had by all. -via reddit


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Dr. Parker’s Latent Library and the Death of the Author

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research, now in all-pdf form. Get a subscription now for only $25 a year!

A philosophical inquiry
by Chris McManus
University College London
2002 Ig Nobel Biology Prize winner (for his study
“Scrotal Asymmetry in Man and Ancient Sculpture”)

The death of the author has been a fundamental constant of post-modern literary criticism ever since Roland Barthes’ essay of 1967. Now an economist, Professor Philip M. Parker, has turned the entire question on its head. The really interesting question about someone who has been described as “the most prolific author in history” now concerns the trickier question of whether, in any meaningful sense, this author—or what Barthes would call a “scriptor”— has ever actually been alive.

Books used to be simple things. An author writes, a printer prints, a bookseller sells and a reader then reads what the author wrote, the printer printed and the bookseller sold. Such a description is worlds away from the 142,152* titles which Parker and his ICON Publishing Group have published. Even if the 47-year-old Professor Parker had written solidly, 12 hours a day, 365 days a year, for the past 20 years, he would have had to produce a new title every 37 minutes to create such an oeuvre. Such productivity is over two orders of magnitude greater than that of the Guinness Book of Records’ most prolific author, the South African writer Mary Faulkner (1903-1973), whose 904 titles hardly begin to compete with Parker.

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Sticking Around: The La Brea Tar Pits

The following article is from the book Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges into California.

(Image credit: Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD)

How much do you know about the Angelenos of the Pleistocene? Yeah, us either. Read on.

FANCY TAR?

Hancock Park, an affluent area of Los Angeles, is well known for its celebrity sightings, million-dollar homes, and the famous Hollywood sign in the distance. But some of the neighborhood’s “residents” are even cooler. World-famous fossils—like the extinct dire wolf, saber-toothed tiger, and Columbia mammoth—are among the millions of specimens that have been excavated from the La Brea tar pits. Located on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile, the tar pits contain one of the richest deposits of late Pleistocene era (the last ice age) fossils in North America. The fossils date from 10,000 to 40,000 years ago, and more than three million of them—including plants, mammals, birds, lizards, and insects—have been excavated since paleontologists first began digging there in the early 1900s.

The tar pits on display today were once excavation sites where workers dug for asphalt or scientists dug for fossils. Over the years, humans dug more than 100 pits throughout Hancock Park, but most of them have been refilled with dirt, debris, asphalt, and water. About 13 tar pits remain—the largest, called the Lake Pit, measures 28 square feet and is approximately 14 feet deep.

STICKY, GOOEY DEATH TRAPS

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The Academy Where Butlers Are Born

The International Butler Academy in Simpelveld, Netherlands, is where professional butlers learn everything they need to know to assist their employers in genteel living. Every aspect of service is done just so, and they need to look good doing it, too.

(YouTube link)

Who knows? Graduates might end up running a household for a reclusive billionaire who fights crime in his off hours. Or an eccentric old lady with spoiled cats. Or a judge with a houseful of teenagers in California. Someone like that has no time to run a household themselves. Great Big Story takes us through the 10-week course that prepares new butlers for a career. -via Nag on the Lake


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The Starlight Bridge

District 7 in Saigon  (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) is a newer, wealthier part of town that Jürgen Horn and Mike Powell found to be copycat of western cities, chain stores and all. But it has a pedestrian bridge with a fountain that stands out, particularly at night. That's when it puts on a light show!



The Starlight Bridge contains its own water fountain that is illuminated in color at night, and those colors move, too! See it in action, with plenty more pictures at Saigon for 91 Days.


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Profile for Miss Cellania

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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