Photographer Antti Karppinen put together a gallery of Star Wars cosplay portraits specifically for Star Wars Day (all with light sabers). Most were taken at Cardiff Film & Comic Con 2015 in March. See Karppinen’s portraits of other awesome cosplayers from the Welsh con here. And May the fourth be with you. -Thanks, Antti Karppinen!
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You know when you hear a movie idea so great, you think there’s no way anyone could mess it up? Then along comes Snakes on a Plane and then Cowboys and Aliens. Both offered an irresistible combination that ended up being rather disappointing. Those two movies were the first thing I thought of when I heard about Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs. Then I thought about Valley of the Gwangi, which was a pretty good movie for its day. But then I watched the trailer for Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs.
This is no Valley of the Gwangi. But it might have all the charm of Sharknado if you watch it expecting an unintentional comedy. MarVista Entertainment will release Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs not in theaters, but in digital HD and On Demand May 19. -via Uproxx
City Council meetings are usually pretty dry affairs, and even more so when it’s not your town. This is an exception. During a council meeting in Georgetown, Texas, a councilman leaves to relieve himself in the men’s room. But he forgot to turn off the microphone he was wearing. Rachael Jonrowe tries to make her point while he’s gone, but cannot contain herself when the bathroom audio starts. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Ryuji Imai is a real Bruce Lee fan. He has the moves from his movies memorized, and can recreate them with his nunchaku. And Ryuji is only five years old! In this video, he recreates a fight scene from the 1972 film Game of Death. He doesn’t even have to see the movie to know what’s coming next. -via Viral Viral Videos
(Image credit: Trevorbirchett)
I lived near Memphis, Tennessee, when The Pyramid was built on the banks of the Mississippi in 1991. It was supposed to be a shining symbol of the city, defining its skyline and drawing people to the downtown river area. I saw Van Halen perform there. But that was a long time ago. The Memphis Grizzlies signed a contract that gave them control over the use of the Pyramid, and then found the construction to be so shoddy that they had their own arena built elsewhere and moved out in 2004. The Pyramid sat unused for over ten years. Until last Wednesday.
The 32-story, 535,000-square foot building is now a Bass Pro Shop. Really. In fact, it’s an entire theme park for outdoorsmen, with its own swamp, hotel, bowling alley, archery range, shooting range, laser arcade, restaurants, and more.
(Image credit: Trevorbirchett)
The result of the makeover is impressive. The cypress swamp covers most of the ground floor. Moss dangles from fake trees, and the watery bog is dotted with stuffed wild pigs and other animals.
Surrounding the swamp are various retail sections with hand-painted wall murals of idyllic outdoor scenes. The fishing section contains about 30,000 items. A general store will sell homemade fudge. The 13-lane bowling alley has a water motif with fish dangling from the ceiling and ball returns shaped like alligator mouths. There's also an interactive duck hunting game.
An elevator takes visitors up to The Lookout at the Pyramid, a restaurant and bar with an observation deck providing panoramic views of the river and city.
Rooms at the Big Cypress Lodge were inspired by hunting camps. They have a rustic feel, with dark wood trim and private porches with rocking chairs.
So beware, if you ask Dad where he’s like to go for vacation this year, he may suggest Memphis, and now you know why. -via BroBible
Every action movie trailer follows the same formula in the past twenty years or so. The formula is so established that I’m often a bit confused as to whether this is a new trailer or something I’ve seen before. Red Letter Media lays out the formula.
Establishing shot of a city.
Bwaaaaaam! (often the sound familiar from Inception)
Mysterious, cryptic, and vague lines.
Make your characters look cool.
Build up to silence, then BAM!
And don’t forget the powerful and/or inspiring monologue.
End montage with another cut to quiet.
Eh, throw in a laser shooting into the sky. Why not?
Clever and/or funny end tag before release date.
Each trope is illustrated with more examples than you can shake a stick at, if you were so inclined. -via Boing Boing
Two days ago, NASA’s MESSENGER orbiter crashed onto the surface of Mercury, after 11 years of exploration. Its final Tweet was enough to bring a tear to your eye.
Well I guess it is time to say goodbye to all my friends, family, support team. I will be making my final impact very soon.— MESSENGER (@MESSENGER2011) April 30, 2015
It inspired Becky Ferreira to look at other robotic space explorers and how we regard them as sentient beings, gladly sacrificing themselves for the greater good. A lot of that is due to NASA’s habit of setting up first-person Twitter accounts for spaceships, probes, and rovers, in order to engage the public. But NASA isn’t the only space agency that does that.
Indeed, MESSENGER isn’t even the first spacecraft to have live-tweeted its own death, and it certainly wasn’t the most melodramatic about it. That award goes to China’s Yutu lunar rover. In January 2014, the Yutu published a series of tearjerker posts on its Weibo account, after a malfunction threatened its life.
Whoever was operating Yutu’s account milked the situation to the fullest, and even brought up the rover’s thoughts about how its “mother”—the Chang’e 3 lander—would react to its death.
"[Chang'e] doesn't know about my problems yet," the Yutu Weibo account said. "If I can't be fixed, everyone please comfort her."
We envisioned the Philae lander as a cartoon character when it landed on a comet. We all cheered when the Mars Curiosity rover landed so spectacularly on the red planet. Even its creators treated “her” like a child who left home and made good. It was a real contrast to the sadness we felt when the Spirit rover shut down after six years of work -the feisty robot was only scheduled to last three months.
Its story, told by Randall Munroe at xkcd, devastated us. But you’ll be glad to find there’s an alternate ending for that comic in an article about our habit of anthropomorphizing spaceships at Motherboard. -via Digg
(Image credit: Flickr user Shawn Smith)
The long-running game show is adored by millions. But there was a time—and another time, and one more time—when questions swirled around its survival.
When he welcomed a reporter into his Southern California home, the 44-year-old Alex Trebek was on a roll. Trebek was an industry veteran. For years, he’d worked as a newscaster and sportscaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation while trying to kick-start his career as a TV personality. So far, nothing had stuck. But at the start of the 1984 TV season, he landed something promising—a job as the host of Jeopardy!
Unfortunately, the program had a checkered history. Ratings had soared in the 1960s and early 1970s, but the show had also been canceled—twice. Now the high-paying trivia contest was being updated for a new generation. And as Trebek had quickly learned, Jeopardy!’s biggest hurdle was convincing station managers that a smart game show deserved premium air time. It was a hard argument to make. Programmers knew that established game shows like The Price Is Right and Family Feud could reliably draw a mass audience. But a show this cerebral was a gamble. In several major markets, including New York, Jeopardy! was relegated to a 2 a.m. time slot, a ratings wasteland. Trebek and the producers were pressured to dumb down the program and make the clues easier so viewers wouldn’t feel left out. Still, he remained optimistic.
(Image credit: Flickr user Steve Jurvetson)
As he and the reporter chatted, Trebek suavely flipped on his TV. At the time, Los Angeles was an outlier, airing the show at the decent hour of 3 p.m. But instead of seeing himself trot out to greet the audience, Trebek saw Jack Klugman. The local affiliate had replaced Jeopardy! with reruns of Quincy, M.E. “The fact that Quincy was a coroner seemed appropriate,” Trebek would later write. His optimism instantly disappeared.
What a difference three decades make. Trebek no longer worries about job security. But before viewers grew accustomed to shouting answers at the screen, its host and crew had to resolve one nagging question: Was Jeopardy! too smart for its own good?
Ami Vitale didn’t get to be a National Geographic photographer by just being in the right place at the right time. A tourist snapping pictures might bring home a decent souvenir, but in order to tell a story in photographs, it takes a lot more.
Although I spent a couple of days with 13-year-old Subita Devi and her family, we were never alone. She was constantly surrounded by hundreds of digital cameras. Subita told me how de-humanising the impact of eager tourists and their cameras were on her. She said this made her feel “like an animal”. No one had even said “namaste” to her. She was like the prize in the hunt for a good image. If some of the people who surrounded Subita had spent even a few hours with her, learning a bit more about her life, they would have had a story, not just images. Here Subita is carrying one of my cameras; she wanted to learn about it. I printed copies of these portraits and gave them to Subita. I find this leaves a good memento—it’s the least we can do when people open their lives to us.
Here we have a compilation of kitty videos in which groups of kittens keep the beat going with head bobs and synchronized sways. If you’ve never seen your cat do this, you aren’t playing with him enough! -via Tastefully Offensive
Boy bands sing about love and perfection because that’s what girls like to hear. Amy Schumer parodies that trope when the boys sing “Girl, You Don't Need Makeup,” which is all sweet and lovely until she takes her makeup off. Then they rethink their lyrics in a hurry! It’s funny, while at the same time it comments on one more way young women develop anxiety about their appearance. -via Viral Viral Videos
Maria Lopez of Tampa found a box in her grandfather’s attic a few weeks ago. That’s not at all unusual, but the contents of the box were certainly unusual. It contained old coins, a family picture, a map, and a severed hand wearing a ring. Could it be pirate treasure? Mike Lopez joked that his great-grandparents might have been pirates.
When Maria and Mike were children, their grandfather would tell them stories about his father, Ernesto Lopez, finding Jose Gaspar's pirate treasure. They took the box to a few antique stores around Tampa and the contents were described as "gruesome and authentic."
The map is estimated to be from the 1930s. It shows the Tampa area. Lafayette Street is labeled on the map. That road's name was changed to Kennedy Boulevard later.
The coins are believed to be Spanish and Portuguese from the 18th century. The ring on the hand's ring finger is expected to be from around the same time period.
Um, why would you pour molten aluminum into a watermelon? Because you can? Will it explode? The Backyard Scientist shows us what happens (in his backyard, of course), and it’s neater than you might expect. Now, what other things can we pour molten aluminum into? (via Viral Viral Videos)
The folks at Tiny Kittens have set up a webcam for a cat named Eve. She gave birth to a litter of five two days ago.
Abandoned and pregnant, Eve took refuge under someone's porch until a kind neighbor brought her to us. Her babies were born in safety and will be raised with love, making Eve one of the lucky ones! She and her babies will be spayed/neutered and adopted into loving homes when they are old enough.
This graduation cake might make a little sense only if the recipient were receiving a PhD in 19th-century English History. But if he or she was first in the class, the spelling is valedictorian. That took me a second to see, long enough to make me laugh at the cake from the archives at Cake Wrecks. It’s part of a round up of 21 Graduation Cakes That Do Not Get A Passing Grade at Buzzfeed. Let’s hope the class of 2015 brings us more cakes to laugh at, as long as it’s someone else paying for them.
(Image credit: Flickr user ITU Pictures)
* The first Emmy award was awarded in 1949. It went to Shirley Dinsdale, a ventriloquist. She was voted Most Outstanding Television Personality.
* The name “Emmy" is a feminization of the nickname “Immy,” an abbreviation of the image orthicon tube, which is part of a TV camera.
* In 1971, George C. Scott turned down his Oscar for the movie Patton, complaining that the Oscars were a petty popularity contest. But that same year, Scott accepted an Emmy award for his role in the Hallmark Hall of Fame special The Price.
* Kelsey Grammar is the only actor to be nominated for the same character in three different series. His Frasier Crane character was nominated for Wings (once), Cheers (twice), and Frasier (10 nominations, four wins).
* In 1987, The Facts of Life was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Hairdressing.
* Baywatch (1989-2001) is the longest-running series (12 years) to never be nominated for an Emmy. It broke the previous record of 11 years, held by Married... with Children.
* In 1958, in a bid to differentiate the characters they play on TV, the Academy created two new categories: Best Continuing Performance in a Series by a Person Who Essentially Plays Herself and it's male counterpart. The idea was to coronate Lucille Ball in I Love Lucy, but the plan backfired and Dinah Shore won instead. (In 1959, Jack Benny became the last person to win this award.)
Pecan, the well-dressed cat, rings a bell and receives treats for his efforts. You can see who’s training who here.
watergirlmv: I’ve trained my cat to ring a bell!
Pecan: I’ve got it made. All I have to do is ring this bell, and watergirlmv gives me a bite to eat! Even when she says we’re done, I can keep ringing it to get more. I sure trained her well!
-via Tastefully Offensive
This is the sign that welcomes you to the small town of Rennie, Manitoba. The village authorities who came up with this certainly had a sense of humor -and aspirations of someday having something worth bragging about. The people of some small towns are really good at poking fun at themselves, making you want to visit for that reason alone. Years ago, I commuted between Jackson and Paris, Tennessee, every day for a few weeks, which is a good hour’s drive each way. I’d pass the sign welcoming drivers to the town of Henry that said, “If you lived in Henry, you’d be home now.” It always made me think about moving to Henry, even though you could barely tell there was a town there. Oddee has a roundup of a dozen such memorable signs that riff on the town’s name, personality, or even its (lack of) size. -via mental_floss
(Image credit: Chris Kistner)
Jeff Cremer of the Tambopata Research Center in the Peruvian Amazon (previously at Neatorama) tells us about a weird caterpillar with four appendages that resemble tentacles sticking from its abdomen. Entomologist Aaron Pomerantz noticed it when he yelled to his team members, which caused the caterpillar to unfurl its coiled tentacles. Because it reacted to noise, he made more noise. He ended up yelling at a caterpillar for an hour.
After a little research, I found that this caterpillar is in the moth family Geometridae and is in the genus Nematocampa. Also referred to as ‘horned-spanworms’ or ‘filament bearers’, these peculiar caterpillars can be found in North America and the Neotropics.
Read more about this caterpillar and possible reasons for its behavior at Rainforest Expeditions. Also check out their new Rainforest Journey educational program for kids.
(Image credit: Aaron Pomerantz. Video by Aaron Pomerantz and Steven Senisi.)
A couple of weeks ago, we learned about cemeteries that go out of business. That’s what happened to New Jersey’s oldest cemetery, the Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery, founded in 1831. It had been full for many years, and eventually the board members died out, leaving a history of fiscal mismanagement and neglect. Nature has begun to reclaim a large portion of the graveyard long before that. In 2008, Eileen Markenstein led a group of volunteers determined to clean up the cemetery. Then things got weird.
On the floor of a wardrobe in the cottage, Markenstein found a metal canister. Inside was the original map of the cemetery from 1831. They had been clearing away the dense undergrowth plot by plot, lane by lane, but the map showed that the graveyard continued up the hill to the west, where now there was only dense forest.
One day, clearing undergrowth, a volunteer stumbled upon a stone step. Like a modern Cair Paravel from Narnia, the stone staircase led up the hill and ended in an old rusted iron door set into the hillside. Breaking open the old door and stepping inside out of the clear Jersey sunlight, they found an antechamber. It had been undisturbed for over 100 years. Torchlight showed a series of tunnels disappearing into the hillside, snaking left and right.
The week after this discovery, Markenstein went to see her doctor complaining of crushing chest pains. She was rushed to hospital where, for 21 days, she underwent tests but no one could find out what was wrong with her. Finally, a doctor asked her if she’d been anywhere unusual recently. Well, she replied, as it happens I have. No wonder the medical staff struggled to diagnose Markenstein—she was suffering from an ailment more commonly found during the 19th century. Markenstein had pleurisy.
Remarkably, what they found is still there, buried away in the Jersey hillside virtually unknown and undiscovered. I went to explore it for Atlas Obscura.
The underground edifice was a military bunker that was later used to store the deceased when the ground was too frozen to dig graves. Some of them are still there, along with military artifacts dating back to the War of 1812. Read the story of the rise and fall of the the Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery and the unearthing of its secrets at Atlas Obscura.
Gus the bulldog is so happy to have a pool that he wants to take it inside with him! That way, he can enjoy it anytime he wants. See the gif version here. Then we find out that Gus’ indoor pool didn’t last all that long; see what happened in a video recorded three days later. -via reddit
The Texting Hat is a wonderful new invention that creates the illusion that you are engaged with the person with you in real life, while you’re texting someone else. Eye contact has never been easier- and it’s a great excuse to take more selfies, too! Soon to be seen everywhere, but if you’re texting, you probably won’t actually see them yourself. -via the Presurfer
Mom and Dad don’t think much of their sons using their phones at the dinner table. Dad has his own way of stopping all that, without raising his voice. I remember having to put my foot down about devices used during a family dinner, when the kids were a bit younger. Now family dinners are rare because the kids have other places to be. I can’t complain, though, as it gets me out of cooking. It would be different if we had sons at home, because teenage boys don’t want to miss an opportunity to eat. -via Viral Viral Videos
The following is an article from the book Uncle John’s Perpetually Pleasing Bathroom Reader.
Hollywood has produced a lot of bad movies over the years, but most of the time when we say we saw a real “stinker,” we don’t mean it literally. Most of the time. Behold the wonder of Smell-O-Vison.
Dr. Hans Laube was a Swiss inventor who designed machinery that removed stale, bad-smelling air from theaters and auditoriums in the late 1930s. Or at least that’s what he did until it dawned on him that it should also be possible to reverse the process and inject pleasing odors into large enclosed spaces. Not long after that, he developed a system that piped artificial scents through a network of tubes to the back of every individual seat in a movie theater, releasing them into the air just a few feet away from the nose of every person in the audience.
Laube called his invention “Scentovision.” To demonstrate it, he produced a 35-minute film that he called Mein Traum, or “My Dream,” and presented it at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Mein Traum’s scenes were timed to Scentovision’s smells: When roses appeared on-screen, the projectionist manually released the scent of rose oil into the theater; in other scenes, viewers were treated to snootfuls of peaches, burning incense, frying bacon, fresh-cut hay, and hot tar.
FATHER AND SON
Laube hoped to interest theater owners in outfitting their movie houses with Scentovision, but there were no takers. A decade after the stock market crash of 1929, the United States was still mired in the Great Depression, and theater owners had their hands full just keeping their doors open. Scentovision faded away and remained forgotten for nearly 20 years.
That it re-emerged at all was thanks to Broadway producer Mike Todd Sr. and his son, Mike Jr. The two of them had attended a screening of Mein Traum at the World’s Fair in 1939. When the elder Todd branched out into motion pictures in the 1950s, he remembered Scentovision and was intrigued by the idea of making Hollywood’s first “smellies.” But he died in a plane crash in 1958 before he could bring his plans to fruition. (Does his name sound familiar? Todd was Elizabeth Taylor’s third husband.)
BY ANY OTHER NAME
Mike Jr. took over the reins after his father’s death and hired Hans Laube to come up with an improved version of Scentovision.
Laube’s original system had relied on projectionists to release the smells in the proper order at the proper times. To eliminate human error, he came up with something he called a “Smell Brain” to release the odors automatically: Bottles containing the scents were loaded into a rotating drum in the order that they were to be released into the theater. A “smell track” similar to a soundtrack used electromagnetic cues to tell the Smell Brain when to release each scent. As soon as one was discharged, the drum advanced the next bottle into position to await the next electromagnetic cue. Puffs of fresh air and even chemical deodorants could be released into the theater between smells to act as nasal palate cleansers.
Todd insisted on one more improvement: Laube’s invention had to be renamed. Convinced that the nickname “smell-o-vision” was inevitable, he wanted “to get the jump on those who will call it that anyway,” and Scentovision became Smell-O-Vision. The new name wasn’t nearly as classy as the old one, but so what? “I don’t understand how you can be ‘dignified’ about a process that injects smells into a theater,” Todd said.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, AROMA!
Over 38,000 runners participated in the London Marathon today, including celebrities, a couple who got married during the race, and quite a few who were raising money or awareness for various causes. There were also plenty of people in costume, whether they represented a charity, advertised a sponsor, or were just trying to draw attention. Jack Woodward, shown here, ran for the Male Cancer Awareness Campaign. See a collection of 17 costumed runners in the London Marathon at Buzzfeed.
Leland Devon Melvin posed for his official NASA portrait with his dogs Jake and Scout! You can see they were excited about it. More pictures were taken after the dogs calmed down. Melvin was an NFL player until injuries ended his career, then an astronaut, flying on two shuttle missions to the ISS, until hearing failure grounded him. Melvin still works with NASA, and with several organizations to promote STEM education. Besides all that, he’s a photographer, snowboarder, and dog lover. -via Daily of the Day
(Image credit: NASA)
Layout editors have an important job to do, but rarely have the time to do it properly, since deadlines get stretched to the last second. Even worse, many newspapers just do without a qualified layout editor these days. This can lead to unexpected consequences when no one checks for headline juxtaposition. In this case, the run-un headlines are more interesting than the actual stories. Found at Bad Newspaper.
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