Miss Cellania's Liked Blog Posts

When a Gator Comes to Call

When someone rings your doorbell, you expect a real person to be there (unless they announced “land shark”). Luckily, no one answered the door when an alligator came to call.  

(YouTube link)

Gary Rogers was walking his dog in Monck’s Corner, South Carolina, when he saw an alligator roaming the neighborhood. The animal tried to climb the fence to reach the backyard pool, but was unsuccessful. It then went to the front door, scratched around the doorknob, and reached its snout up to the doorbell. No one was home, though, so the gator eventually wandered off. -via reddit


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Prince Logo Plowed Into Field

Gene Hansen of Edgeley, North Dakota, is not only a retired farmer and landowner, he’s an artist with a plow. The 75-year-old recently paid tribute to the late Prince by plowing a football-field-size love symbol, which was his name for a while, into a field.

"I thought to myself, maybe I should try something like that," Hanson said Monday, May 2. "I didn't tell anyone I was going do it, I didn't even tell my wife I was going to do it. But it's been fun."

He used a drawing of Prince's "love symbol" that he pulled from the internet as his guide, he said.

"I don't have a cab on my tractor. I just have a three-point disk in the back," he said. "I taped that little sign on the hood of the tractor and just went by that."

When he was finished, he flew his airplane over the field to take a picture. It’s a good thing- the symbol will be gone soon, when the field is completely plowed for a new crop. -via Uproxx

(Image credit: Gene Hansen)


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12 Flexible Facts About the Game Twister

Reyn Guyer came up with a novel idea for a board game, which became Twister. You know, the excuse for people to wrap themselves around each other. It didn’t sell well at first, because retailers didn’t want to put it on their shelves. But that changed after Johnny Carson demonstrated the game on The Tonight Show fifty years ago today.

Talk show hosts and board games could make for an interesting pairing; Art Linkletter had famously endorsed Milton Bradley’s The Game of Life in the 1960s, his picture even appearing on the box and the game’s currency. But airtime on The Tonight Show was a different beast: Johnny Carson was the most popular late-night personality on the air. Before Milton Bradley threw in the towel on Twister, they had already paid a public relations firm to secure a segment on Carson’s show. On May 3, 1966, the host played the risqué game with buxom actress Eva Gabor. “It reversed the engines pretty quickly,” Guyer says. “By Christmas 1966, we were the game of the year.”

Read about the process of bringing Twister to the masses, and its amazing notoriety when they finally got a chance to play, at mental_floss.


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Epic Rap Battles of History: J. R. R. Tolkien vs. George R. R. Martin

Who is the king of fantasy novels- JRR Tolkien or George RR Martin? They come from different eras and have different styles. Can you really compare The Lord of the Rings with A Song of Ice and Fire? They both have plenty to brag about, as you’ll see in this Epic Rap Battle. There are plenty of insults, too. Contain NSFW language.

(YouTube link)

When it’s all said and done, does it really matter? I’m sure their fandoms have a large overlap.  
-via Tastefully Offensive


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Boingy Boingy

It doesn’t take an entire minute to put a smile on your face when you’re watching a kitten learn to hunt. The prey in this case is a ping pong ball.  

(YouTube link)

Now share this with someone who needs a lift. -via reddit

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

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The Scrambled Boxtops Puzzle

Boing Boing reprinted this puzzle from the book My Best Mathematical and Logic Puzzles by Martin Gardner.

Imagine that you have three boxes, one containing two black marbles, one containing two white marbles, and the third, one black marble and one white marble. The boxes were labeled for their contents – BB, BW, WW – but someone switched the labels so that every box is now incorrectly labeled. You are allowed to take one marble at a time out of any box, without looking inside, and by this process of sampling you are to determine the contents of all three boxes. What is the smallest number of drawings needed to do this?

It’s not difficult to figure out if you can visualize the boxes in front of you (or just look at the picture). It wouldn’t be hard to make this a real world puzzle, either. Give us your answer in the comments!

Love games and puzzles? Visit NeatoPuzzles for more!

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The Bizarre 1909 Scheme to Make Hawaii More White

Hawaii became a US territory in 1898. The federal government considered the islands’ demographic makeup as a problem -it was “too Asian.” At the time, the big five sugarcane plantations were importing workers from Japan, China, and the Philippines. But the horrid conditions caused the workers to organize, spelling trouble for their overlords.

When Hawaii officially annexed the islands in 1900, the contract system was abolished and the sugarcane workers rebelled, whipping the underlying racism of the white ruling class into a kind of paranoiac madness. Newpaper editorials warned of a dystopian future under Asian rule. Ministers raved about the threat of Buddhist missionaries. In 1905, President Roosevelt himself issued a strongly worded pronouncement that Hawaiian immigration must proceed under “traditional American lines.”

Importing Siberian labor was part of a desperate, last-ditch effort to turn the demographic tide in Hawaii, orchestrated by the sugarcane planters, the island elite, and a U.S. congress that feared Hawaii would do the unthinkable and send an Asian senator to Congress. But the weirdest immigration scheme ever proposed by a U.S. territory, also turned out to be the most disastrous. The Russians never provided anticipated relief from Asian workers, because they refused to work at all.

The Siberian immigrants weren’t lazy, not at all. But the desires of the plantation owners, the federal government, and the immigrants didn’t mesh. Read about the failed scheme to transplant Siberians into Hawaii at Atlas Obscura.

(Image source: Russian Collection, Hamilton Library, University of Hawaii at Manoa)


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Sky Magic at Mt.Fuji

This would have been a wonderful video even without its drone dancers. The Oyamakai ensemble of Shamisen players perform a rocking tune at sundown at the base of beautiful Mt. Fuji. The featured dancers are 20 synchronized drones, each in their little cages outfitted with a total of 16,500 LEDs. They fly in choreographed formations, swinging their lights in synchrony. You’ll want to see this in full-screen mode.

(vimeo link)

Sky Magic is the work of creative director Tsuyoshi Takashiro for the tech company MicroAd, Inc. Read more about it at Spoon & Tamago.


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Meet Dr. Color: How Bob Buckter Repainted San Francisco

The Victorian-era homes of San Francisco are a colorful delight, and that’s due to the influence of one man known as Dr. Color. Bob Buckter is an an architectural colorist who specializes in historic homes. It’s a career he invented for himself when his eye for color gained him a reputation. He’s selected colors for around 15,000 exteriors in San Francisco alone, both residential and commercial -and that doesn’t count the buildings that copied his ideas.

Bob Buckter is a native San Franciscan. He started out as a house painter in 1970, but quickly realized that he had an unusual knack for color design, so he began consulting on the side. “That was a difficult uphill task because, why should people pay two, three hundred dollars for somebody to pick colors? But I was able to convince people—some people—to do that." He thought, "I like this. I want to try to be the best at it, if I can. Or at least very good."

Read about Buckter’s career, how he determines what colors to use, and how he uses those colors, at Hoodline. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Ben Zotto/Hoodline)


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A Tale of Two Famous Kitties ...and The Librarian Who Loved Them

Neatorama is proud to bring you an excerpt from the new book The True Tails of Baker and Taylor by Jan Louch and Lisa Rogak (previously at Neatorama). It's the true story of two library cats who brought an entire community together beginning in 1983. 

It all started with mice in the library.

Assistant librarian Jan Louch and a coworker decided that what the library needed was a cat. Or, even better, two cats. Soon, they found a pair of Scottish Folds who were perfect for the job. Jan named them Baker and Taylor, and they took up residence in the library.

But these cats were much more than mousers. Visitors to the library fell in love with Baker and Taylor and their antics just as Jan had. And then, after Jan let the cats be photographed for a poster, they became feline celebrities. Children from across the country wrote them letters, fans traveled from far and wide to meet them, and they became the most famous library cats in the world.

In The True Tails of Baker and Taylor, Jan Louch looks back and tells the remarkable story of these two marvelous cats and the people―readers, librarians, and cat lovers of all ages―who came together around them.


The patrons who loved Baker and Taylor were a diverse lot. From the young mothers and toddlers who came in for story time to the retired business executives who came in each morning as soon as the doors opened and headed straight for the reading room where they could read the newspaper for an hour or two, a cross-section of the community walked through the door every day, and I loved that about the library.

(Image courtesy of Jan Louch)

In the early afternoon, there was usually a bit of a lull at the library; the patrons who came in the morning and others who returned a few books on their lunch hour were gone. The next rush consisted of the high school kids who would come in to do their homework.

Baker was a people cat – the staff’s nickname for him was “Library Slut.”

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

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The Toughest Pirates in Existence

The annual rugby match between the British Army and the Royal Navy took place at Twickenham Saturday. You know that kind of competition will draw some tough characters, but these are probably the toughest.

On the left is Army veteran Cayle Royce with Royal Marine veteran Lee Spencer, who were both part of an all-amputee team who rowed a boat 3,000 miles across the Atlantic earlier this year, representing the organization Row2Recovery. The four veterans on the team have three legs between them. They set a speed record for the trip, too.

Oh, the rugby match was a draw, 29-29. -via reddit

(Image credit: Row2Recovery at Facebook)


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Thor Pranks Spider-Man

The Marvel superhero Thor has a hammer called Mjölnir that cannot be picked up by anyone besides Thor, or someone worthy of Thor’s status. That does not include Spider-Man, who is a mortal with spider powers. So what grief could Thor cause a fellow superhero with Mjölnir?

(YouTube link)

He could make life miserable. You don’t want to get on any superhero’s bad side, but even in good-natured pranking, an enchanted hammer is truly a secret weapon. -via Tastefully Offensive  


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Onomatopoeia Rebus

CharlieWaffle5 searched the term "onomatopoeia" and found this image. It’s a mini-language lesson all on its own. "Onomatopoeia" means a word that sounds like what it’s describing, which is usually a sound, like "buzz" or "shush." A "rebus" is a phrase or sentence rendered in pictures. But what makes this really remarkable is the astonishing number of redditors who did not know that church benches are called pews.


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Bite Size Candies

M&M candies are 75 years old! In honor of the occasion, Pogo (Nick Bertke) made a remix of M&M ads spanning decades.  

(YouTube link)

While this remix has Pogo’s hypnotic signature sound, it also has coherent lines from the advertising jingles and dialogue, strung together to make an entirely new song. You might come out of this craving chocolate that melts in your mouth, not in your hands. -via Viral Viral Videos  


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CSI Fan Helps Solve Crime

Young woman was found dead in a park in Seville, Spain. Police thought she died of a drug overdose and released the crime scene. That’s when Carmen Moreno stepped in. She had worked cleaning up the park for many years, and was charged with disposing of a pile of bloody tissues left behind. But Moreno thought there was too much blood to be explained by a drug overdose. And she was a fan of the TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Following what she saw on TV, she demonstrated how she used plastic bags to carefully collect the evidence without contaminating it and stored it -- just in case police ever needed it.

When an autopsy later proved the woman likely died from being violently raped, police couldn't believe they tossed vital evidence and were more stunned to learn Moreno held on to it.   

Thanks to Moreno’s evidence, a local suspect has been arrested. The Seville police are presumably chastened. Read more about the case at CBS This Morning (contains autoplay video).  -via Uproxx 


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The Ten Longest Wars in History

The following article is from Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader.

Historians often disagree on whether certain wars should be considered one continuing conflict or a series of separate wars. But that doesn’t stop them from compiling lists of the longest wars ever fought. Here is the most popular version.

10. THE VIETNAM WAR

Length: 19 years (1955–1975)

Details: Although there was no official declaration of war, the Vietnam War began on November 1, 1955, when the United States began providing military support to the newly created nation of South Vietnam in their war against communist-controlled —and Soviet- and Chinese-supported— North Vietnam. Major fighting didn’t really begin until 1963 (total number of U.S. troops killed in Vietnam prior to 1962: fewer than 100), when the war was escalated, first by President John F. Kennedy and then by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The war officially ended on April 30, 1975, when the last American forces left Saigon and North Vietnam took control of the entire country, reunifying the North and South into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Estimated deaths: 2.4 million

9. THE GREAT NORTHERN WAR

Length: 21 years (1700–1721)

Details: This war’s two main adversaries were Russia, under Peter the Great, and the Swedish Empire, under Charles XII, with various allies fighting on either side at different points— including Denmark-Norway, Poland-Lithuania, the Ottoman Empire, and Great Britain (which actually fought on both sides at different times over the course of the war). Winner: Russia. The outcome drastically reshaped the power structure of Europe, reducing what was then a very powerful Swedish Empire to a minor player in European affairs. Russia, in turn, was officially renamed the Russian Empire, with Peter the Great as its first emperor. The victory marked Russia’s emergence as a major world power.

Estimated deaths: Historians believe the number of battle deaths, along with deaths due to disease and famine brought on by the war, was more than 300,000.

8. FIRST PUNIC WAR

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May Day in America

May first is often called May Day, but that means different things depending on what country you’re in and what century it is. Two posts at the National Museum of American History’s blog explain the complicated history of May Day in America. In the first post, the ancient history of May Day tells how the Roman festival of Floralia collided with the Celtic holiday of Beltane. This made for a nice spring holiday, but was just too pagan for the Puritans that settled America. The former spring rituals, like the Maypole dance, were brought back in the late 19th century. But then labor reformers appropriated the day, as explained in part two.

In Chicago, 44 unions took to the streets on May 1, 1867, to celebrate the passage of an eight-hour workday law in Illinois. The next day, thousands of workers struck, staying home from work in an act of solidarity.  Although the 1867 law was never enforced, the city's workers preserved the memory of their predecessors' short-lived victory. Years later, at its 1885 convention, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Assemblies (a predecessor to the American Federation of Labor, or AFL) selected May 1, 1886, as the date for a universal strike to press for an eight-hour workday. According to the historian Donna T. Haverty-Stacke, labor leaders' decision to stage their protest on May 1, 1886, probably had little to do with the May Day's significance as a spring holiday. Instead, leaders at the time associated the day with Chicago's earlier protests in 1867 and, even more directly, the fact that May 1 was traditionally when union contracts and housing leases expired in U.S. cities.

Two things killed May Day as a labor holiday in the US: the 1886 protest spawned the Haymarket Riot. Then Europe adopted May first as a labor holiday. You can read the history of May Day in America at Smithsonian's American History blog, and otherwise have a happy International Workers Day, Beltane, Floralia, or May Day! -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Library of Congress)

PS: Here are some May Day events in North America.


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Ghostbusters in 2 Minutes in LEGO

Two years ago, Monsieur Caron of BrickFilm made a LEGO Ghostbusters video that was quite amusing. Now he’s back with a new and improved version that tells the movie’s entire story in just two minutes!

(YouTube link)

You can catch some of the behind-the-scenes images at Instagram, like Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis above, and some other Monsieur Caron projects. -Thanks, Yan!  


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Strange and Beautiful Deep Sea Jellyfish

What does this creature remind you of? A space alien? A virus? A cartoon? It’s real, a real jellyfish recorded by an ROV from the ship Okeanos Explorer on a NOAA expedition to the Mariana Trench. This video was taken 2.3 miles below the ocean’s surface.  

(YouTube link)

Scientific American has more:

Scientists believe this animal belongs to the genus Crossota, a group of jellies that does not have a sessile polyp stage; all phases of their lives are ocean drifters. They also believe this animal is an ambush predator – note the posture it had assumed in the first half of the video: its bell motionless with its tentacles outstretched like the struts of a spider’s web, waiting for something to bumble into them. The red canals, they suggest, appear to connect the bright yellow objects, which may be gonads.

-via Viral Viral Videos


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Four Marines, Then and 50 Years Later

These two photographs were taken 50 years apart. On the left, best buddies Dennis Puleo, Tom Hanks, Bob DeVenezia, and Bob Falk were taking a break from Marine training on a California beach. All four friends reunited for the first time in decades to recreate the picture on Cinnamon Beach in Florida.   

In 1966, the four U.S. Marines were stationed together in Camp Pendleton, outside San Diego. The Vietnam War was ramping up, and together, they were part of a weapons platoon — three machine gunners and one anti-tank man — getting ready to ship off to East Asia.

Over the next two years, they'd train together and deploy together. Once in Vietnam, they'd separate, enduring many of the same horrendous conditions, if not the same action. Two of them would earn Purple Hearts. Each would experience the unexplainable fear of war.

"We had the tools. We had the training," DeVenezia said. "But nothing trains you for your first combat. Nothing. Zero."

After their Vietnam tours, the four went their separate ways, and only last month did they all get together for the first time. Read all about the reunion at the Naples Daily News. -via Uproxx


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Boys Don’t Play in the Kitchen

That’s a truly outmoded view. A man who cooks is an attractive man, and that’s the truth. Just ask that little girl Moishe made a pretend cupcake for. Chris from Lunarbaboon shows that you can change opinions by appealing to the sweet tooth in his latest comic.


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The Oomphalapompatronium

The Oomphalapompatronium is a musical instrument developed and built by Leonard Solomon. It’s a wind-powered organ made of PVC pipe, belts, bladders, and bottles. Enjoy Solomon’s rendition of “Shortnin’ Bread.”

(YouTube link)

Get a closer look at the Oomphalapompatronium in an earlier video. -via Laughing Squid 

Solomon has plenty of homemade instruments he designed. Want to hear them?

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Trash Talk with the Queen

What is this all about? It’s a challenge. The Invictus Games are coming up in Orlando May 8-12. Founded in 2014 by Prince Harry, the Invictus Games are a series of sports competitions between injured active service members and military veterans from many different countries. The first games were in London in 2014. The second Invictus Games inspired some trash talk between the Obamas and the Royals. Harry pulled out the big gun for his response.

It takes some serious gravitas to imply so much with a simple “Oh really, please.” Like when Queen Victoria said, “We are not amused.” Your move, Canada. -via Buzzfeed


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How Coca-Cola is Bottled

Well, it was “bottled” in 1965, in recycled reused bottles, too. Here we get to see the process, all grooved up with hepcat teens doing their thing. If you are old enough, you’ll even sing along with the instrumental tune… “Things go better with Coca-Cola, things go better with Coke.”

(YouTube link)

Can you imagine the mind-numbing job of looking at bottles go by, checking for nicks and chips, all day, every day? I’m hoping those guys get to drive a truck or something at least one day a week. I know there weren't many chipped bottles, because the grocer would examine them before he'd give you the deposit money. Two cents a bottle. Watching these machines do their job on thousands of bottles at once is hypnotic. That’s what it took to bring you such a groovy drink. -via Digg


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Every Zombie Apocalypse

The U.S. military is the world’s premiere fighting force, but only in real life. They are no match for the undead. Not even when they team up with NATO or another group of allies. That’s a necessary plot hole in any zombie apocalypse story. It’s like killing off a child protagonist’s parents, because otherwise they’d be protecting the child and preventing dangerous adventures. One of these days, someone is going to produce a film in which military strategists are the heroes who actually save the world from a zombie infection. That would be cool. This is the latest from John McNamee at Pie Comic.


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A Learning Machine Made of Drawers and Beads

Can a machine learn from experience? Of course they do, we have artificial intelligence computer programs that learn from experience, from people, and from other computers. But all that had to start somewhere. In 1961, Donald Michie built a device called MENACE, which stands for Machine Educable Noughts And Crosses Engine (Noughts and Crosses is known as Tic-Tac-Toe in America). It was made out of a bunch of matchboxes and a supply of glass beads. In 2010, artist Julien Prévieux built a nice version of that same machine, called MENACE 2, with tiny drawers that resemble a library card catalog and a huge supply of colored beads. But what’s really mind-blowing is how it works. Many young engineers have recreated the project, but it’s new to me, and is a nuts-and-bolts lesson in how machines learn.

There are 304 little wooden drawers (or matchboxes in the original version created by Michie.) Each of them represents a unique board position that the player can encounter during a game. Each drawer is filled with coloured beads that represent a different move in that board state. The quantity of a colour indicated the “certainty” that playing the corresponding move would lead to a win.

Menace “learns” to win the game by playing repeatedly against the human player, honing its strategy until its opponent is only able to draw or lose against it. The trial and error learning process involves being “punished” for losing and “rewarded” for drawing or winning. This type of machine learning is called reinforcement learning.

To explain the process, we are led through a game of Tic-Tac-Toe and the consequences of winning or losing. Oh yeah, it’s slow and tedious, but it works, and eventually MENACE will defeat almost any player (although I wonder if there's been games played between two such devices). You can see how electronic computers can do this much quicker, but you’ll also see how the human brain is still much better at learning. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Jousse Entreprise)


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Puppy Joins Litter of Kittens

A Chihuahua puppy named Bobby was only two days old when his mother was hit by a car and killed. The Michigan Humane Society took him in, but he was so young, what to do? They had a cat in residence with a litter of young kittens, and they just gave Bobby to her. Gwen the mother cat took to him like he was just another kitten.  

(YouTube link)

Six weeks later, Bobby has settled into his new family just fine. The cats and puppy are all living with a foster family until they are old enough to leave Gwen and find forever homes. -via Buzzfeed

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

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Kitten Rescued from Tree by Crowdfunding

(YouTube link)

A 6-month-old cat named Boots became stuck high in a tree in Melbourne, Australia, early on Wednesday morning. The RSPCA and the local fire brigade declined to help. The cat’s owner couldn’t afford to hire a professional animal rescue service, and the tree branches were too spindly for anyone to climb.   

To raise the money needed, neighbor Susie Butler  started a Go Fund Me account. The required $205 was raised within a day, and Thursday morning Nigel's Animal Rescue managed to get Boots out of the tree. He had been there over 24 hours by then. You can see video of the rescue operation here. -via Arbroath

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

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Five Smart Tables That Do More than Just Host Meals

Imagine a coffee table in your living room with an embedded computer. One that you could put your drink or even dinner on and not worry about ruining. One that you could even order dinner from! Use it for playing music, surfing the web, watching TV, or playing games with your friends. There are even touch screen models that won’t mind a few drinks set on top. Check out five different models of these smart tables, with different features and different prices, at Housely.


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Black Velvet Nebula Cake

Black Velvet Nebula Cake - new recipe with step-by-step painting tutorial on sprinklebakes.com!

A photo posted by Heather Baird (@sprinklebakes) on Apr 4, 2016 at 6:16pm PDT

Suddenly, I want to throw a birthday party for someone, anyone, so I can try this cake. Alas, it may be beyond my abilities, and it's certainly beyond my existing utensils. Baker and food artist Heather Baird was impressed by the Veil Nebula and created a cake to resemble the images. It’s a black velvet cake (using extra black) with white confetti sprinkles for stars. The outside is black fondant painted with gel food coloring. You can find the complete instructions (and more pictures) at Sprinkle Bakes. -via Laughing Squid

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Profile for Miss Cellania

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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