In this clip from the BBC One series Life Story, Sir David Attenborough narrates a hermit crab housing chain. If you’ve ever had pet hermit crabs, you know they are always on the lookout for the perfect shell, one slightly larger than the one they have because they are growing. But a shell that is too big will be hard to carry around. In the wild, they’ve worked out their own system for exchanging shells of the proper size. Everybody wins! I love how each of them "claimed" the shell they really wanted, as if they had been watching it for some time. After seeing this, I have to wonder if they leave the smallest shells strategically placed near crab eggs for newly-hatched hermits. -via b3ta
Robert Jones brings us a mashup of the TV show Friends and the film Guardians of the Galaxy! Yes, it’s the every-so-familiar intro to Friends re-edited with selected relevant clips featuring Peter, Gamora, and Rocket celebrating their friendship, despite how different they are. -Thanks, Robert!
This is a nice-looking house for sale in Sweden. It looks quite normal from the outside, but inside… well, the kitchen looks quite normal, modern, and well-equipped. Really nice living room! Wait, are those trophy heads on the walls aliens? Then we get to the hallway, and there’s a full-size Predator! Just wait until you see what’s behind that fancy carved door... Yes, this house is for sale, and you can see a lot more pictures of it at the real estate ad, but I don’t believe you’ll get much out of the text unless you can read Swedish. -via Everlasting Blort
Will Reid has made a name for himself by creating instructional videos for his teenagers, laying out the basics for simple tasks like replacing the toilet paper roll. Now it’s time for the next chapter in this global airing of the family’s dirty laundry. Will’s daughter Beth has a camera of her own, and takes us on a tour of her father’s bathroom, where he gets a taste of his own medicine. Will replied on the YouTube page,
With regards to the empty toilet roll? All I have to say is ............. speak to my wife Sandra!!! ;-)
That’s right, blame someone else! Hey, at least Beth’s paying attention to the videos he’s been posting! -via Tastefully Offensive
The work of a good conceptual artist will surprise you with something you’d have never considered, then upon reflection you find that it makes total sense in some way. That’s the impression I get from Austria-based German artist Toni Spyra, who takes everyday objects and sees them in a new and creative way. He wants to share that creative re-imagining with you.
Continue reading for more.
Although I haven’t watched the show since I was a kid, I thought I remembered the Batman TV series perfectly, because I never missed an episode. It is not so. I was very young then. I recall many of the villains that the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder fought, but there are 37 of them in a list at mental_floss that are just now starting to come back in my memory. Also, since I was so young, I did not realize how many of the actors portraying those parts were already well-known celebrities. I yeah, I knew about Cesar Romero and Earth Kitt, but I did not know that director Otto Preminger played Mr. Freeze in two episodes. Nor did I realize that Anne Baxter played two different villains. Wait, there was both a Riddler and a Puzzler? There’s a lot more trivia in this Visual Guide to All 37 Villains that you’ll enjoy.
Officials in Tuszyn, Poland, have a problem with Winnie-the-Pooh. They met to select a new macot for the municipal playground. They rejected the idea of using literary stuffed bear Winnie-the-Pooh on the grounds that he doesn’t wear pants. A Polish fictional bear who is completely clothed was suggested as an alternative.
One official is heard saying: "It doesn’t wear underpants because it doesn’t have a sex. It’s a hermaphrodite."
Councillor Hanna Jachimska then began criticising the Winnie-the-Pooh author Alan Alexander Milne.
She said: "This is very disturbing but can you imagine! The author was over 60 and cut his [Pooh's] testicles off with a razor blade because he had a problem with his identity."
Just in case you’ve forgotten, Winnie-the-Pooh is a stuffed toy bear, and not meant to represent a real animal. The council has yet to make a decision on the playground. -via Arbroath
(Image credit: Disney)
Oh! Oh! I know this one! My father taught geology and geography, and this is one of the few lessons I remember learning as I sat through his summer classes as a young kid. It was cheaper than a babysitter, see. So, I learned words like meander and oxbow. Minute Earth explains what happens to a river over time as the water continuously flows. Our earth is quite a dynamic, ever-changing place. -via Viral Viral Videos
We make jokes about Canadians, and Canadians make jokes about Americans, but deep down, we love each other. Kind of like siblings. Tuesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted the Nashville Predators. Considering all the snow between here and there, the crowd was overwhelmingly Canadian. During the U.S. national anthem, the microphone pooped out. That’s when the Canadian crowd jumped in to finish the song themselves! It was a lovely moment. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
You'll look at this and think, “Genius! Why didn’t I think of that?” because he’s got a swing he doesn’t have to push. Then you think “I hope he doesn’t kill himself.” Watch a little more and you’ll wonder how sturdy that rope really is. He does look like he’s having the time of his life, though. -via Digg
This is a wonderful letter! Bennet is nice and polite, enthusiastic, and knows what a woman wants to hear, even if she’s a little girl. He also types well. The headline at reddit said, “If only adults could communicate this well.” I would be sorely disappointed if I found out that Bennet is 32 years old.
Update: Bennet is not yet five years old. His mother Jennifer typed it for him.
You know about the paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope. He was famous for his feud with fellow paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh. Cope revealed how Marsh assembled a nonexistent dinosaur called Brontosaurus by mistakenly combining fossil bones of different species. Then Marsh revealed how Cope had erred by constructing an Elasmosaurus with its head on the wrong end. Although both were prolific scientists, they are most remembered by the general public for their highly publicized mistakes. But the story of Edward Drinker Cope continued long after he died in 1897. He donated his body to science, specifying that his skeleton be preserved, but not exhibited.
Originally kept by the American Anthropometric Society, a group with a fondness for measuring the brains of famous men, Cope’s skull was passed in 1966 to the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Anthropology, and that’s when things got a little weird.
A distinguished anthropology professor by the name of Loren Eiseley saw Cope’s name on a box and left a note that said, “Gone to lunch—Edward Drinker Cope.” Eiseley took the bones back to his office and laid them out on a conference table to make sure everything was intact before placing them back into the box. Over the years, the paleontologist's remains became a fixture in Eiseley’s office, and the anthropologist toasted “Eddie” with sherry and even bought him a birthday present of a skeleton-bedecked printing block. The office staff also decorated Cope for Christmas.
That was just the beginning of Cope’s postmortem adventures. Read about his almost-burial, his road trips, and where he ended up, at mental_floss.
In the town of Solikamsk, Russia, there’s a large hole swallowing a neighborhood. The main industry in the area is salt mining, and an influx of water has caused a “failure of the soil,” or in other words, a great big hole in the ground. The soil began shifting in 2005, and authorities responded by evacuating the area, cutting electricity to encourage everyone to leave; so no one lives in these houses. On Tuesday, the mines were evacuated due to shifting earth, and the hole opened up on Tuesday evening. Russian authorities are studying the scene and performing air quality tests to determine whether noxious gasses are being released. -via reddit
Robbie Sherrard is a fine-looking yet self-conscious guy who doesn’t feel comfortable having his picture taken. That doesn’t apply to videos, because he has a bunch of them in which he just talks to the camera. But he’s somewhat aware of why he, and other guys, don’t like posing for a picture, or even having a candid shot taken. His discomfort comes across as downright cute. -via Viral Viral Videos
There’s a hole in the floor. No one knows why it’s there, how deep it is, where it goes, and what’s lurking down at the bottom. But as time goes by, we get a slight idea …and what we find out isn’t pleasant. What fool thought it would be a good idea to just put a rug over it? This story from Thomas Ridgewell (TomSka) wastes no time and leaves you wanting more. -via Tastefully Offensive
As any student of U.S. or presidential history knows, there have been four assassinations of U.S. presidents. Two were very famous, two not as well-known.
The first assassination of a president is both well-known and well-documented. On April 14, 1865, actor and southern sympathizer John Wilkes Booth shot our 16th president Abraham Lincoln at Ford's theater. Lincoln died from his wounds the next day.
Less well-known was the next assassination of a Commander-in-Chief. On July 2, 1881, 20th U.S. President James Garfield was assassinated by a ne'er-do-well named Charles J. Guiteau.
Garfield survived his gunshot wounds for 79 days. He finally succumbed on September 19, 1881. This was by far the longest time a president survived his assassination wounds before death.
The next assassination of a president was also slightly less or not as well-known.
The movie Guardians of the Galaxy really should have had more dancing in it. It could have! In this clip from the film’s blooper reel, the characters don’t fight, but instead have a dance-off. The pros have nothing to worry about from these guys, but the movie, as goofy as it was, could have used this bit of goofiness well. -via The Mary Sue
Do you know where your last name comes from, or what it originally meant? In this week’s mental_floss List Show, host John Green runs down the origins and meanings of 62 relatively common surnames. Mine isn’t in there. Neither are any of my previous last names, nor any of my pseudonyms. Bummer.
This canine race course in Finland is designed to test a dog’s obedience, concentration, and speed. First, we see a couple of dogs show us how it’s supposed to be done. Then the Golden Retriever gives it his best shot. And this is why we love them so. A comment that sums up the dog’s thoughts: “Did you guys manage to eat everything before time ran out? I think I had a great score." -via reddit
What happened here? Redditor LiterallyWolverine explains that “They told me to go touch the tree and face the camera.” You’d think a photographer would be able to communicate a little better than that, but maybe he/she had a lot of other prom pictures to take. Oh well, it’s nothing that a little Photoshop can’t fix, which liarandathief promptly set out to accomplish.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, these two are still together.
They got paint in on their faces, in their hair, all over their clothes, and apparently, all over the downstairs. These boys are in big trouble. Dad tries his best to be stern, but it’s hard to look at them without laughing! At least he quarantined the boys in the bathtub before he started rolling the camera. Who’s going to clean it up? -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Fifty states, fifty-two recipes: The New York Times looked for Thanksgiving dishes from each state (plus D.C. and Puerto Rico) that say something about the state or its unique cuisine. Russian Salmon Pie makes perfect sense when you’re in Alaska. In Arizona, they put chiles in the cranberry sauce. Some recipes incorporate pioneer or Native American foods, while others reflect the immigrants that settled the state. More likely, you’ll see recipes that incorporate the local meat or crops. Try to guess what recipe will represent your state before you look -but be sure to check them all out, because something new at your Thanksgiving table is always welcome.
Thomas Richner is a Star Wars fan. A crafty Star Wars fan with some spare time. He spent 140 hours building an elaborate replica of the Millennium Falcon out of cardboard, internal structures and all, and it look just like the real thing. He even photographed it in front of a green screen so he can add effects! Oh, you say the “real thing” is a cardboard model in front of a green screen? Well, then of course this is exactly like the real thing! See a series of photographs that follow the build process.
Screen Junkies go ahead and say the things everyone thought about The Little Mermaid when we first saw it a quarter-century ago. Yes, it’s an Honest Trailer. It all boils down to: this young lady makes terrible decisions. In that, it was a lot like the earlier Disney Princess movies. -Thanks, Andrew Valdes!
The Peak Performance adventure racing team from Sweden competed in an adventure race in Ecuador. The team of Staffan, Mikael, Karen, and Simon finished the race in 12th place -pretty good, considering they weren’t used to the altitude- and also came back with a new team member, a dog named Arthur.
The team first encountered Arthur on the muddy trekking – the second last stage. They tried to send him off a few times but he always showed up beside the team again as they made their way through the trekking. In the beginning it went well, but when it became muddy he was having problem and the team had to help Arthur through some of the deepest mud.
Arthur followed the team all the way to TA9 and waited with the team. But then he suddenly got very worried and stressed as he realized the team would get out on the water. The organization gave the advice not to bring dog Arthur out on the last leg – a dog in the kayak didn’t seem like a great idea – and the team was going to follow this advice.
Mike, Simon, Staffan and Karen put their kayaks down in the water and set off, but Arthur refused to be left and started swimming. This was too heartbreaking for the team, and Mikael helped Arthur up in the kayak. This led to standing ovations from everyone on the shore, seeing the five (!) team mates set off.
Later, they revealed that Arthur was their constant companion after they gave him a meatball. Swedish meatballs are powerful stuff. A translation from the group’s Facebook page says they are working to take Arthur home with them to Sweden. -via reddit
(Images credit: Krister Göransson)
Lawrence Horn was the chief engineer behind “the Motown sound.” He built, used, and guarded the sound mixing equipment used for hits by The Supremes, The Jackson 5, and The Four Tops, among others, in the 1960s. Horn built a reputation and a good life that included a wife and three children. But the good times didn’t last: his son was completely disabled, and Berry Gordy sold Motown in 1988. Horn was edged out of the sound room, and fell on hard times. Meanwhile, his now ex-wife was in charge of a hefty settlement from the hospital for his son’s disability.
In the spring of 1992, Thomas Turner heard a knock on the door of his Detroit home; it was his cousin Lawrence Horn. Horn told Turner about his money issues, about the overdue child support payments and the narrow L.A. apartment he was relegated to, and how Mildred had all the money and he had none, and the $1.7 million trust fund in Trevor’s name. Turner handed Horn a business card, one that had the phrases “spiritual adviser” and “House of Wisdom” printed on it. It was for a self-described minister named James Edward Perry.
“Give Mr. Perry a call,” Turner said to his cousin. “He helps people.”
On March 2nd, 1993, Perry entered Mildred Horn’s home and killed her, her disabled son, and the child’s caretaker. Uproxx tells the tale of the events that let up to that night, and how Perry and Horn were linked to the murder.
(Image credit: Mike McLean, Al Abrams)
The city of Gondar was founded in the early 17th century by Emperor Fasilides in Ethiopia. The royal family were previously nomadic. For 400 years, the stone palace and walled enclosure have stood as the city grew around it -including 44 churches. The palace complex is now open to the public, but if you can’t make it to Ethiopia anytime soon, you can read about the city’s history and see plenty of pictures at Kuriositas. -via the Presurfer
(Image credit: Flickr user Matthew Goulding)
In 1862 the new Bureau of Internal Revenue began taxing whiskey as a means of funding the Civil War. The tax rose for years until the government’s take was more than the the value of the liquor, and distilleries went underground to avoid it. Avoiding the tax was so profitable that even when the rate was cut, it was avoided at all cost. For a couple of years, both the moonshiners and the revenuers got completely out of hand in the Vinegar Hill section of Brooklyn.
Two thousand soldiers had just attacked the neighborhood, targeting moonshiners who were evading taxes on a colossal scale. Since the federal government couldn’t exactly audit the underground operations, it demolished their operations. That morning, November 2, 1870, battalions under the command of Colonel John L. Broome arrived by boat from nearby forts. Guided by the revenue assessors, they left the Brooklyn Navy Yard at 9am and marched through the narrow streets armed with muskets, axes, and crowbars.
It was the latest in a series of raids known as the Whiskey Wars. Illicit distilling had become so widespread, and gangs so violent, that revenue officials and cops needed military backup. One of the first “battles” came in October 1869, when100 army veterans found nine stills after a knife-and-fist fight in an alley. Its success led President Ulysses Grant to authorize more forceful raids, using the army and navy if necessary. The next battle, at dawn two months later, included 500 artillerymen, who landed on the East River by tugboat and wore white-ribbon Internal Revenue badges. They axed barrels and spilled the contents, gushing a stream of rum into the street. Tubs discovered underground were pumped empty. By afternoon they had destroyed stills that could produce 250 barrels of liquor—worth $5,000 in taxes—a day.
Read about how the Whiskey Wars came about, and how they ended, at Smithsonian.
The latest episode in the tiny hamster series from sees our little friends eating their Thanksgiving dinner. They get mini-tart-sized pies, cranberry sauce from a thimble, and a turkey that I would guess is made of tofu. Hamsters are vegetarian, after all! They are adorable as they (and their bunny friend) eat their dinner wearing tiny Pilgrim hats! -Thanks, John Wilson!
The a cappella group Straight No Chaser teamed up with actress Kristen Bell to bring us a Christmas song for the interconnected wireless gadget generation. "Text Me Merry Christmas" works on two levels: on the one hand, it’s a sly poke at modern communication customs. But it’s a catchy tune that totally speaks to those who would cherish the perfect text from someone they love. Whether this makes you laugh or makes you share your earbuds will all depend on how old you are. That said, Kristen Bell should look into a career as a pop singer; between this and Frozen, her voice is shining brightly. The song is available for download on iTunes. -via Buzzfeed
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