Spotify crunched the numbers on 120,000 playlists that people made and labeled as “Guilty Pleasures.” Supposedly, these are songs that people like to listen to, but have a hard time admitting it to their peers (but Spotify knows all). On those lists, here are the top ten songs.
1. Mambo No. 5 – Lou Bega 2. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go – Wham! 3. My Sharona – The Knack 4. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey 5. Cotton Eye Joe – Rednex 6. You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) – Dead Or Alive 7. Who Let The Dogs Out – Baha Men 8. Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley 9. U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer 10. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
I like “My Sharona,” because it was really big the summer I graduated from college. And I was once an avid Journey fan, but “Don’t Stop Believin’” is one of their weaker songs. And I’m not ashamed of liking anything by MC Hammer. I like some rather weird songs (that aren’t on this list), but I don’t feel guilty about them. What’s your “guilty pleasure” song? -via Uproxx
Some glassware collectors take a handheld black light along with them when they shop in order to test Vaseline glass, also known as canary glass or uranium glass. Real uranium glass will glow green under a black light. Glassmakers began using uranium as a coloring agent in the late 1700s, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that we knew how dangerous radioactivity is. Still, Vaseline glass continued to made, with the exception of the World War II years, up to the present day. That’s because the tiny amounts of radiation emitting from Vaseline glass are smaller than radiation emitted from many other things we encounter in our everyday lives. So why does it glow?
Even if radioactivity is the thing that makes Vaseline glass cool, it’s not what makes Vaseline glass glow, says Barrie Skelcher, who’s written two Vaseline glass books of his own. That may come as a surprise to many Vaseline glass collectors, who assume that radioactivity is the reason why Vaseline glass glows under ultraviolet light, confusing the cartoon depiction of radioactivity for the science.
“It’s the chemistry of uranium that makes Vaseline glass glow, not radioactivity,” Skelcher says by phone from England, where he lives with his wife, Shirley, and 500 or so pieces of Vaseline glass in a collection that once numbered more than 1,000. “It wouldn’t make any difference whether the glass contained depleted uranium with the 235 isotope removed or natural uranium; the chemistry is identical. Uranium fluoresces under UV light.”
In other words, glass containing uranium will glow under UV light even after all the radiation has, er, radiated. The danger associated with uranium glass pales in comparison with glass that contain lead, arsenic, cobalt, or a number of other colorants and additives. And you’ll receive more dangerous radiation from the black light than from the glass. Still, the story of Vaseline glass is fascinating. I was surprised to learn that the name “Vaseline” was given to uranium glass because that’s the color Vaseline used to be! (Eww.) You can read plenty more about Vaseline glass at Collectors Weekly.
A government program in Chhattisgarh, India, aims to distribute bicycles to women between the ages of 18-35, and sewing machines to women aged 35-60, in order to make the lives of working women easier. But records provided by Chhattisgarh Labour Department under a sunshine law shows some shenanigans.
The list of beneficiaries includes 6,189 women who were shown aged 114 years. Besides these, the list has six women showing age 202 years, three showing aged 212 years, two showing aged 282 years.
There were at least 14 women shown above 300 years, seven in their 400s.
Age of one woman was mentioned as 532 years.Taking to TOI, Aggarwal said this misinformation could be just a tip of the iceberg, as the data obtained by him pertained only to Raipur. "If the information provided is correct, then beneficiaries' list has been fudged," he said.
Yah think? More likely, the information provided is not correct. Around 19,399 sewing machines have been distributed under the program. Although women have been known to lie about their age, they usually keep it within the realm of possibility. The next time someone inappropriately asks my age, I will tell them I’m 532. Read the rest of the story at The Times of India. -via Arbroath
I’ve cut up two watermelons in the past week to pack in my kids’ lunches for band camp. I was using the “cut the rind away first” method, but since seedless watermelons became common, there are plenty of watermelon-chopping techniques that work well. I may have to try this one, but with a slight change. I would do his horizontal cutting (almost but not all the way through) before slicing the melon in half. That would eliminate having to cut towards your hand with a wobbly end down, and instead cut down toward the board with the wobbly (whole) melon down. Oh, and make sure you have a really sharp knife. -via Viral Viral Videos
* Elvis Presley loved reading comic books as a boy. His favorite hero was Captain Marvel, Jr. It is reputed he got the original inspiration for his jet black hair with the curl hanging down in the middle of his forehead was inspired by Captain Marvel, Jr.
* Michael Jackson wanted to play Spider-Man in a movie so badly, he tried to buy Marvel Comics in the 1990's.
* The Incredible Hulk was originally gray, but Marvel changed him to green after problems with ink in their presses.
* When Joe DiMaggio was playing with the New York Yankees, he loved reading Superman comic books, but he was too embarrassed to buy them himself; he thought it tarnished his image. So he would send other Yankee players to go to the local newsstand and buy the latest issues for him.
* The 1940's comic book superhero called Red Bee fought the Nazis using trained bees. His favorite bee was named Michael and lived in Red Bee's belt buckle.
* Comic book letterers avoid words like "clint" and "flick" because during printing the letters can run together, making the words look like profanity.
* In Archie Comics, Jughead had a real name. His full name is Forsythe Pendleton Jones II. He has a sister named Forsythia “Jellybean" Jones.
* The word “Brainiac" comes from a Superman villain of the same name.
Their legs can barely hold their weight, and they can’t get no (da da DA da) decent traction. These kittens are just discovering their new ability to get around on their own, and they are the cutest things ever! -via Tastefully Offensive
Sadie just learned that her little brother will eventually grow up, and won’t always be the baby he is now. That’s an overwhelming concept for her, and she’s not taking it well. I can’t say that I blame her; he’s got an adorable smile. She also doesn’t want to die, no matter how far away that is. Some things are just hard to deal with. -via Buzzfeed
I built this giant version of the classic Spirograph drawing toy in my spare time over the last six months. The diameter is just under eight feet (2.4 meters). It uses sidewalk chalk to draw the lines.
I didn't keep track of the total time or the total cost, but I would estimate the latter at around $150 not including the new tools I had to buy.
Why? Because I wanted to see if I could, and because I love making things that surprise and delight people when they see them. Mission accomplished on both fronts.
Wouldn’t you just love to see a giant spirograph pattern on the road as you’re driving or walking by? Or even better, if you were to get a chance to draw one! -via Metafilter
Small farmers in Ivory Coast find out what their cocoa beans are used for when they taste a chocolate bar for the first time. Chocolate is out of their reach economically, and cocoa beans aren’t much without the sugar, milk, and other ingredients. But how could it be possible that these farmers don’t even know about chocolate? A commenter explained that chocolate is not part of the tradition of West Africa.
I know its weird, but in West Africa a bunch of the stuff we produce is for export only. It wasn't part of the traditional food, thus people never cared to eat it, or even knew how to finish production of it. The raw materials are just sent off.
It's not just cocoa. We produce coffee but don't roast it or drink it. We produce mangos, but not mango shakes. Chicken, but the variety for export is considered 'too soft' for the local palette.
It’s touching that the first thing the farmer does is to gather his friends and show them what chocolate tastes like. However, the kids will only get to see the wrapper. The video is a clip from the Dutch show Metropolis. You can see the whole chocolate episode here. Oh, and if you begin listening to the video because you know French, be aware that most of it is in Dutch. You may still need subtitles. -via reddit
Once while giving a driving lesson, I told my daughter to quit pussyfooting around. She became highly offended that I would use such language, and didn’t learn a thing that day besides that her mother has a vulgar vocabulary. Oh, the things she has yet to learn. Anyway, “pussyfooting” wasn’t even rude enough to make this list of rude-sounding words that mean something completely different from what they sound like. Here’s a snippet:
A dreamhole is a small slit or opening made in the wall of a building to let in sunlight or fresh air. It was also once used to refer to holes in watchtowers used by lookouts and guards, or to openings left in the walls of church towers to amplify the sounds of the bells.
According to one 19th century glossary of industrial slang, a fanny-blower or fanner was "used in the scissor-grinding industry," and comprised "a wheel with vanes, fixed onto a rotating shaft, enclosed in a case or chamber to create a blast of air." In other words, it’s a fan.
Fartlek is a form of athletic training in which intervals of intensive and much less strenuous exercise are alternated in one long continuous workout. It literally means "speed-play" in Swedish.
If you were going to mashup Doctor Who and Sherlock, you may as well make it a musical. It would have to start with a little number about one-upmanship before they can join forces. After all, neither one wants to be the sidekick! The lyrics are at the YouTube page. -via Viral Viral Videos
Bella the German Shepherd plays piano, with the help of Dani Rosenoer. The ridiculousness of the piano playing dog is enough to make me laugh, but wait until Bella has a treat and then has to make sure every little crumb is found and consumed! -via Tastefully Offensive
Look who showed up at Comic Con! Or are they just the best cosplayers ever?
Underneath the clothing of Jules Winfield and Vincent Vega are actors Elliot Branch and Dave Cobert, who both appeared in the short Killing Tarantino (NSFW) as the characters who inspired Pulp Fiction. They occasionally do this act on the streets of Hollywood as well. -via reddit
Check out this amazing method for learning how to multiply! Well, it’s an amazing story for learning, specifically, what 4 x 9 is. Or maybe it’s not so much amazing as it is baffling.
Darren Michalczuk’s YouTube channel The Brick School has several videos along this line. They are a few years old, but Michalczuk continues to push his learning method at his website Brain Magic. You can even buy apps to teach your child this method! Michalczuk has written quite a few education articles about the magic of learning that are as incomprehensible as the Magic Numbers series.
Of course it’s satire, but it’s played so straight across the web for so many years that it’s a masterful feat. You have to wonder if anyone ever took it seriously. My guess is that it would be easy to take it seriously if you just read the ads for the apps. The articles, well, someone with less-than-stellar critical thinking skills might swallow them whole, but the videos area real WTF moment. -via Digg
“It’s a good thing you don’t have a brain, or you’d just take it out and play with it.” That’s a memorable line from a radio skit, but it applies well to Gentle Brain, an interactive web toy where you can play around with your brain. If you drop it, and you will, that’s okay, because there’s another one where that one came from, and it’s just as good. Gentle Brain was commissioned for MUDA, Museum for Digital Art, opening later this year in Zurich, Switzerland. -via the Presurfer
There are several places in Scotland, England, and Ireland where the trees are wrapped with rags. These are clootie wells, forests with mineral springs that are believed to have healing powers. A relic of ancient paganism, the idea is that if you have an ailment, you should wash the afflicted area in water from these springs. Then you tie the rag you used around a tree, and as the rag rots, your ailment will disappear. You can see the problem here: Cotton and wool rags may take years to rot, but polyester can take centuries, which means more and more rags survive longer and damage the forest. But it’s terrible luck to remove them. Read more about this ancient practice at Atlas Obscura.
The man we know as D.B. Cooper has not been seen since he jumped out of an airplane in 1971. Or has he been seen by, uh, hundreds of moviegoers? Randall Munroe of xkcd has an intriguing theory that explains everything.
We make jokes about how cats look at bird feeders as food traps, but this bird feeder trapped the cat instead of the bird. A cat named Butterscotch in Brandon, Manitoba, got his head stuck inside a bird feeder. The stray is wandering the neighborhood and evades attempts to catch him.
“He was meowing a little bit as if he wanted somebody to help him, but he’s a stray and he’s obviously afraid of people, so I wasn’t able to get near him,” said Colleen Gareau, who first spotted the distressed cat Wednesday morning.
Staff with the city’s pound have tried to catch Butterscotch. So have volunteers from a local animal group, who have been baiting traps with tuna, sardines and cat food.
The traps are ones used for larger animals because the cat wouldn’t fit into a regular cat trap because of the feeder.
Russian drummer Lyonya Shilovsky is three years old, but he’s already a pro! Watch him play drums with the Novosibirsk Symphony Orchestra. The song is Jacques Offenbach’s “Orpheus in the Underworld,” which most of just call “The Can-Can.” Lyonya only loses the beat twice: when he drops his sticks, and when his father interupts him to pose for a picture. How does that compare to your concentration when you were three years old? -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Noah and Lucas Aldrich are inseparable brothers. Lucas was born with the brain disorder lissencephaly, which affects his growth and development. Lucas does not walk or talk, but thanks to his parents and brother, he gets to do a lot of things able-bodied kids do. Eight-year-old Noah recently entered a youth triathlon, and he took Lucas along. He pulled him on a bicycle, towed him while swimming, and pushed him while running. Sing it with me now: “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.” See more pictures of Noah and Lucas at Buzzfeed.
One thing that nearly all Americans born after 1965 have in common is that they grew up watching Mister Rogers. He was one of the true pioneers of children’s television.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
In 1951 a college senior named Fred McFeely Rogers finished school in Florida and went home to stay with his parents in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He wasn't exactly sure what he wanted to do with his life. For a while he wanted to be a diplomat; then he decided to become a Presbyterian minister. He’d already made plans to enroll in seminary after college, but as soon as he arrived home, he changed his mind again.
Why? Because while he was away at school, his parents had bought their first TV set. Television was still very new in the early 1950s, and not many people had them yet. When Rogers got home he watched it for the first time. He was fascinated by the new medium but also disturbed by some of the things he saw. One thing in particular offended him very deeply. It was “horrible,” as he put it, so horrible that it altered the course of his life.
What was it that bothered him so much? “I saw people throwing pies in each other’s face,” Rogers remembered. “Such demeaning behavior.”
You (and Uncle John) may like it when clowns throw pies and slap each other in the face, but Fred Rogers was appalled. He thought TV could have a lot more to offer than pie fights and other silliness, if only someone would try. “I thought, ‘I’d really like to try my hand at that, and see what I could do,’” Rogers recalled. So he moved to New York and got a job at NBC, working first as an associate producer and later as a director.
Then in 1953, he learned about a new experimental TV station being created in Pittsburgh. Called WQED, it was the country’s first community-sponsored “public television” station. WQED wasn’t even on the air yet, and there was no guarantee that an educational TV station that depended on donations from viewers to pay for programming would ever succeed. No matter- Rogers quit his secure job at NBC, moved to Pittsburgh with his wife, Joanne, and joined the station.
“I thought, ‘What a wonderful institution to nourish people,’” Rogers recalled. “My friends thought I was nuts.”
An American woman suffering from paralysis volunteered for experimental surgery at Hospital de Egas Moniz in Lisbon, Portugal. Doctors took stem cells from the woman’s nose and implanted them in her spine, hoping that the cells would help her spinal cord regenerate nerve tissue. Other clinical trials involve growing these cells in the lab and classifying and separating desirable cells before transplant. The procedure on this woman, which took place nine years ago, omitted this step. The cells were transplanted directly to her spine, but they failed to regenerate her spinal tissue. Then last year, she was treated in the U.S. for a painful growth in her back.
The surgeons removed a 3-centimetre-long growth, which was found to be mainly nasal tissue, as well as bits of bone and tiny nerve branches that had not connected with the spinal nerves.
The growth wasn't cancerous, but it was secreting a "thick copious mucus-like material", which is probably why it was pressing painfully on her spine, says Brian Dlouhy at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, the neurosurgeon who removed the growth. The results of the surgery have now been published.
You are probably aware that the term “banana republic” came from the practices of the United Fruit Company, a U.S. firm that bought up large portions of several South American countries and wielded inordinate political power in the region, in order to supply the U.S. with bananas. The company’s power was such that government troops were made available to put down workers’ strikes. In Colombia, this led to a massacre.
In November 1928, grumbling among the more than 25,000 workers on the banana plantations of the United Fruit Company turned into a united effort with a well-organized strike against the massive American corporation.
The workers’ demands from United Fruit were far from unreasonable — a direct contract with the company, six-day work weeks, eight-hour days, medical care and the elimination of scripts (only good at company stores) that were paid to the workers instead of cash. Ten years earlier, the company’s workers had gone on strike with similar demands, but had failed to achieve their goals.
The Colombian government was afraid of a worker’s revolution, and also afraid the U.S. military would step in. Tensions led to a standoff between 1,400 workers and family members and 300 troops with machine guns on December 6. When the troops opened fire, the death toll was somewhere between 47 and 2,000 people. We will probably never know the exact number. Read about the massacre at Modern Farmer.
A goat climbs halfway through a hole and can’t figure out what to do next. Poor stupid goat! His buddy decides to help out, by “pushing” him out of the hole. Is that clever ...on a goat scale? It’s not much help! But eventually the goat lady comes and makes everything all right.
In order to secure a three-year purchasing contract with the state of New York, office supplier Staples agreed to sell 291 common items for a penny. They hoped to make up the difference in sales of higher-priced items, but the company neglected to put any limits on the penny purchases. You can imagine what happened. Schools, prisons, charities, and other agencies ordered “staples” such as tissue, paper towels, tape, and batteries by the truckload.
The Monroe-Woodbury school district, about 50 miles north of Manhattan, was the top bargain hunter, taking delivery of $677,000 of penny items at list prices during the contract's first few months, paying $299.15. The numbers come from spreadsheets provided by the state in response to a Freedom of Information Law request.
Sheri Patterson, finance officer at Monroe Woodbury High School, said boxes were "stacked in hallways…we didn't have any place to keep" them.
There were surprises. Ms. Patterson thought a penny paid for a roll of paper towels—instead, it was for a 24-roll pack. The school received 53 packs, records show. "We were just wondering whose idea this was," said Ms. Patterson, "and if they still had their job."
Staples declined to comment on personnel matters.
Many of the penny items ordered have not been delivered, and the state is negotiating with Staples to fulfill the terms of the contract.
A coveted penny item was a 64GB SanDisk flash drive, a large "thumb drive" to store or transfer data. It listed for $249.99 but recently was priced at $54.99 on Staples.com.
Customers ordered 128,978 of them in the contract's first few months, documents show, compared with anticipated annual demand for 33. Staples delivered 1,080 in that period. Had it delivered all those ordered, it would have sold drives with a current retail value of $7.1 million for $1,290.
Whoever made the estimates of how many items would be purchased forgot one basic rule of retail: people will do without expensive items, but will buy if the price is right. Staples’ estimate of their loss has to be taken with a grain of salt, however. Who pays $2 for a single pad of Post-it notes? Or a thousand dollars for a shredder? I have a shredder and a bag of Post-it notes for an investment of about $6, although they’re not the same brands. Read more about the fiasco at the Wall Street Journal. -via Metafilter
The lizard named Uroplatus phantasticus is more commonly known as the Satanic leaf-tailed gecko. You can see why in this photograph, only because the background is gone. There’s a picture at Wired that challenges you to figure out what is gecko and what is real leaf. It’s an amazing camouflage adaptation for these creatures found only in Madagascar. Good luck finding one.
Reinforcing this camouflage for the satanic leaf-tailed geckos is their behavior: They’ll spend the day hanging motionless off of branches or snuggling among dead leaves, often twisting their leafy tails around their bodies. Other larger species in the satanic’s genus have still another strategy for sleeping safely during the day, flattening their bodies against tree trunks and limbs, making good use of those famously grippy feet (a magic power derived, by the way, from countless hair-like structures that allow some geckos to even stick to inverted glass panes, not that nature would ever ask them to). Fringes and flaps along the edges of their bodies help erase their outlines and shadows, dissolving the geckos into the bark.
Jürgen Horn and Mike Powell have moved on from Tokyo and set up housekeeping in Skopje, Macedonia. If you received your geography education before 1991, Macedonia is just north of Greece and just south of Serbia. But back in 1903, a small Macedonian town on a mountain declared its own independence from the Ottoman Empire. The Republic of Kruševo lasted ten days.
The brave and hopelessly out-gunned army of Kruševo met the advancing Turks in the Battle of Mečkin Kamen, a couple kilometers outside the town. Led by Pitu Guli, the rebels fought bravely, but were simply no match for the Ottoman force. In the end, Kruševo’s defenders were annihilated, and the Ottomans marched into town where they inflicted a bloody retribution on the townspeople.
Today, Kruševo has recovered and become one of the jewels of Macedonia, the highest mountain town in the Balkans. We visited for a couple days. With just 5000 inhabitants, it’s the kind of place with which you can become familiar within no time. Kruševo feels like a mountain retreat, so small and peaceful that it’s hard to imagine it as the scene of such vicious fighting.