Can pigeons distinguish between good and bad art? Does a full bladder make you more confused? Is yawning contagious …in tortoises? John Green tells us about scientific research that makes you want to scratch your head, but often the aim is to determine ideas -or even parts of ideas- that aren’t evident on the surface. Another question: does John Green have as much trouble saying “dental floss” correctly as I do?
A guy sings a duet with his cat Chaninho. You’ll recognize the song, even though it's sung in Portuguese. "If you're happy and you know it, say meow." Chaninho has his part down perfectly. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Some are funny, some touching, some fitting. Always interesting. The final words of 24 famous people.
“I’m bored with it all." -Winston Churchill
“Love one another." -George Harrison
“I love you, honey. Good luck with your show.” -Desi Arnaz (said on the phone to ex-wife Lucille Ball)
“Is everyone else alright?" -Robert F. Kennedy
“I’m going away tonight" -James Brown
“That's funny" -Doc Holliday (Looking at his bare feet. As a gunslinger, he always thought he would die with his boots on.)
“Is it not meningitis?" -Louisa May Alcott
“Water" -Ulysses S. Grant
“This is absurd, this is absurd." -Sigmund Freud
“Okay, I won't" -Elvis Presley (Replying to his girlfriend who told him not to fall asleep in the bathroom.)
A young man gets a little nervous as he prepares to propose to his girlfriend. Well, a lot nervous. He shakes so bad the ring falls into the sea! That’s when the real adventure begins.
Thaddaeus Andreades, Marie Raoult, Nicholas Manfredi, and Elizabeth Ku-Herrero made this as their senior project at the School of Visual Arts. -via Digg
There’s something very relaxing about a rose-covered arch, a pergola festooned with wisteria, or a leafy arbor. Here’s another way to make a shady place to sit and enjoy nature: a willow dome. The structure support itself is alive! Willow branches have a particular feature that makes building a dome or other garden structure fairly easy.
Willow trees have an unusual trait: freshly cut branches will sprout roots and grow into new trees when merely plunked into the ground and watered. By taking cuttings from an established willow tree, “planting” them strategically and weaving the supple young branches together as they grow, any number of structures—such as a gazebo, pergola, play hut, party dome, sweat lodge, art cave or even a shady area for your livestock—can be created on your land.
Now I really want a willow tree! You can buy cuttings or a kit or even hire someone to build a willow structure for you, but you can also do it yourself with some guidelines from Modern Farmer.
(Image credit: Flickr user Steve James)
Look at this adorable puppy! Except… she’s not a puppy, she’s a kit. Rylai is a red fox (Vulpes vulpes), barely a month old. She was selectively bred to be white, and is not an albino. Her owner Jennifer has an FAQ on Facebook that answers a lot of questions about Rylai and fox ownership in general.
When you have to load a truck onto a ship, and all you have is a narrow pier instead of a cargo loading dock, you do what you have to do. I wouldn’t consider this for one second, but then, I don’t have to load a truck on a ship from a pier. This was recorded somewhere in Brazil. -via reddit
The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.
A jargon-free mini-opera in 4 acts
Words by Marc Abrahams
This opera had its premiere Thursday evening, October 3, at the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, at Harvard's Sanders Theatre.
The Original Cast
Opera Director: Margot Button
Singers: Margot Button, Jane Tankersley, and Michelle French, accompanied gamely by Nobel Laureates Richard Roberts, William Lipscomb, and Dudley Herschbach
Pianist: Greg Neil (playing with a broken hand!)
Narrator: Karen Hopkin
ACT 1 -- Listen Up!
NARRATOR (spoken): The 87th First Annual Meeting of the International Jargon Conference is about to begin! The first scheduled event is a breakfast session. As the opera starts, the conferees are busy substituting food for thought. Let's join them now, as the secretary calls the conference to order.
[MUSIC: Prokofiev's "March From The Love of 3 Oranges"]
[NOTE: The CONFEREES are always munching on food, except at those few moments when they are actually saying something. So are the CONFERENCE SECRETARY and the CONFERENCE CHAIRPERSON. Some of the CONFEREES also are taking notes, or at least pretending to.]
Listen up! Listen up! Finish eating -- listen up!
Listen up! Listen up! Listen up!
Listen up, now, Jargon Conferees!
I will shout
How to say
In the most grand sort of way
Anything nasty or gray.
Just use a...
Mark Tretter went to Iceland for spring break and was astonished at how windy it was. This video was recorded at Budir. He thinks he’s going to demonstrate taking a drink, but first he has to figure out how to stand up and stay in one place!
The wind was blowing at 75-80 miles an hour. -via Tastefully Offensive
Now that summer is unofficially here, you might be thinking about getting a swimsuit. Good luck! Summer clothing sold out a month ago. I tried to find a pair of good sandals and the local store had nothing close to my size.
Oh well, watch this video, which should be called The Evolution of the Swimsuit, as only about half of them are bikinis, and wish you could get one from the 1940s. (via Viral Viral Videos)
The annual Festival of Moros y Cristianos in Alcoy, Spain, commemorates the struggle between the Christians and the Moors in the 15th century. Different groups dressed a Moors and Christians participate in elaborate processions for two days and re-enact a battle on the third day. The overtones of genocide seem a bit strange to Americans, and Mike Powell brought it up.
Our Valencian friends were surprised by my concerns, and assured me that Moros y Cristianos is a positive event, honoring a shared history; that there’s no rancor or gloating sentiment behind the processions. And now that I’ve attended Alcoy’s festival, I suppose they’re right. There wasn’t any real difference between the groups dressed as Moors and those as Christians; both wear flamboyant costumes, both smile and wave at the crowd, and both are cheered equally. It’s just another excuse to get dressed up and have a party.
And what a party! Besides parading and fighting, there was music, dancing, confetti, and drinking. You can see the Moros y Cristianos festival in video and many pictures at For 91 Days.
On Sunday, people gathered at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten to observe Memorial Day, as they have for 70 years. Those buried there were the liberators of the Dutch in World War II. Each American grave was “adopted” by a Dutch, Belgian, or German family who has tended it ever since. There are people on a waiting list to became grave caretakers if they are ever needed to take over.
At the cemetery’s annual commemoration, 6,000 people poured onto the 65-acre burial grounds just a few miles from the German border, including scores of descendants of American war dead who had traveled here from all over the United States. They were eager to pay tribute to parents or grandparents who had died to defeat the Nazis. But they also wanted to thank the Dutch families who had been tending the graves of their loved ones, often passing the responsibility from one generation to the next.
The Washington Post has the story of the cemetery’s founding in 1944, and tales from some of the descendants of those buried there, and of the caretakers of the graves. You may wish to bring a hankie as you read about the way the Dutch feel about the Allies who saved them so many years ago. -via Metafilter (where you'll find even more stories)
(Image credit: © Raimond Spekking /
The building used to be the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel Aviv, Israel, until it was the site of a suicide bombing in 2001. Israeli street artist Dede (previously at Neatorama) saw something promising in the shell of the structure- a giant set of of choppers, or wind-up teeth. He says,
30m wide x 10m high piece, The abandoned Dolphinarium, Tel-Aviv, 2015
Without any doubt the biggest art challenge I have ever had. This piece was hard to achieve.
Stormy nights, high rollers from the ground, the all deal. But it had to be done, I had this vision for almost a year now.
This landmark is found in the middle of continuing ownership arguments, another real estate bite in Tel-Aviv's view.
Note the wind-up key at the right. It’s not as big as it should be for the building, but that’s fixed with a little forced perspective. -via Laughing Squid
Wherever you go today, don’t forget your towel! Today is Towel Day, a date set aside to remember author Douglas Adams and his works, particularly The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. For the occasion, the astronauts of the European Space Agency (ESA) show how they celebrate on the International Space Station. Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti (previously at Neatorama) reads about the importance of the towel from The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy while floating in space. Don’t panic!
We’ve seen plenty of “video game invades real life” videos, but this takes it up a notch with over-the-top violence and destruction, even though it all takes place at Grandma’s house. Contains a little NSFW language. And plenty of subtle references for hardcore players.
It’s from Danny and Michael Philippou, twin brothers from Adelaide, Australia (previously at Neatorama), who do this for fun even though many of the stunts are really dangerous.
The Philippou brothers refuse to put ads on their videos. They’ve now received funding from Screen Australia, Australia's national film support agency. If you liked this, you might want to check out their other videos. -via reddit
Thelma and Louise was a 1991 road trip film with a difference: the two road buddies were played by women (Susan Saradon and Geena Davis). The adventures they found themselves in all followed from the fact that they were women in a man’s world, but it was far from what most people think of as a “chick flick.” Twenty-four years after its release, let’s look back into the making of the film. There’s a lot to learn, like how that astonishingly hot young unknown actor ended up in the middle of it. Credit Geena Davis.
3. GEORGE CLOONEY AUDITIONED FIVE TIMES TO PLAY J.D.
Clooney was on the short list for the role that eventually went to Brad Pitt, and became his big break. “The funniest thing is, I didn’t watch that movie for a long time,” Clooney admitted during a Q&A at the Telluride Film Festival. “I was really stuck doing a lot of bad TV at that time. And I had auditioned and auditioned, and it got right down to Brad and I, and he got it. And I just couldn’t watch that movie for a couple of years ... When I saw it, I thought actually that was the right choice. [Brad] was really good in it, and I would have f***ed it up somehow."
4. BRAD PITT WAS PAID $6,000 FOR HIS WORK IN THE FILM.
That was in 1991. Just five years later, he earned $10 million for his work in Barry Levinson's Sleepers.
5. GEENA DAVIS HAD A HAND IN CASTING PITT.
Geena Davis admitted that she kept messing up her lines when auditioning with Pitt because he was so attractive. When Scott and the casting director were discussing who to cast, she reportedly jumped in: "The blond one. Duh!” Julie Strain was hired to play Davis’ body double in the movie, but Davis opted to shoot her sex scene with Pitt directly.
There’s lots more, covering the script, casting, and the ending they did not use, which you can see in the article at mental_floss.
(Image credit: Flickr user MAURO CATEB)
Mrs. Emery was disappointed. She had assumed that dealers at a gem exposition would know how to dress. But the room was filled with fashion mistakes. Rodney Dipp from Boston had on a polyester shirt; not the good, new kind of polyester, but something left over from the seventies. Julia Kidd from Atlanta wore sneakers and something resembling an upscale jogging suit. Even Klaus Braun from Diisseldorf, usually known for his style, was wearing one brown sock and one blue sock.
"Well, at least I'm maintaining my standards," Mrs. Emery huffed as she laid out her unmounted gems.
The display was not as impressive as it had been in years past. The only great gem she had left for sale was an exquisite emerald. She did her best, nestling the brilliant stone in an arrangement of loose gems—aquamarines, sapphires of poor color, lowly garnets, and a few bloodstones—hoping that the emerald's luster might somehow reflect into the lesser stones.
The theft took place during a diversion. A minor but noisy traffic accident drew the crowd out onto the street. When the insatiably curious Mrs. Emery returned to her display table, she found it all gone—everything from the almost worthless garnets up to the most prized gem at the show, her beloved emerald.
"The thief obviously had an accomplice," the police captain told the robbed gem dealer. "Someone who staged the diversion. Unfortunately, we don't know who that was. But we do have this."
The following is an article from the book Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Salutes the Armed Forces.
The battle over the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. lasted longer -and at time seemed more contentious- than the war itself.
THE FORGOTTEN WAR
In June 1950, President Harry S. Truman agreed to send U.S. troops to Korea to fight the North Korean army. Three years later, a truce was signed between North and South Korea, -a truce that remains uneasy to this day- the fighting stopped, and U.S. troops went home.
Compared to what the United States had experienced during World War II, the Korean War seemed like a mere dalliance. Some insisted on deeming it a “conflict” and even Truman called it a “police action.” More than one soldier has told the story of how, on returning home, old friends would say “Where have you been? Haven’t seen you around lately.” When the soldier explained that he’d been in Korea, his pals responded with blank looks. Many folks stateside had never heard of the place, let alone that a war had been raging there for three solid years.
Yet in those three years, American casualties in Korea numbered more than 54,000 dead, 8,000 missing in action, and 100,000 wounded. Hundreds of thousands of American men and women served and fought in the Korean War. Something needed to be done to commemorate their bravery, to honor their service. America needed to build a Korean War memorial in Washington, D.C.
HERE’S AN IDEA- OR TWO
This organ is 110 years old, but with new programming (on paper strips), it can play the relatively modern "Bohemian Rhapsody" in a uniquely majestic way.
However, big cats need bigger diets, bigger prey, and bigger territories. So if you ever decide you want a big cat, do yourself a favor and get a house cat instead. You’ll benefit both a homeless cat you take in and some big cat you don’t take in. Everyone benefits -except the mice in your house. -via Tastefully Offensive
See more of Cole and Marmalade.
What if Commander William Riker got his own spinoff show after Star Trek: The Next Generation? It might go something like this fan edit that puts Number One in the star position. It’s the beginning of what may be a continuing series, with the next episode coming in about a month.
Those who occupy a certain strange corner of the internet might recognize this style as the work of Jan van den Hemel, who worked together with fellow video editor Andrew Hussie to make dozens of hilarious The Next Generation edits back in the late 2000s. Riker is the first new TNG video from Hemel in nearly five years, and if you're a fan, you'll be glad to hear that more are on the way.
When you are two years old, there’s nothing more impressive than a big truck that comes to your house. And this one comes every week! Little Deacon Ross looked forward to seeing O.D. and his garbage truck every Friday. And the sanitation worker made friends with the toddler. But now the family is moving away, and USA Today showed up for O.D.’s last run by Deacon’s house. -via Viral Viral Videos
Chris from Lunarbaboon is getting used to the idea of having two children. The second one will be a girl, and the implications of having a daughter can be daunting to a father -whether he’s experienced in such matters or not. My husband has six daughters, and he will tell you that there are far more things to worry about than you realize when they first arrive.
It’s been 30 years since Rambo: First Blood Part II sent veteran John Rambo back to Vietnam. Although the movie was a sequel to 1982’s First Blood, it was a much bigger hit, and gave Sylvester Stallone a second iconic character in addition to Rocky. Strangely, Stallone didn’t really want the role …at first.
More than 26 screenplay drafts of the story were written during the decade of development and dozens of actors signed on and dropped out of the role of Rambo including Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, John Travolta, and Dustin Hoffman.
Stallone was brought on when director Ted Kotcheff offered him the part because of his popularity in the Rocky franchise, but Stallone turned him down because he felt that the role passed through too many actors and the movie would never really get made. He later committed to the role when he was offered the opportunity to rewrite the screenplay (his $3.5 million salary may also have helped) in order to make Rambo more sympathetic as opposed to the PTSD-crazed madman the character resembled in the novel.
Toys tied to movies existed long before Star Wars, but George Lucas’ 1977 space opera changed movie merchandising forever. Lucas always wanted toys to accompany the movie, but response from manufacturers was tepid, because investing design resources and factory output in a movie that may or may not be popular was a risky move. Even Kenner, who signed up to make action figures and other toys, vastly underestimated what a hit Star Wars would be.
Star Wars released in May 1977 to rapturous approval, becoming an overnight sensation — and kids didn’t just want to see the movie; they wanted toys. Kenner were caught flat-footed at the demand, finding that they wouldn’t even have figures out for the lucrative Christmas period of that year. To do nothing would have meant losing out on millions of dollars.
So they made a decision that was, by all accounts at the time, completely ludicrous: They sold people an empty box. The Early Bird Certificate was a box containing a cardboard display stand featuring the characters from the film, stickers, and a certificate for kids to mail away to Kenner to receive four figures in 1978: Luke Skywalker, R2-D2, Princess Leia and Chewbacca. The box was savaged by the media, and although sales were poor, the move kept Star Wars figures in the public’s mind, ready for their 1978 release.
That was only the first of many controversial and sometimes disastrous moves from the toy industry regarding Star Wars. Read about the ups and down of Star Wars toys over 38 years at io9.
It’s strange how one’s relationship with their phone varies according to age. These Millennials gave up their phones for a week to make a video about the experience, and their lives completely changed. They had spent their formative years becoming dependent on their devices for keeping in touch with others, finding their way around, doing business, and internet use. A person who is somewhat older might think of turning to a computer for many of those things. I still use signs, maps, and spoken directions to find my way around (plus an awesome sense of direction honed by many years of experience). I also have a calendar for appointments. My mother has a cell phone, but no one knows the number, because she only turns it on when she’s on the road and needs assistance.
But the difference goes even deeper. Using a phone for all those things is not bad in itself, but these folks noticed a difference in their concentration, attention span, and engagement with the real world when they adjusted to living without constantly “checking in” for messages as they’d become used to. How would doing without your mobile device affect your life? -via Buzzfeed
These guys made a plane out of cardboard. It’s not just a folded paper airplane, but a remote-controlled model with flaps and propellor and everything -made out of a cardboard box. They think it’s a ridiculous concept and are quite surprised that it will fly at all. Now watch the video and try not to laugh. -via b3ta
The question is, which cards do you turn over to test the truth of the statement? Try to select the fewest cards that will do it. The Wason Selection Task was developed by English psychologist Peter Wason to study how people think. They often don’t think rationally.
I found the most difficult part was finding my answer among the multiple choices, because there are a lot of them. More than 90% of Wason’s original subjects selected the wrong answer. Maybe we are doing better in the 21st century, because when I snagged this video, 20,626 people had viewed the puzzle video, and 5393 had viewed the correct answer. However, that number may have been skewed by people checking out all the answer videos. I didn’t bother checking the incorrect answers. You can read about Wason’s research into the human tendency to select irrational paths at Nautilus. -via Digg
Update: Oh, okay, I clicked a wrong answer, and the video it went to gives you the option of seeing the correct answer video. That explains why the correct answer had much more than 10% of the views of the original.
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