For the past few years, we’ve have 50th anniversaries for an awful lot of things: assassinations, protests, movies, TV shows, concerts, toys, art, songs, comics, sports, and more. Each one makes me feel older (as if I wouldn’t feel older each day anyway). Yeah, the ‘60s were an eventful decade. To save you some surprises in the future, Collectors Weekly has put together a list of all the 50th anniversary celebrations you may see in the next four years. You very well may see them right here!
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You are here …and here. This is, apparently, the directions to Schrödinger’s elevators in the Möbius building. Or maybe you are there to meet yourself traveling back from the future, in which case you should run -or take an elevator- to avoid a paradox. Which one? Who knows! With just a few “corrections,” this map went from metaphysical to philosophical to fantastical to portal. -via reddit
Got a beef with the government? Maybe some other people do, too. What can you do? Start a political party! It’s been done so many times, and some of the parties that popped up throughout history are pretty strange. But then again, the parties we are used to probably seemed odd when they first began. Learn about 28 of the strangest in this week’s episode of the mental_floss List Show.
In this Sesame Street parody of Clash of the Titans, Cookie Monster is Fursius, and must pass Moo-dusa to reach Mt. Olympus Diner. To quote Cookie, “Oh, dat weird.”
And for Sesame Street’s original audience, there’s a lesson in observation and focus. And an appropriate punch line at the end. -via Geeks Are Sexy
When you think of live-action superhero TV shows, you think of Superman from the ’50s, Batman from the ‘60s, Wonder Woman from the ’70s, and, um, you might be surprised at how many superhero shows you watched and don’t think about anymore.
The good news is that we are experiencing a Renaissance of superhero shows, and there’s more to come. Enjoy this video from Vulture's Secret History of Television series. -via Laughing Squid
I well remember watching the 1973 movie Walking Tall at the theater. I don’t recall the sequels, but years later I had some professional dealings with Buford Pusser’s daughter in west Tennessee. The late sheriff had a thoroughly interesting story, which was made into a movie that was more or less accurate story of his life, but when it was a hit, the producers were compelled to make a sequel. And that meant the “true story” has to extend past reality, because the reality was, um, complicated. Joe Don Baker didn’t want to star in a sequel, so they hired Buford Pusser to portray himself.
Well, a few hours after signing the contract, Pusser went to the local county fair and apparently had a few to celebrate his forthcoming movie stardom. On his way home in his supercharged sports car, he slammed into a median, flying through the windshield before the car burst into flames. He was declared dead at the scene. Despite the reported blood alcohol level (twice the legal limit), to this day more than a few still insist the accident was the result of sabotage.
Pusser's death was incorporated into the second movie, which was also a hit, so somehow they came up with a third movie, which was even weirder. Read the strange and complex saga of the Walking Tall trilogy at Den of Geek.
It was the battle of the “meatball” and the “worm.” Or, not so much a battle, but a resistance against modernization. NASA had been using the logo that came to be known as the “meatball” for years when the Federal Graphics Improvement Program tried to modernize many of the old, ugly logos that various government agencies used, starting in 1972. Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn unveiled their design for NASA in 1974. It was a sleek, minimalist, modern design eventually called the “worm.” It came with a 90-page manual for its use. The public loved it, but the engineers at NASA didn’t think much of it. They were busy exploring space, and really didn’t understand graphic design. There was an exchange recalled later that occurred between NASA administrator James Fletcher and his deputy George Low:
Fletcher: I’m simply not comfortable with those letters, something is missing.
Low: Well yes, the cross stroke is gone from the letter A.
Fletcher: Yes, and that bothers me.
Fletcher, after a long pause: I just don’t feel we are getting our money’s worth!
But NASA used the new logo until 1992, when they suddenly scrapped the worm and reinstated the meatball.
Read the story of the worm and why NASA now uses the retro 1950s-era meatball at Wired. -via Metafilter
Watch this bale of hay high-tail it across a field. I didn’t know they could go that fast!
Okay, it’s a vehicle. Not something from a movie, even though you've seen this kind of thing in comedies. This is a Japanese military …something or other. A Ghillipillar? You’d think a huge hay bale would be conspicuous just by moving, but from a distance, it probably blends into the background. -via Digg
If you’ve never heard of Madam C.J. Walker, you’ve missed a story of one of the titans of industry. The former Sarah Breedlove was born in 1867 and rose from the plantations of Louisiana and built her own hair care business, with products designed for black women, through sheer hard work and tenacity.
At a time when black citizens were kept in poverty through violent intimidation and segregation, Walker’s success was built on the strength of social networks, word-of-mouth testimonials, and products designed for an acutely underserved population. In many ways, Madam Walker’s story is a classic rags-to-riches tale, wherein a poor orphaned girl pulls herself up through sheer determination and willpower, forming a business that becomes an industry giant and the envy of others. But Walker’s story is also one of repeated frustration—that her various husbands took more from her than they gave in return; that her accomplishments were challenged or overlooked by others in the black community; that she barely lived long enough to enjoy her hard-earned prosperity.
Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles, wrote her biography, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker. She talked to Collectors Weekly about Madam Walker and her unusual rise to wealth and fame.
(Image credit: ©Madam Walker Family Archives/A’Lelia Bundles)
Loki is a malamute/husky/arctic wolf mix (a “low content wolfdog”), so he is naturally at home in the snow. Enjoy watching him frolic joyfully across the mountains of Colorado. It might just cool you off on a hot day!
James Gillingham was a shoemaker by trade, but found his real calling in 1866. That's when he met a man who had lost an arm in a cannon firing accident. Gillingham made him a new arm- for free.
The new leather limb he built was strong and rigid but also perfectly fitted. The medical world noticed his talent, and Gillingham soon began producing a variety of artificial limbs.
Using a secret process wherein he molded the leather to the client’s limb before hardening it, Gillingham started a business making prostheses.
By 1910, he had restored mobility and function to over 15,000 patients.
Not only did Gillingham make superior prosthetic limbs, he photographed many of his clients. His pictures appeared in medical journals, in which he advised surgeons on ways to amputate that would leave patients with more mobility in the future. Mashable has a collection of those photographs. Notice that the women in the pictures try to hide their faces, turning shy at the prospect of showing their limbs, while the men are proud to show off theirs. -via Everlasting Blort
Mark Rober taught us how to make a watermelon smoothie a couple of years ago. Now he’s got a neat watermelon party trick to impress everyone at this year’s Labor Day picnic.
I would add that it would behoove you to carry that watermelon in a cooler, tub, or at least put plastic under it until you get to the picnic, because it’s liable to leak a bit. And Mark, that potato salad would have been eaten up, and fast, if you had remembered to put mustard in it. -via Digg
See also: more from Mark Rober.
An artificial intelligence system produced by a team at the University of Tubingen in Germany can take any photograph and render it in the style of artists such as Van Gogh, Edvard Munch, or Paul Cézanne. The program separates image and style and can combine them any way you want.
When a photo is fed through the network, it goes through multiple layers, each layer analyzing a different piece of the photo, including colors, shapes, or more complex object recognition like “dog" or “cat." Previously, these networks could only identify the style and content of an object or a photo as one piece of data.
Now researchers have made it possible for these artificial systems to parse style and content totally separately by introducing style reconstructions on top of the existing neural network. It computes similarities between the features of each different layer and discards information about the content. This means they can take a photo of a street, and the system can turn it into an image that looks like it was painted by Van Gogh.
Read about the software at The Daily Dot and consider what style you want your family portrait on the wall to be.
Jason Frost and Brandon Key went fishing on the Black Warrior River in Alabama on Saturday. They didn’t expect to see kittens swimming toward them as if desperate for a boat ride.
Frost posted the video to Facebook, where he said,
I really don't know how to describe this video, but the Warrior River never fails to surprise me......this puts a new spin on the term "catfishing"
The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.
by Stuart M. Shieber, Professor of Computer Science
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
I demonstrate that Hinchliffe’s rule—if the title of a scholarly article is a yes-no question, the answer is “no”—is paradoxical, by providing an article whose title is a question whose answer is “no” if and only if its answer is “yes”.
Hinchliffe’s rule, attributed with unknown veracity to Ian Hinchliffe (Holderness, 2014), is this: “If the Title of a Scholarly Article Is a Yes-No Question, the Answer is ‘No’.” It can be seen as the academic analog of Betteridge’s law of headlines (Betteridge, 2009).
In 1988, Boris Peon (which appears, thankfully if unsurprisingly, to be a pseudonym (Strassler, 2013)) distributed an article entitled “Is Hinchliffe’s Rule True?” (Peon, 1988) Here is the abstract, which constitutes the article in its entirety:
Hinchliffe has asserted that whenever the title of a paper is a question with a yes/no answer, the answer is always no. This paper demonstrates that Hinchliffe’s assertion is false, but only if it is true.
Peon’s article hints at Hinchliffe’s rule being paradoxical, but it fails to manifest a true paradox. This is a lost opportunity, which I intend to correct by this very article.
In 1988, ABC launched a sitcom designed around the standup routine of comedian Roseanne Barr. It was totally different from everything else on TV: shows full of wealthy people who looked like movie stars. It was an immediate hit, despite the fact that Barr’s acting abilities were dwarfed by the rest of the cast. No matter- she learned the craft fairly quickly, as we watched. Here’s some behind-the-scenes trivia about Roseanne.
2. THE SHOW WAS ORIGINALLY TITLED LIFE AND STUFF.
Roseanne creator, head writer, and executive producer Matt Williams said the benign title established the sitcom as an ensemble piece. But Barr argued that the show should be called Roseanne, since she was the lead character and the show was based on her life. (Williams left the show after season one.)
9. ALL THREE OF BARR’S EX-HUSBANDS MADE GUEST APPEARANCES ON THE SHOW.
Roseanne was inspired by life with the comedian’s first husband, Bill Pentland, and their three children. Pentland served as an executive consultant for three seasons, wrote two episodes, and played one of Dan’s buddies in an early episode. In 1990, Barr divorced Pentland after 16 years of marriage. Four days later, she wed comedian Tom Arnold, who had a recurring role as Arnie Thomas. Then in 1995 Barr married Ben Thomas, her former bodyguard, and gave him two bit roles as a cop. They remain his only acting credits.
Critics thought that Roseanne was a ratings hit because it portrayed working-class people that the audience could relate to. But we all know it was a hit because the lines were so funny, and we all wish we could be that fast on our feet with the perfect comeback. Read the rest of the trivia list about Roseanne at mental_floss.
Two robots are mining a distant planet. It’s a lonely job, until they run into each other. No, it’s nothing like Wall-E, even though these robots are cute, too.
Wonder what these things sound like…. AAGH! Run away! Run Away!
Highlighting the main charm of Vine, a video like this makes it clear that six seconds are all that’s necessary to make us laugh. However, if you are itching for an explanation, these are Swalkie Talkies, a dog toy I will make a note to avoid. Yes, I can see they are pelicans, but the original Vine is named Duck Army. -via Metafilter
They showed a clip from the documentary Air Jaws: Walking with Great Whites, which premiered on Discovery last night in the US. Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson of the Australian morning show Today aren’t having any of it.
Considering that every type of wildlife in Australia is already trying to kill you, you’d think these folks would be unimpressed. If they are that scared, I don’t want anywhere near a Great White. -via reddit
I dunno about this. It doesn’t look quite safe to me. But it must have turned out all right, because the entire video descriptions says,
Witness the awesome pulling power of Dodge trucks.
Pulling down a tree with a truck is not a recommended tactic. You might save some money by not hiring a professional, but getting flattened, no matter how small the chance, can be a devastating consequence. -via Arbroath
In the town of Burjassot, Spain, a historic underground excavation was recently opened to the public for the first time in 100 years. The 47 underground grain silos were used for food storage for several hundred years, then converted to a wartime bunker system, then closed.
In 16th-century Valencia, grain storage was a problem. The province didn’t have enough of its own, and imports from other Iberian regions were uncertain, as there were frequent bad harvests and peninsula-wide shortages. The best option was to import grain from Sicily over the Mediterranean Sea, but this made sense only if it could be done in great quantities, meaning Valencia needed a large storage solution.
So the first silos of Burjassot were authorized. This outlying town was chosen because of its elevated position and proximity to the capital. Three underground silos were initially built, but this would expand to 47 over the course of the centuries. Soil would be dug out of the ground, in the shape of an enormous vase, and then its walls would be fortified. These underground containers provided perfect conditions in which to store grain, and the silos remained in use until the beginning of the 20th century.
From the outside, all you see are small, capped holes in the ground. Inside is a different story. Read about the silos and see pictures, plus images of the picturesque town of Burjassot at For 91 Days.
Writer and director Wes Craven was responsible for Freddy Krueger’s invasion of your nightmares in the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, which includes nine feature films and a TV series, plus books, comics, and video games.
From his feature film debut, The Last House on the Left in 1972 to the four Scream movies, he was a master of the modern horror genre. Craven’s IMDb entry has a list of 36 writing credits, 27 producing credits, 29 directing credits, and 19 acting credits.
Wes Craven died of brain cancer Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 76.
(Image credit: Bob Bekian)
The following is an article from the book Uncle John's Canoramic Bathroom Reader.
The longest high-five chain in the world, and a few other interesting “longest” things. (Note: This is a pretty long article. So you might have to take your device into the bathroom for a break to read the entire thing.)
LONGEST CAT FUR
In August 2013, Guinness World Records awarded its first-ever “cat with the longest fur” title. Recipient: Colonel Meow, a Himalayan Persian kitty belonging to Anne Marie Avey of Los Angeles, California. Fur length: nine inches. (The length was verified by three different veterinarians.) “We already knew that he was the best cat in the world,” a proud Ms. Avey said, “but to be recognized in the Guinness World Records book takes it to the next level.”
(Image source: Guinness World Records)
Bonus fact: The best part of the story is that Colonel Meow was a rescue kitty. He was in a shelter in Seattle, Washington— and scheduled to be euthanized— when he was rescued by a Seattle group dedicated to rescuing Himalayan Persian cats. They put him up for adoption online… and the rest is cat-fur history.
Joe Atherton of Nottinghamshire, England, grows carrots in plastic tubes more than 20 feet long, each one filled with nutrient-rich compost and positioned so they lie at an angle of about 45 degrees to ensure proper drainage. In September 2007, Atherton carefully extracted one of those tube-grown carrots, being careful not to break its long, fragile root. That particular carrot had been growing for 14 months: Atherton had extended its growing season beyond the usual two or three months by regularly nipping off any seed buds that appeared on it, thereby preventing it from going to seed. Result: the carrot was 19 feet, 1.875 inches long. It’s the current record holder for “longest carrot in the world.”
When your world revolves around school, the real bad guy of the drama is the bully. And so it was with ‘80s teen movies, and there were a lot of ‘80s teen movies. Not all bullies fit the exact formula, but there were many similarities that a majority shared. Uproxx took the most common tropes used in teen movies from the ‘80s and crunched them into the ultimate stereotyped movie bully. I think you will agree with their conclusions. Now if we can get them to do the same with the jock, the cheerleader, the outsider, the nerd …well, we know who the nerd would be.
Acclaimed neurologist, author, and philosopher Oliver Sacks revealed earlier this year that he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The New York Times has announced his death this morning. Sacks wrote about neurological research in a way that the layman could not only understand, but that would spark deep thought into the meaning of mind and consciousness. He wrote about patients who displayed unusual abilities and disabilities of the brain, as in the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and neurological research, such as his discovery of the effects of L-dopa on the brains of catatonic patients in Awakenings, which was made into the 1990 film starring Robin Williams as Sacks.
His intellectual curiosity took him even further. On his website, Dr. Sacks maintained a partial list of topics he had written about. It included aging, amnesia, color, deafness, dreams, ferns, Freud, hallucinations, neural Darwinism, phantom limbs, photography, pre-Columbian history, swimming and twins.
“I am very tenacious, for better or worse,” he wrote in “A Leg to Stand On.” “If my attention is engaged, I cannot disengage it. This may be a great strength, or weakness. It makes me an investigator. It makes me an obsessional.”
The Times has more on Sacks' extraordinary life and work. Sacks died of cancer Sunday morning at his home in New York. He was 82.
(Image credit: © Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons)
See also: Our previous posts on Sacks.
Your cat would love to have a toy like this, with which he can use his agility and wits to bat a ball around inside a simple maze until he can get it out. You can make this yourself from a cardboard box with a knife, glue, and a ball. The “maze” part is just one cardboard strut inside that adds strength and makes the game more challenging for the cat. The tutorial is at meeoow.com. If your cat is like mine and would just pull the ball up with his claws, then you can easily replace it with a more slippery ball with no holes. I can think of other ways you can customize this to make it more difficult or more interesting, depending on what amuses your cat.
This project is from a list at Buzzfeed called 27 Brilliant Hacks Every Cat Owner Needs To Know.
A young man just wants to finish his drawing, but something isn’t quite coming together. It’s the boobs.
It was a dark and stormy night... pic.twitter.com/f5G0lmZTrt— PEANUTS (@Snoopy) July 30, 2013
For the 33rd year in a row, the English Department at San Jose State University has rewarded aspiring or otherwise writers for the worst opening line in a (non-existent) novel. The annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is named for Victorian novelist Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton who once began a book with the phrase “It was a dark and stormy night…” and cemented those words as a writing cliche. Congratulations to Dr. Joel Phillips of West Trenton, New Jersey, who won the top honor with this gem:
Seeing how the victim's body, or what remained of it, was wedged between the grill of the Peterbilt 389 and the bumper of the 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT, officer "Dirk" Dirksen wondered why reporters always used the phrase "sandwiched" to describe such a scene since there was nothing appetizing about it, but still, he thought, they might have a point because some of this would probably end up on the front of his shirt.
There were also runners-up recognized and winners in various categories such as horror, fantasy, romance, and children’s literature. Many “dishonorable mentions” are included on the winners’ page as well. A special categories recognizes “vile puns,” won by John Holmes of St. Petersburg, Florida.
Locals know it as Pinocchio Rock, because it's shaped like a proboscis, and lies at the edge of the cliff.
And more than one from the winner’s page paid tribute to Bulwer-Lytton’s famous line, like this dishonorable mention in the “Purple Prose” category:
The night was dark; which is a bit redundant, since night is by definition dark, unless it's a stormy night when lightning causes moments of brilliant light, or except in places like Norway or Alaska where summer nights can be pretty light, but still, most of the time when you say “night,” people are going to think “dark.” — Joseph E. Fountain, Fredericksburg, VA
In the Jim Crow era of the 20th century, landowners would not sell beachfront property on the Gulf coast to black investors or even families. Blacks were restricted from visiting any beach- except one. In 1923, Bishop Robert E. Jones of the Methodist Church established Gulfside Chatauqua and Camp Meeting Ground, later named Gulfside Assembly, on 316 acres on the coast near Waveland, Mississippi. It was a haven for local blacks and vacationing families from all over. Summer camps, church retreats, and seminars were held there for decades. The land was, in a stroke of cosmic karma, from the estate of President Andrew Jackson that came onto the market in 1922.
Luckily for Jones, however, his light skin and his position as a Methodist bishop took the question of race off the table. When he bought the property from John DeBlieux, a wealthy lumber mill owner who had once used the property as his family’s summer home, nobody thought to question whether he was black. Jones also secured the rights to a long-term lease of an adjacent 316-acre property from the state, but he ultimately didn’t develop the property, and it is now the site of the present-day Buccaneer State Park.
Yet the relative ease with which he secured the land for Gulfside didn’t mean that Jones was freed from having to make difficult — and controversial — compromises with the local white community as he began to develop it. “In order for them to remain viable … they had to accommodate white supremacy,” explains Andrew Kahrl, a University of Virginia history professor who wrote The Land Was Ours, a history of black beaches in America. That meant tightly controlling the movements of people visiting Gulfside by forbidding them from leaving the grounds; ensuring that people at the retreat, many of whom came from the North, obeyed the “racial etiquette” of the Deep South; and avoiding any provocation of Waveland’s white population. Alcohol and popular music were forbidden, as was sex, and activities were kept innocuous: Adolescents were taught to swim during the summers, and outdoor Bible study classes for families were held.
Gulfside was a respite and a place to socialize for victims of Jim Crow, and later became a meeting place for civil rights activists. The popularity of Gulfside suffered when blacks were finally able to enjoy beaches alongside whites, so the focus of the resort shifted to community development and elder care. Plans were made to open a retirement community at Gulfside, and a huge hotel was built to cater to the nearby state park and bring in some income. But mere days after the grand opening celebration, hurricane Katrina struck. Then the recession hit. Then there was the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Yet there are those who recall Gulfside’s heyday and are committed to saving the resort for future generations. Read the story of Gulfside Assembly's unique history at Buzzfeed.
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