Miss Cellania's Blog Posts

The Running Testicle

Over 38,000 runners participated in the London Marathon today, including celebrities, a couple who got married during the race, and quite a few who were raising money or awareness for various causes. There were also plenty of people in costume, whether they represented a charity, advertised a sponsor, or were just trying to draw attention. Jack Woodward, shown here, ran for the Male Cancer Awareness Campaign. See a collection of 17 costumed runners in the London Marathon at Buzzfeed.


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Best Astronaut Portrait Ever

Leland Devon Melvin posed for his official NASA portrait with his dogs Jake and Scout! You can see they were excited about it. More pictures were taken after the dogs calmed down. Melvin was an NFL player until injuries ended his career, then an astronaut, flying on two shuttle missions to the ISS, until hearing failure grounded him. Melvin still works with NASA, and with several organizations to promote STEM education. Besides all that, he’s a photographer, snowboarder, and dog lover. -via Daily of the Day

(Image credit: NASA)


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What Each State Has More of than Others

What does your state have more of than other states per capita? This map has some superlative for each of the 50 states, some of which are kind of surprising (Georgia, Texas), others not so much (Utah, Kentucky). Of course, every state is tops at something, but many states are tops at several things. In those cases, Estately selected the most provocative thing to label a state. They posted a list of source links for each superlative, in case you can’t believe them. See, Georgia is not overrun with pandas, but Zoo Atlanta has seven living there now, and no other state in the U.S. can match that.  -via Daily of the Day


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30 Days Without Sugar

(YouTube link)

Three people take the challenge to give up sugar for a month -which also includes giving up artificial sweeteners and honey. These are folks who drank soda all day, so it was not easy, but it was a life-changing experience. Do you think you could survive a month without sugar?

My daughter went on the Daniel fast a couple of years ago, which was three weeks of no sugar, meat, dairy, fried food, or processed grains. It was difficult shopping for such a diet, because when you read ingredients, everything in the store has added sugar! Even in the health food section, you see “dehydrated organic cane syrup,” which is a euphemism for sugar. I still don’t understand why a can of kidney beans has sugar in it. But she managed it, and learned to love a variety of fruits and vegetables along the way (she learned to cook, too). Two years later, she still eats healthily, and I keep a never-ending seasonal fruit bowl for the whole family to enjoy.

-via Buzzfeed

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Christina in Red

The picture above looks like it is part of a particularly artful fashion shoot at the beach. You might be surprised to know that this color photograph was taken in 1913 -over a hundred years ago!    

Mervyn O'Gorman was 42 when he took these pictures of his daughter, Christina O'Gorman at Lulworth Cove, in the English county of Dorset. He photographed Christina wearing a red swimming costume and red cloak, a colour particularly suited to the early color Autochrome process.

Autochrome was one of the first colour photo technologies, which used glass plates coated in potato starches to filter pictures with dye.

O’Gorman wasn’t even a professional photographer. This is one of a collection of family photographs he took. You can see more the photos at Mashable, including one of Christina wearing a hoodie that looks as if it could have been taken yesterday. -via Metafilter


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Owl Dances on Guy’s Head

(YouTube link)

An eagle owl in Noordeinde, the Netherlands, swoops down and lands on a guy’s head. He must not know the guy, or else why would he be constantly asking, “Who?” But he puts on a show for a bunch of photographers there, with a little dance as he’s perched on the man’s head! -via Daily Picks and Flicks


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What Aussies Know About America

Buzzfeed had Australians fill out a little quiz about America. We can’t expect people from other countries to know all the stuff about the U.S.A. that we know, but the Aussies did their best. When they couldn’t think of an answer, they always had something entertaining ready. In naming presidents, quite a few took a shortcut and said George Bush x2, which got them most of the way to three. Other answers were Jed Bartlett, Bill Pullman, and Donald Trump. The overwhelming opinion is that fast food is our biggest export, and the First Amendment must have something to do with guns. See them all here.  


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What if Man of Steel was IN COLOR?

(YouTube link)

The 2013 Superman movie Man of Steel was in color, alright, but it was muted and dark, trying to emulate the look of The Dark Knight. But what works for Batman doesn’t necessarily work for Superman. VideoLab adjusted the colors to look more like the real world, which makes a real difference, don’t you think? At least its much easier for someone with less-than-optimal eyesight to follow.  -via b3ta


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90-year-old Pilot Still Going Strong

Photo: Caters News Agency / Caters News Facebook page

Paddy Elliot of Birmingham, UK, recently celebrated his 90th birthday, and also his medical certification to continue flying his plane! He’s been a pilot for decades, although he only took up flying when he retired at 64.

After 50 years he retired from Rover cars and finally got the chance to live the dream, gaining a private pilot’s licence in 1988.

“I spend every second I can spare up in the skies. It’s a truly unique feeling to be up there looking down on the world.

“It’s given me perspective but more importantly it’s kept me young. I may be 90 but it certainly doesn’t feel like that.”

Elliot flies at least three times a week, and flew to France for lunch last week. To keep his license, he must pass a medical certification every two years, and recently got the all-clear to keep flying for another two years. Read more about the amazing flying nonagenarian and see a video of Elliot in action. It just goes to show that you’re never too old to take up something new.


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Top 10 Cat Superpowers!

(YouTube link)

Chris Poole’s cats Cole and Marmalade illustrate how they are better than everyone. In fact, they have super powers! Of course; all cats do.

As an aside, every time I hear about Cole and Marmalade, that song goes through my mind: “Cole and Marmalade for tea, sailing ships upon the sea…” -via Tastefully Offensive

See more from Cole and Marmalade.

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

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13 Secrets of Ice Cream Science

(Image credit: Jacob Thomas)

As a kid growing up in Waterbury, Vermont, Kirsten Schimoler was a regular on the Ben & Jerry’s factory tour. Now, after getting a food science degree from Cornell University, she’s moved back to her hometown and taken her dream job on Ben & Jerry’s research and development team, where she helps think up, develop, taste, and perfect every flavor that comes out of the company kitchen.

1. THERE’S A REASON BEN & JERRY’S FLAVORS ARE SO RICH

It’s partly because co-founder Ben Cohen has anosmia, or almost no sense of smell. If he couldn’t taste a recipe, he just added more flavoring!

2. THE R&D DEPARTMENT IS ULTRA ELITE

Schimoler is one of just three food scientists on staff. The remaining four members of the team come from culinary backgrounds. (One of them has the title “primal ice cream therapist.”) Together they launch about five flavors each year.

3. A FLAVOR CAN TAKE MORE THAN A YEAR TO DEVELOP

The average development cycle of a basic pint is about 12 to 14 months, but there have been occasions where Schimoler nailed a flavor on the first try. “Other times,” she says, “you’re on iteration 10 and still wondering if it’s going to work.” Which is exactly what happened with Liz Lemon Greek Frozen Yogurt, one of the few products where the name came before the flavor. “They knew they wanted to do a Liz Lemon flavor but didn’t know what they wanted it to be. We looked at so many different lemon flavors.” At the other end of the spectrum, Schweddy Balls, inspired by Alec Baldwin’s SNL skit, got to market in a record four months.

4. MOST FLAVORS START WITH THE SAME BASE

Continue reading

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At the First Rock Festival, Pianos Fell From the Sky

In April of 1968, an outdoor rock concert by Country Joe and the Fish was punctuated by a helicopter dropping a piano from the sky. Talk about a special effect! Several thousand people were there in Duvall, Washington, to witness the event. Who came up with such an idea? That would be Gary Eagle and Larry Van Over. The alternative newspaper the Helix promoted it.  

Having the “Helix” in his camp gave Van Over the modest amount of seed money he’d need to purchase a used piano ($25) and rent a helicopter (that cost another $100). Details are sketchy, but by that morning, people were starting to stream in by the thousands, clogging narrow Cherry Valley Road for miles leading to what became known as Jug’s Ravine. Fortunately, Country Joe and the Fish had arrived early (“I remember being there, but I don’t remember driving there,” says McDonald), which allowed them to set up their amplifiers and instruments on the makeshift stage that had been set up steps from the rear end of the band’s equipment truck. Sometime around 1 p.m., the Fish began their set.

Meanwhile, Van Over decided it would be a good time to drop a hit of acid, since all he had to do that day was pay the helicopter pilot at Boeing Field the hundred bucks he had brought along for this solemn purpose, and then hop into the chopper’s cockpit for the 20-miles-as-the-crow-flies flight back to Duvall.

“It was kind of a wild ride—I was pretty disconnected,” Van Over allows. “And by the time we got out there, there were 3,000 people underneath us, which made the pilot very nervous. He hadn’t expected that. He said, ‘I can’t fly over these people with a piano,’ and I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘Because it’s dangerous!’ And I said, ‘They’ll part like the Red Sea the minute you come over the hill with that piano hanging underneath you.’ I got out, he hooked up the piano, and when he picked it up and started flying over the crowd, they just split, like in the movies. It was really a wonderful scene.”

Collectors Weekly spoke to Country Joe McDonald, instigators Eagle and Van Over, and Helix editor Paul Dorpat about the spectacular stunt that made big outdoor outdoor rock concerts a thing. You can read the whole story there.   


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Jake, the Lamb with Five Legs

Photos: Caters News Agency / Caters News Facebook page

A new lamb was born in Wales last week with five legs: two in the rear and three up front. It might be tempting to relish an extra “leg of lamb” from this lamb, but that won’t be happening.

Bethan Davies, who runs Rhiwlas Farm, where Jake was born, at Llanwddyn, North Wales, said he will be spared a trip to the butcher and stay with her as a pet.

She said: “The plan would normally be that he would go into the food chain but we’ve decided we’re going to keep him as a bit of a farm mascot.

“We’ve named him Jake, like Jake the peg with his extra leg – we couldn’t call him anything else really.”

I looked that up, it’a reference to a 1965 comedy song by Australian comedian Rolf Harris. Jake the lamb is a week old and his leg appears to be complete and functioning. He should do well with it. See more pictures at Caters News.

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

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Helicopter Parenting

Chris Early of Knoxville, Tennessee, has made the term “helicopter parenting” quite literal, when he used his new video production drone to remotely watch his daughter walk to school without her knowledge.

A few weeks ago Chris's eight-year-old daughter Katie asked to walk to school on her own. Chris said, "She said you're not going to come watch me, but I had another idea."

He got out his drone and took video of her on the way to school. Early says, "I could see other people looking up and I'm sure Katie was just like aw it's my dad."

Katie goes out and flies the drone with her dad. So what does she thinks of that ? Katie says, "I was like oh wow! He didn't tell me so I was pretty surprised."

Yeah, my kids were pretty surprised to find out that I was driving around the neighborhood the first time they walked home from school alone, but that was years after the fact. Now, if my parents had been able to see where I was going and what I was doing as a child, it might have driven them into an early grave. -via The Mary Sue

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Redesigning the World's Most Remote Human Settlement

Tristan da Cunha, in the middle of the southern Atlantic Ocean, is the world’s most remote human settlement. The nearest big city is Cape Town, South Africa, which is 1750 miles away. The 270 inhabitants of the island live a slow-paced life without much of the modern connectivity the rest of us are used to. Ships bring scientists and tourist to the island, but not very many of them.

Only trouble is, life there isn’t very sustainable. The island—battered by high winds, rough seas and occasional volcanic activity—grows its own potatoes and lobster, but otherwise relies heavily on outside resources. (The fishing company that operates the lobster processing plant provides diesel-powered generators, which are the sole supply of electrical power, and bottled gas is shipped in for cooking and heating.) The European Union has funded some electricity and water upgrades, but residents want to become more self-reliant. And so, in honor of the 200th anniversary (in 2016) of the island’s occupation by the British, which led to its permanent settlement, the local government has teamed up with the Royal Institute of British Architects to host a design competition with sustainability in mind.

Do you have any great ideas for sustainable architecture and energy sources for the island? The particular needs for the people of Tristan da Cunha are explained in an article at Smithsonian.  

(Image credit: michael clarke stuff)


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I'm So Broke

(YouTube link)

Well, just how broke are you? Sometimes it helps to put things in perspective if you want to see the big picture. Yeah, I know, the fact that other people have it worse -and there’s always someone who has it worse- doesn’t mean you don’t have a money problem. But not being able to afford a large frappuccino isn’t a problem, as College Humor points out in this video. -via Tastefully Offensive


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101 (More) Amazing Facts

(YouTube link)

You’ve surely noticed how John Green runs through information as fast as he can in the mental_floss List Show -trying to cram as much knowledge into one video as possible. This week he kicks it into high gear with 101 bits of trivia on all kinds of subjects. You’ve been warned! That said, you can find out more about many of these fascinating facts in Neatorama posts, such as the Great Emu War, rabbit show jumping, and Norway’s knighted penguin. Just enter the topic into the search bar in the upper right of this page.


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The First Blood Transfusion

Experiments in transferring blood between animals occurred as early as the 1660s, back when people really had no idea of what was in blood, or how it differed between individuals. In 1667, a transfusion of blood into a human was proposed, but since the donor usually died in the animal experiments, it was decided to use the blood of a sheep.

But the choice of a human recipient was more difficult. The Royal Society needed someone who was clearly unwell in some way: then they could make the argument that transfusion might improve his health. They also sought an educated person who could report reliably on transfusion’s effects on his body. Ultimately, they settled on Arthur Coga, mentally unstable, but educated—he knew Latin, and had spent some time as a clergyman. Coga’s mental illness might be cured by transfusion; yet it tended to render him unfit to report on the bodily experience of the procedure. The experiment was troubled from the start.

The procedure was carried out, but appeared to be a failure because 1. Coga’s mental health did not improve, and 2. the public ridiculed the experiment. There was even a play written that mocked those early experiments. These factors set the research back greatly (as did a murder in France), but the fact remains that Coga survived the procedure, which is astonishing in light of what we’ve learned about blood since that time. Read the story of the first transfusion at JSTOR Daily. -via Digg


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Crow Trolls Cat

This poor cat. He’s up a tree with an annoying crow giving him what for. The crow knows he’s got the advantage of being able to fly if the tree branch breaks under both of them. This video out of Russia may illustrate revenge, karma, bullying, or maybe life imitating art. The Daily Dot pegs it:  

It’s pretty much straight out of a Looney Tunes cartoon, minus the whistle and cymbal crash that accompany smacks to the head.

(YouTube link)

Yes, but the music chosen to accompany this video is a hoot in its own way.

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

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Oreo Trick Shots

(YouTube link)

How many way can you dunk an Oreo into a glass of milk? The sky is the limit! Peter Bamforth has a steady hand, an understanding of basic physics, and a seemingly unlimited supply of Oreo cookies. This video has some very impressive shots, but you have to wonder how many outtakes there are. That’s gotta be a lot of crumbled cookies and spilled milk, but a viral video is nothing to cry over. -via Time


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Ultimate Drone Save

(YouTube link)

A proper drone that can carry a camera is expensive, and so is the camera. Photographer Ryan Chatfield almost lost his in the ocean off Perth, Australia. Almost. The camera was working fine when Chatfield noticed the drone was inexplicably losing altitude. Quick thinking and a fast run saved the day, seconds before disaster. -via Daily Picks and Flicks


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In 1851, A Man Picked Two Unpickable Locks and Changed Security Forever

In the 1770s, master locksmith Joseph Bramah made quite a few improvements to the security of locks. He was so confident in his inventions that he issued a challenge, written on the lock above: “The artist who can make an instrument that will pick or open this lock shall receive 200 Guineas the moment it is produced.” Another locksmith named Jeremiah Chubb issued a challenge with his own lock, featuring his own innovations. Those two challenges stood against every attempt for a long time -until The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London.

One of the attendees was A. C. Hobbs, an American locksmith. Back in the states, Hobbs had made a name for himself by showing bank managers that their locks could be easily picked, and convincing them to buy one of his. Hobbs was selling lots of locks this way.

On day one of the exhibition, Hobbs publicly announced that he would pick the Chubb detector lock—the one that stops working if you pick it incorrectly.

Hobbs managed to unlock both locks! Gizmodo has the story of how he did it, and how his feat affected the security business ever since.  -via the Presurfer


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What’s My Starbucks Name?

Try giving your name to Starbucks and see how they mangle it at the generator What’s My Starbucks Name? Created by Justin Hook (or Jolina, as the generator called him), it is a joke based on a couple of sites that document misspellings of names at Starbucks.



You can give them a second chance by clicking “That’s not what I ordered.”

As you can see, there is no getting my name right, but did they have to be so snarky?  -via Laughing Squid


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Batman and Superman Discuss the New Teaser Trailer

Superman and Batman are enjoying a coffee break together and discuss the finer points of the new teaser trailer that’s got everyone so enraptured. Do they get along? Like siblings!

(YouTube link)

This is from the folks at How It Should Have Ended. -via Tastefully Offensive


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Elvis Presley, the Voracious Reader

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

The old adage about never judging a book by its cover has no corollary about not judging a reader by his books. Love him or hate him, worship him or detract from him, we can all agree on one thing: Elvis Presley was a strange, unique, fascinating character, a one-in-a-lifetimer, and his choice of reading material mirrors his own fascinating persona.

Larry Geller, who for many years was Elvis' main supplier of books and reading material, estimates that Elvis read over a thousand books on philosophy, and esoteric and spiritual teachings. For many years, Elvis traveled with two trunks full of books (as many as 300) so that he could read when he felt like it, when he was away from home.

Of all the countless facts about Elvis Presley that made up his storied life, possibly the least-widely known, both to the general public and to his ardent fans, was the fact that The King was a voracious reader and lifelong lover of books.

Graceland archives include Elvis' library card from the Tupelo Public Library from when he was 13. This was despite the fact that the church to which his mother belonged, the First Assembly of God, taught that no other book than the Bible should be read.

In the fifth grade, Elvis learned by heart Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem “Crossing the Bar" and the Gettysburg Address. Through the school years, Elvis read fairy tales and biographies of famous Americans and adventurers.

Famously, in his youth Elvis loved reading comic books. He was a fervent devotee of super-hero Captain Marvel (Elvis' later trademark jet-black hairstyle with the curl in front is eerily similar to Captain Marvel's coif, although Elvis credits it's inception to actor Tony Curtis). He never was to part with book of George Price cartoons his father gave him for his 14th birthday.

Continue reading

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Singing in an MRI

(YouTube link)

Normally, you have to stay absolutely still during an MRI, but in this research scan, scientists wanted to study the movements of the head and throat muscles during singing. The overall goal of the research is to see if singing in a group chorus can help people in retirement homes build stronger voices. To do this at all, a team of an electrical engineers developed a scanner that would record 100 frames a second -ten times the normal rate. Enjoy this volunteer singing an appropriate song, and then go to mental_floss to read about the research involved.


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Quadruple Rainbow

It’s a good thing the Double Rainbow Guy wasn’t around for this, or he’d have been totallyoverwhelmed in a paroxysm of rapture. Amanda Curtis took a picture of a quadruple rainbow! She spotted it on her morning commute from Long Island into New York Tuesday. You should take a look at the Twitter post just for all the news outlets immediately asking for permission to use it. Although we haven’t seen any other pictures with this many rainbows, New Yorkers did get quite a few lovely rainbow pictures, which you can see at Mashable.


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Pie to the Face Game

(YouTube link)

A man plays Pie Face with his grandson. The game is a bit like Russian Roulette, but the worst that can happen is you could get whipped cream thrown on your face. It’s a simple slice of life, but the laughter of these two is so infectious, it will leave you with a smile on your face! Original video by Sharon Boswell Obrien. -via Daily Picks and Flicks

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Scientists at Work Make Us All Envious

Did someone ever tell you -possibly in school- that science is boring? Maybe parts of it can be, but real scientists get to experience things the rest of the world can only marvel at. After you’ve spent years sitting in class, the payoff is when you get to study our beautiful Earth up close and personal.

On Monday, zoologist Michelle Jewell proposed that scientists share photographs of their field work, and the response has been awesome. I picked out a few of my favorites to share here, but there are plenty more, and they are still rolling in at Twitter. You can see them all under the Twitter hashtag #BestFieldWorkPic.  -via The Daily Dot


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Homemade Mini BB-8 Droid

Everyone is quite taken with the new-style droid from the forthcoming film Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. It just looks so cool with its little head balancing atop a rolling ball body!  Industrial designer Christian Poulsen saw it as a challenge. After seeing a video of the 3D version on stage at Star Wars Celebration, he decided to make one -in only a day.

(YouTube link)

How did he get the head to stay on while the body rolled around? Magnets. The secret here is that he started with a Sphero ball, which is a robotic ball controlled by phone apps. The device inside is weighed so that it doesn’t roll with the ball.
    
Poulsen posted a tutorial on the process, in case you want to make your own. But if you are not so technically-inclined, Sphero is teasing the story that it will make a BB-8 to sell. -via the A.V. Club


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Profile for Miss Cellania

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