Miss Cellania's Blog Posts

“BRAAAM!”: The Sound that Invaded the Hollywood Soundtrack

The sound is a bit reminiscent of a foghorn blast, but was actually recorded with brass instruments and piano. You heard it in the 2010 movie Inception, and in almost every movie trailer since then. It's known in the business as "BRAAAM!” How in the world did one discordant blast become so ubiquitous in Hollywood? A good bit of the credit goes to composer Hans Zimmer.

Part of it is the way his soundtracks are put together: Zimmer’s approach resembles the sampling we’re used to from pop music — themes are not simply repeated by musicians, but instead montaged by the composer. Over the last few decades Zimmer has created something of a cottage industry that churns out soundtracks at a Herculean clip: In 1989 he founded Media Ventures, which was later rechristened Remote Control Productions, a kind of soundtrack workshop where Zimmer and about forty collaborators crank out sample-based soundtracks that are largely created in-studio (their combined list of credits is too staggering to list here). If you’ve ever wondered why Batman Begins sounds like Pirates of the Caribbean, which sounds like The Da Vinci Code, Remote Control is the reason.

But that isn't the whole story. To understand, you need to know more about how Hollywood scores are designed, and how they evolved over the past few decades. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Kjell Reigstad)


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Total Awesome Viking Power

A group of people are role playing as Vikings. They are really into it, but Vidar just can't seem to get with the program. He gets a time out -as a dead man. And that's when things really get weird.

(YouTube link

The line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred when Viking deities are invoked. Odin doesn't care a bit about the boundaries between LARP groups. But is he really who he says he is? Vidar must determine what is real and what is role playing before he can achieve total awesome Viking power. This video honestly gets better as it goes along. -via Geeks Are Sexy


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RIP John Glenn

Combat veteran, Gemini astronaut, and Ohio senator, John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth. The Mercury astronaut took off in the Friendship 7 capsule on February 20, 1962, and spent four hours and 55 minutes orbiting the earth. But that was just what he's most famous for. In World War II,

He became a successful fighter pilot who ran 59 hazardous missions, often as a volunteer or as the requested backup of assigned pilots. A war later, in Korea, he earned the nickname "MiG-Mad Marine" (or "Old Magnet A — ," which he sometimes paraphrased as "Old Magnet Tail.")

"I was the one who went in low and got them," Glenn said, explaining that he often landed with huge holes in the side of his aircraft because he didn't like to shoot from high altitudes.

Glenn's public life began when he broke the transcontinental airspeed record, bursting from Los Angeles to New York City in three hours, 23 minutes and 8 seconds. With his Crusader averaging 725 mph, the 1957 flight proved the jet could endure stress when pushed to maximum speeds over long distances.

In New York, he got a hero's welcome — his first tickertape parade. He got another after his flight on Friendship 7.

That mission also introduced Glenn to politics. He addressed a joint session of Congress, and dined at the White House. He became friends with President Kennedy and ally and friend of his brother Robert. The Kennedys urged him to enter politics, and after a difficult few starts he did.

Later in life, Glenn spent 24 years as a senator representing Ohio. He ran for president in 1984. On October 29, 1998, he returned to space aboard the shuttle Discovery at age 77. John Glenn died Thursday at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

He was 95. Godspeed, John Glenn.

-via Metafilter


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Beard Lights for the Ultimate Hipster Christmas

Now that LEDs allow us to connect many more strings than traditional lights, and even run on tiny batteries, I'm always thinking, "Where else can I put Christmas lights?" The answer is: one's beard. I don't have one, but if you do, lighting it up may become a trend this Christmas.

East Village E20, London is providing a beard pimping service to gentlemen wanting to adorn themselves with the yuletide facial hair accessory. Taking place at their Christmas Makers Market on Sunday 11th December, the stand will allow every hirsute gentleman the chance to get in on the trend – and provide some much needed smiles after a year of very serious news.

See more beautiful beards all decked out for the holidays at Bored Panda.


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No One Eats Alone on Christmas Day

A Turkish restaurant in London called Shish put up this sign last month. The Muslim-owned business is reaching out to the homeless and elderly of the Sidcup neighborhood to ensure no one is alone all day for the holiday.

Hasan Masud, who works at Shish Restaurant, told BuzzFeed News: “We’re just helping people.” He said the team at Shish also wanted to open their doors to the elderly because “lots of people stay home alone for Christmas… They don’t need to. They can come here and have some fun.”

After a great response on social media, the restaurant upgraded the sign.

If the publicity gets the restaurant more business, it will only enable them to serve more free shish kebab on Christmas Day. Besides, the food looks awesome. -via Uproxx


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The Top 10 Saturday Night Live Christmas Skits

Want to get in the Christmas spirit? Saturday Night Live has been bring us Christmas skits for over 40 years now, and of course, some of them stay with us. You can relive some of the best of them: Eddy Murphy in Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood, Alec Baldwin in Schweddy Balls, The Lonely Island's Dick in a Box, Chevy Chase in Christmas at the White House, and more, as they are all embedded at TVOM.


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The Lighthouse

A lighthouse keeper stumbles on a surprising discovery that changes everything. The implications are disturbing, when you consider where he is and what he is supposed to be doing. You know, just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should. Or is this a psychotic break, brought on by isolation and monotony?

(vimeo link)

Simon Scheiber worked on this award-winning stop-motion short for seven years (we assume he also had a day job). It contains over 14,000 individual photographs and incredible details. See some photos from the making of The Lighthouse at its website. -via the Presurfer  


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Why do Dwarves Sound Scottish and Elves Sound Like Royalty?

When parents tell stories to their children, we get an image of fantasy creatures that's all our own.  Later we become more attuned to the pop culture depictions of them, like the elves from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the dwarves (or dwarfs) from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. But in 2016, mentions of these characters are most likely to make us think of Lord of the Rings. The movie version, where hobbits, orcs, elves, dwarves, and men all have their distinctive accents.

Throughout The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the reams of related histories Tolkien wrote about Middle Earth, he established whole societies, histories, and languages for a handful of races that still inform how they are depicted today. Elves are ancient, beautiful, and have pointy ears; dwarves are short, tough, and love to use axes; orcs are filthy brutes who live for destruction.

Of course the original readers couldn’t hear what Tolkien’s creatures sounded like, but the intense focus he placed on developing their languages gave people a pretty good idea. “Tolkien was a philologist,” says Olsen.“This is what he did. He studied language and the history of language and the changing of language over time.”

Tolkien would create languages first, then write cultures and histories to speak them, often taking inspiration from the sound of an existing language. In the case of the ever-present Elvish languages in his works, Tolkien took inspiration from Finnish and Welsh. As the race of men and hobbits got their language from the elves in Tolkien’s universe, their language was portrayed as similarly Euro-centric in flavor.

Tolkien was only partially responsible for the accents of his creations. He did establish that they sounded different from each other, but what those languages sound like changed over time as various interpreters added their own ideas. Did you know that Tolkien imagined dwarves sounding like Israelis? Read about the evolution of fantasy characters and how they speak at Atlas Obscura.   


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Who Inspired Elvis Presley's Haircut?

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

There have been many famous, legendary haircuts (for men) and hairdos (for women) in show business history. Well, we can start with the mop tops of the Beatles. Then we obviously drift over to the long hair, frizzly hair, shaved head of the respective three stooges- Moe, Larry, and Curly. (not to mention the split-in-the-middle part of Shemp). Alfalfa of the "Little Rascals" had his slicked-down cowlick, Harpo Marx had his curly blond locks, and Yul Brynner and Telly Savalas had their bald domes.

Veronica Lake had her "peek-a-boo" hairdo. The classic blonds include Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow. And let's not forget Lucille Ball's legendary carrot top.

But Elvis Presley's combed-back, ink-black, slickly-oiled, long-sideburned haircut is known all over the civilized (and uncivilized) world.

The earliest Elvis hairstyle was not the jet-black we are all so familiar with. One can watch and enjoy Elvis' earliest TV appearances from 1956 and even his first movie Love Me Tender from 1956 and notice his hair a slightly lighter, dark sandy-ish shade.

It wasn't until his second (and best) movie Loving You in 1957 (Elvis' first color film) that we see the extreme ebony hair that was to be become his trademark. Although the King's hair was actually snow-white by the end of his life, he routinely had it dyed black from '57 on out.

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The Imperial March Played on a Coffee Stick

One small piece of plastic is all Deita Meira needs to play a little tune we all know and love. Well, except me, because it's my ringtone, and no one calls unless they want something.

(YouTube link)

You can see that the secret is that the coffee stirrer is segmented, so once he figured out what notes they played, he worked on the pattern of the tune itself. You have to wonder what kind of boring job would lead to such a hobby. -via Tastefully Offensive


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YouTube Rewind: The Ultimate 2016 Challenge

YouTube has launched its annual end-of-the-year video, which is less a recap of the year's events as it once was, and is now more focused on the video platform's most viral personalities. In it, the YouTube stars of 2016 sing, dance, and act out a few memes.

(YouTube link)

I recognize John Green, PewDiePie, Casey Neistat, Trevor Noah, the Pineapple Pen guy, the Slow Mo Guys, Dwayne Johnson, James Corden, and Seth Meyers. And none of the others, although I've probably seen some of their videos. There's a full list of participants at the YouTube page. -via Laughing Squid 


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6 Unsettling Mysteries of the Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War saw the death of a half-million people between 1936 and 1939, but outside of Spain, it gets little space in history books because of World War II. That's also why many war crimes and shady dealings did not get proper documentation or an adequate investigation at the time. In the decades since, these mysteries remain. For example, what really happened to Dick Sheepshanks?

Dick Sheepshanks was a 27-year-old Reuters war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War, and his life was the stuff of a Hollywood blockbuster. Sheepshanks headed for Spain in 1937 with several other journalists to cover Franco’s Nationalists, but he was killed in December in the Republican shelling of the village of Cudete. When news of his death reached London, Sir Roderick Jones (who headed the Reuters News Agency and unknowingly shared a love interest with Sheepshanks) paid him all the tributes as befitted a national hero.

Then things get weird. According to some who had known him – including Jeanne Stourton, the aforementioned love interest – Sheepshanks had become suspicious of one of his fellow journalists, and the only one of the group to survive: Kim Philby. If that name sounds familiar, it’s for good reason – Philby went on to gain infamy as Britain’s most notorious traitor during the Cold War.

According to Stourton, Sheepshanks had grown increasingly suspicious of Philby’s motivations, and Philby took it upon himself to take Sheepshanks out of the picture. A comparison between eyewitness reports and photographic evidence has raised a number of unanswered questions, and it’s been suggested that Philby may have had a hand in the attack. What exactly happened to the Reuters journalists remains undetermined, and the death of Ernest Richard Sheepshanks has become a compelling Spanish Civil War mystery.

Read about five other such mysteries from the Spanish Civil War at Urban Ghosts.

(Image credit: Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau)


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It's a Pun

A simple joke at work sends a guy over the edge. But it works, because the best puns, even the ones at second-grade level, only work if they make you groan. In this case, it's not the pun itself that induces the groan, but our hero's struggle with it. It's the latest from Teo, Hugh, and Corey at It's the Tie comics. Don't miss the bonus panel at the comic link.  -via reddit


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16 Myths about Blindness

(YouTube link)

Some of the things you have heard all your life about blind people ain't necessarily true. It's possible you've never thought about those myths enough to bother checking them out, but now you can have the straight dope fed right to you, as mental_floss busts some misconceptions about being blind. Josh Sundquist (previously at Neatorama) is the guest host this week for the mental_floss List Show.


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Mapping the Year in Truck Spills

Here's a unique idea for a year-end list: the notable truck spills of 2016. Atlas Obscura has taken those news stories and plotted out an interactive map. Click on an icon (color coded for type of cargo) and pull up the story of that spill. This year saw truck spills that unloaded beer, soda, cheese, mail, pigs, potatoes, grease, animal guts, sewage, liquid dye, and more all over the highways. We've covered some of these stories; reading through them brings back memories, like that of the beer truck that collided with the Doritos truck in Florida, called "the couch potato's nightmare." Good times.


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A Star Wars Fan in the Philippines

This is a Star Wars story. Or, more specifically, a story of a young Star Wars fan. Did you ever know a kid who would wear a superhero costume or a tutu to school every day? Alex is that obsessed with a galaxy far, far away. The stormtrooper helmet is a dead giveaway.

(YouTube link)

This video is the result of a partnership between Filipino telecom Globe and Disney Southeast Asia. Maybe I should mention that you need to have a hankie ready for the rest of the story. (via reddit)


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ICEHOTEL 365

For 27 years, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, had a temporary hotel built out of ice that lasted from December through April. But now a new design will allow the hotel to remain open year round! The new ICEHOTEL 365 has concrete outer walls with pipes running through it to bring refrigeration to the ice that covers them, sustaining it through the summer by solar power.  

With an eye toward research, ICEHOTEL founder Yngve Bergqvist knows that Sweden will have shorter winters in the future. He also has had visitors every year asking if they could visit his creation during the summer and autumn months. It was important that ICEHOTEL become sustainable year-round, so the 2,100-square meter ice experience was designed and built. It now includes 11 art suites, 9 deluxe suites with private bathrooms and saunas, an ice gallery and an ice bar. In keeping with tradition, the structure was hand carved by global artists, hand selected for the project.

Read more about ICEHOTEL 365, and see lots of pictures at Money Inc.


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Zebra in a Snowstorm

This is a cute illustration of a zebra from Raynato Castro and Alex Culang at Buttersafe, but the story escalates quickly. You must always remember that apex predators have camouflage, too. Here's what a polar bear in a snowstorm looks like. Yeah, you can see him, but more importantly, he is looking directly at you, you delicious warm-blooded human.


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An Honest Trailer for Suicide Squad

We heard hype about the movie Suicide Squad for what seemed like years before it actually opened. It was teased for quite some time before I figured out it was a Batman movie -or at least took part in the Batman/DC Comics universe. It did not fulfill expectations. Screen Junkies had an easy assignment with this Honest Trailer.

(YouTube link)

In fact, Suicide Squad had plenty of problems that weren't apparent in the finished film, but they sure contributed. They threw everything but the kitchen sink into this film, and it didn't help. What they really needed was some lighting.   


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Helsinki in November

This sign was erected at the Messukeskus convention center to welcome visitors to the Slush  entrepreneurship convention, which was apparently a lot of fun. To belie the sign, the reddit thread is full of people telling what a great time they had when they visited or lived in Finland. Still, many suggest going in summer.

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Montreal Pileup

Winter is definitely here. A snowstorm in Montreal Monday left a super-slick surface on Côte du Beaver Hall, which is a steep street. Why hadn't they plowed or salted it yet? Because the snowplow is having trouble getting around, just like everyone else. This is what you call a "slippery slope."

(YouTube link)

I bet you were watching this video thinking of what could possibly be coming down the hill next. Digg has a second video that has live commentary in a colorful mixture of French and English.

Say it with me now: "A slippery slope on a super slick surface on a steep street."


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Five of the Top Stargazing Destinations in the World

Stargazing is good for the soul, but if you want to see the real glory of the cosmos above us, you need to get away from light pollution. And the clouds, of course. Just getting out of town is a good start, but if you want the view of a lifetime, you might think about planning your next vacation around the view of the stars at night. One place to see amazing stars capes is Chile.   

Chile may be known for being one of the driest places on earth, but it is also a destination known for great wine, great beaches and great skies. Described by many as an astronomers’ paradise, Chile is an ideal stargazing destination due to its lack of precipitation, clear skies and low-to-zero light pollution.  The near-perfect visibility gives stargazers crystal-clear views of Southern Hemisphere sky legends- including the Tarantula Nebula and the Fornax Cluster of galaxies. In fact, the northern part of the country experiences more than 200 cloudless nights each year!

When you’re there, don’t forget to visit renowned astronomical observation sites such as the Paranal Observatory- home to the Very Large Telescope (the largest in the world), and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, the world’s most powerful radio telescope.

Read about other awesome stargazing locations at Money Inc.


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An Incident of Respect

The battleship USS Missouri, commissioned in 1944, is famous as the site of the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender that ended World War II. Earlier, under the command of Captain William M. Callaghan, the ship had been attacked by a Japanese Zero piloted by a kamikaze attacker. On April 11, 1945, the fighter plane came in at a low angle, as you can see in the image above, and crashed across the deck.

Even as antiaircraft fire hit the plane, the plane hit the ship. The ship’s baker, Len Schmidt, captured the terrifying millisecond right before impact on camera. An explosion could have killed hundreds. Instead, what foxhole converts call a miracle – historians call it wartime’s dumb luck – intervened: the bomb fell off the plane before impact. The hit barely made a dent, although it did start a gasoline fire. The Japanese pilot was the only casualty. Half his body fragmented, scattering on deck; the other half sank into the sea with his plane.

With the special fury sitting-duck sailors expressed for these flying suicide bombers, crew members prepared to wash their enemy’s body into the sea. Then in a decisive, life-defining, incredibly decent move, Captain Callaghan said “No.” He decided to see past the fearsome façade, and honor the fearlessness—and fealty—this boy demonstrated.  Callaghan ordered that the body be brought to sick bay “and we'll have a burial for him tomorrow.”

Callaghan explained to his crew that they were not honoring the enemy, but instead a fellow warrior who had done his duty and given his life for his country. Read about the incident and the funeral at sea at The Daily Beast. -via Metafilter


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The Hammer Museum

Haines, Alaska, has a population of 2,508 people, but the town boasts five museums. One of them is the Hammer Museum. It's a museum dedicated to hammers. There are more than 2,000 hammers on display, for every use you can imagine, including historical hammers and the 20-foot-tall hammer that stands outside.

The museum also holds special events like the Art & Hammer series and the annual Blacksmithing Workshop. The Hammer Museum is open from May through September, so make your summer road trips plans accordingly. Meanwhile, you can explore the museum through Facebook and Instagram. -Thanks, John Farrier!


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PJ McQuade's Pop Culture Christmas Cards for 2016

Artist PJ McQuade (previously at Neatorama) has unveiled his new pop culture Christmas cards! From Die Hard to Lord of the Rings, there's at least one that will tickle your fancy. More likely, you'll have trouble selecting among them.

These original artworks feature your favorite movie and TV characters in quirky holiday scenes. They are sure to stand out among all those generic cards displayed on the mantle. Continue reading to see more of them.

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English for Beginners

Get your hankies out, this is a sweet story about a Polish man learning to speak English. It's two steps forward and one step back, which gives us some funny moments, but he is determined to communicate in English. Contains a very little NSFW language.

(YouTube link)

This is an ad for Allegro. It took some digging to find out what they sell. It's a buying site, sort of a Polish eBay. -via reddit


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World's Oldest Bell Foundry to Close

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London made Big Ben, the Liberty Bell, and the Bells of St. Mary's. It has sent bells all over the world since the business opened in 1570. The foundry has been at the same Whitechapel location since 1783. But now owners Alan and Kathryn Hughes have announced that they will no longer take new orders, and the firm will close down next May.

It has been several centuries since the boom years of bell making, yet the foundry has found ways of adapting to modern times by making traditional doorbells, popular among people restoring Victorian properties.

The Downton effect has seen a third of its business exported overseas.

However, quality craftsmanship takes time. The average time from enquiry to order is 11 years, and the longest commission in the foundry’s history took 100 years to produce.

Order to installation takes another year, and a major project could cost as much as £250,000 to produce.

It's still possible that someone else will purchase the equipment and keep producing bells at another location. Read more about the oldest bell foundry in the world at the Telegraph. -Thanks, John Farrier!

(Image credit: ceridwen)


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Dark Tourism: A Trip to Slaughterhouse-Five

Neatorama is proud to bring you a guest post from Andrew Egan, writing for Tedium, a twice-weekly newsletter that hunts for the end of the long tail.

(Image credit: Adam Jones)

Historic sites are often huge draws for tourists, even when the history is tough to discuss. Just don’t expect to find the darkest topics in a travel guide.

Governments, or more specifically, their tourism boards are usually enthusiastic to promote any noteworthy site or event possible. This has lead to more than a few missteps, of course. Like the recent ”Syria: Always Beautiful" campaign touting the country’s beaches. Come for the Mediterranean scenery, please ignore the raging civil war. This eagerness to encourage tourism makes certain decisions particularly interesting. Denying or restricting access, or even failing to promote something significant, is lost revenue. In some instances, the reasons for doing so are practical, as with Chernobyl or any number of active government buildings. With others, it’s a matter of taste and dignity. I doubt the German Tourism Board will launch a million-euro campaign touting tours of the country’s concentration camps. Today we head to Germany to look at why we get to see some things, but not others.

A million and a half people visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in 2014. After some research (along with a fair amount of estimation) and back-of-the-envelope math, concentration camps add some $100 million annually to the economies of Germany and Poland.


Me standing at the entrance of Slaughterhouse-Five. I never know what to do with my hands in pictures.
(Image credit: Danilo Hommel)

How is access to historically significant sites determined?

World War II tourism is a big money-maker. While admission to Auschwitz is free, guided tours begin at 25 euros per person. Keeping in mind other notable sites, such as the Normandy beaches, Buchenwald, or Dunkirk, and the money flowing from tourists is substantial.

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Smells in the Workplace

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research, now in all-pdf form. Get a subscription now for only $25 a year!

(Image credit: Drew Fairweather at Toothpaste for Dinner)

Research about business and business-like odors
compiled by Grover Dunn, Improbable Research staff

Corporeal Porosity in Office Work
“Smell Organization: Bodies and Corporeal Porosity in Office Work,” Kathleen Riach and Samantha Warren, Human Relations, epub October 9, 2014. The authors, at Monash University, Australia, and the University of Essex, UK, explain:

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Literal Bohemian Rhapsody

Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" has been turned into a hardboiled crime noir film. You already know the plot. You probably already know the entire script. But you'll want to watch anyway.  

(YouTube link)

This movie has no soundtrack because there's one playing in your head already. It ends before the songs does, but few viewers seem to have realized that so far.  -via Digg


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Profile for Miss Cellania

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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