Savannah the cheetah and her companion Max the dog have a run in the snow at the Cincinnati Zoo. They've been friends since they were both babies. We first featured Savannah when she was just seven weeks old. We also featured her and Max together as youngsters. Now that both are full grown, they are still having the time of their lives together! -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Neatorama readers already know about North Sentinel Island and Pripyat, but they are far from the only "forbidden" areas of the world. Oddee has ten more that you might want to see, but you cant. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see the cave painting as Lasceaux up close and personal? Ain't gonna happen.
The caves, which have been banned to the public since 1963, have been menaced in recent years by a series of unexplained, and only partially controlled, fungal invasions. Any human presence in the caves is regarded as potentially destructive. Normally, they are entered only once a week by one security guard for a few minutes at a time.
"Mbube" by Solomon Linda And The Evening Birds 1939
In 1939, Solomon Linda was a young Zulu herdsman and singer who had moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, to make his fortune. His singing group, the Evening Birds, recorded a song he made up on the spot called "Mbube." As was the custom at the time, he sold the song to the recording studio for about ten shillings. Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds played music locally for years and received some acclaim for the song's later worldwide success -but no money.
"Wimoweh" by The Weavers and the Gordon Jenkins Orchestra 1952
Pete Seeger got a scratchy copy of the tune in 1949 and rewrote it as "Wimoweh," a song recorded by his band The Weavers in 1952 and in 1955. Seeger thought the original tune was a folk song, with no original author. The Tokens recorded the song as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in 1961, which became the biggest hit version of the song so far (there have been many other cover versions). Meanwhile, Solomon Linda died in South Africa in poverty in 1962. His wife and six children could not afford a headstone for his grave for many years afterward.
"Wimoweh" by The Weavers 1955
When Seeger learned of Solomon Linda, he arranged for his songwriting royalties to go to Linda's family. However, Seeger simply sent checks as he received the money, and after the funds were filtered through a charitable trust and a South African lawyer who did not keep records, the Linda family only received small pittances every so often. Meanwhile, the success of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" kicked off a dramatic battle between various rights holders of the original tune -none of whom had creative input, but as the various rights to the song had been sold and resold, everyone wanted a piece of the action.
The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens 1961
In 1994, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was included in the movie The Lion King, which resulted in $15 million more in sales. Then in 2000, South African journalist Rian Malan wrote a story for Rolling Stone magazine that recounted the story of "Mbube," and how Solomon Linda never saw any profits from his creation. The article led to a documentary and then a lawsuit, in which the song's copyright was reverted to Linda's heirs. Only then did Linda's family begin to receive regular proceeds from the song their father wrote over 60 years earlier. You can read the article in its entirety, with a 2003 update, at Longform. -via Metafilter
You can't live on Jack Daniels alone, Pally. -Frank Sinatra, 1962
When Sinatra dies, they're giving his zipper to the Smithsonian. -Dean Martin
Countless things have been said about Frank Sinatra, and why not? Frank was the legend of legends, the biggest star in show business, "Old Blue Eyes" himself, the original "swinger," the world's greatest singer, an awesome Oscar-winning actor, fighter, bon vivant, two-fisted drinker, manic/depressive, insomniac, leader of the Rat Pack. Oh yes, and the world's most successful ladies man.
It's tough to conjure up one line to define someone as multi-faceted as Frank Sinatra, but if you tried, it may have been "He loved women and women loved him."
"He had sex on the brain," says Nanci Venturi, who knew Frank from his early day. "He would make love to anyone who came along."
According to friend Joey D'Orazio, Frank confided to him, "I just want to make it with as many women as I can."
These quotes and the basic picture we all have of Frankie the swinger may all, indeed, be true. But like most of us, Frank Sinatra had both Jeckyll and Hyde sides. Yes, he did have women on the brain, like almost all men. A common Sinatra phrase while hanging out with his pals in the lounge of the Sands hotel in Las Vegas was, "We're all men sitting there. Where are the broads?"
Okay, what did Frank Sinatra look for in a woman? "A sense of humor," he once answered, but later in the same conversation, he gave this fascinating elaboration: "I'm supposed to have a PhD on the subject of women, but the truth is, I've flunked more often than not. I'm very fond of women; I admire them. But like all men, I don't understand them."
Although the common perception of Sinatra would probably be of the ultimate skirt-chaser who scored with countless females, from the world-famous to the obscurely anonymous, Frank definitely has a more refined side. "Make her feel appreciated, make her feel beautiful," he once advised.
Lori Koch and her husband went to see their 5-year-old daughter Claire perform in the kindergarten Christmas program. She had no idea that Claire was going to sign all the songs, so that her deaf parents could follow along! They recorded her animated performance on video. The internet noticed.
Koch told Yahoo News in an email that she wasn't expecting her daughter to sign during the performance. "The regular kids used generic hand motions while my daughter chose to use sign language, to our surprise," she said.
Koch told Yahoo News that she can read lips, speak and sign, while her husband, who is also deaf, uses only sign language. "ASL is the first language in our home, so our daughter has been exposed to it since birth," she said.
Apparently the school did not know what Claire was planning, either, or they would have put her in the front row. She did a wonderful job! -via Daily Picks and Flicks
To continue their quest to get folks to buy gooshy noms for their cats, Friskies has released a full-length song about cats and Christmas. The music video stars Oskar the blind cat, Grumpy Cat, Colonel Meow, and other internet celebricats. The song is available for download at iTunes.
To maintain the company's dignity at least a little, they use the term "wet cat food" instead of "gooshy noms." Friskies is donating one can of gooshy noms to pet shelters for each YouTube view up to 500,000. Of course, that means they were already prepared to donate a half-million cans, and the count will reach that easily before the end of the week. -via Viral Viral Videos
This new holiday-themed couch gag puts The Simpsons at the North Pole, getting ready for Santa's Christmas toy delivery. Watch for the Festivus Pole and Edna Krabappel as an angel. The sequence will be shown this weekend in the new episode "White Christmas Blues." -via Tastefully Offensive
Hey look! It's time for our collaboration with the wonderful What Is It? Blog! Do you know what the object in this picture is? It doesn't really matter if you do, because we are looking for the funniest guesses. You can win a t-shirt from the NeatoShop! But first, read the rules:
Place your guess in the comment section below. One guess per comment, please, though you can enter as many as you'd like. Post no URLs or weblinks, as doing so will forfeit your entry. Two winners who submit funny and/or clever (albeit ultimately wrong) answers will each win a T-shirt from the NeatoShop.
If you guess the correct answer, you'll get a big pat on the back.
Please write your T-shirt selection alongside your guess. If you don't include a selection, you forfeit the prize, okay? May we suggest the Science T-Shirt, Funny T-Shirt and Artist-Designed T-Shirts?
See more pictures of this item at the What Is It? Blog. Good luck!
Stuart Ashen takes a close look at some unlicensed toys made with not quite the care and quality control of the originals. He starts out with a Batman Begins trading card set that seemed familiar to me, because we published the backstory from it earlier this year. His spoken word delivery is priceless! But that's just the beginning. It's a long video, so I grabbed some screenshots to show you what he is reviewing: Batman Begins, Star Wart (featuring Admlral Ackbar), Teenage Motant Ninja Tortlez, and an Invincibility Robot.
"A never-ending source of disappointment and confusion."
In 1874, kidnapping was a misdemeanor under Pennsylvania law. Then 4-year-old Charley Ross went missing. Two men had picked him and his 5-year-old brother up, but the older boy was set free the same day. Christian Ross, the boy's father, went to police, who didn't take the case seriously -until the first ransom note showed up.
Somebody had written the message—ridden with errors in spelling, capitalization and punctuation—in black ink and an unsteady hand. “You wil have to pay us before you git him from us, and pay us a big cent to,” the note read. “if you put the cops hunting for him you is only defeeting yu own end.”
The second came five days later, stating the ransom amount: “This is the lever that moved the rock that hides him from yu $20,000. Not one doler les—impossible—impossible—you cannot get him without it.” (The sum of $20,000 in 1874 was the equivalent of about $400,000 today.)
With this demand, the letter writers recorded the first ransom kidnapping in U.S. history. They told Christian Ross to correspond with them through the personal advertisements of the Philadelphia Public Ledger.
The police then went into full investigation mode, asking the public for tips and eventually offering a huge reward. Newspapers covered the case and parents panicked. One lead led to the police hiring a spy to investigate suspects. Two suspects died during another crime and one was arrested, but the case was never truly solved. However, Pennsylvania made kidnapping into a felony crime.
Fast forward 139 years, when a librarian in Philadelphia uncovered a set of 22 letters among her family's possessions. They had found the original ransom notes, which were thought lost forever. But how did they come into her family's possession? Read the story of the kidnapping and those ransom letters at Smithsonian's Past Imperfect blog.
(Image credit: Freeman’s Auctioneers and Appraisers)
The Juno spacecraft flew by Earth on October 23, leveraging a bit of Earth's pull to catapult itself off to Jupiter. While it was close by, it took pictures. Engineers at NASA/JPL-Caltech put the images starting from October 9th together to show the sequence -and it includes the moon! What resulted was the first ever video of the moon orbiting the Earth -or at least a part of its orbit, as it passes between the spacecraft and Earth on its way around the planet. Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy tells us:
My favorite part of this is actually the Moon: Note how dark and gray it looks. That’s because it is. On average, the Moon reflects about 12 percent of the sunlight that hits it, while the Earth reflects closer to 40 percent. And while our planet is a lovely blue, the Moon is mostly gray rock.
Also, the video starts just when, from Juno’s point of view, the Moon happened to be lined up near the Earth. It actually orbits Earth more than 100 times farther away than its own diameter! The Moon is 3474 km (2150 miles) across, and orbits 400,000 km (240,000 miles) away. That distance gets magnified as Juno zooms toward the pair, so the Moon slides off the field of view to the right, not to be seen again.
The spacecraft came as close as 560 kilometers from the Earth as it passed by. It is expected to reach Jupiter in 2016.
AsapSCIENCE has another collection of science facts and ideas that will "turn your brain to mush!" That's their words, not mine. But this video will give you something to think about, and possibly use to flummox someone else. -via Viral Viral Videos
See also: Amazing Facts to Blow Your Mind and Amazing Facts to Blow Your Mind 2.
Benjamin Franklin did not say that God gave us beer because He loves us and wants us to be happy -but he might have thought it! Beer goes way thousands of years and has always been an important drink. After all, for most of human history, water wasn't safe. John Green tells us all kinds of interesting things about beer, in the latest mental_floss video.
There are strange things happening in the news lately ..or are there?
Peter de Silva posted this screenshot and got arguments from all sides. Some languages do not use the Oxford, or serial, comma and take the series from its context. Others think that semicolons would be useful here, but I can't see it. Someone even suggested dropping the "and," which only makes sense if you add the comma, so that may be what they implied. Anyway, we now have an example to replace the strippers, Kennedy and Stalin. -via Doug Tyrrell
Fear of the dark is a common and an almost universal fear for at least a part of our lives (usually some part of our childhood). Though it's not so much the dark itself that we fear, but the unknown -those scary things that might be hiding in the dark. At some age we figure out that what we can't see can hurt us! As we mature, we internalize the real odds of something dangerous hiding in the dark, and that calms us in appropriate situations, but that fear can come back when we are in unfamiliar places. The reason we are all afraid of the dark at times is because that fear gave us an advantage during our evolutionary history.
Remember, for a large portion of humanity's early days, we were far from the top of the food chain. Our ancestors quickly learned that many predators prefer the cover of darkness to hunt and over time that association strengthened into a subconscious absolute: stay out of the dark because that's where the danger is.
While fear of the dark can manifest itself as an acute reaction—like panicked screaming when someone suddenly turns out the lights, or as insomnia, as a recent study conducted at the University of Toronto suggests—it more commonly manifests as foreboding anxiety. The emotion of anxiety plays a specific role in our behavioral responses to stimuli just as the emotions of love, anger, and sadness do, acting to increase our ability to cope with stress and more fully exploit beneficial opportunities.
An article at Gizmodo dips into the specifics of what happens when we confront the scary dark places into which we cannot see, and how we learn to judge its dangers. -via the Presurfer
(Image credit: Flickr user Joe Penniston)
(Image credit: Flickr user Thomas ♫)
Neatorama presents our collaboration with Pzzlr, a site where you can always find a riddle to exercise your brain. Can you solve this one?
Four people need to get from point A to point B. Unfortunately it is pouring down rain and nobody wants to get wet. They have one umbrella between them which can keep two people dry at a time. Person 1 can make the trip from A to B in 1 minute, person 2 in 2 minutes, person 3 in 5 minutes, and person 4 in 8 minutes. Two people travelling together underneath the umbrella will go at the pace of the slower person. How can everyone get from A to B in no more than 15 minutes?
Think you know the answer? See the solution at Pzzlr!
Look for a new puzzle here at Neatorama every Wednesday, and check out Pzzlr for a puzzle anytime!
Dancer Gabriel Valenciano and his father, Filipino pop star Gary Valenciano, dance together in this high-energy acrobatic video of generational fusion. The music is "Separate Ways" by Journey. In case you're wondering (and I know you probably were): the son has the mustache. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
YouTube invited its biggest stars, and the folks who made the year's biggest videos, to join in their annual year-end "rewind" video. Get ready for a collage of the the people, images, memes, and music of 2013. You'll see Neatorama favorites Freddie Wong, Rhett & Link, and MysteryGuitarMan, along with Jimmy Fallon, Macklemore, Cookie Monster, and other celebrities. There's a list of them at the YouTube page. The soundtrack is a half-dozen songs that are memes of 2013 themselves, mixed by DJ Earworm. Trying to name all the references in this mashup would be an interesting exercise, but first -just watch and enjoy it for what it is: a time capsule of YouTube in 2013.
You might laugh at Home Alone, A Christmas Story, or Christmas Vacation, but if you really want to wallow in emotion, the go-to Christmas film is It's a Wonderful Life. Not only is it heartwarming and life-affirming, but it has plenty of lessons buried in the story -some you may have forgotten or overlooked. For example: bad guys don't always get punished.
"In many movies, the final scene shows the bad guy being led away in handcuffs," writes Wes McAdams, a pastor from Texas. "It makes us feel good, knowing that justice has been served. Not so in It's A Wonderful Life." In fact, nothing bad happens to the villain.
"I love how George Bailey runs past Potter's window and yells, 'Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter!' and that's the last scene in which we see him," adds McAdams.
In an era when things tended to be resolved before the "The End" sign appeared on the screen, "It's a Wonderful Life deserves credit for not solving every problem with the tinkling of a bell," adds Mark Spearman.
This bit of divergence from the standard happy ending not only makes the story more realistic than it might have been, but it also skirted the Motion Picture Production Code of the 1940s, which demanded that criminals receive their punishment. Whether Potter was technically a criminal is up for debate, but if he had been arrested or had a change of heart, either end would have seemed forced. That's just one of the life lessons from the movie you can read about at The Week.
The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable research.
(Image credit: Flickr user Miss Yellow)
by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Improbable Research staff
Ryan Thomas Grace, an American patent attorney, submitted two related patent applications for himself in 2003.
Mr. Grace's innovations are perhaps best expressed in Mr. Grace's own words. Here are some of the essential passages from the documents.
"Method and Instrument for Proposing Marriage to an Individual," Ryan Thomas Grace, U.S. patent application #10/378423, filed March 3, 2003. Grace writes:
As the industrial revolution has passed and the computer revolution has taken afoot, society has been submerged with innovation and novel ideas. With the regularity of such innovation, society has become more prone to demand novel ideas and innovative thinkers. This bias toward innovation has raised the bar not only for industries, computers, and manufacturing, but also for individuals involved in relationships. Individuals want their relationship to be as unique and novel as the ideas that sparked the industrial and computer revolution. Furthermore, individuals in a relationship demand such uniqueness in their marriage proposal so that the individual can tout such uniqueness and novelty in the relationship and have a written record of such events....
Accordingly, a need exists for a unique, novel, and recorded method of proposing marriage to an individual.
In this invention an improved method for a proposor to propose to an individual is disclosed. The method of the present invention generally comprises the steps of meeting an individual; exchanging names with the individual; drafting a government document having a proposal to marry the individual incorporated therein; and showing the government document to the individual....
In the drawings, the method for a proposor to propose to an individual is generally referred to by the reference numeral 10. Method 10 generally comprises the steps of meeting an individual; exchanging names with the individual; drafting a government document having a proposal to marry the individual incorporated therein; and showing the government document to the individual. Preferably, the government document is a patent application.
Olivier Bolduc and Simon Lachapelle produced this stop-motion video featuring Étienne Desbois
and Louka Boutin as Mario and Luigi. I almost lost it when Mario began leaving banana peels behind! Although the video is French, the sound effects are in English. Warning: this video might make your butt hurt. -via Time Newsfeed
Steve Irwin talks about how wonderful his job is and how passionate he is about wildlife. He always did, but this time it's set to music! Melodysheep, who gave us the Symphony of Science videos, gives Irwin the AutoTune treatment in this tribute video. We miss you, Steve. -via Laughing Squid
Daniel D. Hungerford and his brother Floyd of Elmira, New York, were fascinated by rockets and their promise for the future. After all, the Wright Brothers had flown in an airplane for over twenty years, and rockets were the next step. The brothers put their heads together and built their own rocket car!
In 1929, they built their Solar & Interstellar Rocket Car, dubbed the "Shirley Lois Moon Girl" after Daniel's daughter. Made largely of cardboard and linoleum, a 1921 Chevy chassis, and powered by a set of gasoline-burning rocket motors, the thing must have been a fearsome sight on the back roads of rural New York. The lightweight building materials were a safety consideration. "In case of trouble," Daniel said, "I wanted to be able to kick my way out." Amazingly enough, they got the thing registered and licensed in the State of New York.
The rocket car could travel up to 70 miles per hour! Also, it left an impressive 20-foot flame behind it. So what next? Would they build more rocket cars, travel the world with the one they had, or work on a rocket to go into space next? They planned to do all those things. Read the story of the rocket car and see more pictures at io9. -via Everlasting Blort
Official Comedy made a trailer for the sequel to the 2003 movie Love Actually. What they did was base the sequel on the work that all the actors in the first movie have done in the ten years since. That's some strange footage, as they've been in everything from Harry Potter movies to Taken to The Walking Dead. -via Tastefully Offensive
The first trailer for the next Godzilla film, from Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures, is out today. Yes, you will get to see the monster, but the suspense leading up to it is pretty intense, so be patient. The movie is a reboot of the Godzilla legend, placed in the modern day. We should see it in May of 2014. -via Phil Plait
When you're stealing gasoline, use some common sense and don't light a cigarette. An unnamed 26-year-old man was arrested in Millicent, South Australia, after he allegedly punched a hole in a car's gas tank to steal gasoline at a car dealership. The problem was that he decided it was a good time to have a smoke, which caused the gasoline fumes to ignite. The subsequent blaze drew emergency crews and police, who found the man without pants, and burns on his legs. Surveillance video shows how the caper went down. -via Arbroath
LEGO artist Stormbringer mashed up Pokemon and giant robots to produce Poke'Mecha, a series of large-scale LEGO sculptures!
I've created a new form of Pokemon battle, where giant mechs known as Poke-Mecha, engage in large-scale Pokemon battles, who are controlled by the Pokemon trainers who built them. A highly dangerous, but fun sport.
These three are only the first of what may be a long-term project. Continue reading for the story of each Poke'Mecha, as told by Stormbringer.
As far as advertising stunts go, this one is a winner. For 250 WestJet passengers on two flights, one from Toronto to Calgary and the other from Hamilton to Calgary, it was an unexpected miracle. Passengers were greeted by a video-linked Santa Claus who asked them what they wanted for Christmas. Then things got really hectic -for Santa and his 175 WestJet volunteer helpers. If that's not enough, you can see additional footage that didn't make it into the video, in which Santa has fun with the passengers. -via Daily Picks and Flicks
Die Hard is the Christmas movie for people who are sick of Christmas movies. It established Bruce Willis as a serious action star, and made walking on broken glass a part of our nightmares. But how much do you really know about the 1988 film?
1. Die Hard just sounds like a bad-ass action movie. Give Your Life Expensive sounds like the title of a Hungarian career seminar. That’s just what Die Hard’s title is in Hungary though. The sequel is Your Life is More Expensive and of course the third title is The Life is Always Expensive. Naturally.
A Serbian bootleg version released in 1988 was titled Skupo Prodaj Svoju Kozu (Sell Your Skin At High Price). The Spanish version is The Glass Jungle.
2. The movie was originally supposed to be a sequel to the 1985 flick, Commando. The film never fleshed out with Arnold (terrorists can only kidnap Alyssa Milano so many times) and Bruce Willis took over.
Well, those were things I did not know. And there are 18 more movie trivia facts about Die Hard at Warming Glow.
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