Miss Cellania's Blog Posts

A Few Ways to Die on the Metro

You might not have known, but Los Angeles does have a mass transit train system. Metro Los Angeles has produced a new set of safety videos that teach Californians how to not get themselves killed while taking the train. The “Safetyville” series is about as graphic as it gets, considering stick figures are the stars.

(YouTube link)

This is just one of the set. Continue reading to see the rest.

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CBS and Paramount Issue Rules for Star Trek Fan Films

Intellectual property owners have to walk a fine line between encouraging fan engagement and protecting their franchise against copyright infringement. The various entities behind the 50-year-old Star Trek franchise have been forgiving up to a point, and that point is Star Trek: Axanar, a full-length fan film that was crowdfunded to the tune of $650,000. CBS and Paramount filed a lawsuit against Axanar’s producers. And now the two companies have released a list of ten guidelines for Star Trek fan films that could help fans avoid a lawsuit. They limit the length, budget, and content of fan films. Actors must be amateurs, although in the real world, the definition of “amateur” could be argued. However, they cannot be paid for their contribution to a Star Trek fan film. And the finished product cannot be sold or even monetized on YouTube.

On the one hand, Axanar is a blatant case of copyright infringement. On the other hand, so are smaller fan films that the franchise tolerates because they feed the fandom and boost interest in Star Trek films. The producers of Axanar have released their response to the new rules.   -via Slashfilm

What do you think of the rules for Star Trek fan fiction? You can select more than one answer.








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Inventing the Beach: The Unnatural History of a Natural Place

Going to the beach for a vacation is a common, but relatively recent, practice. Throughout most of history, the seashore was a place to be feared, with sea monsters, pirates, and destructive storms. The people that lived and worked there knew different, but they didn’t think of the beach as a treat, either. How did all that change? Historian Alain Corbin fills us in.

Around the mid-18th century, according to Corbin, European elites began touting the curative qualities of fresh air, exercise and sea bathing. Especially in Britain, home of the Industrial Revolution, aristocrats and intellectuals became preoccupied with their own health and hygiene. They viewed workers, whose numbers were multiplying in factories and new industrial towns, as strengthened through labor. By comparison, the upper classes seemed fragile and effete: lacking in physical prowess and destined for decline. The notion of the “restorative sea” was born. Physicians prescribed a plunge into chilly waters to invigorate and enliven. The first seaside resort opened on England’s eastern shore in the tiny town of Scarborough near York. Other coastal communities followed, catering to a growing clientele of sea bathers seeking treatment for a number of conditions: melancholy, rickets, leprosy, gout, impotence, tubercular infections, menstrual problems and “hysteria.” In an earlier version of today’s wellness culture, the practice of sea bathing went mainstream.

The view of the beach as a restful, restorative place took some time to spread to other places and classes. But there have been consequences of our fascination with beach getaways, both culturally and environmentally. Read about the history of beach vacations at Smithsonian. -via Boing Boing


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The Race of the Century

Every year the the Collings Foundation sponsors the Race of the Century, which seems odd for an annual event, but this is a historic demonstration. Various vehicles in use in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are pitted against each other. The race highlights how the evolution of motor vehicles was often two steps forward and one step back. Early motor cars were not an improvement on horses, but they were a step to something that was. National Geographic has the story.

When the 1904 Franklin rolls out for the Race of the Century, there is always a person with a red flag walking in front of it. In the first race, the car goes up against a horse-drawn stagecoach, a runner, and a female bicyclist holding a “Votes for Women” sign, all proclaiming that their mode of transportation is superior to the newfangled horseless carriage.

Whoever wins the first race goes on to the second. Whoever wins that continues to the next one, and so forth. Each race introduces new concepts and technology, and the winners are different every time. (Though the antique cars are well-kept, they’re still old—slight weather changes can affect their performance.)

(YouTube link)

Interesting, but when I saw this video of so many disparate vehicles racing each other, all I could think of was Japan World Cup 3. This time, there were no horses running sideways on their hind legs. -via mental_floss


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Misconceptions of Rich Kids

When you grow up in a wealthy family, you don’t know any other way until much later. In a recent AskReddit forum, some rich kids shared the moment that they found out everyone else’s lives are not like theirs.

I thought everyone got to eat dinner quite often with the president. I always thought the president has dinner at random houses until I learned otherwise when I finally joined regular school (I was homeschooled till I was age 9) and no kid believed my "dinner story "

*Dad was Ambassador of Kenya to Saudi Arabia

-grammarglamor

Taking trips overseas constantly. I remember being so surprised in elementary school that my friends had never been to Europe. My earliest memory takes place in a villa in Monaco.

Also, apparently 6 year olds aren't supposed to like tartare or oysters on the half shell.

-cmairee 

I was trying to show a friend of mine that she's rich because her family has a TEAM of maids and drivers. Seriously, a driver for every member of the family. She said she's not rich, because "Everyone has maids and drivers." I asked her... do you think your maids and drivers have maids and drivers? I think then it clicked that she might be rich.

-Inquilinus

You can sift through the entire thread at reddit or see the highlights at Pref. -via Team Takei


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Squirrel Pulls Loose Tooth

David Freiheit of Montreal enlisted the help of a wild squirrel in a city park to help pull his daughter’s loose tooth. He tied a length of dental floss to the tooth on one end, and attached a chunk of granola to the other end.

(YouTube link)

Freiheit is pretty excited about getting this stunt on video, while Stacy is concerned about retrieving her tooth! Don’t fret, Stacy, the Tooth Fairy probably reaped enough reward from the Viral Video to leave something under your pillow. -via Dave Barry

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

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A Cautionary Tale of ‘Stem Cell Tourism’

Jim Gass was a wealthy man. He suffered a stroke in 2009, and went on a worldwide search for a cure for his resulting difficulties. Money was no object, and he figured the worst that could happen was that he didn’t get better. He was wrong. Gass developed pain in his lower back, which turned out to be a mysterious mass growing on his spine. A surgeon opened him up, and found a bloody mass that was strongly attached to the tissues around it.

He added, “I had never seen anything like it.”

Tests showed that the mass was made up of abnormal, primitive cells and that it was growing very aggressively. Then came the real shocker: The cells did not come from Jim Gass. They were someone else’s cells.

Mr. Gass, it turned out, had had stem cell therapy at clinics in Mexico, China and Argentina, paying tens of thousands of dollars each time for injections in a desperate attempt to recover from a stroke he had in 2009. The total cost with travel was close to $300,000.

Stem cells hold a lot of promise for medical use, but they have their drawbacks, namely that they divide and mutate quickly and can grow into all kinds of cells that are hard to predict. That’s why stem cell research is progressing slowly. Read the story of Jim Gass and his quest for alternative treatment at the New York Times. -via Metafilter


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10 of the Strangest-Looking Homes in All of Europe

Europe is home to some very old and classic buildings, but also creative designs by inventive architects and artists. As odd as they may be, it’s a step up from cookie-cutter suburban complexes, and far from bland. Shown here is the Hundertwasser Haus, designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Most people have never heard the name Freidensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser before (perhaps gratefully), but the architect is highly regarded in Austria. In Vienna particularly, he is known for an exceptionally quirky and strange home. The Hundertwasser House is actually an apartment complex, but it is characterised by seemingly random design.

The bright, patchwork colours and undulating floors have had modern architects shaking their heads, because there seems to be little logic to its structure. Despite this, the building is wildly popular and today stands as one of the most treasured buildings in Europe. It is highly praised for the way in which it incorporates vegetation and has inspired many modern copycats.

If I were to go back to apartment living, I’d want it to be in a place like this. See the other nine unusual homes of Europe at Housely.


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What Happened Before History?

It’s the story of humans, from the time our distant ancestors dropped from the trees and started walking up right to the relatively brief period we call recorded history. We had a lot to do to get where we are, like learning to deal with tools and fire, but most of all, each other. There were many important systems to develop, like cooperation, communication, education, organization, and civilization.   

(YouTube link)

This brief overview of humanity from Kurzgesagt (previously at Neatorama) covers a lot of ground quickly, in bright, colorful animation. We’ve come a long way. -via Digg   


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Who Needs a Magic Mirror?

Even as a child, I had this same idea. I saw Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and then played all the parts in the privacy of my bedroom, and the mirror always showed me the answer to the question. The real magic, I figured, was in asking the right question. If the Evil Queen had asked who was the most evil person in the kingdom, she would have gotten the same answer when looking in a mirror. This is the latest comic from Alex Culang and Raynato Castro of Buttersafe.


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How To Train Your Drogon

YouTube user Darth Blender refreshed the trailer from the 2010 animated movie How to Train Your Dragon by replacing the video with clips from the HBO series Game of Thrones, while retaining the original audio. Let’s see how that turned out.

(YouTube link)

It’s a mashup that should have been done long ago, but waiting this long meant that more video footage was available from Game of Thrones. It also means that kids who watched How to Train Your Dragon six years ago may be grown up enough to enjoy Game of Thrones now. -via the A.V. Club


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Burglar Runs Afoul of the Law

A pun-filled Facebook post from the Martin County (Florida) Sheriff's Office tells of an investigation into a report of an intruder. A homeowner called and said she returned home from walking her dog and the front door of her house was open. She could hear noises inside, so she called police.

Deputy Becky Brady and Deputy Erick Day entered the home and immediately located the suspect.

Deputy Brady advised that the suspect tried to duck out on her several times, but they were able to apprehend him wihtout ratteling any feathers. Despite a fowl attitude, the univited house guest was released and not charged. Another MCSO case quacked.

Yes, it was a duck. Its motives in the home intrusion were not disclosed. -via Arbroath

(Image credit: Martin County Sheriff's Office)

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

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14 Secrets of U.S. Postal Carriers

 

How you feel about the Postal Service depends on whether they brought you a check or bills today. But these couriers keep their appointed rounds no matter what they are delivering. And they deliver 154 billion pieces of mail every year! On an individual level, you might know your postal carrier’s name, but probably not a lot about his or her job. For example,

1. YOUR MAILBOX IS HOME TO HIDDEN DANGER.

Cliches are clichés for a reason, and most postal workers will admit to having some concern over unfriendly dogs on their route. But a smaller, equally painful danger remains under-publicized. According to Kenny, a carrier in the Midwest, reaching into a mailbox to deposit your letters can sometimes be hazardous to his health. “Wasps like to get into mailboxes,” he says. “Especially if they have an outgoing mail slot. They build a nest in there. I’ve been stung quite a few times.”

2. THEIR SATCHEL HAS A HIDDEN PURPOSE.

The shoulder-slung sack of mail on a carrier’s shoulder isn’t just to tote credit card offers. During carrier orientation, workers are taught that the satchel is their first line of defense against aggressive dogs. (They can also use parcels to parry attacks.) “There’s a whole training program on it,” Kenny says. “You try to keep it between you and the dog.” Carriers are also issued pepper spray. “I hate to use it, but sometimes you have to,” Kenny admits. He estimates he’s been bit nine or 10 times. “I’ve never needed stitches, but I’ve known carriers who have.”

Read a dozen other secrets about your mail carrier’s job at mental_floss.


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SpotMini from Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics’ newest robot is a mechanical pet! Watch it go for a walk, crawl under a table, and extend its neck for a petting. But did you ever see a dog load the dishwasher and straighten up the kitchen?

(YouTube link)

SpotMini is a new smaller version of the Spot robot, weighing 55 lbs dripping wet (65 lbs if you include its arm.) SpotMini is all-electric (no hydraulics) and runs for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it is doing. SpotMini is one of the quietest robots we have ever built. It has a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro (IMU) and proprioception sensors in the limbs. These sensors help with navigation and mobile manipulation. SpotMini performs some tasks autonomously, but often uses a human for high-level guidance. For more information about SpotMini visit our website at www.BostonDynamics.com

SpotMini can trip and fall, but they had to put out a banana peel to demonstrate it. -via Geeks Are Sexy


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Iceland is Taking Over Euro 2016

#Dagsson does #Euro2016. Pick up one of his books in any Icelandic book store pretty much. #ISL #RonaldoTears

A photo posted by Reykjavik Grapevine (@rvkgrapevine) on Jun 21, 2016 at 9:47am PDT

Iceland has become the media darling of Euro 2016. The team from the tiny country was one of the expansion teams added to this year’s tournament, and has overcome the odds to advance to the round of 16. After tying with Portugal and then Hungary, Iceland went on to defeat powerhouse Austria 2-1 in the last second on Wednesday. The reaction of the Icelandic announcer is one for the books.

(YouTube link)

The full video and a translation is at the Reykjavík Grapevine:

“It’s all open! Theodór Elmar is alone here on their side of the pitch. They are three on two! Emmi (short for Elmar)! Go into the box! Go into the box! EMMI! Ahhh… Yes… yaaaaa… yaaaaaaaaa… JAAAAA… JAAAAA… Jarghaah… we are winning this! We are through to the final 16! We are through to the final 16! We are winning Austria! The voice has gone! But that doesn´t matter! We have qualified! Arnór Yngvi Traustason scores! Iceland two Austria one! Þvílíkt og annað eins*! Þvílíkt og annað eins! What? The final whistle has been blown here, and never, ever have I felt so good! Arnór Yngvi Traustason securing our first victory! Never lost! Don’t forget… never lost! But the first victory a fact! Iceland two Austria one! Thanks for coming Austria! Thanks for coming!”

The Reykjavík Grapevine, an English language magazine that’s always a treat, is following the saga on its Twitter account with some awesome Tweets, from before the tournament started to trash talking the next opponent.

The image at the top is from the Reykjavík Grapevine Instagram account, featuring the art of Hugleikur Dagsson. The Grapevine has been pointing much of its trash talk toward Cristiano Ronaldo of Spain’s Real Madrid and the Portuguese national team, the biggest soccer star of the day …so far. Iceland plays England next, on June 27th.


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The Emile Berliner Musée des Ondes

A small museum in Montreal is dedicated to preserving the memory of early sound recording and aerospace engineering. If those two things sound widely divergent to you, that's understandable, until you learn a little bit about electrical genius Emile Berliner.

In 1887, Berliner patented the Gramophone, which used a stylus to produce sound waves by following a horizontally-modulating line on a disc. Thomas Edison might have invented the phonograph, but it was Berliner who first put recordings on a flat disc. After losing the American sales rights to his invention, he moved to Montreal in 1904, and established the Berliner Gramophone Company in the neighborhood of Saint-Henri.

The old factory has undergone a lot of changes during the past century. Berliner Gramophone eventually would become RCA-Victrola, memorable for its logo of the little dog “Nipper” transfixed by the sound of his master’s voice emanating from a gramophone. Eventually, RCA would be drafted into the space race, and Montreal saw the dawning of its involvement in the aerospace industry, which continues today.

Juergen Horn and Mike Powell got to visit the museum, which is still unpacking after losing its exhibition space. Still, they were treated to a look through the museum plus the private storage areas in the old RCA factory and the attached recording studio as well. Learn more about the the Musée des Ondes and the history of audio you never knew at For 91 Days.


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The Evolution of Shipping Container Homes

The shipping container as we know it was developed by Malcolm McLean in the 1950s. It standardized global cargo shipping and made the industry more efficient. A whole slew of different people noticed them and had other ideas. The big sturdy boxes showed up for different purposes in trade shows, in fiction, and in war. And, of course, by people who saw the possibility of living in them. Read how shipping containers went through these iterations on the way to becoming an eco-friendly building material for both emergency shelter and high-end architecture at Housely.    


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Dewey’s Epitaph

A tombstone in the Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery in Dedham, Massachusetts, pays tribute to a cat that lived over 100 years ago. The first line is in quotes, which points out that  it was something Dewey’s owner probably heard over and over as he was mourning, and most likely again when he commissioned a tombstone for his beloved cat. -via reddit

(Image credit: Paul Koudounaris)

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Learning

The love of learning is contagious. And how can a child learn better than from one-on-one time with someone who loves to learn and loves the child, too? Too bad most parents don’t have unlimited time to foster this love of learning. We have jobs to do, often multiple children, and a vague understanding of the required state curriculum  standards. But summer is a great time to boost your child’s natural curiosity and their skills in finding the answers. This is the latest comic from Lunarbaboon.


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Ireland Fans Dent French Car, Then Fix It

The UEFA Euro Cup is happening in Lille, France, this week. Irish soccer fans are making themselves a spectacle in the streets, celebrating their team’s advancement in the tournament. Were they rioting, fighting, or wrecking the town? No, they were celebrating. And when a group of revelers accidentally dented in the roof of a car, they did the right thing.

(YouTube link)

First, they were seen stuffing money for repairs into the rim around the door. Then someone decided they could just fix it themselves, which they immediately banded together to do. They managed to knock the dent out of the roof. Yay! -via The Daily Dot


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Roadside C-section on a Deer

Sean and Michele Steele of Alberta were on the highway to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, when they saw a truck hit a deer. Sean pulled his truck over, and went to pull the deer off the road -and possibly put it out of its misery. He dragged the deer carcass into a ditch

“And then that’s when I seen the feet coming out the side of the doe.”

Steele pulled out his knife and performed a cesarian section on the deceased deer. It took less than three minutes, and the fawn started breathing on its own. The couple looked up a local wildlife shelter, the Northern Lights Wildlife Society. They wrapped the fawn in blankets and put her in the back seat.  

The young fawn was dazed on the side of the road, working to get her legs under her and not realizing what had become of her mother until she was loaded into the back of the Steeles truck.

“She had life in her right away,” Sean said. “She started squirming around, and she did start calling for her mother when she was in my truck.”

The shelter says that Friday, as the fawn was named, has been doing well in the week since she was born in such unusual circumstances. -via Metafilter  

(Image credit: Stephanie Steele at Facebook)

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

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10 Future Technology Jobs

Do you know where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing ten years from now? While some occupations will fade away, new ones will crop up. These future jobs would have been inconceivable a few years ago, and they don’t exist now, but in the future, our emerging technologies will need operators and experts. For example, there may well be opening for commercial civilian drone operators

With the continued popularity of drones, in the future there will be drones for everything including delivery services, forensics and filming. Once drones take over the world, there will be a great need for commercial civilian drone operators. This will require a pilot’s license and additional extensive training and experience. In the next decade or two, it will not be uncommon to see major delivery airlines using near-pilotless airplanes. Amazon has already proposed the idea of using drones for local deliveries.

Read about more of these future jobs at Money Inc.

(Image credit: Tomwsulcer)


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Darby Got Stuck in a Barney Head

Darby Risner went to a friend’s house and saw a big purple Barney head. She decided to put it on and scare her friends. Mission accomplished. But then the 15-year-old couldn’t get the head off. She was stuck! Her brother Logan Risner told the tale on Twitter. It was also uploaded to Snapchat and Instagram because no one present could stop laughing. They finally loaded her into a car and took her to the local fire department, where there was more laughter and finally freedom!

Now Risner has been on the local news and is the subject of various memes. Read more about the caper and see more pictures at Buzzfeed.


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Rattlesnake Bites Groom During Wedding Photo Shoot

(YouTube link)

Johnny and Laura Benson were only married for about an hour when a rattlesnake interrupted the photoshoot. They had gone to Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins, Colorado, to take pictures. As the groom was walking up the trail, the snake bit him in the leg.

“All of a sudden it was like someone kicked me in the shin. Then I looked over and saw the snake sitting there, and it was rattling,” Benson said.

The couple flagged down a ranger who called an ambulance to take him to Poudre Valley Hospital.

The photographer, Maddie May, called the groom’s mother and notified her that the couple would be late for the reception. She kept shooting pictures of the event, of the snake, the paramedics, and the scene at the emergency room. Doctors determined that the snake had not injected venom with the bite, so Johnny was patched up and sent to the reception.



You can see the entire photoshoot in a larger format at Maddie May’s Facebook page. -via Uproxx


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41 Facts about Vegetables

(YouTube link)

My garden is overrun with 90 tomato plants and 18 pepper plants this year. I’ve eaten a couple of tomatoes already, so I’m into vegetables right now. There’s always something new to learn about the bounty of the earth, so sit back and learn something about vegetables from John Green in the latest episode of the mental_floss List Show.


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The Voodoo Doll

Has it ever occurred to you that if you can do awful things to a voodoo doll, you can also treat it nicely to give someone beneficial effects? It occurred to Chris Hallbeck at Maximumble. By the way, the voodoo doll concept actually came to us from Europe, and is not historically associated with the Vodou or Voodoo religion.


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Frankenstein, the Baroness, and the Climate Refugees of 1816

Western Europe’s last famine began 200 years ago this summer when crops failed, causing farms and businesses to fail, which led to hordes of starving refugees wandering across the continent looking for relief. “The Year Without a Summer,” as 1816 is known, was caused by global air pollution in the wake of the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora. It was in this gloomy setting that 18-year-old Mary Godwin spent the summer with her lover Percy Shelley and several others at Lake Geneva and wrote Frankenstein. The novel has been analyzed as an amazing cautionary tale about the clash between science and ethics, but it also speaks to the experience of the suffering refugees of the time.    

Shelley’s miserable Creature, in the context of the 1816 worldwide climate shock, appears less like a symbol of technological overreach than a figure for the despised and desperate refugees crowding Switzerland’s market towns that year. Eyewitness accounts frequently refer to how hunger and persecution “turned men into beasts”, how fear of famine and disease-carrying refugees drove middle-class citizens to demonize these suffering masses as sub-human parasites, and turn them away in horror and disgust. Two hundred years on, in a summer of more record temperatures, and worldwide droughts, when refugees once again stream across the borders of German-speaking Europe, can we really afford to ignore this reading of Frankenstein as a climate change novel? The novel is a cultural treasure, but it doesn’t belong behind a glass case. It’s alive, like the monster itself. It’s on the loose in our world and our minds, stoking our darkest terrors. Shelley’s untameable tale of human pathos, suffering, and destruction is headline news: on the TV and internet, in a million images, filling well-fed, well-housed citizens with horror.

To get a taste of what the Year Without a Summer did to everyday folk, author Gillen D’Arcy Wood looks at the account of a very real humanitarian of that era, Baroness Krüdener, and her attempts to feed the refugees, which only angered the locals. Read about the humanitarian crisis that contributed to the creation of Frankenstein at the Public Domain Review.


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The Shag Map

Jason Headley produced an interactive map of the United States that’s also a game. Each state is labeled with how many presidential electoral votes it has. How many states have you been to? How many of them have you shagged (had sex) in? The tally at the bottom will let you know your total electoral votes, because 270 of them will win an election.  

I would be president for just the states I’ve been to, but not in the number of states where I’ve …you know. Check your own score at The Shag Map. -via Metafilter


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What Luke's Been Up To For the Past 20 Years

Luke Skywalker has been holed up like a hermit for how many years? Surely he’s got some stories to tell about what he’s been doing all that time. Important Jedi stuff. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

(YouTube link)

Poor lonely Luke. When episode VIII comes around, we probably won’t hear a word about his isolated life on an island on a distant planet. Too boring.  -via Geeks Are Sexy


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What Happens if a Presidential Candidate Dies?

It seems like a presidential election takes forever these days, because the candidates announce their intentions earlier and earlier. But the real race happens between the major party conventions and the general election. If the leading candidate from the primaries were to die before the party’s convention, the party would select another candidate. And that would also happen if a candidate died after the convention. But what if a candidate died after the general election? That actually happened once, when Democrat Horace Greeley died after the election in 1872, but before the electoral college cast their votes. In that case, it didn’t matter because Greeley had lost the election to Ulysses Grant. But what if it had been Grant who died? The process can get complicated. Read about what would happen in various scenarios at How Stuff Works.


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Profile for Miss Cellania

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